And now, Scary-Crayon reviews... "O, The Oprah Magazine"; April 2011 Issue by: Wes

Has anyone out there been with us long enough to remember our "O, The Oprah Magazine" cover reviews? You know, those articles in which we'd look at the cover (though sometimes we'd peek inside the magazines as well) and speculate on the stupidity of the articles therein? It's a rhetorical question -- you can't very well answer me in realtime -- but if you do recall those articles (or take some time to read them now), you know that I wasn't at all enamored with the 'zine. Even really great articles would have had an exceedingly difficult time living up to the praises posted on the cover, and what I often found therein was shallow bullshit that could hardly be expected to satisfy the most vapid of Oprah Winfrey's devotees -- and yet, nearly a decade later, the magazine is still going strong. How the flip is that possible?!

Maybe, just maybe, it's because the magazine is good now. No, better than good -- it's freaking awesome. Amazing, even. As the 9th Doctor would say, it's fantastic. I'm being totally serious here.

The Oprah Magazine -- Guaranteed to help you live your best life!!!!!!!!!!

I mean, just look at what the April 2011 issue of "O, The Oprah Magazine" contains! And I can almost assuredly guarantee you that there's no exaggeration here -- you really will find everything this cover boasts within its pages, and it really will be as fantabulously wonderful as this cover makes it out to be. This is only a cover review not because there's no freaking way in Pluto's underworld that I'd actually pay for a new issue of O off the rack, but because if I actually set about reviewing this magazine in full I'd have to dedicate the entire site to it -- and only then if I survived, because truly reading and seeking to comprehend this magazine in full must be like looking into the face of Almighty God. My flesh and skin would melt right off my diminutive frame and the skeleton beneath would burst into flame. And even though my toasty roasting skeleton would be dancing a merry jig due to the enlightenment that Oprah brings with every single one of her hot dog-and-mustard-scented breaths, I'm not quite sure I'm ready to end up like that just yet.

The Best Beauty Products of the Year!Moving along, let's discuss the magazine's apparent contents -- starting with the least fantastic of the cover's claims. Even in my more cynical days, I'd have granted that Oprah (and/or the numerous paid researchers and beauty consultants on her staff) could probably give a reasonably informed endorsement of popular beauty products. After all -- even when you're not standing in front of the mirror and doing the work yourself -- you don't routinely go from looking only slightly better than the Cryptkeeper to someone who totally doesn't horrify small children without learning a thing or two about makeup brands! Even so, I imagine Oprah's beauty product endorsements are infinitely more awesome than those you might find in a dedicated beauty magazine. Let's face it, most of the women in those mags are probably kinda pretty without any makeup on (and funny when they tell the punchline wrong), whereas Oprah... well. Let's just say that if two Justin Hartleys are vouching for beauty products and one of those Justin Hartleys is actually Gollum, I'd be more inclined to believe Gollum Hartley's testimony.

Eating Fabulously on $40 a WeekAgain, intuitively, this claim isn't particularly impressive. Assuming that a consumer is only buying for oneself rather than a family -- and that one's buying one's food from the supermarket (which the mention of a "grocery list" suggests), as opposed to eating out -- it's entirely possible for an individual to spend just $40 a week on food. Heck, considering that a person can get seven days' worth of eating while spending just $1 for a loaf of sliced bread, $3 for a dozen eggs, and $2.50 for a container of oatmeal, it's possible for one to spend considerably less. But would that be eating fabulously? I have no idea; I don't know what that word means in this context. BUT this is Oprah, and she's totally not skinny (for the time being), so I'm guessing that eating fabulously must entail eating a whole bunch of rich and deliciously fattening stuff. Stuffed potatoes, succulent oysters, fatty toro sushi, rare salmon burgers, strawberry cheesecake, gourmet ice cream -- and more -- every day of the week? That sounds pretty goddamned fabulous to me, and Oprah can totally guarantee that you'll eat like a queen (or king) while spending just $40. AWESOME! Particularly because you'll need to save the rest of your money for that gym membership or larger clothing. In any case, I sincerely doubt that "fabulously" is some meaningless buzzword to describe the same items you'd buy at the grocery store anyway when treating yourself during your birthday week, because an individual would really have to be splurging (or shopping at Safeway) to spend $40 for seven days' worth of food at your average supermarket. No, sir! Oprah Winfrey is bloody amazing and is in no way horrifically out of touch with the shopping habits of even a remotely price-conscious grocery shopper.

