Out of the Blue: Donald Trump — Meryl Streep’s new BFF? (opinion)
January 13, 2017
I try to attend Neil Young's annual Bridge School benefit concert in Mountain View, Calif., as often as I can. When I was at Cal (Go Bears!), I relished the opportunity to check out the eclectic acts Neil cobbled together for his charitable tradition.
I've seen David Bowie there, as well as The Dixie Chicks, Patti Smith — if you're even moderately interested, it's a great event toward the end of every October.
In fact, I was there in 2004 — Sonic Youth! Tony Bennett! — and everyone at the Shoreline Amphitheatre was stoked that Sir Paul McCartney was headlining. He and his band blasted through the hits, and all the San Franciscans in attendance were happy as clams singing along with every familiar lyric.
My Democratic antenna went up, though, after Paul kicked into "Let It Be". Remember, this would have been almost zero-hour for the presidential campaign that Dubya would eventually win, and some dancing libs around me wondered between sets whether any performers would bring this up during inter-song banter.
That's where McCartney comes in. The song ended, the audience applauded, and Paul leaned into his microphone and said, "Let it be … Kerry!"
John Kerry was my candidate in 2004 as well, so it wasn't that I disagreed with Paul's sentiment, but his center-of-attention endorsement came off as cheesy and unmotivated.
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Meryl Streep's comments about Razzie Award winner for Worst Supporting Actor Donald Trump (from 1990's Ghosts Can't Do It) were far more eloquent and earnest, but watching the actress accept an award at the Golden Globes on Sunday got me thinking about her and Paul McCartney and what it means for a celebrity to publicly profess allegiance to one side of a hot-potato political debate over another.
I'm conflicted by a lot of the responses to Meryl's words. Folks on the right claimed that Meryl running her mouth off to a room of like-minded liberals was the kind of elitist yammering that got Trump elected to begin with.
Contrastly, there were four emails in my inbox Monday morning, all containing links to video of the event and testimonials as to how brilliant Meryl was.
Of course, hours after the Golden Globes ended, you-know-who took to Twitter, launching into a triple 140-character ramble about how "over-rated" Streep was and that she was a "Hillary flunky who lost big."
Where do we go with this? I thought Meryl's speech was extraordinary, but she had to know she'd be poking the bear. Is she a brave warrior for justice and empathy, or just another Hollywood celebrity preaching to the choir inside her gilded glass house filled with movie stars?
Alas, I had forgotten that when it comes to DJT, there's always at least a detail or two that makes his argument on any point null and void.
I mean, I'm glad he wants to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it, but he's going to bring it up to Congress to have them shell out the money first, with our southern neighbors compensating us after the fact. Riiiiight … I honestly believe there is a loophole in every one of his concepts and rants that, when pinpointed, unravel everything.
In this case, in an interview with The New York Times early Monday morning, DJT stuck to his guns with his Twitter-bullying of Streep, but conceded that he'd seen neither the speech itself or the show it was on.
Groan. The ability to communicate freely is a bedrock of western civilization, sure, but it's difficult to take someone seriously when they do so without any basic decorum or integrity.
Oh, and in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter from August 2015, DJT said that Streep was "excellent" and "a fine person, too."
Come on, Razzie-winner Trump: which is it?
Seeing as there's no winning with this guy, my instinct is — smoke 'em if you got 'em. Whether you're a celebrity or not, speak up about your passions. Use opportunities to share inspirational words with folks who might find spirit in them.
I don't even care if you feel like using a public forum to tell me how wrong I am about DJT — just make sure that, unlike our president-elect, you have a grasp on what you're talking about.
And consider Postcards From the Edge if you need a movie to watch. It contains arguably my favorite Meryl Streep performance that ends with a killer honkytonk performance of Shel Silverstein's "I'm Checkin' Out."
And it was written by our planet's beloved Carrie Fisher. Well worth a look.
Mike Restaino is a writer and filmmaker based out of Incline Village. He is also a Vice Chair of the North Tahoe Democrats. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.