Friday, 16 November 2007

Does Oprah Promote Materialism?

It is that time of the year when many around the world begin buying presents for loved ones. The Christmas season has already begun - the decorations in stores bear testimony to that.

Another way to know that Christmas is near is to tune into talk-shows. Oprah and Ellen are two that are shown here in South Africa and both have a loyal following. Both of these ladies host shows that are entertaining and there is nothing inherently wrong with either. However I do become upset during their shows at this time of the year when they have massive give-aways to their respective studio audiences. Let me explain why...

Upon hearing that they are to receive free gifts the studio audiences react like small children being told they have free access in a candy store. It is sad for me to see the screaming and shouting of grown men and women who cannot wait to get their hands on their gifts. From their dress one can safely assume that they are from a demographic that will not go without creature comforts during the holiday season and yet they carry on as if they are deprived of all that is worthwhile. It is sad.

I know that Oprah's philanthropic efforts particularly in the field of education are worthy but I still cannot help feeling that her hosting of this type of show flies in the face of her professed love for the downtrodden and less fortunate.

Is the reaction of the studio audience typical of the average American? I would like to believe not as I have several close friends in the US who are nothing like as materialistic as these audience members seem to be. Let us be clear that giving of gifts is part of the joy of the Christmas season and reminds us of the greatest gift given to us but let us also remember that even if we were to receive nothing but the companionship and warmth of friends and family we would have received something far greater than anything Oprah or Ellen could give their studio audiences.

PS - Readers in the US : Watch Oprah on Nov 20 to see her "Favourite Things of 2007" show - once you have , please leave a comment with your impressions of the show.


Steve Hayes said...

I don't normally watch Oprah, so I haven't seen that, but something I do find disturbing is the radio advert from a bank urging pensioners to get into debt, with a smug auntie saying "wand we won't have to pay it back in our lifetime".

I think South African banks must be the greediest in the world.

Arthur said...

Totally agree Steve - I was quite taken aback when I heard that ad for the first time!

eishman said...

Welcome back,
I fully agree, but suspect we're swimming against a rather unrelenting tide.