Being a millennial New Yorker and actor, I’d like to think I’ve got pretty thick skin.
Getting rejected is par for the course in the entertainment industry. The city doesn’t do you any favors — just try battling the check out lines at Whole Foods at 3pm on a Sunday. Heck, even the squirrels seems to have a certain undeniable hutzpah on these streets.
Really, nothing quite comes as a shock to me anymore, for better or for worse.
Earlier this week, opening up my Buzzfeed app to find Kathy Griffin’s infamous photo of her, carrying the bloodied head of a decapitated President Donald Trump…I literally stopped in my tracks.
And I have a few words.
This is not okay. I don’t care how much you hate the President or his policies, that went. too far.
It’s no secret that Donald Trump is one of – if not the most – polarizing Presidents in the history of the United States, but propagating his death – especially by deliberate decapitation – even as “comedy” – is never, under any circumstance, funny, or edgy, or boundary pushing, or remotely acceptable. Just. No.
I’m not here to drag Kathy Griffin through the coals, but when has this level of sordid obscenity become okay?
When has it become acceptable to emulate the likes of terrorists, and pass it off as political satire?
RealTalk: We need to wake up, look in the mirror, and say, how did I make that okay?
Because here’s the thing: Ms. Griffin is not stupid. She’s a managed comedy machine. And for better or for worse, that photo shoot was calculated: she took those pictures, because the climate of our society is such that smut is culturally acceptable. And dare I say, even celebrated. ((50 Shades of Gray much?))
Sure, maybe she’s having to back pedal now, but the fact is, she released it, because we allowed her to.
And my question is this: What role am I playing in that?
What am I doing to challenge or perpetuate this climate of awfulness?
What do I spend my money on? What shows do I watch? What video games do I play? What clothes do I wear? What do I retweet, or read, or talk about?
We make our cultural beds, so to speak, every single day, by the actions that we take – or don’t take.
And Kathy Griffin’s grave misstep, is just one example of the monster that we’ve helped create.
I look around, as I’m walking through the streets of New York, and I’d say that 90% of the people have their heads down, buried in their phones.
I kid you not. I was walking through Bryant Park at dusk one evening, and at one point, I looked up and every. single. person. was engrossed in their phones. Even the couples sitting on blankets.
And you and I, we’re fighting an uphill battle, living in a culture that has left God behind long ago.
Now, I look at that picture of Kathy Griffin, and instead of remaining shocked and saddened and disgusted by this disrespect and terroristic nature of the photo, I’m instead, challenged to make a change.
Ignited to combat the depravity of our age.
And it starts with you and me: With our small sphere of influence. The people in our lives. The neighbors, friends, shop keepers, and community members. How do we spread love? Respect? Tolerance? Understanding? Forgiveness?
We do it by letting God shine through us.
We do it by looking up from our phones and engaging with people on a meaningful level – hearing their stories, and sharing our own. Encountering people, and sharing the truth that they are loved and that there is something — or rather SomeOne — greater to live for.
Even in something as little as a smile. Or a hug.
Because in the world that can be oppressive and dark, a little light goes a long way.
It starts with you and me.
It starts today.
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