The Corner

Culture

Oprah’s 1619 Project

It looks like the 1619 Project is now one of Oprah’s Favorite Things. If the past is anything to go by, this means that there will soon be no escaping it for any of us. Oprah has announced a partnership with Nikole Hannah-Jones, the author of the project, and Lionsgate to adapt it into a set of movies, T.V. shows, and other content as part of a huge disinformation campaign waged against any and all forms of American patriotism. Expect every feature of this country’s history that isn’t conducive to the corporate sadomasochism and self-abasement of rich white progressives to be erased in this coming media apocalypse.

Never before has such a thoroughly discredited work of pseudo-journalism been given this kind of financial backing. And it’s not just Oprah’s money that’ll be mobilized to promote this grand feat of historical illiteracy — her incomparable cultural clout will be as well. We’re informed by Winfrey herself that the 1619 Project will be brought “to a global audience” by this joint effort, which is almost certainly the case given her international reach. 

Americans should prepare themselves for a full-frontal assault on the redemptive reading of American history bequeathed to us by Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. Once the conveyor-belt of Oprah-fied ahistorical nonsense is up and running, there is no telling how much bile and vitriol it will mass produce. The impact this might have on the considerable share of the American population more likely to watch something by Oprah than to read something by Gordon Wood is also incalculable. Since the purpose of the 1619 Project isn’t historical education but political mobilization, Hannah-Jones and Winfrey are probably not bothered by the fact that their endeavor has been laughed out of every reputable history faculty from sea to shining sea. Every demagogue needs a mob in order to wield power effectively, and the purpose of the 1619 Project is to reform the heretofore patriotic American citizenry into such a mob so that the hard-won achievements of American politics and culture can be swept away on a tidal wave of resentment and falsehood. A rearguard action from patriots left and right is needed now to remind Oprah Winfrey and others who are promoting these lies that it is still the 1776 Project that attracts the fealty and favor of Americans of all colors and creeds. 

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