The Virtues of Rudeness and Blasphemy #JeSuisCharlie #JeSuisAhmed #JacobCanfield #SandipRoy

As people such as Jacob Canfield and Sandip Roy have noted, Charlie Hebdo could be obnoxious and rude, and the magazine’s humor could be characterized as xenophobic. Neither of these writers are suggesting that the victims in this case deserved to be murdered, but that it is inappropriate to share their work in the wake of the murder as these cartoons are terrible, no-good, incendiary, racist, sexist, homophobic, and even more regressively reactionary than the Three Stooges. They have judged them to be Bad Satire because of their offensive nastiness and extraordinary rudeness; furthermore, they have judged the creators at Charlie Hebdo to be ‘racist assholes’ and characterized their humor as ‘punching down’ at the marginalized and oppressed. At this point I would urge both Jacob and Sandip to take the pearls they are clutching and shove them deeply into their rectums, whereupon they should slowly withdraw them one by one while furiously masturbating so as to produce a toe-curling orgasm that might help them clear their heads.

"Love is Stronger Than Hate"

“Love is Stronger Than Hate”

I don’t see how it is ‘punching down’ to mock people who are willing and able to kill you. I don’t see how the ‘Love is Stronger than Hate’ cover is homophobic. I don’t see how mocking violent fundamentalists is somehow wrong, nor do I see mocking religion itself as a wrong thing to do; in fact, I believe these are necessary and good things to do. Mocking the violent believer is not mockery of a religion, and mocking a religion does not mock God. Besides, blasphemy, or mockery of the sacred, serves a higher purpose; if a belief cannot endure the breeze of laughter then one should not try to cling to it. Lies are polite and the truth is rude; this is what makes blasphemy cut so deeply into the minds of fundamentalists. Trying to maintain a primitive mindset in the face of modernity is ultimately futile but that does not make the primitives any less dangerous as they are willing to use modern technology to recreate the idyllic Dark Age Fantasylands or bring about apocalyptic daydream Tomorrowlands. People who reject reason and embrace violence in the name of their imaginary friends need to be mocked in the hope that they will hear the truth in our blasphemy and come in out of the wilderness.

The Prophet Mohammed Overwhelmed by Terrorists

‘The Prophet Mohammed Overwhelmed by Terrorists’

The ministry of Jesus was blasphemous from the Parable of the Good Samaritan to His healing of the sick; it’s why He was killed.  My answer to the question, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ is ‘go drinking with hookers and bust up a church’. The teachings of the Buddha are blasphemous, as they reject notions of good, evil, or God running it all. Mohammed was blaspheming against the old tribal gods of his people when he had them removed from the Kaaba and reconsecrated it to Allah. Martin Luther, Galileo, and Dr King were all blasphemers, speaking unspeakable truths to their fellows. The Charlie Hebdo cartoon of a fundamentalist terrorist beheading the Prophet who he is accusing of being an infidel is spot on satire that speaks an unbearable truth to the religious terrorist; people who do violence in the name of the Prophet are doing violence to the Prophet.

Click to enlarge

“If Mohammed Returned” “I am the Prophet, fool!” “Shut up, infidel!”

I understand the taboo against portraying Mohammed or for that matter, any representation of a human being in Islamic art; that taboo does not apply to non-Muslims. I also want to point out that one of the police officers who was murdered by the terrorists was a Muslim and that countless Muslims and Islamic have condemned the attack in the strongest terms possible. When I talk about a primitive mindset, I am talking about individuals that believe images have some sort inherent power or magic about them; there is no racial or other bias in this word as the primitive mindset can be found everywhere. Just months before the Taliban was blowing up the Buddhas of Bamiyan with rocket launchers, Mayor Giuliani was trying to get a painting of the Virgin Mary removed from the Brooklyn Museum. The primitive mindset does not belong to any particular religion, race or whatever; it is embraced by people everywhere who think that they can make the world a better place if they burn this book or that painting, or that by killing they are doing the will of God.

