Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Oprah for President

5/6/2011 10:35:33 AM

Tags: Oprah, Women's Movement, Making a Difference, Cam Mather


I love Oprah. There, I said it. No doubt all of my male readers will stop reading now and will walk away, heads down, disappointed that the chainsaw-wielding, firewood-chopping, 4-wheel truck driving writer of this blog admits to liking Oprah.

Well I do. In fact I think she’s one of the greatest women I know. While there are so many women one could look up to for advancing the cause of the women’s movement, I can’t think of anyone who has done more than Oprah. This was confirmed to me in a big way the other night when I watched one of her last shows. She had her producers on to talk about the challenges of putting her shows together. And does she have producers! She has regular producers and associate producers and location producers and more variations on the word producer than I’d ever seen, and they’re just about all women. Yes she has a few men working for her, but the vast majority of her team is female. And they produce amazing shoes. They produce shows that have made Oprah one of the richest and most successful media personalities on the planet. And who can argue with that kind of success?
 

Sure, there are lots of Oprah shows that I can’t stand. Those Christmas shows where she gives away her “favorite things” to people who don’t look like they need more “stuff” are gross. I also don’t like the makeover shows. What’s with that Oprah? Just trying to make women who don’t have makeovers feel bad about themselves? No, I think Oprah just has to walk that fine line in the entertainment industry of giving people what they want, versus the great hard hitting shows that she does so well. Luckily satellite TV allows me to watch her at night and if it’s not a good show, I can go out and chop wood or do something productive.

And over the years I have watched many of her good shows and thought “Oprah should run for President.” No, Oprah should be President. She has the credentials at running a huge organization very successfully. She tackles tough subjects with great aplomb. I’m confident she could handle the whole global diplomacy thing. Most of the world knows her. She set up a school for girls in Africa. We gave money to the Oprah Foundation for that. She rebuilt houses in New Orleans after Katrina. She has her producers track down people going through hard times and she helps them out. And while I’m not a fan of her giveaway shows, she did make the effort to track down people who actually needed a new car for the show in which everyone in the audience got a new car. I can’t imagine the logistics of organizing something like that.

Oprah

Anyone who doubts Oprah’s reach should check out her power over the internet. Michelle uses a program called “Google Analytics” to analyze our website traffic and how people find us. She can also see what the most common searches on the internet are. Oprah had a group of great female entertainers on a recent show. Michelle was using her laptop while she watching the show and noticed that of the top 10 google searches many were for the women that were on the Oprah show. Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Salt ‘n Peppa, Sister Sledge, Joan Jet, Sheryl Crow… We figured this out because I happened to ask Michelle “So are the women in ‘Sister Sledge’ really sisters?” It turned out that everyone else on the internet was asking the same question. The reach of Oprah is quite phenomenal.

As a publisher it’s always been a fantasy of mine to get one of our books on the “Oprah Book Club” list. While I can’t see Oprah cuddling up in her favorite pajamas with a copy of The Renewable Energy Handbook, it didn’t stop us from trying. A while back Michelle logged on to oprah.com and pitched a show for Earth Week about what our family had done in trying to become zero-carbon and limit our impact on the planet. Last year one of that army of producers contacted us about a show they were putting together for Earth Day. Michelle was a little freaked out at the thought of being on Oprah but I think it would have been amazing. Unfortunately it turned out they were looking for a “green” family with young kids. Our daughters are in their early 20’s and both living away from home. We toyed with the idea of “borrowing” a couple of our friends’ children to act like our kids, but then I remembered the Oprah show in which she invited author James Frey back to explain himself. He had been on a previous show promoting his book “A Million Little Pieces” and when it came out that much of that book was fiction, rather than autobiographical, Oprah had him come back on her show so that she could ream him out. That was painful to watch. That was probably when I was most convinced that Oprah had what it took to be President. Anyone who watched that show would know this was not a woman to be messed with.  

In fact as President that would the first thing she should do. Send around videotape to world leaders of some of her highlights. She could show them highlights of all of the wonderful things she has done and then a few a minutes of James Frey squirming as she pummeled him publicly for being dishonest. I don’t think it would take a world leader very long to decide which side of President Winfrey they’d want to be on.

I have been entertained by Oprah and inspired. I have learned great lessons, often from great women. I remember Maya Angelou was a guest and she described her horrific upbringing. Despite her less than perfect beginnings, she seems happy and well adjusted. She was talking about negativism. She talked about how if she has someone at her house that is racist or overly negative she asks him or her to leave. I think she said, “That stuff sticks to your furniture and clings to your walls.” It was such a great visual metaphor that I use it all the time myself. Usually I’m the one being negative and ranting about something and so I start mocking myself for messing up the furniture.

