What We Can Learn from Meryl Streep

CATE WATERS (GRADE 11)

Hollywood. Foreign. Press. Those three words were the key talking points from Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes. Meryl won the lifetime achievement award, which was awarded to her without question, that is until 6:27 a.m. January 9, 2017 Donald Trump sought to undermine her achievements, writing:

“Meryl Streep, one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes. She is a Hillary flunky who lost big. For the 100th time I never “mocked” a disabled reporter… just more dishonest media!”

What provoked the dragon to take to Twitter? Well… Meryl spoke her mind.

Meryl started her speech by highlighting the diversity in  Hollywood and then went on to identify several actors  that grew up outside of the United States, and immigrated. She continued by stating that the job of an actor is to put themselves in the skin of someone else and tell a story. Initially I thought someone behind the curtain had paid her to promote (the limited) diversity in Hollywood, but what followed this point made Meryl’s speech one to remember.

She then digressed from her three points to talk about a performance that “stunned” her. It was the now iconic moment when Trump imitated a disabled report. At this point Meryl was on the verge of tears claiming this moment “sank its hook in [her] heart” because coming from a man of power and wealth “kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing.”

As the audience, at home and in the crowd, wiped their foggy eyes, Meryl segwayed to her third and final topic: the press. She called on the press to “hold power to account” and emphasised the importance of the truth and the press over these next four years.

Meryl wrapped up her speech with an homage to actress Carrie Fisher , and then she disappeared leaving the audience dumbfounded, enlightened, somber, yet optimistic.

Not only is Meryl a talented actress, she is a thoughtful and inspiring speaker. Her well articulated words brought some to tears, and one to a twitter rampage.

Trump was clearly threatened by Meryl whose only intention was to bring attention to the horrors that face our country. Unlike Trump, Meryl will always be a class act as she teaches us to speak out, practice tolerance as Americans and to be vigilant about our new president.

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