Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bill Cosby "I'm 83 and Tired"

Bill Cosby "I'm 83 and Tired"

I'm 83. Except for brief period in the 50's when I was doing my National
Service, I've worked hard since I was 17. Except for some some serious
health challenges, I put in 50-hour weeks, and didn't call in sick in nearly
40 years. I made a reasonable salary, but I didn't inherit my job or my
income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, it looks as
though retirement was a bad idea, and I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth" to people who
don't have my work ethic. I'm tired of being told the government will take
the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy
to earn it.

I'm tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I
can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and
daughters for their family "honor"; of Muslims rioting over some slight
offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren't
"believers"; of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning
teenage rape victims to death for "adultery"; of Muslims mutilating the
genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur'an and
Shari'a law tells them to.

I'm tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let
Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries use our oil money to fund mosques
and Madrasa Islamic schools to preach hate in Australia , New Zealand ,
UK, America and Canada , while no one from these countries are allowed to
fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia or any other
Arab country to teach love and tolerance..

I'm tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global
warming, which no one is allowed to debate.

I'm tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help
support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ
rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses
or stick a needle in their arm while they tried to fight it off?

I'm tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of all
parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful
mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting
caught. I'm tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

I'm really tired of people who don't take responsibility for their lives and
actions. I'm tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination
or big-whatever for their problems.

I'm also tired and fed up with seeing young men and women in their teens and
early 20's be-deck them selves in tattoos and face studs, thereby making
themselves unemployable and claiming money from the Government.

Yes, I'm damn tired. But I'm also glad to be 83.. Because, mostly, I'm not
going to have to see the world these people are making. I'm just sorry for
my granddaughter and their children. Thank God I'm on the way out and not
on the way in.

There is no way this will be widely publicized, unless each of us
sends it on!

This is your chance to make a difference.

" I'm 83 and I'm tired. If you don't agree you are part of the problem!

Thank you for reading,
Kyle Phoenix
Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast

Stuart Wilde With Veronica Hay On Money, Energy and Empowerment

Stuart Wilde: An Exclusive Interview with Veronica Hay On Money, Energy and Empowerment

Stuart Wilde is an internationally acclaimed author, lecturer and entrepreneur and one of the most interesting people you will ever meet. Wilde's wonderful brand of wit and wisdom is not for the faint-at-heart! He is humorous, controversial, poignant and transformational.

Stuart Wilde is the author of several bestselling books. His latest, Whispering Winds of Change is already in its third printing. His other titles include: Miracles, The Force, The Quickening, Affirmations, The Secrets of Life, and The Trick To Money Is Having Some! His little book, Life Was Never Meant to be a Struggle, is still extremely popular years after its initial printing.

Born in Farnham, England, Wilde is the son of a British diplomat. He learned to travel and become comfortable with many different cultures at an early age and has since traveled the globe the equivalent of sixty times.

Stuart Wilde sees his role in life as being that of an educator, one who teaches others ways they can reclaim their personal power without being drowned by the "system".


Veronica: I've learned a lot from the insights you have shared in your books and tapes over the years. I especially enjoyed your book, The Trick To Money Is Having Some. With one of the subjects of your lecture tour being money and spirituality, would you talk a bit about the two and how they relate?

Stuart Wilde: Well, I can't disconnect money from spirituality. I know in the old traditions having money was not considered spiritual. However, I see the quest here on the earth plane as a sacred thing and one of the things that we come to do, is to buy experiences, in order to become fuller and richer people. So, it stands to reason that you need a certain amount of money in order to buy these experiences. They are part of your evolution. I think it's important also because money is so much a part of this fifth dimension that we live in. I don't think you necessarily have to become rich, but I think you have to dominate money and be in control of it and be disciplined so that you are inside what money you have, rather than outside it, and beyond it, and get yourself into debt and in trouble and things like that. So, I teach people to raise their energy, believe in themselves, charge people for what they do, be original, be creative, find something to sell and in that way generate finances to energize and empower their quest.

Veronica: You state that "money isn't real, it's just energy and when you can open your heart to the energy, the money finds you." Can you explain that?

Stuart Wilde: Most people spend all their time getting in their own way. We all have days when things suddenly go brilliantly because suddenly we sort of step away from ourselves. But the human personality and the ego which dwells within it has a way of limiting one through fear, through let's say, fear of criticism.

For example, there are millions of painters who can't really paint, because if they paint, then people will criticize them and so they can't do the paintings that they ought to do and they won't do the ones that will sell and they have a perpetual excuse for not presenting themselves in the market place. Then, they bitch that nobody will acknowledge their creativity. As you feel more secure with yourself, you can present your creativity to the world, look them in the eye, and say "this is me" and make the necessary adjustments so that you can sell whatever that thing is that you are selling. And that is all part of this maturing of the individual. It is part of the evolutionary process. I don't have a lot of time with authors and painters who can't paint because of this or can't write because of that. In the end, you've got to write. You have to be evaluated and you have to make the adjustments if you want to sell what you write. On the other hand, if you just paint as an amateur thing for example, and it is just your pleasure to sit in a field and paint loving landscapes, that's fine, if you don't have to sell them. But there is a point where the whole lesson of this earth plane is to be mature enough to conceive a thought and to take it from that nebulous, cerebral activity into action, complete it, and sell it to somebody.

Veronica: Of course, you will probably still get a certain amount of criticism or rejection but you just keep doing it, right?

Stuart Wilde: Yes, in my profession, I am a bit of a spiritual anarchist. I am very sort of, in your face. I'm not for the institutions. I'm pro the individual. I don't care much for bull shit. So, I have had copious amounts of discrimination and criticism, but that is irrelevant. If you can get your stuff out there and people will buy it, then you're fine. Yes, people are going to bitch and moan because they're uncomfortable, and they're insecure, and they're frightened and they're timid. And they're going to say it's your fault and they're going to find things wrong, but in the end, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in the great spirit, the immortality within you, then you are just going to plow ahead. You're going to have to make adjustments for the market place, because it's pointless manufacturing things that people won't buy or painting paintings that nobody wants, especially if you're trying to do it commercially. But, in the end, you're going to do what you do, and you will win affection and acclaim.

Veronica: There is a spiritual godliness that drifts naturally through the affairs of man, but it is visible only if actions are undertaken and performed with that godliness in mind. Would you talk about this more?

