January 9, 2017

Quick Takes (v15): Meryl Streep's Golden Speech

OK, friends - what do you think about the Golden Globes political activism?

I didn't watch, I confess. I saw the tweets about Jimmy Fallon's Trump jokes and was not enticed to leave Masterpiece Mystery behind. (If  you're wondering, the tweets were not complimentary and the jokes were horrible, if one believes what she reads. Even solid lefties were unhappy with Fallon's performance - or, they're still miffed by him fluffing Trump's hair.).

What grabbed my attention was Meryl Streep's speech after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. Here's how it went
Thank you, Hollywood foreign press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. 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. But who are we? And, you know, what is Hollywood anyway? It's just a bunch of people from other places.
And she went on to mention some of those places that are associated with several of the nominees, including a birth certificate reference, a tip of the hat to the Birther-in-Chief.
Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts...  An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.
Which, of course, offended the MMA 'movement' because what they do is art, they say. And while I'm not a fan of  MMA or similar pursuits, woo am I, or Meryl Streep, to judge?
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
Now, on that, I agree with her. I believe he knew exactly what he was doing when he made his mocking gestures. I believe he did know the reporter, who had covered him for several years, even though our next President pretended he had no idea what he had done wrong or why it was horrible. I have yet to be persuaded otherwise.
And 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. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
She went on to talk about the responsibilities of the media.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth. 
In closing, she quoted a comment Carrie Fisher made one time.
As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.
So: regarding the behavior of the powerful, if it's true that their behavior empowers or invites or incites others to do the same, is it in fact a double standard for Hollywood to put out content that objectifies women, or that is filled with gratuitous language, sex, and violence - and pretend that impressionable minds are not inspired (or worse - justified) to mirror what they see?

And, are you tired of political activism at awards shows, or is it fine? Would your opinion be different if the message were different? Meaning, say you disagree with Streep's politics; would you be appreciative of a conservative actor delivering a pro-Trump speech in the same circumstances, or would that be equally incorrect? Do you think these folks are sincere when they do this, or do you think they're just grabbing attention?

Did you watch, and did you stick with it, or turn it off when things started getting political?

I'm really curious as to what folks are thinking.

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