On March 10, 2003, the Dixie Chicks slid from their position as the top female band in the country to near oblivion after lead singer Natalie Maines announced from the stage that they were “ashamed President [George W] Bush is fromTexas.”
Fast Forward to May 31, 2017 and the women in that group look like amateurs in the face of comedian Kathy Griffin’s horrifying and potentially actionable exercise of the poorest possible judgment by starring in a video satirizing a fake Isis-style “beheading” of our current president.
What was Griffin thinking?
Though many people around the world dislike, are fearful of, and disrespect Donald Trump, few if any agree that such a video is either appropriate or in any way helpful to their cause.
Since we can imagine that rising to some degree of notoriety as a female comic, in a field--like many-- dominated by men, it is difficult, if not impossible, to justify such a tasteless and self-destructive act. Even Griffin’s New Year’s Eve partner in the annually televised holiday festivities--Anderson Cooper of CNN-- has weighed in to condemn Griffin’s outrageous stupidity. Until now, Cooper’s worst nightmare was probably his having to submit himself, out as a gay man, to Griffin’s endless sexual innuendos tossed his way. Now he risks the total dismantling of his journalistic credibility as a commentator if he appears at Griffin’s side again as the Time’s Square ball descends. She, more pointedly, loses her most important promotional appearance every year since CNN has now fired her.
So, in the end, Griffin has shot herself in both feet and potentially derailed a career she probably worked very hard to launch. Worse, she embarasses her colleagues, her fans (of which I am not one) and a nation struggling to repair damaged credibility and civility.
It has taken the Dixie Chicks more than a decade to put their Humpty-Dumpty fame together again: It appears that Griffin, on the other hand, may never find the forgiveness she begs for now. The difference is in the gravity of the satirical slam. Being ashamed to come from the same state as a questionable president doesn’t hold a candle to acting out the fantasy of another’s assassination. Griffin will have few if any supporters for her actions which will doubtless have severe professional, legal and financial consequences for her and the videographer who joined her in this madness.
Meanwhile, more reasons exist today than ever before for the world to wonder if America as a whole has gone absolutely mad.
Mary Ann Sorrentino (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes commentary for the Providence Journal, the Keene Sentinel, and other publications.