The effects of Meryl Streep’s speech

Shabib Afzal, Staff Writer

At the Golden Globe Awards this year, Meryl Streep was given the Cecil B. DeMille award. She used her acceptance speech to criticize Donald Trump, mentioning the incident where he mocked a disabled reporter and called on “the principled press to hold power to account.”

To say that Streep doesn’t have the right to criticize Trump like this is just wrong. Of course she can criticize the president-elect however she chooses. But is this really an effective means of activism, or is it just another case of Hollywood elitism bestowed upon everyday people?

It is nothing new for Americans to see celebrities use their fame to promote causes that they feel passionate about. In fact, many of these causes actually do some real good in the world.

Take for example Harry Belafonte, who used his fame to help rid this country of segregation and also bailed out Martin Luther King Jr. or Bono, who may be incredibly arrogant, but has been involved with causes concerning third-world debt relief and the plight of Africa for almost two decades.

All of these are examples how celebrity activism can be beneficial. To overlook the good that Streep’s speech had would be wrong as well. The Committee to Protect Journalists, the non-profit that Streep mentioned, saw a spike in donations after the Golden Globes. It is also worth noting that Trump has had a very messy relationship with the media. That is not to say that it is all Trump’s fault though, as much of the mainstream media’s coverage of this election has been mediocre at best.

The main problem with Streep’s speech is the polarizing nature of it. Our political climate is already incredibly damaged, and a speech like this seems incredibly condescending, as it’s just another Hollywood elite telling people how they should think. This is problematic because of the fact that it adds legitimacy to Trump’s message. It validates that the establishment and elites are out to get Trump and his supporters. It makes it seem as if the press is in with the elites, although Courtney Radsch, the current advocacy director for the CPJ, said that she was not expecting such an endorsement.

More importantly, this speech only adds more fuel to the fire that is Trump. The more Hollywood, or anyone in power, attacks Trump, the more popular he becomes. One would think that those in these positions would have came to this realization by now.

Their constant onslaught against Trump, whether it be Lena Dunham promising to move to Canada if Trump won, or even someone who isn’t thought of as that arrogant, like Louis C.K., who compared Trump to Hitler, has only made his message resonate with more everyday Americans.

Streep has the right to say whatever she wants and criticize Trump however she may, as there can be legitimate good done with such activism.

But I question whether if the condescending nature of this speech can really help with our broken political discourse and if it will do any good in the long run.