The Top Two Entries In Oprah’s “Your OWN Show” Contest: A Study In Contrasts

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Have you guys heard about Zach Anner yet? He’s a guy who entered Oprah’s "win your own show" contest who has cerebral palsy ("the sexiest of the palsies", in his words). His video is pretty hilarious, which probably explains why it blew up on Digg and Reddit and 4chan recently, which got him 2.6 million votes (you can vote here, if you’re so inclined). Zach’s pitch: to create a show that allows people who never thought they could travel, and who encounter obstacles during travel, to see places and things they didn’t think they could. (Is there a cat around here? My eyes seems to be strangely puffy.) Check it out:

After watching Zach’s video, I was curious about what else was happening in this contest. Which is how I found Jacqueline (this was not hard, as she’s in second-place, with 1.3 million votes). Jacqueline, I would like to state for the record, seems like a very lovely woman, and good for her for getting so many votes! Anyway, this is Jacqueline:

(Her video is unembeddable, though you can watch it here.) Jacqueline’s pitch: joy. That’s an over-simplification, but not by much. She wants to bring inspiring stories of happiness to us in these troubled times, when we are surrounded by so much negativity. But here is the thing about Jacqueline’s pitch: it’s kind of crap. She cites the financial crisis and the BP oil spill as two things that are preventing us from being happy, and she’s right. But they’re preventing us from being happy for a reason; namely, because we still need to fix them! Let me assure Jacqueline that it is incredibly easy to focus on happy things (like a video of a cat riding a dog on a skateboard set to "Single Ladies") to distract yourself from what is happening in the Gulf right now. In fact, here’s a reminder:

"I wish we could get some more inspiring stories around here." – Pelican

And this actually sets up a perfect contrast to Zach’s idea: one is about the work required to move past obstacles, one is about all the ways we don’t have to deal. One is inspiring, and one simply looks for inspiration as means to self-calm. I guess since Zach is firmly in the lead, this is somewhat of a moot point, but I felt it was too good of a case study to pass up.

So, uh…vote for Zach, I guess. Did I mention he puts on a funny wig? He does; it’s hilarious.

Via Vulture.