WASHINGTON, June 3, 2017 — Courage, fearlessness, audacity, boldness and dauntlessness are just a few synonyms for bravery.
These words are often used to describe celebrities who say what they believe to be popular and non-controversial. Actress Emma Stone (“La La Land”) told CNN shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, “I think it’s a real wake-up call and a chance for us to all unite and do the very, very best we can to speak out and be brave.”
Actress Meryl Streep used the Golden Globes award ceremony to attack Trump, saying that she and her bejeweled, millionaire colleagues “belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now.”
In a speech before the Human Rights Campaign, Streep added it was “embarrassing and terrifying to put the target on your forehead … it sets you up for all sorts of troll attacks and armies of brownshirt bots and worse, and the only way you can do it is if you feel you have to. You have to. You have no choice, but you have to speak up and stand up and act up.”
As of this writing, neither “troll attacks” nor the brownshirted “bots” of the social media sphere have posed an economic or existential threat to Streep. Her injuries extend no further than to her inflated ego and sense of importance.
Six months after Trump took the oath of office, this brand of Hollywood A-lister bravery has filtered down to reality-TV’s D-listers.
Comedian Kathy Griffin added her own scene to the Hollywood anti-Trump script, including a little blood and gore for shock value. She appeared in a photo holding a bloody representation of President Trump’s severed head.
But at a time of horrifyingly real decapitations, Griffin’s “bravery” only appealed to a rather small audience: ISIS.
After Griffin lost commercial endorsements, had several personal appearances canceled and was fired from her New Year’s Eve gig at CNN, she took to Instagram to say, “I am sorry. I went too far. I was wrong.”
At a news conference, Griffin mustered some more Hollywood bravery. “I’m not afraid of Donald Trump. He’s a bully.”
The Griffin affair may represent the high-water mark of Hollywood’s hysteria-fueled, anti-Trump courage. If not, it has at least shown the country the mental state of the American left.
That state of mind was best described by one of Hollywood’s more prolific writers and television pioneers, Rod Serling:
“It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone. You unlock this door with the key of imagination.”
And there you have it. Fear and imagination; the two components of Hollywood’s bizarre brand of bravery.