First came Julie Powell. She was infatuated by Julia Child and her cooking and, in a moment of inspiration (or possibly, just desperation) she set out to accomplish something. That something turned out to be cooking her way through Julia’s cookbook. Ultimately, she accomplished several somethings. She did the cooking, AND kept a daily journal of the experience in the form of a blog. The blog developed quite a following and, ultimately, became a story worth telling - thus the movie “Julie and Julia.” I, for one, loved the movie. I give Julie credit for perseverance and for coming up with the idea.
Now, comes Robyn Okrant. Robyn has just published a book entitled Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk. Robyn spent 2008, following all of the advice and recommendations made by Oprah. She read the books, bought the shoes and furniture and ate the food recommended by the media icon. She even followed Oprah’s advice and recommendations about one’s sex life. It was time consuming and costly. She estimates she spent over 1200 hours incorporating all that advice and spent at least $4,700 in the course of the year. (Incidentally, she says the sexual advice resulted in a somewhat “boring” sex life.)
Oprah claims to provide information to help her viewers and readers (of O Magazine) to live their “best life.” When asked if she found her “best life,” Robyn says she did find some clarity in areas of her life and, once the experiment was over and she could relax, she thinks she did find happiness and comfort in her life.
I don’t know. I like Oprah. I think she often gives great advice or gets me thinking about how to improve a situation BUT one size does not fit all. That goes for pantyhose, cars, jobs, and, yes, even sex lives.
I don’t think Oprah ever intended for anyone to take every word she says as gospel. I’m sure she doesn’t want all the women out here in the audience to begin thinking, acting, dressing and behaving like Stepford Wives cut from the same cloth using the same pattern. I believe she has always encouraged independent thinking, self reliance and doing what makes an individual happy with their life.
No one has heard from Oprah on this subject yet. While it may be quite flattering to have someone foster that much faith in you and your advice, it is a daunting responsibility I’m not sure she wants.
I have to think Robyn saw the basic concept executed by Julie Powell and decided to capitalize on that general idea herself. I consider her effort a basic copycat type action. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a brilliant approach. Attach Oprah’s name to anything and it will sell. I’m sure her book will rise quickly on the best-seller lists. She will make money off that $4,700 investment and it will be a great stepping stone to her further literary success in the future. She’s already making the rounds of the TV talk shows.
Robyn appears well educated (She was a graduate student at the time of her experiment.) She is obviously quite savvy in the ways of the world. (She knew who to hitch her wagon to!) I have not looked at either of her blogs. (She journaled about her experiment on Livingoprah.com and has now started a new blog entitled robynokrant.com) I’m guessing both feature paid advertising.
I’m sure there’s someone out there now trying to come up with a new twist on following Martha Stewart. Look for that new venture coming to a prison near you soon.
I’ve given it some thought. I think I’ll follow Paula Deen. I’m sure I won’t write a book about it and they’ll never ask me to do a screenplay but, who knows, maybe the butter producers of the world will beat down my door. Or maybe, I’ll just wander on down to the Deen homestead, find me a big ole lounge chair in the shade overlooking the river and share a mint julep or such with her. I’d just love to have a personal chat with her. Paula’s my kind of hero!
Paula, let's do lunch!!