#Je Suis Charlie!

From The Wall Street Journal this morning:

PARIS—Armed men Wednesday stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical magazine targeted in the past for its cartoons on Islam, leaving 12 people dead, according to the Paris prosecutor.

The Journal described the satirical magazine, whose editor in chief and at least one graphic artist were slaughtered by Muslim fanatics, this way:

Charlie Hebdo has often put France’s secular dogma to the test, printing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad on several occasions. In 2011, its offices were struck by arson, hours before a special issue of the weekly—dubbed “Shariah Hebdo”—was published…In 2006, the paper reprinted images of Muhammad that had appeared in a Danish magazine a year before. The next year, it published a picture of Muhammad crying, with the tagline “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.”

The Associated Press noted:

The extremist Islamic State group has threatened to attack France, and minutes before the attack Charlie Hebdo had tweeted a satirical cartoon of that extremist group’s leader giving New Year’s wishes. Charlie Hebdo has been repeatedly threatened for publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, among other controversial sketches, and its offices were firebombed in 2011.

According to The Guardian, a mere six days after that firebombing in 2011—which “completely destroyed the Paris offices”—Charlie Hebdo,

published a new front page depicting a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist passionately kissing a bearded Muslim man in front of the charred aftermath of the bombing. The headline this time was: L’Amour plus fort que la haine (Love is stronger than hate).

CNN has been reporting that witnesses said the gunmen shouted, “We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad,” as well as, “We have killed Charlie Hebdo.”

Like hell they have.

Twitter users all over the world are using #JeSuisCharlie, “I Am Charlie.” Many of the magazine’s covers and articles have been reproduced and presented to millions upon millions of people who had never heard of Charlie Hebdo until today. Charlie Hebdo is very much alive, even if some of those who produced the magazine have now been silenced by Islamist bastards.

Kudos to CNN’s Chris Cuomo, by the way. Earlier today, the morning news anchor said the following to the control room at CNN:

Put up the cover! Today’s publication date of Charlie Hebdo—if they’re not able to get their message out, we’ll get it out for them—there’s the cover of the magazine…

charlie hebdo and cnn

…This is a satire of someone who is obviously about to get their head cut off, right? The person who is the victim is supposed to be Muhammad. He’s saying, “Wait, I’m the Prophet, you idiot!” And the guy who is going to cut his head off is saying, “Shut your mouth, infidel!” And it says on the caption on the top, “If Muhammad Were To Come Back.” 

Long live Charlie Hebdo! Even as we mourn the loss of those who died in Paris today, let us champion the work they have done. Let us celebrate free speech:

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  1. Troy

     /  January 7, 2015



  2. Bbob

     /  January 7, 2015

    How do you reason with barbarians?


    • That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure these people were barbarians in the traditional sense. Maybe one could look at them as entirely reasonable–given the ideas floating around in their heads. If one has in his mind the notion that journalists working for a satirical magazine grossly insulted a real God, and that it is one’s religious duty to avenge said God because he demands it, then it is entirely rational for that person to kill the journalists. The trick to all this is to get to these people before the ideas of religious zealotry and extremism, which operate according to their own rules of logic, can be planted in their minds. And I don’t know how to pull off that trick in a free society like France or here. One way, I suppose, to combat such extremism is to do what Charlie Hebdo was doing, which, now that these killings have happened, has been multiplied exponentially, all to the better of mankind.



  3. King Beauregard

     /  January 7, 2015

    Before we build up too big a head of steam here, let us at least note that yesterday, an angel drove his pickup truck down from heaven to remind us that violent lunatics are not the sole province of Islam:


    Granted, the suspect hasn’t been found yet, but “the man driving the pickup is a balding white man who appears to be in his 40s” … any of you gambling types, what do you suppose the odds are that he’s a God-fearing Christian whose concepts of religion, patriotism, and race are part of one big undifferentiated cheesy blob in his head? Pretty good, do you suppose?

    So as we can clearly see, all Christians are murderers because a guy tried to blow up a thing.


