Meryl Streep: The Horror

Let me say that I do not watch award shows.  When a “famous” individual puts forth an opinion outside of their areas of knowledge or “expertise” I honestly don’t give that opinion credibility just because the person stating is well-known.

I just don’t understand the uproar about Meryl Streep.  She did not discuss political parties, policies, and did not call President Elect Trump by name although there were no doubts to whom she referred.  Before addressing the Trump incident she stated:

“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.”

Following a sentence about powerful acting performances, she continued:

“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.

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.

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.

One more thing. 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. 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.”

What I read is that acting is different from being in real life.

Agree or disagree with Donald Trump, he says some things that people would be offended by if stated directly to them or perceived to be about them.  When those same things are said about another, then the feelings often change.  I’m not suggesting anyone here is a hypocrite, but I’m contending that to some degree we are all like a line from Hoosiers.  To paraphrase, there are 2 kinds of crazy:  1) a feller rips off his clothes and runs out in the street barking at the moon and 2) a feller does the same thing in my house.  The first doesn’t really matter, but the second….

Hopefully everyone agrees that people want and attempt to emulate others, especially those who are popular, have power, or who we want to be regardless of whether that feeling is realistic or wise.  My personal opinion is that we all have responsibilities and to whom much is given much is expected so the more popular, powerful, or better you are at anything means that you have more responsibility.  I may be taking out of context, but Charles Barkley was correct in that athletes should not be role models even though he was mistaken in that by being an athlete he had the responsibility to try and set examples.  It’s the same as me telling my child to do what I say, not what I do.

I read from Meryl Streep’s transcript that if someone powerful tries to bully then it gives others justification to do the same.  “Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence.”

I agree that we need a principled press, and I’ll add a free press.  Even before the US existed, we had the legal precedent on this soil that truth is a defense.

As far as her putting down on the non-elites, those who pay to watch her perform her job, I can see that interpretation if one stops reading after the 2nd paragraph.  Near the conclusion, however, this stands out more to me:

“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. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.”

Didn’t she just say that it’s a privilege to just be an actor and those who have privilege sometimes need reminders that they have the responsibility of being empathetic to those without the privileges?  Now some may not believe that empathy is a responsibility, but I think it’s necessary to appreciate any blessings you have been given or have earned.

Personally I don’t any sticks or stones thrown by Meryl Streep from her soapbox, and if those words bruise or pierce the skin I think the person may have health issues.  Most Hollywood elites won’t know working class people, but the same is true for most politicians.  It’s the same with many in upper management or in upper administration in academia.  Even for those who worked their way up through the ranks, it’s too easy to forget where you started.  Often where you ultimately end can be decided from where you start.  We tend to forget that, and that is what should be outrageous to all.

Transcript taken from:

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