Stuart Wilde: We are looking at the world of the ego out there. Our societies are absolutely polluted by television and the media. And they are polluted by importance and glamour. And they are polluted by this need of everybody to be special, regardless of whether they are putting out any energy or not. Everyone has an enormous amount of demands and very little need to actually generate any energy to fulfill those demands. So, you look at all of that stuff and of course it's absolute nonsense. However, if you will turn back within yourself, to what is real and what is true and what is loving, if you will get off self indulgence, self importance, whining and moaning, and return back to the real spiritual self where the feminine energy of the god force exists, then that power is more powerful than anything else in the world. People are drawn to it. People will be drawn to your kindness, to your mothering qualities, to your creative abilities, to your strength. If you return to the sacred way, and you make that sacred pledge about your life, then gradually the money you make will be and can be used to assist other people to do the same. The whole point of money is to buy experiences and help your sisters and your brothers. That's the function of it. Other than that, it just becomes a power trip and an ego thing. It's just all part of this enormously ugly, sort of materialistic, hedonistic search for security that drives the ego forward thinking that perhaps money might be the way, and of course it isn't.

Veronica: You mean by putting love and energy and coming from your heart in whatever product or service you do, people will pick up on that?

Stuart Wilde: Definitely! You will imbue your product with that godliness. I think most people are very mediocre and very inefficient and very self indulgent. If you want to be successful, you mustn't be self indulgent. You've got to be able to subjugate the ego to serve people. You've got to be up there for it. You've got to deliver it on time and it's got to be boxed correctly and it's got to be quick and handy and useful. But if you're prepared to go a little faster than the average person, if you're prepared to be a little bit better than mediocre, and if you're prepared to put love and energy into what you're doing, then you can't fail, because what you are selling people is energy. And there is no price on energy. The beautiful thing about energy is, that it allows people to feel secure. One of the reasons why the ego is so sick is because it is in a dimension of ever decreasing energy. We are moving towards entropy to the point where we're reaching what the second law of thermo dynamics calls a heat death. There just isn't enough energy to sustain the ego's vision. So, people will be drawn to where there is life force, to where there is energy, to where there is laughter, creativity, originality. Our economic history is replete with examples of people who have done well when they were creative and created energy.

For example, people who open restaurants that are unusual and different and very friendly and right on top of it and with interesting menus. They do so much better than the people that have the same old menu, the hackneyed old thing, you know, the ribs and the this and that, or the plastic menu where everything is so standardized, conformist, homogenized. The creativity disappeared years ago. There is room for improvement. There is room for originality. I think that part of the creative process is to sort of invent that originality. I don't think you have to be enormously different because if you are, people won't understand it, but there are all sorts of ways of bringing in enthusiasm and love and originality into what you do that will make it slightly different and interesting.

Veronica: How can people open up to the power within that you talk about so much in your books?

Stuart Wilde: Some people are run by the legislation of the ego and the personality rather than run by the softness and the feeling and the sacredness of their inner feeling. If you want to empower your life, the first thing you've got to do is discipline yourself and discipline your mind.  My system, or the system that I was taught, which I recommended to people is: rising early, taking time to meditate, time in silence, a very simple diet, a lot of prayer, a lot of sacred tradition, sacred ceremony, and really processing and feeling your way along. Returning from the hedonistic, totally self indulgent world of the ego to a world of minimalism, simplicity, caring and a world where those inner perceptions begin to open up. Because naturally, as you return to spirit, then you return to the interconnectedness in all things and through that interconnectedness in all things you can develop enormous amounts of perception and esp and empower your life through simplicity. You basically can see around corners.

Veronica: What do you do every day? What is your personal spiritual practice?

Stuart Wilde: I always rise early. I usually rise somewhere between 4:30 and 6:00. Sometimes I don't, but generally speaking, I do, and I meditate and I walk. And then I spend most of the day, if I can, except of course when I'm working, I try to spend time on my own, time in silence. I walk down the street and I watch people. I watch their etheric and I learn about energy. I feel out my life and the people in it. I watch for any sudden shift of energy and generally sort of sit there, a bit like a lighthouse keeper, watching the boats go by and trying to stay in touch with things going on at a distance without necessarily having to phone them or fax them, but by just watching them.

Veronica: Throughout your books, I kept getting that it is about one's own personal empowerment, raising one's energy level to a place where life becomes easier, less of a struggle. I understand and agree with that, but how does this relate to the concept of grace, or the power of prayer, you know, when you've done it all and you don't have much strength left, and you let go, and then a miracle happens. How does that work?

Stuart Wilde: At that point where you quit, it's the point where the ego or the personality has taken such an enormous hit in the struggle that it finally sits down in a puddle of mud and sort of says "I've had enough." At that point, the miracle appears. It's in the very chasing after of things that you push them away. So the ego will yearn and force and push and be desperate and demand and be this brat. Of course, as you lean and push and demand and strive and yearn for things, you actually shove them away from you. The minute you pull back and sit down and enter silence, the things start to come back toward you. I think sometimes in that example, that you just cited, it's that moment of where we reach zero resistance and suddenly those things that we desire, pop up in front of us, effortlessly, and it's very beautiful, isn't it?

Veronica: Yes, it is. You also talk about detachment and non-judgement. How does that work, really? Do we just walk around and observe without having any opinions? What if we come across something that does really bother us, do we deny how we really feel?

Stuart Wilde: There's a middle ground. Basically, if you raise your energy, you're going to take yourself out of the evolution of the people, because you're going to move beyond their thoughts, their ideas, their feelings. So, you're going to transcend out of the physical plane without actually necessarily dying. By detachment and by disciplining yourself, you can have the most enormous care and love and good desire for the people without being intimately involved. Then, if you can detach from your own stuff, because, you're not your personality, you're not your mind, you're an infinite energy inside a body, behind the mind, that's nothing to do with your personality. So, if you buy your own emotions, if you buy your stuff as being real, then you become a victim of this theatrical display. Emotions for the most part are just opinions of the ego presented in a theatrical scale for other people to observe. So you jump up and down and wave your arms about and say "I'm terribly angry" and everybody is supposed to sit up and take notice. But, in fact, that's only an opinion, it's nothing else. Then, as you become an observer of life and as you become an observer of yourself, which isn't a sort of callous don't care attitude, it's just a gradual, sweet retreat from the evolution, in realizing that you are projecting yourself and working yourself beyond the evolution of these people. Then, if there is something that you feel very strongly about, you have to decide whether or not you want to dive back into the great mud puddle of life or not. It's up to you.

Veronica: Would you talk about the 1000 day climb that you refer to in your books?

Stuart Wilde: As we are programmed through what I call tick-tock in my books, the sort of very hum-drum 9-5 existence, the institutional education of our children, and so on, and as we buy this ego's world, as you start to make that turn, it's just my perception that it takes about three years to make that turn complete. So, I call that the thousand day climb. And obviously, while you're going through that turn, it's almost like a big ship and you're turning back and sort of rocking or bouncing over your own wash, the waves that the ship created as it was going along. It's a turbulent time and you can't really see very far in the future because you might have been in that tick-tock programming for twenty, thirty or forty years. So, three years to make a complete transition to where you're just going to look at your life differently and embrace spirit, is not a very long time. What I say to people is, that while they are in that climb, don't try too hard to become something new too quickly, because if you do, more times than not, you will fail. More times than not, anything you start will fall apart. It's best to just realize that the climb is a dedication and stay focused on cleaning up your act, resolving issues, processing your feelings and generally just raising your energy. And then after the three years is over, usually one reaches a sort of plateau, where one can consolidate and sort of think, "well now I'll head out, and I'll do this, or I'll do that, or I'll help humanity in this way, or I'll serve in that way, or whatever."

