Let’s look at the images side by side.
No – let’s really look.
I mean, there’s free porn all over the Internet featuring people (and god knows what else) doing sexual things you never dreamed of. And your kids – or nieces and nephews – have accessed this stuff more than once or ten times.
Trust me, I know – I teach college juniors and seniors who reached puberty in the Digital Revolution.
But this week we’re not talking about sex, are we? It’s about political violence via comedy – or imagery – or something in that area.
So, how far is TOO FAR? Does it depend on the person being depicted in the image? Maybe it’s about the amount of blood or how vivid the photo is? Can a drawing be as offensive and tasteless as a photograph? What about taking iconic commercial photography and transforming it with a few clicks and inserts into something vile and offensive?
Well, I remember Judge Potter Stewart once famously said in a Supreme Court case that he couldn’t tell you what obscenity was but he knows it when he sees it. So I guess that would include not only sexual images but also violent ones, since in a broader definition the latter could also be considered pornographic, right?
I’m getting to the images.
Having grown up in the sixties and seventies, I still subscribe to the Fairness Doctrine, which ostensibly ensured that when reporting on current events one needs to present both sides of a story.
So it’s not enough to look at the comedian Kathy Griffin holding up the bloody severed head of our current Electoral Potus in a bizarre photo shoot. If you’re going to critique an offensive image from one side, you need to show one perhaps equally offensive (Note: Or not, it’s your call) from the other.
Now, let’s really study them and see what we think because, really – if they’ve been on the Internet once, they WILL be there a million times more. I know it. You know it. And THEY all know it. Whoever the collective condemning THEY are in any particular moment.
Okay – ready. Here goes. Make your kids leave the room and make sure your heart medicine is nearby – that is if you need it or have any room left in your said, perhaps damaged, heart, for those on the side you particularly despise. And yes – we’re all taking sides on this one.
Now. Once again. Ready, get set and…….go!!!!!!!
That wasn’t so bad, was it? Or was it??? Is your heart still even beating???
Take a breath.
Now you might be more offended by one or the other. Or perhaps you’re not offended at all. Maybe you think it’s all good under freedom of expression.
Or – maybe it’s nothing like that at all.
Maybe the severed head of a sitting president particularly offends you when its held by a popular left wing comic with whom you vehemently disagree with and never found funny.
Still, maybe taking the iconic campaign image of the previous president – the first BLACK president – and depicting him with a lynching rope around his neck as if he were a runaway slave who was caught and hung in the pre Civil War south – might bridle you more. Especially since it was also circulated when he was in office.
I’m not one to judge for you. Only you can judge for you. I mean —
As Rod Serling once wrote, it’s all in the “eye of the beholder.” Right?
Here’s what you need to understand. The image of Barack Obama lynched was widely passed all around right wing Republican circles and beyond with nary an apology or much massive regret at the time. And oh yes, what’s that I see, there’s even some red blood dripping down from the rope around his neck. Right above his tie. Which is right above the word ROPE – which substitutes for 44’s much quoted catch-phrase – HOPE.
Here’s what you also need to understand. The California Republican Party has just this weekend started using the Kathy Griffin/Trump beheading image in a FUNDRAISING EMAIL/LETTER.
That’s right, they are so offended that are actually referencing and passing around the image over and over again in order to — make a buck.
Now — if that doesn’t make America great again, I don’t know what will.
And save the outrage for real life. That goes for both sides. God knows, there’s enough to go around.
Seven more innocent souls were killed in London on Saturday and the blood they bled was real.
Think about it the next time you decide to pile onto the tar and feathering of a comedienne in our virtual town square by supporting all those on your side of the aisle who feel the need to separate themselves from the motley pack of the rest of us by grasping for what is now our non-existent high ground.
Higher Ground – Playing for Change