Kathy Griffin is no longer sorry about her Trump severed head stunt
Back in May, Kathy Griffin did what most comedians used to do - she pushed the boundaries with an edgy political statement. At the time, she caught an enormous amount of backlash from Trump's supporters and centrists alike.
The stunt/statement/art project was a photo of Griffin holding up a bloody severed head of the President. It was goofy, sure. Who ever thought Kathy Griffin was a maniacal warlord? But apparently, Trump's youngest son Barron thought it was for real, and in the wake of the controversy, said he thought that was actually his dad's severed head.
It's absurd, right? How would Kathy Griffin get past the secret service and go full-ISIS on the President? No way. It's so detached from reality that the backlash was kind of silly. After all, who really thinks that Griffin, and her comedy, pose any sort of threat to the President?
After her scandal, she apologized to the press, and said that her stunt went too far. But now, having had time to think and get outside of the online mobs of Twitter and Facebook, she changed her mind. On Sunrise, an Australian Talk Show, she made her feelings clear:
“I am no longer sorry. The whole outrage was BS, the whole thing got so blown out of proportion.”
The host said that even Democrats, and establishment figures like Chelsea Clinton, had said the photo went too far.
Griffin had a firm response: “Stop acting like my little picture is more important than talking about the actual atrocities that the president of the United States is committing.”
Once more, with feeling: “I don’t apologize for that photo anymore and I think the outrage is complete BS.”
What do you think? On one hand, the photo is gruesome, and the message it sends is undoubtedly unproductive and foolish. But on the other hand, what is comedy for if it can't be edgy and over-the-line? A joke is only funny precisely because it sits outside the lines of typical social interaction and becomes something more.
It's a curious thing that Trump supporters and the right, who herald themselves as defenders of free speech, think that Griffin should be shamed and silenced for her art. It was the social justice crusade against 'problematic' comedy, arguing that comedians should be PC, that Trump and his like would certainly disagree with.
So why, when a liberal comedian crosses boundaries, is it so unthinkable?
The debate around free expression in the US has been polarized when it shouldn't be. If you want to get radical left-wing activists fired from their jobs, you're wrong. If you want to stop a conservative speaker from giving a speech at Berkeley, you're wrong. And if you think Kathy Griffin's speech is poisoning America, well, maybe there's a bit of chaos on both sides here.
We can't play dumb - President Trump has said far worse, and potentially done far worse, in the realm of actual sexual assaults. If he is not unqualified to be President, then why should Kathy Griffin consider her expression unqualified to be unapologetic and public? But this is far from the first time that free speech has led to shaming and censorship on the internet.