You can learn a lot from Oprah. Not just about the badness of molestation, the goodness of books, and the sweetness of a free new car for all audience members.
You, PR pro, can learn the fine art of the cease-and-desist-but-still-love-me from the big O.
One of the thousands of armed lawyers who work to protect Oprah's reign over the world sent a pretty standard cease-and-desist letter to Patrick Crowe, a thankfully retired teacher whose somewhat creepy hobby is running a Web site promoting "Oprah for President" in 2008.
While there's little doubt that Winfrey would at least be a step up from the current administration when it comes to skillful facial expressions of empathy, her attorneys felt that Crowe's use of Oprah's picture had better stop right away, or else.
Just another case of a snotty celebrity queen using hired guns to control the little guy? Yes! But of course, that wouldn't play too well to the housewife set in Peoria. So Oprah, in a whiplash move that's the PR equivalent of some crazy Matrix kung-fu motion, publicly stated that her attorneys "overreacted" with their vicious letter, because Crowe's stalkerism "really is a flattering thing."
Sure. Crowe's Web site, which appears to have been assembled using magazine cutouts and Elmer's glue, was probably not Oprah's first choice of Internet destinations before this whole story broke in the press. Now, she's stuck with acting like she loves the attention. But Oprah's not worried. Like Lennie from Of Mice and Men, she'll just keep patting you until you're crushed.
3. On the right track