Veronica: Everything is energy. In short, what can we do to raise our energy level?

Stuart Wilde: It's a matter of discipline and a matter of perception and perception only comes if you can control the personality. A lot of my courses deal with developing the trance state. If you're not prepared to go that far, then just by discipline, simplicity, conserving your power, nurturing yourself and all the usual things of that kind of mode will bring your energy up. The thing you do have to control is fear, because without controlling fear, you will always depreciate your energy. For example, you'll be very excited about something and suddenly a lot of insecurity and fear will come your way and you'll depreciate a whole chunk of your stock so to speak.

Veronica: And be careful who and what you surround yourself with?

Stuart Wilde: Yes, definitely. I think the more you raise your energy, the less and less people you'll find around you, or the people that you have around you, will be more at arm's length. I think that regarding the influence of other people, there is something very polluting sometimes by some of the associations that we make and often we know that we ought to be going beyond them. Dysfunctional relationships, dysfunctional jobs, dysfunctional circumstances can be very energy draining and bring one down. I think also a part of the spiritual quest is this point of making the right choices and cleaning up your act as much as possible.

Veronica: My favorite quotation of yours is, life was never meant to be a struggle, just a gentle progression from one point to another, much like walking through a valley on a sunny day. Why do you think so many of us make it such a struggle? Do you think people have responsibility tied into struggle?

Stuart Wilde: Well, not necessarily. First of all, we teach people that it is honourable to struggle. A lot of the religions said to people, "look, you're very poor, you're struggling, but don't worry, you've been chosen". So, struggle is just endemic to our people. Obviously, if you're trying to materialize a certain vision, an ego vision, and you don't have the energy to pull it off, you're going to struggle. If you consume more than you have the money for, you're going to struggle. Most struggle is economic, some of it, of course, is emotional. The most simple places where most of the struggle takes place is people living and demanding a life style that they can't sustain. And that's just an opinion of the ego. And, of course, negative energy in our dimension is only anything that contradicts the ego. For example, if you demand a lot of respect and somebody insults you, you've been contradicted and you might be upset. Or, if you demand a certain lifestyle and you don't get it, you might moan and be terribly upset and consider it a very negative experience. If you demand that your life is always cozy, safe and guaranteed and someday something comes along that isn't cozy, safe and guaranteed, then you will experience the ego being contradicted, and you will describe that as negative energy. You see, there is nothing wrong with demanding if you have the energy to pull it off, but one of the things that is endemic to our society is that people are so self indulgent, they are demanding without considering the fact that they might have to put a little energy out.

Or, they'll put wimpy amounts of energy out and expect enormous returns. So much of life nowadays is worshiping at the altar of this completely self indulgent ego that demands all sorts of things without ever having to lift a finger for it.

Veronica: What would you suggest to people who want to make their contribution to the world and want to do some spiritual service?

Stuart Wilde: Well, I think that is the destiny of everyone who is on the quest, in the end. And I think that everyone who is on the quest will sooner or later find a place to serve because we live inside a sort of evolutionary molecule which is the folk spirit or the tribal mind of all of our people and we are only as good as how much we can raise ourselves and others up.

Obviously, the best contribution you can make to the world is for you to become serene and self sufficient and composed and then teach that to others. I think as soon as one turns within and raises ones energy a little bit, where you go to serve is automatic. And some people will serve in a very big way, let's say, because they're politicians or whatever, but most people serve quietly, they're in a health food shop or at the yoga centre or they're helping teach kids or whatever it is. To serve is a great honour and privilege. And I think that is the destiny of everyone on the path.

Veronica: In your book, Whispering Winds of Change, you state that it would take a crisis to shrink the world ego to the point where the spirit can begin to win back control. Would you elaborate on that?

Stuart Wilde: Well, you can see that in a small way in each individual. Most people, especially males, in their twenties and early thirties, when the ego is rampant, and they are into making money and whatever, they usually have to have some kind of crisis, before they'll turn within. So, they need a car wreck, or a divorce, or a serious disease, or a bankruptcy, because the ego won't give over power until you actually dethrone it. There has to be some sort of revolution. And the revolution has to be, of course, an internal one, within your mind. However, it isn't often that the ego will actually sit down and voluntarily abdicate.

So, in a national sense, or in a global sense, the world ego, which is this institutional domination of our people by the patriarchal white rulers of our western democracies, won't give away control until such time as there is a crisis where they have to. A good example is in the countries behind the iron curtain, where they completely lost it and now are in a gradual state of change. It will come to America, and it will come to Britain and Europe as well. So, I think what you see in the individual level, you see in the national and political levels, and the global level as well.

Veronica: What advice do you have to give our readers given the current economic and political conditions?

Stuart Wilde: Well, you're looking at a society in collapse. It's sort of like the decline of the roman empire. You can either do nothing about it and sort of whistle, while the place burns down, or you can start to retreat. Of course, the retreat you make is an internal one. So, if you're prepared to retreat within and get disciplined and get inside your life, control your life economically, pay off your debts, resolve your relationships, then as society bounces out of control beyond you and outside of you, it isn't going to affect you. I think a lot of the people who will be very seriously affected are those that are prepared to do nothing and all of a sudden change will be imposed upon them.

Like pensioners in Russia, who now receive enough money to buy a pound and a half of potatoes. That's all their pension is worth. If you don't do anything now, when and if this whole thing starts to seriously unravel, change may be forced upon you, at a pace that isn't comfortable. So, the obvious thing to do is to start to come back within, to heighten your energy, generate more money, and start to place yourself in this sort of molecule or dimension of sacredness and of spirit.

There are also all of these doors that can open up, inner perceptions and the whole nature of those inner worlds. Metaphysically, we are still sort of neanderthal. We've gone a long way technologically, but metaphysically, people are pathetically silly. They haven't even started yet.

Veronica: What are you up to these days?

Stuart Wilde: Well, I've been writing books. I've been doing a lot of music. I had a CD come out this year which I wrote and produced with a Norwegian soprano called Cecilia, Voice of the Feminine Spirit. It has done enormously well. And then I was asked to contribute to a rock opera with an English flute player called Tim Wheater, which is called, Heartland. I wrote the libretto for that and it is coming our later in the year and is distributed by Geffen Records. I have signed with a record company to produce a kind of rock and roll record with a spiritual message and that's happening later this year as well.

Veronica: So, you're getting a lot more involved in music?

Stuart Wilde: Yes, a lot, and I am also working on a comedy TV show called Woofety Woof for the British market and I've got a lot of different media projects and audio projects and so on, but again, it's presenting spiritual, metaphysical ideas through song, which is less threatening than the written word.