    • I’m pretty sure I didn’t suggest that all Muslims are murderers. I wrote about a few Islamist freaks in Paris who executed, in the name of Allah, journalists they didn’t like. I hope it doesn’t come to the point where we can’t reference acts like that without referencing other similar acts done by other religiously or culturally disturbed people. I think we can, or at least should, all agree that there are plenty of psychopaths to go around in the many expressions of “faith.” And if I were writing about such psychopaths generally, then it would be appropriate to include all kinds of sick and deadly behavior. But this was about a specific incident that had just occurred.

      But now that you mention the attack on the Colorado Springs chapter of the NAACP, I do like what its president said: “Apparently we have the attention of someone that knows we are working for civil rights for all. That is making some people uncomfortable, so therefore they feel the need to target.” Yes. People, from time to time, should be made to feel uncomfortable. That is exactly what those working for Charlie Hebdo were doing and it is exactly why they were targeted by Islamist terrorists.



      • King Beauregard

         /  January 8, 2015

        “I’m pretty sure I didn’t suggest that all Muslims are murderers.”

        Never said you did. But in all sorts of places on the Internet I have seen even liberals jump straight to “that’s Muslims for you”, which makes me feel it’s important to say what SHOULD go without saying.

        “That is exactly what those working for Charlie Hebdo were doing and it is exactly why they were targeted by Islamist terrorists.”

        I’m not sure I’m ready to paint them as champions of the rights of man; they didn’t have much problem indulging in slurs and racial stereotypes as it suited them. Which should be their right — but just because they’re victims doesn’t necessarily make them heroes too.




        • King B,

          I champion the newspaper for not doing what so many other outlets have done: shrink in the face of threats from the offended Islamists. I find that inspiring, to tell you the truth. These people were playing with fire, literally, and they knew it. I also find it inspiring that the extremists have unleashed a torrent of support, including in the broader Muslim community, for the sanctity of free speech.

          As for Charlie Hebdo “indulging in slurs and racial stereotypes,” I’m afraid I don’t quite see it that way. I surveyed the examples in the two links and I found most of them using the slurs and stereotypes in a manner that made fun of the right-wingers who used them seriously. Take another close look at what they were doing. Sure, it is offensive, if one takes what they are doing in isolation. But it is satire on a reactionary culture, as far as I can tell.

          Finally, as just one example of overreaction, a caption under one Charlie Hebdo cover is translated: “The pope in Paris. French people as dumb as n***ger.” I don’t speak French, but I looked up “les negres” because I suspected it didn’t necessarily and exclusively mean “niggers.” It could be and is often translated that way, or it could be translated “negroes” or “darkies” or “blacks” or even “slaves.” Now, I happen to use the term “Scary Negro” a lot on this blog. And I use it in a similar way that I think “les negres” was used on that cover. I am using satire to call attention to the white right’s fear of losing their cultural dominance, a fear that is energized, in my opinion, by President Obama. If someone simply took my use of the term in isolation, without reference to the larger point, I could be labeled a racist or worse. I think it is the same thing with some of the terms used by the magazine to describe LGBT folks. They are turning the phrases against those who don’t want LGBT people to have equal rights.

          At least that’s the way I see it. In any case, while I wouldn’t champion everything the magazine has printed by any means, I strongly champion the fact that those involved refused to surrender to threats from religious freaks with firebombs and guns. I’m not sure I could do that myself.



          • King Beauregard

             /  January 8, 2015

            To be sure, I’m not immersed enough in the culture to know whether they’re using apparent slurs sarcastically or not. It’s quite possibly like the Stan Kelly editorial cartoons over at “The Onion”, which would be right at home in some right-wing rag.

            And true, I can’t deny the bravery of the “Charlie Hebdo” staff for knowing they would eventually call down wrath and still sticking with it.


  4. Freedom of speech is of course essential to any system of democratic society and its governance, but it can be difficult to see why it has to be an absolute, or at least to the extent of using “fighting words”, I believe is the term. In a brief family discussion it was said to me, “why can’t they just make it a rule that everyone has to be respectful to everyone else’s religion?” I tried to explain that you can’t officially constrain freedom of expression without the danger of abuse. Some are too young as yet to read Orwell.


