Tuesday, August 13, 2013

So I guess the Swiss aren't neutral anymore

In case you missed it over the last few weeks, the richest most powerful black entertainer on the planet -- Oprah Winfrey, in the midst of promoting a new movie and with race-baiting over the Zimmerman verdict at a fever pitch, claimed that she too encounters racism on a daily basis.

As if there's anyone in the civilized world that doesn't know who Winfrey is or what she looks like since she self-promotes endlessly, Winfrey claimed that a clerk in a posh Swiss store told her she wouldn't show Winfrey a $38,000 handbag because "...you can't afford it."

After this went viral (Winfrey quietly passed this along ET), adding to the inflamed race tensions being fueled by other celebs from Jay Z to Samuel L. Jackson, and the usual race-baiters like the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton, well I guess the clerk decided she'd had enough.

The UK Daily Mail claims the clerk, anonymously, relayed her version of the story and basically called Winfrey a liar -- wondering aloud why such a powerful person would seek to destroy someone so insignificant in such a way.

Kind of hard to say what really happened, but my guess is that the clerk simply didn't feel like fetching a ladder to pull down a freakishly expensive purse unless the customer really seemed interested in buying it (Winfrey was reportedly only in the store for 5 minutes). And Winfrey decided to use this innocuous incident (curiously never mentioning the name of the shop in her story...you'd think she would have) to add fuel to the fire of racial divisiveness being promoted by those who seek to benefit from it.

Called out on her inflammatory story, Winfrey has already backtracked, issuing a tissue thin apology along the lines of "I'm sorry this got blown up."

This isn't the first time that Winfrey's had to back off to public scrutiny. Some years back her book of the month club promoted a supposed true story A Million Little Pieces by James Frey. Book went number one, I think it was based on some street person -- their horrible life, etc. Problem was, it was a complete fabrication. When news got out, Oprah's response was to do a Hillary -- "So what?" But her fans cared. And when the backlash got too great, Winfrey brought Frey onto her show and publicly dressed him down to save face. If that had been me, I would have thrown that crap right back at her, but he meekly took it.

This has been Winfrey's shtick from the beginning. Her weight loss/weight gain episodes timed conveniently to when her ratings were slipping. When women began publicly talking about abuse by their parents . . . yep, Oprah's on tv doing the btw, my father molested me thing, again at a time when her ratings were down. Remember her promise not to get involved in politics? Yeah, that ended in the 2012 election.

She's a savvy media manipulator. There's no denying that. But you'd think she'd use her incredible influence to something better than exacerbating a dangerous situation and demonizing a simple shop clerk.

But then that's my gripe about most of these high profile celebs and entertainers anymore.

Besides making a weak ass non-apology apology, it looks like Oprah is also changing her story to double down on the racism. Originally claiming she was in full Oprah Winfrey gear -- designer skirt, sandals, etc., now she's going on about how she was all dressed down, looking poor and such. Oh brother. Plus the usual suspects are now lining up to back Oprah against the helpless shop clerk. The gay men who run most of the fawning celeb blogs are all z-snapping and you-go-girl to Oprah as they state how obvious this heinous act of racism was, now also lashing out at the shop's owner who said Winfrey was acting overly sensitive about the whole thing.

Let's see -- preening, relentless self-promoting celebrity goes looking for instance of racism and manages to find it in an innocent question from a clerk at a store. Celeb uses non-event to promote financial venture and maintain street cred in current outrage du jour. Sounds about right.

Oprah continues to go all in (can't say double down, already used that) on her own racist worldview. Speaking on Anderson Cooper's show (still promoting her movie), Winfrey basically says that if you are white, then you are racist: "...a lot of people think if they think they’re not using the n-word themselves, they physically aren’t using the n-word themselves, and do not harbor ill will towards black people that it’s not racist."

Ok, I don't know about you, but if someone isn't verbally using derogatory epithets toward another person of different race, and isn't harboring any sort of ill-will towards them . . . that's pretty much saying they aren't a racist. But to Winfrey, if you're not black, then you're a racist. Which sort of explains the whole purse incident, doesn't it?

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