Tag Archive for Oprah Winfrey

Inappropriate talk on daytime TV for teens, children and young adults.

HUMANE EXPOSURES explores the quality of daytime TV for young mothers with children at home, or for children and teens coming home from school and turning on TV as they have a break between school and homework. Or are all kids in afternoon sports?

The Doctors, CBS daytime one-hour show, had topics about “mental orgasm,” “vaginal discharge,” “swamp butt,” “anal sex,” “going gray down there,” and other embarrassing, personal, female issues that children and teenagers coming home from school, grabbing a snack and turning on the tube, do not need to see, hear about, become aware of, or add to other inappropriate viewing on daytime TV.  Is this valued information for young mothers to view? Is this what we want young mothers and their mothers to talk about as critical issues of today? This show airs in San Diego from 4:00-5:00 p.m. opposite Oprah.

HUMANE EXPOSURES is interested in your thoughts.

Guggenheim’s Superman: Education Is Everybody’s Problem

SupermanHUMANE EXPOSURES would like to salute Davis Guggenheim. The director on An Inconvenient Truth has a new film out, and he is hoping that it will spark a dialogue about education in the same way his prior film has generated debate about climate change. Waiting For Superman is nothing less than an S.O.S. on behalf of our school systems nationwide. A call for awareness and action on this subject which affects us all.

It all started earlier in the year when Guggenheim and his wife decide to visit an obviously ailing school that they passed every morning while taking their child to her school. Why did he do it? Alison Gang, San Diego native and movie critic for Sign On San Diego, reports:

So why visit a school that his kids don’t even attend? ‘Superman’ makes the point that failing schools are everyone’s problem, even if your family has options or you don’t have children at all. But, Guggenheim argues, the system can’t be changed unless the public demands reform, which is exactly what he aims to inspire with his film.

‘I think there’s a series of often unspoken reasons that we give ourselves not to care, not to open our hearts to this,’ he said. ‘I want to puncture this kind of disconnect. That’s what a movie should do, connect all the dots and get people to go, ‘Oh, it’s real. This affects me.’’

This s exactly what we hope to do with our own documentary, It’s More Expensive To Do Nothing. Public awareness and dialogue are essential to effecting any substantive change no matter whether you are addressing education as Guggenheim is, or homelessness and the penal system as we have. Without that essential engagement — there is no pressure to produce change. Fortunately, it would seem that Guggenheim’s effort is getting some legs under it:

Whether ‘Superman’ will start the wave of massive reforms necessary to turn a notoriously intractable system on its head remains to be seen, but it has already earned a nod from Oprah Winfrey, who dedicated an entire show to the film, and it won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival.

With Oprah’s powerful reach behind it, this film will get a lot more attention. Step one is always getting people to see it so that it can motivate them to explore the topic further and hopefully take action.

Of course, anything that digs deeply into the long-established policy is bound to get a backlash. In this instance, the film’s stressing of educational accountability is, shall we say, less than popular with the teacher’s unions. Gang writes:

Less than pleased with the film are the teachers unions, which take issue with the film’s stance against automatic tenure and lack of teacher accountability. Taking on the normally taboo topic was a difficult decision for Guggenheim, a lifelong Democrat whose father brought him up to believe strongly in unions. ‘But that’s why you make documentaries. To say things that no one wants to say and to make people face uncomfortable truths.’ He smiles, ‘Not inconvenient truths, but uncomfortable ones.’

Uncomfortable truths are important. It is when we face these and deal with them that we mature, both as individuals and as a society.

Documentary film fans should visit the homes of both films on Facebook: Waiting For Superman and It’s More Expensive to Do Nothing. Each covers a different aspect of the overall problem our society faces — providing proper support for children as they grow up in order to help them be productive members of society. Our film looks at the prison system and makes a great followup to Superman as it explores the frequency with which the issues Guggenheim examines impact those children in later life.

Source: “Guggenheim knows he isn’t ‘Superman’,” Sign On San Diego, 10/08/10
Image by emilydickensonrisdesabmx, used under its Creative Commons license.

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Oprah Should Revisit the Homelessness Issue

OprahOprah Winfrey has become a household name, there is no mistake about that. Over the course of her career, she had experienced success in a wide variety of arenas ranging from the big-screen movies to her rightfully famed talk show. This is exactly why we feel that she should revisit the topic of homelessness in the U.S.

This would be familiar territory, after all. In June 2009, Lisa Ling did a special report on tent cities in Sacramento, CA., that helped put a human face on the issue. [Video: "Lisa Ling Goes Inside a Tent City"]

While it has only been 15 months since Ling’s report, in those 15 months we have experienced major housing and economic upsets — the circumstances that have created a huge influx of new faces on the streets. There are also new initiatives popping up across the country that attempt to find ways to reintegrate the homeless back into society. (Back On My Feet is only one of many examples.) In addition, there have been disasters such as the BP oil spill and the recent wildfire in Colorado that have contributed their own brand of socioeconomic chaos to the mix.

