The Big Picture: Je Suis Charlie

Toilet

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daibakuha said:
JMac85 said:
I'm really sick of that "punching up/down" bullshit when it comes to saying what jokes you're allowed to make. If you have a point to make, it shouldn't matter how "privileged" you are compared to the person or entity you're ripping on.
Well then expect people to get offended and call you things like bigot/misogynist. When you punch up you are condemning those who already empowered, it's not mean-spirited because those groups already hold social and political power. Punching down only further marginalizes minorities, it's like looking back at all those racist cartoons and saying that they aren't racist because all they're doing is punching down.
This argument makes comedy and satire appear as a type of bullying instead of an example of community coming together to laugh at itself and each other. It's the silly (and lazy) collective argument that implies people are their groups and everything they say and do is representative of the whole. The reality is people represent themselves unless that person is in uniform.

Would a racist caricature of a black guy complete w/ friend chicken, watermelon and purple drank be equally as offensive and in bad taste if a black guy drew it instead of a white guy? Those Charlie Hebdo cartoons and caricatures aren't racist b/c they were drawn by a white guy(s) they are racist because individual people find them distasteful.
 

Skatologist

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I really do think Bob is at his best when he really acts more in a self reflective, question asking manner where he acknowledges the unclear answers and possibilites of the things he discusses. That being said, this was probably one of the better responses to the tragedy I've seen so far, covering all[footnote]or at least most [/footnote] the bases within a matter of several minutes.
 

Callate

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I think it needs to be considered that if caricaturing, criticizing, or generalizing Muslims risks legitamizing resentment, hatred, or violence towards innocent people, the Charlie Hebdo massacre makes a pretty good case that it's also possible for criticism of, say, cartoonists to run the risk of legitimizing violence against people with a podium who say things you don't like. After all, someone has to stand up for the "little guy" against those big bullies, right?

...And we're all oh so ready to define the "little guy" as us. We're the outsiders. We're the mavericks. We're the rebels. We're the bullied. What actions could we take against such an entrenched, evil force that would not be justified, given what is arrayed against us?

Amidst all the noise of modern life, it's so damned easy to feel that one has no voice at all, furthering the suggestion that they're justified doing something hideous because, dammit, no one will listen otherwise. That's part of the reason genuinely free speech is important, beyond narrow blinkered ideas that only government can block free speech. It's a bulwark against the idea that only entrenched interests can get heard. Even if some of those things that get heard are offensive or stupid.

There are some ideas, and some ideals, that are important to uphold. It is important to believe that adults, given access to others' ideas and information, can pick the good ones from the bad ones, find information beyond what supports what they already wish to believe, what is comfortable to believe. That they will take the trouble and do the work in order to do what is right.

Every day, we see plenty of examples that fly in the face of that ideal. Yet it is still important to believe in it, even if the world we see around us often doesn't seem to live up to that ideal. That democracy, if imperfect, still works enough that we don't just give in and let a plutocracy or a theocracy or some other form of oligarchy rule our lives.
 

newwiseman

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Great episode.

I feel like I should say more but I've actually been struggling to articulate the argument and stance that you just laid out perfectly.
 

Malisteen

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zorgonstealth" post="6.868772.21748266 said:
No Bob, you totally missed the point with this video. It is about free speech, that is what they are attacking, the think their prophet should be immune to criticism, and that is against free speech. The different types of satire the magazine made is completely beside the point. It was Voltaire who said "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."[/quote

Who is "they"? Muslims? There are reports that the people who conducted this attack drank alcohol and smoked pot, but thing also forbidden to Muslims. One of the officers killed in the process of stopping the attack was Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim man. Was he "they"?

The 'us/them' reaction to these events, the attacks on muslim men, the harassment of women who wear the scarf, these events serve the terrorists by refusing Muslims a place in Western society. And there is absolutely a rising tide of systemic grass roots racism in Europe today, increasing attacks and popular sentiment aimed against imigrants, muslims, blacks, romani, jews, and muslims.

Absolutely condemn the murders, absolutely condemn the terrorist attack, absolutely defend the right to free speech. But as Bob said, letting the terrorists determine the views you enshrine is not better than letting them determine what you aren't allowed to say. Do not conflate those who criticize hate speech (not silence, not censor, but criticize) with those who respond to it with bullets.
 

cathou

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Apr 6, 2009
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geizr said:
It is interesting that I presented a similar controversial opinion in another thread and nearly got crucified for it. However, some other things I've been hearing in the news lately suggests to me that the terrorists in this case may not have been responding, necessarily, to anything from Charlie Hebdo. Instead, this was a premeditated act on their part, and Charlie Hebdo was simply a target of opportunity at the time.

