Je Suis Charlie & The Pope’s Epic Fail

Pope Francis

It was only a matter of time before the contrarian intellectualist backlash against Charlie Hebdo began. The body of Charlie Hebdo‘s murdered editor Stéphane Charbonnier is barely even cold, and incredibly not even buried yet(!), but none-the-less one of the original founders of the magazine, Henri Roussel, felt compelled to criticise Chabonnier’s decision to post the now infamous cartoons.

What made him feel the need to drag the team into overdoing it? He shouldn’t have done it, but Charb did it again a year later, in September 2012 … I believe that we [were] fools who took an unnecessary risk. That’s it. We think we are invulnerable. For years, decades even, it was a provocation, and then one day the provocation turns against us … I know it’s not done … [but] I really hold it against you [Charbonnier]. [link]

This is, of course, bollocks. Nobody deserves to be shot dead for printing or saying anything. Roussel, could you have not waited a respectful period before spouting this nonsense (e.g. after the funeral, perchance)?

Luckily, organised religion is always nearby to save the day when mankind is in need of sanity. The Pope said this:

If my good friend Dr Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others … There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity … in freedom of expression there are limits. [link]

That’s right, folks: the Pope used the same justification that rapists and wife-beaters employ the world over. Well, look at how high her dress is: she was just ASKING for it! The stupid bitch MADE me do it!

Organised religion, you fail. Again. Why is organised religion never there when we need it, but always there AFTERWARDS to do the handwringing and soul-searching?

Yeah, we WERE complicit in the Holocaust, both directly through our support of the Nazi regime and indirectly through our constant stirring up of anti-Jewish feeling which exists EVEN IN OUR FOUNDATIONAL TEXT (!) [see the Gospel of John], but, ya know, we feel we’ve really grown from this experience. 

Some half-senile old crank cartoonist can criticise whoever he wants. He’s wrong, of course. But the spiritual and political leader of around a quarter of the world’s population, a man who wields both spiritual and temporal power as a head of state, a man who rannks among the most influential on the face of the earth — he should know better.

The thing is, organised religion is like all good scams. The pope and all his kind can say or do whatever they want and the mud just won’t stick. He kisses a deformed man once, and apparently he’s flawless.

Dear Francis:

You did not say that the Charlie Hebdo staff deserved to die, I grant you that. But by saying that nobody has the right to criticise religion, you (1) declare your ignorant pre-enlightenment mindset which has not quite grasped the basics of what makes a free and prosperous society possible, and (2) you offer extenuating circumstances to those terrorist, murdering scumbags — you do, in fact, offer the same justification as the rapist and the wife-beater. You are therefore both spiritually and intellectually incapable of being a leader to billions — although, ironically, perfectly suited to being head of the Roman Catholic church — and you gravely let down mankind with your unhelpful and hindersome words.

featured image fromhttps://res.cloudinary.com/the-news-hub/image/upload/v1411278325/sbzxjc7ncshusfczjhov.jpg

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

 

#Je Suis Charlie 2

Charlie-Hebdo

The two runaway men who carried out the massacre on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, Said and Cherif Kouachi, have been captured and shot. Police forces stormed the Kosher butchers where they were holding numerous individuals hostage. In total, twenty people or more have now died in this tragedy.

Of course, the death of these terrorists does not mean the end of terrorist attacks on our free way of life (Oh, God help me, I sound like George W. Bush or some other improbable American politician there; at least I didn’t say “evil-doer” or “mission accomplished”). We need to remain strong and confident in our values and not allow the spectre of terrorism to either stifle our free speech nor be used by our politicians to restrict our freedoms.

Unfortunately, I am rather disappointed and disturbed by the reaction to these shootings.

Yes, the popular support for Charlie Hebdo has been encouraging and inspiring. Far less encouraging, however, has been the reaction of the press. So far as I can tell, not a single British newspaper has republished the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Someone please tell me I’m wrong and that I overlooked a front page somewhere. I just cannot believe that all of our newspapers have failed in their duty so miserably… again! (2005 Danish Cartoon Controversy, anyone…?)

The respected Guardian newspaper “justified” not reprinting the cartoons at the centre of this massacre by basically saying, ‘We’re not a satirical magazine, so we don’t have to’. Well, sorry The Guardian, but you are a newspaper and need to report the news. None of this massacre has any context or makes any sense at all unless the cartoons in question — not other cartoons from Charlie Hebdo, but the specific cartoons that the terrorist shooters were “avenging” — are republished.

Please do read The Guardian‘s entire pathetic justification. The following extract is particularly telling.

In social media, the call has been loud – and aimed at several British newspapers, including this one – to take a stand by publishing the very images that made Charlie Hebdo a target. For the most vociferous, republishing a sample of the magazine’s usual fare, which the Guardian has already done, is not enough: they insist that true defenders of free speech would reprint Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the prophet Muhammad, especially the crudest, most scatological examples.

That case is straightforward. Since these are the images the gunmen wanted to stop, the surviving free press is obliged to deny the killers that victory. No other gesture can show that we refuse to be cowed by their crime. By repeating Charlie Hebdo’s action, we would demonstrate our resistance to the edict the terrorists sought to enforce on pain of death. We show that Charlie Hebdo was not alone.

