On Tuesday, “comedian” Kathy Griffin released a picture of herself holding a fake bloody, severed head that resembled Donald Trump. Of course, the internet exploded in a fiery ball of outrage and foot-stomping, as it is wont to do.
Of course, the internet is going to lose its collective hive-mind at something this grotesque. Griffin’s photo displayed a scene that members of ISIS — and likely some college leftists — regularly fantasize about. It’s gory, and it’s in bad taste, but worst of all is the fact that it’s a display so laced with desperation for attention that it ultimately makes the photo a cringeworthy mess.
Even Griffin’s apology video, where she called herself a “comic” that went too far, probably made the situation worse, as it had some viewers trying to find the comedic point she was trying to make. She certainly didn’t clarify what she was trying to do, and it lent only further merit to the idea that this was an attempt to barrel her way back into the focus of a spotlight she seems unable to hold.
Do you remember Kathy Griffin is a thing when she’s not pulling stunts like this? I sure don’t. She’s like the Silence from “Doctor Who,” or a walking mind wipe device from “Men in Black.”
That said, I personally couldn’t care less about nasty displays of “expression” regarding current events, leaders, movements, or whatever the cause célèbre is that day. As a guy who watches Comedy Central’s “South Park” like it’s a religious requirement, I can actually appreciate points made with dark humor. Fans of comedians George Carlin and Louis C.K. or comedy troupes like Monty Python would agree.
Fake-severed-head displays by washed-up comedians don’t move my outrage needle one tick. Fake-severed-head displays in art galleries by university professors in Alaska seem shrug-worthy to me as well.
What gets my goat is that the left considers these boorish displays of violence and gore perfectly acceptable — maybe even laudable — if the left is doing it. However, displays of expression from the right, no matter how tame, require endless amounts of tantrum throwing and calls for sensitivity training.
For instance, when rapper Snoop Dogg recently pretended to shoot a fake be-clowned Donald Trump in the head during one of his music videos, nary a hint of outrage was heard from the left. Madonna told a crowd of cheering feminists that she fantasized about blowing up the White House, and Charlie Sheen asked God to take Trump next after the death of actress Debbie Reynolds.
While these events were reported on, there was no real rumbling from the mainstream media. There was no in depth analysis about the state of our political discourse from talking heads or pundits. Most of the coverage was entirely about the responses to said events.
However, during the 2013 Missouri State Fair, a rodeo clown wearing a mask depicting then President Barack Obama received major attention from both the media and politicians. CNN interviewed a family who called the display “racist” and compared it to a Klan rally. Then-Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder condemned the display in a tweet, stating, “We’re better than this.” The Missouri Fair banned the clown for life and required both cowboys and clowns to undergo sensitivity training before they could take part in the fair’s rodeo.
A July 4, 2014, float in Norfolk, Nebraska, depicting a “zombie like” man standing in front of an outhouse with “Obama Presidential Library” written on the side apparently warranted an investigation from the Department of Justice. The float was predictably labeled as racist by the Democratic Party of Nebraska.
Neither of these examples actually depicted violence upon Obama, yet you would think that was the case with DOJ investigations and calls for banishment from the community. The freedom of expression seems to extend into the farthest, darkest reaches of the left, but isn’t even permitted as far as the front porch on the right.
This can be seen very clearly on leftist campuses, such as Lincoln University, where — in an ironic turn of events — a conservative student group was silenced for criticizing the university for silencing free speech. Yale awarded students on May 26 with prizes for verbally demolishing a professor who defended free speech. You can also find vivid examples from the college leftists who disrupt proceedings or even riot over the idea that someone with ideas that stand opposite of theirs may utter wrong-think.
Griffin, like Snoop Dogg, Sheen, or the Alaskan professor will likely not have to worry about their careers sinking any lower than they have for their violent depictions of Trump. There will likely be no investigations by the DOJ, and none of them will be required to undergo sensitivity training for their actions as there will be few serious calls for it.
One small mercy for us is that CNN has announced that Griffin will no longer appear on CNN’s coverage of New Years Eve alongside Anderson Cooper. Whether she is wholly banned from CNN was not made clear.
The internet will frenzy, Trump will tweet something, and the left will walk away from it in the hopes that it will be forgotten just like George W. Bush’s severed head on a pike on HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — an incident you possibly never heard about.
If leftists want to depict violence against politicians they don’t like, that’s their prerogative. But if the left wants to engage with this kind of “art,” then the pearl clutching when it’s done to their leaders and heroes, the calls for sensitivity training, banishment, and official investigations from federal departments at the top should be cut off at the neck.