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Sun Jan 18, 2015, 08:56 AM

Outside Charlie Hebdo

Very interesting article, it changes the topic, and makes for richer thought. This site is very critical of the critics of Charlie Hebdo, so this is a particularly thoughtful piece when seen in that context.



I’m really appreciative to all the Francophones on various sites who have taken the time to put Charlie Hebdo’s work in a rich cultural context, opening up the magazine’s visual aesthetic and clarifying their editorial and political vantage point with more nuance than most of our mainstream Anglophone sources. These people’s willingness to do the tedious work of translating image after image, kindly and with probably strained patience, has elevated a very stark conversation into a vastly more nuanced one.

Here we have a convergence of so many issues that compel our culture to debate: free speech, extremism, faith and fascism, violence, humor, bullying, mockery, racism, sexism, and art. And yet so many opinions seem to fall broadly into one of just two camps – the ones that just outright call CH racist, and the ones that cloak it in the venerable mantle of satire.

Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of a long discussion with me on the subject of satire knows that I really just, generally, don’t find any aesthetic pleasure and only very limited intellectual pleasure in satirical work. Even when it’s very well done, it is a mode of discourse that relies on a spectrum ranging from discomfort to derision, and my response is almost always to turn away on purely emotional grounds. I’ve been very open about this opinion; it’s not new this week. It’s made me feel very awkward about adopting the “Je Suis Charlie” hashtag, because I wouldn’t have said something like that before last Wednesday’s events. The hashtag makes the magazine a metonym for all the people killed – even the Muslim policeman. I respond strongly and decisively to those who were killed and wounded as people, with voices and rights and subjectivity. But I respond to the magazine and the cartoons with ambivalence – because even though I tend to agree with the politics, the aesthetics are beyond me.

Probably for that reason, my reactions are not substantially mitigated by actually understanding the satire, although it helps. The logic of Charlie Hebdo’s satire is certainly much clearer to me now that so many people have spoken patiently and eloquently to clarify it. In particular, the cover depicting the sex slaves of Boko Haram as welfare queens appears much smarter and more complex when interpreted as “why do you care so much about these threatened and disadvantaged girls, but not about the threatened and disadvantaged girls right on your doorstep?” I am convinced that much of the work is indeed more complicated — and certainly contextually rich – than appears at first glance to readers who do not inhabit the immediate cultural context. These are political cartoons, and politics is always contextual.

- See more at: http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/01/outside-charlie-hebdo/#.dpuf

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Arrow 6 replies Author Time Post
Reply Outside Charlie Hebdo (Original post)
ismnotwasm Jan 2015 OP
F4lconF16 Jan 2015 #1
brer cat Jan 2015 #2
seabeyond Jan 2015 #3
BainsBane Jan 2015 #4
seabeyond Jan 2015 #5
JTFrog Jan 2015 #6

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 09:49 AM

1. I have been pleasantly surprised

at the amount of nuance in a number of essays in the last week or so. Though the masses proclaim "Je suis Charlie" without a thought (and I do primarily refer to Americans, here), there has also been a flood of well-thought out, interesting pieces published. Thanks for this one and the paper-bird one, which I particularly liked.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 10:38 AM

2. This is a very thoughtful piece,

showing a genuine attempt by the author to understand the satire.

She focuses on the cartoon of the pregnant Boko Haram "welfare queens," one that I found particularly ugly and hateful. I particularly identified with this:

The reality of those girls being forced into sexual slavery is alluded to through the pregnancy, but it’s sidestepped and displaced into the significantly different resonance that pregnancy carries in discussions of welfare and indigence. Any identification with anybody here is uncomfortable and unsatisfying – to “get the joke”, to see how smart it is, everybody must be kept at emotional arms’ length.


I cannot view that cartoon at an emotional arms' length or accept the views of some that *this* is in any way an acceptable subject for mockery. Those who consider this "smart" are ignoring the fact that it is based on the most vile spoils of war, and that cannot be displaced.

Thank you for sharing, ismnotwasm.

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Response to brer cat (Reply #2)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 10:41 AM

3. ya.

 

and what i consistently find, is it is those, that will never experience this oppression, seeing the cleverness and humor in such a dismissively vulgar manner, totally rejecting the huger more ugly issue.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 12:54 PM

4. Can someone translate the phrase in the balloon?

That it has the women saying? Does it say "Don't touch our payments" (as in Welfare)?

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Response to BainsBane (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 12:59 PM

5. has not hit our allocs. allocate? nt

 

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #5)

Sun Jan 18, 2015, 01:22 PM

6. "Les allocations familiales"

 

Child benefits or "welfare".

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