An open letter to Oprah Winfrey.
Last year, it was revealed that author James Frey made up his memoir and passed it off as truth. Since he had been a guest on your show previously and it was primarily your influence that caused his book to rocket up the best seller list, you immediately leapt to his defense. Soon, though, you had a chance to examine all the facts. Instead of clinging to the false hope that the whole ordeal was just a big misunderstanding, you accepted the incontravertible evidence you saw and came to the conclusion that you had been wrong. You decided to set things right by inviting Frey back on your show and beating the ever loving snot out of him. Boy, that was something to see.
Recently, you’ve used your stage to promote the work of self-professed psychics John Edward and Allison DuBois, as well as Dean Radin, who believes that we can physically alter reality simply by wishing hard enough. If James Frey had written a memoir about his life as a hermaphroditic fur trader living in 17th century Quebec, the absurdity of his lies and self-delusion would pale in comparison to that of these charlatans you are parading before a national audience. John Edward alone could out-lie James Frey with a gallon of sodium pentathal coursing through his veins and a magical lie-detecting electro-shock machine hooked up to his genitals.
Whoops, sorry about that — my fantasies briefly influenced my illustrative hypothetical scenario. I’ll assume you get my point: you’ve been conned.
Edward appeared on the TV show Dateline back in 2002. He claimed spirits were telling him to say the name “Anthony,” and when the camera man acknowledged that he knew an Anthony, Edward seemed surprised and asked, “That’s you? Really?” Edward then confirmed the spirit present was the camera man’s father. This all seemed very impressive, until the camera man revealed that he and Edward had chatted earlier, during which time the camera man told Edward all about his dead father. Ta-da! It’s magic! Psychics are not using paranormal abilities — they are using the perfectly normal well-honed observational skills available to us all.
Allison Dubois, inspiration for the television show Medium, claims to have helped police solve a number of murder mysteries. Well that’s odd, because she has yet to provide a shred of proof for this claim. I’m going to write to NBC and tell them I can divine the future by reading the swirls in caramel fudge sundaes. Think they’ll give me my own TV show, too?
And then there’s Dean Radin and The Secret. Oprah, you promoted a “documentary” that claims to show proof that you can literally alter reality by wishing. We’re not talking about the power of positive thinking; we’re talking about the ability to create a pony that farts rainbows by merely thinking about it. Anything is possible, they say. They use a poor muddling of quantum physics to try to confuse people into believing their nonsense. That’s like me claiming that I have a scientific theory to back up my ability to read the future in caramel fudge sundaes: it’s called stratigraphic succession. This proven scientific theory, first developed in the early 19th century, deals with the careful study of layers, and how we can use layers to obtain a deeper understanding of time. Following in the footsteps of the revolutionary researchers who discovered this amazing theory, I simply take it to the next logical level and apply stratigraphic succession principles to the world around me, allowing me to “see” ahead into time.
Did you understand any of that? No? That’s okay, I’ll publish a whole book of that complete and utter nonsense and then come on your show and explain it to you and your audience of millions, going very slowly using the exact same words. Then you can cut me a big check and I’ll buy myself a god damned swimming pool full of caramel fudge sundae. Every year or so I’ll put out another book with the same words rearranged in a different order, and as the money rolls in I’ll laugh at all the suckers who keep me swimming in ice cream for the rest of my diabetes-ridden days.
Oprah, according to an informal poll on your web site, 84.7% of your audience believes that psychics can talk to the dead. A cynic would say that you’ll continue to play to that overwhelming majority, spoon feeding them the nonsense they crave. But I am not a cynic — I am a skeptic. That means that I doubt the veracity of the claims of your guests, but I hold out hope that your own passion to expose the truth will win the day. If there had been a poll on your site following the first appearance of James Frey on your show, what percentage of your audience would have believed that his stories were true? 84%? 99%? 100%? You set them all straight. You can do it again, if you want.
If you don’t want, then please contact me immediately. I have a scientifically supported paranormal ability that’s going to knock your socks off.
And to all the readers who would like to express their opinion to Ms. Winfrey: click here.