Is it wrong to depict the president's assassination? | The Tylt
A production of Shakespeare's Caesar, where President Donald Trump is Caesar, sparked furor over its depiction of Trump's assassination. Conservatives say showing the president's assassination goes too far. With tensions as high as they are, we shouldn't even go there. Others say the play is art and is protected under free speech. It's ironic that self-described defenders of free speech are losing their shit over a play about the dangers of assassinations. What do you think?
Is it wrong to depict the president's assassination?
Here's how the Public Theater depicted Trump's assassination in their production of "Julius Caesar."
Conservatives say people are going too far by showing violence against the president. At a certain point, claiming something is art can't give cover to the fact that people are inciting violence against the president. No matter what you think of Trump, showing his assassination crosses the line. We are in a unique situation. Americans are more divided and angrier than ever.
Giving people the idea that killing the president is okay will not end well.
With millions of Americans in a state of perpetual rage, it takes just one deranged leftist to put Donald J. Trump in his crosshairs and pull the trigger. This is especially worrisome given the three security breaches at the White House just this month. In one incident, Jonathan Tran, 26, scaled three barriers and then spent 16 minutes strolling the grounds of the executive mansion while Trump was inside.
Some take issues with how the assassination is depicted in "Julius Caesar." These things exist on a spectrum. On one end is Snoop Dogg shooting a fake gun at a clown dressed as Trump. People might not like it, but it's pretty clear what the statement is. On the other is Kathy Griffin posing with Trump's decapitated head. Many see the on-stage murder of the president as something closer to Griffin's stunt.
“They had the full murder scene onstage, and blood was spewing everywhere out of his body,” she said. “To be honest I thought it was shocking and distasteful. If this had happened to any other president — even as recently as Barack Obama or George W. Bush — it would not have flown. People would have been horrified.”
The play sets Shakespeare's "Julia Caesar" in modern day and models its characters after well-known figures in American politics. The play hews closely to how Shakespeare wrote it 400 years ago. Here's what the show's director Oskar Eustis wrote about the meaning of the work:
"Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means. To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him," The director added, "Julius Caesar is about how fragile our democracy is. 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." Eustis' statement doesn’t directly reference Trump either.
This is art, plain and simple. Where was the outrage over depicting the president's death when a different production of "Julius Caesar" showed a character modeled after former president Barack Obama being assassinated? There was none. Instead, people appreciated the art for what it was. All speech is free speech, even speech you think is disgusting and vile. Whether it's Snoop Dogg, Kathy Griffin, or a theater production in New York, people can depict Trump however they want. This is America.
Whatever Kathy Griffin thought she would achieve with her disgusting photo stunt, she did — however unintentionally — provide us with a valuable First Amendment lesson. We stand for her right to do what she did, just as we stand for the right of Trump and anyone else to condemn her for it.