Great insights into Oprah Winfrey's impact and influence on the past-quarter century by former Reason chief Virginia Postrel:
Compared to the vicious negativity of Spy [another cultural force with roots in the 1980s], Winfrey's relentless optimism—her affirmation that every person and every situation can be redeemed—is refreshing. But you don't have to be a snarky cynic to recognize its limits. Should we really find Elie Wiesel's bleak "Night" an uplifting read? Treat Auschwitz as a learning experience? Seriously?
Oprah-ism doesn't foster nuance or critical thinking. Yet even at its most philosophically ridiculous, it does manifest a singular, and characteristically American, virtue: It moves forward. The past, it affirms, is over and cannot be changed. What matters now is what happens next.
And so, having proved herself a realist after all, the binge dreamer moves on.
Whole thing here. This is Virginia's first col at the new Bloomberg.com View section, which itself is an interesting entry into news and opinion commentary. And check out Virginia's main blogging site, Deep Glamour ("at the intersection of imagination and desire").