Does Kathy Griffin Want to Join ISIS?

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By John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream, June 1, 2017
John ZmirakThese are confusing times. If there’s a memo which explains what it’s safe to think and say nowadays, I didn’t get it. Neither may have many of you. So I decided to write one, which lays out the basic, unquestionable facts of life in 2017:

  • Islam is a religion of peace, and if you say otherwise, Muslims will kill you.
  • Muslims have nothing to do with terrorism. Don’t deny that, you’ll just provoke them!
  • Feminism is for female empowerment. Except when it runs interference for polygamous sheiks who favor female genital mutilation and the torture of rape victims. But, on everything else, it’s solid.
  • The left supports equality and opposes all exclusion. Except when they want all-female movie screenings and all-black dorms. But your Christian college had better have a gay activist group on campus, or else.
  • Liberals favor freedom. Except when you offend them, they’ll try to wreck your career and maybe put you in prison.
  • Progressives want democracy. But if you elect someone they disapprove of, they will fantasize about overthrowing the government, removing the president over fake scandals, or just outright murdering the guy.

We learned the last item on this list first from Rosie O’Donnell, who greeted the inauguration of Donald Trump by calling for a military coup, as we reported here at The Stream.

Kathy Griffin Auditions for ISIS

But we didn’t really know what it meant until today, when comedienne Kathy Griffin released an ISIS-style beheading selfie. She was holding the blood-soaked head of the president of the United States by the hair.

What can we really say to this? It’s probably illegal, but it’s doubtful that the feds will prosecute her. That’s exactly what she’s hoping will happen, to make her a martyr for free speech or something. Because it’s okay to urge violence against the president. That’s completely covered by the First Amendment. What isn’t covered is teaching divergent political opinions in college courses. Because that could “trigger” students and make them feel unsafe.

You know who should be most offended by Griffin’s stunt? Not Donald Trump. Not even his voters, though Griffin is proving her scorn for half of America. The half that has never heard of her, by the way. Those who should be most upset, I’d say were the survivors of ISIS’s actual victims. You know, the Christians who were in fact beheaded by the group whom Obama dismissed as the “JV team” of terror. And the families of anyone else who was beheaded by terrorists. John Podhoretz pointed this out on Twitter:

To the survivors of those who died in this particularly gruesome way, this stunt is just as funny as those sick Alt-Right cartoons picturing American Jews in ovens. Both were equally squalid and stupid.

That Moment in the Exorcism

Is there something deep and dark in the soul of the cultural left that is finally crawling out to see the light of day?

When Katy Perry isn’t mindlessly calling for peace love and brotherhood as the answer to Muslim slaughter bombings of schoolgirls, she’s releasing cannibalistic fetish videos [WARNING: Vile, graphic content].

When Planned Parenthood isn’t telling pregnant women who want pre-natal care to go look for it on Google, its representatives are joking about the butchered parts of babies. It doesn’t seem too far-fetched to say of our culture that this is the moment in the exorcism when the head starts to spin around. How ironic is it that “baby-Christian” Donald Trump was the man who has provoked all this! God works in funny ways.

The Left’s Campaign of Terror

Or maybe it’s not demonic. Wielding Occam’s Razor, we don’t absolutely need a preternatural explanation for the devilish ways of the left. There’s political theory here that could go some way toward explaining what we see. The left was savagely disappointed in the defeat of Hillary Clinton. They saw her chance to pack the courts and spur the federal Leviathan as a golden opportunity to silence Christians forever — while flooding the country with new natural Democratic voters. They came so achingly close to sealing the deal that they can taste it. So they flail around for scapegoats:

  • James Comey sandbagged us.
  • Half of Americans are racists.
  • The Russians hacked Vermont’s voting machines.
  • The Russians hacked our brains using Wikileaks.

Unable to contain their impotent rage, many leftists have decided on a course of “resistance.” That means pulling out every stop, breaking every rule, abandoning every previous standard of decency. The goal? To create or simulate a national crisis, and call into question the legitimacy of our government. Political scientist Thomas Molnar called such a strategy “cultural terrorism.” See my January column explaining this theory in detail.

The power of this strategy is that it feeds on our very outrage. The more people who thunder about Kathy Griffin’s vile stunt, the better she likes it (though of course she’ll officially apologize). She and her allies want to produce division, rage, and extremist counter-stunts. That helps bring on the crisis in which they believe they will be the winners.

Much better, I think, to meet this desperate cry for Botox on the part of a D-list celebrity with the emotion it truly deserves. Good, healthy scorn. Along those lines, my favorite reaction to Griffin was that of provocateur Gavin Macinnes:


The devil can bear many things. He can’t abide being mocked. So said St. Thomas More.




John Zmirak is a Senior Editor of The Stream, and author of the new Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He received his B.A. from Yale University in 1986, then his M.F.A. in screenwriting and fiction and his Ph.D. in English in 1996 from Louisiana State University. His focus was the English Renaissance, and the novels of Walker Percy. He taught composition at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, and has written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention, representing Pat Buchanan.

He has been Press Secretary to pro-life Louisiana Governor Mike Foster, and a reporter and editor at Success magazine and Investor’s Business Daily, among other publications. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in First Things, The Weekly Standard, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, USA Today, FrontPage Magazine, The American Conservative, The South Carolina Review, Modern Age, The Intercollegiate Review, Commonweal, and The National Catholic Register, among other venues. He has contributed to American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia and The Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought. From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of Faith & Family magazine and a reporter at The National Catholic Register. During 2012 he was editor of Crisis.

He is author, co-author, or editor of eleven books, including Wilhelm Ropke: Swiss Localist, Global Economist, The Grand Inquisitor (graphic novel) and The Race to Save Our Century. He was editor of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s guide to higher education, Choosing the Right College and, for ten years, and is also editor of Disorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind.