Comedian Kathy Griffin’s gruesome, Islamic State-inspired, photoshoot with the fake severed head of President Trump is an unsettling reminder of both the depravity of the Left and the lengths to which some radical activists will go to make a political statement in our information-rich age.
The Left, American history shows, is inherently violent in both word and deed, but conservatives, despite a fondness they share with Democrats for military metaphors in politics, are rarely moved to commit actual violence. Conservatives’ natural disinclination towards political violence is why Hillary Clinton authorized Robert Creamer and Scott Foval to pay leftist agitators, the homeless, and the mentally ill, to cause melees at Trump rallies as part of the DNC’s officially authorized “conflict engagement” program. After all, the leftist lie that Trump and his supporters were deplorable thugs wouldn’t have gained traction without news reports of Trump fans getting physical with Trump haters.
Plenty of left-leaning, anti-Trump comedians have subordinated their comedy routines to their politics. Almost always they end up being not funny. People who expect comedy from their comedians don’t like being tricked into taking in political sermons.
The tedious sanctimony junkie John Fugelsang is one example of a comedian whose political rants have supplanted actual jokes. Liberal comedians bombed at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner this year (the preachy Hasan Minhaj) and last year (Larry Wilmore). Stephen Colbert and John Oliver aren’t funny when they’re trashing Trump. Bill Maher is seldom funny nowadays. Samantha Bee has never been funny. Jon Stewart, who has described himself as a socialist, used to be funny sometimes but the laughs faded as he became increasingly immersed in political commentary. His replacement on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” affirmative action hire Trevor Noah, is almost never funny, especially when blathering on about politics.
And there was nothing courageous about Griffin’s photo. She wasn’t speaking truth to power. There was no controversy or political issue addressed. She was being grotesque for the sake of being grotesque. She was pandering to her elitist left-wing friends in Hollywood who enjoy comparing the Republican Party to the Taliban.
Greg Gutfeld opined on “The Five” Wednesday that Griffin did this to try to move from the D-list up to the B-list, a reference to her reality TV show, “Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List.”
Griffin is attempting to “take the express train to political relevance,” even though “she’s about as funny as syphilis,” he said.
President Trump agrees. “Kathy Griffin should be ashamed of herself,” Trump tweeted yesterday. “My children, especially my 11 year old son, Barron, are having a hard time with this. Sick!”
The first lady also weighed in.
“As a mother, a wife, and a human being, that photo is very disturbing,” said Melania Trump in a statement. “When you consider some of the atrocities happening in the world today, a photo opportunity like this is simply wrong and makes you wonder about the mental health of the person who did it.”
Initially, Griffin tried to justify participating in the photoshoot. She tweeted that she was “merely mocking the Mocker in Chief.” She later deleted the tweet.
Then as the firestorm she created spread, Griffin posted an apology video online. In it, she said:
Hey everybody, it’s me, Kathy Griffin. I sincerely apologize. I’m just now seeing the reaction of these images. I’m a comic. I crossed the line. I move the line and then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing. I understand how it offends people. It wasn’t funny, I get it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my career. I will continue. I asked your forgiveness. Taking down the image. Going to ask the photographer to take down the image. And I beg for your forgiveness. I went too far. I made a mistake and I was wrong.
But it’s hard to take this queen of bad taste seriously when she claims what she did wasn’t a carefully calculated publicity stunt. She more or less admitted her intentions during the shoot.
TMZ filmed the photo session with high-profile photographer Tyler Shields. “Tyler and I are not afraid to do images that make noise,” Griffin says in the TMZ video.
“First, I’m an artist,” she says, while holding the bloodied Trump mask close to her own head. Griffin deadpans that she’ll have to flee the country after the shoot. “We have to move to Mexico today because we’re gonna go to prison. Federal prison. … Because we’re not surviving this, okay?”
In a sense, Griffin, a Hillary Clinton supporter this past election, has provided a valuable public service by reminding Americans of the Left’s bloodthirstiness. So, too, has the mainstream media, whose saturation coverage of the story has brought social justice warriors’ violent fantasies about doing terrible things to Republicans home to the nation’s living rooms.
