Monday, January 9, 2017

Teresa May Forgives, but Meryl Streep Condemns Donald Trump at the Golden Globe Awards


On Saturday Sophie Ridge from Sky News interviewed Teresa May on a host of subjects ranging from Brexit, of course, to Donald Trump, equally of course. Acknowledging that it made her uncomfortable to say the words, she read what Trump said when he bragged about grabbing women and groping them. She asked Teresa May how it made her feel as a woman, apart from her role as prime minister.

The Prime Minister said that of course it was unacceptable but she was very quick to add that Donald Trump had admitted as such and apologized. 

Most of us know that I'm sorry but means nothing, especially when it's followed by insults and threats to sue the women who subsequently came forward with abuse allegations, but Sophie Ridge didn't poke around there. The PM added that the relationship between the US and the UK was much more than the personal relationship between the leaders. And that was that, done and dusted. 

It left me with a sour taste in my mouth, longing for somebody in the public arena to stand up and unequivocally condemn Trump, as Hillary Clinton and the Obamas, and so many others did before the election. 

Then Meryl Streep stepped into the limelight. At the Golden Globes last night, she didn't mention Trump's name but she didn't have to; everybody knew what she was talking about when she said: 
Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: You, and all of us in this room, really belong to the most vilified segment of American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.
But who are we? What is Hollywood, anyway? It’s just a bunch of different places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey, Viola was born in a sharecroppers cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Amy Adams was born in Vicenzia, Italy, and Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and was raised in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated—for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here playing an Indian, raised in Tasmania.
So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing else to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts! They gave me three seconds to say that though! As 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, and there were many, many, many powerful performances that did exactly that—breathtaking, compassionate work.
But there was one performances 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, and 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, 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. 
Of course her speech elicited tweeted insults from Trump, which only proved Meryl's point.

So many Democrats, Hillary Clinton supporters, and those who understand and are grateful for the tremendous work Barack and Michelle Obama have done in the past eight years are angry. But underneath the anger is a lot of broken hearts. We thought the world was better than this. Meryl Streep ended her speech saying, 
Okay, 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 enshrine the press and its freedoms in our constitution. 
So I only asked 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 gonna need them going forward, and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.