Sic transit gloria mundi

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer feminizer of American males…

[…] Oprah was the queen of all that she surveyed. She was regularly highlighted as one of the most, if not the most, influential persons in the United States. If she touted a book, it went to the top of the best seller lists. She waved a wand and the already famous were made more famous. And she was ardently “non-political.”

But four years ago, the House of Oprah made an epic decision: It chose to endorse Barack Obama. Oprah featured Obama on her show, with Michelle, and put the celebrated Oprah muscle to task for his campaign. It was a truly momentous event — the most powerful woman in entertainment endorsing a presidential candidate.

The move was timely. Obama had not yet crested to the great heights of adulation that marked the later stages of his campaign. Oprah endorsed him when it counted, then — having made her point — withdrew from the stage. I can’t think of a more significant moment in the modern intersection of the worlds of Hollywood and Washington, celebrity and power.

Was Oprah’s benediction a “tipping point”? Was it the moment when Obama jumped from being just another candidate to being a star in a class of his own?

Perhaps, but that was then. What of now? Well, something strange has happened. Oprah has lost her chi. She ended her long-time relationship with mainstream television and decided that she should have her own network. It is one of the very few examples of a person ordering her own self-exile. And the result is that she has simply ceased — in television terms — to be. I cannot recall a more precipitous drop in status, and in the influence status bestows, than Oprah’s almost complete fall from entertainment eminence. […]

8 thoughts on “Sic transit gloria mundi”

  1. Aside from the Obama endorsement, Oprah was one of the good ones on TV. I didn’t watch her often. But if I did, she did some good things for Americans. She informed and comforted and entertained. And her last two shows on morality were simply superb.
    I am not happy that her network is such a dud. I would much rather see the end of CNN and MSNBC than OWN.
    Although she did give Rosie another shot.
    But then so did Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of my favorite shows on TV.

  2. Never had any use for her, never watched more than a few snippets from her show, never saw her as more than a certain kind of performer, never bought her at face value. Her excessive popularity, not to say cult, always struck me as embarrassing, even vaguely creepy. No doubt she provided something a lot of people liked and responded to, but I’m not one of those people. And bottom line: if she had really wanted what was best for this country, or even just for her fans, who had made her rich and famous beyond most people’s wildest dreams, she would NOT have pushed Obama on them. If Obama had been white, she wouldn’t have done it, and I doubt she would have done it for any white presidential candidate. Do I understand why she did it? Yes. Do I respect her for it? No.

  3. And don’t worry, George. Even if she retires from the scene completely and never returns to it, she’s set for life, and very nicely, too. Evita she ain’t.

  4. I think Oprah’s time in the sun was pretty much up, regardless. But even if she is out of sight and mind, presumably she’s still raking it in from the shows she created (like Dr Phil, Dr Oz, Rachael Ray) which I think are still fairly popular among the day time viewing audience.

    But I have to add, if one follows the Canadian media, one will observe that this article was unintentionally rather ironic. Its author Rex Murphy was sent packing in 2010 from his high profile spot at Canada’s largest national newspaper (G+M) to where he is now (the second-tier NP). Sort of like what Oprah did (except in Rex’s case, he was forced into it).

  5. Oprah had the Bush’s on and was very polite to them and fair.
    She is a liberal and Obama is black, so why should she not be excited that he was running?

  6. Bush wasn’t running against Obama. She knew it was bad business to openly antagonize her viewers (most of whom were white women), and looking “fair” and “balanced” was to her advantage. If a Cuban was running for president who was as poor a candidate as Obama was, I would neither support him nor respect any Cuban who did. For someone as supposedly “evolved” as Oprah to be blinded to Obama’s glaring unfitness by the fact he was (half) black is simply not acceptable. Thomas Sowell, who is black, said something to the effect that he would like to see a black POTUS, but not Obama, because Obama insulted his intelligence. Maybe that’s Oprah’s problem–stupidity, at least in a certain sphere.

  7. But she did not see him as a bad candidate. She saw him as a dream candidate. She is a liberal. All of my intelligent white liberals friends think of him as the dream candidate, even now.

  8. Then, Honey, they are not truly intelligent, and neither is Oprah. It’s quite possible to be a whiz in a one area and practically retarded in another. It happens.

    I think Oprah saw Obama as a BLACK candidate, and that was the key issue. I don’t believe she would have explicitly thrown her weight behind an equivalent white Dem candidate, which is why she’d remained “apolitical” until Obama came along-—because she apparently realized that getting too overtly partisan could be bad for business. If Hillary Clinton had had no black rival, even if Oprah clearly preferred her, I doubt she would have done for Hillary what she did for Obama, despite the tempting “feminist” angle. It wasn’t really about what Obama said or promised, but about the color of his skin. Anyone who supports a candidate on that basis is absolutely not politically intelligent in a real sense (expediency, opportunism and pursuit of a particular agenda are different matters, as are psychological, pseudoreligious and “identity” issues).

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