Oprah Winfrey says she has never read A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations, so she decided to select them for the Oprah Book Club, and viewers have until the end of January before she begins discussing the two novels by Charles Dickens on her television show.
The selection of these two novels seems particularly apt for this period in American history, economics, and politics. Given the extension of the Bush tax cuts, “it’s the best of times” for Americans making over $250,000 annually, and “it’s the worst of times” for the 9.8% of Americans who are currently unemployed, and who are in desperate need of “anonymous benefactors” to tide them over the Yuletide. Great expectations, indeed, as the wealthy splurge on gifts for each other at Neiman Marcus, while the poor hunt for treasures in Goodwill and Salvation Army stores all over America.
As for Oprah herself, I don’t know about you, but I find it truly grotesque and pathetic, how the needy people in her studio audience shriek and scream and cry and jump up for joy when she plays Santa and “shares the wealth” by handing out luxury cars and dream houses to people who probably cannot even afford health insurance. Great expectations, indeed. It looks more like Oliver Twist to me. “Please, ma’m, can I have more?”