Saturday, January 16, 2016

I Am STILL Charlie Hebdo. #JeSuisCharlie

Once again, Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine best known for being shot up by Islamic extremists pissed off that they did cartoons featuring their prophet Mohammad, is once again in hot water.

Now people are upset because they made a cartoon criticizing the fickleness of the media and public opinion when it comes to refugees, highlighting the difference in views between the image of Alan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey, and the sexual assaults that happened in Copenhagen on New Years Eve.

It has been perceived as being insensitive, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic and every other horrible thing that it can be called, mostly by people who misinterpret it (including a staggering number of media outlets).

I have been defending both the cartoon and Charlie Hebdo. Here is a response I made in the comments on a Facebook post by the BBC. It was stated that defending Charlie Hebdo based on the idea of free speech isn't a great reason, and it was questioned why Charlie Hebdo chose this particular way to express their views. It was felt they shouldn't have drawn this, that it was just something that shouldn't have been done because it was in bad taste.

I'm not defending it simply on the basis of freedom of expression. I am defending it on the fact that I do see it as an interesting cartoon that is, like I said above, an interesting reflection on changing attitudes in public opinion. We could express things in a million ways. Is there a need for this? No. There is also no need to misrepresent it. In the end, they are just doing what they have always done. They are known for their crudeness, but in that crudeness lie powerful messages. Taste? All subjective. Entirely subjective. I mean, even the jokes I tell on stage can be seen as tasteless at times. I guess because I enjoy this kind of stuff, and especially the sarcasm involved, it rings true for me. Plus, I admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for CH because what they do in terms of blasphemy is right up my ally, and reflects my jokes about religion. And the idea that a publication that mirrors my comedy style when it comes to the issue would get shot up is scary. Does this mean, if the wrong people heard my jokes, I would be vulnerable to violence as well? In the end, it's a matter of "Don't like it, don't look". For the most part, for decades, no one DID look. Now, suddenly, everyone is looking and being completely offended. Well, like I said, CH has not changed a bit. Everything around them changed.

As a comedian (as amateur and sporadic I may be), I do relate to Charlie Hebdo. I feel as though they get it and I get them when it comes to certain issues. Therefore, yes, I AM still Charlie, and for that matter have always been, and I so no reason why I probably always will be. And I don't feel a need to apologize for this, nor should Charlie Hebdo feel obligated to apologize for what they do. It isn't the kind of social critique that some might like, and I do get that. But, it most definitely is the kind that I like, and appreciate.  

No comments:

Post a Comment