During the James Frey brouhaha the one thing I focused on was how in the world Oprah Winfrey single handedly made that book (and many others) best sellers. Her impact on the book world and on our culture in general is amazing. Lee Siegel has a really good and provocative cover piece in The New Republic (free registration required) on Oprah’s message. "Thank You For Sharing" underpins the Oprah message. Understanding how big time influentials think is important simply because millions of people emulate them. Go read it.
Winfreyism is the expression of an immensely reassuring and inspiring message that has, without doubt, helped millions of people carry on with their lives. And it is also an empty, cynical, icily selfish outlook on life that undercuts its own positive energy at every turn.