Meryl Streep speech at Golden Globes: Trumping troll culture

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Updated: January 10, 2017 6:27:44 AM

Outside the bicameral American legislature—and of course, the states—nowhere does partisan politics in American life take centre stage as it does in Hollywood.

Clinton has become the first female presidential nominee of Democratic party. (Reuters) Actors, producers, studio greats have been known to be avowed Democrats or staunch Republicans, lending their weight to the campaigns of presidential, gubernatorial and even mayoral candidates. (Reuters)

Outside the bicameral American legislature—and of course, the states—nowhere does partisan politics in American life take centre stage as it does in Hollywood. Actors, producers, studio greats have been known to be avowed Democrats or staunch Republicans, lending their weight to the campaigns of presidential, gubernatorial and even mayoral candidates. With such a thriving and open culture, it shouldn’t have been hard for acting legend Meryl Streep to criticise president-elect Donald Trump—against the backdrop of the latter allegedly mocking a disabled journalist—at this year’s Golden Globe awards. The divide couldn’t have been starker. Streep, who endorsed Democratic Party presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, exhorted the Hollywood fraternity to support the Committee to Protect Journalists, while Republican Trump has been openly scornful of what he terms the “lying media”.

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Streep went on to make a broader point, saying, “When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.” Trump, who claimed he hadn’t heard the actor’s speech, brushed aside Hollywood as “liberal movie people” and termed Streep a “Hillary lover”. What stands out in all this is, while there are sure to be those who are critical of Streep—Trump included—she can still be a politically opinionated person and not have to face a tsunami of backlash that costs her an endorsement deal or a movie signing. Trump acolytes aren’t out as an army of trolls to take her down with threats and abuses. There will be the oddball troll, but none of the vitriol that rained on—while not going into deserved-undeserved debate—say, an Aamir Khan, is there. There is a lesson for healthy, bipartisan politics in Streep’s speech—“Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence”. Politicians and their followers alike would do well to pay heed.

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