Saturday, January 8, 2011
Mirror, mirror on the wall ...
Another writer suggested this is what happens when you grow up getting trophies just for showing up. We’re no longer allowed to have winners and losers – everyone who competes must be a winner. Why? In life, you’re going to come in second, third, tenth, whatever. Someone will get the job – maybe not you. You will fail. You will lose the deal. It’s life. But are we conditioning our kids and in some ways ourselves, to be unable to handle loss? Have we become so hyped on the notion of winning that losing sends us into depression?
Speaking of hype and narcissism, it’s interesting to see the woman described as the most important person in the US entertainment business out shilling for her new network. Oprah Winfrey paid a visit to what’s billed as the “TV tour” this week – when new shows are paraded in front of the TV writers to see who can score the most ink. There was a certain element of breathlessness in the way the ink-stained scribes described her visit.
I love the way that Winfrey has become almost like royalty for the monarchically deprived Americans. The images abound: Winfrey anointing a book. Winfrey scoring a deeply personal interview with Michael Jackson. Winfrey generously setting up a girls school in Africa. Winfrey sharing tidbits of her personal life – diet, lifestyle, etc. Throughout it all, it’s easy to forget that what she is doing is selling the Winfrey brand. The same way Wal-Mart sells falling prices and Loblaws sells Presidents Choice products. It’s all about the sale.
She’s also smart enough to realize that just like any product, she has a “best before date”. Her TV ratings have steadily tapered off. Ratings for her final season are averaging 6.7-million viewers in the U.S., and roughly a half-million in Canada. Those are healthy numbers, and ahead of most daytime shows, but a far cry from a decade ago.
No question but that her self-esteem has taken a hit when she sees those declining numbers. And just like the young people in the survey, she’s moving on to another fix.