Griffin has thrown down the gauntlet, outdoing Madonna who, the day after the president was sworn in, publicly pondered blowing up the Trump White House, and Obama appointee Rosa Brooks who urged a military-led coup d’état against Trump.
Griffin’s behavior may spark an arms race of sorts between left-wing celebrities eager to keep the best seats on the Trump-resistance bandwagon. The more pigheaded and rhetorically belligerent among them — for example, Michael Moore, Van Jones, radio host Mike Malloy, and Chris Hayes — may not be deterred by the prospect of massive public relations blowback.
In a testament that there are still good people in America, it needs to be noted that Griffin, amazingly enough, has already lost two high-profile gigs over the distasteful, utterly unfunny photograph that even Keith Olbermann says went way too far.
Public revulsion at Griffin’s nasty shenanigans forced CNN yesterday to terminate her contract to do a recurring co-hosting job each year on the network’s annual New Year’s Eve show with Anderson Cooper.
Griffin’s endorsement deal with Squatty Potty went down the toilet after less than a month as a result of her jaw-droppingly inappropriate photoshoot, which is ironic because her pitch in a commercial for the product may be the only funny thing the potty-mouthed entertainer has ever done.
Oddly, plenty of media commentators are suggesting Griffin’s atrocious behavior has united the Left and Right in outrage. It’s not entirely true.
There are left-leaning people going to bat for her.
Of course the radically left-wing Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), a former “Saturday Night Live” player, is defending Griffin. “Kathy is a friend and she’s a terrific comedian,” he said with a straight face on CNN.
She shouldn’t have done it but let’s move on, he said, adding Griffin was right to apologize. When asked, “Can she recover from this?” Franken replied, “I think she can.” To the follow-up question, “And you’re still going to appear with her?” at an upcoming book event, he responded “yes.”
In other words, in the end Franken is fine with Griffin’s stunt.
Other left-wingers used the opportunity to attack President Trump and conservatives.
On “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” comedian Ben Kissel defended Griffin, hiding behind the First Amendment instead of arguing the merits. Kissel smugly called conservatives snowflakes for being upset about the picture and tried to turn the tables. “This is an opportunity for the Right to stand up for the First Amendment,” he said.
Molly Ball of the Atlantic claimed that the Trump family’s outrage was contrived.
“I have a hard time bringing myself to care about something like this. I think it just speaks to the need to see themselves as a victim … The Trump people are constantly having to point to the elites who are looking down on them.”
One author of children’s books used the opportunity to attack the president, along with his 11-year-old son. A mean-spirited Ken Jennings mocked Barron Trump for seeing the image on television and believing his father was dead.
“Barron Trump saw a very long necktie on a heap of expired deli meat in a dumpster. He thought it was his dad & his little heart is breaking[,]” Jennings tweeted.
It’s sick stuff.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Secret Service is expected to question Griffin but nobody anticipates that agency taking action against her for what a constitutional lawyer might call symbolic speech.
Words and pictures that threaten or seem to threaten Republican presidents rarely get taken seriously by law enforcement. According to one observer, many threats against President George W. Bush were ignored by the authorities.
A 2006 movie about the fictional assassination of Bush, Death of a President, complete with simulated footage of the 43rd president being felled by a sniper’s bullet, barely caused a ripple among left-wingers. In fact, they adored it. It won an International Emmy Award as well as the Toronto International Film Festival’s International Critics’ Award. It addition, it won a BAFTA Award, along with awards from the Banff Television Festival, Brussels European Film Festival, and the (UK) Royal Television Society.
HBO’s “Game of Thrones” put a model of Bush’s decapitated head on a spike in one episode. And Bush was routinely threatened with bodily harm by protesters throughout his presidency.
Depictions of violence or implied violence against Trump have been popping up across the fruited plain since at least last year, at the same time as real-life violence has been visited on Trump supporters.
A student artist at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Sidewalk Arts Festival in Georgia last year used chalk to show Bernie Sanders holding the severed head of Donald Trump. At the Republican National Convention last summer punching bags featuring the likeness of Trump were on display in the media center.
No one on the Left condemned the people involved. Mainstream media outlets didn’t even deem the two instances of implied violence against Trump as newsworthy.
And if they could have found a way to avoid reporting on Kathy Griffin’s behavior, they would have ignored the story altogether.
That’s how these people roll.