Oprah Vu: A Fable Too Far
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.)