Mark Steyn on this week's Charlie Hebdo cover
The cover of this week's Charlie Hebdo (right) shows Mohammed
shedding a tear and holding up a "Je suis Charlie" sign under the
headline "Tout est pardonné" - all is forgiven. The illustration is
unclear: Is Mohammed forgiving the secular leftie blasphemers? Or are
the secular lefties forgiving Mohammed and his murderous believers? The Commentator devotes an editorial to the subject, and finds it "a strange cover" symbolic of "western confusion". On the other hand, Paul Berman in The Tablet thinks "uncertainty lends majesty".
When skilled persons who have never shied away from clarity produce a
work whose meaning is unclear, then it is reasonable to assume the
unclearness is itself the meaning. The surviving staff at Charlie Hebdo
have undergone a week of surreal hellishness, in which their senior
colleagues have been murdered for publishing images of Mohammed, and the
world is professing its solidarity and egging them on to prove that nothing has changed. In other words, they're expected to produce new images of Mohammed, which may well get them murdered, too.
So, for all the viral hashtags and Helen Mirren wearing a pencil
brooch to the Golden Globes and George Clooney declaring "Je suis
Charlie", what's left of the staff at Charlie Hebdo nevertheless
got the message: You're still on your own. We'll send you a supportive
Tweet, but that's it. Murderous-rage-wise, we'd rather you remained the
focus. Hey, but we're all really looking forward to next week's
I prefer the fellows who just state upfront that Charlie Hebdo
was asking for it to Dame Helen and untold millions all waving pencils,
and none of 'em with any lead in 'em. Imagine being at the editorial
meeting with the empty chairs, and understanding, even as millions
around the world profess to be your new best friend, that you're still
the lonesomest guy in town.
They did a Mohammed cover because they had to. But it certainly has
an uncharacteristic passivity. And it feels like one for the road.
Read the whole thing
. Sadly, I think he's spot-on.
Labels: Charlie Hebdo, freedom of the press, Islamic terrorism, Islamophobia, Mark Steyn