I cringe thinking about all of the hate mail I am going to get for this article. However, before you line your fingers up at the keyboard and send enough invectives my way to make me want to quit the Internet forever, please remember: I agree with much of the criticism about Meryl Streep’s MMA statement. I think it is nothing short of ridiculous to believe we will have nothing but football and MMA to watch if all of Hollywood’s foreigners are kicked out of the country, and I thought her tone towards MMA was disparaging.
You can read all about my issues with Miss Streep’s statement here.
With that said, the Devil Wears Prada star was right about one thing: MMA is not part of “the arts.”
Again, before you get ready to yell at your computer screens, I am not saying MMA is not an art. Of course it is. What do you think the “A” stands for?
What I am saying is that MMA is not part of ‘the arts’, which, according to Wikipedia is:
…an outlet of expression that is usually influenced by culture and which in turn helps to change culture. As such, the arts are a physical manifestation of the internal creative impulse. Major constituents of the arts include literature – including poetry, novels and short stories, and epics; performing arts – among them music, dance, and theatre; culinary arts such as baking, chocolatiering, and winemaking; media arts like photography and cinematography, and visual arts – including drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpting. Some art forms combine a visual element with performance (e.g. film) and the written word (e.g. comics).
And from what I saw, that is all Meryl Streep meant.
This does not mean mixed martial arts is any less valuable than theater, dance, or film (though Streep seemed to imply that with her tone); it simply means it doesn’t belong in the same category those arts fall into.
Let me put it this way: painting is not part of the culinary arts, but no one is going to say the work of Leonardo da Vinci is less valuable than Gordon Ramsay’s food.
I also don’t want to discourage any MMA fans, fighters, or promoters from calling Streep out. As I said earlier, the absurdity of her claim about foreigners and the disparaging tone she seemed to speak about MMA with are all the justification we need to hurl criticism (focused on her comments, not her, of course) her way.
However, there are good reasons to criticize Meryl Streep, and there are bad ones.
Criticizing her for her comment about MMA and the arts falls into the second category.