Veronica: Thank you Stuart. We wish you well.

Veronica Hay is the author of "In a Dream, You Can Do Anything" - An extraordinary collection of writings that will uplift you, motivate you, inspire you, and gently guide you along the inner path of your life.

Thank you for reading,
Kyle Phoenix
Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'White people are less likely to be gay': Poll reveals African-American community has highest percentage of 'LGBT' adults in U.S.

Gay Marriage

'White people are less likely to be gay': Poll reveals African-American community has highest percentage of 'LGBT' adults in U.S.

  • Gallup survey, based on interviews with more than 121,000 people, showed that 3.4% of U.S. adults were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT)
  • Highest proportion in black community, at 4.6%, followed by Asians (4.3%), Hispanics (4%) and Caucasians (3.2%) 
  • Poll found 44% of LGBT adults were Democratic, and 13% Republican

Findings: Overall, a third of those identifying as LGBT are non white, the Gallup report said following a survey of 121,000 people 
Poorer blacks and Asians are more likely to be gay than wealthier whites, a controversial study claimed yesterday.
A Gallup survey – said to be the largest of its kind ever undertaken in America – estimated that 3.4 per cent of US adults saw themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).
That figure consisted of 4.6 per cent of African-Americans, 4.3 per cent of Asians, 4 per cent of Hispanics – but only 3.2 per cent of whites.
In contrast to earlier, smaller studies, researchers also found that Americans with the lowest levels of education were most likely to say they were gay.
A similar pattern was found in wealth, with more than 5 per cent of those with annual incomes of under £15,000 identified as gay compared with 2.8 per cent earning more than £37,000 a year.
And while 21 per cent of American adults earn more than £56,000 a year, only 16 per cent of gay people claimed to earn that much.
The survey – based on interviews with more than 121,000 people – contradicts the perception that lesbians and gays are mostly white, urban and affluent, said lead author Gary Gates. 
‘Contemporary media often think of LGBT people as disproportionately white, male, urban and pretty wealthy,’ said Mr Gates of the University of California, Los Angeles. ‘But this data reveals that relative to the general population, the LGBT population has a larger proportion of non-white people and clearly is not overly wealthy.’
The survey revealed a slight gender difference – 3.6 per cent of women identified themselves as lesbian or gay, compared with 3.3 per cent of men.This discrepancy was particularly marked among younger adults, aged 18 to 29, where 8.3 per cent of women said they were LGBT compared with only 4.6 per cent of men.
Two gay men
Findings: The Gallup survey, released this week, was based on interviews with more then 121,000 people, and showed that 3.4 per cent of adults fell into the LGBT category in America 
Gallup survey
The results show that fewer white people said they were LGBT while 4.6 per cent of black people ticked 'Yes'
Gallup survey
The survey also found that geography didn't really make a difference to whether people were LGBT
The survey noted that it could not account for those not admitting their sexual preference. 
Very little research has been done into which races are more likely to be homosexual. Estimates of the proportion of the population who are lesbian or gay range from 2 per cent to 10 per cent, although recent US surveys have put it at around 4 per cent.
In 2010, a survey by the Office for National Statistics concluded that 1.5 per cent of Britons identified themselves as gay or bisexual, although a 2008 poll put the proportion at 6 per cent.
Mitt Romney President Barack Obama
Survey: Seventy one per cent of LGBT registered voters support President Barack Obama in this year's election, and 22 per cent support Republican challenger Mitt Romney

Sunday, January 27, 2013

5 Easy Ways To Increase Your Manpower

5 Easy Ways To Increase Your Manpower

A testosterone shortage could cost you your life. As if losing muscle mass, bone density, and your sex drive to low T levels wasn't bad enough, new research shows the decline can also increase your risk of prostate cancer, heart disease, and even death. Follow these steps to lift your levels and lengthen your life.
1. Uncover Your Abs

As your waist size goes up, your testosterone goes down. In fact, a 4-point increase in your body mass index, about 30 extra pounds on a 5'10" guy, can accelerate your age-related T decline by 10 years. For a diet that'll help keep your gut in check, try the all-new Men's Health e-book, The Six-Pack Secret. You'll learn how to sculpt rock-solid abs in 4 weeks. We believe it's the most effective muscle-up weight loss program ever.
2. Build Your Biceps

Finnish researchers recently found that men who lifted weights regularly experienced a 49 percent boost in their free testosterone levels. "As you strengthen your muscles, the amount of testosterone your body produces increases," says David Zava, Ph.D., CEO of ZRT Laboratory. You need to push iron only twice a week to see the benefit.
3. Fill Up On Fat

Trimming lard from your diet can help you stay lean, but eliminating all fat can cause your T levels to plummet. A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine reveals that men who consumed the most fat also had the highest T levels. To protect your heart and preserve your T, eat foods high in monounsaturated fats, food such as fish and nuts.

4. Push Away From The Bar

Happy hour can wreak havoc on your manly hormones. In a recent Dutch study, men who drank moderate amounts of alcohol daily for 3 weeks experienced a 7 percent decrease in their testosterone levels. Limit your drinking to one or two glasses of beer or wine a night to avoid a drop in T.

5. Stop Stress

Mental or physical stress can quickly depress your T levels. Stress causes cortisol to surge, which "suppresses the body's ability to make testosterone and utilize it within tissues," says Zava. Cardio can be a great tension tamer, unless you overdo it. Injuries and fatigue are signs that your workout is more likely to lower T than raise it.


Thank you for reading,

Kyle Phoenix




Thanks and enjoy! You can Like Us on Facebook or Follow Us on Twitter! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Channel 56 (Time Warner), 83 (RCN), 34 (Verizon) and the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Secret Power Of Introverts

The Secret Power Of Introverts

If you had to guess, what would you say investor Warren Buffett and civil rights activist Rosa Parks had in common? How about Charles Darwin, Al Gore, J.K. Rowling, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi and Google’s Larry Page? They are icons. They are leaders. And they are introverts.

Despite the corporate world’s insistence on brazen confidence–Speak up! Promote yourself! Network!—one third to half of Americans are believed to be introverts, according to Susan Cain, author of just released Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. She contends that personality shapes our lives as profoundly as gender and race, and where you fall on the introvert-extrovert spectrum is the single most important aspect of your personality.

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Networking For Introverts

Introverts may make up nearly half the population, but Cain says they are second-class citizens.

“A widely held, but rarely articulated, belief in our society is that the ideal self is bold, alpha, gregarious,” says Cain. “Introversion is viewed somewhere between disappointment and pathology.”

The terms “introvert” and “extrovert” were first made popular by psychologist Carl Jung in the 1920s and then later by the Myers-Briggs personality test, used in major universities and corporations. By Cain’s definition, introverts prefer less stimulating environments and tend to enjoy quiet concentration, listen more than they talk and think before they speak. Conversely, extroverts are energized by social situations and tend to be assertive multi-taskers who think out loud and on their feet.