Most of all I love Oprah because she has been such a great role model for so many women. When you have daughters you realize how important this is. Watching the show where the richest and most powerful woman on television was surrounded by the staff that makes her show happen, and realizing that her staff is almost all women was just a pivotal moment for me. And I thought of all the young women out there starting careers in journalism, or younger women thinking about what they want to do with their lives. If they were watching this show they’d realize this career offered them huge potential.

We recently watched the movie “Morning Glory” with Rachel McAdams who plays a network TV morning show producer. She has to put shows together, and be creative, and deal with huge egos like the characters played by Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton, and be technically adept, and be a writer, and coordinator and be in control. And the whole movie was about her. It was a Hollywood movie about an intelligent, successful, young woman. There were very few gunshots and only the one car chase (which was just a TV van driving fast), but I still loved this movie because I could see my daughters in this job. Hollywood and television are far too short on role models like this. Oprah has been the one great exception for years. And I think Oprah should run for President. Can you imagine? A black female President. The whole world could have one big communal “Oprah moment.”

Photo of Oprah courtesy of Malik Shabazz on Wikicommons.

 For more information about Cam Mather or his books visit www.cammather.com or www.aztext.com.



Related Content

Women Pay More for Health Insurance

Women are often paying far more for health insurance than men, in some cases by as much as 49 percen...

Making Soap at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR

Learn why making soap doesn't have to be as intimidating as it may sound. Katherine from Bramble Ber...

Women Harvest Duluth Trading Gear for Fall's Outdoor Activities and Chores

Flagship store opens Nov. 1 in Mount Horeb, Wis., to give Duluth women a physical hub to browse seri...

Oprah HenFree Talks About Chick Lib

MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.

Content Tools
RSS




Post a comment below.

 

Kathy C.
5/25/2011 1:04:10 PM
It is my first time reading Cam's blog and I think it's great. I wish I had read his blog about removing grass and keeping it for topsoil before I removed my side yard grass. Anyway, I think he's knowledgeable and informative and also funny. I, too, like Oprah but maybe not for President but I still enjoyed the blog about her. Everyone has a right to their opinion. Personally, I'd rather not have "stuff that sticks to your furniture and clings to your walls". :-) Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-in-canada/oprah-for-president.aspx#ixzz1NO8hHxih

kim warren
5/17/2011 10:49:37 AM
wow, with all due respect, Oprah MAY be many of the things you described, but most definitely NOT a President! This is my first time reading here (fyi im a woman)and I have to say it wasn't what I came here for. Although I might agree on some of your insight, if we were making a movie. I have been watching Oprah (not full time, as Im not a supporter), I see her a little differently. Emotionally opinionated, biased and most definitely prejudice. just to name 3 things this country doesn't need in a President. I recently read that Donald Trump announced he will NOT be running for President. Thank Goodness. Our Presidency is now open to all business men/woman and entertainers? I should hope not!!! For me personally, Id like to see someone who has been groomed for the job for some years in politics. Educated. Military or intelligence back ground. I most definitely take our leadership roles a little more seriously and the safety of this country. The rich and famous can be and have anything they want. but I don't feel that should give them the privilege to be Presidents

sutem
5/11/2011 5:58:05 PM
Nice rant Blueribbineggs. Now....you might want waste a few minutes of you valuable time reading some other blog entries from Cam...you can then get tested for Foot in Mouth disease.

John Sealander
5/9/2011 3:20:36 AM
Cam-Really, really sad. No let me reconsider...pathetic. Yes, that's the right word... 'Pathetic.' This is the first time I have read your blog. I can assure you I won't waste another minute of my valuable time in the future. I suggest that the MEN editors not waste ours. Our world is going to heck in a handbasket and all you folks can diddle with is carbon 'offsets', bamboo cutting boards and anthropomorphic gobal climate change. We need to learn how to grow food and survive today! While this clown is bathering on about Oprah (A fine woman and lady I am sure)I am raising eggs and broilers for sale and planting gardens and fields of staples to feed my family and friends. There are 50 million un-employed,very hungry and scared people in America who need the info today and folks like me who need to learn how to do it better. And all you fools are doing is 'fiddling while Rome burns". Let me rephrase my opening comment. It shouldn't be directed at Cam, but at MEN mag itself...Pathetic.

MY COMMUNITY






Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.