America, have you learned nothing?

Oprah Winfrey made a calculatedly rousing speech to a roomful of luvvies who had gathered to congratulate each other at the Golden Globes last week. Her theme was women's empowerment and right to be free from the risk of sexual abuse.

She also shoehorned in a nod to the American Dream, the notion that anyone can make it to the top. It was a well-written speech. Every word of it was true. Apart from the bit about how everyone can make it in America.

It was one of Winfrey's finest performances, right up there with her Oscar-nominated turn in The Color Purple. And it was a finely calculated turn, complete with climactic histrionic rising crescendo of a finale.


Next thing you know, for some reason, the possibility of her being a candidate for the presidency of the United States was being talked about by people whose IQs are presumably in double figures.

As if the Trump fiasco had taught no one about the danger of mistaking glamour for authority, oratory for ideas, and celebrity for character.

Around the time John F. Kennedy became president, partly on the strength of an impressive TV debate in which he overshadowed Richard Nixon, it was noted that politicians had to be TV stars to win elections.

This was regarded as a regrettable fact of life that had to be accepted. Image was all. Now, it seems, we are being asked to believe that TV stars have to be politicians.

Ironically Winfrey does exemplify some of the main achievements Trump's acolytes claim for him. Trump is not in fact a self-made billionaire who revolutionised a television genre. But Winfrey is.

Still — that's not really what you need in a leader, is it? We've just seen off a PM whose main real-life skill was making money.

There were some desperate attempts to justify the absurd notion of a Winfrey candidacy by saying that she would be a better president than Donald Trump. Which is like saying I'd do a better job playing the lead in Swan Lake than Oscar Pistorius.

And although Winfrey has had one of the most successful careers in television history it's not necessarily one to be admired. She has given airtime to a menagerie of charlatans and shysters and dubious peddlers of new-age nostrums for decades.


Thanks to her the world has been exposed to the likes of Dr Phil McGraw and Deepak Chopra. By showcasing confessional guests, she has enabled the trend for oversharing that cleared the way for the cavalcade of narcissism that is now a social norm.

And through her magazine and stunts like the "you get a car ... and you get a car" giveaway she has, in my view, promoted the spiritually dead consumerism which is the current distorted incarnation of the ideal of the American dream.

For her part, Winfrey played it coy but was said to be "very intrigued by the idea", according to her pal and fellow TV host Gail King. Well, I'll just bet she is. Who wouldn't be? I know I am.

Perhaps we shouldn't worry. Many commentators have refused to take the possibility of a candidacy seriously, saying, "Of course, it would never happen." Remember the last time the world said that?

If you're interested in art, there's Auckland Art Gallery and our many fine dealer galleries to meet your needs. If it's trite political commentary you're after, it's available on social media around the clock for free.

If you want sentimental messages, there are greeting cards in many outlets. And if you're an enthusiast of clever political cartoons, there's Emmerson in the Herald. So there's really no reason at all to go and see what in my view is the trite, fatuous work of Bansky at the Aotea Centre, is there?