- - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Women are angry, this time at Donald Trump. But they’re mad about a lot of other things, too. They’ve come a long way, baby, but a lot of them don’t like what they see over their shoulders as they look back into the future. I’m not talking about the women’s march on Washington on the day after the Donald becomes the 45th president of all of us.

This is about two prominent, privileged women in the news who have it all, but insist on pouring new whine into old battles in a dirty, rotten, but pampered world where they can warm themselves with their millions.

Meryl Streep and Madonna don’t seem to have much in common beyond their public celebrity in show biz, celebrity they’ve earned in very different ways. But instead of expressing gratitude and appreciation to their public for honoring them, and reveling in their talent to inspire those who are eager to tread their path, they lapsed into the popular “politically correct,” searching out applause for “victimhood” in strange places.

Miss Streep, who gave a speech on Hillary Clinton’s behalf at the Democratic National Convention last summer, has still not climbed past Stage One in her mourning over events of Nov. 8. Accepting a Golden Globe Award for her remarkable lifetime achievement, she was more interested in venting her anger at Donald Trump than in saying thanks for the honor bestowed on her.

For an actress with perfect pitch and an unerring sense of character and place, she slipped into the dissonant, turning to the Theater of the Absurd to describe the glitteries in the Hollywood audience as “the most vilified segments in American society right now.” Vilified? All that glitters may not be gold, but she was not exactly talking to Hillary’s “deplorables.”

She was on firmer footing and more affecting among the thespians of LaLa Land in describing how Donald Trump once belittled a reporter for his disabled mannerisms brought on by a crippling disease. It was a low blow, but bringing it up again felt out of place, too. The campaign, as Joe Biden reminded us, is over. Digging up old grievances rather than speaking to our better instincts in a wish for a better future, diminishes the last movie star.

She demonstrated what she warned against: “Disrespect invites disrespect.” Her sentiments were not what President Obama expressed in his farewell speech, urging everyone to take pride together in the orderly transfer of power. Nor was it an award-winning performance when she belittled television fans who groove on football and mixed martial arts. The culture wars splutter and rage, but the Golden Globe Awards ceremony is an odd venue for getting into that. If it’s fair to say that “when the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose,” it’s fair to say when the rich and famous use their fame to divide, bully and denigrate the entertainment tastes of others, we all lose there, too.

By contrast, Madonna’s sense of victimhood is more up close and personal in a star from another galaxy. When she accepted a trophy for “Woman of the Year” at the Billboard Women in Music Awards in New York City the other day, she complained that she was a victim of “blatant misogyny, sexism, constant bullying and relentless abuse.” This was not about the “vilification” of an entire group of professionals dedicated to glitz and glamour, but all about Madonna. She’s unhappy about growing older, and had only a little lip-service anger on behalf of other aging sisters of the stage. She offered an opening line spoken without irony: “I stand before you as a doormat — oh, I mean a female entertainer.”

With that she took the name of a goddess in vain, as social critic Camille Paglia exclaimed, “Merciful Minerva!” Surely no female entertainer has been less of a doormat than Madonna. It’s true that she’s getting older, and she’s no longer an ingenue. She is 58, and as Barack Obama’s mama said, “Reality has a way of catching up with you.” But she’s still sexy and vulgar enough to get applause for it.

She just grossed more than a $170 million on the tour she called “Rebel Heart.” Forbes magazine put her on their list of “America’s richest self-made women,” speculating that she has a net worth of more than a half-billion dollars.

Appeals to victimhood have become a mantra in a culture where some women want a shortcut to displays of their discontent. That’s too bad, because American women are among the most fortunate women in the world. When thousands of them march on Washington the day after Donald Trump becomes president, they should luxuriate in the freedom of possibility. They might find it more liberating than playing the pitiful victim.

• Suzanne Fields is a columnist for The Washington Times and is nationally syndicated.

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