It was over the last century, says Cain, that society began reshaping itself as an extrovert’s paradise—to the introvert’s demise. She explains that before the twentieth century, we lived in what historians called a “culture of character,” when you were expected to conduct yourself morally with quiet integrity. But when people starting flocking to the cities and working for big businesses the question became, how do I stand out in a crowd? We morphed into a “culture of personality,” which she says sparked a fascination with glittering movie stars, bubbly employees and outgoing leadership.

In the last few decades, this “Extrovert Ideal” has transformed workplaces, says Cain. Independent, autonomous work that favored employee privacy was eroded and practically replaced by what she calls “The New Groupthink,” which “elevates teamwork above all else.” Children now learn in groups. Ideas are formed in brainstorming sessions. Talkers are considered smarter. Employees are hired for “people skills,” and offices are designed to be open and interactive.

Yet, according to Cain, it’s only worked to damage innovation and productivity. Research shows that charismatic leaders earn bigger paychecks but do not have better corporate performance; that brainstorming results in lower quality ideas and the more vocally assertive extroverts are the most likely to be heard; that the amount of space allotted to each employee shrunk 60% since the 1970s; and that open office plans re associated with reduced concentration and productivity, impaired memory, higher turnover and increased illness.

If we all lose in this situation, introverts lose more—with skills that are more likely to be overlooked and underappreciated. “Introverts living under the Extrovert Ideal are like women living in a man’s world,” says Cain. “Our most important institutions are designed for extroverts. We have a waste of talent.”

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Cain is not seeking introvert domination. She acknowledges that big ideas and great leadership can come from either personality type. What she wants is a better balance and inclusion of different work styles. “In most job interviews, people say they are looking for people skills and emotional intelligence,” notes Cain. “That’s reasonable, but the question is, how do you define what that looks like?”

Furthermore, she believes that extroverted and introverted leaders excel in different areas and can learn from each other. Studies show that introverts are better at leading proactive employees because they listen to and let them run with their ideas. Meanwhile, extroverts are better at leading passive employees because they have a knack for motivation and inspiration.

While extroverted leaders could learn from their counterparts to take a more careful approach to risk and let others speak up, Cain says introverted leaders need to push themselves to be more social. She offers John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla, as an example. He would force himself to walk the halls and make eye contact because he hadn’t realized how much it offended people when he didn’t greet them.

Ultimately, Cain believes, as a society, we are starving for stillness and need to turn down the noise. “It’s a very powerful thing to be quiet and collect your thoughts.”


Thank you for reading,

Kyle Phoenix




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The Glory of Oprah By Caitlin Flanagan

The Glory of Oprah 

Why the “talkinest child” understands women and the power of television better than anyone else
By Caitlin Flanagan

The three-episode finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show consisted of a two-part spectacular at the United Center in Chicago and a final sermon delivered from the show’s studio at Harpo Productions. Together, these three hours of television encompassed many of the program’s enduring concerns: celebrity, philanthropy, Dale Carnegie–style positive thinking, and—the true foundation of the show and its creator—the theology of the black Baptist Church that raised her. “To God be the glory,” were her final words to us from her stage, a sentiment sure to inflame her legion of critics (what a pompous way to sign off from an afternoon chat show!), and one that explains, more than anything else, how this remarkable woman created a vast financial empire and became one of the most influential figures in the private lives of millions of American women.

Despite the grandeur and moment of the three-parter, despite its show-stopping intensity and buckled-down determination to sum up a 25-year mission, the true genome of the project was revealed in a run-of-the-mill episode weeks earlier. No Aretha Franklin belting out “Amazing Grace” to thousands, no Diane Sawyer announcing the planting of 25,000 oak trees in Oprah’s name, no funny pictorial of tragic hairstyles—just Oprah sitting down and talking, woman-to-woman, about certain aspects of the female experience.

The guest was Shania Twain, the country- and pop-music star who has sold more than 75 million albums, and who has been in relative seclusion the past seven years, for reasons detailed in From This Moment On, the autobiography she had come on the show to promote. The book stands as a compendium of the life events about which Oprah and Oprah care most: deep childhood poverty made yet more harrowing by sexual molestation and domestic violence; the power of nothing more than an idea, a dream for oneself, to change a life forever; the triumph of material success after a harsh beginning; the particular, feminine joys to be found in buying and redecorating a beautiful house; the dirty rotten tendency of bad men and false friends to run off with one another, leaving you brokenhearted and humiliated; the ability of such betrayals to cause you—and this may be the single biggest theme of all of Oprah—to lose your voice, leading to the realization that, no matter what, you must regain your voice; and finally, the necessity of going Ancient Mariner on the whole experience, telling every secret thing to every available listener, until you and they are both free.

I happened to turn on the Shania episode a bit late, and I was standing out of sight of the television when the picture came on, so I didn’t at first see that the guest Oprah was interviewing was a superstar. I assumed the woman speaking in such plain, heartbroken terms about her divorce was a civilian. Her voice sounded thin and untrained, and the rush of words tumbled out quickly, as though she had only this one golden moment with Oprah to tell her story to the world, and after the camera switched off, she would vanish back into anonymity.

I have read a lot of celebrity memoirs, and their main shared quality is that they are slight. Not just short, and not merely ghostwritten, they usually emanate from the anonymous author’s scandalously brief time spent with the subject, and this paucity of material colors every page. I once had dinner with the most notorious of these ghostwriters, and he averred that he often types up a memoir after little more than a weekend in the company of the celebrity. (“Do you tape-record the sessions?,” I asked him, vaguely wondering if I should become a celebrity ghostwriter. “Yes,” he replied with a grossed-out shudder. “But I never listen to the tapes.”) But From This Moment On is not only 400 pages long, it’s also chockablock with detail—vivid sketches of minor characters, carefully rendered descriptions of places and states of mind. The acknowledgments seem to say that a married pair of professional writer/editors banged the thing into publishable shape, but Twain’s long description of the process of actually writing the book is clearly the plain truth. For this reason alone, it is substantially different from most other celebrity autobiographies; it feels intimate and unguarded, and it speaks of a particular and peculiar life. I liked the book, and I found that I also liked Twain, about whom I had known very little.

Twain’s early years were shaped by the kind of domestic chaos that is at once a cause and a result of poverty. Her barely educated mother—who at 16 had lost all her teeth in an accident that left her with a mouthful of cheap dentures—managed in the space of a decade to bear four children by three men, with a fifth child thrown in for good measure when his mother, a family relation, killed herself. The man with whom Twain’s mother ended her romantic run, and with whom she remained in an unhappy and often dangerous marriage until their early death in a car crash, was a wife beater who nearly killed her many times—often in front of the terrified children. He was also a fully participating member of the human condition, so that along with his violence were streaks of kindness and generosity (even broke, he would bring home desserts and little treats for the kids), in a mix of the sort that leaves children perpetually confused, even into adulthood, about the true nature of the person at whose hands they suffered.

