Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Lance Armstrong, Oprah Winfrey Interview.

The headline read, “ Armstrong Will Ask Oprah For Absolution, Forgiveness”. In this Therapeutic Age in which we live, this is top of the fold news, must see TV. Two huge questions flashed across my mind when I read this. The first was, why now, Lance? The second was, wait…Oprah’s still on TV?

So, Lance Armstrong is going to come clean. After years of angry denials, he’s going to admit to cheating. The seven time Tour de France winner, and cancer surviving icon and hero to millions is going to admit to blood doping or using performance enhancing drugs or whatever it is that he’s been accused of by a host of competitors and teammates alike. Instead of calling a press conference and reading a statement of guilt, he will sit down for an hour and a half interview with Oprah Winfrey. He will cry. She will cry. The studio audience will cry.

This is how we do contrition in 2013 America. The rich and famous go on Oprah. She listens earnestly, those huge brown eyes wet and piercing. She asks about their childhoods. We discover long buried memories of abuse. We find out just how despicable their now safely dead parents really were. Why, it’s a wonder that they even survived their childhoods. Is it any wonder that they had a sex party with six women on the very day that their spouse was giving birth to their first child? Who among us can say that given the circumstances we wouldn’t have done the same thing?

Just once I would love for Oprah to snap out of her fawning celebrity-worship love fest and conduct a real interview. Lance Armstrong would be a great place to start. It might go something like this…


Oprah: You have consistently denied these accusations against you for years. In the process of those denials, you have attacked the ethics and motivations of every accuser, yet you come here asking ME for forgiveness. Shouldn’t you first go to all of the people whose reputations you have publicly attacked and ask THEM for forgiveness?

Lance: Oh, I plan to. It’s a process Oprah. Baby steps, baby steps.

Oprah: Why are you coming clean now, when just three months ago you held a defiant news conference in which you defended yourself vociferously against the governing body of your sport, accusing them of having a jealousy fueled vendetta against you?

Lance: Oprah, I’ve lost everything, I’ve got nothing left, nowhere else to turn.

Oprah: Everything? You’ve lost everything? You have a personal net worth of over one hundred million dollars.

Lance: Well, of course I still have the money I earned from winning all those races and the endorsements I scored from those wins and the great almost God-like reputation that being a seven time Tour winner brings. But money can’t buy happiness.

Oprah: True. So give it all back.

Lance: Wait… what?

Oprah: You heard me. Give it all back.

Lance: Well, that’s er, uh, logistically that would be, er…

Oprah: You make me sick Lance. You really do. You come here on my show, you cry me a river about how horrible you feel, about how everything you worked for your whole life has been shattered, how rotten your parents were, what a terrible wife Cheryl Crow was, but you know what I see? I see a wretched little man who built one of the most untouchable reputations in all of sports on cheating and then when he got caught his ego wouldn’t allow him to admit it. So instead, you spent years throwing everyone and everything under the bus to save your own sorry ass, and now you don’t have one single solitary friend left on this planet. So, you come to me. You hope that I’ll cry and you will cry, and all of America will feel sorry for poor little Lance and magically forget what a mean, manipulative jerk you are.

Lance: Well, yeah… isn’t that what you do?

Oprah: Not any more. Give the money back Lance. Give it all to charity and start over from scratch. Sell your six homes, sell all of your toys and go back to school. Maybe you can become a gym teacher somewhere, or become a personal trainer at American Family Fitness.

Lance: I should have listened to my agent. He said “Go on Barbara Walters”, but I insisted on you, Oprah. And this is the way you repay me??

Oprah: Lance Armstrong, everybody! We’ll be back after these messages from our sponsors!