Why Meryl Streep's Globes Acceptance Speech Is Important
A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Golden Globes...
But something really great happened during the Golden Globes televised ceremony. We have Meryl Streep to thank for that.
I've always enjoyed Streep. I got into her movies back in the mid-1980s, when I was old enough to appreciate what she was doing on screen. Postcards From The Edge was the flick that basically started my love affair with this legendary actress, and whenever I can, I try and watch her movies when they come out. It doesn't always work out for me to get to see her movies, especially now that I generally have children in tow, but my appreciation for her work has never waned.
I also really like her as an interviewee. I've seen her on several talk shows, plugging movies that she's done, or read her sound bites in magazines. She's always struck me as a straight talker, someone who really doesn't have the inclination to feed you a line of bull that no one has any time for.
So, when I read about her Golden Globes speech in the darkness of this morning, I smiled, and knew, as probably a lot of us did, what was ultimately going to transpire.
Remember the Dixie Chicks?
They were riding high on several number one singles, and on the night that then-President George W. Bush called for the invasion of Iraq to begin, the Chicks were on tour in London, England, where lead singer Natalie Maines told a packed house, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”
Meryl Streep's speech from last night reminded me a lot of that moment, and while she seems to be securing a lot more support on social media than the Dixie Chicks ever did following their fateful comments nearly 14 years ago, there are those that think that Streep should let the politicos do the talking rather than think she has the right to talk herself.
There is, however, one small flaw that those who think Streep should stick to acting instead of fighting for political change are forgetting. Enshrined in the most basic freedoms that the United States has - one that most people in the western world have, actually - is the right to free speech. She also has the right, as a person and as a celebrity, to use her voice and her platform to make her voice heard.
The Dixie Chicks Post-Bush
Making A Difference
Too often, non-celebrities - let's call them "civilians," okay? - think that we don't have the power to speak out against various wrongs in our world because who's really going to listen to us? That's probably part of the reason why there are fewer and fewer people in general who turn out to vote in various elections. They don't think they're ultimately going to make a difference.
Meryl Streep knows she's held in high esteem, and she's earned that respect from her unending work as an actor in Hollywood. However, that doesn't mean her voice is any less important than the rest of ours. While many parents have told their children there's a time and a place for everything, Streep knows an opportunity when she sees one, and given she came prepared with a speech, she had planned to use her rather unique platform to make her voice heard.
And why shouldn't she? She has an opportunity to discuss something that mattered to her, and to a lot of people, and she had command of the cameras for just over six minutes. She knows that it's not just her colleagues and the Hollywood Foreign Press who admire her; it's countless others in the civilian world who follow celebrities, if not her in particular. Why not use that sort of platform to talk about what matters to her?
We all have a voice to speak out against wrongs, whether real or perceived, and it should be those who have the "power" - or at least the visibility - to inspire people to make a change.
Some on social media have already made claims that imply that actors are the biggest bullies there are and they are the ones trying to bully others into making changes. Where's the pressure?
If you don't like what Streep had to say in this case, who's forcing you to listen?
Sure, at the time, she effectively had a captive audience of hundreds of actors and some civilians in the audience cheering her, but for those of us at home, we have the right and the opportunity to either not listen or use her powerful words to try and inspire change.
The beauty of Streep's message is, she didn't once mention by name the president-elect. She looked at what happened during the campaign - and these are facts because anyone watching saw what happened, the president-elect's claims to the contrary be damned - and reminded us of the "performance" that played out effectively on a global stage over the last two years.
She wasn't snide, she wasn't sneering - she pointed out facts, and expressed her heartbreak over that.
The president-elect, and others, have lashed back on social media, accusing her of being a "Hillary lover."
Not everyone is going to agree with Streep's words, but at least she took the time to try and make a difference, instead of just spending six minutes preening and telling people how awesome she is. She would have had every right - she is, of course, one of the world's finest actresses - but she tried to make a difference.
How are you going to try and make one?