Kidist Paulos Asrat has interesting observations at her blog Camera Lucida on the latest cover of O Magazine, the scripture of all things Oprah. Could Oprah be depressed? Miss Asrat says Oprah looks “insecure, hesitant and certainly non-powerful” in this photo. So ubiquitous is Oprah’s face, I do not possess the ability to sharply discern one image from another. She seems uniformly plastic in all. Oprah’s handlers like to present her as both fragile and fantastically more attractive than she is, the better to draw the weak to her throne. The hair on her shoulder seems to represent the conceit of a woman who is far too old for this sort of “come hither” gesture. Increasingly, Oprah is a sop to the middle-aged and their search for perennial youth.
I wonder if Oprah has ever gazed into the mirror and said to herself, “I could be wrong. I could be hopelessly and irretrievably wrong.”
You are right, vanity is a very good word to describe her behavior. Vanity is after all superficial, a behavior exhibited by a weak person. Here’s what dictionary.com has to say about vanity, amongst other things: lack of real value; hollowness; worthlessness: the vanity of a selfish life. My hard copy of Roget’s Thesaurus also gives me “useless” as an option.
Now, Oprah’s fans will not say any of these things to describe her, and I do understand in her own way she’s trying to do good. But her conceit knows no bounds. She has lured people into the world of victimology, buying them off with her gifts and promises of empathy.
She is a formidable force. It is difficult to watch her without getting pulled in (plus she is way too smart to fully believe the “victim” story). But, in the end, she won’t relinquish it, for whatever reason. By the way, the feature story in the September issue about power was purely about the power of women. I’ve never bought her magazine, but this time did so just to read it. It was a dismal litany of one woman after another going on about the power of the feminine; a tyranny of empathy, just like Oprah. I can’t believe that women are still thinking like that.
So much more to say – especially her pose, about which you’re exactly right. And seduction after all, is a sign of weakness. A way of manipulating people, to debauch others, as my Thesaurus suggests. I think she’s close to 55 by now. Here is the May 2009 cover: