Christine M. Flowers: Griffin unites conservatives, liberals in disgust

Kathy Griffin is a great gal.

Before you slam down whatever newspaper you are reading onto your table or desk (or punch in the monitor of your computer if you’re reading this online), bear with me. It’s not exactly what you think.

I still believe with every fiber of my being that Griffin is a vile slice of humanity, ugly in body and soul and bereft of the one thing she pretends to have in spades: humor. Her voice grates and is grating. Her hair, which cannot truly represent God’s handiwork unless we also believe Medusa’s snakes were natural, troubles the eyes. Those selfsame eyes, which bug out in all directions as if she were a maniacal Betty Boop, flash with insincerity. And her soul, what of it there might be in those murky inner depths, is bitter.

And yet, Kathy Griffin has done us all a service so monumental and so important in its impact that she deserves to be called a great gal, if only for the brief length of this column.

In depicting herself holding the bloody head of our decapitated president, Kathy has managed to do what Pope Francis could not, what Gandhi would have strained to accomplish, what the Dalai Lama would have failed at so miserably that the mountains in Nepal would have mourned, and what even Tom Hanks, a man who couldn’t make an enemy if he tried (and he has tried) would be incapable of doing:

She has brought liberals and conservatives together, for one brief shining, whining moment, in our communal hatred of a depraved act.

Not all liberals were appalled by Griffin’s stunt, and some have come out on Facebook with their “yeah buts” about the burning effigies of President Obama. They never mention the burning effigies of George Bush, but whatever.

And there have been, surprisingly, some conservatives who have channeled their kindler, gentler sides and said there is much more to worry about than a crazed redhead holding up a bad replica of Donald Trump’s head. They’re the type who want to keep their eyes on the prize, that being President Michael Pence.

But overall, most Americans from both sides of the political aisle were disgusted by Griffin’s attempt at humor and have made their voices clarion clear on social media and elsewhere. Sponsors have fled from her like men from a Taylor Swift concert. CNN has finally realized what most people already knew, that Anderson Cooper has a sad enough life without being saddled every New Year’s Eve with Griffin. They cut her loose, months before she was set to annoy us again with her stupid, puerile antics. And people who otherwise detest Donald Trump and would not send flowers to his funeral have schooled Griffin in how to remain relevant without losing your soul.

Even Chelsea Clinton, for God’s sake, has criticized Griffin, specifically for hurting Barron Trump, a quiet, shy 11-year-old who reportedly saw his father’s decapitated head on air and thought it was real (given the fact his father is not exactly beloved of late.)

And that’s the real reason Kathy Griffin is such a despicable piece of human refuse, and why I am so glad she did what she did. In doing this act with reckless disregard for how it would impact a little boy, she touched the ocean floor of pathetic. It is one thing to direct your bile against an adult, and I can even understand some of the less-vicious criticisms of our president because he himself hasn’t been a paragon of courtesy, but engaging in this type of visual violence is beneath contempt, particularly when you know (or should know) that a child could be watching.

And before you say, “Yeah but,” please recall I did say the same thing about Malia and Sasha Obama being forced to see their father burned in effigy, I was appalled at the sort of attacks the Bush twins had to endure — regardless of their ages — and I remember feeling terrible about that past-his-sell-date blowhard Rush Limbaugh going after Chelsea Clinton. Oh, and I was disgusted when liberals who had not yet found their souls laughed at the cruel jokes lobbed at Sarah Palin’s little boy Trig. Ha ha ha, Down syndrome jokes, how hilarious! Oh yeah, David Letterman, rape jokes about teen girls, too funny!

The point is that we have finally reached a national moment in which we can all agree, regardless of our politics, that the First Amendment might protect some types of immoral and repugnant forms of speech but we don’t have to accept them.

So to Kathy Griffin I say, thank you honey. You managed to bring us all together in our repulsion for you. Well done.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;

Christine Flowers, of the Philadelphia Daily News, is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. (Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Daily News/MCT) Flowers, of the Philadelphia Daily News, is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. (Jessica Griffin/Philadelphia Daily News/MCT)

By Christine M. Flowers, Philadelphia Daily News

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News. Readers may send her email at [email protected].