I’ll repeat briefly the major point I’ve been making for the past several days: that I hate the approach that many people with basically good motives seem to be taking, which consists of a hostile-prosecutorial attitude that begins by assuming the worst, even on the basis of the most skeletal evidence and biased reports, and proceeds through various stages of half-listening to and then minimizing or dismissing evidence that contradicts or at least challenges the original impression.
Not the history of the publication and its political commitments or those of its staff, not the statements of the people who created and published the images, not their courage in defending blasphemy and going after the Right and numerous sacred cows, not the local context in which the images were created or viewed, not the history of French satire, not CH’s public reputation which would shape people’s interpretations, not films in which the artists describe their intent in producing particular images and the efforts to preclude their misuse,* not indications of the critic’s own ignorance – nothing, it seems, is enough for the self-appointed judges to pull back on their determination to smear Charlie Hebdo. The goalposts are moved again and again: from actively and openly racist to neglectfully employing racist tropes without concern for who might be hurt to insufficient efforts to make it impossible for others to misrepresent the images or use them in a harmful way. This last is simply an impossible standard, especially for a satirical magazine with a small circulation which works within local traditions and comments on current events.
It’s all that good. Read it.