During Twain’s adolescence, he would often come into her room at night—she was his adopted daughter—and seethe at her for being a “bitch” and a “slut.” He would beat her with a belt and kick her “in the ass.” Yet, like many an abused child before her, she has grown up into an adult who has plenty of good things to say about her monster; on balance, she thinks he was sort of a prince.

Adding to Twain’s miseries, nobody in the household was concerned or lucid enough to protect her from the creepy old man in the neighborhood who lured her with candy and then molested her. She was just getting started in a singing career when her parents were killed, leaving her no money and full charge of her three younger siblings. She moved them into a cabin near a remote holiday lodge where she got a job in a Vegas-style review, and from there she beavered away at her career while trying to raise and discipline a pack of brokenhearted adolescents.

And it is a testament to the kind of things that can and cannot break a woman that none of this sorrow and deprivation and cruelty caused Twain to lose her voice. The thing that shattered her, that had silenced her singing and sent her pursuing expert medical advice around the world, was not the violence or the hunger or the sexual abuse. It was the betrayal by her husband, an event that occurred years after they had become multimillionaires and had constructed a weird, luxurious exile for themselves in an enormous Swiss château. The affair, a garden-variety bit of midlife adultery involving a best friend, a series of deceptions, and the inevitable, explosive revelation, devastated her.

Longtime viewers of Oprah know that the host has a particular subspecialty in the husband-stealing best friend. Husband-stealing best friends are right up there with women who can’t give away a single pair of old shoes from a jam-packed closet and men who won’t do their fair share of the housework: such regular presences on the Oprah show that they are almost members of a commedia troupe. But the true author of Shania’s suffering, although she could not yet perceive it, was not the best friend; it was a succession of malevolent men: the abusive stepfather, the molesting neighbor, the cheating husband. Oprah, more than any other broadcaster ever, understands the ways men can hurt women, and it is this knowledge—hard-earned and openly shared with her audience—that has allowed her to forge such a powerful bond with her fans. That she can move so easily between episodes about, on the one hand, rape and domestic violence and, on the other, shopping and decorating, demonstrates not a lack of focus but the fact that she understands the full equation of the female experience, in ways that few others before her have. This understanding also accounts for the deep suspicion she arouses in so many men, who as a group tend to be wary of her, if not outright hostile. They’re not wrong to feel this way; she’s onto them. She has survived some of the worst they have to offer. Like Alice Walker, Oprah has been accused of hating men, black men in particular. But her attitude toward men is much more complicated and generous than they realize. It’s only when you fully apprehend the range and nature of the cruelty that men are capable of inflicting on women that you can truly appreciate its opposite. It has been Oprah’s bad and good fortune (she often says she would not on any condition change the circumstances of her young life) to have fully experienced the former.

One of the highlights of the finale at the United Center occurred early in the show: a dazzling performance by Beyoncé of her song “Run the World (Girls).” The production began with a bit of theater that was at once earnest and hammy, and no less affecting for being both; for all her sophistication and sexuality, one of Beyoncé’s great talents is her ability to exude the breathless innocence of youth itself. To the accompaniment of “Pomp and Circumstance,” in an outfit of leotard and high heels that somehow managed to signal that her remarks were in the style of a commencement address, she announced: “Oprah Winfrey, because of you, women everywhere have graduated to a new level of understanding of what we are, of who we are, and, most importantly, who we can be … Oprah—we can run the world!” There was a quivering, building excitement, because you knew she was about to burst into the number, and after a few tension-filled moments, she did. A team of gorgeous backup dancers in black hot pants and red stilettos marched onstage, and Beyoncé handed each one a diploma, then launched into the exciting song:

Who run the world? Girls!

Who run the world? Girls!

Like most grrrl-powered productions, it was sexy, exciting, and hollow. Girls don’t really run the world, and they’re not likely to—and certainly not in high heels and hot pants—anytime soon. But that didn’t matter, because the dancing was so sensational, and the star so electrifying, and Oprah so happily overcome by the moment. And the performance was obviously a tribute to something genuine: if girls aren’t poised for world domination, it’s not for lack of Oprah’s own efforts. Few people have undertaken such a lifelong, bighearted, and wide-ranging campaign of improving the lives of girls, especially poor black ones. The number, though, was a sizzling bit of fluff, as thoroughly entertaining as it was immediately forgotten.

But another moment in the evening will be remembered for a long time by everyone who saw it, whether in person or on television. It highlighted another of Oprah’s commitments, and one for which she is far less known: her work on behalf of black men. Her friend Tyler Perry announced that some of the “Morehouse Men,” each a beneficiary of the $12 million endowment she has established at their university, had come to honor her for the scholarships she gave them. The lights were lowered, a Broadway star began singing an inspirational song, and a dozen or so black men began to walk slowly to the front of the stage. Then more came, and soon there were a score, then 100, then the huge stage was filled with men, 300 of them. They stood there, solemnly, in a tableau stage-managed in such a way that it might have robbed them of their dignity—the person serenading them (or, rather, serenading Oprah on their behalf) was Kristin Chenoweth, tiniest and whitest of all tiny white women; the song was from Wicked, most feminine of all musicals; and each man carried a white candle, an emblem that lent them the aspect of Norman Rockwell Christmas carolers—but they were not robbed of their dignity. They looked, all together, like a miracle. A video shown before the procession revealed that some of these men had been in gangs before going to Morehouse, some had fathers in prison, many had been living in poverty. Now they were doctors, lawyers, bankers, a Rhodes Scholar—and philanthropists, establishing their own Morehouse endowment.

From the stage, Perry told Oprah, “You’ve often said that when you educate a black man, you empower families, you empower sons and daughters, and you change generations.” It was entirely different from Beyoncé’s salute, because it wasn’t the dizzy promise of a high-heeled hegemony; it was a statement of large, complex, and painful truth. Putting an end to the pathologies that have crippled poor black America is in the hands, not of the community’s women, but of its men. Oprah’s willingness to illustrate the destruction and violence that black men can visit on their families and also to reveal the ways they can transcend that pernicious pattern, and become upstanding family men and admired professionals, has always lent her mission something transgressive and important. Because her politics are explicitly Democratic, and because she shines such a bright light on the ways poor black people have been victimized by forces beyond their control, she is derided by many conservatives. But to watch the segment on the Morehouse Men is to realize that on certain matters, she seems more like a Bill Bennett than a tax-and-spend victimologist: she espouses an up-by-your-bootstraps approach, urging poor men to get educated, work hard at their jobs, provide for and stand by their families, and lift up their communities.

“I have always known that I was born for greatness,” Oprah infamously said in a 1988 interview with Barbara Walters that has dogged her ever since; “I just always knew. Just always knew.” It was the beginning of the Oprah Story, as her meanest critics have chosen to tell it. In the Oprah Story, the star is a kooky megalomaniac who thinks her success with a syndicated afternoon talker proves that she has been called forth from the misty depths of God’s best ideas to lead a grateful people into new realms of human consciousness and right-fitting Spanx.

