Streep used an award ceremony to slam Trump in a very nice little speech — you can read it online, with all the good points (and there were many) highlighted — and the right-wingers, including our very presidential president-elect, are in a fine high snit over it. However, it left me unenthused, even while agreeing with much of it, for a couple of reasons.
This is the least of my concerns, but I’m not a Streep fan. What can I say, that self-indulgent Mamma Mia left me scarred.
We are about to inaugurate a nightmare president, a creepy horror whose appointments and policies ought to terrify us, and yet again the media welcomes this speech as the kind of superficial celebrity-on-celebrity spat that they love so well. It is a distraction. Look again at that speech: it’s chewing out a bully for being a bully, which is a fine thing, but it says nothing about the politics or the effects of those politics.
What bugged me most, and is probably going to be used by Trump voters to dismiss it, is how vain it was. It was all about how wonderfully diverse actors are, and how many of them are immigrants or from other countries, and it was designed to make all those actors feel damn good about themselves, and also to encourage a little self-pity that Donald Trump is targeting them.
But all I could think as she praised the diverse backgrounds of these well-known actors was that this was not the best group to highlight. Everything she said is also true of college professors and scientists, and we don’t get pampered and spoiled and paid big bucks to churn out a single project. It is also true of, for instance, farm workers, who are black and brown and white and most definitely do not get paid a wage that allows them to live a Hollywood life style. When the camera panned over her audience of famous people dressed in tuxes and designer gowns that probably cost more than most of us make in a year, what I heard was a woman mourning the threat to her privileges. It somehow resonated less than, for instance, the threats to shut down Planned Parenthood, to deny people health insurance, the sabre-rattling threats to foreign nations, the imminent looting of our country’s wealth by billionaires. Hollywood A-listers will get through the next four years just fine…the rest of us, maybe not.
That elitist snipe at football and mixed martial arts was not helpful. It’s one thing to praise the virtues of the patricians, another to disparage the pleasures of the plebs. Someone who starred in Mamma Mia does not get to sniff at low brow popular entertainments and sports.
But I cannot deny that she made legitimate points, and every group, rich or poor, that is going to be damaged by this presidency ought to speak up, including actors. I’m just worried that, once again, the Democrats are going to promote the support of a tiny elite while ignoring the concerns of, say, labor, and are just going to enhance the idea that liberals are out of touch. And, of course, this is all our media have been talking about for the last day.