Kyle Phoenix Answers: How did Oprah Winfrey become such an important and powerful person? What is her social significance?

There has been a consistent science to her social capital, because really that is what it is.
  • Authenticity. Most people are afraid to be themselves. They are afraid to tell the truth of themselves. Therefore it is something we will watch—-when someone divulges the truth of themselves, acts honestly whether that’s sadness or joy, we long to see in others what we cover up in ourselves. I don’t think it was a deliberate business structural intent for her to do this but I think circumstances of trying to be a certain kind of newscaster pressed upon her, as she was gritty, to stay in broadcast journalism, that the artificial style of presentation wouldn’t work for her.
  • Ability. While it’s nut shelled as she’s being herself, she’s also studied in her craft. She went to school for Communications and practiced for years in oratory speeches, on the radio and local television. The art of interviewing also passively teaches the interviewer how to interview so every interview for about 10 years before she went national with The Oprah Winfrey Show was her being in “discussion class” on-air school.
I’ve done several interviews of teachers, business managers, etc and it’s an extremely difficult craft to master. My only edge was that I knew the people going in for a couple of years beforehand so I could draw on that. But once inside of a sit down interview, multiple cameras rolling, I saw the amount of controls—-like on a star ship dashboard—- that you have to be conscious of to illuminate the person to an audience and yet steer the conversation.
There’s a lot of listening going on and your talking is to help the person, help the interview, help the director/editing process—-you’re thinking about all of this at the same time. She has also worked with coaches, speech, acting, presentation, interviewing plus a host of producers who are able to give her feedback on what works and what doesn’t work as they receive her as a de facto audience along with an in person one along with a wider one. Most of us lag behind because we lack feedback. Feedback distilled is power.
  • Thoughtful Interview Subjects. Her interview gets are rarely heavy political hitters who’ve just signed some world pact. She’s purposefully avoided politicians mostly because they are the antithesis of the authenticity tennis match she’s trying to get going. Her experience in interviewing them has taught her that they are taught pointedly by their teams to put up guards, deflections, veneers so her connective style doesn’t work. Politicians are to dispense information and leadership, but not always connect as their authentic selves, more to connect as what we want their authentic selves to be.
That’s a huge distinction. Seeing that, regular people and celebrities are good source targets for her style. That’s no coincidence. Celebrities of course want to tell us in excruciating detail who they are and what they’re doing. The ones who don’t, don’t do interviews. Regular people are able to have their normal, average lives illuminated or their unique experiences discussed and their insights, positive or negative heard.
That’s a unique platform for human beings—-to be seen. It’s like she’s standing in front of the spotlight but the light is blazing from behind her and that person, famous, infamous, or not is the sole focus. She’s a lens, more so than the controlling camera we normally see TV through. She’s also a speaking lens that asks questions we might want to know. Like when she asked a proud porn star who’d done hundreds of porno scenes with men: “Don’t you get sore from all that sex?” It’s a blunt, innocent, but honest question that we would all contemplate.
  • Personal Truth & Worth. This is different than Authenticity in that she has directly owned being rich. If you notice most celebrities don’t talk about it. She asks other people questions about their wealth (what they value, their worth) as if she doesn’t have a dime. That directed truth resides in a lack of shame that many of us hold about money. She stands on a principled idea in understanding her worth in a way that most of us don’t. I think this is directly related to Authenticity.
If your job were to be you and there was a remuneration placed upon that two things would happen—-your ego would have to be measured in the sense that you would consciously be conscious of being yourself and not being false, the pressure then becomes to really answer all of this from your deepest self which puts on the pressure to know your deepest self. Secondly you understand the value of your self. If you keep digging through yourself, not in a gauche way putting a price tag on bits and pieces of yourself, but understanding the expanded value, you’re going to know your worth in a very big way.
