Meryl Streep’s big error

Meryl Streep’s talk at the Golden Globes was probably a bad idea. Certainly bad optics.

Meryl Streep fell into a trap.

Once again the coastal elites are putting down the deplorables, once again feeding resentments. There could have been a much better spokesperson than Meryl Streep.

Meryl Streep criticized Donald Trump at the Golden Globes Awards. She criticized him for one of the least defensible of Trump’s put-down of others, although Trump insists he was mocking the reporter for changing his reporting not for being disabled. Trump’s actual, real, deep-in-his-heart target is known only to Trump if at all, but it is unquestioned that he mocked the disabled reporter for something.

She chose a good target if she were going to do anything at all.

This was a bad moment for Trump

Trump was punching down when he mocked the disabled reporter. And her scolding Trump was arguably part of the great pushback against Trump that is inevitable and part of our democratic tradition of checks and balances. We did not elect a tyrant whom Americans are supposed to worship. Trump media supporters acted shocked, shocked! that people are criticizing Trump, saying Democrats are sore losers and should get over it. Trump won, they say. Get behind him.

It is good strategy for Trump supporters to attempt to dismiss the motives of Trump opponents. That is their job, and right. It is simultaneously the job and right of Trump opponents to say that Trump’s initiatives should be resisted. Hollywood liberals would be expected to use their platform to do this. Opposition by his highly visible opponents helps to legitimize political opposition. It gives it voice. It’s absence would denote that Hollywood thinks Trump is acceptable to them.

People who want to see loyal obedience should get and train a dog.

The bigger question is whether Streep actually helped or hurt Trump. Meryl Streep is a high status award-winning actress. She spoke well. She linked Trump’s least defensible moments to acting, so there was a bit of elegant connection between her role as actress and what she was condemning.

Everything was perfect except the very, very big thing. That was way wrong.

It was a Hollywood actress condemning a person who condemned — among other things — the privilege of the rich and powerful elites. And Meryl Streep, in a fancy gown, did not just criticize Trump, she criticized football and mixed martial arts:

“So 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.”

This comment clarified and confirmed that part of what was going on here was yet another assault by the coastal elites against the tastes of all American men. One does not need to be an expert demographer to know that football and mixed martial arts are watched and enjoyed by a great many people including exactly the people who pushed the electoral college to Trump. Ohio State and Michigan have football stadiums that hold 100,000 people and they sell out. The commercials on NFL games are filled with Ford 150 trucks, with Dodge Ram trucks, with Budweiser beer, with Axe shaving products.

The optics of this confirmed the very battle lines that hurt Democrats and elected Trump: an older Hillary-supporting multimillionaire actress of elite status criticizing the tastes of regular people — regular male people — who prefer football to the “finer art” of Hollywood movies. Once again, Democrats engendered and empowered the feeling of resentments against the elites. Once again snubbed. Once again a woman scolding a man and the people who like him and the people who like manly stuff like football.

What would have been a better Hollywood spokesperson?

Some he-man action hero actor condemning Trump solely for mocking the reporter, saying that real men don’t do that. The optics of that would have been good. Better yet, the actor should be a stunt double in action movies. A guy who actually gets hurt and takes risks on behalf of protecting a star. He isn’t a big shot. He is Hollywood but working-man Hollywood. He would have had credibility criticizing Trump, and the attack could be precisely where Trump is sensitive and vulnerable, in his manliness.

Here is what might have worked:

The stunt man might say, “Shame on you, Mr. Trump. Real men don’t mock disabled people and then they don’t lie about it. Grow a pair.”

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