Oprah and Australia

This article written on ABC website called “The Drum” is basically an opinion piece about Oprah’s visit to Australia. Written by Judith Ireland who is a free lance journalist the article talks about the ridiculousness of the effort put in to accommodate Oprah, her 300 guests and 150 members of her crew and staff. The article called “The underlying cringe factor of Oprah’s visit” comments on the “Oprah Effect” and kind of outlines the sheer pointlessness of the trip itself. Ireland although does not explicitly say that the trip was a waste she comments on the ridiculousness of her itinerary. One of the things Ireland mentions is the closing down of areas, the outrage over Australian symbols and icons being ignored or passed over and the constant updates of “Oprah Watch.”

Karl Quinn who wrote an opinion article in The Sydney Morning Herald compared Oprah “as the female Santa[1].” Her effect and star power is phenomenal but Irelands problem is not with Oprah but the portrayal of Australia. She believes the perception of Australia through Oprah’s visit is still the same with no significant change being done to existing stereotypes.  The only new things learnt are “that Australian men are called “blokes”, Australian women are called “sheilas” and that we all meet up at McCafes[2].” The continuous prorogation of this stereotype does not portray Australia at all and this is the only stereotype which Oprah’s guests and American viewers receive. This is the main point of contention with Ireland and she expresses it well. She believes that more than half of the country and the country stands for is missed, she believes that foreigners only see Australia in the concept defined in one of my other sources “sun, sea and sand.” This is something which is a point of contention for Ireland, she believes the country has so much more to offer and the stereotype of Australia in the mind of the world still painfully stays the same.

“Oprah may be a force of television, but Australia isn’t a heartfelt talk show topic, endearing oddity or triumph over adversity. We are an entire country. Maybe we’re not as big as the US, as old as the UK or as important as China. But we’re a real live country all the same.”

The only good thing that perhaps arises from Oprah’s visit is the Australian spirit; friendless and open mildness is portrayed.  She thinks that Australians are seen as positive and friendly people and that is what Oprah’s visit reinforced.

This article done on the Drum provides Australian Identity as everything that is the opposite of the portrayals made in the media and popular culture, the opposite of what Oprah portrayed in her episodes as Ireland believes that Australia is much more than the 2 dimensional country portrayed in Oprah’s episodes. This brings up a good point on how Australian identity is now being redefined due to multiculturalism. How one person cannot represent the masses in a country full of diversity?

In the words of Paul Hogan “say G’day, because every day in Australia is a good day.”  This is me making my final post, hope this was interesting because I know I hated it.

[1] “When Oprah Gives, Someone Else Pays.” The Sydney Morning Herald. N.p., 22 Jan. 2011. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. <http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/when-oprah-gives-someone-else-pays-20110121-1a012.html&gt;

[2] “The Underlying Cringe Factor of Oprah’s Visit – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).” The Drum. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Aug. 2012. <http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/41924.html&gt;.


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