The Masks Come Off
That Donald trump mask made quite a stir. It was covered in what we can assume was meant to be fake blood, topped with a mottled mop of what we can assume was meant to be fake hair, and held up by a smartly dressed urban liberal member of the cultural elite who had just performed what we can assume was meant to be a fake decapitation.
But who can be sure. It’s liberal art, so it’s hard to pin down.
But while the chattering classes were chatting about the bloodied Trump mask, the real story was missed – the story of the other mask.
While some fellow liberals distanced themselves from Kathy Griffin, the glitterati jihadi, like her New Year Eve’s co-host Anderson Cooper, they did so, you will notice, conveniently for the wrong reason. Cooper, for example, called it disgusting. Meaning she should not have used fake blood, or perhaps she should have toned it down. The imagery was not child safe, I guess. He did not criticize the message behind it, you know, the message that Trump needs to die and she, Kathy, would like that to happen. Cooper did not take issue with her radical political message of sic semper tyrannis. No, that message was okay. It was the theater she used that was “disgusting” according to Cooper. Evidently, wishing President Trump a grisly death is supposed to be a serious social message and not done in a crude, ham-fisted way.
To the rational mind, however, what deserves condemnation is not the mask, not the fake blood, not the decapitation imagery. That is just theater and Griffin is a performer. Griffin was taken to task for all the wrong reasons – the judges deducted points only for style. But her moral crime surely was not the off-color performance art. It was the message behind it. And what was that message? The message was exactly what you would think it is when you see someone posing with a decapitated head of their sworn enemy. They are saying this is what should happen to such an enemy. Trump needs to die.
Rather than indict Griffin for a message all liberals share – that it would be best that Trump were dead – a message they can not in good conscience disavow in front of the hoi polloi and still face each other at cocktail parties, they instead cleverly chose to fault her only for her over-the-top style. As Griffin herself said, “I went too far.” Maybe the blood was too realistic? The hair too orange? The Trump likeness too real? It scared Barron. But the message itself? That could skate. Not a single liberal who threw Griffin under the bus, found fault with the underlying message of death to the president. That’s a bold new low.
The defense to this charge from the more polite corners of the left will be that Griffin was not actually wishing the president dead. She just hates him really bad. Such a defense is asinine if you take the Left at their word. No one can say that impugning those motives to Griffin et al is a stretch. If they believe their own rhetoric, surely, they wish him dead. According to them, Trump is not only an ideological opponent, he is evil. He is the antithesis of everything they, as progressives, represent. And since progressives believe they represent all that is good and just in this world, Trump must represent all that is evil. Some might even say deplorable. He is a threat to their world. Just by pulling out of the Paris Accord, for example, he is dooming their planet. Trump is worse than Hitler to them. Hitler only messed up a continent. Worse still, unlike Hitler, Trump worked with the Russians. He stole the election with their help. He is not even a real president, you see, so it would not even be an actual real assassination. So, don’t get your panties into a twist.
If they really believe what they say about Trump, if they really hate him as much as they say they do, and I’m sure many do, then wishing him dead is the logical conclusion from that hate. Would you not want to see dead a man who was destroying your planet, stealing your democracy, and grabbing you by the crotch? Just like the jihadi terrorists, they believe their cause is just. So, it is the height of chutzpah for the Left to deny they want to see Trump at room temperature. So, when one of their alumni hold up his severed head as a trophy, what else should we conclude from that – that she is signalling her disapproval of his cabinet choices?
Make no mistake. She was less-than-subtly telegraphing that she wishes the president shuffle off this mortal coil – with a push. It may have been virtue signalling to wish Trump dead, but the decapitation imagery was not just metaphorical, Trump being the head of the nation. Griffin could have burned Trump in effigy if her politics were truly mainstream liberal. Burning presidents in effigy has been a classic scene from the angry anti-American street since 1979. But those people didn’t actually want to burn Jimmy and Ronald, per se, just America as a whole. But today, the severed head has a more sinister and a much more personal connotation as it is in keeping with a meme of the early 21st century – the anti-western jihadi radical holding aloft a severed head trophy. It is no accident that she, oppressed, according to her, by old white men, chose to kill that old white man in that fashion. It’s political and personal.
To be sure, Griffin’s message was not that she was going to do it, herself, or that she was imploring someone else to take the knife to Trump. So there really is no legal issue here. It is free speech. Just like she won’t actually move out of the country, so too she will not actually take one for Team Left. But I am sure she at least hopes some crackpot, with less to lose, does. If Trump was to drop dead, for any reason, foul play or fowl salmonella, the left would be celebratory like we have never seen. Just as if Hillary had won. They would tamper their enthusiasm in front of the cameras of course, but they would be in high spirits.
In any case, either by assassination, or by natural causes, Griffin and company wish Adolf Trump dead. She may prefer the latter, as assassinating your political enemy has an annoying way of making him a martyr, something the more seasoned of the radicals with a longer view would wish to avoid. And while wishing a president dead is not a crime in itself, it is a degree of radicalism we have not seen from mainstream liberal society before. So, the desire to see Trump dead is real. All Griffin did was express that desire publicly. That is what is new.
That is what is disturbing.
That is what deserved condemnation.
