Photo: Oprah

As I get ready to shut down the office for the last two weeks of summer, I am gathering stacks of I-can’t-wait-to-read books and magazines.

Reading is a go-to activity year round for me, but a bolus of outside summer reading? The best. It brings to mind a magazine I used to read regularly. I recently remembered why I don’t any more.

No one can argue that Oprah (we don’t need a last name here, do we?) hasn’t made major contributions to the entertainment world through her movie roles, her long-running talk show, her OWN TV network, and the multimedia empire that she built (not to mention the girl schools in Africa and other philanthropic endeavors). She has inspired, connected, and likely helped, a lot of people deal with life’s ups and downs. She has overcome tremendous personal obstacles to achieve this level of influence and financial success and global impact. Good for her! I think she is incredible. And…

She was also one of the foremost promoters of pseudoscience and New Age quackery. 

Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, Dr. Christiane Northrup, the faith healer known as John of God, and vaccine “expert” Jenny McCarthy, are but a few. Some started out with credentials and some common sense approaches, but all soon turned their shows and influential interviews into versions of a Jerry Springer-like circus. Unfortunately, their widespread impact from the Oprah platform very likely caused harm to many innocent people. It is interesting to link these ‘experts’ to their products, which also happen to be some of “Oprah’s Favorite Things”. Who cares about truth and that pesky science when you can make tons of money?

Recently, I read a 2021 version of the ‘O’ magazine at the library. Full of articles that were really just ads for stuff. And pretty expensive stuff. And stuff we certainly don’t need. Much fewer articles by good writers than years ago. On the whole, everything was geared to selling something. I know, I know, that’s the way the world works. But for someone and something that espouses the spiritual and let’s-get-human-together stuff, it’s a paper thin veneer laid over the hyper-consumerism.

As we continue to straddle the chasm between science, ‘truth’ and opinions, I encourage everyone (myself included) to scratch the surface, keep an open mind and cultivate critical thinking and a reflective mindset.

Happy Rest of Summer! Keep reading.

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