Question: "What do you think is the biggest misconception about people with disabilities?"
Answer: "That they're helpless, and that their personalities are defined by their disabilities. I am so many things before I am a person in the wheelchair. Get to know the person, the chair is incidental."
That's Oprah asking the question. And that's Zach Anner, my American idol, giving her the most spot-on answer. He's one of two winners of the Your Own Show competition, and he'll be hosting his own TV travel show: Rollin' Around The World. Zach has cerebral palsy, and he has given me all sorts of inspiration for Max's future.
I've been at an event these last couple of days, and so I missed the big win last night. Here's the previous episode, where Zach and Oprah chatted. I found her treatment of him patronizing at times—that look of extreme concern on her face, that pat on the hand at the end. And the first question she asked ("What made you want to take this on?") threw me. Hel-lo, having your own TV show? Hel-lo, Oprah backing your own TV show?
Perhaps people will give Oprah props for his win. It's great that she gave all the contestants a chance at stardom, but she doesn't deserve special kudos for choosing Zach. He is genuinely funny and charismatic, and he deserved it. That said, this is groundbreaking, and I hope Zach's show will change a lot of misconceptions out there about people with disabilities—and the way our children are treated by society.
I suspect Max will be sending in his application next year for The Purple Show.
Yep, I think Zach will open the eyes of a lot of people, including Oprah and her producers.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure Oprah was patronizing. She is always there with a face of concern for her interviewee... I think what Zach said was great, profound & spot on. Can't wait to see how his show goes forward.ReplyDelete
I don't watch Oprah regularly, but as I recall, that is the look she gets when she's interviewing someone who's dealt with some sort of trauma/tragedy.ReplyDelete
I was obsessed with the show from start to finish because of Zach. I completely agree with you regarding some of Oprah's gestures. But she said it best in the last episode...she had never met anybody like Zach, and it makes her want to be a better person. He is changing her already!ReplyDelete
I can't stand Oprah. She sets my teeth on edge, especially when she starts bellowing at the audience and they, Greedy Guses that they are, get all whipped into a frenzy over the prospect of "goodie bags." It sickens me. Total bread and circuses. It's a sad comment on priorities in this society I think.ReplyDelete
I used to like her before she got "all mogul," but when she started with the "favorite things," the book club in her OWN name, school in her own name, the magazine in her own name, the network in her own name, to me she comes across like as much of a blowhard as Donald Trump (another idiot who has to graffiti his name everywhere). I mean, really, what sort of Scrooge McDuck has to put their frigging name on EVERYTHING? Anyone with an ounce of class would name stuff after someone ELSE who influenced them in a positive way, not themselves. What she does is plain, bold, self-aggrandizement. Look at me, me, ME, MEEEEEE!!! Feh!!!!
And the giveaways--the cars, the trips, the THINGS--she is just all about material things. Yes, they have a place--who doesn't like nice stuff-- but they're not a substitute for relationships, and that's where she comes up short in my view. I spell Oprah p-h-o-n-y.
I won't even go into how she has the balls to lecture people about their marriages and relationships with their children--that to me is Irony on a silver plate.
I know there will be some who get all drawers-in-a-knot over my personal view, but oh, well. They don't have to hold it.
I am glad she did one good thing by picking a good winner, but I don't think she did it for any other reasons than 1) The kid is good and 2) It's a ratings winner. She deserves no "credit"--she's using that kid to get Nielsen points. Hopefully he'll have more staying power over the long haul than she does, because she's too much about herself, no matter how much "good" she's done (and boy, she made sure everyone knew about it) with a very small percentage of the money she's amassed.
