Oprah and the power of the spoken word

Maybe Oprah Winfrey will run for president in 2020; maybe she won’t.

Her speech at last night’s Golden Globe Awards, however, was a reminder of the power of language to inspire and lift. No doubt the judgment of it will be based on the usual tribal fighting of the political class and its minions, even though it wasn’t a speech about politics; it was a speech about the abuse of power.

But for fans of the power of the spoken word,it was good to know it’s not dead yet.

“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights,” she said

“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘Me too’ again.”

“It was so good that it kind of felt like there didn’t need to be anything else,” Vanity Fair’s Richard Lawson writes. That’s odd since NBC had earlier asked her to cut her speech by three minutes.

  • Gary F

    NBC put out a tweet already endorsing her as their candidate. And she wonders why the media is under fire.

    “Nothing but respect for OUR future president. #GoldenGlobes”

    It was a nice speech.

    • Rob

      Would that we’d be lucky enough to have a president as articulate, capable and compassionate as Oprah. And when you say the media are under fire, what media are you referring to, what are the reasons they are under fire, and who is doing the shooting?

        • Wayne

          I am shocked, shocked!

      • Gary F

        The media propped Trump up and got him the nomination, then gave him plenty of free ad time. The media genuflected in front of Hillary and tossed her underhand slow pitch softballs.

        The public sees this stuff. Trump didn’t win because he won the people’s hearts, he won because the public is tired of the mainstream media.

        So, go ahead, try it again. She’s much younger that the tired old Sanders, Warren or Bidon.

        • BJ

          >The media propped Trump up and got him the nomination, then gave him plenty of free ad time.

          >Trump didn’t win because he won the people’s hearts, he won because the public is tired of the mainstream media.

          So… which was it?

          • Gary F

            they plugged their nose and voted for him. Lesser of two evils, a vote against the media, lots of reasons.

          • Seems like some of the “reasons” might have been misogyny and the lingering resentment of having a black president, but even aside from that it was like being offered broccoli but picking the moose turd option because you hate broccoli so much. Clinton was qualified and Trump was not – and never will be. It’s pretty obvious that even broccoli can be the lesser of two evils.

          • X.A. Smith

            Wait, so the media propped him up, and then to get back at the media, people voted for him?

        • Rob

          Sorry, the reality-based media aren’t the reason T.Rump won the election. They didn’t see the clear and present danger as well as they should have, but people voting against their own interests is the primary reason for The Stable Genius’ win. Nice try, though.

        • Jeff

          I’d say it was a lot of people who were tired of politics as usual. They were sick of mealy-mouth politicians.

    • Ickster

      Let’s please stay on topic and not turn this into another discussion about politics as usual. The fact that other people turned this into a horse race discussion doesn’t mean we need to do that here.

      • Yep, pretty common. Poof! Just like that, the issue of the treatment of women disappears in a firefighter of same old-same old.

        • Kellpa07

          Maybe Oprah Winfrey will run for president in 2020; maybe she won’t.

  • crystals

    It was a master class. I am especially thankful for how skillfully she talked about the intersections of gender and race, on a night where it felt like a lot of white women talking to each other.

  • Gary F

    If the hearts of the left have now coronated Oprah as their next queen, do the other candidates just fall to the wayside? Where does that put the senior tour of Sanders, Bidon, and Warren? Better yet, where does that put the up and coming class, Harris, Booker or Murphy? Do you just stop now because Oprah wins the emotional vote and the heart of the media?

    • What you saw last night wasn’t the left. It was about women. But, yeah, it’s about left vs. right, as usual in the eyes of the political class. The story, though, is the continued gymnastics that people do in this country to contort everything into left vs. right, because otherwise they’d have to have an intelligent conversation about the realities of their gender and privilege, not their politics.

      It’s much easier to just post about Oprah’s words as if they were directed to someone else. Even if it’s the same tired old stuff.

      • Carole Mitchell

        Bravo, Bob you understand that rechurning the same old retorts is pretty lame.

      • Gary F

        NBC jumped right out and made it political.

        • Jerry

          Obviously, one social media intern speaks for the whole company.

          • Kellpa07

            The Twitter handle is “NBC,” not “NBC Intern.”

        • Rob

          Would you have been happier if NBC had provided an equal time rebuttal by Ann Coulter?

          • Gary F

            No, I wish NBC could’t have a made a nice comment and have it not be political

          • Gary Leatherman

            Why don’t you rise above it then, Gary, and make your next comment about the subject not political?

          • The NBC tweet, while stupid, provides the cover to ignore pretty much everything Oprah said and focus on the tweet. That’s a conscious act .

    • Rob

      Raise your hand if you’re opposed to the #MeToo movement.

  • Kellpa07

    It was a very nice speech this year. Last year it would have been courageous. To a cynic, it is another powerful woman saying popular things (and saying them quite well) about sexual abuse and the abuse of power to people who continually worked with, covered for and honored Harvey Weinstein, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby Kevin Spacey and others. They all applauded, apparently without irony or self awareness. Does it signal a change in Hollywood’s character? I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Jerry

      Considering Oprah’s personal history, I have trouble believing this was opportunistic.

      • Kellpa07

        I didn’t write that it was opportunistic. Oprah has a terrific personal history that I admire very much. She overcame a lot from her youth, she ditched a trashy-tv format that had been profitable and took a tremendous risk in bringing her show to the high road. I’m glad that paid off for her.
        The speech she gave was necessary, but when she gave it yesterday, her courage wasn’t what was necessary to give it. Had she given it a year ago, or a decade ago, that would have been courageous.

