Letter To Meryl Streep: 'Trump Is Not The Answer. Nor Are You.' Jesus Is.
That was some performance on Sunday! You were right to attack the crudity and rudeness of Donald Trump. And he was wrong to tweet that you were the most overrated actress in Hollywood. I love your films. So much so that if I see your name on the billboard, its enough to incline me to pay and go and see the film.
You are a wonderful actress with an incredible ability to do what you talked about in your speech – get the audience to empathise with, and understand the character. But I am assuming that you were not acting in this speech and so let me do you the courtesy of explaining why, outside the Hollywood bubble, it really does not resonate.
Your speech was saying what your audience expected and wanted to hear. 'Hollywood Actress Attacks Trump' is hardly 'Breaking News'. So lets look at the substance of what you said.
You claimed that you and your audience belonged to the most vilified segments in American society. This is an extraordinary claiming of 'victimhood'. You are a multi-millionaire (net worth $65 million) speaking to a room of millionaires dressed with $20,000 dresses, Rolex watches and all the trappings of the super-rich. You have a media voice at the highest level, political doors are open to you, you belong to the most influential and powerful section of American society and yet you manage to claim victimhood?
You do realise that it is the Hollywood elites which created the celebrity culture which allowed a reality TV star without any political experience to become president? You created the monster you now complain about. So spare me the tears. I think what really miffs you and your fellow celebs is that while you were almost unanimously on the 'right' side, the American people did not listen to you and they voted for the wrong side. Dumb hicks!
As for your remarks about 'football and mixed martial arts', they help explain why, faced with the kind of elitism and snobbery exemplified in them, so many turned away from Clinton and the values she represented. Although I don't understand it and don't watch it, I would never denigrate the millions who watch American football or indeed mixed martial arts. You stated to your approving audience that they are not 'the arts', to which the only real response is, Mamma Mia!
You will forgive me using your own standards, but most of what Hollywood produces is not art. Or it's really bad art. I like going to our local contemporary cinema and to be honest when we see that a film is from Hollywood, I am much less inclined to watch it. I prefer the independent film-makers, the 'foreign' ones who don't usually have your money or fit into your formula. Sorry for being so arty and snobby, but now you know how the rest of us peasants feel.
I appreciated your anger and passion about Trump mocking the disabled reporter. But something just did not ring true. First of all, it didn't happen this year or indeed last. It happened in 2015 and there has been a Golden Globes since then. Your 'heartbreak and not being able to get it out of your head' has gone on a long time.
Trump denies that he was mocking the reporter for his disability.
He was certainly mocking but he has used that gesture many times. Whatever, I regard it as rude and unworthy behaviour but then that is the media role he has had for decades so we don't really expect anything else. It's also a bit 'post-truth' and patronising to claim that the Pulitzer prize-winning New York Times journalist was powerless and lacked the capacity to fight back.
This is where your tears really made me cry. It's good that you are so concerned about the mockery of the disabled. But what about those who say that disability is so serious that the disabled don't have an equal right to live and demand the right to kill the disabled in the womb, up to birth?
Your comments about humiliating people and promoting violence were also spot on – although the lack of self-awareness in this is breathtaking. The Hollywood elites regularly humiliate and mock. Stand up comedians are the go-to prophets of our culture and if they were to obey your injunction not to mock or humiliate they would be out of material.
As for the remark about violence – you must be joking. Remove violence from Hollywood and you won't be left with a great deal.
Let's talk about the powerful using their position to bully others. We see that often. So much of sexual abuse is about power and abuse rather than lust. Which is why when powerful men use their power to humiliate or abuse they should be called out and not lauded by their peers. In this 'post truth' world we need a free press with the right to criticise and challenge the prevailing prejudices of the ruling elites.
I think your speech gives us a clue as to how divided American society (and indeed any society) can be healed. We need real broken hearts. It's all too easy for any of us, whatever particular bubble we inhabit, to blame the 'other'. Maybe we need to have our hearts broken by our own sins before we mourn over the sins of others. Maybe what's needed is not the arrogance and pride of pontificating from the safety of a Hollywood platform, cyberspace or a church pulpit, but rather a humble and contrite spirit before God.
Trump is not the answer, but neither are you and the elites you represent and speak to. And neither am I, with all my faults and sins. I know of only one answer – the ultimate Artist, the Creator of all things, and the Saviour of the World – Jesus Christ. Maybe our 'cry in the dark' should be to him?
Rev David Robertson is minister of St Peters, Dundee and director of the Solas Centre for Public Christianity. He is on Twitter @TheWeeFlea