Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oprah is human, not an Icon!


Oprah represents all of us who have a dream, but what sets her apart from most of us is her tenacity and perseverance (Not to mention, she is rich beyond our wildest dreams). She never gives up until her dream becomes reality, and then she dreams some more…

In my head, I am Oprah’s best friend and like all friends we’ve have our disagreements. I’ve composed long letters in my head to her setting out my reasons for disagreeing with her and hopefully compelling her to see it from my point of view. For example, I had some serious concerns with how she was setting up her school for girls in South Africa. In particular, taking children from their families to give them "a better life" without any regard for their culture smacks too much like how the the residential schools in Canada were managed by the church.

Our serious conversations (in my head) are most often about how the boundaries between her public life and personal life are blurred. And as she becomes more isolated the two become one leaving little room for her to be her “authentic self” and who to trust becomes increasingly difficult.

Along comes Kitty Kelly Unauthorized Oprah Biographer. (interview with Matt Lauer and Erica Jong, Oprah, Kitty and Me)

I read the book, and by-in-large feel that Kelly did a balance job of writing about Oprah’s life in spite of the difficulty in getting sources. However, Kelly writes mostly the tantalizing and sensational bits of Oprah’s life, which are dated before Oprah became “Oprah”. Maybe that’s what she thinks sells, but it does not make a great book.

The argument biographers have in supporting writing about someone, especially if it is unauthorized, is that this person is in the “public” and the public has the right to know. I think this premise is wrong. I really don’t care if she (Oprah) had a tremulous and rebellious teenage phase, who hasn’t. Indeed, fragments of our past does not create a clear picture of who we are in the present.

I would much prefer to read an authorized biography than an unauthorized one for exactly the reason that it is their life and it is up to them what they want shared publicly. It is no wonder Oprah has to go to extremes to keep her life private. And in my head it will always be just Oprah and me, can't get much more private than that. We only have one life and she, my best friend (in my head), Oprah, is living her life, which needs no apology.


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2 comments:

DUTA said...

Being a public figure means not only fame and fortune but also unpleasantness .

If there's a law against writing and publishing unauthorizing biography, then Ophra should definitely sue the writer. If there isn't, well then, that's the price one pays for being a famous, rich figure.

Angelina said...

Hi Duta,

I agree, this is a price one pays for being rich and famous.

Still it does suck that you can't have be both rich and famous, and privacy. I think she should at least respond in some way to the book.

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