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For almost two years, I have submitted occasional opinion pieces to Ricochet. However, for over eight years, under what is obviously a pseudonym, I have blogged a fair amount of political satire. It is not satire that one would describe as light-hearted and jocular. Rather, it is satire that is Juvenalian in mood: a more apt description would be “spitting.”
Before I would post them, quite a few of my satires caused me substantial anxiety: would this be the piece that finally prompts some sort of retaliation? As ridiculous as that anxiety might sound to some, for me it was very real. However, despite that anxiety, I reasoned that “God hates a coward” and posted each one. As far as I know, no retaliation ever came. However, that is probably not because the Democrats are not shockingly petty, vindictive, and intolerant, but rather it is probably because my satires are either too obtuse or too stylistically out of the mainstream to garner anything more than a handful of readers.
In contrast, representing the opposite of obtuse, consider Kathy Griffin’s latest outrageous piece of performance art which co-starred a decapitated in effigy President Trump. And representing the opposite of “stylistically out of the mainstream,” consider her non-apology press conference – a further piece of performance art – that is now posted on YouTube and that I satirically refer to as “Innocence of Kathy Griffin.” And while I’m sure that the content of her presser is now well tread territory, there are two specific comments, one from each of Ms. Griffin’s attorneys, that I believe still merit further attention.
The first of these comments was made by Ms. Griffin’s Criminal Defense Attorney Dmitry Gorin,
The fact that there’s an open Secret Service investigation is really ridiculous because it’s never happened to any artist before.
Attorney Gorin, with respect, let me make you aware of right-wing, guerrilla street artist Sabo. In 2014, Sabo tweeted his wish that zombies were real so that Lee Harvey Oswald could come back from the dead. Two months later, this obviously satirical tweet earned Sabo an investigatory visit from, yes, the Secret Service. However, rather than lawyer-up and claim oppression, Sabo plastered his studio with the word “Oswald” and answered the agents’ questions while he continued to work on his stylish and functional Barack Obama toilet seats (available at Sabo’s store).
The second of these comments was made by Ms. Griffin’s primary attorney Lisa Bloom,
We used to hold our Presidents to a standard that they don’t criticize artists and comedians.
Attorney Bloom, with respect, let me make you aware of the filmmakers of “Hillary: The Movie.” In 2008, the federal government censored these filmmakers’ anti-Hillary movie from being shown. The filmmakers challenged that censorship, eventually winning an ensuing Supreme Court case. However, immediately after SCOTUS’s decision, then President Barack Obama, in his 2010 State of the Union Address, brazenly criticized the Supreme Court to their faces for that decision, and maligned these American filmmakers — artists with their own valid political opinions, concerns, and rights — as sinister “special interests.” And, Attorney Bloom, let me repeat this for clarity, President Obama did not malign these artists in a medium as mundane and inconsequential as his Twitter feed, he maligned them in the Congress of the United States as a part of his official State of the Union Address.
And further, Attorney Bloom, again with respect, let me make you aware of the filmmaker Nakoula Nakoula. In 2012, Mr. Nakoula posted on YouTube his short film “Innocence of Muslims.” The Obama Administration, fearing a re-election defeat over their mishandling of the attack in Benghazi, cynically and purposefully blamed Mr. Nakoula’s film for inciting that attack. As civil liberties law professor Alan Dershowitz just recently noticed — that the Democrat’s lawfare investigation of President Trump smacked of Joseph Stalin’s, “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime” — Mr. Nakoula also noticed of the Obama administration five years ago as they publicly vilified for him for the attack and then imprisoned him for a year, charging him with the only thing that they feasibly could: a parole violation.
The point being, Attorneys Bloom and Gorin, that Ms. Griffin has made a career out of tasteless and outrageous performance art. So it is not surprising or even, counter to her intentions, shocking that she would continue and intensify her particular style. And though her art is not to my taste, as a satirist myself, I find that I must defend Ms. Griffin. And I must do so even while I am secure in the knowledge that, if the situation were reversed, the Democrats would readily, and with a marching song in their hearts, throw me to the wolves.
It is the Democrats, dear attorneys, who are silencing free speech around this country, especially on college campuses, often resorting to mob violence as a silencing tactic.
It is the Democrats, enabled by the Soros-funded Media Matters, who are engaging in boycotts against any opposition media voices.
It is the Democrats who insist that artists who voice opposing opinions, (and only those artists,) have no right to political speech if they speak collectively as a corporation.
It is a Democrat president who, in an official speech in our Congress, openly maligned a group of such artists.
It is the Democrats who sicced a Secret Service investigation on a popular, political artist for his satirical tweets.
It is the Democrats who, for naked political expedience, perp-walked an artist in front of news cameras, smeared his name to the American public, charged him with a sought for and conveniently found “parole violation,” and then let him rot in jail for a year.
However, since I am not a Democrat, I will defend dangerous art and the artists who create it. So, yes, I will defend Ms. Griffin for her tasteless stunt. I will readily insist that no artist should be jailed for their art – like Nakoula Nakoula was. But my defense ends there: as Media Matters has made quite clear, public “non-boycott” boycotts of Ms. Griffin’s venues and advertisers are fair game. No artist is guaranteed an audience. And if an investigation of that stunt reveals that it was orchestrated by Democrat operatives specifically to send a threat to the President or his family, then my defense does not extend to those operatives.
And please do understand, Democrats, despite the fact that I must defend Ms. Griffin, that I am not on your side. My side is home to artists who were actually victimized – by you. And your side is home to, well, performance art.