There is an appealing simplicity to that stance, but it rests on faulty logic. The key point is this: support for a magazine’s inalienable right to make its own editorial judgments does not commit you to echo or amplify those judgments. Put another way, defending the right of someone to say whatever they like does not oblige you to repeat their words.

Each and every publication has a different purpose and ethos. Charlie Hebdo is not the Guardian or the New York Times, nor is it the Daily Mail or Private Eye. The animating intention behind its work was to satirise and provoke in a distinctive voice, one that would not sit easily in other publications. Other publications can defend – and defend absolutely – the necessary diversity of press voices along with an editor’s right to offend. But the best response is not to be forced to speak in a different voice. The Guardian felt that at the time of the 2005 Danish cartoons controversy, and we feel it now. As Simon Jenkins argued on these pages on Wednesday, terrorists’ chief goal is to make us change our behaviour. It’s best to deny them that victory.

[emphasis in bold is mine]

Yeeeah… I could perform a media student-style dissection of that crock, but I’d rather save my time. I only need to say the following two things.

One: newspapers are supposed to report the news, and by not reprinting the original cartoons the newspapers deprive readers of the essential context at the heart of the news — imagine 9/11 being reported with no pictures of the planes going into the Twin Towers. Can you even imagine that such a thing would have happened? Of course not.

Two: note the Orwellian inversion of logic that, in order to not “change our behaviour”, as the terrorists want us to, we need to thwart the terrorists by persisting in our established behaviour of being cowardly as ever and not fighting back by printing the original images. What on earth?? Peace is war, cowardice is defiance — apparently.

Will it take the merciless slaughter of a British cartoonist, such as the Guardian‘s own Martin Rowson, before our newspapers stop sliming their way out of their duty? What is the point of a free press if they will not report the news — the core of the news here being the original cartoons?

Well, bollocks to our cowardly newspapermen! I suggest we plaster the offices of all of our newspapers with print-outs of the original Charlie Hebdo cartoons. I would also commit to not buying any of their papers anymore — except I long ago grew sick of the sludge that passes for news with these cretins, and so no longer read the mainstream newspapers.

P.S. Here’s a wonderful response to the media’s cowardice by Don Asmussen. Thanks to Jerry A. Coyne for posting it on his blog.

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featured image from http://eyedrd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Charlie-Hebdo.jpg
Don Asmussen cartoon from http://www.gocomics.com/badreporter/2015/01/09

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

#Je Suis Charlie

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Cartoonists around the world have been proving that the pen is mightier than the automatic weapon. I thought I’d share some of my favourite cartoon responses with you. Also, please show solidarity on Twitter with the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie and by (re)posting relevant cartoons including those posted by Charlie Hebdo.

See my post on the breaking news yesterday here.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

images from:
https://twitter.com/paristuzun/status/552853803955793920/photo/1

https://twitter.com/davpope/status/552844593046097920/photo/1
https://twitter.com/amolrajan/status/552888670718803968/photo/1
https://twitter.com/RteeFufkin/status/552937192252006400/photo/1
https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/553068764846358528/photo/1
https://twitter.com/dylsharpe/status/553110186215612416/photo/1
https://twitter.com/candorville/status/553003288488988672/photo/1

 

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2015 Shooting at Charlie Hebdo

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The offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo have been attacked by Islamist gunmen. 12 people are currently confirmed dead including the editor. This was supposedly done in response to the magazine’s publication of cartoons offensive to Islam.

This is a tragedy. But we cannot lose our rationality and we cannot shy away from the truth. Let’s be clear about this:

  • These gunmen no more represent the majority of Muslims than The Westboro Baptist Church represent the majority of Christians. We MUST NOT allow ourselves to start viewing Muslims as outsiders or terrorists. Yes, there is a serious issue concerning how religion motivates (destructive) behaviour and deeds. I myself am an outspoken secularist and atheist and have been speaking out for years about the dangers of religion (see my YouTube channel for various such videos). But we cannot as a society become divided by the actions of these terrorist scum.
  • Even if Charlie Hebdo‘s publications were in violation of good taste or incitement to hatred laws, then the law and discussion would resolve the situation — NOT KILLING PEOPLE.
  • We CANNOT and we WILL NOT allow our free society, a society which has literally taken all of human history to build and which is unrivalled in prosperity and freedom for all, to be diminished, damaged, and ultimately destroyed by the acts of scumbags, people who are enemies of mankind. Satire and comedy are weapons of freedom and free use of them must be defended. Therefore, in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and the family, friends, and colleagues of those who have been killed, I republish the following images from the magazine. I call on everyone to do likewise, just as we did after the Jyllands-Posten “Danish Cartoons” attacks.

© 2015 Bryan A. J. Parry

charliehebdo 1charliehebdo 2

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featured image from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/11330196/Paris-shooting-Gunmen-storm-Charlie-Hebdo-magazine-office-in-pictures.html

images from Charlie Hebdo taken from http://www.publiusforum.com/images/charliehebdomuhammedcartoonssept_large.jpg, http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Charlie-Hebdo-Muhammad-insult.jpg, http://wp.patheos.com.s3.amazonaws.com/blogs/getreligion/files/2012/09/Charlie-Hedbo-18-Sept-2012.jpeg, http://vladtepesblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/charlie-hebdo-toon-1.jpg, http://eyedrd.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Charlie-Hebdo.jpg, https://twitter.com/LesNews/status/552816012396331008/photo/1