TAR HEEL VIEW: Griffin’s jab at Trump not funny, but emblematic

If you didn’t laugh at comedienne Kathy Griffin’s decision to have a photograph published online of her holding what appeared to be the bloodied severed head of President Donald Trump, then you should see her act.

It is equally unfunny.

In an instance of life imitating art, we recall the 1998 “Seinfeld” episode that had Griffin portray Sally Weaver, whose stand-up comedy act has been seen by Jerry, who shares with Kramer that she isn’t funny and should find another gig as a way to make a living. Kramer of course tells Sally, and she introduces a new routine in which she attacks Jerry as being “the devil.”

Everyone laughs — except Jerry.

No one seems to be laughing now about Griffin’s ISIS imitation. CNN fired her from an annual New Year’s Eve gig, and as we write this, she has lost one endorsement deal. If she has more, expect them to drop her as well.

Griffin has aired an apology, but we doubt her sincerity. She is mostly sorry that others didn’t find her shock-jock routine funny.

Let’s get this out of the way: Griffin is well within her First Amendment rights when she crafts a bloodied head from paper mache and sends it across the internet as a way to tell the world she isn’t a fan of Trump’s. It is protected speech.

Unless the FBI determines that her action was an implicit threat towards the president, which could be declared a crime and lead to felony charges, at which point we would have a laugh. Trump is famously thin-skinned and vindictive, so should this happen, we wouldn’t be all that surprised.

The problem with Griffin’s ISIS photo, beyond the fact it wasn’t funny, is that her anger is with Trump, but she attacked not only him, but the office.

We recall a scene from “Band of Brothers,” the HBO mini-series that fabulously presented the heroism of Americans in fighting World War II and literally saving Europe and the world.

Two officers who don’t like one another have a chance encounter, and one looks the other way without acknowledgement. He is reminded: “We salute the rank, not the man.”

Griffin’s other mistake, and it is greater, is she trivialized the brutality of ISIS and the danger of radical Islam. There are more than a few Americans whose loved ones have been beheaded, often captured on videotape, by terrorists trying to make a political point.

Griffin surely stirred up painful memories for many people.

This time it was someone on the Left attack attacking a Republican president in a personal and demeaning way. But we just finished eight years of a presidency during which many on the Right attacked a Democratic president in much the same way, often with images of a lynching, which recalls this nation’s racist past with slavery.

So if you thought Griffin’s act wasn’t funny, but chuckled or snoozed at all those attacks on President Obama, then you are part of the problem with what now passes for political discourse in this country. And if you thought Griffin’s act was funny, but thought those attacks on President Obama weren’t, then again, you are the problem.

When it comes to politics in America today, many are actually what they pretend to hate, but lack the self-awareness to recognize that inconvenient truth. We would all be better if we were willing to occasionally look at the reflection in the mirror with the same degree of scrutiny we hold for others.

— The Robesonian