"The Ox-Bow Incident," based on a novel by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, is a tight, 75-minute attack on America's deeply-seated intolerance and its lynch-mob mentality, both of which are clearly alive and well in 2017.
Americans thrive on hero reduction and especially love to place blame.
In the past couple days, ugly words have been enthusiastically tossed about in response to Griffin's act:
"Disgusting!" "Stupid!" "Immature!"
But aren't these the same, exact words, used by the same, exact people, against Griffin's alleged victim for the past 100-plus days?
The worst offender has been CNN, whose suits seemingly tripped over their feet to announce that CNN was firing Griffin. Huh? Since when is Kathy Griffin an employee of CNN? She appears on CNN only once a year - co-hosting a New Year's Eve bash with CNN's Anderson Cooper. So she was fired seven months before her next single appearance on CNN?
How convenient for CNN, which has been the primary target of the current administration's war on the media. I mean, CNN and the new, invented expression, "fake news," are now irrevocably linked, thanks to Donald J.
"Hey, guys, a good way to break this link is to throw Kathy Griffin under the bus. Let's fire her and impress the administration." To exacerbate matters, Griffin's good friend, Anderson Cooper, made a statement distancing himself from her. You know, guilt by association. Not good. Media people know that it's smart to lick the hand that feeds them.
Much of the chaos of the past two days is emblematic of Donald J.'s reign, which is designed to incite people and then attack them for being incited.
Kathy Griffin is a stand-up comic, noted for doing and saying the inappropriate and going over the edge. But when she does or says something that's poorly-thought-out, it has no real consequences. Her target, on the other hand, is also noted for doing and saying the inappropriate and going over the edge - and the consequences of his actions, also poorly-thought-out, have the power to reverberate for decades.
OK, Griffin joked about a severed head (which, I think, will be a popular Halloween prop this year) and Donald J. joked about "grabbing pussy." So which is worse?
The last time I checked, Kathy Griffin isn't our Commander in Chief.
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~top: Dana Andrews as Donald Martin, Paul Burns as Winder and Henry Fonda as Gil Carter in "The Ox-Bow Incident"
~photography: Warner Bros. 1943 ©
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~middle: Donald J. Trump
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~bottom: Kathy Griffin