By Daniel J. Bauer
Specific details in the remarks that actress Meryl Streep made at the Golden Globes (film award ceremonies) last week in Hollywood may not stay long in our memories. The fact however that she spoke like that at all, and with such sincerity and eloquence, has had a positive effect on many. A brief recap of this event, which drew widespread media attention, not to mention an angry tweet from the president elect of the United States, may be useful. After accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award for life-time achievement, Ms. Streep told the largely entertainment-based audience, and some 20 million television viewers last Sunday night that “best performance” was the key concept.
She then said the most unforgettable performance she had seen all year, not “the best,” for “there was nothing good about it,” was turned in by “the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country.”
We know who that unnamed character was, of course. Since Taiwan is more than a few miles away from Washington, let me point out that it is the new president of the United States, Donald J. Trump. What about that performance? Well, “the person asking to sit, and so forth,” mocked a disabled news reporter not only in verbal description, but by acting out in mimic fashion what he looked like physically when he spoke. That, said the actress, was quite a performance. She did not mention the name of the performer. Ms. Streep used the word “imitated.” “Mocked” is my choice. A video clip of the mocking is available on the internet for anyone interested in seeing it. Ms. Streep pointed to the enormous influence of a national leader’s words and actions. She said the act of humiliating another in this fashion has a way of giving permission to society in general to do the very same thing. She spoke of respect, and of that valuable commodity, “kindness.” When she finished her six-minute speech, she received a standing ovation. Hours later, the man who did that mocking tweeted a personal attack upon Ms. Streep, calling her “a Hillary flunky who lost big,” and “one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood.” He denied (again) ever having done what she accused him of. Soon major television networks ran film footage of the president-elect doing precisely what Ms. Streep said he did.