In Defense Of Kathy Griffin

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I will make this brief.

After everything that Kathy Griffin has done for us, we better not turn our back on her now. I haven’t said much about it because mostly I was so pissed off at the response of right-wing commentators. And then of course all the people dragging out such old chestnuts as “ugh that ugly cunt isn’t funny fuck her,” or some other such brilliant and scathing insight. You can bet your ass that if the shoe had been on the other foot, and Alex Jones were holding up a decapitated Hillary Clinton head, right wing commentators wouldn’t be tripping over their dicks to call him out on it.

What pisses me off most is seeing Kathy’s friends turn on her. Anderson Cooper saying he thought the photos were disturbing and awful, when he’s actually a friend of hers. Is he trying to put a nail in the coffin and destroy her? Or is he just saying that because he doesn’t want to risk his position at CNN?

Look, I get it. Holding up a severed head in a time where ISIS exists, it’s a bold statement. It’s disturbing. It’s maybe even a little tasteless. But art is SUPPOSED to be bold and disturbing. The message of Kathy holding up a severed Trump head is not “Hey guys, let’s go out and decapitate politicians,” it’s “We will overcome this, we will defeat this demagogue and we will resist.”

But you know what I admire even more than Kathy having the balls to make a bold statement? The fact that she apologized. Kathy has an infamous no apology policy. She stands by what she says. But after seeing the way it affected everyone, she owned it, and she apologized. And honestly, the worst I can say about the photo is that it’s in bad taste. But it’s certainly not “vile and offensive.” What’s vile and offensive is that we elected a man who openly brags about sexual assault.

What if we just called the Kathy Griffin photos “locker room talk”? Would that make it acceptable.

Trump is trying to make himself a demagogue and we need people to send out a message that we aren’t gonna take that shit. And we need it from all angles. We need the protests in the streets, and we need celebrities holding up bloody heads if that’s what they want to do.

The only thing that I’ve found truly unsettling was watching Kathy try and hold it together for her apology video. She seems like she’s been crying, and she sounds terrified. Like she’s afraid her whole career could be over. And it might. And that horrifies me.

Kathy is a fucking inspiration and the hardest working woman in show business. She made art. Art sometimes includes bold statements like holding up a fake bloody head. And unlike the racists who burned/hanged effigies of Barack Obama during his presidency (strangely no right wing media seemed to condemn THAT when it was happening), she isn’t targeting Trump because of his race or his gender or anything like that. He’s being judged based on the content of his shitty character. Need I remind you that there are actual photos of the Trump kids posing with dead animals they trophy hunted? How about the photo of Eric (I think it’s Eric, I can’t tell these assholes apart) holding up an elephants tail in one hand and a knife in the other? Here, have a look.

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Now tell me, is that more or less disturbing than Kathy holding up a bloody Trump mask? Because that’s a guy who actually killed a living creature for sport and posed with a piece of it’s body.

I know, I’m criticizing one of the Trump spawn, not the orange wonder himself. So let me get back to that.

The pussy grabber in chief wants to get the heat off his ass for his recent worldwide trip in which he alienated a staggering number of US allies, continued to deny the existence of climate change, and turned America into the laughing stock of the entire world. Now he’s pulling us out of the Paris climate agreement, which I remind you even genuine evil dictators like Kim Jong Un still participate in. That’s right, Kim Jong Un is more environmentally responsible than Donald Trump.

So, Donald Trump blasted back by dragging his eleven year old son Baron into it, saying that his son was disturbed by it. REALLY? You’re only just NOW worrying about the welfare of your son and what your narcissistic trainwreck of a presidency is doing to him? I’m not buying it, buddy. Trump is using Kathy as a scapegoat to try and get bad press off of him, and when that didn’t work he invented a new internet meme, because the Trump version of doing something good is creating a scandal that DOESN’T involve directly harming other people.

So hey, hand me a bloody Trump mask. I’ll hold it up for you, Kathy. I’m not above rash and over-the-top demonstrations. Kathy said it best: she’s a comedian, she crosses the line, she moves the line and crosses it again. It doesn’t always land. She owned up to it, and she apologized, not because she thinks that her willingness to speak out is wrong, but because she saw that it was genuinely disturbing to people and it crossed a line for a lot of people. She apologized because she’s watching her career crumble around her and that isn’t fair, not after everything she’s done.

