You know, there aren’t many stupider things a merchant could do in this day and age than to, how do you say, discriminate against someone who is busy making your company rich. When Oprah went to Paris and attempted to buy something from Hermes (a watch for Tina Turner, as it turned out) the staff waved her away, making the excuse that they were closed. According to Oprah’s people, it was discrimination against the North Africans, whom Hermes was having trouble with lately. Hermes people say they were, uh, how do you say, closed and uh, it was a private public relations meeting.
A private public relations meeting. Think about that for a minute. If you were hired to do Hermes publicity then that means you care about, uh, how do you say, promotion? And what if you were at this meeting witnessing their sending Oprah Winfrey away? Would they really commit such a gross injustice to publicists everywhere? There is no better publicity money can buy than being in Oprah’s favor.
So, no, it can’t be that Hermes was stupid enough to reject Oprah during a publicity meeting; therefore it has to mean that they sent her away because either a) they are snooty French people who aren’t impressed with the uh, how do you say, celebrities from America waving around their big dollars! Or b) they didn’t know it was Oprah and were randomly discriminating against yet another annoying black person who would ogle their collection but never buy anything.
Either way, for this, Hermes wins the Stupid People of the Year award for creating the biggest public relations nightmare since Russell Crowe threw a telephone at a hotel clerk. In fact, it’s much worse than that. Hermes has ridden on its classy rep forever – now that it’s been branded a racist store, who is going to want to be associated with the name?
And once the scandal hit, Oprah’s people quickly responded, saying that they would be discussing the implications of the incident during the fall season of the Oprah show. That, my friends, is what a good publicist can do for you – turn a scandal into a ratings bonanza. It will be all too delicious to see the Hermes people properly put in their place – that is, unless Oprah makes friends with them by that time and Hermes backpedals their way out of it.
What does Oprah do day in and day out but try to make our lives better? She is the closest thing we have to a Christ figure in our culture and has built her success on little more than a desire to read and her ability to cross racial lines and appeal globally and is the touchstone for most women I know – the common ground where all issues facing society reside.
Pushing the issue of discrimination aside, however, which isn’t easy to do, one has to wonder whether or not Hermes did anything but discriminate against Oprah – perhaps it was a message to all American celebrities that in France they are just regular old irritating Americans talking loudly and bothering them during nap time.
Oprah will have her revenge. Perhaps they can discuss it at their next, how do you say, publicity meeting?
Meanwhile, Live 8 is gearing up to air on television this week as the concerts are held worldwide to bring attention to poverty in Africa. MTV, mtvU (college network) and VH1 will both air eight hours of the concerts on the same live feed, featuring such notables as Madonna, U2, Coldplay and others. It will be just like the Live Aid from the ‘80s only without the shoulder pads.
The concerts are being held to send a message to the eight world leaders who will gather in Scotland for the G8 summit. The musicians and actors are hoping that they can turn the heat up high enough to get something done about poverty and starvation in Africa.
For more information on the concert and to add your name to the list of supporters for the cause, visit www.live8live.com/
This Week’s Notable TV
Thursday, June 30
Easy Rider (***), 7:30 p.m., AMC.
Panic in Needle Park (***), 7:30 p.m., FMC.
Toy Story (****), 8 p.m., ABC.
A Program About Unusual Buildings & Other Roadside Stuff, 9 p.m., KCET.
Friday, July 1
Afterglow (***), 7:30 p.m., WE.
Child Prodigies, 8 p.m., CBS.
Cats and Dogs (***), with Uma Thurman and Janeane Garofalo, 8 p.m., FOX.
The Grifters (***), John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening, 8 p.m., IFC.
Saturday, July 2
Helter Skelter (****), nobody does Manson better than Steve Railsback, 7:30 p.m., TVLAND.
Live 8: A Worldwide Concert, 8 p.m., ABC.
A Guide for the Married Man (**), 9 p.m., FMC.
Dark Victory (***), with Bette Davis, 8:30 p.m., TCM.
Sunday, July 3
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (**), 7:30 p.m., FOX.
Mystery! Inspector Lynley: A Traitor to Memory, 9 p.m., KCET.
Shanghai Noon (**), 9 p.m., CBS.
Monday, July 4
A Capital Fourth, 9 p.m., KCET.
Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, 9 p.m., NBC.
Patton (****), 9:15 p.m., FMC.
Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, 10 p.m., CBS.
Tuesday, July 5
An Entertainment Tonight Event: Celebrity Weddings Unveiled, 8 p.m., CBS.
Nova, Life and Death in the War Zone, 8 p.m., CBS.
Black Widow (***), 9 p.m., FMC.
Empire, 10 p.m., ABC.
Wednesday, July 6
Dangerous Minds (***), 8:45 p.m., TBS.
The French Connection (****), 9 p.m., FMC.
Prick up your Ears (***), 9:30 p.m., SUNDANCE.
Raising Arizona (****), 9:45 p.m., IFC.