Regardless of any of that, one question has entered my mind: at what point did otherwise, so-called, intelligent people come to think that mockery is a valid method for changing a person's opinion on an issue or otherwise engaging in reasoned debate and discourse, rather than being something that'll just piss people off? To me, there is a difference between satire and mockery.
well, givin that Charlie didnt put Muhammad on the front cover since last october, it's sure it's something plan for a very long time. BFMTV in France have spoken with one of the Kouachi brother and Coulibaly. The Kouachi brothers said that they were send by al-quaida in Yemen and that they didnt killed civilian, women or children, that they only kill targets. That we, the west, are the ones who kill civilians, women and children in Syria and Irak. Coulibashi on the other end say that he's from ISIS, and that he coordonate his action with the brothers, that he was doing that to defend islam from the West.
 

hentropy

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JMac85 said:
"Some people" nothing. That's Sharia Law...
It is Sharia Law, but the concept is adapted from Jewish law. Jews were the ones who established the rule of "no idols, ever", which in the old Jewish tradition is still taken seriously, along with Islam. The rule never shows up in the Koran. It's supposed to be the law in Christianity as well, but they just use the loophole of "so long as you're not worshiping the actual statues it's not idolatry", but that's not really what the Bible says or means.

I'm just as critical of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Scientology, etc. But you don't see those people committing international acts of terrorism like you do with Islam.
Jewish law also demands the killing of rebellious teenage sons, not to mention gays and all sorts of others, including the execution of those that make idols. There's no conditions or ambiguity to these laws, and they are not outright refuted in the New Testament, meaning that it's still the law in Christianity, as well. One of the executions listed is pouring molten lead down someone's throat. Much if not most of Sharia is taken from old Jewish law, not from anything said explicitly in the Koran that is different from the Bible. Many Christians in the middle east, although they are persecuted in their own ways, tend to support some of the more fundamentalist/traditional ideas being pushed in these countries, because they are not exclusively Islamic.

Really what you see is the contrast between what strict adherence to religion REALLY looks like, and what religion looks like when people ignore 90% of it and focus on the few romantic aspects, which is what happens in the west. That is the only way these religions are palatable to modern sensibilities, if you just strip out all the ugly stuff to get to the stuff you can teach in Sunday School.

The X factor, the factor that makes Palestinian Christians hate Israelis as much as the Muslims, is poverty and socio-political factors, which is a long history and can't be properly summed up here. The one underlying factor in all these cases is that extremism is bred in politically unstable, impoverished countries. 80 innocent tea farmers were gunned down in India just a few weeks ago because of something that had nothing to do with religion, and yet that never scratched the news because it didn't involve Muslims on either side.
 

CaitSeith

Formely Gone Gonzo
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Rabidkitten said:
Rattja said:
Just to be clear here, no I do not support the terrorist, but I don't care much for people poking the bear either.
But you should poke the bear, you should scream in its ear to waken it from its slumber. No one should be immune to speech, not even the bear, ever.
Before trying to prove the bear isn't immune to speech, be sure you are immune to its claws.
 

JennAnge

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Good episode, Bob. It's nice to see somebody taking the time to calmly analyze the situation and the fine lines.

I used to read the Hebdo, as well as Fluide Glaciale and similar mags when I was a teenager. The comparison to Mad Magazine is incorrect. It's more like if they made South Park into a magazine and then dialed it up to 11. Sometimes their satire hit the mark with remarkable accuracy, and the cartoon was necessary because it was saying something other news or comedy outlets could not say due to, well, good ol' sense and sensibility.

That was the Hebdo's JOB, if you want. We (French teens and young adults, probably their greatest readers at the time) knew what politics they stood for - libertarian and so far left some of them were card carrying members of the French Communist Party. So anything that might be taken for racism, or whatever -ism you want, was seen as short-hand, a necessary shortcut in a one-box or one-strip cartoon that did not have a lot of space to establish its subject matter. You ignored that part and focused on the critique, and because of that, they could get away with critisizing things that others had a hard time to. Because they did not CARE if they were punching up, down or sideways - don't get me wrong, those guys were always aiming high, but if the blows fell low, I imagine they just saw that as part of the risk of their kind of expression and didn't lose any sleep over it.

BUUUUUT there's also a downside to that approach. First off, using short-hand is wrong, IMO. 'Hook nose, beard, headscarf'=The Muslim Man=A Terrorist is, well, really wrong. The Hebdo crew would say that it's the WORLD that is wrong to make those connections, from their drawings or from the real life news, and maybe they're right. But the short hand is still reductionist and I did not like it.