Most people don’t know that, their worth is assigned to them by a job. (“You are worth $50,000 a year doing this work.”) Most people think they might be worth more but they don’t have a quantitative assessment (feedback) of their qualitative value so they don’t have a way to negotiate that. She has experienced this on a personal and professional level for most of her adult life, which gives her a different kind of ego experience and therefore a different way to suggest people evaluate themselves to be able to surmise their own self worth. She is then no longer measuring worth by simple material currency, she’s asking a much deeper question because she has had the experience in having to constantly and consistently know the answer for her.
What she has maturely learned is to have a message, a point, to codify this into a mission, a mission statement, a vision, a quantification of what she knows and believes from her own experience as a teachable source of information and discernment.
  • Translation. She has given us access to celebrity, t fame in many ways through not only interviewing people but also talking about her own experience of not being famous and then gradually becoming more and more famous. Again, if you notice most celebrities don’t talk about it progressively at length from soup to nuts. She’s given us a personal insight by turning that spotlight onto herself in an introspective way.
    1. What does it mean to be famous and rich?
    2. Why did you buy that thing? What does it mean to have a relationship in the the fame bubble?
    3. What values do you look for in people?
    4. How do you conceive of yourself, your work?
    5. What are your barometers for choice when you have unlimited choices?
    6. What is true choice then?
She purposefully translates that by maintaining an openness to the point that we almost allow her a privacy. Most celebrities find themselves in a mid level atmosphere of the struggle for privacy after constantly seeking to get the spotlight on them. She translates that she’s a relatively normal person in the spotlight and then turns and cuts off the spotlight at times and because she’s given to us, given enough, there’s less of press to be intrusive.
I’m sure that’s not the constant common experience but her fame doesn’t look out of control, it looks controlled, deliberate, after years of pruning it like a garden. Therefore, like anyone who has tended a garden for decades, she is and appears in control. True control is not weight and oppression it’s diligence, systems, strategy, tactics, goals, thoughtfulness, reflection, experimentation and repetition.
  • Honing. By concentrating the above in the most powerful spotlight on the planet, television, she has ridden TV, the artificial God, into the consciousness, the Zeitgeist of America and the world. If your TV or phone or videos or movies are on more than a couple of hours a day, it’s your God, whether you want to admit it or not.
    • Do you pray that long?
    • Meditate that long?
    • Volunteer that long?
    • As many hours as you interact with entertainment?
By being able to ride this medium she is a part of “the world” as most people conceive it through the medium. By polishing that attachment, that relationship to the medium, which in turn is constantly infusing into the consciousness of society, she becomes important down to the essence of brain science.
We have a piece in our brain: The reticular formation is a set of interconnected nuclei that are located throughout the brainstem. The reticular formation is not anatomically well defined because it includes neurons located in diverse parts of the brain. The neurons of the reticular formation make up a complex set of networks in the core of the brainstem that stretches from the upper part of the midbrain to the lower part of the medulla oblongata. Neurons of the reticular formation, particularly those of the ascending reticular activating system, play a crucial role in maintaining behavioral arousal and consciousness. The reticular formation has projections to the thalamus and cerebral cortex that allow it to exert some control over which sensory signals reach the cerebrum and come to our conscious attention. It plays a central role in states of consciousness like alertness and sleep. Injury to the reticular formation can result in irreversible coma.
What this also does is it allows us to recognize people and this goes back to when we were in tribes of a hundred people, you couldn’t have a deep personal relationship with each person but you had to know for safety’s sake who was in the tribe and therefore trustworthy.
What celebrity is in essence, which is why you see so many celebrities taking pictures, being on TV, movies, the internet, is it’s/they are trying to imprint onto that part of our consciousness.
Familiarity breeds celebrity through medium.
Now imagine that someone is able to Hone and Harness that with their Authentic self and a deeply thought out message of how to establish and measure and enact self worth after years of training to expertise level Ability, which manifests as the ability to Translate themselves, their authentic self along the medium.
And now you know how did Oprah Winfrey become such an important and powerful person and what her social significance is.

Smile, Kyle

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