It ain't a zero-sum game, and Oprah knows it. Check out what she said in a speech in Baltimore this week:
"I have lots of things, like all these Manolo Blahniks. I have all that and I think it's great. I'm not one of those people like, 'Well, we must renounce ourselves.' No, I have a closet full of shoes and it's a good thing.
I was coming back from Africa on one of my trips. I had taken one of my wealthy friends with me. She said, 'Don't you just feel guilty? Don't you just feel terrible?'
I said, 'No, I don't. I do not know how me being destitute is going to help them.' Then I said when we got home, 'I'm going home to sleep on my Pratesi sheets right now and I'll feel good about it.' "
Good for you, Oprah. You earned your Manolos and your 56,000 thread-count sheets and you should enjoy them. Having them does not mean that others have less. In fact, Oprah is a perfect example of how one person's success can create wealth for others. She is an industry that creates best-sellers (sometimes not the best books...), employs hundreds, and gives away millions of dollars worth of merchandise to regular Americans who visit her show.
For all of that, I think she can have some Manolos and not feel bad about it. I don't much care for Oprah-- the messages she sends or her show-- but I like the fact that she's not spending her time fulfilling the silly Hollywood social obligation to feel guilty about her deserved success.
The rest of Hollywood, however, will not like this. Good thing she's Oprah. Nobody messes with Oprah.