Here’s something you’ll want to write in your memory book:
Where were you when Oprah Winfrey made The Speech?
You know, the No More Me Too speech at the Golden Globes, which Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield characterized as the “ tipsiest and dippiest of award shows, where a herd of wobbly celebrities squeeze themselves into the Beverly Hilton for a night of free booze and camera time.”
But there was at least one non-boozer in the house. Oprah was on. It was her moment, and she worked it like the pro she is, belting out defiance and a new day dawning all over America. Again, Rolling Stone:
“Oprah owned the night – to say she stole the show would imply anybody else got their fingers on it. She gave the night's most powerful, ambitious, devastating and inspiring speech, to nobody's surprise, and we can only hope it's the first speech of her 2020 presidential campaign.”
Presidential campaign? Well, why not? Whatever it takes to get rid of Donald Trump. Homer Simpson should make a presidential run, too, because TV stardom appears to be a new qualification for the nation’s highest office, and a substantial number of the electorate can’t tell the difference between a real candidate and a cartoon character.
But all of the blather about what an inspirational, even presidential, message Oprah gave us overlooks a central, inescapable fact: Every one of those women was there because they’ve made it. They’re at the top of the heap—some of the most beautiful, talented, English-speaking women on Earth. The women at the Golden Globes represent the apotheosis of limousine liberals, and I say that despite my immense admiration for actresses like Meryl Streep or Shirley MacLaine.
How is Oprah’s speech supposed to empower and inspire women who are trying to get their first job, or hold on to a lousy, minimum-wage job so they can put food on the table? Are such women going to wake up each morning and say, “If that motel manager grabs my butt one more time, I’m going to punch him in the mouth and go back to Guatemala. Or, if that senior partner leers at me one more time, I’m going to work at Legal Aid?”
I don’t think so. If we need new rules, fine. Maybe some of them will even work. Certainly businesses have to pay more attention to what is going on in the workplace. But I don’t want the Golden Globe ladies making the rules, any more than I want one of the Trump’s henchmen dismantling the Environmental Protection Agency.
Bill Huey is president of Strategic Communications, a corporate communications and marketing consultancy, and author of "Carbon Man," a novel about greed.