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Jimmy Fallon is a terrible host, he should never be allowed to host anything, I am pretty sure he would be just as bad at hosting guests in his own house. But as the Golden Globes progressed, the night became much less about the unfunny klutz and more about the atmosphere in Hollywood, America, and the world at large. It became about giving a voice to that simmering feeling, to what people have to say, how they felt waking up on November 9th after that shit show, and how they have felt in the days after especially with the coming inauguration. Hollywood. I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood, I find it duplicitous at best, hypocritical and ignorant of a lot of things; race, abuse, sexism, take your pick, it has its closets full of sins. But I am all for giving kudos where its due. Who knew we’d come to need a place like Hollywood in the way we did on one of its biggest nights of self congratulatory awards, with all the glitz and glamour and red carpet madness. That said, I do like awards shows, self congratulatory as they are, (Thanks Hiddleston) there is something unifying about staying up until the wee hours (I watched online until 4am after telling myself to go to bed every hour on the hour), and live tweeting with fellow crazy awesome people you’ll likely never meet, but it’s such a fun party everyone wants to go here and you cannot help the laughs (the most fun is had on the live tweet seriously). Awards shows pretty much map out my watch list until the summer,-Nope I am NOT seeing La La Freaking Land- and introduces us to new talent and some we slept on. Mandy -where has she been- Moore with her cape (not my fave) made a stellar come back and now I have to go binge watch This is Us. Donald Glover showed the world what following your dreams can really look like if you keep at it. Issa Rae proved that your instinct will often always be your best guide, and Tracee Ellis Ross, I mean, what a boss. What I actually like more than the awards themselves, and the nerve biting moment of waiting to find out if your favourite movie or sitcom wins, is the acceptance speech- cheesy, glorious, self deprecating and utterly inspiring, an acceptance speech sets the class acts and the Hiddlestons apart, and this year’s Globes had more class acts.
I LOVED Tracee Ellis Ross’s speech, genuine and heartfelt without being saccharine, her shout out to Women of Colour who are still trying to make it, whose stories are fighting to come through, “… women of colour and colourful people whose stories, ideas, thoughts are not always considered worthy and valid and important… I want you to know that I see you. We see you. To her age, “44 I like it here” in an industry where most often shy away from revealing their real age, where youth is often the only way to thrive and survive, that was a pretty powerful moment. Ryan Gosling did a good job of acknowledging the sacrifices made by his “lady” whilst he was able to shoot the movie and have the “best experiences” he’s ever had, she “was raising (their) daughter, pregnant with (their) second and helping her brother fight his battle with cancer.” Viola Davis, always moves me with her speeches, always and my favourite part of her speech was when she acknowledged her dad, “Dan Davis, born in 1936, groomed horses, had a fifth grade education, didn’t know how to read until he was fifteen. But you know what? He had a story and it deserved to be told and August Wilson told it.” Donald Glover, who shouted out Black folks in Atlanta for “being alive, doing amazing and being amazing people.” Barry Jenkins, “Mom you gave me my life and I hope being on the stage right now is a fulfilment of the life you gave me…”
A good acceptance gives you a sense of the person, an allusion to the history of the people giving them, the many threads that weave in and out of their lives, connecting their pasts to the present, the roots of their being and the family we don’t get to see but whose sacrifices meant they could be where they are today.
Hugh Laurie made a joke which spawned Meryl Streep’s words, he teased that this might be the last Golden Globes because of its diverse association: the Foreign Press. Foreigners and the Press. Two groups Trump vehemently opposes, funny as it was, it also rang true. Especially when power is placed in the hands of a man who has a specific idea of what a perfect nation should be, one void of tones, colours or accents.
In what will go down as one of the most powerful speeches in the history of Hollywood, if not the most powerful after she accepted the Cecil B Demille Lifetime Achievement Award Meryl Streep made a moving case for what it means to have a world filled with those colours, and tones and accents. About how these qualities contribute to our stories and enrich this world we inhabit, this space we all have in common. When you have a platform, either as a celebrity or some other public figure, you do have an onus to do good with it. It is expected that with your platform you speak up and make your voice heard, and use your power for the greater good. Meryl Streep used her platform to inform the world, not just America, that this moment, these past few months, we have witnessed must not define us. That in the years to come, we simply mustn’t shrug with nonchalance and be idle by standers. We must do more.
The world has no idea what lies in her future come the 21st of January when she will have at her helm a racist demagogue in power. We cannot project but we have an idea, if the activity on social media is anything to go by, we have an insight, and that is why Meryl Streep reminded us yesterday that none of what the world has witnessed, will witness in the coming years, will be normal. Nothing about having someone elected to the highest office of power in the world, one who makes fun of disabled people, incites violence against minorities, lauds rape culture, is normal and as a society with morals, even at the most basic, accepting this will be tantamount to endorsing the very worst of human nature. This isn’t just Hollywood’s fight, or ours, we are simply the little people that will get tramped on, this is a fight whose victory will largely depend on the press because they made Donald Trump. In protecting their rights and freedom they must now show they are worthy of such protection by doing the work entrusted to them. Upholding the ethics of the profession and undoing the damage they have mostly done.
When Donald Trump embarks on a this press tour of normalisation, when NBC and FOX News and CNN give him a pass for being an abject nuisance, a racist, a sexist, we should call them out. When people give him a pass because he has no political acumen, and no business for that matter being in politics, we should slap them down with facts, when the press make light of his erratic behaviour, when he baits nations with 140 characters, we should call them out on their complacency, which makes them complicit. This is not normal. Having the most qualified candidate lose to the least qualified because of outside influence, having a president who is blatantly rewarding favours with political positions of power that only furthers the wealth of his already wealthy friends, having someone sideline ethics because the rule of law does not apply to him, and the press won’t make noise about it, is not normal. Much as the press want their freedom protected they must also stand for ethics and what is right, not cower for hope of favours. They cannot sit in silence or look the other way when Trump lays out falsehoods as facts or refuse to report on the lies, here’s looking at you WSJ. The press cannot afford to be complacent because the world is not.
Our diversity is what makes us unique as a global society, that we can learn from each other’s differences and respect them is one of the more unique bonds of humanity. Traditions, cultures, religions and so on are what make this world. Tolerance of one another, of people who are not like us, living together in peace- that is what makes the World and it is worth putting up a hell of a fight to preserve those principles.
So fight. Speak up. Resist and, for the love of all this sane, do not normalise any of this because nothing, none of this, is normal or acceptable.