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At the Golden Globes, Hollywood Does What Washington Won’t

The story of the past year, beginning with an inaugural speech of darker bile and greater bunk than any in my lifetime, has been the abdication and outsourcing of the moral authority that the presidency of the United States once had.

On Sunday night, Hollywood, of all places, picked up the slack.

I watched the Golden Globes and, yes, I noticed the false, sometimes cringe-worthy notes of hypocrisy and unwarranted self-congratulation. Movies and the rest of the entertainment industry have done more to promote degrading, confining stereotypes of women than to shatter them. And the social activism of many stars dovetails conveniently with the enhancement (or rehabilitation) of their personal brands. It’s virtue signaling in Valentino.

But in this anxious moment of absent leadership, I also noticed that the actors, writers, directors and others who walked the red carpet and took the stage were having the kinds of conversations, and articulating the sorts of values, that the embattled and embittered people holding the reins of government are currently unwilling or unable to.

They talked about diversity, decency and, yes, women: how frequently they’ve been unheard, how cruelly they’ve been mistreated and marginalized. And while these homilies weren’t exactly new, they had never had such timeliness and urgency and had never been such a resounding answer to silence.

Sterling K. Brown, who won best performance by an actor in a television series, drama, for “This Is Us,” thanked its creator, Dan Fogelman, for a character who wasn’t colorless. “You wrote a role for a black man that could only be played by a black man,” Brown said. “I’m being seen for who I am and being appreciated for who I am. And it makes it that much more difficult to dismiss me or dismiss anybody who looks like me.”