Optimism 101: 5 Steps to Improve Your Outlook -- and Your HealthAnd once again, this claim isn't all that difficult to believe. Five steps to improve your outlook? I can tell you how to go about that that in five words paraphrased from Fleetwood Mac: "tell [yourself] sweet little lies." But this is "O, The Oprah Magazine"! So I'm absolutely certain that Oprah's five steps contain some really robust and compelling information on how to become an optimistic person that goes far beyond the conventional and quite frankly unconvincing bull you get in coffee table self-help books with pages upon pages of platitudes. And it'll make you healthier, too? Oh, snap! I'm sure that's not backed up in the magazine with some completely intuitive notion like "people who described themselves as 'optimistic' felt better and lived longer" (no shit; feeling terrible and dying would tend to darken one's outlook) as presented in a quotation from some random PhD so it sounds more convincing to the kind of dimwit who doesn't think a statement has value unless it comes from Oprah Winfrey herself or people with letters after their names. Today's "O, The Oprah Magazine" would never ever ever be that shallow or predictable! After all, it bears Oprah's name, and she's like the second coming of Jesus Christ with a better wardrobe and slightly less facial hair.

How Doing What You Love Can Make You RichOkay, now we're talking. How doing what you love can make you rich! And there's no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Oprah's not talking about "rich" in terms of spirit or satisfaction -- that's the definition that truly rich people use to keep the rest of us content in their disgusting exploitation of us so that we don't rise up and chop off their greedy heads in a spectacular bloody uprising -- but rather the filthy stinking monetary wealth that Oprah Winfrey enjoys due to her peddling of shallow and unoriginal and positively asinine "wisdom" that sheeple devour like starved maggots burrowing into the bloated putrefying corpse of all that is edifying and righteous in the world brilliance that enriches her devotees and truly allows them to live their best lives. I also have no doubt that the article doesn't feature "inspiring" quotes from a handful of people who actually did get criminally rich by doing what they love, because that totally wouldn't be convincing at all against the backdrop of the millions of people who followed their hearts and desires and nevertheless died penniless and shivering in the gutter. No, I'm sure that this particular article is so instructive that it'll teach a dedicated crackhead how to become a multimillionaire while defiantly spitting on the words "rehabilitation" and "sobriety."

The One Diet Tip You've Never Heard Before

This one's even more impressive. Despite all of the diet tips Oprah's devotees have undoubtedly heard -- including on the myriad of weight loss episodes that Oprah's aired throughout the 25 years her talk show has been on the air -- this magazine confidently boasts that, on page 138, it contains the one diet tip that will be new even to them. That's an amazingly bold claim! It gets even bolder when one considers that the cover didn't appear to be imbued with any special technology that enabled the text to change. (Admittedly, I didn't pick it up when I saw it on the supermarket rack -- so I can't say for certain -- but it looked like regular glossy magazine paper to me.) Why is this important, you ask? Well, if someone were to read the cover, then flip to page 138 to learn this mysterious diet tip, and then flip back to the cover, then the cover's assertion would no longer be true: page 138 would no longer contain the one diet tip that the reader has never heard before, because the reader would have heard it when he/she read it moments earlier. (In order to avoid a technicality, we'll assume that the reader read it aloud, or even had someone read it aloud to him/her, such that it was heard rather than simply having been read.) And since we all know that Oprah's undeniable greatness means that it's patently impossible for any of the claims on her magazine's covers to be anything less than divine truth, this means that the amazing technology that ensures the infallibility of this statement likely lies within the magazine, on page 138 itself. Perhaps the page not only contains a hidden database of every worthwhile dieting tip, but also has the awesome ability to comb the depths of your mind and memories such that it can always identify one tip that you've never heard before: which, each time you turn to the page, it will then display for your reading pleasure. Or perhaps -- even more fantastically! -- the page is imbued with time travel technology, such that, each time you behold its esoteric dieting wisdom and begin to close the magazine, it turns the clock back to a time before you made that discovery: with the result that the cover is always correct that you've never heard this dieting tip because it perpetually exists in a time before you heard it.

Of course, this would prevent you from ever actually implementing said dieting tip -- and therefore call its "shocking ease" into question, as it's hardly easy and especially not shockingly easy to act on knowledge being perpetually stolen from you by a reversal of the flow of time -- but perhaps the tip is so shockingly simple that one can adhere to it even without knowing it. Perhaps the magazine simply advises you to sleep on a nightly basis, since falling asleep is something we do without being told and arguably constitutes dieting since most people don't suffer from nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder. Or perhaps the tip is indeed fast, smart, and shockingly easy, but is something that people haven't heard because it's decidedly objectionable in other ways. Perhaps the magazine tells would-be dieters to kill themselves -- using a fast, reliable (thus "smart"), and shockingly easy method, of course -- since dead people don't eat and ultimately lose weight as a result of having their organs removed and being cremated or decomposing in the ground.

Except it can't be either of those, since you've just heard them here.

Words That Soothe, Ideas That Delight -- 36 Pages You'll Want to Keep Forever!

And here's what Oprah's really about -- everything she so selflessly does out of the goodness of her grotesquely enlarged bleeding heart she does in order to inspire the best in each and every one of us. God bless you, Oprah! You are truly a wonderful, wonderful woman who shouldn't at all be set upon by jackals in the woods and torn limb from wet quivering limb for your persistent assaults on the collective intellect of the human race! Yet even for the wisdom with which Oprah consistently blesses us, this article must really be something special: it contains a whopping 36 pages of inked enlightenment. Furthermore, these 36 pages of words that soothe and ideas that delight -- I can already feel the love and inspiration swelling within my colon like a cancerous polyp, and I have no intention of reading the article! -- will be things we'll want to keep with us forever.

Now, that's a really, really, really presumptuous assertion. I'd be less inclined to raise an eyebrow if the cover simply claimed that the reader would enjoy these 36 pages, or that they contained life-changing advice (which really isn't that bold a claim, as long as the extent of the change is left unstated; technically, albeit in some insignificant capacity, I'm changing your life right now!), or maybe even that they contained powerful motivational remarks that an individual might want to keep with him/her for an unspecified length of time. Heck, I wouldn't even be that shocked if the cover said that those pages contained ideas or statements that one might want to remember forever, since most people probably wouldn't feel too good if they forgot generic positive stuff like "you are loved" or your life is not wholly without value." But Oprah here tells us that we'll want to keep these pages with us forever: which means that they must contain wisdom so spectacularly deep that it'd be impossible for us to commit it to memory in all of its abundant beatific soul-elevating glory, or at least words and images so surpassingly magnificent that one would prefer to possess physical representations of them at all times rather than the unreliable facsimile that would exist within one's mind. And with the exception of my integrity and fond memories and mementos of my family and three friends -- which I'm pretty sure aren't actually depicted or described within those 36 pages, though if the magazine contains mind-reading and realtime content-altering technology this could indeed be the case -- the only things I can think of that I want to keep with me forever in some tangible form are Madballs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Doctor Who, and Lena Headey, preferably in her role as Sarah Connor.

OH. MY. GOD.

O.M.G.

Could these things be what those 36 pages contain?!?!?!? YES! I haven't read the pages, but considering Oprah's transcendent wisdom and ubiquitous presence and supreme benevolence -- and her infallible assertion that I'll want to keep those pages with me forever -- those pages must contain an awesome illustrated crossover between those four objects of my eternal adoration. Perhaps one of those pages is even an order form that will allow me to send away for the perfect action figure representation of each of those three properties and that one lovely, lovely woman! Granted, I wouldn't necessarily want to keep that one page with me forever, because I'd want to send it off immediately in order to claim my prize, but maybe Oprah Winfrey will have that form sent back to me with a personal note and declaration of love -- hell, I'll even settle for friendship and hugs -- from one Lena Headey, which would indeed make it something I'd want to keep with me forever. Or maybe the order form is the 37th page, and hence is rightfully excluded from the claim on the cover.

