A week ago the Paris correspondent of Time, Bruce Crumley, wrote an article on the firebombing of Charlie Hebdo, saying…that we journalists and beneficiaries of free speech stand shoulder to shoulder with Charlie Hebdo?
No actually. Not that. Something different.
Okay, so can we finally stop with the idiotic, divisive, and destructive efforts
by “majority sections” of Western nations to bait Muslim members with petulant, futile demonstrations that “they” aren’t going to tell “us” what can and can’t be done in free societies? Because not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. What common good is served by creating more division and anger, and by tempting belligerent reaction?
Oh gee, I don’t know. I ask myself the same question whenever I have the audacity to write something and then go ahead and click “Publish” so that it appears online. Surely I’m just begging for the very misogynist responses from misogynists that I claim to proudly defy in the name of common good. Amirite? I tempt belligerent reaction several times every day. What do I think I’m doing!?! What does anyone think she’s doing by writing down what she thinks about something when she knows full well that someone somewhere could disagree with it and be tempted into belligerent reaction?! It’s such a petulant, futile thing to do, to say something that somebody might dislike.
The difficulty in answering that question is also what’s making it hard to have
much sympathy for the French satirical newspaper firebombed this morning, after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary edition mocking Islam. The Wednesday morning arson attack destroyed the Paris editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo after the paper published an issue certain to enrage hard-core Islamists (and offend average Muslims) with articles and “funny” cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed—depictions forbidden in Islam to boot.
Stupid and totally unnecessary – so is it Forbidden to publish anything that’s not necessary now? And what are the criteria for “necessary”? And is the fact that something is certain to enrage hard-core Islamists a good reason not to do it? Women going out in public is also certain to enrage hard-core Islamists; should they therefore stay at home? And is “forbidden in Islam” a good reason for the whole world to not do something? Charlie Hebdo isn’t in Islam, so why should it care what is forbidden in Islam? The prohibitions of religions don’t apply to people who don’t adhere to the religions, after all. I know this is old news, as well as obvious, but this Crumley fella seems to have missed the memo.
We, by contrast, have another reaction to the firebombing: Sorry for your loss,
Charlie, and there’s no justification of such an illegitimate response
to your current edition. But do you still think the price you paid for
printing an offensive, shameful, and singularly humor-deficient parody on the
logic of “because we can” was so worthwhile? If so, good luck with those
charcoal drawings your pages will now be featuring.
Oh good god, what a horrible brainless thug. He’s right up there with Brendan O’Neill. Sorry for your loss, he says sneeringly, and there’s no justification but all the same I will tell you how very bad and wrong you are – you the one who just had your offices and equipment destroyed. It was offensive and shameful so nyah nyah good luck with the charcoal.
…rather than issuing warnings to be careful about what one asks for, the arson
prompted political leaders and pundits across the board to denounce the arson as an attack on freedom of speech, liberty of expression, and other rights central to French and other Western societies.
Oh jeezis mary and joseph, the guy is a journalist and he said that – he wants political leaders and pundits issuing warnings to be careful about what one “asks for” by writing or drawing cartoons! He wants them to do that instead of defending freedom of speech!
In 2007, Charlie Hebdo re-published the infamous (and, let’s face it,
just plain lame) Mohammed caricatures initially printed in 2005 by Danish paper Jyllands-Posten. As intended, those produced outrage–and at times violent reaction–from Muslims around the world (not to mention repeated terror plots to kill illustrators responsible for the drawings). Apart from unconvincing claims of exercising free speech in Western nations where that right no longer needs to be proved, it’s unclear what the objectives of the caricatures were other than to offend Muslims—and provoke hysteria among extremists.
He says the caricatures were intended to produce outrage and violent reaction, and terror plots to kill the very cartoonists who apparently intended all this. He attacks the very idea of free speech in the act of informing us that it no longer needs to be “proved” – well with people like him around it sure as hell does.
…it’s just evident members of those same free societies have to exercise a
minimum of intelligence, calculation, civility and decency in practicing their
rights and liberties—and that isn’t happening when a newspaper decides to mock an entire faith on the logic that it can claim to make a politically noble
statement by gratuitously pissing people off.
A minimum of calculation. We’re allowed to have free speech but we have to exercise a minimum of calculation before we actually use it – so we’re not actually allowed to have it at all. “Let’s see, will this cause Islamists to blow us up? Will this cause misogynists to threaten to rape me? Hmmmmm yes maybe; I’ll just go get drunk, instead.” There’s your free speech.