Mel wrote a great post called, What Kathy Griffin says about us as a society. If you want a well written post about “why” this matters, about the heart and root of the problem, have yourself a read.
For me, mercy, grace, forgiveness, that state of being we try to extend to others, does not cast Kathy Griffin aside and alone, it actually names the evil, and takes responsibility for its existence as a community problem. That is not to say she is not totally responsible for what she has done, it is just that she does not carry that burden alone in a cultural context. “We” allowed it, bought tickets for it, funded it, ignored it, let it go, and actively condoned it. The collective “we,” so “our” hands are not perfectly clean either.
We are required, morally obligated even, to name evil for what it is, and then to take responsibility for having allowed it to come into being and for not having stopped it sooner. That is how I approach things anyway, with some symbiosis in mind, an awareness of how we are all interconnected. The idea of forgiving Kathy Griffin didn’t even occur to me, because earthly condemnation and social media aside, it never even occurred to me to hold her in condemnation. She just is what she is. So what do we plan to do about it??
Forgiveness is more like what I had to do after listening to her massive pity party in which she blamed just about everyone and everything but herself. Flying monkeys, Russians, President Trump, global warming, satan, 12-year-old girls who want to be comedians someday, and anyone who does not embrace gays and lesbians. That was a staggeringly painful thing to watch and I wanted to just throw her in the bay and be done with it. Took a day or so to untangle myself from my contempt.
Flying monkeys are imaginary excuses that enable us to avoid taking any personal responsibility for who we are and what we do. It’s not my fault, I’m a good person so any bad stuff that happens to me could not have possibly been self-inflicted. Also, I am totally undeserving of any and all consequences.
Believe it or not, that is actually a hellish way to live and there is an entire industry that has built up around it, that exploits it, that profits from perpetual victimology, everything from the pharmaceutical industry, to politics, to mediated reality and fake news, to advocacy, social justice and therapy. Victims R Us these days. It’s a profitable business.
That seems to be the real blight on our cultural potato right now. It’s been a problem brewing for a long while, but recently it seems as if we’ve hit the apex of all such foolishness. The problem with blaming everyone and everything else is that it stunts your own growth, it renders you totally powerless, and it creates hostility and divisions. In Kathy Griffin’s own narrative, the whole world broke her, the whole world is out to get her, and she has been unjustly persecuted for something she had absolutely no hand in and no control over.
Those of us on the outside looking in can see how foolish that is. She alone made the choice to pose with a bloody head in her hands, so she alone is responsible for the consequences that come her way. What “we,” and again I mean the collective “we,” are responsible for is allowing our culture and our ideology to run so far amuck that Kathy actually thought that might be a good idea. Thankfully, we seem to still have enough crumbs of human decency to let loose a resounding “NO” that seems to have criss crossed all ends of the spectrum, so that is a good sign.
Sometimes intolerance is actally an act of love. As a culture, a Christian culture even, we really need to stand up, becasue we’re sure living in interesting times. We don’t need to be more forgiving, those who get lost need to be more forgiven. They can never know what it means to be “more forgiven,” if we keep thinking that our own forgiveness is all they ever need.
That is the issue I have with the tolerance crowd, with the forget and forgive everything gang. Yes, all true on a personal level, tolerate and forgive, but without also providing some clear walls, boundaries, and limitations, there is no safety either, and we’ll soon all find ourselves rapidly free falling through the universe.