Apparently, if you are a celebrity in America, you are supposed to shut up about politics or run for president. Such was the reaction to Meryl Streep’s emotional speech at the Golden Globes in which she denounced the president-elect, though she never mentioned him by name. Ron Howard deflected that criticism (from a Twitter-egg no less) with a keen observation from someone so hopelessly in “the bubble.”
@deanne_tate trump was a reality tv star spouting criticisms of a president & reinforcing the Birther Lie. but now celebs should b muzzled?
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) January 9, 2017
Put another way, President-Elect Donald Trump is saying that other celebrities should not do the very thing that was, essentially, his entrance into the political sphere: talk shit about the president. Howard went on to say he wishes the president-elect success and hopes he “pleasantly surprise[s] the skeptics.” Still, he’s right about the hypocrisy from Trump supporters decrying an outspoken political celebrity when they elected one as the 45th President of the United States.
These award shows are self-important and self-congratulatory affairs, where the rich and famous get together with other rich and famous and speak breathlessly about their work or politics or whatever is on their minds. If you are getting your political philosophy from celebrities alone…well, that’s how we ended up here.
The point is, celebrities say things and people react that’s how the deal works. Sometimes those things are said on film or sung, while other times, these things are said in “the real world.” For the Twitter-eggs and other regular folk out there, complaining about celebrities is one of our God-given American rights! Until we elected one president, celebrity positions on politics never really mattered more than anyone else’s*.
Yet, as Howard said, for the president-elect to “take the bait” and respond only to the insult poses a much more troubling problem. Remember, Streep didn’t mention Donald Trump by name and the core of her message was simply don’t bully people and respect the free press and the arts.
All the president-elect would have had to say is something like, “I agree with Ms. Streep that we shouldn’t bully people and America’s fundamental commitment to free expression is something in which we all should take great pride. Congratulations on your achievement.” Instead, he called her “overrated” and denied making fun of a disabled reporter, even though he held his arms during the “impression” in a very similar way to how Serge Kovaleski’s disability affects him.
Donald Trump has been called one of the most “media-savvy” politicians in the history of the country. As his reign atop the headlines moves from campaign to governance, he seems less media-savvy and more of a one-trick-pony. He traffics in outrage and insult, when right now his focus should be on leadership.
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
*Author’s Note: Save for raising awareness or public relations. That is a celebrity’s super-power.