Donald Trump is causing real harm to real people, and making a statement is both allowed and acceptable. Last I checked, despite Donald Trump’s best efforts we still have freedom of speech, and that includes bloody performance art. And don’t give me this crap about how “unsettling and vile” that picture is. We live in a culture that goes to the movies to see torture porn for fun, but suddenly you want to act shocked and clutch your pearls because a comedian makes a statement with a mask covered in fake blood? Like I said, if anything the photo was in bad taste, but it isn’t vile, it isn’t disgusting. It’s an artist making art.

Kathy Griffin does not deserve this, after everything she’s done for Americans, for the gay community, for women in comedy, for comedy in general, and especially for veterans and soldiers. Kathy Griffin has devoted significant amounts of her time, money and energy to soldiers, she’s included soldiers in her stand up tours, in her television shows, in her comedy specials, and done countless benefits for them. She’s been an outspoken activist for gay people, she’s gone canvasing door to door for the LGBT community, she’s organized marches against homophobic policies, and she’s never stopped opening up her damn mouth to defend people who need defending every chance she gets. Even though she crosses the line, she’s doing it for a reason, she’s making an important statement, and even her apology was sincere and heartfelt.

Kathy Griffin has more courage in the little finger gripping that bloody Trump mask than Donald Trump will ever know or understand. Trump is a disgrace to America and to the world, and while he was tweeting on his golden toilet in a building with his name plastered on it, creating racist birther conspiracies, Kathy Griffin was on several USO tours, staying in a hotel that was almost bombed, and flying into a warzone in Kandahar, Afghanistan to entertain US troops, because she’s a fucking American.

What we need now is the courage to stand up to demagogues, to challenge them, to not give them an inch, and yes, to even hold up a severed head every now and then if that’s what it takes to get the message across that tyranny doesn’t have a place here. I stand with Kathy, I support her, I love her, and I’m not turning my back on her because she did what she does, and what she will continue to do, which is to cross the line, move it, and cross it again. That’s what artists are here for.

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On Political Parties and Fillibustering

ugh

This is all so fucking CHILDISH. “No, we don’t like your guy, we’re gonna run out the clock until you can’t do anything!” “Well, now WE’RE gonna run out the clock on YOUR guy! Na na na, I’ll read Green Eggs and Ham for twelve hours and get paid tax dollars to do it!”

GROW UP, America. This is how a group of toddlers govern, not full grown fucking adults with degrees from Harvard. You don’t like someone’s pick? DISCUSS IT. COME TO CONSENSUS. COMPROMISE. That is called DEMOCRACY, that is called DOING YOUR JOB. Waving your finger and saying “No, your team’s bad and my team’s good,” “My team is the right one and your team is wrong!” that’s how a ten year old operates, and when they do that, their parents tell them to learn to respect other people and play nice like big kids.

It should be obvious by this point that this infantile team allegiance to the Republican and Democratic parties is getting us NOWHERE. The system has failed us in a big way and either we need to get real adults who can do their jobs into the offices of these grown up man-children who blame everything on the opposing side (lookin’ at you, Mitch McConnell), or we need to change the system so that the grown ups can get to work on keeping the rest of us safe.

He's just upset because he's not turtly enough for the turtle clup

Not turtly enough for the turtle club

 

