Oprah Winfrey, who likes to lavish gifts on her studio audience — diamond-encrusted watches, Sony camcorders, Burberry coats, BlackBerrys, cashmere sweaters, iPods, wide-screen LCD televisions, washer-dryers, Pontiac G6s — yesterday gave approximately 300 audience members each $1,000.
“I really do think that it’s the best gift I can give this audience, so thanks to our friends at Bank of America — they thought this was a good idea, too . . . you will each go home with $1,000! . . . One thousand dollars! Okay?” Oprah asked, rhetorically.
Wildly enthusiastic audience response — though, in truth, nowhere near the level of studio hysteria achieved when she gave audience members those Pontiacs. Still, a pretty happy crowd.
Then came the Trick.
The $1,000, she told them, will be doled out in the form of debit cards, and recipients must spend all of their money on a charity of choice. What she was actually giving them, Oprah said with all the patronization of a woman whose financial worth has been put at $1.5 billion, is “the best feeling in the world.”
I actually think that it’s a great initiative. The cynical comments about Oprah’s wealth are uncalled for. She worked hard to get where she is right now. It did not ‘just’ happen: it took and continues to take hard, very hard work. Instead of attacking her, people should focus on doing what Oprah does: trying to be the best they can be.