Sarah Ferguson takes blood money and the whole thing is captured on tape. Must be time to go on Oprah! What a spectacle these sit-downs with Oprah are, yet strangely formulaic. The Duchess of York relies on every cliche in the book and pulls them all out in the first five minutes to cover all the bases: "Little Sarah got lost." She was drunk, though perhaps only on orange juice. She's spent her whole life trying to be perfect (though clearly without much success.) She was tired, had been on the road for months. She even uses the third person, feeling sorry for "her."
So what to make of all this? Wouldn't it be so darned refreshing to hear Sarah Ferguson say, "I have spent my millions and will do practically anything -- including selling access to my ex -- for money?" How about if Rielle Hunter admitted to being amoral while having sex with the married John Edwards? What if the Oprah Show became a place where people actually told the truth? Maybe even Oprah could do that! It would be a whole new genre in reality TV -- unscripted, honest, just plain admitting that an act or choice was wrong. They could do it less for redemption and more for simply unburdening their souls.
Though of course in America redemption seems to come easily to those who fail. Bill Clinton lied through his teeth and now is the darling of the global health world, commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars on the speakers' circuit. Sarah Ferguson carts away a case loaded with $40,000 and is given an hour to ruminate on her fatigue with the Queen of TV. Who is next? The head of BP who "just wants to get my life back?" We're a very forgiving society, aren't we? Oprah seems to encourage that in us, with her compassionate nods at the fallen, her willingness to let even the slimiest among us explain our actions in the most insincere way.
Yes, I know. I can stop watching Oprah. I can assume that the Duchess will receive the frosty wrath of her royal in-laws, that Bill Clinton will have to explain himself at the Pearly Gates, that Rielle Hunter will find mold in her lovely warm colored "mistress" house. And yes, I know, being judgmental is not constructive. It is so easy to judge others. Let s/he who is without sin cast the first stone...But, really, there are so many unhailed heroes in this nation whose lives would be bolstered by five minutes of sitting knee to knee with Oprah. They could tell her about how they serve food at homeless shelters or take in stray cats or volunteer at their children's schools. They could regale her with how they feed a family of five for under $150 a month or manage to take vacations with nothing but a cooler and some sleeping bags. They wouldn't talk in the third person or be forced to watch hidden camera footage of themselves involved in dastardly activities.
There's a whole swath of Americans who don't lie or cheat or take advantage of others, who don't try to excuse bad behavior by claiming to be drunk. Why can't they be on Oprah? In fact, why doesn't Oprah simply ban anyone who has publicly displayed bad behavior? She only has another year of the show anyway. Devote it to good neighbors, good teachers, first responders, children with straight A's, old people who've never gotten a traffic ticket. I know I'd watch it. In fact, if Sarah Ferguson devotes the rest of her life to earning a living the way the rest of us do, manages to stop blaming food and alcohol and the royals -- I'd even be willing to see her on the Oprah Reunion Special in 25 years. Maybe.