Thumbs down to Streep

Have you ever watched something on television and thought “Oh boy, here we go”? Well that was me on January 8.

I have friends on the conservative end of things and I have friends on the liberal end of things. I’ve got a lesbian mate who absolutely adores old Hollywood and despises the patriarchy. I’ve also got a few buds who supported Donald Trump.

Seeing as I fall somewhere in the middle, though probably more on the liberal side if truth be told, I knew I was going to end up in more than a few arguments following Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globe Awards.

I didn’t bite when some of my mates started spouting off on social media because that’s like trying to fend off a shark with a side of beef, so I’ll break it down here for you.
After a greeting and explaining how she almost lost her voice earlier, Streep stated “you and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

That’s a bold way to kick off an acceptance speech, no? While I agree the current climate in America is hardly welcoming to foreigners and the press is treated with about as much trust as a hungry coyote, I’m pretty sure characterizing Hollywood as vilified is a bigger stretch than Tom Cruise playing a samurai. I mean, she said it because she was in a Hollywood room speaking to Hollywood people and was trying to galvanize support. But, come on. Hollywood is hardly in any danger from a Trump regime. If it weren’t for Hollywood making Trump famous, he wouldn’t be president.

She then broke down the origins of some of the people in the room and even dropped a compliment to all us sweetheart Canadians before doing what so many politico wannabes do when it comes to political debate; she insulted people who don’t like what she likes.

“So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out we’ll have nothing to watch except football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

I like your work Meryl but please get off that high horse of yours. You want to know what the difference is between watching professional football and watching Ricki and the Flash? Absolutely none.

Both are forms entertainment and exist only because people are willing to pay to see them. Insulting sports fans does not bring people to your cause. It alienates those people further and makes it easier for them to side with someone else. As she said later in her speech, disrespect invites disrespect. In earnest I think she was trying to say the arts are just as important as sports, something nerds and art geeks have espoused for ages, but in the current political climate where debate has been replaced with insult-hurling, it didn’t come off well.

Streep did give Trump whatfor when she called him out for insulting a handicapped reporter, noting “this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.” It is an excellent point… but she used it after insulting sports fans so the message, to me anyway, didn’t work.

In conclusion, I know what Streep was going for but I think it fell flat. I don’t hate her or her overall message of protecting people and the truth, but were I the Roger Ebert of award acceptance speeches turned into political statements, I would give Meryl’s performance a thumbs down.

I’m done now.