25 Years Later, We Still Need Oprah

She's an antidote to our cynical world: Mary Elizabeth Williams
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 24, 2011 1:57 PM CDT
Oprah Winfrey reacts as Michael Jordan appears during a star-studded double-taping of "Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular," Tuesday, May 17, 2011, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(Newser) – 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.

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