What have the shootings in Paris got to do with cows?

Satirical programs like The Daily Show that use news headlines as their raw material have difficulty dealing with tragedies like the shootings at Charlie Hebdo. How can they treat such events with humor without being perceived as grossly insensitive? On the other hand, the victims were in the same line of work as them and so they cannot blithely ignore a story that cuts so closely to home.

The show managed to find a way to finesse that delicate issue by using cows, of all things, as a metaphor. I thought it was rather well done.

(These clips aired on January 7, 2015. To get suggestions on how to view clips of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report outside the US, please see this earlier post. If the videos autoplay, please see here for a diagnosis and possible solutions.)


  1. Anne Fenwick says

    Lots of the tributes to the cartoonists from their colleagues were pretty insensitive, coming from colleagues who knew full well that sensitivity wasn’t Charlie-Hebdo’s thing. There’s a very clear sense that maintaining the spirit the victims themselves adopted is the best tribute. The one where they’re arriving in heaven and St Peter recoils in obvious horror, saying ‘Oh no, not them!’ was out before their bodies were cold. It’s one of those situations where context really does count, but if you have to address a public you know lacks the context, then what?

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