OUR DUMB CENTURY: REPORTS FROM THE FRONTIERS OF HISTORY - Oprah secedes from US

Forms independent nation of cheesecake-eating housewives

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26 MAY, 1996 - TWENTY MILLION American housewives, led by daytime talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, seceded from the US Saturday, forming the independent nation of Ugogirl.

Ugogirl, a nurturing, supportive republic, will be subject to a set of laws and provisions which prioritize access to healthy, low-fat recipes, creative home-decorating tips and inspirational stories of personal triumph over adversity. The new nation will have its own congress, constitution and national anthem, Whitney Houston's rendition of "I'm Every Woman".

"We women just weren't being heard," said Ugogirlian Nancy Gordon, a former housewife from Charleston, SC, who helped unanimously elect Winfrey the fledgling nation's President For Life. "It was time to do something about it."

Though situated within the US, Ugogirl will be recognized by the UN as a "sovereign nation with attitude and sass".

"The secession is not surprising," said Rick Blair, the new US Ambassador to Ugogirl. "If Oprah could get all those women to go out and actually purchase a book, she could get them to do anything."

The idea for the independent nation grew out of a recent "Oprah Made It Happen!" segment of The Oprah Winfrey Show, a recurring feature on the program in which viewers share their dreams. Usually, the dreams involve reuniting with a long-lost sister or meeting Fabio, but, on a segment last month, Sherri Hanson of Mobile, AL, asked for the autonomous country.

"I just love Oprah and I could totally see her as president," Hanson said. "She is such a strong person and she understands people so well."

Many housewives joined Winfrey in the creation of the caring new nation after the host invited guests to relate personal tales about the shortcomings of the present US government. Several stories involving failings of its health-care system brought the studio audience to tears.

In the future, elected representatives plan to discuss office-skirt lengths, living with diabetes, post-divorce dating (how soon is too soon), and women's dramatic stories of their lifelong battles with weight gain.

NEXT WEEK: Gloria Gaynor survives

The above is an extract from `Our Dumb Century', a satirical history in newspaper form, edited by Scott Dikkers, and published by Boxtree, pounds 9.99.

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