Talk show pioneer. Best selling author. Incredibly successful business woman. Actress. Philanthropist. Billionaire. "Most influential woman in the world." Oprah Winfrey, the King Midas of her day, is ending her 25-year, multi-award-winning talk show this May, signaling the end of a staple in 21st century television.
But amid all the fawning retrospectives and misty tributes, it's important to remember just who Oprah is, the biased viewpoint she represents and the damage she's done to popular culture.
Before Rosanne Barr called Oprah "the African Mother Goddess of us all," a prominent cultural researcher called her the "Queen of Trash" for the sleazy, exploitative nature of her early show. Since then, the more "uplifting" "Oprah Winfrey Show" has been a more insipid influence, steadily eroding the culture with a combination of weepy emotionalism, New Age spirituality and an embrace of alternative sexualities and gender roles.
The April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has the media world abuzz as the couple prepares to walk down the aisle this week. Although the affair is more than 3,000 miles away and focuses on the royalty of a foreign nation, the U.S. media is giving the wedding overwhelming coverage.