Oprah Winfrey’s TV tenure can be summed up in a single word: “miraculous,” writes Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon. “Winfrey's entire empire is built on the idea that miracles—not just good fortune or persistence or community but honest-to-God miracles—are within our reach every day,” she notes. And those miracles can range from “amaaaaazing pants” to “the sister you never knew you had.” Sure, she’s manipulative; her show’s “formulaic and self-aggrandizing.” She “could make Bono think, ‘Now there's somebody with a messiah complex.’”
But “we still need Oprah,” because she “traffics in just one commodity: happiness.” That’s how she remains relevant, even when daytime talk shows are fading. “Life hands us wars and floods and sick children. Oprah hands us car keys and money for schools and stories about people who are trying to do good in the world,” Williams writes. “Those aren't crazy dreams that seemed interesting in 1986; they're what get us the hell out of bed in the morning.” Click for the full column.