Political Porn

I won’t link to the mock up photo of Kathy Griffin holding a bloodied, disembodied head of Donald Trump. It is too disturbing, too brutal, too bizarre a glorification of unfettered violence. The look on her face, in her eyes, is one of utter seriousness, as if she had just accomplished a well thought-out act intended to instill terror in her enemies. She holds it up like a terrorist.

Perhaps it was a stunt intended to re-ignite a flailing career that was rather lackluster even in its prime. Griffin made her mark some years ago satirizing herself as a “D-list” celebrity, and perhaps satire was coming too close to reality for her. Whatever it was, it was a mistake, and it appears Griffin has too few friends with the courage or insight to tell her when she’s being an idiot.

Presidents, of course, are regular targets of protest. Jackson was portrayed as a would-be king, Lincoln as a devil, FDR as a demagogue, and Reagan as a buffoon. For heaven’s sake, somebody made a feature-length movie fantasizing George W. Bush’s assassination. But, if this is protest, then it lowers the bar considerably and changes the stakes. It is, as Charles Krauthammer described it, “political porn.” It crosses the line from protest to threat. No, I don’t think Griffin is a serious threat to Trump’s life. But, the image makes clear that, in her mind, we would be better off if Trump were dead, and our political psyches would be served well if that death were torturous. Griffin is no threat herself. But, her image gives aid and comfort to any who might be.

It will be interesting to see how the media and the entertainment industry reacts. It goes without saying that, were Griffin holding up the head of Obama, her career would be over. That she would go through with such an attack on Trump makes clear that she feels no threat of that happening. The media and entertainment industry, two institutions that likely led her to think such an image would be tolerated, if not lauded, should prove her wrong. Whatever sense of decency is left in Hollywood should make it clear to Griffin and others that the line she crossed cannot be crossed if they hope to work again. She is almost certainly wealthy enough to retire. Whatever friends and co-horts she has in the industry should encourage her to do so.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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