The Walters interview, conducted in Oprah’s Chicago apartment on a pair of vast white chaises, in a room filled with cut flowers and white candles—and marked by the dreamy, semi-oratorical style Oprah used then in her most heartfelt interviews—was the perfect platform for the Story’s initial launch. Born for greatness? This was a woman who liked to drag red wagons full of lard onstage to demonstrate how much weight she’d lost—only to gain it all right back and to treat the disappointment as a national development no less sinister than the Fugitive Slave Act. Upholders of the Story find Oprah’s inclination to break into tears when she meets fellow celebrities mere narcissistic scene-stealing. Why in the world would a woman born in the Jim Crow South burst into the ugly cry when encountering Mary Tyler Moore—of all people!—if not to make sure the attention was on herself and not her guest? Last, and most irritating to the Storytellers, is Oprah’s insistence that her protean success (she is one of the richest women in the world) was the result not of hard work and a well-crafted business plan, but of nothing more than a thought, an idea, a dream—as though all you have to do is click your heels together and say “There’s no place like syndication,” and suddenly you’re more wealthy and powerful than your wildest imaginings. Well, actually—yes, that was pretty much what it took: an idea about herself, expressed as soon as she was capable of holding ideas, that failed her only once. And when she got her second chance (her one lucky break, if you can call it that), she took it.

Oprah Winfrey grew up as poor as a child can possibly be in modern America. Born to an unwed teenage mother in rural Mississippi, she spent her earliest years on her grandmother’s farm, in a house without electricity or running water and with an outhouse in the yard and a big pot for boiling clothes on the back porch. The cast of characters in her intimate circle changed often. When Oprah was small, her mother left to go north for work, leaving the child with the grandmother, who beat her regularly. Oprah recalls this experience without rancor: it was the way people raised kids in the South, she says; “she could beat me every day and never get tired.” Oprah would later move to Milwaukee to join her mother, and then to Nashville to live with her father. One of her two joys as a young child was church, where from the age of 3 she was performing little pieces in front of the congregation. “Little Miss Winfrey is here to do the recitation,” the preacher would say, and she would march up and recite scripture in her rich, powerful voice. Her other love was school, in particular the fourth grade, where her teacher, Mrs. Duncan, was the first person to recognize something special about this little girl. “She let me lead devotionals,” Oprah remembers, “and pass out the graham crackers.”

One legacy of her childhood of upheavals and broken connections, of lost friends and vanished relatives, is that Oprah loves reunions. She loves to surprise people on air by revealing that their lost family members or youthful sweethearts are not just figments of memory and longing, but are real human beings, waiting in the wings, about to walk onstage and sew up the torn seam of their past. She has even arranged her own on-air reunions: one was with Mrs. Duncan herself. “I ran home on the first day,” Oprah told the audience about her fourth-grade year, “to tell my dad I had the best teacher that anybody could ever have.” And then, her voice already breaking, she asked her favorite teacher to come onstage and meet her, for the first time in 30 years. Mrs. Duncan turned out to be a very proper southern white lady with a bun and a blue suit, and she handled her moment of celebrity with the combination of graciousness and unflappable authority that once was common in schoolteachers. “Bless your heart,” she said, as Oprah gushed and wept; “bless your heart.”

Oprah had a hundred questions—did Mrs. Duncan remember the way she had spent her recesses not playing, but collecting money for the missionaries? Did she remember if one of her friends had been in the class? No, Mrs. Duncan did not remember those things; “I’m sure Oprah remembers so many happinesses—more than I,” she said, in a tone at once formal and warm, addressing the audience members as though they were themselves a class of fourth-graders. She seemed to apprehend, perhaps on the counsel of a producer, that Oprah would ask for her memories of that 8-year-old, but the teacher’s responses—while delivered fondly—would have been more appropriate for a school report card than a hyper-emotional reunion with a sobbing megastar. “You were such a fluent reader,” she told Oprah; “you grasped ideas readily”; “when a task was assigned, you would look around to make sure everyone was following through.”

They made an appealing pair, sitting together onstage; that Mrs. Duncan was not a fawner, that she did not love-bomb Oprah, or try to overstate her role in the magnate’s development, only underscored the transformative effect she’d had on that long-ago child. Oprah is a deeply emotional person, and must surely have been so as a little girl, all the more so because of the nature of her early years and the lack of reliable adults in her life. What Mrs. Duncan was able to do for her—even all these years later, when Oprah was calling for tissues, smearing her makeup, and working herself up into a high-pitched, childish voice—was to calm her down, help her manage her raging feelings into something settled and comfortable. “I don’t mean to put you on the spot,” Oprah said, a bit stiffly, when it turned out Mrs. Duncan didn’t recall the year nearly as well as she did. But the old teacher knew how to turn a disappointment into a happiness: she admitted, under mild pressure and with evident affection, that Oprah had been her favorite student. At this, Oprah emitted a squeal of childlike pleasure and vindication, and she was briefly transfigured by the powerful sensations. For a moment, it was possible to see exactly what she must have looked like as an 8-year-old.

It’s a good thing that fourth grade was such a happy year for Oprah—that she was allowed to pass out the graham crackers and revel in her teacher’s affection—because that was the last year of her childhood. That summer, she was raped. She was a child of 9, and hardly understood what was happening to her, although she “knew it was bad,” she said many years later, “because it hurt so badly.” Afterward, while she was still bleeding and suffering, the man—her 19-year-old cousin—took her to the zoo and out for ice cream, and he told her to keep what had happened a secret, or she would be in terrible trouble.

“You better not never tell nobody but God. It’d kill your mammy.” That’s what Celie, the narrator of Oprah’s favorite novel, The Color Purple, was told by her stepfather after he raped her. In fact, the works of all three of Oprah’s most revered writers—Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou—contain descriptions of child rapes that closely resemble what happened to Oprah. They tell stories of young girls existing in households filled with transient men—boarders, mothers’ boyfriends, stepfathers, visitors—and the great peril that comes with these men. “All my life I had to fight,” begins Sophia’s famous speech in The Color Purple; Sophia was the role Oprah herself played in the movie version of the book, and she said the speech was such a clear reflection of her own experiences that she got it in one take: “All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. Girl child ain’t safe in a family of mens.”

In Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, 11-year-old Pecola Breedlove is raped—and impregnated—by her father, who catches sight of the girl washing dishes and is overcome with a savage combination of self-loathing, lust, and recklessness:

The doing of a wild and forbidden thing excited him, and a bolt of desire ran down his genitals … The gigantic thrust he made into her then provoked the only sound she made—a hollow suck of air in the back of her throat. Like the rapid loss of air from a circus balloon.

