When I heard that Meryl Streep had given a speech at the Golden Globes blasting Donald Trump and Trump's voters, my first thought was: "Oh, that's on tonight?" And then I thought: "Wait, there were only like three good movies in 2016. How could they even do a whole awards show?" And then I thought: "Anyway, who cares about any of this?"
Of course, a lot of people do care. They shouldn't, but they do. And Hollywood has a profound influence on our culture. It shouldn't, but it does. So, although I sort of cringe at myself for jumping into this conversation, it may be worth saying a few words on the subject nonetheless.
First, a quick and probably unnecessary recap: Meryl Streep was called to the podium to receive a lifetime achievement award last night. She began her speech by complaining that the press and Hollywood celebrities are "the most vilified segments of American society." She then rattled off a list of overpaid actors who were born in other countries, and warned us that if all of these actors are kicked out of America (a plan nobody has seriously suggested, although I would be open to discussing such a proposal) that would leave us with only "mixed martial arts and football" to watch on TV. As millions of people immediately called up their cable providers to see if they could purchase a package like that, Streep transitioned back into complimenting herself and her Hollywood compatriots.
Actors "enter the lives of people who are different" in order to "let you feel what that feels like," she said proudly. That brought her to her attack on Donald Trump, which inevitably included attacks on the 60 million people who voted for him. Conjuring an image of rabid dogs, she said that Trump's bullying made his supporters "show their teeth." She finished, finally, by lavishing more praise on Hollywood and the press. Hollywood "safeguards the truth," she swooned, and they all ought to be proud of themselves. They can teach the world to be "empathetic" and "understanding." "The powerful are using their position to bully others," Streep warned, but fortunately Hollywood rises above it. And from its position of moral supremacy it acts as society's guardian angels. The crowd of well-heeled angels roared with approval as Streep left the stage.
It was truly inspiring. At least, that's what I'm told.
Now, two brief notes on all of this:
1. Whatever you think about the content of the speech, it certainly was not courageous.
You'll notice that it's never enough for liberals to simply agree with what someone says or does. It always has to be "brave." Streep's speech has been described in those terms by countless liberals on social media, along with many similarly glowing adjectives. It's absurd, obviously. Whether you agree or disagree with what she said, she still said it in front of the friendliest possible audience. She told a group of people who worship her exactly what they want to hear and already believe. She risked absolutely nothing. She was threatened only with exposure to loud clapping and friendly handshakes at the after party (which is somewhat brave, perhaps, given that it's flu season).
If she wanted to be truly courageous, she could have pointed out how the Obama White House has done more to silence the press than any administration in history. Or she could have called her Hollywood peers to task for their condescending, disrespectful attitude towards conservative Christians. Or, if she really wanted to stir the pot, she could have used the bully pulpit to blast Hollywood for defending and protecting degenerate scumbags like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Bryan Singer.
Sex abuse and pedophilia is rampant in Hollywood and many of those "compassionate" and "empathetic" humanitarians in attendance are likely guilty of participating in it or at the very least looking the other way. It would take immense courage for someone in Streep's position to stand up and expose them, and that's exactly the sort of courage she lacks. She has only the "courage" to criticize Donald Trump and his supporters in a room full of people who hate Donald Trump and his supporters.
2. Hollywood is a disgusting cesspool of nihilism, narcissism, and hatred.
Although Streep hilariously painted herself and her fellow multi-millionaire celebrity demigods as victims who are a part of "the most vilified segment of society," the truth is that they are not nearly vilified enough. If they were vilified to an appropriate degree, people would be showing up at the red carpet to ruin their 80 thousand dollar outfits by pelting them with eggs -- not that I would condone such behavior (publicly).
With a few exceptions, Hollywood consistently churns out cynical, degrading filth. It openly mocks people of faith and looks with unabashed hatred upon those of us with so-called "traditional values." It makes no attempt to disguise its contempt for the way many of us live and the beliefs that many of us hold. If I turn on the TV, I am far more likely to see a woman getting an abortion while Silent Night plays in the background, or Lucifer portrayed as a fun and sympathetic protagonist, or an image of Christ getting peed on for laughs, or a show about a gay kid where nearly all of the comedy comes from mining anti-Catholic cliches, etc., than I am to find anything that even attempts to portray people of faith in a positive light.
I must admit, however, that Hollywood has surprised us recently by producing two prime time shows where the main characters are pastors. It's just that in one the preacher does battle with a pedophile named Jesus while on a mission to murder God, and in the other he's actually a thief and slacker posing as a gay pastor in a small town of gullible bumpkins. Hollywood clearly delights in nothing more than shoving heresy and sacrilege down our throats for entertainment. And yet Streep thinks these same spiteful, bigoted bullies are beacons of empathy and understanding?
Empathy for whom, exactly? An understanding of what? It seems the answer to both questions is "themselves." Hollywood rarely makes any attempt to reach outside of itself. And putting a gay person in every movie and show doesn't count. Half of Hollywood is gay, after all. If Hollywood were really all that Meryl Streep cracks it up to be, it would produce shows and films that explore the lives of people who are actually different from themselves. But every time it does, the conclusion it draws is always the same: "These people are freaks and we should laugh at them."
Maybe this is a problem Meryl Streep can address in her next speech.
Now that would be courageous.