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Precious Review, Part 2: Oprah’s Fixation

Picking up where I left off in yesterday’s Part 1 of my Precious review, I’m now going to cover the history of the biggest promoter of the Precious movie, Oprah Winfrey. I’ve already covered how incest, abuse and dysfunction are recurring themes in the works of writer/director Tyler Perry, director Lee Daniels and author Sapphire. But Oprah is the bar-none queen of focusing on these pity-party-as-empowerment themes.

Oprah got her start in The Color Purple as an actress. It was a movie filled with black women who were victims of incest, physical abuse, verbal abuse. She regularly profiles sob story victims of abuse and dysfunction. She rarely finds a sob story she can resist, which is why she was so easily taken in by James Frey’s fraudulent junkie memoir A Million Little Pieces. Con man Yellow Kid Weil in his memoir discussed how a con man’s biggest tool is his mark’s greed:

important I learned about people, their strong points and
their weaknesses — especially their weaknesses. All the people
I swindled had one thing in common — greed, the desire to acquire
money. But that was not always enough. In numerous cases there
was some other factor, some small desire that helped me to clinch a

I am not talking about small swindles, where an honest person loses his money. I have never been a party to such schemes. I have never taken a dime from honest, hard-working people who could not afford to lose. But the victims of confidence games are usually people who are wealthy and can afford to pay the con man’s price for the lesson.  I ought to know. I’ve had dealings with some of the wealthiest men in the country. They had plenty of money, but they fell for my schemes because they were greedy for more.

Weil said greed was responsible for creating the type of gullibility that made for an ideal con game target.  And it was Oprah’s greed that made Oprah the perfect target for James Frey con: she’s a glutton for dysfunction.  Her greedy appetite for it is endless.  She binges and purges continuously on confessions of degradation, paeans to personal pain and orgies of persecution and self-pity.  She can’t get enough.

Doubt me? Look at the books and movies she tends to produce or promote on her show.  Brokeback Mountain.   Tyler Perry movies.  Beloved, about ex-slaves living in degradation.  Is it any surprise Oprah was the venue MacKenzie Philips chose to reveal her own incest drama?  Go through Oprah’s Book Club selections and check out how many of her selections have to do with incest, sex abuse, rape and family dysfunction and you’ll discover a lineup that makes Lifetime Channel’s programming look like The Disney Channel:

  • The Bluest Eye (black girl raped and impregnated by her father then beat by her mother, then later raped a second time by her father who commits suicide while the black teen becomes delusional and insane),
  • Black and Blue (wife is abused by husband, who later tries to track her down and kill her for leaving), 
  • Breathe Eyes Memory (black woman Sophia’s dysfunctional relationship with her mother, who was a victim of a rape, which produced Sophia.  The mother has nightmares of the rape, gets pregnant later in the book which causes nightmares of rape to worsen, starts imagining the baby is talking to her in the voice of the rapist, and the mother eventually kills herself while pregnant by stabbing herself in the belly with a rusty knife 17 times). 
  • I Know This Much to be True (which covers deformity, insanity, AIDS, diabetes, SIDS, rape, homosexual rape, lesbianism, incest, wife battering, child abuse, police brutality, war, murder, suicide, divorce)
  • She Comes Undone (A girl named Dolores’ parents divorce after the death of her infant brother dies at birth, and her mother has a mental breakdown.  She gets raped at 13 years old by a married, trusted older neighbor and becomes impregnated as a result of the rape, but later miscarries.  Depression causes her to overeat and become obese as she gets older, and her mother ends up getting murdered on the job after a big fight with Dolores.  She gets attacked and groped in college by some mean girls and frat boys, which causes her to run into the arms of a lesbian for protection.  Lesbian seduces her after both women engage in a night binge eating and binge drinking.  Later attempts suicide, ends up in a mental hospital, is forced to have an abortion, has a dysfunctional abusive marriage to the man who forces her to have the abortion, then is financially bled dry and cheated on by her husband).
  • Middlesex (hermaphrodite is born to an incestuous marriage of brother and sister and has a whole ton of issues, too many to get into here)

I know it’s tempting to believe I’m just cherrypicking selective books and themes to make her look bad, but I challenge you to go to this page and research the plot of every book on that list not written by Bill Cosby and deny that these are by far the dominant themes of the stories that interest her.

