Carol Craig is the Centre's Chief Executive. She is author of The Scots' Crisis of Confidence, Creating Confidence: A Handbook for Professionals Working with Young People, The Tears that Made the Clyde: Well-being in Glasgow and The Great Takeover: How materialism, the media and markets now dominate our lives. She is Commissioning editor for the Postcards from Scotland series. Carol blogs on confidence, well-being, inequality, every day life and some of the great challenges of our time. The views she expresses are her own unless she specifically states that they reflect the Centre's thinking.
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This week Emma Thompson was given an award at the National Board of Review gala in New York for her latest film Saving Mr Banks. It was handed over by Meryl Streep who also gave a ten minute tribute to the British actress. It was a witty speech which included a poem she had written called 'Ode to Emma' and an entertaining attack on Walt Disney's sexism. But the part of the speech which appealed to me most is when Meryl Streep said of Emma T. that she is -
... a beautiful artist, she’s a writer, she’s a thinker, she’s a living, acting conscience.
Emma considers, carefully, what the fuck she is putting into the culture. Emma thinks: Is this helpful? Not will it build my brand? Not will it give me billions? Not does this express me? Me! Me! My unique and fabulous self, into all eternity in every universe for all time? Will I get a sequel out of it, or a boat? Or, a perfume contract?
The newspapers covered the event and the speeches but were more interested in hairstyles and dresses. They certainly didn't include the lines above. But let's ponder for a moment how much better the world would be not just if we had more actresses like Emma Thompson but if more people, and our media, were prepared to celebrate these types of qualities.
Click here to read an account of the whole speech and interaction between Streep and Thomson: