Why Meryl Streep's Golden Globes Speech Was So Important

She is shinier than any ant (go watch Adaptation).EXPAND
She is shinier than any ant (go watch Adaptation).
Sony Pictures

UPDATE: Trump, in an early-morning tweet storm, responded to Streep's speech thusly: "Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn't know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a ... Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time, I never 'mocked' a disabled reporter (would never do that) but simply showed him ... 'groveling' when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad. Just more dishonest media!"

At last night's Golden Globes, Meryl Streep, the most beloved and respected actor of our generation, received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement. Instead of using the allotted stage time to wax nostalgic about her career, she delivered the most powerful speech about Donald Trump that's been made since he was elected — without once uttering his name.

Over the course of a few minutes, Streep condemned Trump's behavior ...

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 and power and the capacity to fight back. It, it kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.


She defended the free 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, ’cause we’re going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.


She defended common decency ...

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.


She used a personal experience to elegantly sum up the importance of film acting ...

Once when I was standing around the set one day, whining about something ... 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.


Streep took a notorious Hollywood circle jerk — this year hosted by a sniveling sycophant who actively normalized Trump during the election — and turned it into an opportunity to speak on behalf of every artist, woman, immigrant and person of color who doesn't have a microphone and six minutes of airtime on network TV.

I'm sure a lot of people — and from the looks of them, Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn — are lamenting that Streep had to go and make entertainment political. But Streep affirmed what a lot of people have been feeling since the election: In a time when free speech seems imperiled, when an entire gender is under attack, when the press is being undermined, everything is a political act — especially art. For all its gross aspects — cutthroat capitalism and historically exclusionary practices among them — the film industry remains a prolific and highly accessible source of stories, glimpses into lives that are unlike our own. Which, as Streep noted, breeds empathy — something that seems to be in tragically short supply these days.

Meanwhile, Trump was (incoherently) using his favorite platform to demonstrate Streep's points ...

In a short interview with The New York Times, Trump said he expected to be targeted by "liberal movie people." Fingers crossed his curiosity gets the best of him and he actually listens to what they have to say.


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