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Ed Driscoll

Oprah Vu: A Fable Too Far

August 14th, 2013 - 11:15 am

Regarding Oprah’s claims of discrimination while shopping in Switzerland, Mediaite asks, “Is Oprah Pushing Racism Story to Promote New Movie?” Glenn responds, “Yes, almost certainly. Next question?”

My favorite bit is this, though: “We have to come to grips in this country that we have unconscious bias.” In this country. Oprah’s story was about Switzerland. Maybe the unconscious bias is in assuming that everyone’s as racist as Democratic media folks.

Plus, from the comments: “A story about personal experience with racism probably shouldn’t be set in a Swiss boutique for rich tourists. For future reference.”

And pushback from the store: “Maybe she was somewhat offended because she was not immediately recognized.” Hey, it’s not like she’s still on TV or anything.

Incidentally, Oprah’s latest incident sounds very similar to a story from 2005 involving previous Continental shopping woes inflicted upon the multimillionaire superstar. Time magazine, midway through a laundry list article titled, “Top 10 Oprah Controversies,” dubbed it “Oprah’s Crash Moment:”

Call it the shutout heard round the world. On June 22, 2005, Oprah was denied entrance to the Hermès luxury store in Paris, sparking a flurry of speculation as to why the billionaire talk-show host was rebuffed. The New York Post published an account of the incident that said Hermès staff failed to recognize the celeb sans makeup and asked her to leave — in part because the store had been “having a problem with North Africans lately.”

Other news sources reported that Hermès kept Oprah out because she arrived just after the store had closed. A spokesperson at Harpo Productions referred to the incident as “Oprah’s Crash moment,” drawing a comparison to the racially charged film. After fans began boycotting the store, Oprah decided to confront the situation by addressing her television audience. She dismissed tabloid accounts of the story, saying that while the store was close to closing, there was apparently still customer activity inside. Calling the experience “humiliating,” Oprah accused one “rude” employee of forcing her to wait outside the store for permission to enter and called the experience a familiar one for any person “who has ever been snubbed because you were not chic enough or thin enough or the right class or the right color.” Hermès president Robert Chavez appeared on the show to publicly apologize to Oprah for the actions of “one very, very rigid staff member,” effectively ending the dispute.

After this year’s incident and her previous retail challenges in 2005, we must ponder why someone so wealthy and successful keeps having such trouble from high-end European merchants? And why has Oprah’s staff been so consistently incompetent over the years that they can’t coordinate store hours during the precious time their boss has free during her overseas excursions, and pre-screen the best clerks to work with her, etc?

While we in America must come to grips with the notion that the exclusive stores of France and Switzerland have unconscious biases, perhaps regarding her latest incident, there might be another reason. As John Hinderaker of Power Line asks in a post titled “The Long, Hot Summer of 2013?”, rounding up several non-race race incidents, such as the George Zimmerman murder trial, and incidents involving current and former NFL players Riley Cooper and Hugh Douglas, a banana-throwing disgruntled baseball fan, the not-exactly infamous blue-on-blue Missouri rodeo clown, and now Oprah, Hinderaker responds:

What should we make of the fact that stories like these–some absurd, some not really about race at all–are being given so much attention in the press? I think the conventional wisdom, that self-apppointed civil rights leaders will seize on any purported manifestation of racism in order to stay relevant, no matter how minor or even non-existent such purported manifestations may be, is correct.

But I would go beyond that: I suspect that there is another reason why the press is so fixated on race these days. The left’s agenda is in tatters. Obamacare has crashed on takeoff, after five years of Democratic policies the economy is in the doldrums and we are nearly $17 trillion in debt, and the Obama administration’s foreign policy is is disarray. The Democratic Party, as represented by the press, desperately needs sideshows to 1) rally the party’s faithful, and 2) distract the rest of us from the failures of the liberal agenda. Thus, I don’t think it is a coincidence that liberals are doing their best to portray the summer of 2013 as more or less a replay of 1967. The silliness of the attempt is a measure of how out of ammo liberals are these days.

The years between elections are supposed to be a time for battlefield preparation. Between the feckless GOP Congress, the Democrats’ “unexpectedly” fierce War on Women involving Bob Filner, Anthony Weiner, and Eliot Spitzer, and now these ginned-up racial incidents that keep getting debunked, both sides seem determined inflict the most damage on themselves, long before Tuesday, November 4th of 2014 (or sometime in September, if you’re living in Detroit) appears on the calendars.

Update: Rush Limbaugh adds that Oprah’s latest incident is “a teachable moment on several levels,” though perhaps not the way its author originally intended, “since it’s beginning to look more and more like The Oprah may have decided to relate a composite experience:”

Now, you know what I mean by that?  In one of Obama’s autobiographies he took a bunch of women that he had known and combined ‘em into one woman.  And when that was exposed by David Maraniss, the autobiographer, we were told, that’s no big deal, that is a clever tool used by really brilliant authors.  It’s called the composite character.  Rather than take up so many pages and so many words describing each and every woman, the president brilliantly combined them into one woman.  And that’s a composite experience.

So it’s beginning to look here like The Oprah may have decided to relate a composite experience. Something happened in one outing and another time she went to a store something else happened, and another time she went to a store, this happened, and she took all of these various instances and she combined them into this one visit to the bag store.  Yeah, like Obama’s girlfriend, exactly.  Composite.  Obama’s girlfriend, his first autobiography.  And the reason I say this is because The Oprah seems to be backing away from the claim that it was all due to racism.

