Michelle Obama may have spoken at the Oscars, but Oprah Winfrey is going her one better in the prestige department; she will be the speaker at Harvard University’s 2013 commencement. It’s hard to take the announcement seriously as an indication of intellectual achievement; in 2008 the speaker was J. K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books. Harvard president Drew Faust said,
Oprah’s journey from her grandmother’s Mississippi farm to becoming one of the world’s most admired women is one of the great American success stories. She has used her extraordinary influence and reach as a force for good in the world, with a constant focus on the importance of educational opportunity and the virtues of serving others.
One would suppose that Harvard, as a bastion of intellectualism, might try to find someone of intellectual heft to represent the University, but Winfrey fits the leftist bastion’s requirements: she’s wealthy, successful, and champions most every left-wing cause. Last year the speaker was Fareed Zakaria, who never met a tax increase he didn’t like. In 2009, it was Steven Chu, Barack Obama’s Secretary of energy, who once famously (and prophetically) said, “Somehow,” Chu said, “we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”
It’s Harvard. And now that Winfrey has trouble getting an audience on TV, she might as well sell the Kool-Aid to a group willing to drink it.