Opinion

Meryl Streep did the right thing at the Golden Globes

I loved what Meryl Streep said last night at the Golden Globes.  She turned an acceptance of a boring award (the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement) into a moment of lightning in the room (and took attention away from her choice of dress.) It wasn’t just her withering denunciation of President-elect Donald Trump’s “performance” mocking a disabled reporter. It was the passion and sadness with which she used her public platform to speak out against the toxic atmosphere that Trump’s words and actions have created this past year.

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts,” she said to roars and applause.

She expanded on what actor  Hugh Laurie archly observed about the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. — which puts on the Golden Globes — as he accepted his award for his role in “The Night Manager”: “It has the words ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Foreign’ and ‘Press’ in the title and to some Republicans even the word association is slightly sketchy.”

Streep certainly touched a chord with Trump — who couldn’t resist bashing her in a tweet and calling her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood…” (“Wrooong” as Alec Baldwin-playing-Trump might utter in that breathy voice he has perfected.)

Some conservative site that sends me emails compared her to Marie Antoinette. (Wow, I don’t think Streep has ever played that one.) There’s been a lot of clucking over how she’s just part of the rich Hollywood elite speaking to other members of the pack. And certainly many of the people in the ballroom were rich and famous or well on their way to being rich and famous.  

Of course, the noisiest criticism of her comes from rich, elite conservatives. So … that’s a wash.

The largest part of her audience were the millions watching the show on TV and I imagine many of them were moved and some were annoyed and maybe many couldn’t care less. In some ways, the saddest thing to me was watching the melancholy faces in the ballroom listening to her.

Streep did exactly what she should have done with that huge a captive audience. She decried the bashing of outsiders and foreigners and did what every elected official and activist who has taken issue with Trump’s vile statements has urged  people do: Stand up for fairness wherever and whenever you can.

carla.hall@latimes.com

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