Everybody knows that Oprah commands an army of undersexed, middle-class housewives who inscribe her every word in stone and believe her book-club selections to be divine revelation. It’s more obvious than Emma Watson must have been when she tried to pass for a “normal student.” But it’s still not as if the lady is God, right? WRONG.
Turning obvious, milquetoast observations (“People like Oprah”) into absurd, bald-faced, hyperbolic dissertations is something of an academic tradition. So, just leave it to an Ivy League professor to write an entire book proving that Oprah is the Truth (with a capital T) in all the ways “A Million Little Pieces” was not.
The book in question, “Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon,” is the first from Kathryn Lofton, assistant professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Yale. (Ah, Yalies’ tuition money at work.) Lofton calls Oprah’s message the “Gospel of You,” and says that she “utilizes the same rhythmic speech patterns used by southern preachers and employs a sermon-like structure for each show”. Which really makes a person wonder about Oprah–Is she trying to start a religion? These guys certainly think so. And so does Wikipedia. (We take research seriously here at IvyGate).
In fact, Lofton herself seems to be under Oprah’s spiritual sway:
Lofton claims to have studied the transcripts for nearly every episode of Winfrey’s show for the last 12 years — over 1,560 of them — as well as 105 issues of O magazine, 17 issues of O at Home, 68 books from Oprah’s Book Club and 52 Spirit Newsletters.
That’s some meticulous exegesis that could only have been undertaken by a very devoted follower. Assuming that going through that much Winfrey hasn’t made the lady crazy, Lofton is already at work on her next book, about sexuality in 20th century fundamentalist Protestantism — a topic far more likely to reward you with intimations of fiery damnation than with shiny new cars.