The selective empathy of Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep lectured us all on the centrality of empathy to her art yet practices it on a highly selective basis, to say the least.  At last night’s Golden Globes, she defined her job as a matter of empathizing, and then communicating human feelings. An actor's only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. (snip) Once when I was standing around on the set one day whining about something, we were going to work through supper, or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, isn't it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor. Yeah, it is. And we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. Empathy – feeling what other people are feeling during dramatic moments – is part of an actor’s toolbox.  And as an acclaimed actor, Streep no doubt prides herself on her capacity for empathy. But there are plenty of...(Read Full Post)