Deep End: His Inner Oprah 

Revealed at last: Winfrey and Cannon Are One.

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“I am not Oprah.”
—Representative Chris Cannon (R-Utah), as quoted in the Deseret Morning News, July 18

It has been scientifically proven that whenever a person utters a statement of the form, “I am not X,” that person is indeed X. Famous examples abound: Richard Nixon announcing during the Watergate investigation, “I am not a crook”; George W. Bush telling Barbara Walters, “I am not in a vegetative state”; Paris Hilton revealing to Larry King, “I am not an airhead”; Mitt Romney insisting, “I am not weird.”

Now our madcap congressman from the 3rd District, Elder Chris Cannon, has come forward with the declaration that he is not Oprah, confirming the fact that he is, indeed, the TV host Oprah Winfrey. That the roly-poly wiseacre from Utah County and the zaftig spiritual leader to millions of white American women are in reality one and the same has been suspected by many close observers of the cultural scene for several years now.

There is, for instance, the striking similarity in body type. Both Cannon and Winfrey are classic endomorphs, and though the latter’s weight fluctuates wildly, they are exactly the same height: 5 feet, 5 inches. Because Winfrey wears heels whenever she appears in public (to compensate for the disparity in height between her and longtime companion Stedman Graham, as well as between her and inseparable gal-pal Gayle King) the fact that she and Congressman Cannon share the same vertical stature is not always evident.

Those who have caught a glimpse of Cannon in a pair of open-toe pumps can attest that he and Winfrey are indeed identical in the height department.
Now that the cat is out of the bag, we can disclose previously secret evidence of their convergent existence. Some evidence wasn’t all that secret—it just didn’t make any sense, which was consistent with the conundrum that is Congressman Cannon.

For instance, for a long time, Cannon would express admiration and encouragement—for staff members as well as the lay public—by screeching, “You go, girl!” This was particularly baffling since the recipient of the enthusiastic imperative was often not a girl at all, but someone on the opposite side of the gender divide.

Speaking of the gender divide, it may be objected that too many absolute obstacles stand in the way of Brother Cannon and Sister Winfrey being one and the same. Those who persist in claiming that Cannon and Winfrey are separate entities point out that she is female and he is male, she is black and he is white, she is influential and he is inconsequential, she is smart and he is stupid, she is beloved and he is despised, she is cozy and he is prickly, and so forth.

But post-structuralist Frenchmen have taught us that such binary oppositions are downright slippery. In fact, since these oppositions are defined by what they exclude, traces of each of the binary pairs sticks to the other. Therefore, try as he might to exclude his inner Oprah from his outer Chris, leakages occur, such as the aforementioned you-go-girl ejaculations.

For those who have followed Cannon’s distinguished career, signs that the inner Oprah has been screaming (in a nice way) to get out have been easy to read. His first word was “Oprah,” and family members recall that whenever little Chris saw Mammy on the Magnavox in Gone With the Wind, he would toddle toward the TV and plant a smack on the screen.

Years later he saw The Color Purple 64 times and insisted that his friends call him Sofia, the portrayal of whom won young Oprah an Oscar nomination. More recently, he never missed an episode of Oprah & Gayle’s Big Adventure across America, and he gave an impassioned speech on the floor of Congress excoriating those who insinuated that Oprah and Gayle were lesbians. He even quoted Oprah’s memorable “I am not gay” declaration.

Even if we adopt another sign-system, such as the ancient Tao, the Oprah/Cannon conundrum is still manifest. Just as a little bit of yin is in every yang and a smidgeon of yang is in every yin, so is the yang of Oprah in the yin of Cannon and the yang of Cannon is in the yin of Oprah. In the final analysis, however, they are one.
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