Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A need to speak out...

Last week actor Johnny Depp became the latest American "celeb" to make a thinly veiled allusion to the killing of President Donald Trump. He asked the crowd at the Glastonbury arts festival in England, "When was the last time an actor assassinated a president?"Depp later apologized ... well, he would wouldn't he? They all do this after grabbing a day's worth of headlines.

Glastonbury used to be thought of as an annual love-filled gathering, hippie-flavoured - filled with fun, goodwill.

In May, "comedian" Kathy Griffin posed for photos holding a mask styled to look like the bloodied head of President Trump.

At January's Women's March on Washington, "pop icon" Madonna stated in a speech that she'd "thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House."

A production of Shakesepare's "Julius Caesar" at New York's Public Theater, in which the depiction of the titular character bore resemblance to Trump caused unease. Sponsors, including Delta Airlines and Bank of America, pulled their support from the production and protests objecting to the portrayal interrupted the play.

Meryl Streep, when campaigning for Hillary Clinton last year, characterized Trump as a bully who disrespects others during a speech at the Golden Globes.

Alec Baldwin has portrayed Trump unkindly (that's putting it mildly) on "Saturday Night Live".

Jimmy Kimmel, while hosting the Oscars, made several cracks at Trump's expense. Every one of the late and late-late shows' presenters have been guilty of the same on a nightly basis for months, and it's no longer funny.

This rant is is no way defending President Trump, who himself has been criticized for making comments that have appeared to advocate violence against others, including those on the other side of the political aisle. But does that make it alright for others to declare open season on him in such potentially dangerous a manner?

Hat-tip HERE.

People of the USA, in living memory, have seen their president assassinated right before their eyes, and later the same president's bother killed in cold blood, as well as a beloved civil rights activist murdered. If so-called "celebrities" do not dredge up a smidgen of good taste and decency soon, the USA could find itself reliving some of its worst nightmares. Where is the communal outcry, by the entertainment community, against such loose-lipped, hate-drenched hyperbolic spewings as listed above? Some of those hearing such spewings, or even reading of them could become immune to the danger lurking within them. Others with an altogether different agenda might use those spewings as cover for their own dirty deeds. Is there really any need to explain further?


mike said...

Virtue signalling? You asked where the outcry was...maybe what goes around comes around. Where was the outrage during Obama's tenure?

The previous prez endured similar treatment with racial ad hominem as an added bonus. Nooses were hung in lynching effigies, and Hollywood found it's anti-Obama pulse (remember Clint Eastwood's empty chair speech at the RNC? Or Shannon Richardson's actual attempt to poison Obama with ricin?). A Republican congressman, Joe Walsh, made twitter assassination innuendo.

Trump found his calling with "Muslim born in Kenya" tweets and his personal butler at Mar-a-Lago said Obama should be assassinated.

"Less than a year ago, "At a North Carolina rally in August 2016, Trump suggested that his gun-toting supporters could prevent Hillary Clinton from taking office if they exercised their 2nd Amendment rights. He said, "[If Hillary Clinton] gets to pick...her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know.""

"Minnesota's famed Guthrie Theater "assassinated" an Obama-like figure in its 2012 production of Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar." Unlike the NYC Public Theater's Trump-themed assassination in 2017, this production saw no backlash or loss of corporate sponsorship."

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” Theodore Roosevelt

Twilight said...

mike ~ Hey there! Nice to see you. Hope you are doing well.

You have provided a modicum of balance to my post here. :-)

Virtue-signalling - moi ? - No. That's much too common these days, all over the net. I do vice-signalling.

There was plenty of push-back, as I recall, against the kinds of things you mention during Obama's presidency - by much the same group of "celebs" as are now doing the spewing against the current Prez.

Yes, as you wrote, sleazy stuff was thrown at Obama for sure - but in his case there was a significant positive vibe going on too which did kind of blur the nasty side of the noise. He was, by all accounts "charming, highly intelligent, wonderful family man, had a gorgeous and intelligent wife, possibly the best president ever, in the whole history of the world....etc..." Never mind that he authorised drone killings of innocents and did little for the working class even when he had both house and senate on his side.

Re Theo.R's quote: While I agree that all presidents ought to be criticised on their policies when criticism is warranted, what I'm referring to in the post is something else entirely.

Maybe I'm pretty much alone in how I fee at the moment - but what's written in my post is how I feel, so be it!

anyjazz said...

You have heard me many times about the decline in respect for the office of POTUS. Many years back, verbal attacks of the person were unheard of. Public criticism was always of the party and perhaps the office, but seldom personal.

Comedians pointed out that Eisenhower stuttered occasionally while giving a speech but it wasn’t mean spirited. Von Meader mimicked the entire Kennedy white house but even JFK knew it was all in fun. And the records sold in the millions.

Various presidents were chided about frailties or mistakes, usually in a friendly manner.

And then, along came Nixon. He really WAS a criminal. Think Rich Little and “I am not a crook.” It was a free for all. Presidents after that have been lampooned, chided, threatened and run out of office.

Carter’s southern drawl was great stuff for comedians. But that was about as personal as it got.

Reagan? Heck he was a movie actor, a free target. Comedians and critics loved it. Then, George G H Bush was so lackluster that comedians found little to joke about. The voters only allowed one term.

Clinton and his amoral approach to life sparked a whole new strain of comedy and the republican congress welcomed it. But the bible thumpers were incensed. They didn’t want it to be funny, they wanted blood. He smiled and left office with the government securely in the black.

George “Nucular” Bush was inept and inarticulate but his vice president, Dan Quale fostered books quoting his malapropisms and senseless remarks. Quale could have been the fourth stooge. Comedians hounded them; a lot of it was personal. Even Garrison Keillor, as mild a man as you will ever find, refused to acknowledge G. W. as president, calling him only the “current resident” of the Whitehouse. And the government was far into the red again.

Barack’s criticism could have been worse but his “birthers” and other conspiracy theorists got all the press.

Then there’s Trump: comedy fodder par excellence. The comedy is now thoroughly mixed with personal criticism. And with Trump’s larger than life personality, self-inflated ego and chrome plated pomposity, it’s hard to miss, really. Letterman was trashing him years before The Donald’s run for office. And much of the criticism has nothing to do with the job; “Small Hands” and “that thing on his head”. And making it worse, Trump is vocal about his dislike of it. That makes it juicer.

What if the next president is a straight shooter? What if there is nothing funny about the next elected head. Will we start making up things to fill the gap? Wait … Oh yeah, we’ve done that already.

That this degenerating respect for the office might spawn violence, is a real possibility. It does seem that there is also a degenerating quality of the office holder. Could there be those who take this mean spirited comedy as an incitement to violence? Of course. And that’s dangerous.

Twilight said...

anyjazz ~ Thanks for this - you obviously have a lifetime's experience to draw from on this topic, and it's certainly clear that attitudes have coarsened over the decades - in this respect and in most other respects too. The internet is almost wholly to blame for the past decade's even faster coarsening trend - that's my guess.

The fact that presidents and parties are routinely the butt of jokes is a given - it's the same in the UK also. That's not what bothers me. For instance we watched Dana Carvey's Netflix stand-up show last evening, both of us found lots to laugh at during his segment on presidents. He was not hate-filled, vicious, or even mean - just funny. It can be done, but most comedians and writers aren't interested in not being mean, and most have totally lost the art of being funny.

The point I was making, or trying to make in this post, is fully answered by the last sentences of your comment, anyjazz....thank you!

mike said...

Here's a lovely NRA ad that presents a slightly different take...kill the resistance:


"Published on Apr 7, 2017

Dana Loesch says the left uses their media to assassinate real news, and their entertainers to repeat the false narrative over and over again. The only way to save our country and our freedom from their lies is to fight the violence with the clenched fist of truth. The National Rifle Association of America is Freedom's Safest Place."

See also:

Twilight said...

mike ~ Hmmm - it appears that woman was coming at this issue from the far right, while I came at it from the far-ish left.