Many people joke about Oprah Winfrey’s saintly nature, and the Queen of Talk has indeed used her show as something of a pulpit, preaching the importance of “being your best self.” So it was only a matter of time before a bona fide brainiac conducted a study to prove what we already know: Oprah is a religious icon.
Yale professor Kathryn Lofton writes in her new book, ‘Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon,’ that Winfrey’s message — that you don’t have to be perfect though you should work toward being the best you can be, which she calls “The Gospel of You” — is tantamount to a working religion, according to the New York Post.
Lofton claims to have studied the transcripts for nearly every episode of Winfrey’s show for the last 12 years — over 1,560 of them — as well as 105 issues of O magazine, 17 issues of O at Home, 68 books from Oprah’s Book Club and 52 Spirit Newsletters.
She believes that Winfrey utilizes the same rhythmic speech patterns used by southern preachers and employs a sermon-like structure for each show, and that over the years the combination of those things and her message that “your discovery of yourself as the source for change — in yourself and in the world” is effectively a sort of gospel.
“Gospel is a word that means ‘good news,’ ” Lofton says. “Oprah says that the good news is ‘you,’” Lofton told the Post.
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