Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Note to Oprah

"Your readers are all women, and women feel strongly about Oprah. Don't do it."

The wife is in the background yipping about something. I officially apologize to my male readers as I'm sure my wife likes them as well, but I am posting on Oprah today.

Oprah apparently couldn't buy a really expensive scarf or something this week in Paris and is all up in arms about it. Oprah's friend, Gail, said Oprah was humiliated when Hermes would not open the door to let her in after the store had already closed. The article I read was careful not to insinuate that Oprah considered it a racist action, but Harpo, her production company, suggested that Oprah was so infuriated that she will include the incident in a fall show about race relations.

Before I make my remarks, I must say that I think racism in any form is despicable and bigots should be exposed for who they are. I also think that a good definition of racism is calculated hatred and it has no place in a civilized world. But I also think that it is dangerous to label actions of idiocy against blacks as being particularly racist because it implies calculation and hatred, both of which are not necessarily present in every idiotic act. This being said, I wish to ask Oprah to carefully consider the following questions before she publicly labels the intentions of Hermes and its employees as racist.

1. Oprah, why did you expect that they would open the door for you after hours? Was that expectation in any way attached to your status of privilege or celebrity? Would a white women have been let in in the same situation?

2. Did they let in any other patrons after the doors had been closed?

3. Could the actions of the Hermes attendents been directed to you as a celebrity or to you as an American? (I ask this question because it did occur in France to an American celebrity)

4. Given racial history in France, would this action be at odds with that history or in tune with that history?

5. Will Hermes try to paint the picture of a demanding American celebrity demanding more than they were willing to give? (I say this because it makes no sense whatsoever for Hermes to deny her access given her status unless they were prejudiced, stupid, or concerned with the time constraints of their employees. I managed a Fendi shop in Vegas for 4 years. When the door closed, nobody got in. Not even Oprah, or Celine, or Siegfried or Roy.)

If it was racially motivated and none of these alternate scenarios could have been plausible, then I say let them have it. Fire with both barrels.


Anonymous Terri said...

I completely agree! I actually blogged about this last week and brought up many of the same points. Here it is, if you would be interested: And just to let your wife know, I am female, but we'll just say that I do not worship Oprah by any means! ;)

8:56 PM  
Blogger Le laquet said...

You are so right!!

Racism "my aspidistra" - more like someone stamping their feet like a toddler because she didn't get her own way!!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Lucy Stern said...

I hope they are able to work it all out. It's too bad the media had to make such a big deal out of this.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Grandpa Jones said...

Who is Oprah, I always thought Oprah was the sound that a Tuba made......There is one person that I would open the door for, and that is the person who could find no room in the inn.......K you couldn't take the heat could you. I thought you were brave to talk about the draft, with such a female laden readership, but today you are talking about items that will appeal to them........good luck.....

4:42 AM  
Blogger PractiGal said...

Bizarre that she'd make a stink. Why not just go when the store is open?

Funny, I went to a locally owned store to buy a tv once. I arrived just after closing. They let me in, and I bought a tv. I never thought that maybe it was because I'm white. I'm sure as hell not famous! I just thought it made good business sense -- they were in the business of selling tvs, and I was there to buy, not just look.

I haven't heard about this Oprah story -- apparently I live under a rock. How late after closing was she there?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i think it's funny that they didn't let her in, why should they, they were closed. she's the one with the problem, she either can't read or she needs new glasses.

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another vote with you against "O" and her tantrum. The rest of us do our shopping during store hours, why can't she?
by another female reader

8:02 PM  
Blogger Indigo said...

I love Janie's answer, LOL. I don't make shops let me in after hours.

8:15 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

i am glad you posted what you did.

9:09 PM  

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