Sunday, June 4, 2017


I imagine the meeting went something like this:

Kathy: " I need to do something that will draw attention to me and lead to more bookings at casinos."

P.R. Guy:  "Okay..."

Kathy:  "I know! Two words. SEX TAPE!"

P.R.Guy:  "Ew......."

Kathy:  "Wait, I got another one....."

The rest, as they say, is history. Comedian Kathy Griffin committed the most public act of career immolation since, gee, I don't know, John Rocker, with her infamous picture of her holding the severed head of the President.

I'm not sure who thought this was a good idea. I'm not sure if even The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) would show this picture and I went to a Yoko Ono exhibit there one time.

The picture, which is protected First Amendment speech, wasn't really as clear as it was graphic. Was she saying she opposes Trump so much that she wishes she could cut off his head?  Or was it something more benign: " Hey, look at me"?

I couldn't guarantee it, but I think somebody in the Secret Service thought, "You know, an actor killed Lincoln"  But I doubt this little red headed woman would pose any real physical threat to our big orange President.

I think it was an immature, not well thought out, publicity stunt.  Griffin followed it up with an apology that was as sincere as a lap dance. Then she followed that up with a press conference which was as whiny as it was pathetic.

Griffin should have heeded the example of another entertainer:  Jayne Mansfield.

Mansfield was an "actress" in the late fifties and early sixties.  The nearest present day comparison I can think of is Pamela Sue Anderson.  Mansfield was an early Playmate for Playboy magazine, which meant she was, um, comfortable showing her body in an era in which body showing was not as celebrated as it is today.

She was famous for her publicity stunts. Here is a picture of the most famous one.

Yes, I Chickened Out

Mansfield was at a dinner in the honor of Sophia Loren, probably the second most beautiful Italian woman ever (just slightly behind my wife but ahead of Valerie Bertinelli and Marisa Tomei). Mansfield's decolletage was very exposed and one of her nipples made a cameo appearance for the photographers present. This explains Sophia Loren's stink eye in the above picture.

Of course, this made Mansfield very famous. It even helped launch the career of Dick Cavett. Cavett was a writer for Jack Paar's Tonight Show and wrote this introduction for Mansfield when she was on the show:  "And here they are, Jayne Mansfield".

Did you know Jayne Mansfield won a Golden Globe? Did you know that she made a couple of records with Jimi Hendrix (Yes, that Jimi Hendrix)?  Did you know that one of her kids is an actress on Law and Order: Special Victims Units?

Probably not. We mainly remember her for bending down and showing the world the puppies. Just like we won't remember Griffin for surviving one of the most difficult jobs in the world-walking into a room and making strangers laugh.

Mansfield's life was pretty troubled. Towards the end of her life, she made "personal appearances". One was at a store opening here in Marietta, Georgia in 1966. We went.  My mom said Mansfield showed up drunk.

Mansfield died in an auto accident in Mississippi. The urban legend had that she was decapitated. For the record, she wasn't.

The whole point of a publicity stunt is to attract attention. Griffin got it in buckets.  It turned out to be the attention she didn't want.  But she did perform a valuable public service.

It is not a good idea to make a political statement with a severed head. 

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