Yesterday, my awesome and greatly respected friend Niegel emailed me a Fox news correspondant's blog regarding a much pubilicized joke made by commedian Kathy Griffin. There's a lot to unpack here, but rather than forming a well thought out blog post, I just want to get this out there, so I'm posting the email discussion I had with him about it. Love to hear different reactions people are having,. So, first, here's the clip of Kathy Griffin's award acceptance speech that is causing such a stir. Followed by a link to the blog post that Niegel and I are writing about. Then a clip of Fox News reporting about the joke and blog response (you could host a whole blog on this clip alone). The issue we're really discussing, isn't so much Kathy's joke, but the way people are reacting to it, but feel free to react to whatever part of this cornucopia seems most distasteful.
Fox News Correspondant Lauren Green's Blog Response
My email after receiving the article from Niegel:
"I didn't hear anything about the original remark, but my sense is that Kathy Griffin seems less offensive than this correspondent does. Kathy Griffin saying "suck it Jesus, this award is my God now" is a self-effacing, self mocking statement that points out both the absurdity of basing one's identity on the awards one is given but also the insincerity of so many people who haphazardly thank God or Jesus when they're handed an award.
whereas, i couldn't even make it through this woman's article- who was so quick to be offended by A COMEDIAN (who's job, like Shakespeare's fools, etc, is to reflect our ridiculousness back to us by putting it on themselves) then goes on to try to teach church history. i just wonder what Jesus would have done. i think he would have understood Kathy Griffin, had compassion on where she's coming from (she's winning an award for how successful she is at making fun of herself and how disregarded she is- its gutsy to make a career of laughing at how people see and treat you- but that doesn't come without having to harden yourself to not be as hurt as you actually should be), --Jesus would not try to shame her further with an irrelevant history lesson. A lot of what "offends" people in general seems to be about their own self-involvement and an inability to look at where words are actually coming from or trying to say. Maybe there was humor meant in the way the correspondent is trying to prove that Jesus gave Kathy her award- that would be funny (and a great starting point for dialogue)- but the article comes across as over-earnest and self-righteous. But i'd love if it wasn't meant that way.
I've often thought of myself as someone who's difficult to offend- and to a large extent I think that's true. But where I do get hurt is when my humanity or personhood is trampled on. And in Kathy's statement, that did not happen to me, so I was not offended. She's trampling on her own personhood- and maybe it's good to be offended on her behalf. But I think she's effectively offending people who need to be shaken out of thinking that God gets offended the way we do. I don't think God does. God was probably more hurt at how Kathy sees herself and is able to joke about it, than in her laughing at how people receive awards which mean very little in the scheme of things.
what do you think about this article?
did you hear the original remark? how did you receive it?"
"I too was struck by the journalists lack of awareness for Kathy's form. Kathy's comments I thought were in a self-mocking vain. Her statement definitely doesn't offend me! If anything, it forces me to consider my relationship to God and to objects and to vanity.
Unfortunately, I only think this writer knew how to 'react' and to 'respond' with emphasis on the prefix "re." She would have a much stronger argument if she had actually had a dialogue with Kathy's words. If she had engaged with the statement that Kathy is trying to make, the writer might actually get away with giving us the history lesson too. I think that lesson is exciting, though a bit naive, the line she draws from the fulfillment of Jesus to modern American democracy.
In general, I thought this article just represented the reactionary politics and journalism that we all need to be aware of and challenge. We need to demand (through user comments, letters to the editors, conversations with each other and purchasing power) more complex writing and sharing."