Streep’s dead-on sniper shot

Editorial Desk, The Statesman/ANN

NEW DELHI — One could argue that the singular highlight of the Golden Globes grandstanding 2017 was Meryl Streep’s robust debunking of the incoming president of the United States of America. It was a stirring message to the audience, more accurately the media, when she lampooned Donald Trump who had the gall to publicly mock Serge Kovaleski, the disabled reporter of the New York Times. “There was nothing good about it, but it did its job,” she said. “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 in real life. That instinct to humiliate when it’s modelled by someone in a public platform, it filters down into everyone’s life because it gives permission for others to do the same. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.” Through the prism of the film industry, she has bared her angst against Trump’s pronounced prejudice against migrants: “Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick us all out, you’ll have nothing to watch except for football and mixed martial arts, which are not arts.” Altogether, the ceremony witnessed almost a frontal attack on Trump less than a fortnight before his inauguration. And distinctively enough, it was launched by a celluloid celebrity and not a worthy member of the political class. To few among performing artists is it given to confront the political leadership. The counter-blast of the president-elect to the effect that Streep is an “overrated actress and a Hillary flunky” was essentially a personal swipe targeting her professional excellence. No less critical was her advice to the press, specifically to join forces to stand up to Trump: “We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. … We’re going to need them going forward and they’re going to need us to safeguard the truth.” She has in the process alerted both the cultural glitterati, assembled in Los Angeles, as well as America’s influential media.

Her presentation was typically brilliant and no less critical than the lifetime achievement award. Strikingly, Streep spoke the language of an astute diplomat when she called Donald Trump to account without mentioning his name. She was riveted to what is generally referred to as the “lowest point in his campaign,” indeed the derogatory reference to a handicapped journalist during a campaign rally. In point of fact, the president-to-be indulged in outright bullying that was beneath contempt. Meryl Streep has unmasked the U.S. president.