Dang, now I'm really regretting not picking up that magazine when I had the opportunity. Admittedly, I got kind of carried away with the above digression, as -- even though Oprah is so mighty and wonderful -- those 36 pages probably don't have anything to do with Madballs, Ninja Turtles, Doctor Who, or Lena Headey. But if they don't, and I'll want to keep them with me forever -- which I most certainly will, since Oprah's magazine said so on the cover, of all places -- that must mean that they're even more amazing than that. My mind can't even fathom the existence of something that boasts such unparallelled radiance.

Oprah Shares Her Private Journals!But of course the greatest thing about this particular issue -- which is why it's got featured placement in the upper right-hand corner of the magazine cover -- is that it features Oprah's private journals. I'm really trying not to freak out here! I can barely type straight (so please excuse any typos; that's totally the reason), my face is drenched in anticipatory sweat and kettle-corn-flavored tears of syrupy mirth, and I'm rubbing my bottom back and forth on my chair like a horny longhaired cat with tapeworms. OPRAH SHARES HER PRIVATE JOURNALS!!! That's like, even better than the Bible, since even the most devout Christian believes that God used mediums -- the disciples, prophets, what have you -- to spread His holy word. But this? This here? That's a thirst-quenching cup straight from the fount of overflowing divinity.

In fact, I'm thinking maybe there's some repetition on that cover: aside from the quadrifecta of unbridled awesome described above, perhaps the only other reasonable thing that 36 pages I'll want to keep forever could contain are selections from Oprah Winfrey's private journals. I know the rest of her happy zombie slaves will agree! Shit, considering how amazing the other claims on the cover are, perhaps the whole magazine consists of Oprah's excerpted journals. The best beauty products of the year? Yeah, I see how that could be worthy of a journal entry! Eating fabulously on $40 a week? Come on, it's Oprah -- you know damned well she's writing about her manifold meals, and I wouldn't be surprised if there are frequent ellipses in this section because the grease smears rendered the actual journal pages illegible. That doesn't make Oprah any less magical, mind you; it's probably a good thing that you can't read her wisdoms in their entirety lest live unicorns hatch within your mind and burst galloping forth from your skull with brain chunks still clinging to their spiraling horns and skull fragments stuck in their rainbow-colored manes. Optimism 101? What could possibly be more encouraging than the actual honest-to-goodness observations of Oprah freakin' Winfrey?!? How doing what you love can make you rich? Oprah knows all about that, and "write what you know" is pretty universal as far as writing tips go -- so I doubt even Oprah would dispense with that one (even though, since the woman possesses a bountiful wealth of knowledge concerning all things on Heaven and Earth, that advice could justify her writing about any topic). The one diet tip you've never heard before! Aha, now I understand how this one works! Maybe you have heard it before -- but if you haven't heard it from Oprah, it totally doesn't count. Oprah's all about dieting, so that could indeed be a journal topic. And the rest... well, we've noted how the rest could indeed be journal-worthy.

The power of Oprah compels you.

Of course, if the entire April 2011 issue of "O, The Oprah Magazine" consists of excerpts from Oprah's journals, then the whole thing would be something we'd want to keep with us forever -- not just 36 pages. But you see there? That's just evidence of Oprah's great modesty! She could have bragged that every single page in the magazine is so impossibly edifying that you'll want to get its text and images tattooed on every inch of your naked skin so you can always have it with you, but instead she only boasted of the surpassing worth of 36 pages. Oh Oprah, Oprah, humble Oprah Winfrey. I can't think of anyone more worthy of our fawning worship and neverending gratitude.

-- Wes --
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