In the wake of Kathy Griffin holding up a mock severed head of President Trump, it's disturbingly obvious that murderous thoughts about our leaders are now considered by the left to be light, humorous fare, a balm for their anxieties.
It's not just Trump. The latest issue of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo arrived just before the British general election with a tasteless cover cartoon of British Prime Minister Theresa May holding her severed head in her arm. The title above translates to "Multiculturalism the English Way."
It's why we're still with the hashtag #NeSuisPasCharlie.
Griffin's assassination theme is also operating in a poorly disguised Trump version of "Julius Caesar" currently running as the "Shakespeare in the Park" production in New York City's Central Park. Caesar wears a business suit with an overlong necktie and a bushy reddish-blond haircut. His wife, Calpurnia, speaks with a Slavic accent.
The Public Theater website describes this updated production by saying: "Rome's leader, Julius Caesar, is a force unlike any the city has seen. Magnetic, populist, irreverent, he seems bent on absolute power. A small band of patriots, devoted to the country's democratic traditions, must decide how to oppose him. Shakespeare's political masterpiece has never felt more contemporary."
Artistic director Oskar Eustis seconded the emotion that Shakespeare's play was "fresh and new" in our modern age of apparent Trump tyranny, saying, "The institutions that we have grown up with, that we have inherited from the struggle of many generations of our ancestors, can be swept away in no time at all."
In the central act of the original play, Caesar is stabbed to death. In this modernized version, an American flag looms over a bloody stabbing of Trumpy Caesar. One audience member, Laura Sheaffer, was shocked. As quoted by Mediate, she said: "They had the full murder scene onstage, and blood was spewing everywhere out of his body. ... To be honest, I thought it was shocking and distasteful. ... I mean it was the on-stage murder of the president of the United States."
In the era of Trump, one man's distaste is the left's idea of class. The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust (from the Publishers Clearing House magazine sweepstakes fortune) is the financial patron for all this assassination chic. American Express is the "official card" of this Trump-loathing gang.
Everyone can guess what the reaction of the Manhattan-centered national media would be if this same play had been modernized with a charismatic black president and his fashionable wife with toned arms. The Safe Bet Department says this would never, ever happen in New York City. The Obama-loving press got a nasty case of the vapors when Rush Limbaugh merely wished his agenda would fail, and again when Sen. Mitch McConnell suggested Obama should be denied a second term. Imagine either of them condoning a fictional rendition of his assassination.
But a bloody murder of Trump onstage upsets no one. The New Yorker passed right over it. The New York Times couldn't be moved. There were no spit takes on "Morning Joe."
The socialist British newspaper The Guardian, last seen taking great umbrage that its reporter was shoved to the floor by a congressional candidate in Montana, described the play's Trump assassination plot as "taking a somewhat lighter touch with their Trump resistance themes." A lighter touch? Trump being stabbed like a pincushion? How droll!
CNN Sunday host Fareed Zakaria raved about it on Twitter: "If you're in NYC, go see Julius Caesar, free in Central Park, brilliantly interpreted for Trump era. A masterpiece." That brings the whole Kathy Griffin theme around again. This is why Griffin felt her stunt would only make her more popular at CNN.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org.