Here's an interesting news item to chew over the weekend: Oprah has announced that former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey will appear on the show during the new fall season. According to the wire copy, the appearance will be scheduled around the same time as the expected release of The Confession, "McGreevey's tell-all book about his struggles as a closeted homosexual and his emergence as the nation's first openly gay governor."
Just as a point of reference, McGreevey was forced into coming out of the closet due to a pending sexual harassment lawsuit regarding an extra-marital affair with a male aide. Sure, nowadays McGreevey and his current partner attend functions together as a couple but let's keep the past in perspective. So that begs the question, How will the Queen of Talk treat the former governor?
There seems to be some debate over whether McGreevey will be afforded "star treatment" versus being crucified a la James Frey. Let's hope that the "gay American" will be given a little more compassion than was afforded to Jonathan Plummer, who was caught in similar circumstances.
The McGreevey booking was just the latest in a very good week for the O:
The Tony Nominations. Oprah Winfrey's musical version of The Color Purple racked up eleven Tony nominations, tying the lead for second place. Gabriel at Modern Fabulosity correctly guessed most of the nominations—what? no Julia Roberts??—so head over there, wish him a Happy Birthday and check in with his predictions of the winners.
We Interrupt This Program. On Monday evening, President Bush's nationally televised address interrupted prime time programming. Oprah's Legends Ball was pushed back one week, causing many gays to cry foul.
"I Got Fiddy on My iPod" That's what the O told Power 105's Ed Lover when she dropped by for a surprise visit. The appearance was designed to deflect comments by Ludacris and 50 Cent that the talk show queen is hostile to hip-hop and caters to white suburbia. Au contraire, O has not lost her commitment to the community. In fact, she says her explanation to Ludacris was over the use of the "N-word" in rap, and, setting goals and expectations for oneself. Novaslim calls Oprah to task over the whole affair and his comments thread has become rather lively.
We lean toward J. Brotherlove's take—that Oprah's position "had less to do with responsibility and more to do with integrity." Singers and performers should own their lyrics and not discount them as mere showmanship.
Just last week, J. essayed the politically loaded word in a review of Randall Kennedy's latest book, Nigger: "The truth is, I speak differently depending on the audience and situation." Agreed. In the past, some have taken issue with our honesty on that issue, but, there is a major difference between casual conversation among friends and music lyrics for the masses. Or, when gay sitcom characters repeatedly call each other "bitch" or "hoe." Oprah's commentary was spot-on.