In these schmaltzy shows, Oprah does all sorts of benevolent things for people, some of them meaningful and of substance and some of them trivial and, in truth, folly. During the parts I saw, she sent some Cher fan to Vegas to meet Cher, had Justin Timberlake give golf lessons to some pie-eyed woman, and invited will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas to completely pay off the mortgages of two families who were hit by the recession, had fallen deep in debt, and were at risk for losing their homes. All very altruistic gestures, to be sure, but I think the houses-paid-off folks probably feel a little more gratitude than the I-met-my-favorite-famous-person folks.
How odd would it be to explain to people that the dude from the Black Eyed Peas paid off your house? Think about twenty years from now when your kids, now grown adults in their own right, see a rerun of an old Oprah show (still in color, no less) where they learn how some pop-culture artifact plucked up off the top stairs on the stoop of the poorhouse. What a strange twist to things. Maybe something to keep in mind if things ever get that dire – don’t discount reaching to random rock star philanthropists.