A Confederacy Of Dances: Reworking The Script To Trip Trump
“What the advertiser needs to know is not what is right about the product but what is wrong about the buyer.”
Our distraction du jour is the sudden revelation that Oprah Winfrey, self-made billionaire conduit of moist feelings and product placement, may challenge Donald Trump, huckster suprème, for the presidency he won in 2016.
Winfrey’s letter-perfect job application for 2020 dropped last Sunday night at, appropriately, the Golden Globe Awards. In the process of assuring the same people who, for decades, had allowed the casting couch that none of it was their fault, Winfrey crossed the Republican Rubicon.
Put aside that she herself had appeased those very same sex-addled creeps for decades— hello Harvey Weinstein. Striding the stage in Hollywood in her black gown (to project mock gravity), she declared a crusade against the nasties and uglies of the culture industry.
The past is done, she told a rapt audience. It's time to forget how we got here. Winfrey wanted her fawning friends to know that she was making a list and taking names for the future.
Well one name, really. Donald J. Trump. She didn’t mention his name, but in the hot house of rented tuxedos and strapless gowns they all knew who she meant when she talked about an assault on the press. They are sufficiently hip to The Resistance playbook to know that she was nailing the effusive New York tycoon who had smashed their DC dreams and denied them their political sinecures.
It made for a neat head fake for the Tinseltown collective that will be Oprah’s glee club should she run. You could sense the collective relief as Oprah's party piece about “little girls of the future will not be humped by Harvey” lifted their collective guilt and responsibility. They were “free at last, Lord almighty, free at last” of the vile sickness which they themselves had created.
She owned the audience. As National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson wrote, ”Movie stars get into political activism for the same reason they sometimes take six months off to do serious theater: They want to feel smart, maybe even a little profound, and, more important, they want to be perceived as that, as intellectually serious."
It’s why Oprah will be a crackerjack candidate. She can find that vanity spot in both movie stars and stay-at-home moms. In her embrace of everything from anti-vax to crackpot homeopathy, she’s been able to make her followers feel sanctified, bathed in the river of revelation. “You get a salvation… and you get a salivation… and you get a salvation…”
The only question seems to be how much does she want it? Certainly she has baggage to be gone though by the gentle folk of the (conservative) press. Does she want all her carefully contrived narratives and Dr. Oz charades exposed to the churn Trump experienced as he subdued Hillary Clinton? Is there a forgotten tape or photo that will trip her— as those cute shots with Weinstein that instantly appeared online have already soiled her brand.
If that isn’t a bridge too far, she certainly appears capable of recapturing the Barack Obama coalition of educated liberals, furious feminists, green mafia and the Democratic house band of blacks and Latinos. It says here that her Q rating will prevail where Hillary’s tanked.
The irony in all this celeb stuff is that, should Winfrey decide to enter the fray, she would do something that no one in the GOP has been able to do: Push Trump into being a true conservative. Deprived of his celebrity outsider schtick— Oprah would seize that ground in a heart beat— Trump would be forced into truly embracing the traditional side of the culture clash now ripping up America’s post holes.
I don’t know if Donny versus Oprah would make good politics or much sense for the U.S., but I’d pay good money to see the debates. No doubt Neil Postman would be much amused that his book would have such an amusing coda as The Color Purple meets You’re Fired.
“Americans no longer talk to each other, they entertain each other. They do not exchange ideas, they exchange images. They do not argue with propositions; they argue with good looks, celebrities and commercials.”
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on anticanetwork.com. He’s also a regular contributor three-times-a-week to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. His website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com)