Thursday, February 5, 2015

Charlie Hebdo and Marine le Pen's nazi pubes

I joined the fray in the comments section of the article Je ne suis pas Charlie: Why 'Assholes' can't be Heroes, but it took a couple of goes. This is my first attempt at getting a comment published. Perhaps my reference to Marine le pen's pubes was a bit much!

The tedious, stultifying, ignorant, arrogant waffle of the outraged social conservative, the prude and the wowser is reborn. We could take an anti-pornography speech by Mary Whitehouse or Fred Nile from the 1970s and change a few words: "Ban this filth! I only glanced at it for a quarter of a second, but that was enough to know I don't like it. It's FILTH! Thank heavens I didn't have to think about it!"

Mr Wells admits his ignorance by revealing he hadn't come across Charlie Hebdo before last week, but then proceeds to write an article based on its REPUTATION.  To declare the Charlie Hebdo victims to be "assholes" on such a flimsy foundation is very poor form, a week after their murder.

To me, they ARE heroes.  

One of my favourite Charlie Hebdo cartoons has the heading "God does not exist". Underneath it, three heavily-armed clerical figures - one each from the big monotheistic faiths - reply "Oh yes he does". When I was young I wasn't forced to adhere to religion at the barrel of a gun, but there was an element of coercion involved, so symbolically this cartoon rings true. Sadly, it is literally true for many dissidents facing violence and persecution under theocratic regimes at the moment. Another commenter here on the ABC religion and Ethics page has mentioned Raif Badawi, the Saudi man whose sentence of a thousand lashes for "insulting" Islam began in the same week the Paris massacre took place. Seemingly every week brings depressing news of people being locked up, tortured, or sentenced to death for their unbelief. That's the abusive power that Charlie Hebdo stands against. To describe Charlie Hebdo as the bully in this transaction is another piece of doublespeak. But it's in keeping with Mr Wells's confused condemnation of sadistic slaughter, followed by what might as well be a jolly dance on the graves of the "assholes" at the receiving end of a Kalashnikov salvo.

The skewed perspective spelled out explicitly by Mr Wells is that jokes about Islam and Muslims are not equivalent to jokes about Judaism and Jews, or Catholicism and Catholics; no, they are actually in the same category as jokes about the holocaust.
By contrast, you don't have to do much googling to find the even-handedness of Charlie Hebdo's mockery. I just had a good chuckle at the cartoon of French far-right leader Marine le Pen, lifting her dress to shave off her pubic hair which is portrayed in the shape of Hitler's moustache. "Marine le Pen un-Demonises the National Front", goes the headline. "I'm shaving my moustache" she says in a speech bubble. The cartoonist behind that image was wounded in the attack. I find a sickening irony in the prospect that le Pen is poised to capitalise on this horror. I suppose brain-dead articles like this one by Mr Wells should be seen in proportion.

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