On “Inside a Tent City,” Ling presents a number of interviews with those who were living in the tent city at the time, such as this one with a woman named Tammy:

Tammy is a 47-year-old who says she has been living with her husband in this tent city for a little less than a year. ‘My husband’s job fell through,’ she says. ‘He was a tile setter … [but people] weren’t buying houses anymore, and there was no need for tile setting. We lost our car and our home, our apartment. We lost everything we had.’

Though Tammy and her husband are both actively looking for work, they say it feels impossible in this economy. ‘That’s where we’re going this morning,’ she says. ‘To get cleaned up and go out and try to make our best appearance.’

The hardest part about living in a tent city is losing the everyday amenities most people take for granted, Tammy says. ‘Taking a shower when I want, walking into my bathroom, turning the light on. Fixing my hair and doing my makeup,’ she says. ‘I miss looking like a girl.’

It’s one of those things that often slides past notice. Without regular access to a shower and other amenities, it is hard to pull oneself out of the homeless situation once one has fallen into it. Even if you are dead sober, skilled, and willing to work, it rapidly becomes hard to make yourself presentable for a job interview, especially in these tight financial times.

Shortly after Ling’s work aired, the tent city was shut down by the city of Sacramento. The time since then has been filled with tumultuous changes on all levels of society. We believe that this alone makes it a topic worth returning to. So many people follow Oprah’s work that putting this in front of them will go a long way towards raising the awareness needed to effect change.

So please, Oprah, cast your attention once more to the plight of those who inhabit the streets of our country. There are more of them every day. You have the ear of the world.

Source: “Inside a Tent City- A Lisa Ling Special Report,” Oprah.com, 06/19/09
Source: “Lisa Ling Goes Inside a Tent City,” Oprah.com, 02/23/09
Image by Alan Light, used under its Creative Commons license.

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“Tent City,” a Documentary Film from the Oprah Winfrey Network

OWN LogoOprah Winfrey has a new cable network debuting next January, and that means a need for programming. In an interesting move, Winfrey has announced a new series of documentaries co-produced with some of her celebrity friends.

Richard Huff, The Daily TV News Editor of the New York Daily News, reports:

OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is scheduled to launch next year, and will replace Discovery Health on cable systems around the country. That network is now in 80 million homes, although its reach could grow by the time the network — which has been delayed by a year — gets started.

Julia Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn, Gabriel Byrne and Mariel Hemingway were all announced in the recent press release as participants, along with the details of their respective projects, all of which are produced for the network’s monthly “Documentary Film Club.”

One of these projects makes this news pertinent to our readership: Tent City, produced by Gabriel Byrne. Here is a brief description from the press release:

Executive producers Gabriel Byrne and Leora Rosenberg, producer/director Steven Cantor and Stick Figure Productions present TENT CITY, a documentary exploring homelessness in Nashville, Tenn. With the economic recession, a growing number of people are finding themselves in a position they never imagined, homeless. TENT CITY explores a community of nearly 100 homeless individuals who live under a downtown bridge. The group is self-sustained and self-governed. They work to stay together after a devastating flood destroys their land and forces them to evacuate. As a result of the disaster, for the first time in Nashville history, the municipally run Homeless Commission has opened one seat on its council to a resident of Tent City. This opportunity will allow the winning Tent City individual the chance to spearhead the search for a new location. TENT CITY will follow the four candidates as they vie for election and the process of moving the camp and keeping the community together.  ’Shelter and home are the most basic human and fundamental human rights, yet increasingly in one of the world’s wealthiest societies, more and more of us are losing our homes. How we address this social epidemic may very well determine our future. This isn’t an abstract concept but a reality millions of Americans confront every day. Our sons, our daughters, our fathers and mothers are the homeless,’ says executive producer Gabriel Byrne.

This community is reminiscent of the encampments known as Hoovervilles during the Great Depression. The really interesting point is the enfranchisement of this usually neglected demographic by offering its representative a seat on the Homeless Commission council.

As more and more Americans find their resources dwindling, and the prospect of homelessness looming, these issues become a lot closer to home. What do you think? Here at HUMANE EXPOSURES, we are interested in your thoughts and views, please share them with us in the comments section, or on Facebook.

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Source: “Julia Roberts, Forest Whitaker, Goldie Hawn, Gabriel Byrne and Mariel Hemingway Sign On for OWN: THE OPRAH WINFREY NETWORK Original Documentaries,” PR Newswire, 07/26/10
Source: “Julia Roberts, Goldie Hawn, Forest Whitaker among stars to make films for Oprah’s new network OWN,” New York Daily News, 07/27/10
Image of Oprah Winfrey Network via PR Newswire, Fair Use: Reporting.

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