The city of Chicago has spent the past year (at least) being repeatedly hit over the head with propaganda extolling the city’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Advertisements are everywhere - unless you’ve seen it yourself, you cannot possibly fathom how saturated the city is. There are recorded messages on the ‘L’, banners on seemingly every other building, and commercials looping on giant video boards around The Loop, just to nail a few. It’s all got a very Orwellian vibe to it and at this point, most people you talk to around town just want it to go away, Olympics or no Olympics.
Then again, most people you talk to around town aren’t the ones pushing for the Games. The rich and powerful have lined up to throw their formidable support behind Chicago’s bid - President Obama, Mayor Daley, Michael Jordan - basically every Chicago heavyweight you can name has done something to ensure that the overblown steroidfest comes to the Windy City in 7 years. And now, with the race for the Games coming to a close October 2 in Copenhagen, Chicago is pulling out the trump card to trump all trump cards.
She’s the most powerful woman in the world. Hell, she might be the most powerful person in the world. She’s Oprah, and she really needs no introduction. She’s also going to be working the Copenhagen crowd next weekend in an attempt to sway the IOC to award the games to Chicago. From the SUN-TIMES:
Rumors have been swirling about whether the talk-show host would be in Copenhagen for the city’s final pitch for the Games, and Oprah has said she’d be there if Chicago needs her.
Well, they need her, sources say.
So in the days leading up to the Oct. 2 pitch — followed by the International Olympic Committee’s selection of a host city — Oprah will be called on to be part ambassador, part lobbyist, sources confirm.
If this were a USA-based decision, it would be automatic game over. Remember, this is the woman who singlehandedly shut down one of the busiest areas in downtown Chicago a few weeks ago so she could tape her season premiere outside. Even the President probably couldn’t get away with that move, at least not without drawing a huge outcry about abuse of power. And yet, it was hard to find anyone who would bash Oprah for her little Oprah lovefest.
The question is, though, whether international dignitaries will give a rat’s ass what an American talk-show host thinks. I guess we’ll see soon enough whether her charm is limited to lonely housewives and Roger Ebert or if Oprah really can move mountains and change the world.