Skip to main content


You Said This Was What You Wanted

I have never cared for Kathy Griffin’s comedy. I never thought she was funny. I never thought she was a very good actress. And I wasn’t surprised when she posted photos depicting a simulated beheading of the current president. Frankly it seems in line with her brand of humor. I was shocked to hear all the outrage coming from people who have spent the past eight years bemoaning the idea of political correctness. These people have complained about how no one can take a joke anymore. Well Kathy Griffin is a comedian. She made a joke. It wasn’t funny. It was politically incorrect and offensive, but that’s exactly what a lot of people claim to want.
Those people should embrace Griffin in the same way they’ve embraced Ted Nugent, the aging and talentless rocker who called for Obama’s death on more than one occasion. Or embrace her the same way they embraced the current president, who spent years arguing that our first black president wasn’t a real American. It is particularly ironic that our current president took time to let us know his feelings were hurt and that his youngest child was upset. Does he imagine that his years-long invective against Obama wasn’t harmful to Sasha and Malia? Do only his children matter?
The same people who are condemning Griffin recently cheered on and elected to Congress a Montana man who physically assaulted a reporter at a campaign rally. These are the same people who do not speak up and condemn the actions and speech of the murderer on the train in Portland. They don’t speak up when someone leaves a noose in the African American exhibit at the Smithsonian. They don’t speak up when someone spray paints racist graffiti on LeBron James’s house or vandalizes yet another Jewish cemetery. And they damn sure didn’t speak up when protesters were burning Obama in effigy after the 2008 election.
The hypocrisy is ripe. Anyone who has banged the drum against political correctness over the past eight years should applaud Kathy Griffin. The only difference between Kathy Griffin and Ted Nugent is that Griffin apologized and lost some income. Nugent got an invitation to the White House. Political correctness is dead. If this is what you’ve been fighting for, congratulations, you’ve won.
The rest of us have definitely lost.

By: Tiffany Quay Tyson

NOTE: I know that many of you disagree with me about Kathy Griffin - Bill Maher, too, whom I also support - but this young woman's letter is spot on.  Unlike her though, I have always loved Griffin's knife sharp and "politically incorrect" brand of humor.  I even went to her concert here in Washington last year.  She was fabulous.  She remarked that she loved D.C. audiences because we "get her."  And indeed we do.  The audience went wild when she poked fun at Donald Trump and Paul Ryan.  It might be that because we live in the Nation's Capitol, home to the Congress of the United States of America, and where hypocrisy is not only daily fodder but - for Republicans - has become their primary stock in trade.  Griffin's filthy language, - just like that of Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Richard Pryor (all of whom I love) - her refusal to "clean things up" or "be polite" in her ridicule of public figures is refreshing.  She pulls no punches.   She is fearless.  Or was.  We'll see what happens after this incident. 
As I've noted in a previous post, there was no national outpouring of outrage and approbation when Obama was depicted as hanging from a noose (from a tree, just to drive home the point) or depicted as being tarred and feathered or depicted as being burned to a crisp while hanging by the neck from a tree.  When his wife and kids were ruthlessly mocked, smeared and denigrated.  They happen to be the most charming, out of sight children of a President since Amy Carter occupied the White House. But the Obama family attacks went on for EIGHT YEARS!  For me, I can only come to one reason for why there wasn't a Kathy/Bill national outpouring of comparable rage:  The Obamas Are Black.   And, as Black Lives Matter will tell you, Black lives don't matter quite as much as White lives matter in our society.

But the real issue with the liberal/progressive massive Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher outrage is the signal it gives to the right wing.  And that symbol is one of weakness.  And they are absolutely correct.  Do you listen to Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones?  I do and I know the kind of vile crap they say about us liberals and progressives on a daily basis.  (Oh, and Obama too even now.)  But have you heard CNN in a "Breaking News Headline" take on Rush for recommending that all liberals should be rounded up and jailed?  Or shipped off to China (he believes we are treasonous Commies.) No, you haven't, but you say: "But what Bill and Kathy did is different.  It crossed a line."  Sure. Absolutely.  But Kathy Griffin and Bill Maher are comedians.  It's what they do for a living.  Rush and Alex are conspiracy theorists and you would know this even if you listen to one of their shows or visit their web sites for ten minutes.

And herein lies the basic problem: I don't give a shit what comedians say or do.  The do not have anywhere near the influence over our society that a Rush Limbaugh or an Alex Jones does.  People believe them.  People trust what they say.  The people who listen to them think that they are telling them the unfiltered, real story, not the biased stories that the liberal media pushes.   They actually do change the hearts and minds of people and they and their partners in propaganda spewing - the alt.right media - have been successfully pushing fake news and propaganda for decades.  And they have succeeded in undermining the trust Americans used to have in our institutions.  You need no more proof of this than to think about the current occupant of the People's House, the White House. Remember when the Tea Party shut down community meeting after community meeting during the summer of 2010 with tactics that resembled the best of Hitler's Brown Shirts?  Sure, there was a lot of "Oh, my God. How terrible.  But that was basically it. No national outpouring of rage and disgust.  (There should have been, but there wasn't.)  In fact the Koch funded Tea Party meetings disrupters were defended: FREE SPEECH as the rallying cry. And we liberals accepted this defense.

But we don't accept the very same defense - Free Speech - when it comes to two American comedians?  Something is very wrong with this.  Conservatives, Right Wingers and Republicans have no problem using the most vile tactics to get what they want including the purposeful disenfranchisement of minority and elderly voters because these groups vote Democratic. The right wing conducted a THIRTY YEAR long smear campaign against Hillary Clinton one of our most - if not the most - experienced and qualified public official we have in America.  Yet they succeeded in derailing her campaign for the Presidency.

If we continue to flinch in the face of the horror of a photo depicting the severed head of a President we are going to continue to lose just as we have for the past three decades.  Let me put it too you like this:

Kathy Griffin holds a photo of Trump's severed head as a take-off on a Der Speigel magazine cover where Trump was holding the severed head of the Statue of Liberty. 

Donald Trump and Paul Ryan propose a "healthcare" replacement bill for Obamacare that kicks up to 23 million off health their insurance.  

Tell me which one of these scenarios is more likely to result in the deaths of real people?            

As Ms. Tyson points out in her letter, Ted Nugent threatened the kill President Obama on several occasions.  It was treated as a joke and he got invited to the Trump White House.  There was no national outpouring of outrage and approbation.

What does that tell you about how liberals ad progressives respond to such outrages?  1) It tells you that we don't yet quite "get" just how seriously we are in deep shit trouble in the country.  2) It is the same pattern of "being nice" in line with our liberal values that has plunged us into the train wreck that is the Trump Administration.  3)  It tells you that liberals and progressives with their principled pushbacks from right wing attacks are wholly ineffective and, in fact, support all the right wing accusations they hurl against us.    

Take Care Folks.  And Don't Let Them Bamboozle You.  


Popular posts from this blog