|Sign in the Paris catacombs: "The eyes of God are fixed on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers."|
I'm not the most vigorous consumer of popular culture, especially when it comes to television So I don't know whether being unfamiliar with Kathy Griffin until her career blew up this past week is a justifiable oversight or an embarrassing lapse. And her a local talent, pride of Oak Park, I learned today. When I heard she hosted the cheesy, unbearable New Year's Eve celebrations with Anderson Cooper, there was a glimmer of recognition. I've seen those, usually with the sound off at parties.
Though to be honest, I thought she was Kathy Lee Gifford, until people kept calling her a comic.
Griffin's career fell apart, for the moment, gigs vanishing and sponsors fleeing, after she tweeted a photo of herself holding a severed, bloody rubber Donald Trump head. She must have thought it was edgy, or funny, or something. It wasn't. Rather, it was manna from heaven for Trump and the delicate souls who support him. All bullies consider themselves victims, and this sort of thing is just tossing chunks of meat into the piranha tank. The rare poke at them that isn't justified. The president was so excited, he dragooned his 11-year-old son to add spice to his outrage while his supporters got a chance to lavish their long-dormant sympathy on themselves.
Insincerely evoking supposedly injured family members is a favorite stunt of politicians, certainly not exclusive to Trump. Rahm Emanuel also pulls out that violin when he wants to draw extra pity.
The GOP needs injuries to keep attention away from, oh, colluding with Russia. They can't keep harping on Hillary's emails -- this is some new minutia to puff into supposed significance.
This is not a defense of Griffin. She was foolish. She's 56. She should have known better. It takes a certain discipline. While the Griffin drama was unfolding in the corner of my eye midweek, I was writing my Thursday post, looking for a metaphor to describe what I assume will be the uncomfortable transit of Trump through the body politic.
"Frankly," I wrote, "we can count on the Europeans to realize, along with half of America, that Trump is a kidney stone the nation will eventually expel, after much pain tie wasted curled and ineffectual."
That was the revised version. As I originally typed it, the sentence read "the nation will eventually expel, after much pain and bloodshed..." but I stopped, as soon as I typed the word, and backspaced out "bloodshed." Too much. No blood. As soon as Trump became president, I made a rule that I would never write anything, not a tweet, not an email, nada, suggesting it would be a relief for him to drop dead, perhaps from a stroke, being so fat and never exercising and just due to the wrath of a just God finally stirring. Never mind suggest that be killed. Because it would be a mean and unworthy sentiment to express, not to mention desperate. It's like wishing he would magically disappear. What's the point?
The irony of the Internet is that it rewards extremes. A master like Ann Coulter spews the vilest, most loathsome horseshit, yet somehow rides the wave of outrage on to the next career milestone. She's like the geek who bites the heads off chickens at carnivals—disgusting people isn't a mistake, it's her entire act. And yet she, and some people, get away with it. Trump could suggest, quite baldly during the campaign, that should Hillary Clinton win, someone should shoot her -- "2nd amendment solutions" is the code he used. Bald, but code enough, and he was elected president.
Maybe that was Griffin's crime. She didn't use code. And, worse, she apologized, which is almost a confession. She should have said, "Bloody head of Trump? No, no, no, it was Mussolini. Easy mistake to make.They can be hard to tell apart."