Something else of interest. Tyler Perry also suffered through molestation and abuse. Guess who encouraged him to come out about it?

Filmmaker Tyler Perry has revealed that Oprah Winfrey inspired her to speak up about his horrific childhood days when he was abused by members of his family.

Earlier this month, the helmer had written an email to fans disclosing the violence he suffered at the hands of his father and paternal grandmothers during his childhood.

He had also revealed that a man in his neighbourhood had molested him.

Now, the ‘Madea Goes To Jail’ filmmaker has said that a 1991 special episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show, in which she spoke about the verbal and physically abuse she was subjected to by her family members, made him realise how cathartic letting his secrets out could be.

“After I found a dictionary and looked up ‘cathartic,’ I realised what she (Winfrey) was saying, so I started writing,” the Daily Star quoted him as telling

Perry added that his new movie ‘Precious,’ co-produced with Winfrey, would raise the issue of child abuse.

He said: “The story of abuse in our community and in many communities is still a taboo subject.”

Oprah herself has gone on the record about her own abuse history repeatedly. She has discussed being raped at 9 years old by a 19 year old cousin, the first of three relatives she claims to have molested her. She said this abuse led to her becoming promiscuous and becoming pregnant at 14 years old, a baby she lost.

And this is where Oprah’s enthusiasm for the movie Precious comes in, and it goes a long way to explain her overal cultural agenda. Oprah wants to normalize dysfunction. She wants to make her personal obsession into everyone else’s personal obsession. She wants to make it seem like a more omnipresent and pervasive problem than it actually is, because if she can make every tragedy that occurred to her become perceived as normal, her childhood becomes normal by default. If you view every cause, movie, book or show she champions through this lens it becomes pitifully transparent. And the whole world is falling for it. And when you look at the abuse resumes of everyone involved in the creation of Precious and compare it to the things that occur in the story, you can see how they’re trying to normalize every piece of abuse in their collective pasts almost like going through a checklist.

Not only is this culture of dyfunction becoming seen as normal, it’s actually starting to become the cool and trendy to make abuse revelations. It has become the publicity stunt attention whore tactic of choice today. Stars are falling all over themselves to one-up each other in lurid, depraved abuse confessions. In fact, just in time for the release of Precious in fact, guess what? One of the stars of the movie, Mariah Carey, is suddenly confessing abuse!

Mariah Carey has been abused.

The ‘Obsessed’ singer – who married actor-and-rapper Nick Cannon in 2008 – has spoken out about how she has been affected by the struggle she faced in previous relationships and hinted her ex-husband Tommy Mottola was responsible for her ordeal.

She said: “Abuse has several categories. Emotionally, mentally, in other ways. I just think you get into a situation and you feel locked in. If your situation is similar to one of the situations I’ve been in, which I won’t harp on. For me, to really get out, it was difficult because there was a connection that was not only a marriage but a business thing where the person was in control of my life.”

Mariah wed music executive Tommy in 1993 after he signed her to the music label CBS Records. They separated just three years later and divorced in 1998.

The 40-year-old beauty also spoke out in support of ‘Rehab’ singer Rihanna, who was assaulted by her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown earlier this year following a pre-Grammy’s party.

Mariah admitted she can empathise with the 21-year-old starlet’s experience of domestic abuse.

It won’t be long until a functional family and marriage becomes something to keep secret and be ashamed of.