“If you scream, I’m gonna kill you,” the man who raped Maya Angelou, then age 8, told her. If she told anyone what he’d done, he would kill her brother. “The act of rape on an eight-year-old body,” writes Angelou in her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,

is a matter of the needle giving because the camel can’t. The child gives, because the body can, and the mind of the violator cannot. [Afterward,] he dried me and handed me my bloomers … Walking down the street, I felt the wet on my pants, and my hips seemed to be coming out of their sockets.

“You’re never the same again,” Oprah has said about the experience of being raped as a child, but there was more to come. She would be molested and raped, repeatedly, through early adolescence, by other grown men, including the boyfriend of a cousin who was living with Oprah’s mother, and by her favorite uncle. “It was just an ongoing, continuous thing,” she has said; “I started to think ‘This is the way life is.’” She became, as a very young adolescent, wildly promiscuous, getting into all kinds of trouble, including, at 14, becoming pregnant. “You can’t stay here,” her mother said, in a rare spasm of concern about the sexual propriety of her household, and so she was sent to live with her father. He was not apprised of his daughter’s condition, and Oprah had barely walked through the kitchen door before he announced the house rules: “I would rather see a daughter of mine floating down the Cumberland River than to bring shame on this family,” he said to her pointedly.

“He’s saying that to me, and I know that I am pregnant,” she remembers now; “so I’m thinking, ‘Well, I’m just going to have to kill myself.’” She made some half-hearted attempts, swallowing detergent at one point, but without success. The little girl with such high hopes for herself seemed to have come early to the end of the road, but then—imagine this as your one bit of good fortune, your 10th-grade miracle—the baby died, a few weeks after birth. It was her second chance, the sudden, glorious rebirth of the dream. It was a straight line, pretty much, from there to Oprah’s success in school, at college, in her first jobs on radio and television, to her own show and the building of her empire.

How did she do it? How did she lift herself up from intense sorrow, abuse, and poverty? Well, as she has been trying to tell everyone who would listen to her for the past 25 years, she had an idea. A belief. She had it from the time she was 4 years old, watching her grandmother hang clothes on the line. “You’re gonna have to learn how to do this,” said her grandmother, a domestic. No, I’m not, thought Oprah; my life won’t be like this. It was an idea she got partly from church, where her experiences were like those of Pauline Breedlove in The Bluest Eye:

While she tried to hold her mind on the wages of sin, her body trembled for redemption, salvation, a mysterious rebirth that would simply happen, with no effort on her part.

She got it partly from the sermons and poems she memorized and recited—“Hattie Mae, that is the talkinest child,” people would tell her grandmother—each chosen for its powerfully uplifting quality: a little girl recently raped, but standing tall and blasting everyone with “Invictus”:

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

She got it from books, because she read the way many people who have been abused will read—in a deep, immersive way, impervious to the outside world, willing herself into the streets and bright living rooms and spirited discussions of the novels. Books are what got her though the sexual abuse: “I knew there was another kind of life,” she has said of that time. “I knew it because I’d read about it.” And she got her idea of herself—once she had moved into an apartment with electricity—from another source, the one that would make all the difference in her life.

Because into every household in America, no matter how low or mean or outright evil, into each squalid nest and decent place pours the great, pure light of television. And there, sitting on the linoleum floor of her mother’s long-ago apartment, was Oprah Winfrey, her face tilted up to take it all in. She missed most of Diana Ross’s first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, because she was on the phone calling everyone—“Colored person on the television! Colored person on the television!” She was in that same apartment (the one where she was first raped) when she turned on the Academy Awards and saw Sidney Poitier stepping out of a limousine, and she ran to the telephone again: “Colored person stepping out of a limousine!”

She watched Leave It to Beaver, and in the absence of a cookie-baking mother, she dreamed on his. She got older, and she started watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and she fell so in love with Mary and Lou and Ted, with Mary’s apartment and Mary’s life, that she would wash her hair before the show and leave the conditioner in for the whole 30 minutes, not washing it off until Bob Newhart came on, because she didn’t want to miss a second. She came of age as a television watcher in the days when every story on TV had a happy ending, when the idea of America as a place filled with kindly and often corny people was something that was mostly true—maybe even only true—on television. And she came of age when black people were just beginning to make their way into that magical, safe place.

And from there, she got an idea. So when she tells us she had to cry for two hours in the bath before she felt safe enough to even attempt an interview with Diana Ross without sobbing the whole time, when she cries through an interview with Mary Tyler Moore, she’s not falling apart because she’s crazy about celebrities. She’s falling apart because these people, whom she had known only through television, are the link to the life she once led, and only narrowly escaped. Meeting them, being on some kind of par with them, is the ultimate act of dreaming true; her tears are a response, not just to that famous person, but to the glory of God.

There are certain things about women that men will never understand, in part because they have no interest in understanding them. They will never know how deeply we care about our houses—what a large role they play in our dreams for ourselves, how unhappy their shortcomings make us. Men think they understand the way our physical beauty—or lack of it, or assaults on it from age or extra weight—preys on our minds, but they don’t fully grasp the significance these things have for us. Nor can they understand the way physical comforts or simple luxuries—the fresh towel or the fat new cake of soap—can lift our spirits. And they will never know how much our lives are shaped around the fear of bad men and the harm they can bring us if we’re not careful, if we’re not banded together, if we’re not telling each other what to watch out for, what we’ve learned. We need each other’s counsel, and oftentimes it comes when we’re talking about other things, when we seem not to have much important on our minds at all.

The other day, I watched online as Oprah was interviewed at the offices of Facebook. She was asked to give her instant responses to a series of “lightning round” questions—what did she like more, Beloved or The Color Purple? The journey or the destination? And then a silly question, a reference to what was an annual treat of the Oprah show, the “Favorite Things” episode, which featured her favorite products and clothes and inventions of the year. “What is your favorite Favorite Thing?” asked the moderator, in a cheerfully wicked, teasing sort of way. The audience loved it, and Oprah sat back, clearly aware of the implications her answer would have; it seemed she was preparing a way of evading the question—but she wasn’t. She leaned forward in her chair and said—in all seriousness and sincerity, and in tones of great certainty—“The Breville panini maker.” Everyone laughed like it was a joke, but it wasn’t a joke. The appliance—“which can also be used for bacon,” Oprah said, “and can be used for fish”—was the clear favorite, and she said its name again, a coronation: “The Breville panini maker.”

I wandered away from the computer, went to the kitchen, and took a newly disappointed look at my Griddler panini press. I lifted its top and wondered if it might be able to make bacon, but I immediately apprehended its shortcomings. For a couple of weird seconds, I had such a fierce desire for a Breville that I contemplated buying one and becoming a two-panini-press household. But then my better judgment took hold, and I hurried back to the computer. It had been a couple of months since I’d had this much time with Oprah, and I was eager to hear what else she had to say.

Thank you for reading,
Kyle Phoenix
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