Wednesday's HOT MIC
WaPo critic: Depicting ISIS-style Trump beheading 'is an exceptionally risky artistic undertaking.' https://t.co/Ho6mJerFJc
— Byron York (@ByronYork) May 31, 2017
As I just asked Byron York and the Washington Post on Twitter: in what meaningful sense is Kathy Griffin (whoever she is) an "artist?
— Mícheál Breathnach (@dkahanerules) May 31, 2017
Here's an except from Alyssa Rosenberg's piece in the WaPo:
Images like these are exceptionally provocative, but they’re not artistically out of bounds, and they can even be powerful if the artist manages to use them in service of a specific and clearly articulated point. Griffin isn’t the first artist to fail to hit that mark in the Trump administration, and she likely won’t be the last.
Griffin initially said that the photo shoot was meant to reference Trump’s comments about former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes. Blood coming out of her wherever.” The implication of Trump’s comments was clear: Kelly’s tough questions for him during a Republican primary debate must have been the result of some menstruation-induced emotional imbalance.
But an image of a bloody, beheaded Trump is a poor way to comment on this particular incident in Trump’s sexist oeuvre.
If the photo shoot was supposed to suggest that Trump is as volatile as he suggested Kelly was and that his volatility isn’t confined to a single, hormonal phase of the month, a decapitated head doesn’t exactly get that across. It’s an overly literal image: There is blood everywhere, but my understanding is that’s what happens when someone’s head gets cut off. Introducing violence into the equation actually takes away from the idea that Trump is as erratic and hypersensitive as a woman on the verge of her period. And in any case, suggesting that leans into a misogynist idea, rather than blowing it up. Comparing a man who degrades women to a woman might make him feel bad, but it still does so by endorsing his ideas.
What? Fair warning: Snoop Dogg also makes an appearance. The kicker:
But as protest art, incidents such as these ought to give the Trump administration a rare glimmer of hope. If artists can’t get beyond reflexive images of violence against the president, especially ones that undermine their arguments, then art won’t be much of a weapon against this presidency.
As Sam Goldwyn (or somebody) famously said: "if you want to send a message, use Western Union." Politicized art is no art at all; just ask all those Soviet composers and authors you never heard of.