Pop Culture

Oprah, and the Pathology of Reveling in Other People’s Misfortune

I saw a clip today of Oprah talking about her fledgling OWN network and a recent bout of layoffs and show cancellations, including the big-budget Rosie O’Donnell Show.

As an aside, she looked lovely in the blue, and her makeup was fierce.

As you listen, there’s one point where she talks about how she stays away from the newspapers (because they’re so negative) but one in particular really hurt her. It was from USA Today, and read, “Oprah Isn’t Quite Holding Her OWN.” I’ll admit I haven’t tuned in for one solitary OWN Network show, but that doesn’t mean I want it to fail. My mother was a slavish Oprah watcher, and that was enough to keep me away from that show, too.

As the media and her critics join in on the pile on, delighting as hungry sharks in bloody water, I can’t help but notice how people delight in other people’s misfortunes and are gleeful when the mighty falter. And Oprah is mighty. And she is kind and generous. And she hasn’t hurt a fly. But still, you have people delighting in the possibility of the world’s most famous and richest black woman failing at something. Not that this is a color thing–it’s a pathology that goes beyond race, and beyond reason.

I’m hardly an “Oprah,” and I can only hope to one day have 1/100th of her success, but as you read this, there are people waiting for “Swirling” to come out, hoping–even praying, stuffing their voodoo dolls with pins–that it fails, and FAILS with a capital F, for no other reason but because they don’t want me to be successful.


Inferiority and Envy

“When you have an inferiority wound you will tend to remember it whenever you see someone doing things that you think you can’t do. Your wound could be a generalized one like thinking that you are no good in doing anything or a specific one like thinking that you can’t achieve financial success. The more generalized your wound is there more will be the feelings of envy in your life,” says M.Farouk Radwan, MSc., who runs the site, 2KnowMyself.

In the day of social networking, the haterade can spread like a virus. And if someone as poised, successful, and savvy as Oprah can be disheartened by crappy people imposing their inferiority complexes on her, I know I am infinitely more vulnerable. I once had some crazy person email me a 15-minute You Tube rant enumerating how many millions of ways she couldn’t stand me and how the recent blog controversies have made her absolutely orgasmic.

Sheesh! What is it with some folks?

Not to toot my horn, but…I’ve never been like that. Of course I’ve envied people, but instead of simmering with greenness, I would ask them, “Hey! What are you doing that’s gotten you so successful?! Dish!” And then you know what I did? I listened, and then applied and/or adapted it to my own endeavors. I also believe in celebrating the success of others, and promoting and supporting them, not just because they’re doing something awesome, but for the karmic value of it all.

Not to be all “church-y,” but in my life I have found this scripture to ring more true than any other:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.– Galatians 6:7

Follow Christelyn on Instagram and Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel. And if you want to be a little more about this online dating thing, InterracialDatingCentral is the official dating site for this blog.