Oprah by Anton Chang

Persons of the Dialogue:

Oprah Winfrey

Hugh Hefner

Jenna Jameson

‘Dr Phil’ McGraw

Woody Allen

Jennifer Aniston


Oprah’s Life Class Showcase show in a late night time slot on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).

The following program is rated M:

Contains: Satire, Adult themes, sexual references and some philosophy.

Oprah: Thank-you. Wow. Thank-you. I want to deal with an issue that has become more and more difficult for me over the years. As one of the most beloved television personalities in the world, the what, why and who of love has always been with me. But, what is Love (eros) really? It is a difficult and very personal issue, and it seems, particularly where I am concerned, a controversial one. So, when faced with a difficult issue requiring definition, like anyone else, I turn to celebrities. While I think we all know that celebrities are expert in all things. In this case, I’m sure that they know what true love is because it is an “…awful state of love they’re in , wanting to become famous and ‘to lay up glory immortal forever,’…”(Plato, 2006, (208d8) p. 69).

Please welcome my guests; Hugh Heffner, Jenna Jameson, Dr Phil, Woody Allen and Jennifer Aniston.

Now for most people “…their offspring, as they hope, will preserve their memory and giving them the blessedness and immortality which they desire in the future.” (Plato, 2008, p. 46). But for those of us who like to think, maybe because ‘that’ ship has sailed, that they are “more pregnant in their souls than in their bodies,…” (Plato, 2006, (208e6) p. 69); our ‘projects’ are our babies. When we are working on projects, we want to be “…giving birth in beauty,…” (Plato, 2006, (206b6) p. 67). By this, I mean creating good that will last forever. It’s a kind of immortality and for me, that is what happiness is. It is only through ‘Love’ that we can possess this beauty forever. So, how do you climb the ladder of ‘Love’ to ‘happiness’ (cf. Eudaimonia). Let’s look at “how to use joy to fuel your life and becom(e) all you were meant to be.” (About Oprah’s Lifeclass n.d.).

Woody: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying.” (Allen, 1977).

Oprah: Ok Woody, let me wish you luck with that. For the rest of us, to be and do good, we need to take the first step in gaining an understanding of ‘Love’ which is to understand true beauty. To understand true beauty, one must admire beautiful forms, this all starts with the love of one body. Hugh Hefner is one who sort “…in his youth to devote himself to beautiful bodies.” ((Plato, 2006, (210a4) p71). Hugh, it’s a pretty well-known story, but for our audience, how did it all start for you?

Hugh: Well as you said Oprah, for me it was the love of a particular beautiful body. Marilyn Monroe.

Oprah: Yes, Marilyn. Wasn’t she your first Playmate in 1953?

Hugh: That’s right. Well we didn’t call our centrefolds that initially, in the beginning they were called Sweethearts.

Oprah: She was your first sweetheart then?

Hugh: And she remains to this day, for me, the ultimate sex symbol. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for her. I never got the chance to meet her, but “When I found that the crypt next door to Marilyn’s was available, it seemed natural.” (Mount, 2005). I mean, a natural place for me to end up, next to the woman who started it all for me.

Oprah: Eternity beside Marilyn?

Hugh: Beside her being the operative word. The guy in the crypt above hers was reportedly placed face down. Now that is taking the love of one body too far.

Oprah: Yes, Ok. Well this brings us to the next step toward the appreciation of true beauty, you need to move past loving just one body and “…become a lover of all beautiful bodies,…” (Plato, 2006, (210b4) p71). Hugh, you “must think that this wild gaping after just one body is a small thing and despise it.” (Plato, 2006, (210b5) p.71).

Hugh: Yes, definitely. One of the reasons behind the switch from ‘Sweetheart’ to ‘Playmate’ was that for our sales to grow, our readership needed to be able to move on to the new girl, the very next month. A sweetheart is a significant other, we needed a partner in play, a ‘playmate’.

Oprah: Isn’t that a childish term to apply to a woman?

Hugh: Oprah, I don’t think I’m the one who’s been listening to the pederasts.

Oprah: But look how far you have taken it. You’ve ‘barbiefied’ women. I mean, as we have said, your empire began in 1953 with a sell-out magazine featuring a centrefold of Marilyn Monroe. And we agree that in many ways she made you who you are today. Do you think that if the non-celebrity Norma Jeane Baker (c1949) came to you today, that she would get a centrefold in Playboy?

Hugh: I would really like to say, eh, yes. But today, I think we’d be sending her off to the tanning salon, suggesting some epilation, cosmetic dentistry and plastic surgery. Our Playmates have a particular look nowadays.

Oprah: So, for you, for a body to be beautiful it has to look the same. While for me “…the beauty of all bodies is one and the same.” (Plato, 2006, (210b2) p71).

Hugh: Well, yes. I definitely have a ‘type’ and I still choose the photo’s we publish.

Jennifer: I don’t have a type. “I’ve gone for each type: the rough guy; the nerdy, sweet, lovable guy; and the slick guy. I don’t really have a type. Men in general are a good thing.”

Oprah: Well, beautiful bodies in general are a good thing. And for Hugh, there have been a lot of beautiful bodies. Hugh, you have probably been responsible for more orgasms than anyone else on the face of the planet.

Hugh: Why, thank you Oprah. I’ve done my best.

Oprah: I was thinking more of the autoerotic behaviour of your readership.

Woody: “Hey, don’t knock masturbation! It’s sex with someone I love.” (Allen, 1977).

Dr Phil: “It’s better to be healthy alone, than sick with someone else.” (Fry, n. d.).

Oprah: Ok, ok. That’s probably another show. The point I’m trying to make is, drooling over airbrushed 2D cookie cutter representations of beautiful bodies isn’t the real love connection.

Hugh: “Playboy isn’t like the downscale, male bonding, beer-swilling phenomena that is being promoted now, …. My whole notion was the romantic connection between male and female.” (Sherwell, 2010).

Oprah: Right, ok. So, the soul mate thing is… I mean you “must think that the beauty of people’s souls is more valuable than the beauty of their bodies,..” (Plato, 2006, (210b7) p71) that’s the next step to a true understanding of ‘Love’.

Hugh: You are starting to lose me now.

Woody: If I may. “…when we fall in love, we are seeking to re-find all or some of the people to whom we were attached as children. On the other hand, we ask our beloved to correct all of the wrongs that these early parents or siblings inflicted upon us. So that love contains in it, the ‘contradiction’. The attempt to return to the past and the attempt to undo the past.” (Allen, 1989).

Oprah: Very Freudian of you, Woody. But the ‘Love’ I’m climbing toward is where once you can see “…the beauty of people’s souls…” (Plato, 2006, (210b7) p71) you are “…forced to gaze at the beauty of (their) activities…” (Plato, 2006, (210c2) p71). Having recognized the beauty of activities, you “…will see the beauty of knowledge…” (Plato, 2006, (210c7) p71) upon which the activity is based.

Jennifer: Oprah, Oprah. Love is something you hold inside, isn’t it? “True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.” (Streiber, 2004). It’s something that is reciprocated, isn’t it?

Oprah: Well Jen, I would say you think “Love was being loved, rather than being a lover.” (Plato, 2006, (204c) p64). I’m speaking more generally… or maybe abstractly. I was alluding to someone “who has beheld beautiful things in the right order and correctly, is coming now to the goal of Loving…” (Plato, 2006, (210e2) p71) ‘Beauty’ “itself by itself with itself” (Plato, 2006, (211b) p72 everlasting, unchanging and irrelative. Once you can see “Beauty in the only way Beauty can be seen…” (Plato, 2006, (212a4) p72) it will become “possible…to give birth…to true virtue.” (Plato, 2006, (212a6) p72).

Woody: Hang on, hang on. Let me get this straight. To understand love, I need to be able to see a divine absolute pure Beauty, after which I can give birth to true virtue because I know what is truly beautiful and therefore ‘good’. And thereby achieve fame and the glory immortal. So, basically the ‘good’ is good and it’s in our human nature to want “to possess the good forever.” (Plato, 2006, (207a) p67).

Oprah: Yes and “… human nature can find no better workmate for acquiring this than Love.” (Plato, 2006, (212b2) p73).

Woody: Well! Not dying sounds a lot easier to me!

Oprah: Oh Woody, I worry about your soul. Which is a nice segue. Coming up after the break, we bring Jenna Jameson into the conversation and ask; how many souls are in your shoes or why you leave your shoes on while filming a sex scene.



By Anton Chang

PhD Candidate in Philosophy



About Oprah’s Lifeclass OWN, Available from: http://www.oprah.com/own/About-Oprahs-Lifeclass. [18 May2016].

Annie Hall. (Script) Directed by Woody Allen. Los Angeles, CA: United Artists, 1977. Available from: http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/annie_hall.html [18 May2016]

Crimes and Misdemeanors Directed by Woody Allen. 1989. (Quote) Available from: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097123/quotes [18 May2016].

Fry, E. Quotes from Oprah’s Experts – Dr. Phil McGraw Quotations About.com Available from: http://oprah.about.com/od/oprahquotes/a/Quotes-From-Oprahs-Experts-Dr-Phil-McgrawQuotations.html [18 May2016].

Plato. Symposium. Trans. Jowett, B. Forgotten Books, 2008. (eBook)

Plato. Symposium. Trans. Nehamas, A. & Woodruff, P. Reproduced in : Plato, Plato on love: Lysis — Symposium — Phaedrus — Alcibiades, with selections from Republic – Laws. Ed. C.D.C. Reeve. Indianapolis: Hackett, 2006.

Mount, Harry. I decided it was time to thin the herd The Telegraph (UK), 2005. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3648363/I-decided-it-was-time-to-thin-theherd.html. [18 May2016].

Sherwell, P. Hugh Hefner sued for not taking care of business The Telegraph (UK), 2010. Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/7231259/Hugh-Hefnersued-for-not-taking-care-of-business.html [18 May2016].

Streiber, Art. “Oprah talks to Jennifer Aniston: that hair! That face! That TV show! That guy she’s married to! The woman who makes you happy it’s Thursday opens up about love, intimacy, poker games, girlfriends, working out, tabloid hell–and saying farewell to ten glorious years of Friendsship.(The O Interview)(Interview).” O, The Oprah Magazine. February, 2004. HighBeam Research. Available from: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-113154864.html [18 May2016]

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