The Oprah Winfrey Show – Essay Example

The paper "The Oprah Winfrey Show" is a great example of an essay on culture. The Oprah Winfrey Show is one of the most popular and widely viewed day-time television programs available today.  By addressing a large variety of social, political, and cultural issues, Winfrey is able to reach and appeal to a great many people.  As an icon, she has the ability to influence the beliefs and habits of whole swathes of the public.
Her topics are well researched, produced, and written so as to appeal to people’s interests.  This last week her show addressed issues including, but not limited to, proper dieting, shoe fashion, celebrities, the Oscars, and cell phone use by drivers.  All these issues speak to many different people, though mostly to women and mothers.
One especially interesting segment has been her sit-down interviews with a group of child molesters.  The interview is group-style, with Oprah asking each individual in turn about his first criminal acts against minors.  Normally, the topic sexual abuse of minors might involve interviews with the victims (something Oprah has surely done many times).  In this case, it is the perpetrator who is given center stage.  Each of the interviewees discusses his first act of pedophilia in detail.  Then he tells of later instances, how many times each, how much prison time he received, how successful his therapy was, and what he now is doing with his life.  This methodology and topic are particularly appealing and interesting to the viewer for two reasons.  One is that child molestation is an abhorrent crime rightly feared and lamented by the public.  Second, in contradistinction to the first, is that this type of interview somewhat humanizes each of the pedophiles.  Despite the fact that that may seem horrible, the effect is nonetheless obvious.  Each man tells of his crimes, what he has done to right them, and where he stands today.  Though his crimes are terrible, by giving an interview in this way, the viewer sees his “human” side: he may be disturbed, but he is a human who is disturbed.  This method therefore on the part of the Oprah Winfrey Show is somewhat licentious because it appeals to both our sense of outrage and disgust and our sense of pity and sympathy.