Off with Kathy Griffin's head?

Off with Kathy Griffins head?

By Maan Jalal
 maan@khaleejtimes.com

Published: Sun 4 Jun 2017, 5:02 PM

Last updated: Sat 10 Jun 2017, 1:26 PM

Kathy Griffin's joke has bombed. Miserably. After posting a photo of herself holding the decapitated, bloody head of Trump taken by edgy and controversial photographer Tyler Shields, Kathy Griffin has been fired from her New Years eve gig with Anderson Cooper at CNN, has had all of her live performances for the year canceled, is being investigated by the secret service, and has been abused online, some which includes detailed death threats.
This could possibly be the worst joke in history. This whole thing has in fact become a joke. Not a ha, ha, joke, but a sad, ironic, deflating joke that is shedding light on the reality of what's happening in the world of comedy and entertainment. And no one is particularly entertained. The story has really shown the many ugly facets of fame in my opinion.
The image that was taken was supposed to be a parody, a conceptual piece of art (not a literal one), which uses Trumps own remarks and visualized on an extreme level. Kathy and Tyler Shield, knew and wanted the image to be controversial and understood that often images such as this not only spark debate but can be open to different interpretations.
The fact that Kathy, who is a seasoned comedian and business woman, would choose to be part of a project of this nature, then claim that she wasn't able to see how it could be misinterpreted seems suspect. What the image and reaction has done, is empower the people that Kathy takes issue with. Trump and Trump supporters. It felt like a desperate attempt by the self proclaimed D list celebrity to be relevant and interesting
As soon as Kathy was made aware that the image was being read wildly as an act of violence against Trump, the image was removed. Kathy asked Tyler Shield to also remove the image. Then she filmed an apology to everyone. By the way, apologizing for a joke is not usually part of a comedian's DNA. Sure it was a joke but there was no logic in it. Maybe it was art but given Kathy's audience, obviously, art of this nature simple didn't work.
After loosing out on work, apologizing and pretty appalling abuse online this whole thing should have disappeared. It hasn't. This, to me is equally as illogical as the joke itself.
Kathy has suffered abuse not only by the public, but by the Trump family themselves. This has forced Kathy to hold a press conference in order to explain herself. Many people have been calling Kathy's "performance" during the press conference a desperate attempt for attention. I mean, some parts of her answers felt like a plug for her whole act but that could have been the nerves talking. Either way, it doesn't matter whether Kathy was genuine or not. She apologized and has done all she can to make up for the mistake, including loosing out on work. What else does the public need?
In the context of America, we here in the rest of the world, have been sold the same narrative over and over again. The foundation of that narrative has always been the first amendment. Freedom of speech, from what we understand, is included within the realms of art, entertainment and politics. But no matter how much freedom you live in, how controversial you want to be or how funny you think you are, where does one draw the line? And what does one do when they have gone beyond that line?
If anything this really has revealed how fickle Hollywood is. Not that we needed anymore proof. Kathy isn't the first person ever to make a joke, or create images of violence that involve the president. None of them have apologized, none of them have been abused. And although public opinion has adamantly decided that it was wrong, it seems that her apology isn't enough. Even the photographer Tyler Shields, who was part of the team that helped create this image hasn't been blamed or scrutinized publically.
The worst part about this I think is despite the rallying of so many comedians about the importance of making jokes and of supporting one another, especially female comics, none of Kathy's peers, colleagues,
famous and influential friends have come to her defense. Yes, the image is a mistake, yes the image is indefensible however, none of them have been vocal about the mistake that many comedians have done at least once in their career - make a bad joke. None of them have raised their hands and said, 'Kathy was wrong, she made a mistake, but this isn't Kathy.' Only Alec Baldwin, Kelsey Grammar, Jim Carey and Wendy Williams (a random bunch if you ask me) who I'm not sure have a long-standing friendship or working relationship with Kathy have come to her defense or said that she will get over this. Most shocking I think has been Anderson Cooper's response.
"For the record, I am appalled by the photo shoot Kathy Griffin took part in. It is clearly disgusting and completely inappropriate," Cooper tweeted. When asked about his comment and whether she's spoken to him Kathy tearfully refused to answer. It's pretty pathetic if you ask me.
I don't know why I need to remind everyone that despite Trumps entertainment roots, he and Kathy are not standing on equal ground. He is the president of the United States. This shouldn't be a celebrity feud. This shouldn't be a real housewives reunion. It's absurd and ridiculous that the trump administration are focusing so much of their effort and time to destroying someone who made a bad joke and apologized for it.




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