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The Snobbery of the Liberal Elite

Published by marco on

It’s become clear that, instead of drawing any useful lessons from several recent defeats, the liberal elite is doubling down on its snobbery vis-à-vis the unwashed masses. Case in point: the unalloyed adoration of Meryl Streep’s single-handed, surgical strike against the greatest enemy that Western civilization has ever known.[1]

I, as usual, didn’t watch it, because I prefer to be persuaded by content rather than presentation. I read the transcript (New York Times), though. Meryl doesn’t take long to cozen to her crowd by identifying them as foreigners, vilified in a nearly identical fashion as their own Mexican gardeners.

“Just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie[2] 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.”

Exactly right, Meryl! Where “foreigners” per se have done nothing to earn opprobrium, one could argue that Hollywood and the press are now forced to lie in beds they made. If they are at the point of attack, then maybe they should think about doing something other than kowtowing to power and regurgitating state propaganda in myriad subtle and not-so-subtle ways.

She underscores Hollywood’s diversity by listing the birthplaces and circumstances of a bunch of her friends, many of whom are at least partially non-American. Clearly they can all sympathize with the true target of ideological ire: the illegal immigrant who’s taking jobs from red-blooded Americans.

How could they not? Both groups are “vilified” to an equal degree and can identify so much commonality for a fight against the forces that oppress them. One group has a teensy bit more power, though. One hopes that they don’t stop fighting once they’re sure Trump will leave them alone.

Typically, after identifying falsely with the oppressed—although I’m honestly not sure how much this identification is just spotlight-stealing—Meryl broadsides the deplorables with “And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”

Remember kids: Dame Meryl says that football is stupid and so is MMA, neither of those have any redeeming characteristics or worthwhile entertainment value. You’re welcome. Here’s your free DVD of Mamma Mia! so you can learn you some culture.

I think that fully a quarter of the speech is about that one time that Trump mocked a disabled reporter. Among the list of legitimate grievances against Trump, this doesn’t even really show up on the radar, but that’s the one that the liberal elite feels is the most important. It highlights what a bully Trump is.

It’s nice that Meryl’s paying attention now, but where was her disdain for Clinton and Obama when they spent the last eight years (well, Clinton only 4) bullying the world? if you’re of a liberal and honest mindset, isn’t a bully the perfect figurehead for the U.S.? Clinton blew up a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan; Obama droned an American citizen and then his son without a trial and Trump is a dick. But, by all means, let’s focus on the guy who’s not even tasted presidential power yet. Because he’s not on our team.

“We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call him on the carpet for every outrage.”

Who the fuck is she talking about? The “principled press”? I’m sure she means the New York Times or the Washington Post, both paragons of principle, neither of which has ever seen or heard of a war that they couldn’t support.

But then she asked all of her friends to donate money to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which seems like a good idea, actually. It looks like a decent organization. Their focus seems to be on countries where press freedom is constrained in ways that include torture and death—not just opprobrium or “denial of access” from on high. So one hopes that not a lot of money goes to domestic U.S. sources, which are the ones Streep was talking about.

I just don’t understand why this “speech” is so uplifting and inspiring and worthy of discussing in the same breath as one of Churchill’s or FDR’s. She talks about her friends, obliquely refers to what an asshole Trump is, exhorts her rich friends to support freedom of the press around the world (to reiterate: this is a good thing[3]) and then wraps up with some standard pablum about what a privilege it is to be in acting.

But the Democrats/liberal elite have gone mad for it, breathlessly telling everyone that the simply have to watch it.

This sort of pretentiousness is nothing new in the liberal-Democratic world. The article Withering on the Vine by Thomas Frank (The Baffler) nicely captures how remote these supposed liberal heroes are from the workaday, how isolated they are from the stench of the hoi polloi as they live most of their lives ensconced in the wealth and privilege that they are so convinced that they earned.

“Our Martha’s Vineyard Democrats like to talk about inequality. It makes them sad, but it’s also a problem they have almost no desire to tackle. Not only does it not touch them personally, but their instincts, their inclinations, and their deepest unspoken convictions tell them it isn’t a real problem to begin with. People get what they deserve out of life—or, rather, they will get what they deserve once we have ensured everyone’s equal access to the SAT—and for a person with a grade-school education to complain about the hardships of minimum-wage work is the purest sort of folly.”

Finally, there’s the article Against Meryl Streep by Eileen Jones (Jacobin), which takes much more personal exception to Meryl Streep than I do.

“In America, classiness will get you everywhere, and there’s no better demonstration of it than the teary-eyed adoration generated by every move Streep makes. She strikes me as about the worst possible spokesperson imaginable for the Left in an era of working-class rage, so naturally she’s embraced even more tightly by liberals doubling down on their delusional Clinton Democrat worship.”

Well put, Eileen.

[1] President-elect Donald Trump, for those of you who are still hung over from playing the “do a shot whenever Meryl does or says something pretentious” drinking game.
[2] I like Hugh Laurie, but if he had the temerity to whine about how oppressed he and Hollywood are, then fuck him too.
[3] I haven’t done more than examine the home page and the blogs, but the footer shows that their content is all licensed under a Creative Commons License and most of their content is focused on oppressive regimes abroad. It seems like a cause worth looking into.