        • Lindsey

          She told her own story multiple times over the years. If you doubt she has courage, you should research more.

          • Kellpa07

            I did not mean to imply she doesn’t have courage. That’s just not the quality that she displayed yesterday.
            But I’m not sure how you could read my comment and think I have a negative impression of Oprah, or that I’m unaware of her personal story.

          • Laurie K.

            I think it’s this part of your comment “it is another powerful woman saying popular things”… she said courageous things when she was not powerful and when they were not popular. I see it as a continuation of the message she has been communicating for decades.

  • AL287

    Men of all races, colors and creeds have been given a powerful shot over the proverbial bow by one of the few women who possesses power of any significance, Oprah Winfrey.

    She has done more in the last thirty years to speak to truth than any other woman on the planet.

    She has not been without controversy in those thirty years but the one thing she did do was address them with courage and honesty.

    I don’t think we can say that about much of the current male movers and shakers around the world today.

    Besides the cheers and clapping by the men in the audience, there was a look of fear and apprehension on their faces as well.

    The millennia long age of male dominance may finally be beginning to crumble.

    Your time is up!

  • Gary F

    Next year, red ball caps that say “Make Hollywood Great Again”.

    • Rob

      Meh. Black ball caps that hopefully can say, “Ding dong, the Stable Genius is Gone!”

  • lusophone

    What a moving speech. I was very happy that my daughters watched it, cell phones in hand, but eyes on the TV screen. I checked.

    I found myself asking the same questions about a presidency. I personally would prefer not to have another non-politician in office, but boy, if I had to choose between our current experiment and Oprah, there is no choice, Oprah all the way.

    • Kassie

      But the first choice, at least for those who call themselves Democrats, isn’t between Oprah and Trump, but Oprah and Biden, Warren, Castro, Booker, Harris, Sanders, Patrick, Gillibrand, etc. Given that group, who do you choose? I like Booker, Harris and Patrick. People of color who have actual experience. As I saw somewhere else, the Presidency isn’t an entry level position.

      • //who do you choose?

        With Minnesota moving to a presidential primary in 2020, at least people here will get a chance to choose rather than leaving it to other states.

        • Kassie

          I’m actually against this, but understand why people want it. I’m against tax payers paying for party business, which is what primaries are. Having a primary doesn’t stop Super Delegates and other undemocratic mechanisms in place for how parties choose their candidates, either.

  • Angry Jonny

    So what do I do with this? Really? I mean, I’m asking genuinely. If she was in on the open secret, why this? I’m not calling her a hypocrite, and I’m not ready to single handedly dump her body of work because of one picture, but just why?


    • Angry Jonny

      FWIW, my money is on Rose McGowan.

    • Bridget L.

      Was she in on the open secret? This picture doesn’t prove that. People who knew and didn’t anything, it’s easy for them to say it was an open secret. When you hear things about people you admire, terrible things, I think most people don’t want to believe that someone they know is a horrible person. She didn’t need to make sure her job wasn’t in jeopardy, she didn’t need him for connections, and she didn’t need him for anything. I know I have been fooled by friends before.

      • Angry Jonny

        From what I’ve read in interviews, articles, and listened to in painful detail, Weinstein was the recipient of a colossal number of blind eyes. To think that Hollywood movers-and-shakers and media moguls are “unaware” of Weinstein’s reputation and actions seems naive to me in a world of social media instant connectedness. Cosiness with this creep pre-revelation is regrettable, if she’s truly oblivious to his behavior. Cosiness with this creep while knowing what he was doing-if that’s the case-is considerably more troubling. We’re in an era of taking down a**holes like this, which is long overdue, but are the well spoken words of somebody as poised for next-level greatness like Oprah virtue signaling? Convenient morality is about as meaningless as it gets, especially when dealing with creepy quasi-rapists.

        • Lindsey

          Oprah has never dealt in hearsay.

          • Angry Jonny

            I think Weinstein pretty solidly eclipses the notion of hearsay.

        • Bridget L.

          So, I guess I don’t know what you’re suppose to do with that photo then. You don’t have to like her anymore, I give you permission. We all have lines that we draw, for a myriad of things, for a myriad of reasons. It sounds like she crossed yours. Btw, she won’t be running for president because she likes her life the way it is.

          • Angry Jonny

            This isn’t about politics to me. This is the worrisome potential for the anointed queen of the me too movement to have been cozy with a rapist all along.

          • Bridget L.

            And it’s possible that there are many that are part of the metoo movement i.e. every woman, queen or not, who are cozy with rapists and don’t even know it, even though somebody has said that they were raped by them.

          • The queen of the Me Too movement isn’t Oprah Winfrey. It’s never been Oprah Winfrey. It’s Tarana Burke.

            The Me Too Movement of ’17, are the silence breakers honored by Time for People of the Year. Oprah Winfrey wasn’t among them. They were Ashley Judd, Susan Fowler, Adama Iwu, Taylor Swift and Isabel Pascual.

            The attempts by men to undercut the Me Too movement are really rather stunning, if not surprising.

          • Bridget L.

            You always seem to say it better. Thank you Bob.

          • Angry Jonny

            If you think I’m attempting to somehow undermine what me too is about, you are seriously misjudging my intentions.