    • I like the fact that you made the important distinction between official (government) and unofficial (non-government), when it comes to limiting freedom of speech. A lot of people confuse the two. Some right-wing House Republicans are now complaining that they ought not be institutionally punished for voting against and talking against John Boehner, arguing that it was their constitutional right to vote against and speak against the actions of the Speaker. Hooey. Boehner has every right to punish his political enemies as part of his larger strategy to run the House, and the Constitution has nothing to do with it. He isn’t throwing them out of the House or taking away their vote or telling them they must shut up. He’s just exercising his prerogatives as a leader of the institution.

      When I banned that talent-challenged troll, Geoff Caldwell, from this blog, both he and Anson, as I recall, claimed I was tromping on his free speech rights. Hooey again. I was merely exercising my freedom to restrict the amount of trolling on my blog. Geoff Caldwell is free to troll anyplace that will tolerate it, but he has no right to sound off here, unless I allow him to. That’s not squelching his “official” free speech rights in any conceivable way, no matter how many times he tries to claim it is. Some people are just not capable of making the distinction you made.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. ansonburlingame

     /  January 8, 2015

    To all,

    Freedom of Speech, along with other freedoms enunciated in our Bill of Rights is fundamental to democratic government. BUT ………

    Anyone hearing (or reading) any “speech” should have a sense of ….., before leaping to agreement or disparagement of such speech. I am not sure what goes in those …….. Proporotion might fit, a sense of “how important is this topic or view of an issue”, or who exactly is making the “speech”.

    Perhaps a better word is a sense of “honor” a willingness to listen without rancor and threats of retaliation, even violence. Go back and re-read the “Hannity is a Piece of Shit” blog herein. I frankly condemn that approach by Duane AND ALL the commenters thereto. All of that blog contained the worst of American politics right now, name calling and complete rancor by all involved. mostly liberals with two red neck responses to liberal outrage.

    We the People must be better than that in our “speech”, the way we try to advance political views. Calling anyone a “piece of shit” diminishes American politics and thus American government. Why else did our Founders try to limit the “speech” (votes) of “masses”. They did not want American politics to devolve to the point of French politics seen almost immediately after the Constitution and Bill of Rights were approved.

    The French Revolution advanced the cause(s) of the masses to a degree. But when “masses” govern, men and women without “reason”, “honor” a sense of proportion to what government can and should achieve, then chaos results along with unbelievable violence and mayhem.



    • Ben Field

       /  January 8, 2015


      Calling anyone a “piece of shit” in no way diminishes America or it’s politics. Somebody might get a little “butt hurt” over it, but is just name calling. Honor is what I find in Jack Jackson, a WWII veteran, that ran an auto repair business in my hometown. Many in town referred to him as “Nigger Jack” in front of me to others or even to his face. I once asked him why he did not curse or confront them. He told me that after a man had seen war, that name-calling meant little to him as a reason to fight. That man of my village educated me to understand that living in a country with the right to say such things is more important than whether the statement is true or your right to comment or assault someone over it. The same thing applies to the cartoonists, Hannity, and the rest of us. A friend here in Joplin called Carolyn Stark after your boy Geoff, called Obama a “monkey” and demanded she fire him. He was told she was aware of this and advised him that he would no longer be published if it occurred again. There are ramifications to free speech but not by the government. My honor does not run as deep as Mr. Jackson and I will agree that Sean Hannity and Geoff Callwell are two distinct pieces of shit. That is my opinion whether you or others find it crude is yours.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Anson,

      Yes, I called Sean Hannity a name. You know why I called him a name? Because not only did he side with two horrific dictators against officials of his own country, a country he claims to love as a model patriot, but as a long-time listener to his radio show, I know how often he has slandered people like me. I have listened to him call liberals all kinds of things and insinuate that they don’t love the country. I have listened to him suggest that, for instance, Obama wants to destroy America. That he doesn’t love it. I get fucking tired of that shit, Anson. And once in a while I need to vent. That Hannity post, back in 2013, was one of those times.



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