Plucked Up, Body-Slammed, and Half-Dissed

May 31, 2017

This was a week for the peanut gallery. While Donald Trump tossed red herrings to divert the Russian probe, a comedienne, a reporter and a vanquished candidate were keen to counter his brand of chaos. Here are the plays they ran:

Screenshot 2017-05-31 10.42.47PLUCK UP  Funny woman Kathy Griffin went up to and over the comic edge when she hoisted a decapitated faux head of Donald Trump. Her play was a very good example of a very badly-executed peacock, the strategy that seeks to shock. And shock she did — to everyone’s horror, including Chelsea Clinton, who called out the stunt as vile. Griffin’s immediate play was to beg forgiveness, a concede that smartly didn’t include the “if” word. But now what? For this decision, Griffin is self-sentenced to a kind of purgatory where she must now become a comic that she’s not.

DApDamNWsAARYiD.jpg-largeTHROW DOWN  By all accounts, Guardian political reporter Ben Jacobs was brutally and wrongly assaulted by congressional candidate Greg Gianforte when he pushed his mic close and asked tough Trumpcare questions of the campaigning Montana Republican. For his efforts, Jacobs was “body slammed” by Gianforte. What followed was a sound track and a witnessing FOX news crew that seemed to verify the story. But what didn’t follow were questions of context: Did Jacobs bait the candidate? Should he have known better? Has this happened before? How exactly was Jacobs taken down? However wrong the candidate was — and he was — the rush to judge him was immediate, notably by CNN and Vox and various friends of Jacobs. It was a clinic on the labeling of an event and some proof that kangaroo courts are alive and well in social media.

Screenshot 2017-05-31 11.09.06PAT DOWN  From the safe perch of her alma mater, Wellesley College, Hillary Clinton seemed finally to be taking off the gloves. But was it to punch the air or punch her foe, The Donald? It was less than clear as she employed the ping play to swipe at he-who-she-shall-not-name. “People denying science…They don’t even try to hide it…They may even call you a nasty woman,” she impassively quipped. One wonders when or if Clinton will drop the pretense of a philosophic scholar and lead the charge that in her commencement speech she is so clearly encouraging. However subtle she’s hoping to be, her plays are taken as provocative, more akin to baits and call outs. So why not fight if the game is afoot?

Post by Alan Kelly

Photo and screen credits:,,