No courage was needed for Meryl Streep to stand before an audience of like-minded people to point her finger and raise her voice against the known object of their mutual disdain. That was easy. Here’s what would have taken some guts: condemning the role that the entertainment industry plays in glamorizing and disseminating wholesale violence on-screen, in video games, on television, in music and online. Particularly affected are the black youth who suffer infinitely more from the criminality of their brethren than from the purported racism of our men in blue. We’re all aware of the mind-boggling statistic of more than 750 murders in Chicago, Obama’s city of choice, this past year. Though many reasons for this may be offered and analyzed, the fact remains that extreme violence is now an available aphrodisiac 24/7 and if you have ever sat in a multiplex where one of these movies is playing, you don’t need to read here what the audience response is.
For that matter, why didn’t Meryl question why the movie Elle was nominated for several Golden Globe awards (winning two that evening). This is a movie that reverts to the canard that women can enjoy and be complicit in brutal rape. Since we westerners are free to express our vilest thoughts (on certain topics only), it’s no surprise that filmmakers can exploit this freedom, but the scolding Meryls of the industry should have the strength to question what is being singled out for special awards. As a woman who will undoubtedly participate in the Women’s March on Washington, why didn’t she at least raise that subject for her captive audience to consider?
We live in a schizophrenic society in which one industry encourages sex and violence, using the most attractive performers and sophisticated special effects to titilate viewers and turn them on. We then perversely force universities to act as campus school-marms who call any disrespect towards women sexual harassment and punish it by denying constitutional civil rights to the accused men during investigation and adjudication. Meryl had the perfect venue and opportunity to challenge her employers and peers to stop aiming powerful ammunition at a population increasingly unable to handle it.
Instead of choosing this more difficult high road, Meryl gave her audience the sure and easy high five.
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