OPRAH: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this historic debate. I am Oprah Winfrey, and I will be arguing that culture is an essential part of society. With me is Andrew Tate, who will be arguing that culture is nothing more than a luxury.
TATE: Thank you, Oprah. It’s a pleasure to be here.
OPRAH: Let’s begin with your opening statement, Andrew.
TATE: Certainly. As everyone knows, our world is facing some very serious problems right now. Climate change, poverty, disease…the list goes on and on. And in my opinion, spending time and resources on things like art and music is nothing more than a luxury we can’t afford right now. We need to be focused on practical matters if we’re going to make any headway on these issues.
OPRAH: I couldn’t disagree more, Andrew. To me, culture is one of the most important aspects of society. It’s what makes us human. It’s what sets us apart from the animals. Without culture, we are nothing more than scurrying rats in a labyrinth. We need art and music and literature to make us feel alive. To make us feel like we’re part of something bigger than ourselves. That’s why I believe that culture is an essential part of society, not a luxury to be ignored in times of trouble.
TATE: But what good does it do? How does listening to Beethoven or looking at a painting help solve problems like climate change? It doesn’t! All it does is divert attention and resources away from things that could actually make a difference.
OPRAH: Again, I couldn’t disagree more strongly, Andrew. The arts have always been at the forefront of social change. Think about it – what were some of the most important moments in history? The Renaissance? The civil rights movement? The fall of the Berlin Wall? All of these things were driven by art and culture. They were propelled by people who wanted something more out of life than just survival. Who wanted to live life to the fullest and express themselves in new and innovative ways. That’s what culture does – it encourages people to think outside the box and see the world in new ways. And that’s precisely what we need right now if we’re going to solve some of these big problems we’re facing as a society.
TATE: I see your point, Oprah, but I still don’t think culture is as important as you make it out to be. Yes, it can be a force for good, but it can also be a force for division and conflict. Look at all the wars that have been fought over religious differences. Look at how much strife there is between different ethnic groups.
OPRAH: I’m not denying that there is division and conflict in the world, Andrew, but I think you’re overlooking the role that culture can play in bringing people together. Take music, for example. It’s a universal language that can transcend barriers of race and ethnicity. It can bring people together in a way that nothing else can. Now, let me ask you this, you seem to be very dismissive of culture, and you also seem to be dismissive of women. You even go so far as to say that women don’t have an important role in the culture. So I’d like to know, what is it that you think women do that men don’t do?
TATE: I didn’t say that women don’t have an important role in culture, Oprah. I said that they don’t have a role that’s as important as men’s. Men have always been the ones in the driver’s seat when it comes to culture. Women have always been the ones who have been relegated to the sidelines.
OPRAH: That may have been true in the past, Andrew, but it’s certainly not true now. Women are playing a more active role in culture than ever before. We’re making our voices heard in the art world, the music world, the literary world. We’re no longer content to be spectators.
TATE: You’re right, women are playing a more active role in culture than ever before. But I still think that men are the ones who are really driving the cultural changes that we’re seeing. Look at the art world, for example. It’s still dominated by men. And this whole notion of equality is just ridiculous.
OPRAH: Well, excuse me, but I think that women should be given an equal role to men in cultur and everything else. We’re just as capable as men of doing whatever it is that we set our minds to. And I think that we should be given the same opportunities as men to achieve our dreams. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to be just as successful as them. There’s nothing ridiculous about that.
TATE: I think what you’re saying is just a load of idealistic nonsense, Oprah. There’s no way that women are ever going to be given an equal role to men in culture. It’s just not going to happen. And you’re never going to achieve your dreams if you don’t face up to reality. If you don’t start recognizing that you’re not as capable as men, then you’re going to continue to get crushed under the weight of your expectations. You’re going to keep on pushing yourself beyond your limits, and you’re going to end up breaking. That’s why it’s so important to be honest with yourself. To be willing to admit when you’re wrong. The proper function of a woman is to be a support system. To be a wife and a mother. That’s what you’re supposed to do.
OPRAH: First of all, Andrew, I think you’re being a little bit too harsh on yourself. I don’t think you’re wrong for thinking that women shouldn’t have an equal role to men in culture. I think you’re just misinformed. And I think you need to do a little bit more research on the topic before you make such sweeping statements. I worked hard my whole life to achieve my goals. And I’m proud of that. I’m not going to let someone else make me feel guilty about that.
TATE: I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, Oprah. I’m just trying to be honest with you. I think you’re wrong about this whole equality thing. And I think you’re going to end up getting hurt if you don’t face up to reality.
OPRAH: Reality? What reality? You think I’m going to be happy in my marriage if my husband doesn’t look out for me? I’m not going to be happy in my marriage if he doesn’t take care of the house and the kids and all the other things that I need. So I’m going to go out there and find someone who does that job. I don’t need a man. I need a man who can hold up his end of the bargain.
TATE: And what if you can’t find a man who can hold up his end of the bargain? What if you can’t find a man who’s willing to do all of those things that you need? What are you going to do then, Oprah? You’re going to be miserable.
OPRAH: I’ll find a way to be happy, Andrew. I’m not going to let myself be miserable just because I can’t find a man who meets my every need. I’m a strong woman, and I can take care of myself. I don’t need a man to make me happy.