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October 10, 2015

Lessons in modern language usage from Oprah Winfrey

by Karina Longworth, posted Dec 27th 2005 8:02PM
Today's Oprah – actually, I think it was a repeat - featured the entire cast of Paul Haggis' Crash (which Oprah, as she reminded us ad nauseum, "looooooooovvvvvvvvvvvvvved") talking about racism. I tuned in late (all the better to misinterpret out of context, my pretties), but I caught an ... um ... interesting segment about  linguistics.

When I turned the TV on, Oprah and Don Cheadle were talking over, and almost yelling at, each other. Apparently they were right in the middle of an intense debate over the proper use of the "N Word". Then Terrence Howard (who, the cynics amongst us will point out, is campaigning for Oscar nods on at least 2 performances and, as such, probably wants to be seen as Nice Guy) tells Oprah that he's decided to stop using it; Cheadle vehemently explains why he's opposed to pressuring people into limiting their linguistic choices. As if to bully him into breaking the tie for her side, Oprah turns to Ludacris. "Cris, would you consider not using The Word?" Visibly uncomfortable., Luda smiles. "Uh, I feel the same way Don does about it." Then, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Sandra Bullock pipes up:

"As long as we're going to stop using words," she says (and I'm totally paraphrasing), "Can we stop with the bitch and the ho, for women?"

The crowd goes wild. Completely silent during the previous portion of the conversation, all of a sudden there are 200 mild-mannered housewives gone wild, hooting and cheering and stomping their feet. And then ...

Ludacris: We can stop when women stop calling themselves bitches.

Sandra Bullock: I don't call any woman a bitch. (pause, then, totally straight-facedly) Unless she is one.

Cut to some kind of language expert, sitting in the crowd. "80 years ago, you could call a woman a broad. We don't do that anymore."

Oh. Really? Whoops.

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Chris - why are you on a site about TV?

Personally - I would rather be called a broad than bitch...two entirely different meanings.

December 28 2005 at 12:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris Smith

Why would anyone find this drivel interesting? It just illustrates yet again that Showbiz people-on camera or off-never utter anything meaningful. They are completely artificial people, living in a make-believe world, out of contact with reality. Who cares what they think?

December 27 2005 at 10:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Yes, it was a repeat, but it was a worthwhile episode to watch. I enjoyed the discussions that day.

Not to mention that Crash is one of my favorite movies.

December 27 2005 at 9:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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