The ABCs of Oprah’s clout |

The ABCs of Oprah’s clout

MEREDITH L. COHENspecial to the daily

Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve ever received have come from Oprah.(The rest of what I know has largely been gleaned from the “Age Doesn’t Matter Unless You’re A Cheese” page-a-day box calendar.) First and foremost, watching Oprah for so many years has taught me that my master life plan should include a strategy for embracing my spirit, fulfilling my dreams and living truly so that I am the best me I can be.As such, my central and immediate objective is to become friends with Oprah. The benefits of being a Friend of Oprah (FOO) are endless.Take, for instance, Oprah’s best friend, Gayle King. Rumors have circulated for years that when Oprah made her first million, she gave Gayle half. And so on. And so on. Gayle is also a frequent lifestyle-type contributor to Oprah’s daily TV show, she holds the ambiguous title of Editor-at-Large at Oprah’s wildly successful O Magazine, and when Oprah’s XM Radio channel, “Oprah & Friends,” debuts this fall, Gayle and Oprah will co-host a weekly chat fest. With all of Gayle’s success, it’s tempting to wallow in self-pity or beat myself up for having so many friends with no clout due to their work in the unglamorous and low-paying non-profit sector. But, I am instead determined to hold my head up high, take a page out of her book and find myself a sugar sister who can be the meal ticket to my very own wholly evolved soul. Dr. Phil knows what I’m talking about.After years of countless fad diets, Oprah has taught me that it’s wholly acceptable to blame personal weight gain on the continent of Africa. On a show earlier this year, she explained that her latest setback in the weight arena was through no fault of her own – the treadmill at the hotel at which she was staying in Africa was on the fritz and she was served too many refined sugars. No matter the private chefs and personal trainers who have been on her payroll 24/7 for the past few decades, Oprah has, at long last, made it OK to pack on the pounds if service is to blame. I’ve learned from Oprah that with blacklisting come lots of ass-kissing. David Letterman made a stupid joke about Oprah’s name when he hosted the 1995 Oscars. He felt the icy sting of being ignored by Oprah for years afterwards, despite his frequent public attempts to woo her as a guest. But his persistency was rewarded with his highest ratings in 11 years last December, when she finally ended the deep-freeze and made an appearance on his show to promote the premiere of “The Color Purple” on Broadway (of which she is a producer). While achieving billionaire TV idol status might seem impossible to the laywoman, like supermodels who wear their anorexia with seemingly little effort, years of watching Oprah has taught me that anything is possible with hard work, a bit of luck, product placement and a pithy catch phrase or two. You go, girl.Basalt resident Meredith Cohen writes a Friday column. E-mail questions or comments to

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