For a group who gloat about their growing power, conservatives sure do whine a lot…. (More)

“Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?”

Last night Meryl Streep received the Golden Globes’ Cecile B. DeMille Award to honor her “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment,” joining recent recipients Denzel Washington, George Clooney, Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty. In accepting the award, Streep talked not about herself but about immigration, compassion, bullying, empathy … and whining:

Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press. Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said: 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.

But who are we, and what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island; Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids in Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in London – no, in Ireland I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a girl in small-town Virginia.

Ryan Gosling, like all of the nicest people, is Canadian, and Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, and is here playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

They gave me three seconds to say this, so: An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us, and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that. Breathtaking, compassionate work.

But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good; there was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh, and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head, because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this 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 kinda gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect, violence incites violence. And when the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.
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One more thing: Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something – you know we were gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.

She is truly a class act.

“I keep whining until I win”

Contrast that with our Whiner-elect. He boasts about whining, saying “I keep whining until I win.” He whined all the way through the election season. And of course this morning he whined about Streep:

Waaaah!

“Why does the NFL keep playing an anti-Trump commercial for the terrible show Blackish?”

It’s not just the Whiner-elect. White House Press Secretary-to-be Sean Spicer whined that the media don’t treat his boss “with the respect he deserves.” Heck, conservatives whine about the ads that run during NFL games:

“Why does the NFL keep playing an anti-Trump commercial for the terrible show Blackish?” wrote one tweeter. “They must not know their audience”. Another viewer fumed: “I am offended at the preview for the show #blackish about voting for Trump makes you a racist!”

Matt Falk tweeted: “No one watch #blackish. Not everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, That show caters to the lowest common denominator” while Steve James declared on the online social networking service: “Man, Blackish looks so original! A Trump voter isn’t racist because she has black friends! Can’t wait to never watch a second of that show.”

To answer the questions: the NFL has no say in what ads run during games. Networks buy the rights to broadcast NFL games, and sell ads to pay for that. That includes ABC allocating promo slots to other ABC programming. It’s horizontal marketing, trying to get people who tuned in for an NFL game to also watch other shows on that network. For the party who claim to be pro-business, they sure are ignorant about how businesses operate. Or maybe they just don’t like certain shows, because Those People should stay invisible:

Yeah, that is “Racism at the highest level.” Just not the way he thinks.

“They make fury respectable”

In fact, Those People shouldn’t even be allowed to complain:

I’ve been reading a lot of Roger Scruton’s work lately (long article to come), and was struck by one of his typically acute summary statements about today’s academic left in Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands, which is that “they make fury respectable, and gobbledegook the mark of academic success.”

That’s from an article titled “White Hot Rage of the Left,” which made me wonder exactly who was fuming in “white hot rage.” Turns out a few students at one British university would like a more diverse philosophy curriculum:

They are said to be the founding fathers of Western philosophy, whose ideas underpin civilised society.

But students at a prestigious London university are demanding that figures such as Plato, Descartes and Immanuel Kant should be largely dropped from the curriculum because they are white.

The student union at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) insists that when studying philosophy “the majority of philosophers on our courses” should be from Africa and Asia.

The union said it is part of wider campaign to “decolonise” the university, as it seeks to “address the structural and epistemological legacy of colonialism”.

Okay, I’m not seeing any “white hot rage” from the students, let alone “the academic left” or “the Left” as a whole. Instead, I’m seeing “white hot rage” from white guys whining because Those People dare to challenge the Eurocentric philosophy canon.

Now, we could have a reasoned debate about whether “the majority of philosophers” in a university reading list “should be from Africa and Asia.” There are many outstanding philosophers from Africa and Asia, and many from Europe. A good philosophy curriculum should include voices and ideas from a variety of cultures, if only so the students understand that not every culture’s philosophers have asked the same questions or explored the same answers as Plato, Kant, et.al.

But you can’t have that reasoned debate if you immediately leap into “white hot rage” and start whining because Why Won’t Those People Just Accept That White Guys Are The Center Of The Universe?

“Isn’t it such a privilege…?”

Which brings me back to Streep’s comment about whining.

Acting is hard work. The hours are longer than most people realize. Movie set call times are often in the wee hours, so the cast are made up, in costume, and ready to start shooting with the morning light. Then it’s hurry-up-and-wait while the technicians wrestle with detail after detail: lighting, dolly-tracking, camera lenses, placing extras to fill the background, getting the crew and bystanders out of the way, reconnecting the cable that someone tripped over, all before the cinematographer can say “Rolling,” the clapper loader can say “Scene 43, Take five” and snap the clapper, and the director can call out “Action!”

Then you say a half-dozen words and the director yells “Cut!” because some technician or bystander sneezed or some extra forgot to silence his cell phone … and the makeup techs scurry around to tidy everyone up while the cinematographer rechecks light levels and the director fumes at whoever messed up, so you can start again. And again. And again.

All the while, you’re standing in a hot, heavy costume – or naked – under lights so bright they dry out your contacts, and your job is not merely to remember the lines they rewrote that morning, and your blocking, but to feel those words and those actions, even though this scene starts in the middle of a conversation and you and your scene partner are supposed to react organically and credibly … to a green screen on which an alien monster will be CGI’d two months after you’re done filming. Oh, and don’t scratch. Or fart.

And yet, as Streep said last night:

Once, when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something – you know we were gonna work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy.

Yeah, it really is a privilege, just to be an actor. It’s also a privilege to be a well-paid pundit at some conservative blog. And it’s for damn sure a privilege to be twelve days away from sitting behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

So here’s a thought, wingnuts, including the Whiner-elect. While you’re busy gloating about how much power you’re about to have, take Tommy Lee Jones’ advice … and stop whining.

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Photo Credit: Associated Press

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Good day and good nuts