Suspiciously timed for a week in which some are already talking Armageddon, Oprah Winfrey welcomed a flock of some 20,000 worshippers to Chicago’s United Center last night, where they bore witness to an endless procession of genuflection from all of her famous friends. Among those who came to kneel before her in a stadium covered with graven images of Oprah: Tom Hanks, Maya Angelou, Michael Jordan, Jerry Seinfeld, Simon Cowell, Halle Berry, Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning, Diane Sawyer, and Madonna. As she sat upon her throne, Beyoncé, Kristen Chenoweth, Jamie Foxx, Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Patti LaBelle, Usher, and Rosie O’Donnell joined voices to sing hosannas for her.
Aretha Franklin even dedicated “Amazing Grace” to Oprah after her longtime “partner” Stedman Graham expressed his “amazement” over Oprah’s ability to “change people’s lives every day” through all of her “sacrifices.” And as living testimony to Oprah’s healing power, Maria Shriver showed up on the same day it was revealed that Arnold Schwarzenegger had fathered a child outside their marriage, and found herself renewed in Oprah’s benevolent embrace “wrapped tightly around her shoulders.”
Oprah’s light also encircled the less fortunate, with the assembled meek (who cried into the “boxes of tissues on scattered seats throughout the audience”) offering idolization—“She’s a blueprint of what I would like to become,” one woman said—and talking about her in unnerving terms of ascension: “I think we've gotten everything we could have and more than we should have from her," said another 70-year-old disciple. "If she feels it's time to go, we have to release her.” Really?
And if all this weren’t enough to rile the “Oprah Is The Antichrist” theorists—many of whom have long pointed to the establishment of The Church Of Oprah as a sign of the end times—Oprah’s godless Scientologist friends Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, John Travolta, Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith openly praised her as an earthbound messiah, with Cruise telling Oprah she “always had the power, and that is the message you brought into our lives.”
Later, the Smiths took it one step further by declaring that Winfrey had “mothered millions… and that puts you in the status of a goddess.” Seriously, why not just wheel out a golden calf and slather it in lamb’s blood? No satellite shout-out from Mammon? Anyway, finally wrapping things up after over two hours of this, Oprah herself offered this telling benediction: “It feels like the Rapture.” Great. Thanks a lot.