In Defense of Kathy Griffin and Tyler Shields

 

kathy

 

Today Kathy Griffin made a video apologizing for a photograph of herself holding a bloody bust of America’s aspiring dictator, Donald Trump. The picture was the work of photographer Tyler Shields. The video consists of Ms. Griffin begging for our forgiveness and stating “I crossed the line. I move the line, then I crossed it. I went way too far and I was wrong. “

When I searched Google, I noticed that there were many articles condemning Ms. Griffin and the photo. Some articles criticized Ms. Griffin’s poor taste and others called for a criminal investigation of the comic, as they perceived the photo  as a death threat. The Secret Service implied they were conducting an investigation over the snapshot.

I was shocked to see that there was little discussion of Mr. Shields and his work and not a single word about his artistic intention in creating the portrait. In the first place, blaming Ms. Griffin for Mr. Shields photograph is like blaming the melting watch if you don’t like a Dali painting. In the second place, condemning the photograph rather than discussing its meaning is the ultimate example of American anti-intellectualism and sloth.

Tyler Shields has always been a controversial photographer. Much of his work criticizes the beauty industry and features woman with knives to their faces or blow dryers pointed at their heads as if they were guns. The photograph of Ms. Griffin shows the comedian holding America’s most famous golfing and borsht enthusiast bloody and decapitated head up by its fluffy orange hair, She is dressed in a conservative blue dress and wears a stoic expression.

I believe Mr. Shields was making a statement about the manner in which comedians have been the most astute observers of Mr. Trump’s shortcomings and the most successful at communicating these shortcomings to the public.

My assessment of the piece maybe incorrect, of course. Anyone who has a different opinion of the piece is certainly welcome to disagree with me. Ya see, art is supposed to prompt discussion and stir up controversy. It is supposed to be interactive and make people think.

Many people have said the photo is crude and only meant to shock people. Take a good look at the photo. The sculpture of Trump is exceptional. I think the composition of bold colors works very well.

Unfortunately, we are living in a world in which thinking has gone out of style. Instead of discussing the photograph as a piece of art, people quickly attacked the subject of the photograph rather than the artist. CNN fired Ms. Griffin from her New Year’s Eve anchoring job and she asked the photographer to take the photo down.

Television talk shows were a buzz with the controversy. The ladies of, The View said the photos were offensive because they, “weren’t funny.” CBS News blurred the photo because they thought it was “disturbing.” NBC called the bust extremely graphic and Chelsea Clinton said it was, “vile and disgusting.”

It is entirely possible that the photo was not intended to by funny, but rather thought provoking. Just because a comedian is the model does not mean it was supposed to be funny (or at least not ha ha funny).

Anyone who thinks this is a death threat is an idiot. Mr. Shields also photographed the comedian taking a scissors to her tongue; I’m surprised no one thought she actually chopped off the appendage.

The famously appearance conscious Ms. Griffin appears in the video wearing no make-up. As she has had a great deal of plastic surgery and admits to covering her entire body in cosmetics when she wears a bathing suit; this could not have been a well-planned decision. She clearly felt a sense of urgency to apologize. If it had just been her conscious bothering her, she would have gotten into makeup, dressed and made the video. I believe she was bullied into apologizing for participating in the piece and this is far more terrifying then the piece itself.

I do not claim to be an art critic, an intellectual or even a collector of photographs. I am a customer service representative who decorates her studio apartment with postcards and movie posters. I am also an American who believes in the First Amendment and in the discussion of art rather than its censure.

Bullying artist and artist models into complacency is one of the characteristics of fascism. If someone doesn’t care for a work of art they are certainly allowed to say so and say why they feel this way, but no one should ever be censored or fired simply for self-expression.

Now, just in case the Secret Service is reading this (and they aren’t), I am not going to behead the president. I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole or piss on him if he were on fire no matter how much he offered me for the task. There’s nothing in that head that is of any value to me or anyone else in the world. I just thought I would put it bluntly, less I should be misunderstood.

Land of Delusion 

don

16 year ago, when George W. Bush was running for president, I had a job in Denver working in a collection agency as a skip tracer. The atmosphere of the office was true to the stereotype of collections agencies. The collectors were undereducated, overcompensated alcoholics and drug addicts, who swore every third word, hated deadbeats and homos and carried concealed weapons in their cowboy boots when they weren’t driving their pickup trucks to the hills to murder some innocent animal. There were several people in the office who kept radios at their desks and they were all turned to Dr. Laura or Sean Hannity.

As you can imagine, they all loved George W. Bush and hated Al Gore even though Gore’s policies would have benefited them.

At first I thought they believed what they did because they associated the intellect and compassion exhibited by Gore with weakness. But, there was more to it than that; Bush was an idiot and a sincere sounding one. He had a limited vocabulary; he was severely learned disabled and could barely read. He believed everything his puppet masters   told him unquestioningly and this caused him to regurgitate the lies he was told with an earnestness that anyone who didn’t know any better was apt to believe.

Al Gore was brilliant and articulate with an awkwardness that was perceived as arrogance by those who were unable to understand him. George Bush had a slow wit, a quick temper   a short attention span. He was the idiot’s idiot. With his undernourished mind and his overfed Id, many people could relate to him.

