Posts Tagged ‘donald trump’

By R.C. Seely

RECENTLY COMEDIAN KATHY GRIFFIN MADE a serious faux pas with a pictorial depiction of herself holding the severed head of Donald Trump and she unleashed a massive amount of backlash for it. Surprisingly it has not only been ardent Trump supporters to voice their disapproval but those who despise Trump as well. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton referred to the picture as “vile and wrong.” In a Twitter post she went on to say “It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”

    CNN Communications tweeted “CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.” And this is not the only job opportunity rescended to Griffin, the company that produces the Squatty Potty–a line of toilet footstools, if you were curious–has also dropped her. In part of his statement, chief executive Bobby Edwards declared, “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”

    It’s not only her career that could be in jeopardy for this stunt that Griffin admitted, she “went too far.” This has attracted the attention of the presidential body guards, the Secret Service. Tweeting that “threats against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all our investigations.” Would you mind telling where the actual “threat” is? Griffin never said she was going to commit the actual beheading of the president, the picture could be loosely interpretive to that, but even that’s a bit of a stretch. And a statement of the death of political leaders in effigy is part of this country, even before the country in fact. To rally support of independence dummies of England’s King were basically tortured and “killed.” An act like this is at least partially responsible for the founding of this nation. Apparently the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) doesn’t see it this way. VFW Commander Brian Duffy, argues that it “was not humourous nor should it be protected speech or expression.” Well, the first part I do agree but not the second. I’m not going to dispute how much of an “incredibly revolting attack on the President of the United States,” as Duffy puts it, that this picture represents. It’s his right to say that and I support and defend that right. This is what Griffin’s critics get wrong, that because “their guy” is being figuratively assaulted that amounts the same thing as an actual assault. Did you know that you can get 10 years in prison for threatening the President? For threatening him! A bit excessive for a statement I’d say. I get it, the death–especially a successful assassination–of the President would send the nation into turmoil but this still seems extreme. And no matter what, if an assassin is truly dedicated to “getting rid of the tyrant,” they will find a way. Many in the past have sent letters to their intended victims before hand, but generally it’s been multiple volumes, not a single ill-advised letter or picture.

    Much of the criticism was aimed at how grotesque and not humourous the image. This Griffin admitted in her apology on Instagram, “I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing…. It wasn’t funny. I get it.” Thing is, it was never really supposed to be funny. It was a satrical piece that was intentionally provocative. That’s​ why she collaborated with photographer Sheilds who has made his mark in the world of art through similar pieces. His comments confirm this, “she [Griffin] said, ‘I’d love to do something political. I’d love to make a statement.” Congratulations, Kathy Griffin you did just that.

    With freedom of speech comes the acceptance that, at times there are consequences. Some are valid like losing a job, others not so much, like losing your freedom because of a strictly hypothetical “threat.” Griffin and possibly her co-conspirator, Sheilds may have to suffer both. The first is simply part of the free market at work, second is part of the authoritarian state flexing it’s muscle. No one who truly believes in the First Amendment should be applauding the possibility of Griffin facing incarceration. It’s Sheilds that puts it the best, “I love the idea we have freedom of speech. The fact that I’m allowed to make an image like this says a lot. To me, that’s a powerful thing … nobody’s killed me for this image.” And hopefully it never comes to that.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. His most recent book, Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.