I am not a lemming. I am not a lemming.
I repeated this mantra to myself as I burned a few hundred calories on the eliptical machine, watching Oprah this morning.
I don’t watch TV unless I’m at the gym. Ever. Honestly. It doesn’t occur to me to turn it on, perhaps because I have such limited down time and much prefer to read novels or surf the world over to read all of your blogs. So when I discovered this morning that going to the gym during Lyle’s nursery school hours meant that Oprah was on instead of the local morning news shows – with their dreadful closed captioning and non-stop stories about murder – I was secretly thrilled. I mean, pop culture – in my very own world!
I don’t actually mind Oprah as a person – it’s just the Americanized branding of Oprah that bothers me. It’s the way her picture is on her own magazine every month (don’t even get Matt started on that one), the fact that millions of women run out to buy the books she recommends, and everything she looks at for more than 10 seconds turns to gold. Can we not think for ourselves, sisters? It’s also extraordinarily irritating to me to see all the middle-aged women in her audience shrieking with laughter when she says something really unworthy of that much hoopla. So even though I actually do respect what she’s done in a lot of ways and also respect her opinions, I don’t seek out that show. And yet finding it on at the gym was a guilty pleasure, I guess because it seems so normal, a word that doesn’t often apply to my life.
But here’s the scary part: I think I’ve hit The Demographic. I mean, it was clear to me that Oprah is targeted at me now. No, I didn’t shriek with laughter when she said something mildly witty to a guest, but I found that all of the business people she had on her show today were associated with businesses I love, such as Williams-Sonoma and The Container Store (I think my heart rate immediately went up an extra 10 bpm when they started showing those cute boxes). And some guy from 3M invented some pretty awesome highlighters with built-in post-it flags (definitely his 2 minutes of fame!) that Oprah just looooves – and you know what? So would I. (You know me and office supplies, though.)
So now I know: I am not a lemming. I am a middle-aged woman. Oprah is all about me.