Friday, December 09, 2011

Charlie Hebdo

the offending Nov. 1 cover
100 lashes if you haven't already died from laughter. A pretty rough translation of the gag on cover of The November 1, 2011 edition of Charlie Hebdo, the  social/political satire weekly which has been slogging away outrageously in various incarnations since 1960.  It was banned twice, most notably after mocking the death of Charles DeGaulle in 1970. In 1992, the publication appeared in it's present incarnation, a weekly dose of outrage, flagrant obscenity and social humor and has stayed as a best seller on the French News Stands ever since.
after the Nov. 2 bombing
Michael Jackson death cover
"finally white"
1971 Cover "Votez Con"
Vote Asshole. You don't have
a choice!
On November 1, 2011 they published the Charia Hebdo cover, which mocked Sharia Law. Charia is the French spelling and when pronounced, it sounds almost like Charlie. The next day, the offices of Charlie Hebdo were fire bombed supposedly by Islamists. But Charlie Hebdo has attacked all religions with the same ferocity. Nothing is sacred. In 2008, they were accused of anti Semitism. They regularly make front page fun of christianity, the pope and catholicism as well as politics of all persuasions. In spite of this, when attacked by a group they have offended, most of France rushes to defend their freedom of expression. Recent covers this year have depicted Pope Benedict holding a condom as the eucharist and another, depicting designer John Galliano after his conviction for his anti semitic drunken tirade using Marine LePen, the head of the far right Front National Fascist Party as a model.
here is the issue that appeared when
Strauss-Kahn was arrested in NYC
Marine LePen as John Galliano's
latest model
After the firebombing, many of Frances biggest magazines offered their offices  and resources to the staff of Charlie and they never missed an issue. Yesterday, the staff of Charlie announced that they had found a new office, in an undisclosed location and it is "firebomb proof". And to prove they are an equal opportunity offender, yesterdays issue appeared as a provocation to the newly empowered militant right wing catholics who have been violently demonstrating against art and plays, (notably presently, the play, Golgata Picnic) they have deemed sacrilegious. The image is the last supper and the phrase is Diner De Cons, which was the title of a very popular French film in the 1990's and translates roughly to Dinner of Assholes... Perhaps the real point here is that  Freedom of Speech is  a right that  reflects the real health of a society and how we must be willing to pay the price to defend that right. In America, Freedom of Speech is what gives us an irresponsible media outlet like FOX which unfortunately uses their freedom of speech and expression to misinform (See Hannity's attempts to regularly rewrite history eg: yesterdays statement about the death of Ben Ladin) and censor everyone else"s Rights. I don't see anything as blatantly  outrageous in your face on the news stands in America as Charlie Hebdo. I see Charlie on the stands in my little village store, every week here in Badefols d'Ans. I look forward to each issue, but I hope the staff has invested in asbestos underwear!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

RIP to the Charlie Hebdo staff.