The increased tendency for people to publicly describe their feelings and emotions and confess their past indiscretions.
Example Citation:
The new president may bring back any number of people from the first Bush administration, but he inherits a media world far different from the one his father left behind eight years ago, before the explosion of 24-hour news and the Oprahization of politics.
— Caryn James, "The Inauguration," The New York Times, January 21, 2001
Earliest Citation:
The Oprahization of our culture — the astonishing propensity to tell all, even the most sacred, private things to an audience of strangers — has fueled the Bobbitt case.
— Molly Mayfield, "The Bobbitt tragicomedy," Denver Rocky Mountain News, January 16, 1994
Poor Oprah Winfrey just can't catch a break. From the tabloids' obsession with her weight, to getting snubbed by lit-snob Jonathan Franzen (author of The Corrections), to being part of David Letterman's embarrassing Oscar night "Oprah/Uma" thing, there always seems to be a sling or arrow coming her way. And now she's being blamed for our current "culture of confession." Still, when you're worth 600 million dollars (talk about "outrageous fortune"), I guess you can take a barb or two.
This term isn't likely to become a staple of cocktail party conversations since it doesn't exactly trip lightly off the tongue. The back-to-back combination of the last syllable of Oprah and the first syllable of -ization is tough to spit out. Perhaps that's why you sometimes see the easier-to-pronounce variation, Oprahzation (oh.pruh.ZAY.shun). Note, too, the synonym Oprahfication (1993).
There's also a closely related (although less frequently seen) sense of this word that refers to the increased tendancy to view criminals as victims:
I call it the Oprahization of the jury pool," says Dan Lungren, attorney general of California. "It's the idea that people have become so set on viewing things from the Oprah view, the Geraldo view or the Phil Donahue view that they bring that into the jury box with them. And I think at base much of that tends to say, 'We don't hold people responsible for their actions because they've been the victim of some influence at some time in their life.'
— Sophronia Scott Gregory, "Oprah! Oprah in the Court!," Time, June 6, 1994
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