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Oprah: What's the worst thing you've heard about yourself?

Barbra: Well, there have been so many silly things. One story was that I walk into a room full of musicians, and if a guy plays the wrong note, I fire him. It's all just diva crap. I'm a normal person. Why would I fire a musician because he played the wrong note? If I sing the wrong note, do I get fired? It's absurd.

You know what it's about? It's about the Aristotelian rule of drama. It's about the fall of kings and queens. The Greek tragedies are not written about the common man. They're written about the fall of people in high places. Part of me understands it: People want to see kings and queens fall because it's the great equalizer; it makes them less envious. The gap between the rich and the poor has become so huge, so terrible. The world is in a chaotic state. People are living in fear and denial.

Oprah: There's a lack of critical thinking on the part of the public.

Barbra: Well, you can't listen to negative news 24/7. But the public should be informed to make intelligent decisions, especially about who they vote for. I value intelligence. If you were to go into surgery, would you want to put your life in the hands of a C student or an A+ student? I'm sure President Bush is a very nice guy, but some people voted for him because they thought he was a person they could have a beer with. What is that about? Do you want to have a beer with the doctor who's going to operate on you, or do you want him to be the top of his class...be a bit in awe of him?

Oprah: You are not optimistic at all about these times.

Barbra: Yes, I am, because people are finally realizing the truth about what happened in Iraq, even though, sadly, some of the public is still confused by the good job this administration has done bending the facts. In 2002 I had a meeting with Scott Ritter, a weapons inspector who'd been in Iraq for seven years. He told me there were never any weapons of mass destruction. Even if they'd had biological or chemical weapons, he said, they would be dust, because they have no shelf life. Experts agree that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Oprah: Do you fear for our world?

Barbra: Oh, yes. I fear global warming. I fear nuclear proliferation. I think we have to do everything we can to prevent self-annihilation. I have a knot in my stomach all the time. How can I not? Before the election, the public gave President Bush high marks on fighting terrorism, but he ignored all the warnings. Before 9/11 he didn't even beef up airport security. He was negligent. During the last election, I begged John Kerry to attack Bush on terrorism, to make his "strong" point his weak one...because it was true! Imagine how different it would have been if Al Gore had been president. We would not be in a war.

Oprah: I once did a show titled "Is War the Only Answer?" In the history of my career, I've never received more hate mail—like "Go back to Africa" hate mail. I was accused of being un-American for even raising the question.... In the coming months, what are you looking forward to?

Barbra: On tour I want to be in the moment and really appreciate the love that's given to me. During my last tour, when I kicked off my shoes and said whatever I wanted, I actually enjoyed myself. Performing is not about perfection. I could never perform live if it were. For me, it's about raising the money to do good in the world. It's about self-acceptance. It's about believing that I am enough.

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