Thursday, 16 December 2010

O is for Oprah

My apologies for my recent quietness here. I am still having the heart problems which saw me hospitalised a few weeks back, and which have necessitated my sleeping on my lounge - upright, in the sitting position - as lying down is now physically impossible. Hence I am exhausted through no decent sleep/rest, hence my brain can't formulate a decent post, let alone get my slackarse body out for a meal!

I wanted to write about Steve Cumper catering for 2 special meals last week (a singular honour for him, and a huge compliment to his expertise, as well as being magnificent publicity), but wanted to wait for him to write about it himself, so this is my aside......

The power of the spoken word combined with the visual cannot be understated. But the importance of who is actually doing the speaking is tantamount in that equation.

If a politician suggests something, do we all nod our heads wisely in agreement, and instantly obey? I don’t think so! I think our automatic response is to assume that the politician is pushing a party line, or has a hidden agenda.

So it was with great interest that I observed last week’s quiet Oprah-invasion to Tassie. It was only 6 people (US tourists: part of Oprah’s 302-strong army of lucky viewers who won a guernsey to come to Oz on an all-expenses paid trip from America) arriving in Tasmania to experience the optimum in tourism experiences available to anyone with the requisite amount of money. But it appeared to be the most targeted, well-planned and executed trip ever, with the anticipated exposure of Tasmania and its glories to be splashed across the world via the Oprah show, to be aired in January.

Oprah Winfrey is certainly a powerhouse of a woman. If you haven’t ever taken the time to sit back and watch at least 5 episodes of her show, then you should. If you have just formed the opinion that because she is a chat show host she has nothing different to offer, then think again. There is a reason why Oprah is deemed to be so powerful in America.

Yes, she has a wonderful publicity machine behind her, which appears to work 24/7 spruiking the Oprah message extremely effectively. But when you watch her show, you will see quite a few issues raised which no one else would or could ever broach, let alone think they have the power to affect. (Oprah, fortunately, has a very high and genuine social conscience.)

Like, for instance, general education across the US. Oprah has put her foot down, and called for a nationwide halt to the extremely low levels of general education in the country. Not the education the well-heeled can afford, and take for granted, but the normal education that most of the population receive. She points out that this affects the functioning of the nation as a whole, so has gathered together the most powerful statesmen, together with the richest people to fund it, and has commenced a trial of practical education able to be delivered on the ground in all situations.

They have acknowledged and moved on past all the predictable opposition to a reforming of the education system (such as we have observed here in Tassie), making the point that the time for all that has passed, and it is now at the urgent stage.

So – the visit last week demonstrated the difference between a half-arsed, government-driven (for that, read ‘public service’) venture (where generally no one takes on personal ultimate responsibility for the success or failure of anything) versus a professional, well researched plan with well-defined and achievable outcomes.

In countless situations, when the public service gets involved in something, it usually ends in tears. If intelligent private enterprise is involved (ie correct research into the venture has been carried out, due to the fact that someone’s money and life is usually on the line!), the outcome is more commonly a raging success.

The Oprah visit to Australia being facilitated/coordinated by Tourism Australia, with Oprah’s own production company, Harpo, calling the shots they required, culminated in THE most successful advertising campaign on behalf of tourism in Australia ever conceived. The marriage between public and private enterprise worked strikingly well on this occasion, and should be a blueprint for future development, but I won’t hold my breath. We don’t have that many visionary movers and shakers here!
Posted on by Rita


sir grumpy said...

I've never seen an Oprah show but recently being exposed to daytime TV I have been horrified.
Maybe Oprah is okay, but things like the US version of the circle (and the circle) and kerri-Ann and breakfast TV are horrifying.

Add the flat, controlling Martha Stewart and things like Ellen Degeneres( screaming , screaming) and it is not numbing, but stress inducing.
Then there are the endless ads for ladders, steam mops and life insurance (which is really death insurance).
Thank God for my DVDs of Rick Stein.
Even the ABC's 24-hour news thingy is populated by strange, dour creatures and is endlessly recycled.
The OFF button is now firmly in use and my books have been the answer.
Maybe I'll check an Oprah episode while dodging things like Friends and Seinfeld (which I've never watched and am proud to relate).
And, am I the only person who can say he's never watched these or Sex in the City?
Old Emeril is a good cook but I wish he'd stop those orgasmic ``oh,yes baby'' calls as he finishes a plate. Very offputting.
The mute button is very handy.

The real progams start when old Floyd begins at 6.

Rita said...

Thanks Sir G. I totally understand anyone's reluctance to watch a daytime program like Oprah, which is why I wrote that people should watch maybe 5 episodes, as sometimes she does go to the dark side and cover the mudane or sensationalist subjects. But maybe every 4th or 5th program demonstrates the potential of Oprah's show, as, for instance, I explained about the education issue.

I also agree with you about Keri-Ann, the US version of Circle, ABC2, Ellen, Martha, and, yes, even Emeril (after the first few times) has become unwatchable for me.

Daytime TV generally is crap - which is why I love it when I happen to catch an episode of Oprah where she is covering a meaty, gritty subject. Other times I too turn off, and cook or read!

Cartouche said...

Personally, I have concluded that daytime TV is sponsored by the department of employment. One weeks exposure would have most people begging for a job.
I wonder if it was used in Guantanamo as torture, actually probably not, it would more likely insight a jihad, shit, if I had to watch it I would probably declare a Fatwah on the network.

Hope your feeling better


Christina said...

Sorry Sir G, I loved Seinfield and also Friends, but can hold my head high with you and say I have never watched a full episode of Sex in the City. I did watch part of one once, just to see if I was making the correct choice.....and I was.