Kathy Griffin and Jim Carrey’s Intellectually Bankrupt View of Art and Comedy:
A Christocentric Biblical Refutation
By Dr. Tom Snyder
Last week, the political world exploded into an uproar over stand-up comedienne Kathy Griffin’s ultraviolent photograph where she held up a mock, very bloody, depiction of Pres. Donald Trump’s severed head.
Most people, not just supporters of Pres. Trump, condemned Griffin’s photograph, which was designed by a self-described artist who excels in producing violent, bloody, grim tableaus. They said that Kathy Griffin and her photographer colleague had crossed a line that shouldn’t have been crossed. Even Griffin herself later apologized, saying she “went too far.”
However, Griffin has started to back away from her apology (she even hired a lawyer!), and a few of her friends and admirers started defending her actions. For example, according to Variety on June 1, actor and former stand-up comic Jim Carrey told Entertainment Tonight:
“It’s the job of the comedian to cross the line at all times. That line is not real and if you step out into that spotlight and you’re doing the crazy things that [Trump is] doing, we’re the last line of defense. The comedians are the last voice of truth in this whole thing. It’s impossible to get away from it.”
While it’s good and even right that Mr. Carrey urged comedians to be “the voice of truth,” his comments here didn’t explain or answer the question, “Where was the ‘truth’ in Kathy Griffin holding up a realistic, gory depiction of Pres. Trump’s severed head???”
The answer, of course, is that there was no “truth” in Kathy Griffin’s beheading photo – just a disgusting, gruesome, nihilistic image of extreme violence, hatred, brutality, and murder.
Jim Carrey’s guideline for comedians of “crossing the line at all times” is not a valid, rational or worthwhile goal for any comedian (or artist for that matter). In fact, it’s a false, unartful, irrational, ugly, and even evil rule that only Bad Artists and Pseudo-Intellectuals use to justify false, unartful, irrational, overly partisan, ugly, hysterical, and evil things like Kathy Griffin’s beheading photograph.
The FIRST goal of real art and true comedy is to be good (including absorbing, captivating, entertaining, or enjoyable). For comedians, of course, that means you also must be objectively funny, or subjectively funny to many people, not just a chosen few (and even witty, if possible).
The second goal of real art and true comedy, however, is to find, uncover, reveal, and/or teach/promote the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Sometimes, of course, this can mean crossing the line, but not necessarily, and certainly not at all times.
Now, these two goals of real art and true comedy can be discerned simply by doing some logical reasoning and using some simple wisdom.
However, you can also find these two goals mentioned in the Bible, which Christians believe is the inspired Word of God Written.
Thus, for example, Philippians 4:8 admonishes, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” In this passage, we not only find Truth, we also find the Good (whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is admirable, and anything that is excellent or praiseworthy) and the Beautiful (whatever is lovely).
Other passages we might cite include the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, especially 1 Corinthians 13:6, which says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” There’s also Galatians 5:6, which says, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Finally, there’s Jesus Christ’s proclamation in Matthew 22:37-40 that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself, and His command in Matthew 28:18-20:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
Clearly, Kathy Griffin’s beheading photograph not only violates the first rule of all real art and all true comedy, it also violates the second rule as well.
Also, clearly, her view of art and comedy, and Jim Carrey’s rule of “crossing the line at all times,” are not only morally and aesthetically bankrupt, they are also intellectually bankrupt.
Therefore, we urge people to pray for the spiritual, moral, artistic, political, and intellectual enlightenment of Kathy Griffin, Jim Carrey and their relatives, friends, colleagues, supporters, and fans, through the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As another biblical passage says (2 Timothy 2:24-26):
“The Lord’s Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth.”
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