This was Oprah yesterday, apologizing to James Frey, the fabulist author of the faulty memoir A Million Little Pieces. She eviscerated him few years ago in an interview, and then came to the conclusion (which I don't quite share, actually) that she was wrong to do so:
I was sitting in prayer, meditation, trying to get myself still, because as you know, when you have all these different voices coming at you, I was just trying to get to a place where I could really hear what was the right thing to do. I have a little meditation room in my house, and I had literally just said, “Tell me what the right thing to do is," because I’d listened to everyone else’s opinion and I was wavering in my own opinion. And I got up and went in the shower and getting ready to go to work and the voice inside myself said, “Do not make the same mistake that you made with James Frey.” And I started crying in the shower, thinking, “Well, what is that? What is that?" And I literally said, “What is that? What is that mistake?” And the voice inside myself said, “Do not rule from your ego.” And I made a decision in that moment. I got out of the shower, I called my assistant Libby and I said, “Find James Frey. I have to speak to him today.”
Studs Terkel used to tell a story about Oprah Winfrey, the ambitious young TV host who came to Chicago from Baltimore, in the mid-1980s. Told Terkel was an important guy who she ought to know—and a good guy to boot—she called one afternoon. But the timing was bad.
"I remember it so clearly!" Terkel would say. He was hammering away on his typewriter, in the middle of composing an angry letter to a boss. Who was this "Oprah" person, and what did she want? He rushed her off the phone, told her it wasn't a good time.
She never forgave him. And neither he, nor any of his books, ever appeared on the show. And he understood exactly why. Rejected by the lovable Studs Terkel. "Imagine how she must have felt," he would say, regretting his intemperence that day on the telephone two decades ago.
Then he'd shake off the regret for hurting her feelings, and contemplate the millions of dollars that impatient phone conversation probably cost him.
And he would burst into a cackle and shout, "I could have been a contender!"
It's okay to have a big ego, Oprah.
But you gotta have a sense of humor to match it.