Comedian Kathy Griffin is back in the news. A few days ago she posed with a mock severed head of Donald Trump covered with fake blood.

From Griffin, this isn’t terribly surprising; on a New Year’s Eve several years ago I channel surfed to CNN’s live Times Square broadcast just in time to see Griffin direct a hoary stand-up putdown to a heckler (this is paraphrased, but close): “Hey! I’m trying to work! I wouldn’t come to your workplace and knock the cocks out of your mouth!”

Once the photo hit the ‘net, the denunciations thundered down from all sides: from CNN (which axed her from their New Years’ Eve broadcast), to 37-year-old spoiled brat Chelsea Clinton, to Trump himself. The reasons for the outrage were what you’d expect: the photo was vulgar, tasteless, “over the line,” disrespectful of the presidency, and disrespectful of Trump as a human being.

My reaction was a bit different: This seems like a stupid thing to post; it seems like she’s doing Trump and his minions a favor. What’s the point? Is there one?

Then I wondered about the context. What was it? Well, it turns out that Griffin was doing a photo shoot, and posed with the mock severed head as a comment on Trump’s disgusting, misogynistic remarks about Fox News host Megyn Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”

But that’s still not a good enough reason to pose for that photo, even if Griffin had made the context obvious. That, at best, would have made the photo an expression of anger and contempt.

Why isn’t that sufficient justification for shooting and posting it? If Griffin was just an Internet troll, fine, whatever. But Griffin is a well known comedian, and if a comedian is going to use a shocking image it should at least be funny, and ideally be both funny and thought provoking.

Many of the best comedians — in days past, Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Sam Kinison, and currently Dave Chappelle, Louis CK, Bill Maher, Jim Jeffries, and Doug Stanhope — routinely “cross the line,” routinely use vulgar, deliberately offensive language and imagery; others, notably Steven Colbert and Jon Stewart, use shocking language and imagery occasionally.

(If you want your comedy to lull you to sleep, comedy that stirs up no disturbing thoughts whatsoever, you’ll always have your Jerry Seinfelds, Jay Lenos, and Bill Cosbys, comics with either nothing to say or who drastically pull their punches.)

What sets the work of Carlin, Hicks, Jeffries, et al. apart from the Griffin photo? Their use of shock and vulgarity is oftentimes funny and almost always thought provoking.

The Griffin-Trump photo is neither.

It isn’t funny, it doesn’t make a point, and it allowed the Whiner in Chief to whine — and this time with some justification. Kathy Griffin did Donald Trump a favor.

In the end, the only funny line (that I’ve seen) about the matter was delivered by an anonymous TMZ headline writer: “Kathy Griffin Beheads President Trump: I Support Gore.”

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Comments
  1. Sara says:

    Great post, Chaz! Editing and Writing ServicesTucson, Arizona

    From: Sharp and Pointed To: sce2255@yahoo.com Sent: Wednesday, May 31, 2017 1:45 PM Subject: [New post] The Kathy Griffin – Donald Trump Severed Head Affair #yiv2235114850 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv2235114850 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv2235114850 a.yiv2235114850primaryactionlink:link, #yiv2235114850 a.yiv2235114850primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv2235114850 a.yiv2235114850primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv2235114850 a.yiv2235114850primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv2235114850 WordPress.com | seesharppress posted: “Comedian Kathy Griffin is back in the news. She recently posed with a mock severed head of Donald Trump covered with fake blood.From Griffin, this isn’t terribly surprising; on a New Year’s Eve several years ago I channel surfed to CNN’s live Times Sq” | |

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  2. i realize you are coming from an atheist P.O.V. after reading your about page…
    but Kathy Griffin shouldn’t have apologized. What she should have known is her own use of symbolism.
    One only need Refer to Maa Kali (the misunderstood Goddess…) :

    The following explanation of Maa Kali and her symbolic meanings were found here: http://www.goddess.ws/mother-kali

    The pictorial representation of Mother Kali is, at first glance, strange and bizarre to the eyes and minds of westerners. Kali is the personification of that aspect of the Divine Mother that compassionately destroys the ego. To begin with, the concept of destroying the ego is not prevalent in western culture. In fact, most everything in our culture adores the ego. The concept of being innocent, helpless and childlike, depending on God alone and not our own clever cunning is all but lost. Jesus tells us that we must become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).

    Kali comes from the root Sanskrit word “kala” which means time. Tibetan Buddhism embraces a similar figure as Maha Kala though he is male in gender. In an academic sense Mother Kali is the primordial energy which animates space and is perceived by us as the linear sequence of events which we call time. Her skin is midnight blue, almost black, which represents the womb of existence. This is the quantum world of unformed potentials and probabilities, from which all phenomena continually arise and into which they continually disappear.

    Her hair is long, black, disheveled and flowing freely depicting Her freedom from convention and the confines of conceptualization. Her eyes are open wide, eternally awake, blazing with the fire of infinite suns as an expression of Her indomitable intensity. She is standing, dancing, on the pure white chest of Lord Shiva who, as pure primal awareness, lays in a passive reclining position, peacefully reposed with his eyes half open in a state of bliss.

    Kali is the dance of time as the endless creation and dissolution of the universe supported by Shiva who is absolutely pure formless awareness. He is the eternal witness of his consort’s divine theater. It is through Her that self-realization occurs as She is the perfect mirror, the infinite reflection of his formless nature.

    Her two right arms are raised benevolently with palms extended granting gifts of insight and wisdom to Her children. Her upper left arm holds the sword of enlightenment which delivers the blow of non-dual reality to the ego releasing the soul forever from the tyranny of deluded self-intoxication. In Her lower left hand, She holds the severed head of the ego. Identification with the body is what gives rise to the illusion of the “I” or ego. Thus, the seemingly gruesome presentation of a severed head depicts the most direct act of sublime compassion, which is bestowed by the Mother to Her devotees.

    Mother Kali proudly wears a garland of skulls, which are reminiscent of Her many children whom She has liberated from the grip of the I-am-the-body delusion and the hypnotic tyranny of birth and death. These remnants of enlightenment are trophies of the fulfillment of human evolution which She prominently displays around Her neck in the same way that earthly mothers set their own grown children’s bronzed baby shoes on the fireplace mantle.

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