Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Lied at Harvard

Some of us are just plain average. And that's OK.

Oprah's privileged optimism does not change the fact the failure exists.

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Katie Couric's Daytime Talk Show Desperately Needed Manti Te'o

The identity crisis of "Katie."

Her show flailing, Katie Couric must have hoped for a Sarah Palin moment when she interviewed Manti Te'o. She didn't get one. 

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What would happen if these two social-media kings collided in 2013?

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WHAT A SPELL of cultural miseries. Oprah Winfrey commended “Pierre de Chardin” to the graduates of Spelman College and exhorted them to “let excellence be your brand.” Yale University elected to have its commencement addressed by Barbara Walters. Al Sharpton appeared in the pages of The New York Times Book Review, which warmly noted that its reviewer has lost a lot of weight and eats fish twice a week and many vegetables. And Daniel Bell was made responsible for the Iraq war.

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Eleven years ago Jonathan Franzen caught hell for expressing some ambivalence when Oprah Winfrey selected his novel The Corrections for her TV book club. Franzen said that though Winfrey was “really smart” and “fighting the good fight” for the book business, she also “picked enough schmaltzy, one-dimensional [books] that I cringe, myself” at being selected. He added that he thought The Corrections would prove “a hard book for that audience.” On hearing about these slights, Winfrey cancelled Franzen’s scheduled appearance on her show.

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The Collector

On a warm Saturday in early July, an employee at the Maryland Historical Society placed a call to the police. He had noticed two visitors behaving strangely—a young, tall, handsome man with high cheekbones and full lips and a much older, heavier man, with dark, lank hair and a patchy, graying beard. The older man had called in advance to give the librarians a list of boxes of documents he wanted to see, saying that he was researching a book. At some point during their visit, the employee saw the younger man slip a document into a folder.

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The Pseudo List

Social Scientist: DAVID BROOKS Democrat: BARACK OBAMA Moderate: JOHN ROBERTS Tim Russert: DAVID GREGORY Wise Man: RICHARD HAASS Mike Allen: MARK HALPERIN Bono: BONO John le Carré: DAVID IGNATIUS Oprah Winfrey: ANDERSON COOPER

Public Parts: How Sharing in the Digital Age Improves the Way We Work and Live  By Jeff Jarvis  (Simon & Schuster, 263 pp., $26.99) In 1975, Malcolm Bradbury published The History Man, a piercing satire of the narcissistic pseudo-intellectualism of modern academia. The novel recounts a year in the life of the young radical sociologist Howard Kirk—“a theoretician of sociability”—who is working on a book called The Defeat of Privacy.

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Talk show host Oprah Winfrey taped her farewell show yesterday at the United Center in Chicago. In front of 13,000 spectators (13,000!), a host of celebrities made surprise guest appearances, including Michael Jordan, Tom Cruise, Maya Angelou, Will Smith, and Madonna. (Also present was former California first lady and Oprah pal Maria Shriver, who took the opportunity to get in a jibe at her estranged husband Arnold Schwarzenegger.) For 25 years, Winfrey has been the most popular talk show host in the United States, and one of the most powerful women in the country.

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The end of Larry King Live, after 50 years and a steep drop in ratings, was inevitable in a cable news climate that values mindless partisanship over mindless nonpartisanship. In contrast to the likes of MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann and Fox’s Glenn Beck, CNN’s middle-of-the-road tack was flailing. King’s farewell aptly coincided with the end of another institution in softball interviewing: The Oprah Winfrey Show, that stronghold of cheery neutrality and generic goodwill.

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