One fact must be noted about the brave new digital world we find ourselves in. In today’s world, nothing disappears, turning everything ever created into a potential perennial. This is good, say, for musical acts from the past whose decades-old songs can catch fire willy-nilly on TikTok and reach new audiences. It may not be new music, but it’s new to new generations of listeners.
Yet the results of all this evergreen content can be less cheerful, too — and one ill effect of content lasting forever, so to speak, is that as societal mores change, some moments age less well than others.
Fleetwood Mac may be as popular as ever on social media, but Oprah Winfrey‘s interviews? Sometimes not so much.
If Oprah were still front and center on the culture scene today, she’d doubtless face talk of being cancelled — as all famous people do in the judgmental jungle of social media. (Note: If you talk for a living for 20+ years and everything you’ve ever said is recorded for posterity, chances are people will find something they don’t like.)
So it goes that a reconsideration of Oprah is currently underway on social media, where billionaires (read: Elon Musk) aren’t as popular as they were just a few years back.
Now just weeks after being flayed for her public showing of major privilege, Oprah is again being taken to task for old content — this time, it’s a nearly 20-year-old interview with the Olsen twins, fashion designers and the beloved former stars of TV’s enduringly popular Full House sitcom.
After her privilege flash, Oprah quickly and graciously recovered, recommending a Christmas gift that cost nothing at all and was thoughtful in the extreme. (See below.)
@10gsocial Oprah knows hiw to give a sentimental gift #oprah #tv #gift #christmas #suprise ♬ Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee
This time, though, it’s too late for Oprah to make an adjustment on the fly — after all, the “controversial” interview being bandied about took place in 2004.
What is Oprah’s great crime then, as seen in the eyes of (sanctimonious?) social media critics? Oprah asked the Olsen twins for their dress sizes. And that’s after addressing – not too subtly — the rumor that the two were battling eating disorders.
One school of thought — a positive take for the host — is that Oprah is merely giving the Olsen twins a chance to address the issue and put the rumor to sleep.
Indeed, Ashley Olsen replied: “You know people are gonna write what they’re gonna write. We try not to read the good or the bad because it just comes with the territory. Either you’re too fat, too skinny and people are just gonna write what they (want).”
But the school of thought more prominent just now on the internet is that Oprah shouldn’t have addressed dress sizes or eating disorders at all, and that she was somehow taking advantage of the young actresses. It’s a debate.
Oprah is a professional interviewer and must ask questions, right? But which subjects are too sensitive? If there is a question at the center of the ongoing cancellation/cultural rift in America, it might be: what is too sensitive?
WHAT WE ARE NOT GOING TO DO IS DISCUSS HOW PROBLEMATIC #Oprah IS WITHOUT BRINGING UP THIS VIDEO / they were 18 at the time.. #expose #Oprah asking the olsen twins about their size #marykate & #ashly pic.twitter.com/K8kZh3x0Gd— Japheth (@fjpanama97) April 28, 2020
Oprah did recover a bit in this instance too, if you follow the full dialogue, using her own personal story as cover — as the reason for her deep interest in sizes. After Oprah asked, “What size are you, by the way?” — the Olsen twins replied they didn’t know.
“Oh, that’s so interesting. That is so interesting, I’m obsessed with size,” Oprah said. Anyone who has followed Oprah’s journey — and her major investment in Weight Watchers — knows that’s true.
Still, the reconsideration of the Oprah legacy continues. A phrase in the tweet above notes that the reconsideration is growing beyond just one or two instances. That phrase? “How problematic Oprah is...” The hashtags? #expose #oprah
It won’t be easy to knock Oprah from her earned place, however, as someone who tries to do the right thing. The icon has repeatedly been willing to risk upsetting people to express strongly held opinions that could lose her audience approval — and her matter-of-fact courage has won her more defenders than detractors.
If you’re going to “expose” Oprah, you have to expose this trail blazing part of her, too, as plenty of people on social media do. Witness below as she takes a stand on LGBTQ matters that the nation took some time to catch up to.
@joshhelfgott Gay Flashbacks: Episode One 🏳️🌈 PS The next episode takes a dark turn but its important❗️ #lgbt #lgbtq #oprah ♬ Bird (Instrumental) – BLVKSHP