Hate expressed through artistic beheaded image of Donald Trump
Donald Trump decapitation vs. Obama noose
During the last days of May, Kathy Griffin had the whole country talking about her gruesome photo that was released. Tyler Shields shot the photo of Kathy Griffin posing with Donald Trump’s decapitated head. Trump’s head was drenched in blood. Griffin held the bloody face with a serious stern face. Since the release of the photo, Griffin has received a ton of backlash and several tour cancellations. Although, Kathy Griffin is not everyone’s favorite comedian, she has everyone talking. Some Americans are comparing Griffin’s photo to previous racist behavior that occurred during Obama’s eight year term. Also, some are minimizing Griffin’s actions because unlike Trump, she is not taking away healthcare and reproductive rights from millions of Americans.
According to Tyler Shields and other artists, beheading and decapitation pictures are artistic statements. Artist Artemisia Gentileschi is famously known for her artistic images of women beheading men. Metaphorically, Gentileschi painted women beheading men to show empowerment and political power. Gentileschi used art to express her political frustrations and concerns. However, in Kathy Griffin’s case, she is a comedian so her photo was seen as a cruel joke. Apparently, it is not funny to show any violence or cruelty towards a President. Tyler Shields had the idea of the decapitation of Donald Trump as an artistic statement which an original message of “social inequality and injustice.”
In my reasoning, the Kathy Griffin’s photo is disturbing and far too extreme. I think the idea of anyone jokingly killing a person, including the president, is dangerous. Although I hate Donald Trump and I do not care for him, I think the message of violence is unacceptable. Donald Trump even spoke out that his 11 year old son Barron is having a hard time with the photo. Here, is where my heart aches for the young children because I do not agree with exposing the youth to violence. To begin with, Barron Trump is already growing up in a negative household with his dad embedding in him the thought that immigrants are bad people, women cannot be respected, and people with disability are humorous. Children need to grow up in a loving open minded community in order to create peace, respect, and acceptance.
“Without love, our efforts to liberate ourselves and our world community from oppression and exploitation are doomed.” bell hooks.
hooks aim is to spread love because in her belief, in order to make change in the world, we must first love within ourselves. hooks is accurately true and because of love, photos like Kathy Griffin’s are dangerous to society. However, let us not forget that Obama experienced hate his entire term and his two young daughters had to grow up seeing Obama dolls getting lynched at events. Donald Trump is not the first president to experience hate and harshly negative feedback. In no way am I condoning violence or threats but Obama’s noose events and lynching was thrown under the carpet to be forgotten. It was all fun and games during Obama’s term but now that Donald Trump has experienced violent protest, the behavior is unacceptable and un-American. In addition, the noose of Obama was minimized because it was seen as a freedom of speech.
If pretending to hurt Obama and endangering his life is freedom of speech and a funny joke, then the same goes for Donald Trump’s beheaded photo. But, there is no photo worse than the other. Each action, art, or protest that negatively affects a president or someone’s life is unacceptable. Hate crime, terrorist attacks, mass shootings are becoming a normal thing in America because Americans are condoning harsh behavior/actions. Love must be taught and spread, as well as respect to end violent attacks. I am not an artist but I think art can be expressed differently in this case.