I know that if there is a God, she is most probably Oprah Winfrey. When I was a child, in the now dubious and discredited ‘60s, many a granola-eating, yoga-contorting lefty proudly proclaimed that if there was a God, SHE was indeed a black woman. Well, that black woman has arrived and if we all weren’t too busy paying attention to those other macho gods, we’d see her staring back at us every day at 3 p.m.
To Oprah, success never meant the houses, the diamonds, the dogs, Steadman’s retirement fund, the cook, the pilates room, etc. No other person on television, for instance, is really using their power to reach the masses to better humanity – not just humanity here in America but everywhere. She is ever-evolving from black journalist who talked white to icon in every sense, someone who tested the invisible boundaries of success and failure in our country.
Oprah has changed many superficial things for women of all colors – be it the bra revolution (did you know you could change everything about your life with the right bra? And that most women were walking around in bras that haven’t fit properly for decades?), the Spanx phenomenon (a new fangled girdle that sucks it all in, baby) —even during the hurricane coverage Oprah showed up with that right-fitting bra and those reliable Spanx. But she’s also changed things in deep and meaningful ways for women, children and even men, to say nothing of the careers, books, and films she’s help launch.
But it is going to be her “full circle moment” that will probably be the thing that will finally scratch that itch she’s been feeling for decades – by putting out a cash reward of $100,000 to anyone who can help catch these alleged child molesters. She has used her reach to expose those who hide from the law and prey on the innocent. It is a problem most of us feel helpless against. Most of the time molesters are put right back out on the street to offend again. So many high profile cases have shocked Americans – the dregs of society slipping through the cracks due to lazy judges and overcrowded prisons.
There is at least one of us out there who isn’t willing to put her head in the sand and not deal with it. Oprah is taking it to the streets. How far will she go with this until the next fashion crazy distracts her? Hey, we’re talking about a near-deity here. Show some respect.
No deity is complete without her set of detractors and in this case, it’s most men on the planet – most straight men, anyway, who write off Oprah and her message as estrogen-driven nonsense. But little by little, or big by big, Oprah is wiping the smirks off of male faces everywhere by putting her money where her mouth is. Do we ever see anyone else do that without demanding something huge in return?
Perhaps this is because Oprah represents a different kind of governing – one by the people, for the people. Hm. What a revolutionary idea. One wonders how far she will take it. Right now it seems the woman’s power knows no bounds and that, if anything, she is getting more righteous and more effective every week.
So what’s it going to take before Oprah gets the respect she deserves from the five white guys in suits who run this country? She’ll either have to tackle prime time (which she could do with ease) or run for president. To run for president, though, would be to take a side politically. To take a side politically would be to divide her audience, which is united now in ways politicians could never do. Oprah never takes it down party lines, except to support someone like Barak Obama. For the most part, Oprah operates from a good-vs-evil perspective, rarely takes on truly controversial subjects like abortion or the war in Iraq but chooses, instead, to find universal topics to which all women can relate.
For all she has come to mean to her audience, Oprah is still, underneath it all, a journalist who comes from the school of not taking one side or another. She doesn’t generally host celebrities who, though known to be politically active, do not talk politics on her show. Rarely has anyone used her platform to forward their cause, unless you’re talking the pro-aspirin, anti-aging cause.
It is easy to find fault with all of this, to ultimately dismiss Oprah for being someone who doesn’t tackle serious issues. But we women know this be utterly false: there is nothing more serious than wearing the wrong bra.
Check out Oprah.com for the latest on her hunt for child molesters. Oprah airs every afternoon at 3 p.m. on ABC.
Notable TV This Week
Thursday, October 20
The Good Girl (***), with Jennifer Aniston and a young Jake Gyllenhaal, 9 p.m., OXYGEN.
Ghost (***), 8 p.m., FAM.
Scary Godmother Halloween Spooktakular, 8:30 p.m., TOON.
The Audrey Hepburn Story (**), 9 p.m., WE.
Friday, October 21
Clear and Present Danger (***), 7:30 p.m., AMC.
The Godfather (****), 7:30 p.m., BRAVO.
Erin Brockovich (**), 8 p.m., TNT.
The Last Detail (****), with Jack Nicholson, 9 p.m., SUNDANCE.
Saturday, October 22
Air Force One (***), 8 p.m., ABC.
Chicago (**), Best Picture winner, 8 p.m., NBC.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (***), 10 p.m., FAM.
The Lost Voyage (***), 9 p.m., SCI FI.
Sunday, October 23
Before Night Falls (****), 7:30 p.m., IFC.
Enough (*), Jennifer Lopez escapes a brutal husband, 9 p.m., CBS.
Masterpiece Theatre: Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking, starring Rupert Everet, 9 p.m., KCET.
Jurassic Park (**), 9 p.m., SCI FI.
Monday, October 24
Vertigo (****), 7:30 p.m., TCM.
Requiem for a Dream (***), 8 p.m., IFC.
Soul Food (**), 8 p.m., WE.
Psycho (****), 8:30 p.m., TCM.
American Experience: Kinsey, 9 p.m., KCET.
Human Trafficking, 9 p.m., LIFETIME.
Tuesday, October 25
Notorious (****), 7:30 p.m., TCM.
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, 8 p.m., ABC.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (**), which she then promptly lost again, 9 p.m., OXYGEN.
Rebecca (****), 9 p.m., TCM.
Thirteen Conversations About One Thing, 10 p.m., IFC.
Wednesday, October 26
As Good As it Gets (****), 7:30 p.m., LIFETIME.
The Wedding Planner (*), awful Jennifer Lopez movie, 8 p.m., TNT.
John Carpenter Presents Vampires: Los Muertos, 9 p.m., SCIFI.
Batman Returns (***), 8 p.m., FAM.