A Tale of Two Critiques

Donald Trump has obviously become a very polarizing public figure. Every public comment or tweet is subject to disection and dirision. Deserved or not will depend on your politics, but last week I was struck by two critiques: both their similarities and how divergent they were.


The first was the photo of Kathy Griffin holding a bloody head that resembled Donald Trump. The photo quickly went viral, then a whirlwind of backlash ensued. (Then there was backlash to the backlash, as seems to frequently be the case on social media.) There were opinions that she’d gone too far; a line had been crossed; and she was inciting violence. It reached a crescendo when Donald himself weighed in:


Meanwhile, over on Facebook just after the United States removed itself from the Paris Climate Accord, Ben and Jerry’s Canada posted a link to a post entitled: “6 Reasons Pulling Out of the Paris Climate Agreement Was Totally, Definitely the Right Move“. Ben and Jerry’s has always been a little quirky, but their six point take on climate change was sarcasm at its finest. Not surprising (maybe a bit) it didn’t reach the viral level of the Kathy Griffin photo.


Both were a criticism of President Trump. Both were an attempt at humour. I would guess that the only one you heard about last week involved Kathy Griffin. To be heard above the constant noise of social media, do you have to be shocking? Is the fall out worth it? Ms. Griffin basically said it wasn’t for her with loss of employment and friends. How do we move beyond the lowest common denominator to a place where ideas not people can be debated?


Until then, I think I’m only going to follow ice cream companies…and maybe their trucks.



Facebook: “A Tale of Two Critiques”: when humour is funny and when it isn’t. http://bit.ly/2sRZO9P

Twitter: “A Tale of Two Critiques”: when humour is funny and when it isn’t. http://bit.ly/2sRZO9P


3 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Critiques

  1. Hi Bonnie,

    I have to say that if you have Ben and Jerry laughing at Trump, like a million other people, versus Kathy Griffin holding a realistic severed head of the United State’s President, of course Kathy Griffin is going to take over social media. Especially with such a polarizing image of a severed head; it’s like something you would see in terrorist videos. Ben and Jerry are just doing what millions of other bloggers and journalists are doing. It’s hard to pull the spotlight if you aren’t doing anything radical.

    A picture is worth a thousand words – that gruesome picture was like writing a novel in social media.

    Great post,


  2. Definitely true that every public comment is up for debate/criticism, especially when you’re a powerful public figure.

    I’m surprised Trump is allowed to have this personal account in addition to his official professional Twitter, as I remember an interview where Obama talked about how limited his use of technology was with everything being monitored.

    But anyways, I agree with Marielle that any publicity is still publicity so controversial posts and tweets are often a way to draw attention to the profile. I don’t agree with it but yes, here we are talking about it and drawing more attention!

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