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Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes acceptance speech is causing quite a stir: The Left loves it, the Right hates it. But for three particular reasons, it’s inadvertently amusing.

Arrogant Self-Pity

Streep’s self-pity was a sustaining theme of her speech. It was best emphasized by her comment, “You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it. Hollywood, foreigners, and the press.”

There’s always something mildly tragic about multi-millionaires who claim inherent vulnerability. But in the context of a black-tie Hollywood awards ceremony, Streep’s comments were truly absurd. After all, Streep’s supposedly afflicted tripartite are the American elites. The supposedly threatened journalists in attendance last night were high-level entertainment reporters: those who shape the fortune of careers with the stroke of a keyboard. In the same manner, the “foreigners” Streep mentioned are not young, illegal-immigrant children fearing deportation. They are the Gods of liberalism in the United States, the ones liberals worship as incarnations of the better world beyond American shores. Hollywood is a land enriched, not vilified, by the choices of consumers.

If Streep were serious about her liberalism, she might have chosen to highlight the plight of the truly marginalized in our society.

The black kids in too many Chicago neighborhoods, for example, who are imprisoned by war-zone like crime rates and poor schools. The illegal-immigrants who were brought here as babies, who served our nation as warriors, and who now worry about their future. War correspondents like Jim Foley or Austin Tice, murdered or killed for reporting on catastrophe rather than red carpet fashion.

But no. Streep instead paid homage to a room full of elites. Were it not so ludicrous, it would be laughable.

Lamenting of Middle American Intellectual Inadequacy

“Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners,” Streep said. “If you kick ’em all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

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The dripping disgust for middle-America is undeniable here. Streep might as well have said: “If you kick ’em all out, you’ll rot at home feeding on consumerism and violence, and failing to learn of your inherent cultural inadequacies.”

There’s an arrogant disingenuousness at play here. If Streep’s intention was truly to convince more Americans of her message, why alienate them? Streep knows Americans love football. But by directly attacking football, Streep shows her hand. She proves that her intended audience reached only to the confines of Los Angeles, New York City, and the strongholds of American liberalism. This was not an effort at persuasion, but a preaching to the choir.

Doubt in American Values

Referencing President-elect Trump’s insults of a disabled reporter during the campaign, Streep claimed that the “instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

This is unserious. While Trump’s insults are childish, callous and suggestive of sociopathy, they do not threaten the country. Some might take example from Trump’s worse habits, but the vast majority will not. That’s because parents and education, not Trump, are the key element in developing good character. The vast majority of parents teach their children to live as honorable citizens. Parents rightly teach that Trump’s behavior is undignified.

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Streep might be given the benefit of the doubt here if not for her next line: “This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our Founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution.”

In this connection between Trump’s insults and press responsibility, Streep again shows her belief that “Hollywood, foreigners, and the press” are America’s moral and intellectual guardians. In doing so, she neglects her own delusion and the inherent failing of her speech. Namely, that whatever Trump’s inadequacies, for most Americans, as George W. Bush once put it, “If you say that the heart and soul of America is found in Hollywood, I’m afraid you are not the candidate of American values.”

In the end, most Americans would have much preferred to hear from Ricky Gervais last night.

Tom Rogan is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a foreign policy columnist for National Review, a domestic policy columnist for Opportunity Lives, a former panelist on The McLaughlin Group and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

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