Over the Labor Day holiday Monday morning I found myself flipping the channels on TV and among the usual low quality programming on during the day I found the Oprah Winfrey show. I haven’t watched it in a long time so I tuned in thankful that it was better than most things on at that hour. I immediatley found myself engrossed in the topic at hand. “How long should you keep things?” Especially inoccuous belongings that you don’t think can be dangerous or harmful but really, secretly, are. The woman who had volunteered her home and personal life for this example was being slightly made fun of because she kept sheets, towels and pillows for 30 years. Yes after the lighthearted make fun situation and the grimy advice that dust mites were fund at ultra high levels in her bedding they did give her a new set of linnens for free. (albeit ugly bright pink ones)
What this was though was not investigative journalism or an expose on real harm in your home, it was an infomercial for buying new stuff. After this show I did look into dust mites too because I have allergies and issues with my sinuses. I thought that this might be what was causing all the problems and could aleviate all the prescriptions I have to take daily. I am sure a lot of people did the same thing. I stared looking on the internet and reseaching what materials and mattress encasings were available to buy. What this would have totaled up with mattress, box spring, sheets, pillows, comforters and duvet covers was almost $700.00 of new bedding. At that point I stopped. I said, hey I am going to wait a bit and research this some more tomorrow. I have since read about dust mites being the new marketing buzz word for selling home products and it is fuzzy on whether they actually work or not. So you could have spent that $700.00 on all new stuff and had it not even work. So now I am probably not going to buy this allergen proof mattress and box spring covers and all new sheets and pillows and comforters made out of this allergen proof, dust mite proof, non-permiable material.
What I saw last night was the same thing. At 11 pm they run the daytime episodes again for late night people to watch on our local ABC affiliate. This time I saw Makeovers for women who had lost some jazz in their look over the years. And again I thought, boy this is an informercial for Bobby Brown cosmetics and all the new clothes for the season. Not to mention hair coloring. All more money all the time.
I think people are in the dark about all this. They trust Oprah to give them good advice and guidance (of sorts) because she has been on TV for a long time, she is funny and timley and she has shared a lot of her personal life and secrets with us over the years. People don’t realize that the show has morphed from a “talk show” about issues, relationships and people and into a giant informercial selling bonanza. People think it’s higher class than the Maury Povich show because they don’t get people to fight and serve it up as news (moxy fruvous quote) but they are just doing a similar sneaky tactic to attract people with more money. Basically all you want to do after seeing one of her shows now, is re-decorate your home, re-do your closet, buy all new clothes, make over your makeup and hair and spend money. Even the free stuff she gives away is in the name of sales. If people see it on TV and envy it, they will go buy it. I am sure she not only makes money from actual commercial ads but from a ton of product placement. I wouldn’t be suprised if the topics of the shows and content wasn’t just generated by the advertisers themselves and repackaged by Oprah into a show about “helping” you. (spend your money) Even to help you “donate” your money to causes by showing all the work that needs to be done in Africa and giving by example. Is the only meaningful thing you can do in the eyes of Oprah to spend or give money? Is that all Americans are worth to her? You are never good enough and she just wants you go out and spend what is in your bank account? (and why didn’t she build her school for girls on the South Side of Chicago? I would argue that they are just as deserving of opportunity as the girls in Africa)
I guess this shouldn’t suprise anyone, but I think women should be aware that the Oprah Winfrey show is built around getting you to buy things and spend money. It makes you feel insecure, or feel sympathetic or identify with the people and issues she has on the show. Or to promote stars and their movies and music of which they want you to buy. It’s unfortunate that not only are the commericals about selling these days, apparently the content is based on that idea too. I think Americans are too gullible with entertainment and media. They believe what is on the internet, radio and TV too much too easily, and are too willing to give away money thinking they can solve problems that way. If this country wants to be the world power that it was in the 20th century, we have to spend our time and effort on more significant pursuits than shopping.