By acquiring her OWN television network, Oprah Winfrey threatens to not only destroy America, but her saintly public image.
In a landmark deal with the coterie of hyper-intelligent sharks running Discovery Communications, Oprah Winfrey has expanded her empire to include an entire cable network. Later this year – no doubt in the dark, shadowy hours after midnight – Discovery Health will become OWN (The Oprah Winfrey Network), a new channel devoted to helping viewers “live their best lives.”
This disturbs me for a number of reasons. First, potential viewers of this network are being duped into believing that they have more than one life to live. They don’t, and so therefore are already living their “best life” and “worst life” simultaneously, as there are no other alternatives. Ms. Winfrey’s slogan implies that she has the power to grant “extra” lives through her network, as if she has somehow also acquired the gold coins of the Mario Brothers. One hundred of these coins are required to gain an extra life in Super Mario, and Discovery Health currently reaches 68 million homes. That would mean Oprah has at least 6.8 billion of these coins to dispense, and my own National Treasure-style adventures lead me to believe that Mario’s sacred coins no longer exist in these numbers.
Most importantly, the Grand Ole Oprah’s new channel will only strengthen two phenomena already causing damage to both her followers and the woman herself: The Purchase Effect and The Goliath Effect.
The Purchase Effect is the lifeblood of the self-help industry. In short, it is the feeling of accomplishment created in people when they purchase a book, gadget, video or CD that promises to change their lives. Whether the person actually does anything with the product doesn’t matter – the purchase is perceived as a step toward self-improvement, and therefore makes the person feel as if he or she has “done something.” Unfortunately, this temporary boost usually just allows a person’s problems to continue festering. For example, common sense dictates that losing weight is a simple formula: eat less and exercise. However, putting this formula into practice means a number of difficult lifestyle changes that require motivation, discipline and patience over time. Instead, most people choose the quick fix: they purchase the latest “Ab-Inseminator” gadget, use it once or twice, then go back to strapping on the feedbag while their new product rots on the “Buns of Steel” compost pile.
Oprah’s daily self-improvement segments are notorious for producing The Purchase Effect in viewers, and she’s an advocate for many other Purchase Hucksters. (Dr. Phil himself sprang from her show’s optimistic loins.) When she begins producing this effect 24 hours a day on her own network, a legion of fans will lie on the couch watching, feeling like they’re taking positive steps forward, all the while becoming even fatter and more despicable than you are right now.
It should be noted that many people experience something similar to The Purchase Effect while reading my self-help literature. However, this is the result of hard science, not laziness. Within each of these columns, I encode small word cues that subliminally promote mental wellness. These cues are directed at the “T-Zone,” an area of the body encompassing the mouth and throat that is receptive to encouragement. This “T-Zone” used to be reserved for enjoying the smoky goodness of cigarettes (“that’s T for Taste and T for Throat”), but has been largely dormant in human beings since science discovered that smoking is not to be enjoyed. Luckily, through my studies, I have found secret ways to exploit the “T-Zone” in order to make you improve as a human being, and that’s why you should purchase my books and videos instead of Oprah’s magazine or any of Dr. Phil’s crackerjack bullshit. I’m also currently running tests in which my word cues are directed at the mysterious Pineal Gland of the brain, but the results of these tests aren’t in as of this writing.*
On to The Goliath Effect. This particular phenomena occurs in the realm of urban legends, in which a large company or rich celebrity becomes the subject of stories that have been floating around for years (it’s also sometimes called Cokelore). For example, there was a common story passed along in the ‘90s of a woman who complained about the service at an Olive Garden, ate only a portion of her food, then complained to a doctor later in the week that she had sores in her mouth. The doctor diagnosed her mouth with herpes, asked to test her leftover Olive Garden food, and discovered that it contained semen from seven different men. This story has been around for years, and usually migrates to whatever large chain restaurant is currently growing in national prominence and causing suspicion in small communities. Yesterday it was Olive Garden serving up spunk, today it’s P.F. Chang’s.
Goliath Effect stories are a way for common people to tear down the big guy – to be a David to the corporate Goliath. Oprah, already a Goliath by anybody’s standards, will only appear more corporate and bloated once she launches her network. And that’s when the stories will begin.
Look for variations of the following on the news or in your email once OWN is off the ground:
-Oprah’s network contains semen from seven different men.
-Oprah is a secret Muslim who will not say the pledge of allegiance.
-A large number of missing UPS uniforms have been acquired by Oprah. Watch out for fake UPS drivers who will show up at your door, force their way in, then install basic cable.
-Little Mikey died from eating pop rocks while watching the OWN.
-When you’re watching Oprah’s network, criminals hiding underneath your couch will slash your ankles and rob you.
-A girl watching Oprah’s network developed swelling on her cheek. When she scratched at it, the skin broke open and hundreds of baby spiders climbed out onto her face.
I’m not saying that I will be the one spreading these stories – I’m just publicly warning Oprah that if she moves forward with her network, she can plan on having her saintly public image tarnished a bit.
Last thought: Wouldn’t it have been better to use the acronym TOWN for The Oprah Winfrey Network? That sounds kind of nice – like a community of people helping each other. The acronym OWN just isn’t deceptive enough. In fact, it reveals the truth about what Oprah really wants – to OWN her OWN network so she can OWN all of our lives! Compared to my T-Zone, it seems downright sinister.
Remember, that’s T for Taste, T for Throat, and T for Touching Yourself!
*The results are in: you failed.
More of Chad Fifer's flawless self-help advice can be found here.
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