Before I turned 14 and discovered pot and eyeliner, I was that kid who would die for good grades and commend my soul to anyone who gave extra credit for it.
Today this anal desire for perfection would get me a therapist, but in Catholic school it sometimes got me held up as an example of what you really wanted in a holy little egghead.
Being a good example was more embarrassing than anything. If you’re smart enough to get good grades, you’re smart enough to know that the good example is not admired so much as tolerated by everyone ... well, everyone worth spending an evening with. People don’t want to be reminded about how wonderful they aren’t, and the good example is symbolic of that. Good examples never inspire me to be good. They inspire me to think I’ll never get there and should just forget it and eat some Pringles.
Some good examples aren’t altogether offensive. The Dalai Lama, for example.
It’s his job to be a good example and he does it the way a bartender pours you a drink. If he nattered on like a televangelist, I’m sure I’d find something wrong with the way he wears his nightie, but he delivers his spiritual nugget and is on his way. Besides, he’s as cute as a little Teletubby.
Oprah Winfrey, on the other hand, is like Droopy the Dog. She’s everywhere you turn with her good example and advice on life. Books, book club, talk show, Oxygen network, Oxygen Web site, production company, film career, and now her new magazine, O, a title Larry Flynt probably wishes he thought of. Oprah was featured on the covers of the first two issues, and her thoughts on everything from “living the moment” (which you’re presumably to do by reading magazines) to straw hats (“I adore hats. The only problem is that I usually can’t find any big enough to fit my head.”) are sprinkled through the pages as lavishly as the cuss words in a Dennis Miller monologue.
Oprah’s media is largely dedicated to New-Agey concepts such as serenity, meditation, an attitude of gratitude, visualization and French manicures, all fine and good things. Frankly, though, you’d think Oprah, more than anyone, would know a little something about moderation. Getting serenity thrown at you every time you turn around can really piss you off after a while. Besides, Oprah can afford serenity. Oprah can afford Denmark. Let’s see her be serene driving a car with a bad muffler and digging change out of the couch for Gorditas. Let’s see her live that moment.
The advice gets a little thick. For example, issue No. 2 contains three articles advising women how to find time and space and joy for themselves.
How are women ever going to be taken seriously when it takes them 30 minutes to read about how to get 10 minutes alone in the bathtub? Here’s how to get some time alone in the tub: “Fuck off. I’m taking a bath.” Two lines. No waiting.
For a good time, read
In light of this, I’m starting my own magazine, titled Yeah, Right, for people who are sick of lounging around in their own quiet connective inner personal being consciousness self space and just want to have a good time. The table of contents is all you really need to read:
- Live the moment! Unless it sucks! Then daydream that you’re a Hollywood hooker.
- Meditation: How to stare at the ceiling.
- Men: Ever think you’d be better off with a lot of money and a dildo?
- The pitfalls of visualization: When you were a kid you used to visualize that you were a movie star and your brother would get eaten by bears. Did those things happen? Case closed.
- Fashion! You can’t afford it! It will look bad on you! Great pictures.
- Conquering apathy: Like it matters.
- Classy broads: Make your alcoholism more sophisticated by switching to wine.
- Footwear fetish: If you can’t run away from your problems, you’re just not wearing the right shoes.
- Separate vacations! Your chance to whore around in Jamaica.
- Are you a people pleaser? We have some yardwork for you.
- Cool summer treat: Homemade fruit smoothies! And the liquors to make them worth drinking.
- Getting in touch with your feelings: It will only make you cry.
Yeah, Right will not be available anywhere because it doesn’t really care if you grow as a person unless you grow something interesting, like a goiter or an erection. If you grow as something other than a person, if you grow as a squid or a clam, send us a picture. If you grow as a poodle, stay off our lawn. We mean it. Sincerely.Liz Langley writes for the Orlando Weekly. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org