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Thursday, January 15, 2015


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 controversial cover!
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.

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At 10:34 PM, Blogger avelonia said...

You are so right to say this.Has anyone counted the number of Charlie's orphans.One victim who is permanently disabled is the father of 10 children.What about journalistic ethics?It is so easy to risk the lives of others....Have these cartoonists visited the truly innocent victims and their families?!! The press does not care about their opinions at all.I dare these "button" protesters to sit shiva with the widows,the mothers,the orphans of this massacre.


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