The Haughty Snob tunes in for Oprah’s finale

My friend Christa, who I call my best friend I haven’t met yet, likes to call herself a Pop Culturalist. What makes her a Pop Culturalist? Her willingness to dive head first into things she know she will probably not enjoy but that have gained some sort of pop culture status. See: her willingness to read Twilight books even though the first one is so completely awful it’s been known to induce vomiting.

I, on the other hand, am probably the anti-Pop Culturalist. Or, in the words of the common people (and my sisters), a Haughty Snob. While I don’t abandon that which I love when it becomes popular, I am more than likely to eschew those things that are wildly popular. Why? Because I’m a Haughty Snob. Duh. No, the real reason is I believe that more often than not for things to become wildly popular with all kinds of people they have to be watered-down drivel or brainless and obvious (please see the continued popularity of “Two and a Half Men” and Nicholas Sparks books for further evidence).

Now there are things that are wildly popular that I love. I can’t think of anything off the top of my head, but trust me there are. Though sometimes I wonder if I just think they’re wildly popular because these things are popular with the people I surround myself with and I rarely peep my head outside my cloistered world filled with people who have impeccable taste and above average intelligence, just like me.

But you know, I like to try new things. At least today I did. So at 4 p.m. I cuddled into my La-Z-Grrl and turned my eyes to the very last Oprah Winfrey show ever. I know ol’ Op can be something of a lightning rod. People love her or hate her. I’m apathetic. She inspires neither devotion or rage in me. However I was curious. I know to legions of people Oprah is some sort of spiritual leader. The woman has mad influence and I couldn’t resist hearing her parting words before she stepped down from her pulpit.

Part me tuned in because I really was hoping for a spectacle. I didn’t get it. Instead Oprah stood on stage, alone and spewed an hour of her Oprah-speak. People eat that stuff up– that brand of Hallmark Philosophy that’s meant to inspring or empowering, but I find just kind of nebulous nothing. She filled the hour with talk of your energy and how everyone just wants to be heard and gratefulness and thanking America. It was bland. Kind of boring. The exact reason I eschew the wildly popular!

Of course, I can’t diss on her too hard. Endings are hard. However, I think it was a missed opportunity. With the eyes of the world tuned to her, I wish she would have said something concrete, something more than “be the change you want to see in the world” (which is basically what she said).


When it comes to endings, I think Conan did a much better job.

Conan O’Brien Kinetic Typography from Jacob Gilbreath on Vimeo.

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  1. Melissa 26.May.11 at 9:32 am

    I’ve never been a huge Oprah fan either. She’s definitely done some good things, but I don’t ever watch the show. I love, love, love Conan though and his final show (on NBC) was amazing.

  2. NBFB 26.May.11 at 10:56 am

    Oprah doesn’t bother me. It’s when people forget that her show is entertainment that bothers me.

    I’ve run into a few who think Oprah is little less than the Messiah or something. Um, no, she’s just a very smart, business savvy lady who hosts a popular daytime talk show.

  3. Doug 28.May.11 at 1:41 pm

    More things I miss by having a day job: watching Oprah. Thus, I developed no emotional attachment to her show, or to her.

    And that all continued on this past Wednesday, when I didn’t watch the final episode either. Nor did I feel any compulsion to pay it much heed as a pop culture touchstone. Oh, sure, there would have been a time when I was younger when I probably would have tuned in as you did, but (here’s what’s so great about getting older, for me) I know I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. Call it snobbery, if you like, but it’s wonderfully liberating.

    I suspect your efforts with this were mostly to reinforce that for yourself.

    But if Oprah had closed with “Free Bird” I would have sought out the clips online, even though I’m pretty sure the pop culture world would have dismissed it as “it’s been done.”


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