Next in part 3: Culture of Narcissism and Scar Worship

11 Responses to “Precious Review, Part 2: Oprah’s Fixation”

  1. This reminds me of your guest post on internal vs. external loci of control. I believe we live in a culture that encourages us to abdicate responsibility for our lives, and so it’s little wonder that an individual like Oprah whose stock and trade is legitimizing this attitude for the countless women who follow her is massively successful. From my experience it seems women are particularly subject to embracing the victimization lie, likely due to their natural inclination to seek a provider and therefore to want others to take responsibility for their problems. It seems the “I’m a victim it isn’t my fault” meme and the “I need a prince charming to pay off my AmEx bill” meme spring from the same source. Culture perpetuates this not good enough but not my fault worldview because from there it’s a short step to “buy our shit and all your problems will fade away.” Oprah’s viewers in particular would seem to consist of the welfare moms and those not gainfully employed, as is so much daytime television. Nothing on daytime TV would interest a successful, educated self-determined individual, it’s pure depravity porn through and through.
    .-= alphadominance´s last blog ..Phenotypic frontin’ – What’s wrong with cosmetic therapies? =-.

  2. T,

    Good job on the Yellow Kid Weil reference. I love that book.

    A wise man once said, “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man”

    - MPM
    .-= The G Manifesto´s last blog ..Always Drink Fresh Blood =-.

  3. You hurt Oprah’s feelings and now she’s quitting her show.

  4. That’s cool, just go ahead and continue to live in denial about how much this stuff actually happens. I’m not saying it’s “normal” but it’s quite common. You may think Oprah is causing everyone to confess their abuse, but if everyone who had ever been abused or raped actually stood up and said so, you would be SHOCKED at how many there are. The only reason you get the impression that this stuff is extraordinary and just overhyped by Oprah is because SO MANY survivors of abuse continue to live in shame and silence. THAT’S why people like Oprah and Tyler Perry encourage dialogue about it – to help create a culture of understanding that will allow more people to speak up, get help and report to the police. But this message was obviously lost on you. Good job.

  5. This abuse mentality reached a new cultural low in my mind when I came to learn that one of the guys that has been crushing for my girlfriend tried to gain her sympathy by admitting to her that he was sexually abused. I’ve met the guy and he’s what I’d call uber liberal squared and the most pro-feminist male on the eastern seaboard. What is fascinating about this kid is that he’s in a position to pull tons of chicks but due to a crippling lack of masculinity (even my gf unprompted mentioned that he’s very effeminate) he gets almost nowhere. Lack of game goes without saying. What surprised me was that my gf told me he wasn’t the first guy to pull such as stunt on her!

    Tyler Perry I find a very strange man. I don’t know why he’s so popular and I’ve never seen a single one of his movies or TV shows. Don’t comprehend how he gets financing for such dull projects that appear to make no money. However, the abuse angle now makes sense given his penchant for cross-dressing in his Madea series.

  6. It just seems to me that you are running out of things to write about.

  7. Your points are taken, however, you seem to be as obsessed with these people telling their own stories–and exposing the realities of childhood sexual abuse–as they are in telling them. Why do you think that is? Do you have an issue with discussing the subject at all? Sexual abuse is a continuing travesty committed against children everywhere, black or white, or any “color.” I applaud anything that allows the light of day to shine on it so it can be addressed. Most of these victims spend their lifetimes hiding it, in pain and misplaced shame. Is that what you prefer?

  8. Linda’s right.

    While ideally we’d want to accelerate the healing process, people are different. Some don’t have the same inner strength as others. Some ppl can’t heal themselves as readily as others. At the end of the day you still can’t deny that they are in fact, victims of aggression. It does not define what they are but rather what was done to them. It’s unfair. It’s horrible. It takes time to heal. Some people need more time than others, that’s all.

    I rather have this kind of “cultural dyfunction”, than those kind that pervades the Arab Saudi and her neighbours. Rape victims being blamed and getting jailed for being victims of circumstances and the agressor goes free. Wtf? The Middle East must be a Utopia for loser men who can’t get a woman by relying solely on their own God-given charm.

  9. One man’s sob story is another man’s problem, and one man’s problem is everyone’s problem.