If you watched the Golden Globes last night, you may have noticed a subtle theme of female empowerment.
Ok, it wasn’t so much subtle as IN YOUR FACE, MR. MAN. And there’s a pretty good reason for that, given Hollywood has been split open with revelations about the depravity of some of its biggest names (Weinstein, Spacey et al). The stars who spend their off-camera time lecturing us simple folk outside the bubble about our social justice mores are now doing what they can to regain some footing and credibility by literally turning on themselves, owning the scandal, and calling out the names of those who’ve been disgraced in the sex abuse investigations.
Of course, the primary criticism of all of this is that it’s mighty easy to call these people out by name now, after they’ve been revealed for what they are and fallen from the good graces of polite company. Despite the pronouncements at the awards show last night, there’s nothing really brave about calling a proven murderer sitting on death row a terrible person. Where was this display of solidarity against sexual harassment and the bullying of abusive men for the years and years it was going on, when those same people condemning their behavior now were making kissy-face with offenders at press junkets and chic fetes then?
That’s a legitimate criticism. But it didn’t stop the room from holding its breath in awe over the stirring and powerful speech from the mononymous maven herself, Oprah (who had a longtime association with Weinstein and is in some compromising photos with him as Twitter reminded the world last night).
Her speech was so good, in fact, that it left people breathlessly wondering if the queen of daytime TV was going to save us all and run for president against that tyrant and Mr. Man bully currently sitting in the White House. NBC News even went so far as to inform the world that THEIR future president was waiting in the wings in a stunning black gown.
When NBC tweeted Oprah pic with 'Nothing but respect for OUR future president,' did it mean she should be president of NBC? Of the United States? Of something else? All-caps OUR kind of confusing… https://t.co/Q3TDMAmKRz pic.twitter.com/2uKUBKnQ5O
— Byron York (@ByronYork) January 8, 2018
“OUR” future president? As distinguished from the future president of everyone else? That question remained unanswered (because it’s an absurd suggestion that Oprah — or the presidency — belongs to only one segment of society) and NBC backpedaled on that tweet today.
Yesterday a tweet about the Golden Globes and Oprah Winfrey was sent by a third party agency for NBC Entertainment in real time during the broadcast. It is in reference to a joke made during the monologue and not meant to be a political statement. We have since removed the tweet.
— NBC (@nbc) January 8, 2018
But that doesn’t change the fact that, according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, the lady is gearing up for the challenge of office.
Re: Oprah's speech: "You could close your eyes and imagine that speech being given in Iowa," @CillizzaCNN says
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 8, 2018
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 8, 2018
According to Stelter’s piece in CNN’s Money section, some of Winfrey’s friends and confidants have been encouraging her to run for months, but the lady has yet to make up her mind.
The Democratic race for president won’t officially begin until after the 2018 midterms, but many potential candidates are already jostling for position and making trips to Iowa.
“President Winfrey” was the talk of the entertainment world after Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes. And the “Oprah for president?” possibility was a top story on morning TV.
The touchstone of her speech was the #MeToo movement. But her hopeful message — “A new day is on the horizon” — could have doubled as a campaign rallying cry.
Many liberal-leaning celebrities and viewers certainly heard it that way. And that may have been exactly what Winfrey wanted.
But boy, are they already raising their resistance fists in fits of emotional certainty that this run of a celebrity (granted a very talented, popular, and — let’s face it — probably pretty cool celebrity) is the prescription for all that ails us.
Oprah Winfrey, as she is wont to do, just gave the most galvanizing, inspiring, and possibly life-saving speech in awards show history. (And, as she has been wont to do lately, just set off a powder keg of speculation about a potential presidential run.)
We had joked on Twitter that the speech was so emotional, a gale force of truth-to-power, that we’d need a week to recover from it. But the truth is that it was packed with such rousing, fist-raising immediacy that the only possible recourse is to take her words as marching orders and leap into action now.
I mean, my goodness. That’s a lot to live up to. And Oprah, survivor that she is, might be able to deliver (except, of course, these same people turn absolutely vicious if you let them down. That was proven last night at the Golden Globes).
Full disclosure: I like Oprah. I like her a lot. I think she’s a tough broad, she’s made me cry more than once thanks to powerful onscreen performances, and I think she genuinely cares about people. And she certainly knows how to inspire.
But a run for president? Forgetting for a minute those pictures of her with her pal Weinstein, I thought the idea of a celebrity in the White House with no political experience was disagreeable to the resistance, which the Hollywood elite would like so very much to prove themselves a part of.
Perhaps Oprah, in her wisdom and grace, can powerfully explain why it’ll be ok in 2020.
Watch her full Golden Globes speech below.