Gareth Cliff


Check your Twitter timeline. Check Huffington Post or Buzzfeed, if you can stomach it. All they can talk about is how monumental Meryl Streep’s acceptance of the Cecil B DeMille Award was. They’re giddy about how brave Meryl was to stand up in front of a crowd of her adoring peers and virtue signal on behalf of all those minorities, poor people, immigrants and women who Trump “hates”. Those groups obviously didn’t have their own agency, and they didn’t need their own voices to be heard. Dowager Queen Meryl was there to fight for them. Except she wasn’t fighting, she’s an actress – she’s just pretending. You could even say she’s the best at pretending. After all, that’s what the Golden Globes and The Oscars and The Emmys are – where actors pat each other on the back for pretending really, really hard. But according to leftist media, despite winning at pretending, Meryl is now also a saint. The standards for heroism have dropped to a mighty new low.

Now before you start calling me names for being mean about Meryl, let me admit that I’m a fan. She’s great in movies and she deserves every one of her awards. Let me also acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with anyone, including actors, criticising someone like Donald Trump. But let’s get a little perspective, shall we?

Zoom out on that glittering awards show and take a look at what’s there: In one room you can find the most spoilt, pampered, privileged elite that has possibly ever existed. On an evening like this, their rarified and extraordinary social apartheid from the rest of us is especially apparent. These people do the easiest jobs imaginable for vast sums of money, are lauded far and wide for performing, and find themselves idolised to an extent that the Ancient Egyptian gods would have found mind-boggling. People who sing, dance and act in an industry that many say is past its prime are without doubt the most well-known faces on planet earth. Never in the whole of human history have such a group of people been more coddled for doing less. Worldwide, whole channels and publications slobber over the clothes they wear, the relationships they’re constantly in or out of, and their attention-seeking antics.

Certainly some go on to do honourable things, like Clooney and his father do in the Sudan and the trips Angelina Jolie undertakes for the UNHCR, but they’re not fighting wars or risking life and limb. Mostly it’s good PR. Again, that doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to voice their opinions, but here’s my problem: These precocious Hollywood stars have their egos so regularly and professionally stroked that they start to believe their opinions matter more than yours or mine. They look down their noses at engineers, school teachers, construction workers and local councillors. They never think about the issues that drive most people to the polls – jobs, sanitation, healthcare, property rights, the ability to protect yourself and grow the economy. They don’t care about those things because they’re in a luxury industry and all their opinions are luxury opinions, spat down from ivory towers. That’s why so may of them said they would flee the USA if Trump won. None of them have, because they have it too good – and they know it.

The basic premise of the left is that there are victims and oppressors – and if you can’t find an oppressor, then find someone better off than the victim and call that person, by comparison, privileged. It’s all based on good old resentment. The victims need someone to stand up for them, according to the doctrine, because (shame) they can’t stand up for themselves, and that in turn is called the soft bigotry of low expectations. When someone like Meryl Streep, probably unique in the world, and certainly in the world of acting, starts to talk generally about the poor, the disabled, the immigrants or the oppressed women who don’t know how evil Trump is, you should be suspicious. The best Meryl can be is empathetic. But she’s not, she’s selectively outraged, and the reason for that is plain for all to see: Her girl lost.

Meryl Streep and just about everyone else in Hollywood was very publicly behind Hillary. They attended her benefits, supported her on stage and in person, they leaned her way in every way possible – and most of them imagined their celebrity would assist and easily push her over the finish line. It didn’t. The butt-hurt felt by entertainers who have been roundly ignored by the electorate stings like you wouldn’t believe – and if you don’t believe it, watch one of those YouTube videos they made, pleading for congress to find a way to change the imminent Trump presidency before it becomes a reality. Sally Field, Rosie Perez and Jeffrey Wright, in the most stomach-churning and patronising fashion, explain to congress why they (the actors) represent the majority, why they should be heard and what they’ll do if they’re not. For an industry that produces powerful movies and television, this is abominable material. It also confirms, for most Americans, that Hollywood is in a bubble that has just loudly and unpleasantly burst.

So while Meryl’s speech succeeds in provoking a childish reaction from the man it was so pointedly aimed at, the ancillary damage is done to his supporters, and probably to other people who didn’t even vote for Trump, but want to move on. To them, this is just another sneering ego-trip from someone who hasn’t a clue how they live and probably hasn’t done her own shopping in fifteen years.

The most powerful thing anyone at the Golden Globes could have done (because mostly they’re talking to Hillary supporters), would have been to remind everyone that there’s a new President, and that differences in a very divided country ought to be set aside (and that doesn’t mean supporting Trump), because you may work in an industry of fiction, but it’s reality that matters.




Hollywood Tears