With much of the left currently arguing over whether or not America's college youth have abandoned free speech while the right has inexplicably poised itself as the party of free thought, it's worth reminding ourselves what government conservatives actually think of the First Amendment. And there's no one more equipped to do so than Kathy Griffin.
Griffin—the former red carpet haint who was pilloried by just about everyone for her headless Trump photo last year—has returned to the public eye, both with a U.S. tour (she comes to Seattle in July) and, this past weekend, an appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.
As Griffin explains on the show, after that subjectively tasteless-but-amusing (I lol-ed, I'll admit it) photo came out, her life and career changed abruptly. The President tweeted about it, his fans and goons came gunning for her, and she was dropped by both CNN and Squatty Potty, the company that makes your poop stance ergonomically correct. In the midst of a 50-city tour, venue after venue started canceling. Her life, she thought, was over.
While Griffin's friends were ignoring her calls, the Department of Justice was investigating her. After two months, they concluded that—surprise!—Kathy Griffin was not actually a threat to the President. But by then, her career had already tanked and her friends were long gone. She's still on Interpol’s No Fly list, she said on Real Time, and she was detained at every airport she went through on her overseas tour.
Personally, I find Griffin's abandonment by both friends and brands shameful but understandable: In our current climate, anything viewed as "offensive" is just too toxic to touch, and apparently there's little more that's offensive as metaphorically decapitating a president, even one who has called for the U.S. to bring torture back. But the government (and not just the FCC) attempting to crack down on jokes? It's hard to imagine something more un-American than that.