And that was what was missing from the reaction to Griffin. And the fact that it was missing, was more disturbing still.
The Griffin photo is a watershed event. It marks the first time that the heretofore far radical left, in the manner of a Bill Ayres, has been adopted by the mainstream left in the manner of an otherwise innocuous pop culture performer. Think about that. When a B-grade New Year’s Eve host is, as a matter of promoting her career, casually posting deadly serious ISIS-style death-to-the-US president photos – and essentially getting only poo-pooed by her fellow comrades – we know it heralds that the Left has moved into a higher gear.
But the higher gear is not one of degree. It is not so much an increase in the hatred for a conservative leader, as we can be sure, in private, the Left wished Reagan dead. And Bush dead. For the Left, the hatred for those republican presidents was personal then, too. They were mercilessly mocked in caricature as less than human. And to be honest, many on the right wished Obama dead. The difference was it was wished in private because they knew to do so publicly was taboo. And certainly, no public figure wished such a thing.
The hatred of the Left for their ideological enemies is not at a new level with Trump. Not really. It only seems that way because what is new is that they, from students to celebrities, feel comfortable expressing it publicly. Just as they feel comfortable kicking, beating, and bike lock clubbing conservatives in the streets – in full view of cameras; – just as they feel comfortable, as the captain, using the PA system in an aircraft to deliver an anti-Trump diatribe to captive passengers; just as they feel comfortable blocking highways, attacking college speakers, and fire-bombing campaign offices, so too do they feel comfortable admitting they want the president dead – something heretofore – even in the violent ‘60s – unthinkable for a mainstream figure.
That is what is frightening. The audacity. For there is one reason why this would now be the case. They now feel sufficiently confident of their spiritual hold onto enough of the population to finally reveal the nexus between the underground Left and the mainstream Left that heretofore has never been acknowledged. The Left feels so empowered by controlling the message, from the schools to the news media, and if all else fails, at least the courts – that they feel they can finally take what is otherwise radical politics, and what is otherwise terrorist tactics, and go mainstream with them. So, Griffin’s photoshoot was not avant-garde political theater. God no. Avant-garde political theater is when you carry a mattress around to all your classes.
What Griffin did was very different. She pushed the envelope of what the Left felt comfortable showing to the public. They have long taken opportunities afforded to them to showcase their politics. What would an awards show be without their pontification? But they have limited themselves either to supporting left-wing causes, or to critiques of their enemies. They have always maintained a respectable face. The have never publicly felt comfortable revealing their violent ideals or espousing the notion that the ends justify the means.
We all know that their “violence never solves anything” anti-war meme was always partisan left-wing anti-American boilerplate. But now they have moved beyond that to a much more honest message. Violence sometimes solves things. That has always been the message among the post-WW II Bolsheviks, but for internal consumption only. Kidnappings, hijackings, bombings. A means to an end. What we need to remind ourselves is that the left-wing in the west introduced those tactics, long before the idea of the radical jihadi was commonly known.
In the early ‘70s, before the Middle East went crazy, terrorism in the form of aforementioned methods was an upper class, white, college-educated “anti-fascist” Left-wing affair – the exact demographic populating groups like Antifa today. From the Baader-Meinhof Gang in West Germany, to the Red Brigades, Prima Linea and the October 22 Group in Italy, to the FLQ in Quebec, to the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Weather Underground in the US, and many more, the far Left has been a violent terrorist operation for almost 50 years.
But their polite company comrades in the public sphere – the column writers of the fifth column, the talking heads, the academics, the celebrities – they have always disavowed such things. Never the message, of course, just the tactics. When the ‘70s became the ‘80s, and radical hippies matured, this form of terrorism died out, and two things happened: Anti-western Islamic terrorism took its place, and the anti-western far-left college radicals moved into positions of power and started their war on society from the inside. A polite, respectable face was put on the far-left. A mask as it were. And they have maintained that mask for 35 years.
Now that is has changed. For the first time ever, the mainstream left is no longer publicly separating themselves from the far-Left underground. And they want you to know that. They want you to believe that to be a good person, to be progressive, you must take the fight to the enemy. They now are saying, Take to the streets, crack heads, and hey, what about that fascist pig president? A call like that could never go out from the mainstream to the public in 1970. Nobody would touch that. That was the exclusive domain of people who we all agreed were bad to the core. Not so today. With that photoshoot, for the first time ever, the mainstream liberal establishment, people we are supposed to all agree represent our society, has made the first, albeit a timid one that backfired, call to arms.
Why now? Maybe the Left feels that with an existential threat in the White House, they can’t afford to wait any longer to bring out their big guns for a recruitment drive that 40 years ago would have been aimed only at Patty Heart. Most likely, however, they feel they no longer need to hide their true ideological leanings nor the degree to which they lean. Either way, with two generations already indoctrinated in left-wing propaganda, and most of the rest of the population politically agnostic and tuned out, now is as good a time as any to reveal themselves. And with the election of Trump, we are seeing that across the board.
And why not. Ask any actor. He/she will tell you that those masks, especially the latex ones, are hot and sweaty. They are uncomfortable. But they must wear them for the role. They must be believable. That’s show business. But when you are finished playing the part, and you have done your job pretending to be something else, you can take the mask off and be yourself once again.