In a recent editorial, Oprah Winfrey, the first African-American female billionaire, complained about the frustrations of not having time to suck. The Joy of Doing Things Badly tells us that Oprah has no particular singing talent, though she does go to church, and that she does not know how to draw, though she has painters among her friends. There is so much subtext in her text that I do not know why I have not read Oprah’s magazine before. I could not tell if she were telling me how great she is, how normal but special she is, or that I should not complain even if I pretty much suck at everything, because there is joy in fiasco. Oh, Oprah. Is this why you created that moment of failed TV friendship with Gayle the other day, when you told the world you had had a cancer scare? Gayle was upset she had not been told earlier than us so she could prove her friendship before I could, for example, and then an audience member chastised you, Oprah, and asked you to apologize to Gayle for having mistreated her as a friend. Is this example of failure and how to overcome it a great teaching moment about how close we all are, and how the billionaire is as vulnerable to unhappiness as any Joe or JoeAnne member of the audience? Perhaps your producer intended it as such, but I don’t think so.
This is why.
Recently, I witnessed how much money can buy: the cheapest private room at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC is $750 per night. It comes with room service and private bathroom, a flat screen TV and a personal fridge. A nurse aid will wash and massage you if you cannot do it. So, dear Oprah, you sell fluff. Rich and poor will never suck in the same way. You’ve been both, so you should know that fluff is great with peanut butter if you like peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. I hear that the younger folk like that, but for your desires to lower the age of your audience, going for fluff may be too young: still in elementary school. Maybe next time you try for the real title: The Unbearable Joy of Being O, and I will enjoy reading your magazine. You hired good writers.