Day Three in Trump’s America: The Harassment Begins

Harassment
Guys, I’m a little shaken up right now. Earlier I posted a link to an article about how a woman went for a hike to try and deal with the grief she was feeling over Hillary Clinton’s loss in the election, and she actually ran into Hillary and Bill hiking there as well. I reposted the article and commented on how strong Hillary is. I said that when I got the news, I stayed in bed for three days, in mourning. When she found out she lost, three days later she’s hiking with her husband. I was so inspired by how strong she is.
My post was set to public, and something very unsettling happened. I got a message from a complete stranger who I guess has nothing better to do than to go through the list of people who have shared the article and make comments, because he sent me a message with a voice memo instead of actually typing. It sounded like he was driving. Which means that not only did he feel what you’re about to read was necessary, but he felt it so necessary that he had to dictate it by voice to a stranger while driving.
Here’s what he said.
“You stayed in your room for three days after the election? You are such a pussy. Get off your ass and fucking do something for the country, instead of staying in your bedroom and fucking pouting over Hillary not winning.”
I was so shocked that I wasn’t really sure what to do. But… his tone wasn’t angry. It seemed to be disappointed. Like a friend who was trying to motivate me. The things he said were cruel, but he did SEEM to have good intentions. So I responded.
My response. Note that I checked out his profile in the meantime and saw that he was a straight, married white man.
“I stayed in bed because I have debilitating anxiety, and I’m a gay non-Christian living in the south. Its not exactly easy to get out there and do something when you’re hated for who you are. As a straight, white man [I had checked out his profile at this point and saw that he was indeed a married, straight white guy], I get that you don’t understand what its like to be discriminated against. You feel so privileged that you thought it was appropriate to send a voice message to a stranger on Facebook putting them down for something you don’t understand. But I’m not going to let bullying, by you or by Trump, dictate how I should feel or act.”
He responded with another voice memo.
“Listen, gays are accepted everywhere, being homosexual is normal in this world. Bisexual is normal in this world. Whatever feels good is acceptable in this world. Don’t use you being gay and the world is against you to stop you from doing what you have to do in life. Look on TV, there’s gay people EVERYWHERE. Gay is accepted, I don’t know why you say that you’re having such a hard time being gay. That’s an excuse, get off your soap box. Trump’s the best thing that’s gonna happen to this country, trust me on that one.”
At this point I was kind of shaking, but I responded again.
“I know you THINK gay people are accepted everywhere, but you’re wrong. You live in CALIFORNIA. I live in South Carolina. You’re a straight white guy. Please don’t attempt to tell me that you know better than I do what it’s like to be a discriminated minority.”
His response was in a dismissive but not altogether angry tone.
“Well then move to California. As a matter of fact, move to San Francisco, PERFECT for ya.”
I have to stop here to comment on the privilege it must take to be driving in your car, and decide to harass a gay kid on the other side of the country via voice memos, and then have the audacity to tell him “Well just MOVE to California, then!” As though that’s something everyone can do. It would be wrong of me to assume he’s a rich suburbanite, but I can’t imagine who grew up as poor as I did has any idea how impossible moving, especially across the country, really is.
I sent him one final message.
“I don’t know what you think you’re accomplishing by this, but I just want you to take a look at yourself, and realize that you just sent a stranger on Facebook a barrage of voice messages chiding him for not handling being discriminated against in the way you would prefer. I get the weird feeling you’re trying to be helpful, but you aren’t. You are being condescending and refusing to see past your own privilege. You, a straight man in California, are lecturing me, a gay man in the south, on why it’s incorrect that I think I’m discriminated against.”
I didn’t wait for him to respond, I blocked him.
I guess… this is what it’s come to. Now that Donald Trump has won, people feel that they now just have the right to harass anyone they choose. What’s most puzzling to me is the tone of his voice in these messages. He wasn’t screaming, he didn’t even sound angry. He sounded annoyed. And when he started dictating what I should do, he had this tone of voice like “of COURSE this is what you should do, why didn’t you THINK of this?”. It was condescending, and it was scary. When I came to sit down and write this I realized I was shaking all over.
This is not an isolated incident. Far, far worse is happening all around the country, from graffiti threatening gay people, Muslims and black people, to the KKK displaying solidarity with Donald Trump, all around the country, the bigots think that now their candidate has won, they have the right to come out of the bigoted closet and speak their hatred and vitriol loudly and without consequence.
Part of me wants to raise my fist in the air and say we refuse to take it. Part of me wants to say that in achieving this victory, the bigots have identified themselves and can now be defeated. That they’ve become complacent now, that they think our struggle towards equality is over, clinched in their favor, and that their complacency is the opportunity we have to boot their hatred out of our society forever.
But another part of me just wants to curl up in the corner and fear for everyone. For myself. For Muslims. For women. For black people. For hispanic people. For transgender people. If this is what happened to me, what must be happening to other people around the country right now, trying to express themselves and have their voices heard?
I honestly don’t know what I think will happen. Part of me thinks this is well and truly the end of America, that this will be what causes a mass eruption of violence, protests, and bloody civil unrest to rival the likes of Egypt. Another part of me thinks that this is all bluster and showmanship, that bigots only think they’ve won and will soon discover they’ve gained much less ground than they thought, and by identifying themselves they make it easier to suss out the hate-mongers among us and put a stop to their campaigns of oppression.
But I don’t know.
I truly don’t know.

UPDATE: To my dismay, I discovered that because my post was public, a lot of strangers started commenting on it. I’ve since deleted it, but here are a selection of some of the comments. This is what’s happened. People feel entitled to say things like this. This is the culture of bullying that Trump has legitimized.

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