Oprah’s Speech and What It Says About Us

Let me say from the outset that there are a lot of things I admire about Oprah. Her tenacity in overcoming abuse as a child, enduring the trauma of having her innocence taken by a rapist and her ability to inspire others who struggle with insufficiency and demons are all worthy of accolades. However, Oprah does not walk on water. You would think otherwise given the rave reviews she is getting and the way she is being celebrated as a courageous truth teller who is speaking up for the least among us. Let me thus take this occasion to fill in the gaps in the fawning reception of Oprah’s speech and speak from the blank white spaces at the edge of print.

I’ll admit in advance that Oprah’s speech was fantastic! I was moved last night listening to her cadence and emphatic rebuke of powerful men who leveraged their status to repress their subordinates and treat women as sexual objects they feel entitled to conquer. Her soaring rhetoric and the way she raised and lowered her timbre was a stroke of genius! Oprah owned the room as she panned left to right to address everyone in attendance and her adoring public. Anyone who wants to know how to speak publicly should forever study the speech that Oprah gave last night and practice her delivery. I have not been that moved by a speech since Obama’s “Yes We Can” rally.

That is when it dawned on me and I was brought back to reality. Oprah’s speech was not some act of fortitude nor was it a proactive stance against injustice. She is championing an issue retroactively; she and the rest of the Hollywood elites who feign outrage about Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and the rest of the brutes in the entertainment industry are jumping on bandwagons and finding their voice after the fact. I want to cut her some slack, I really do. Seriously, who among us would risk losing fortunes and being blackballed in order to speak truth to power? The tyranny of Joseph McCarthy almost looks quaint compared to the ruthless ways of Hollywood executives who use their influence to blacklist anyone who does not acquiesce to their demands. Dave Chappelle is prime example of what can go wrong when one dares to question the despots of Bel Air.

Yet, the minute I considered giving Oprah a pass, she started to speak about the era of injustices we live in as she shrewdly positioned herself against the idiot in the White House. In the process, she started to defend the very establishment that was giving cover to the culture of rape and harassment that has shrouded Hollywood and Washington DC for decades. Mainstream media journos and pundits knew about Harvey Weinstein for more than two decades, hell some of them were on his payroll. These are her words as she stuck up for the “free press”:

We know the press is under siege these days. We also know it’s the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and to injustice. To — to tyrants and victims, and secrets and lies.

This is the media that Oprah was shielding from criticism as she placed blame at the feet of Donald Trump without mentioning his name. What absolute truth were the hacks at the Washington Post and New York Times covering? The same mainstream media that lied us into wars in Iraq and Syria are the ones who gave cover to Harvey and his band of rapey men. Listening to Oprah’s speech last night would lead you to believe that all the ills of the world started on January 20th, 2017. I realized at that exact moment that Oprah was not giving a speech of reconciliation, she was laying out the foundation for a 2020 run at the White House. You know, because the best way to overcome the cult of personality that is Trump Inc is to have another cult of personality of our O.W.N.

Stubborn Facts.

For her narrow presentation of injustice, Oprah is being treated as the 21st century Sojourner Truth. We are a society so conditioned to fawn over the rich and famous that few question their sincerity. For the record, Oprah’s speech was written in advance and she was reading from teleprompters. Why does this matter you say? Because I’m sick and tired of canned speeches from practiced politicians who have perfected the art of delivery and well timed applause lines. I mentioned Barack Obama earlier for this exact reason, reading from teleprompters makes one a great actor not a great leader. Pitch, tone and pausing for effect has nothing to do with wisdom, heart and courage. What Oprah pulled off last night was a great act of playwrights — heavy on style but skim on substance.

The reason that the mainstream media pundits and talking heads are throwing rose petals at her feet is because Oprah used her massive influence and appeal to defend a profession that has driven itself into the gutter. Corporate “journalists” love to play victim and moan about how they are maltreated by Donald Trump and the wider public. What they leave out of their analysis is that it was mainstream media that wrought us Trump; they…continued..

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