Risking the wrath of the liberal overmind still buoyant from Meryl Streep’s stinging criticism of Donald Trump last night at the Golden Globes, leftists might want to acknowledge the downside of the actress’s emotional outpouring.
Firstly, let’s acknowledge the good. Streep used her platform to call out Trump for his bullying and urge the country and the media to stand up to him in the coming years.
“There was one performance this year that stunned me,” said Streep after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Globes. “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,” Streep went on.
“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.”
The power of Streep’s words should not be underestimated. Trump is a nasty, vindictive bully and he will be most effectively challenged by appeals to our better nature. If we are to stop Trump’s war on common decency, it can only come through our own decent behavior.
However, while Streep’s intentions may have been good, she unwittingly provided a huge amount of ammunition to the half of the country that cannot stand liberal elites and are looking for any excuse to hate them even more.
“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” said Streep after telling the audience about the backgrounds of her co-stars. “If you kick ‘em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
Streep’s dismissal of two incredibly popular sports smacks of the the arrogance conservatives have always accused liberals of, and she literally handed it to them on a platter.
While I know little about American Football, I can speak with a certain amount of authority when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts. For anyone who has trained for more than 45 minutes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, boxing or wrestling (and I have), they’ll know how ridiculous Meryl Streep’s statement is. Mastering the art of acting is no doubt incredibly difficult, but it cannot be compared to the insane dedication it takes to get a black belt in BJJ or compete at a high level in boxing/kick boxing — and I’m sure the same can be said for American Football too. Reaching a high level of proficiency in any of these arts/sports take years of blood, sweat and tears and requires a level of mental discipline and technical mastery that cannot be understood by someone who hasn’t done it. Furthermore, to state with certainty that MMA and Football are not arts is also to completely misunderstand what it means to be an artist. Art is an expression of the human mind, and it can come in many different forms. Physical movement, dance, sport and Martial Arts are extensions of our our innate creativity, and are therefore arts in the truest sense of the word. Actors do not have a monopoly on what it means to be an artist.
Streep’s speech — along with many other winners — also reeked of the self congratulatory preciousness former Golden Globes presenter Ricky Gervais attempted to exorcise from the event. While I do not want to presume the authenticity of Streep’s performance, I couldn’t help but think that her quivering voice and perfectly timed tears were, well, a little too perfect. Actors trade on emotion, and the best can summon them at will. No doubt the cause was a good one, but the sight of a multi millionaire actress crying on stage at an award show filled with other multi-millionaire celebrities tearing up before every commercial break isn’t great PR for liberalism. Given the insipid Jimmy Fallon was presenting the show, there was no antidote to the outpouring of specialness that permeated the event.
“Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor,” Streep said as she closed out her speech. “Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight.”
“As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia, said to me once, take your broken heart, make it into art. Thank you.”
Meryl Streep’s art and her speech is still important and still necessary, but if the left is to make any real dent in the highly charged culture war we now face, insulting sports, Martial Arts and fawning over other Hollywood celebrities is not the best way to go about it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.