And of course there were all those cartoons they made that really seemed to be there to just see how far they could push the limits of free speech. And taste. And basic human decency. I mean, is there ANY time in history where it will be okay to make a Holocaust joke? They made an entire MAGAZINE about it back in the early '80s. Could have been a side-issue to another magazine, but the same guys, particularly Wolinksi, were involved IIRC - and there's some debate on whether you can tell Holocaust jokes if you're jewish and/or had family members involved. I know which side of the debate I'm on. The special edition was just about as tasteless as you can imagine, or more so. And it upset a lot of people, as well it should. And it started a lot of dialogue on subjects that were previously taboo and were slowly being forgotten and/or discreeltly gnawed away by revisionists. That's how their advocates defended them back then, and maybe they're right, but at that point the Hebdo types of satirists and I parted ways.

I no longer read the Hebdo or Fluide or even the Canard Enchainé - I try to get impartial news when I can, without having to chip away through two centimeters of bias, hardened cynisism and overtaxed vocabulary. But yeah, needless to say, I would and will always defend their right to publish (and then get sued or insulted or petitioned by whichever group they've pissed off this week, because that, too, is part of democracy).

(Incidentally, I and other French readers know these guys pretty well. They courted debate, and they would be HORRIFIED if you tried to sanctify them or their work. Turning them into monuments that you cannot mock is the exact opposite of what they and their 'there is nothing sacred' philosophy stood far.)
 

Starblaiz

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Great episode Bob.

I don't normally post around here, but as someone from Europe who watched in horror at the events that unfolded in our own back yard last week, I just wanted to add my two cents to this.

The purpose of a Terroroist? is to terrorise (i.e. to put people into a state of fear). While these cowards certainly managed that in the heat of the moment, the immediate response following the tragedy was the people of Europe standing up and saying "we are not afraid". The massacre happened on Wednesday, Friday they were brought to justice (but not without causing more death and destruction), and on Sunday there were over 2 *MILLION* people marching through the centre of Paris, and hundreds of thousands more doing the same in other EU capitals including my own London. We all stood up with one voice, and sent our message loud and clear. To use the words of the late Stephane Charbonnier:

I'd Rather Die Standing Than Live On My Knees
What was seen during the rallies wasn't hostility, it was defiance. Even more importantly, it was a show of unity - Christians, Jews, Sikh, Buddhists, and yes - even Muslims - all turned out in support. It was particularly touching seeing so many Muslims holding banners with statements like "Not in our name", clearly demonstrating that this is not what Islam stands for. We also saw many interviews with Jewish people who recounted great acts of kindness by Muslims towards them on the day too. One jewish man and his daughter stood there holding white roses that had been given to them by a Muslim man who hugged and kissed them, and couldn't stop apologising for what had happened and the Kosher supermarket. This was far from the only story of unity between Muslim and Jewish people to come out of the day.

Then today, the Charlie Hebdo team made their latest publication. It features the prophet Mohamed, holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign and a tear coming from his eye. The headline is "Tout Est Pardonne", which translates to:

Everything Is Forgiven
Honestly? I can't think of a better response. Love and forgiveness beats hatred and prejudice, while at the same time they're showing that they are not scared.

In summary, the attacks in Paris last week destroyed some of my faith in humanity, but the nature of the response (at least here in Europe) has restored it. As it turns out, the pen really is mightier than the sword.

Je Suis Charlie.
Je Suis Flic.
Je Suis Juif.
Je Suis Humaine.

Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite
 

killerbee256

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bobdole1979 said:
I'm not a fan of people calling him "The Prophet Muhammad" Just call him Muhammad if you aren't Muslim. Otherwise its like always referring to Jesus as "Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"

Since this happened all the news channels keep calling him "the Prophet Muhammad"

Great video btw
Non Muslims do it because Muhammad is at her common name in the world.
 

Darmani

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Apr 26, 2010
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If ONLY you took this stance openly, and REGULARLY, in "Social Justice" with nerds and gaming. Or prefering Expendables to Scott Pilgrim
 

Lono Shrugged

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I never watch Bob any more and decided to give this episode a watch. It pretty much sums up my personal feelings and shows that I am not the only one who is not overly enthusiastic about the "Je Suis Charlie" stuff everywhere. Solidarity is at it's core a tribalist practice.

You have my attention again Bob.
 

cathou

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Apr 6, 2009
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JennAnge said:
Incidentally, I and other French readers know these guys pretty well. They courted debate, and they would be HORRIFIED if you tried to sanctify them or their work. Turning them into monuments that you cannot mock is the exact opposite of what they and their 'there is nothing sacred' philosophy stood far.

this morning Laurent Leger was adsked in an interview on a french candian radio, what Cabu, Charb, Tignou and the other would think of the big manifestations, holland and all the other politician shouting freedom of speach and things like that. he said they would had been deeply amused by that, and that they would have make a cartton about that in the next edition.