Now, the article points out here that in her latest interview The Oprah seems to suggest that it might all have been due to the way she was dressed, which is entirely possible.  It could also be because Oprah is a plus size, and the assumption is made that plus size people, because they live in food deserts, are not rich.  I don’t know why that’s controversial.  You know as well as I do that one of the signs of wealth in women is that you can barely see them.  They’re so skinny.  Tom Wolfe had a name for them:  social x-rays.  You could see their rib cages through their skirts, dresses, whatever that they wore.  They were so thin that if you ever embraced one, their ribs could bruise you.  Social x-ray.

Now, sometimes you’ll find a very solid gut, big guy as a wealthy guy.  But you don’t find wealthy women wearing plus sizes.  Not by rule.  There are exceptions, of course.  I don’t want to mention any names.  I think this might have been it, but it’s looking less and less like it was racism, is the point.  Now the TMZ story.  It’s low-information voter alert here.  TMZ, which is the website, the network of low-information entertainment voters, picked up this story, and they’re basically calling Oprah a bully.

After the Swiss clerk pushed back against Oprah’s bullying and asked, “I don’t know why she is making these accusations. She is so powerful and I am just a shop girl,” the Professor responded, “Race-talk these days is mostly a way for the powerful to keep the ‘shop girls’ in their place.”

Sadly, that’s what the political religion that once called itself “liberalism” seems to have degenerated into by the 21st century.

Related: From John Nolte at Big Journalism, “Media Target the Powerless; Protect Powerful Liars, Bigots & Race Hoaxers.”

(Thumbnail on PJM homepage based on a modified photo originally by s_bukley / Shutterstock.com.)

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Top Rated Comments   
You can be a complete idiot and still be a billionaire in America. You can also be president even if you are incompetent. What a country! Obama and Oprah complaining about racism is the joke of the century.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Note to rodeo clowns everywhere: please don't put on an Oprah mask. Bullies like to dish it out but can't take it.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oprah's an ignoramus, and she's only qualified to pick books for ignoramuses. Anybody who swallows conspiracy theories about beef and uses the term "vejayjay" -- that's Oprah's audience.

It's convenient that all her racist, purse-lynching incidents occur on the Continent, where it's hard for U.S. reporters to fact-check the ignoramus.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (22)
All Comments   (22)
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The Oprah is just another race hustler in a plus size form trying to keep herself relevant by screaming racism at some lowly shop girl who get paid to assess her customers and try to match their needs with her products. News flash for "The Oprah" not everyone in the world recognizes an overweight black woman as a trendy and famous billionaire; get over yourself.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Along with color comes thin skin.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was wondering how Oprah was dressed, because her faux outrage triggered my memory of how I was treated by the sales staff of upscale tailor shop Paul Stuart (circa 1979) solely because i was not dressed 'appropriately'.

And how I was denied any service at a Mephisto shoe store in Nice, France, solely because I did not speak French! No other customers in the store that afternoon.

I do believe this Oprah moment was too coincidentally timed with the release of "The Butler", may it fade from movie theatres as fast as possible.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
oprah is falling apart quite like humpty dumpty. she's complaining. white audiences made her rich. white tv executives and hollywood moguls made her rich. poor o. she has lost the plot. an embarrassment to america.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Race Hustlers do not want to see Racism end (regardless that White racism has reached theoretical zero in the United States). If Race Hustlers acknowledged that White Racism is over (and that Black on White racism is at a zenith), there would be no more votes, no more power and no more money.

That is why Vice President Biden told a crowd of Black people, "They want to put y'all in shackles!" Saying that may have been just political hyperbole, but the result was to keep Black people angry, to keep Blacks voting Democrat. Sadly, it also condemned another generation of young, impressionable Black kids in poverty because why should Black kids work to make a better life in this country when this country wants them in chains?

Good job Biden. Good job Obama. Sell out your race just to keep your voters enslaved on the Liberal plantation.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've never watched Oprah and wouldn't know a thing about her except for the attention that comes to her through the media fixation on everything she does. I think that she's probably just another symptom of all that's wrong in the culture.

Putting that aside, I'm surprised at what you have to say and what others have said about the film The Reader. I saw it on TV and liked it so much I bought the DVD. The points made about the film seeming to be an apology for the Nazi atrocities escaped me, probably because in my mind the insane evil of Germany during that time is simply a given, an undisputable fact. I found Kate Winslet's performance remarkable and I thought the depiction of the deep and very real tragedy of illiteracy was given long-overdue attention. Functional illiteracy is a growing problem that the elites who run our educational system are hiding because it points to progressive failure on this most basic of true "rights", the right to be educated. I wish more films would tackle the subject.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can hardly wait to see that fat ugly troll forcefully signed into Obamacare.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
She is, and always has been, a big fat phony. No need to analyze any further.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Oprah has been playing up the professional victim role, apparently taking her role in The Butler to heart. Recently, she equated the Trayvon incident with the slaughtering of Emmett Til in Mississippi, 1955.

Thank goodness the Trois Pommes shop owner is vehemently defending her Italian saleswoman, a woman who'd recently come to Zurich from another shop owned by the same store in St. Moritz.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I don't know the customs of Paris shot owners, but I remember being very surprised in Japan not being allowed to enter a restaurant and order even though I was there ten minutes before closing, until I learned that in Japan "closing time" means all the customers are served and finished and the shop locks its doors. I can very easily imagine the Hermes "incident" to be a similar misunderstanding. After all, there is a world of difference between completing transactions with customers already in the shop at five-til and buzzing in a completely new person to start their browsing.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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