Actually, that’s not entirely true: I’ve never seen a full episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show. That’s not to say I have anything against Oprah; I’m just usually working when it’s on and I don’t have TiVo. But, that’s also not to say that I have not been affected firsthand by the Oprah Effect.
One day at the gym, I got on the elliptical to do my hour (which I always rationalize into a half hour) just as Oprah was ending. She dedicated the last five minutes of her show to raving about this novel that blew her mind. She said, "It's so engaging, so gripping, so epic, that I wanted absolutely everybody to share the joy of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle." And after that, apparently I wanted to share in her joy because, based solely on Oprah’s endorsement, I am the proud owner of a copy of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle- and I also bought one for a friend.
Oprah doesn’t have opinions. As soon as words leave her mouth, they become fact. If something makes Oprah’s favorites list, then it is unquestionably awesome. If she thinks that a strange, bald man should dictate the state of the nation’s mental health, then he will.
We, however, are not Oprah. Our opinions are simply opinions. Because our opinions are opinions, there are certain words we can eliminate from our writing.
For example, imagine you wrote to me
In my opinion, this book is wonderful.
I know that the book’s wonderfulness is your opinion. You’re not Oprah; just because you say something is wonderful doesn’t make it so. Therefore, you can eliminate the words in my opinion from your sentence and just write
This book is wonderful.
We can, therefore, also eliminate the words I think from our sentences.
I think these Rachel Pally sailor pants are awesome.
I know it’s what you think. You’re the one writing this, aren’t you? Just write
These Rachel Pally sailor pants are awesome.
I'll make up my mind about what I think of them.
What’s that? The sailor pants were on a list of Oprah’s favorite things? Oh, sorry, it’s official; they are awesome.