I find Oprah patronizing MOST of the time, but let's face it, anything with her name on it sells. Oprah backing Zach's show is huge!!!!!!!!!!!! What a tremendous opportunity to educate others about life with special needs. So excited to watch his show.ReplyDelete
I so agree with Felicia..."But when you give....,do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."ReplyDelete
I did not know he won! I'm so excited and can't wait to watch his show!ReplyDelete
I've got a love/hate relationship with Oprah. One day love her, the next day, not so much. This however, will give a voice and recognition to people with disabilities, and I look forward to seeing how he handles the challenges he WILL face while traveling with a wheelchair. I have to believe that she was not trying to be condescending to Zach in any way...just showing compassion. Let's hope she and Zach both handle this golden opportunity with class!ReplyDelete
I was obsessed with every show for only one reason: ZACH. I couldn't wait for each Friday to watch him do what he so naturally does. Agreed that Oprah does not deserve the credit for allowing Zach this opportunity... he is a winner and deserves this show more than anyone. He begins filming this summer so I suspect it won't be until fall before we see more of him.ReplyDelete
On another note, I'd love to have a sit down with Zach's mother (who appeared on the final episode). She knew what she was doing to raise such an open-minded, positive son and I thought of her each time I watched Zach on the show. I can only hope I'm doing the right things to raise a daughter as balanced as him.
Mo: I had the exact same thought. And I've been in touch with his mom. I hope to interview her this week. !!!ReplyDelete
When I watched the clips, I saw that look on Oprah (and the other interviewers) faces. BUT what I loved, is that I watched as that look dissipated from the faces of the people as they interacted with him. I think they were shocked at their own change of heart... And as frustrating as it might be for us to see that they still started off "feeling sorry for him" in a small way; I was really excited to see the way he changed their minds and put them right at ease. The Entertainment Tonight guy seemed especially surprised at how much he liked talking with Zach. I really liked watching their own transformation as they accepted that Zach was just a funny guy - not a disabled guy!ReplyDelete
I did not know he won thanks for letting me know ellenReplyDelete
Oh Ellen, do share! Please pass along my admiration to her.ReplyDelete
I can't wait for your interview Ellen!!!ReplyDelete
I'm glad I wasn't the only one watching this show and rooting for him! Zach is amazing!!! I can't wait to see his show! Truly seeing BEYOND the wheelchair!ReplyDelete
Zach is an amazing man! I think he got the show because of that. I don't think Oprah deserves "credit" for picking someone with a disability.ReplyDelete
That said I didn't notice her being patronizing. They were talking about a sensitive subject (wheelchairs, disability) and that is her compassionate face. I sincerely believe you're reading too much into that.
I've seen her interview tons of people and that's not a patronizing interview. She asks him those questions because she believes Zach has important and golden experiences to share with the audience. She has the same facial expressions for people who has deep and profound answers to her questions. The pat on the hand was not patronizing at all. It looked to me like she sees him as a young friend who she know well enough. He is in a wheel chair and she looked like she didn't know if she can shake his hands or how to hug him because usually when she hugs people they lean towards her at the same time. With him unable to the same, she had to adjust her thinking and hug him the best way possible. It the same way she pats celebrities backs when she hugs them. It's more cordial. You don't wanna act like the person you are interviewing is your best friend cuz then it looks like the interview was a sham. She was simply not accustomed to that instance. She said it herself that she never met someone like him before that's why she didn't have that usual departing hug she has with everyone else. It's a learning process, people. Everyone needs time to learn new things.ReplyDelete
To people who have turned this thread into a "let's crucify Oprah for being a mogul". Oprah is a business woman and probably the most successful business woman of all time. She knows that her name/herself is the SELLING POINT. She is what most people love to see and hear. If her name and image is what it takes to open people's minds, perception and hearts to stuff she feels worthy of an audience (like Zach), then will use her name/image. Her name became its own brand name. She is a business woman people. Its a cycle. She makes money, influences people, helps people, opens people's mind, shares great experiences to her audience and in return she gets ratings and advertising dollars. This allows her to do things bigger and better the next time to a bigger and more diverse audience. The kind of shows she creates are transformative and that's why Zach is in her network now.
Also when she asks Zach "What made you take this on", that didn't seem patronizing at all. Any good interviewer will let the person share his/her answers in their own way and in their own words. She obviously asked him that so people will know Zach's unique perspective. Sorry I had multiple post earlier, I had grammatical errors I had to correct...lolReplyDelete