It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Simply because I haven’t had much to say as of late when it comes to current happenings in this lovely ball of trash floating through space that we call home. From fidget spinners to ”coffeve”, the things that currently occupy the attention of the general public just don’t peak my interest. There is, however, one thing that’s all the rage right now that does. The current scandal involving comedian Kathy Griffin over her doing what Brujeria did a good while back in their teaser video for Viva Presidente Trump! and posed with a fake, bloodied severed head replica of Presidente Trump himself. So edgy, bro. Anyway, as a result of this, Trump apparently issued a secret service investigation on Griffin and she was essentially forced to issue a crocodile-tears ridden apology to the public for ”traumatizing” many people, including the Trump family. Even saying her career is over.
Now, i’m not a Kathy Griffin fan, nor have I ever seen much of her work. The issue here is whether or not she went too far with this photo. Regardless of the message she wanted to purvey or if this was supposed to be a comedic ha-ha deal, either way, it has caused quite a polarizing stir in the last couple days. Some have taken great offense and say that she crossed the line and others have little to no issue, saying that it’s only special effects and it’s all for show and that this is the most relevant she’s been in the last good number of years. Both cases are indeed valid, i’m not gonna babble about how everyone gets too easily offended or traumatized nowadays. They do, but this is a totally different case and another level of extreme, so I can see both sides. I personally don’t give a shit either way, but it does raise a small question for me: Is anything really shocking anymore? Like, really?
Part of what comedians do is make light of current happenings in society and offer some sort of perspective on it through jokes and laughter. Not necessarily in a serious way, but in a humorous way, not meant to be taken seriously. Controversy and uproars just comes with the territory. However, you do sometimes get those occasions where things are done purely for shock value. Just to get under people’s skin and induce some sort of reaction. The entertainment world has always been full of provocateurs, whether it be to convey a message or just to get a rise out of people. Some examples of that include the late, great George Carlin, who never shied away from vulgarity or brutal honesty in his act, but always had a message in his performance. Bill Hicks is another one of the all-time greats of provocative comedy; never sugar-coated, but with good intentions. Joan Rives or even Louis CK are other great examples.
We also have that in the music world, especially in the Metal scene. Anyone who knows a lick about the Metal underground knows the infamous stories and legends surrounding Black Metal and it’s most notorious acts. Church burning, murder of band members, suicide photos on album covers. and so on. There are so many stories and even urban legends that surround the genre and if you know about the genre, you know about most of it. I’m sure I don’t have to mention any names at this point, right? Most of those things were done either for pure shock value or for some personal gratification. You can even chalk it up to some warped political or social message by the culprits themselves, especially someone like Varg Vikernes. There’s also a lot of provocation within Punk Rock, most notoriously, GG Allin. The shit-eating, audience-beating, empty bottle at hooker from van-throwing walking STD himself. He was the epitome of shock value and did the things he did for no other reason. His only message was ”fuck society” and he showed us what what he thought about it until he died in 1993. There are many other examples of this, even outside of Metal and Punk, but if I talk about all of it, this will become a fucking essay. Here’s one more example: L7 singer Donita Sparks throwing her used tampon into the crowd at a show in 1992 and yelling ”Eat my used tampon, fuckers”.
Anyway, moving on.
So, those were examples of things done either for pure shock value or for other, deeper reasons other than artistic expression. Then we have those who did do it for just that purpose. David Bowie and Prince for example. Two of the most revered and celebrated artists of the past 30-40-plus years. Their styles involved a lot of provocation and made a lot of people uncomfortable to even look at. People thought Bowie was an actual alien. They took androgyny to whole other levels and make the viewer and listener squirm at times. It was what they did, but it was all done for the purpose of artistic expression, and not shock value, unlike those mentioned above. It’s part of what made them interesting and great, aside from being incredibly talented musicians. You also had guys like Marilyn Manson, who did pretty much the same thing, but in a darker sense, but again, it all had a message.
Now, let’s move on to the 2000s, particularly the mid to late 2000s where the internet age really began. What did that bring us? Things like Goatse (i’m sure we all know what that is… unfortunately) and the infamous shock videos like Shake That Bear or Mr. Hands or the legendary Two Girls, One Cup and One Guy, One Jar. These were things that were shared all across the web for a good number of years and that a lot of people experienced. A lot of those videos were fake, i’m sure, but it didn’t make them any less head-turning. These were all things that were done to shock and disturb people and were done with success. Of course this was before the SJW era, but again, these were on a whole different level of extreme and not just harmless jokes or memes.
So, back to my original point. Did Kathy Griffin go too far? Maybe. Was it necessary? Not really. But is this really as shocking as people are making it out to be? In all honesty, It depends on what you’re used to seeing. If you basically grew up seeing and knowing of shocking and provocative stuff due to being into certain things like I did, then you may be a little more hardened to this stuff than most. If not, and if your life was a little more coddled than most or if your interests were in less darker forms of entertainment or the darker side of life in general, then I can see you not being used to this kind of thing. So, it does depend. I can also understand this from a political standpoint. Talking about our president in this kind of manor is quite fucking ridiculous and stupid, but it isn’t surprising seeing how far the ”progressive” left will go to push their agenda. Either way though, no matter how you feel about it, one thing is for sure: This is indeed the most relevant Kathy Griffin has been in a long time.
Damn, this one turned out much longer than intended. Oh well.
Until next time.