Channeling Suze Orman

I was near the deadline for a column when I glanced at a TV screen. The Suze Orman Show, airing on CNBC at prime time, exerted a powerful force in my hotel room. And the fate of this column was sealed.

Orman made a big splash many years ago on public television — the incubating environment for her as a national phenom. With articulate calls for intelligent self-determination of one’s own financial future, she is a master of the long form. Humor and dramatic cadences punch up the impacts of her performances.

Seeing her the other night, within a matter of seconds, I realized that the jig was up. How could a mere underachieving syndicated columnist hope to withstand the blandishments and certainties of Suze Orman, bestselling author and revered eminence from the erudite bastions of PBS to the hard-boiled financial realms of General Electric’s CNBC?

To resist was pointless. What if I tried to write as a carping critic? After all, Suze Orman has already explained that such critics, particularly the males of the species, just resent a strong woman with the guts, smarts and determination to cast off the shackles of a retrograde past. “Ladies,” I could hear her say from the stage, with one of her magnificent flourishes, “don’t let that nonsense wreck your future.”

So, in hopes of putting myself in sync with her redemptive power, I turn the rest of this particular column over to a distillation of Suze Orman’s messaging (the following paragraphs are not quotations from Orman; they summarize the gist of her repertoire on stage):

Your money, your life. It’s as simple as that. Ladies — and you men, too — the time is past when we hold back. Not having control over our own money is something we can’t afford, and I mean that literally. We just cannot afford it.

I’ll be blunt here. Anyone who tells you there’s something wrong with getting rich and then richer has some serious unresolved problems. Heh heh.

If you want a solution, you go out and grab it. You rule money or money will rule you. People who can’t wrap their minds around that vital concept — they get nowhere.

You want to solve social problems, start with yourself. If you can’t let yourself accumulate wealth, you’re part of a social problem — like I used to be. Now I do very well, thank you, and I don’t want to hear about how some financial company is making money from my self-help website. Sure, I’m getting richer all the time. You got a problem with that?

The more people get rich, the happier I am. Even a leader of the Chinese Communists (and you know what dummies they were) said it straight out maybe 30 years ago — “it’s glorious to be rich.” The baggage we’re still carrying around tells us not to mind if some guy says it but if I as a woman make the same point then the knives come out. Ladies, to hell with that. We’re not going back.

It’s not glorious to be low-income, that’s for damn sure. I know what that’s like. Now I go back to PBS at pledge time, and they welcome me with open arms. Public broadcasting. Makes me almost sentimental. But catch me on CNBC these days, and you’ll see that I’m swimming with the big-money fish.

I was a waitress for a pathetically long time. I had to find the courage. The courage, ladies. And I did. Now look at me.

I don’t just want you to plan for the future. I want you to make enough money to buy your future: lock, stock and barrel. Money money money. I’ve got it on the brain, and I make no apology. I love money. It’s freedom, and ladies — you can earn freedom if you apply yourselves.

Some people can’t stop complaining that the economic system has winners and losers. Whether they realize it or not, that’s probably because they’re bound and determined to be losers. Well, I think it’s a heck of a lot better to be a winner — don’t you?

What kind of media future do you think I would’ve had if I chose to keep complaining about the system because of losers? I’d probably be a loser too! Not if I can help it. And I can, obviously.

So, I’m rich. And I’m trying to inform you about how to get rich, too. If you can’t make it happen, maybe you haven’t listened to my wisdom closely enough. You got a problem with that?

Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He writes the Political Culture 2013 column. Read other articles by Norman, or visit Norman's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. HR said on December 29th, 2007 at 1:31pm #

    I couldn’t believe it, and me being a cynic and all. A few Friday nights back, as I tuned to Bill Moyers, about the only thing I watch on the Propaganda Broadcasting Service, I saw that the local PBS station was going through one of its pledge drives (here in Wyoming, PBS and NPR are basically livestock “industry” and Chamber of Commerce dominated). I expected that the pledge break would end when Moyers’s time slot arrived. Instead this weird infomercial, Orman’s get-rich scheme, came on, and must have gone on for an hour or more. I kept hoping it would end, that they had simply pushed old Bill back a little … but on and on it went. Dreadful. Glancing at it from time to time was just like watching late-night commercial TV as it has existed since the early 80s. I had never seen PBS stoop so low, though I admit the Burns documentaries came close. I haven’t watched the station since. I almost called the satellite provider to resubscribe to the national PBS feed, but decided that it really wasn’t worth a buck fifty a month just to watch Moyers, especially knowing he might be canceled at any time owing to complaints from the Christofascist right. As far as I’m concerned, PBS and NPR need to redone: COMPLETE public funding; no donations, not from individuals, corporations, or (always-biased) foundations; complete independence; complete accountability.

  2. Deadbeat said on December 29th, 2007 at 7:31pm #

    but decided that it really wasn’t worth a buck fifty a month just to watch Moyers

    If you have high speed access you can watch Moyers via the Internet. You can watch the video stream of his programs.

  3. rosemarie jackowski said on December 30th, 2007 at 2:20pm #

    Good article here. Thanks, Norman. There is nothing more annoying than the Suze O Show (except maybe the Oprah Show) – not only annoying, but harmful because it feeds into the stereotyping of the poor in this country. There seems to be a lot of “blaming the victim” going around these days.

  4. Deadbeat said on December 31st, 2007 at 7:58pm #

    There seems to be a lot of “blaming the victim” going around these days.

    This is due to the weakness on the left, lack of political infrastructure, atomization of the masses, and overall political confusion.

  5. hp said on January 1st, 2008 at 6:35pm #

    It’s fear.