I’m sure you’ve seen it.
Or at least heard about it.
You know what I’m talking about. That ridiculously disgusting picture of Kathy Griffin holding a Trump mask made to look like his severed head covered in blood. If you haven’t seen it, good for you. It’s disgusting and offers nothing of value to any cultural discussion.
But before we go any further with this, I have to ask the question. WHY DO WE CARE WHAT KATHY GRIFFIN DOES OR DOES NOT DO? In my humble opinion, she is not a talented comedian. Talented comedians make you laugh…at least once. She is not a talented actress. Talented actresses create emotions in a person that are different from what they inspire when you hear from them in real life. In Kathy Griffin’s case, I wanted to deport her to outer Mongolia the second I saw her on screen the first time in a Seinfeld episode. Imagine my surprise when I had the exact same emotional response the next time I saw her on screen portraying herself.
Which begs the question: is there any other human being out there that has less reason to be famous and offers us fewer reasons to concern ourselves with her actions than Kathy Griffin?
Fair enough. Every member of the Kardashian clan probably qualifies. Touche, Rachel Dolezal also fits the bill. But at a basic level, you get my point. There is no reason, EVER, to talk about Kathy Griffin.
Which is what I believe happens with Kathy Griffin every few months. Everybody on the planet drifts into that wondrous and happy state where they have forgotten she exists. So like clockwork, she pulls a stunt like the Trump mask that jars us back to reality. And the media plays along like we should care.
Now in this case, she went way too far and reached even a new low for her. In fact, the reaction was so bad that I’m sure you have all heard she apologized. But I’m willing to bet that, she really isn’t all that sorry. Why? Because we are all saying the name Kathy Griffin again and her fifteen minutes gets a midnight gubernatorial reprieve one more time.
But here’s what’s sad. We’re all talking about Kathy Griffin when we should be talking about a man named Jeremy Joseph Christian.
If you don’t know who that is, he is the man who started berating two African American girls, one who was wearing a traditional Muslim hijab, on a Portland commuter train before stabbing three men in the neck when they tried to intervene on the girl’s behalf. Two of those men died.
Why would we want to talk about him? That’s what he wants.
Maybe, but let’s talk about it anyway.
See, I’m not so much interested in Jeremy Christian as I am in the media coverage of Jeremy Christian. It is being reported that during his killing spree, he could be heard shouting, “Pay Taxes!” and “Get the **** out!” and “Go home. We need Americans here.”
Once he was arrested, he was recorded inside the police car saying, “Think I stab (expletives) in the neck for fun? Oh yeah, you’re right I do. I’m a patriot.” Followed by, “That’s what liberalism gets you.” And finally, “I hope they all die. I’m gonna say that on the stand. I’m a patriot, and I hope everyone I stabbed died.” At his arraignment this morning he showed no remorse. In fact, he continued his hateful diatribes. “Free speech or die, Portland. You’ve got no safe place. This is America. Get out if you don’t like free speech. You call it terrorism, I call it patriotism.”
And, if you had wanted to follow this story about Jeremy Christian and his arraignment this morning, or if you had wanted to know more about the victims which included 23-year old college student, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and 53-year old, Ricky John Best, you would have had to go to the websites of CNN, NBC News, CBS News or…anywhere other than Fox News.
You see, old habits die hard. As a moderate conservative I have long gone to Fox for a portion of my news intake. But this morning, I looked and…not one mention of this man’s attack or his arraignment could I find on their website. On the other hand, I was able to find 13 different click points where I could access a story on the Kathy Griffin fiasco. I am not certain that all 13 were different stories, in fact I’m certain they were not, but there were 13 different places I could click and get to a story about an infamous picture that killed exactly no one.
Of further interest to me was that on the main front page of Fox News, I could also click on a story about Scott Pelley being removed as CBS anchor from their evening news desk, followed by an opinion piece about how Scott Pelley is the most anti-Trump anchor out there. Also in that same front-page news area I could click on a story about how Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who pretended to be black, was booted from a book fair. But Jeremy Christian? Nada!
My point? If Jeremy Christian had been a Muslim, is it possible the coverage on Fox News-the unabashedly conservative right-wing news source of the United States-would have been different?
One of the largest criticisms I have heard over and over again since 9-11 every time there is a terrorist attack is that the Muslim community does not come out and condemn the actions of these terrorists strongly enough. In each case, I come away hearing that the inferred message is always that Muslims in general are dangerous because deep down, they all agree with the terrorists. The smart ones just don’t say it out loud. Which is why we need a Muslim ban. And why we need federal surveillance on Mosques throughout our country despite the constitutional crises those actions create.
Well, if that line of thinking is true, then aren’t those who subscribe to the tea party’s views on immigration and support Mr. Trump’s Muslim ban equally obligated to go out and disavow Mr. Christian? I mean if they don’t, wouldn’t that imply that Jeremy Christian kind of speaks for them even if he took things a little too far *wink, wink, nod, nod*?
At the very least, shouldn’t the network that has draped itself in the flag and claims to speak for the conservative patriots of this country acknowledge a terrorist act when it sees one? And further, shouldn’t it cover that terrorist attack like it would if the skin color and the political rhetoric of the assailant were darker and equally illogically based in the Quran instead of the constitution?
At the very least, don’t the dead bodies of two American citizens who stood up for the rights of two defenseless girls deserve the respect and adoration of an entire nation united against evil no matter the form it takes?
What is most frustrating to me is that this story is not getting the respect I think it deserves on any channel. All the of the news this day is centering on Kathy Griffin. At least the other outlets are reporting about Jeremy Christians arraignment, but they are still giving more coverage to a two-bit comedic hack who deserves nothing more than our disdain and indifference.
On the other hand, we are constantly barraged with the terrifying concept of homegrown Islamic fanatical terrorism. You know, the folks who are already here and are citizens. The ones we can’t do anything about until they commit some heinous crime. Well, the victims of this terrorist attack in Portland were both white. The political views of Jeremy Christian’s victims are unknown, but as mentioned above, one of them was a former member of the United States military. The only difference in this story that we have sadly heard far too often is that the man who killed them is not an Islamic fascist, but rather an alt-right fanatic. Probably crazy, but an alt-right fanatic just the same. He believes in America first. And to this day, he’s glad his victims are dead.
So which terrorism is worse? If it had been me on that train, I hope I would have also stood in defense of those girls. I wouldn’t have wanted to die, but I would hope I wouldn’t sit by as innocents were subjected to hate-filled threats. It isn’t just an American thing, it’s a Christian thing. It’s a humanity thing. It’s what I was taught heroes should do. And I would hope that such heroism would be recognized by the people and media sources who supposedly share my values, not ignored by them because it doesn’t fit their current political template.
***Update*** This article was written before it was known that CNN had decided to cut ties with Kathy Griffin in regards to their New Year’s Eve coverage. I will amend my previous statement and guess that she truly is sorry now.