I understood this. I’m not the brightest crayon in the box myself and I know what it feels like  to be condescended to or even ignored by people who are witty and smart and feel you are not worth their time.  When the intellectuals in the media were bewildered by Bush’s popularity, I understood that it had been a long time in the coming. When they said he would never be president, I was pretty sure he would be. Although he needed a boost from his brother to actually win the election, the fact that he got any more than a few hundred votes evidences the passionate frustration of then American dim wit and the defiance that they felt towards those who had what they wanted.

Intellectuals and businessmen alike learned something from Bush. They learned that no one is more powerful or pliable then the American dumbass.

Over the past 16 years American big businesses have turned up the volume on catering to the dumbass. We have made simple minded reality shows staring dumbasses which are watched by dumbasses. We have shows with clever rich people acting like dumbasses that are enjoyed by the dumbasses who love to judge any envy those dumbasses. When a dumbass sees himself on television or takes an interactive role as an audience member he feels validated.

Big business and banks picked right up on the dumbass’ need for validation. Anybody at all can buy Twitter and Instagram followers regardless of talent or hard work. People who can’t afford homes and don’t qualify for credit cards can now buy homes and get credit cards with ridiculously high interest rates.

Perhaps the worst exploitation of the dumbass is the fake college. I spent a year and a half working as a first party collector for a company that offered private student loans for students at “colleges” such as  Corinthian which offered fake degrees to poor disadvantage dumbasses for a high price. The degrees were completely worthless and some of the students were not dumbasses but, genuinely learning disabled. I spoke to people who could not spell their own name or give an address properly on a daily basis. Corinthian eventually went bankrupt and President Obama and The U.S. Department of Education have announced they will cancel $27.8 million in debt owed by the students.

There are similar colleges geared towards students interested in the arts. My mother worked in advertising for some 20 years. She took a teaching gig at Columbia College in Chicago one semester where she was told not to correct the student’s grammar and spelling as it might hurt their feelings. The “college” wanted the students to keep on paying the exorbitant tuition without actually learning anything. If a young egoist got his feelings hurt the college might not get any more money out of that student.

My mom quit after a year.

Although the business who do this are arguable unethical, the ultimate blame lies within the dumbass community. We could say no to these things and we do not. Praise feels good and we are addicted to the possibility and the promise of material success, social acceptance and power.

Now the election is upon us, and there is a very good chance that Donald Trump will be our next president. Some dumbasses like him because he appears to speak off the cuff. He is loud, crude, uncultured and insensitive and the dumbass community can relate.

It is all an act of course. Mr. Trump is in reality a sophisticated businessman who has made billions of dollars by knowing exactly how to manipulate people. He was fortunate to inherit millions of dollars from his family and he was lucky to have a name that is synonymous with domination, He is not the dumbass he pretends to be. Although the many mistakes he makes on Twitter would suggest he is uneducated, he is actually a graduate of Wharton Business School.  He knows how to use proper English and he knows that dumbasses don’t like that sort of thing.

He also knew how to use his name and his personality to make himself richer. In spite of multiple bankruptcies he managed to convince a major network to produce a show where he was the ultimate authority on business success. The show was everything reality television should be; competitive, cruel and sustainable. Mr. Trump came out looking all-knowing and streetwise. He made a big name for himself and his name; just his name, is worth millions of dollars when affiliated with a hotel or an airline.

Trump is the consummate American monster. He understands peoples need to feel good and how to exploit that weakness. He is completely vapid and out for himself. He is everything to which the American dumbass had chosen to aspire. He doesn’t give a rats behind about them or any of the people they are prejudice against. He will say what he needs to get elected. One he is elected there is no telling what he will do. The whole thing may be a prank for his reality show.

We dumbasses have alternatives of course. We can step aside and let the admittedly smart people take the reins and run the country.

Bernie Sanders is a graduate of the University of Chicago and has never hidden his intellect or his morals. Hillary Clinton is a graduate of Yale Law School who has had a good amount of success in business herself and has proven herself to be pretty good at getting people who are on opposite ends of the spectrum to talk to each other.

They are each quite progressive. Bernie has recently introduced many environmental bills into the senate and Hillary was the first Secretary of State to fight for international LGBT rights laws.

 

The trouble is that neither one of them can do it alone. Bernie is a socialist and we Americans are too delusional to be socialist. We gamble in casinos and play the lottery. One of our favorite show is Keeping Up with the Kardashians and our favorite films are fantasies which often take place in opulent settings. Our favorite books like Fifty Shades of Grey and The Luckiest Girl Alive center on wealthy successful people. American proletarians don’t care about proletarians because we refuse to admit we will always be proletarians.

 

I have had people on my interview blog tell me the most personal poo about their sexuality and psychological history, but they never want to talk about their job; it’s too depressing.

 

People don’t trust Hillary. Serving a diverse state like New York is a daunting task and she had to compromise her principals many times to please her constitutes as well as her financial backers. She has waffled on several important issues such as the war and immigration. She also has a vagina and we don’t like that sort of thing.

The only solution is to have Bernie and Hillary run together. Hillary will win her party’s nomination if she takes Bernie as her running mate, they may have the numbers to go to the White House. They balance each other out well. He’s not afraid to stick to his principals and she has made connections with businesses and foreign leaders around the world that can be beneficial to this country.

So, Bernie and Hillary, don’t be babies. Play nice with each other and you can win this thing. Anything else would be a dumbass move.