"Charlie Hebdo Should Be Veiled!:

“Charlie Hebdo Should Be Veiled!”

Either everything is fair game or nothing is. Bad satire makes you feel comfortable and smug; good satire unsettles and goes places you’re not supposed to. This is not to say that being offensive is equivalent to being good satire because it takes no effort to be crude, thoughtless, and juvenile. It does mean, however, that in order to protect the good satire we have to protect that which is crude, thoughtless, and juvenile as well. If Charlie Hebdo was merely thoughtless crude racism produced by assholes they would have fled after the first firebombing or would not have even been targeted in the first place; it is because their pens found their mark that the madmen came to kill them. But in doing so, the primitive minds of the killers only made Charlie Hebdo more powerful than they could possibly imagine, because from now until the end of my days every time I hear the name of the Prophet Mohammed, this will be the face I attach to it:

I think he's adorable.

I think he’s adorable.

4 Responses to “The Virtues of Rudeness and Blasphemy #JeSuisCharlie #JeSuisAhmed #JacobCanfield #SandipRoy”

  1. Kenny Lazarus Says:

    I agree with about 99.5% of what you’ve written. I do think that Canfield gets it wrong in many ways. (I don’t get homophobia either! I mean, they’re Parisi an fer crying out loud!) I think we both would agree that the one where The jihadist is decapitating The Prophet is probably the best of the bunch. But I’m not sure all of the cartoons are about terrorists. I wonder if there are some we have not seen to which Canfield is referring.

    And my brain broke… time for sleep. I’ll puzzle over this and write more after I sleep.

  2. Kenny Lazarus Says:

    So I have had a good night’s sleep and have had the chance to think and also to read some of the comments made on Canfield’s article that I posted to FB. My friend from high school, Rachael makes a great point. I was headed in that direction but she says it better. (head over to FB and read it!) Part of my concern about the cartoons is context. France is smack in the middle of a culture war. They are debating immigration policy much as we are but the folks they want to keep out are not Mexican but Muslim. Anti-Muslim sentiment and activity is (it would seem from media reports) more pervasive than anti-black here. It concerns me when a white guy makes fun of, satirizes, whatever you want to call it anyone who is perceived as “other.” It is especially troubling when there is already a lot of anti-muslim feeling around. Part of what I think is important in Satire is “Speaking truth to Power.” That isn’t what is happening here. True, being a somewhat anonymous and faceless cartoonist allows him a broader target area. I mean, Jon Stewart couldn’t make a joke about black folks burning their own businesses… But, I imagine most people know who the staff at Charlie Hebdo are and it seems their favorite target is Islam. That is troubling…

    The part you and I agree on is that satire is necessary to combat extreme and/or violent ideologies or activity. So, for the cartoons that do that, (like the one where the jihadi is decapitating The Prophet.) I willingly say #jesuischarlie. But it just seems like there is a darker side where he has crossed the line into simply making fun of, satirizing, (whatever term you prefer) Muslims. It is because of that part that I say Je ne suis pas Charlie.

    As for what you wrote; I think you get it wrong in a few places. First, was the vivid masturbation sequence necessary? Were you simply giving us an example of something crude and juvenile? You succeeded. Being crude and juvenile is a common tactic of yours and I have frequently enjoyed it (i.e. the whole arguing with lunatics thread.) but here I think it isn’t really necessary and as such might even weaken your argument. You run the risk of not being taken seriously or perhaps not even being read at all. (I would love to send this to Cathy Torgeson, she commented on FB (Remember her from Millikin?) But she is basically a nun and I don’t feel right sending that to her. (yes, I realize that is paternalistic and probably sexist, so sue me… Wait, nope, not sexist, there are men who I would not send it too b/c of that language… anyway…) So, I get the point of having that section but I think the net result might be a loss.

    Like you, I am a bit confused and concerned about Canfied’s claim of racism. I don’t see anything overtly racist about the cartoons. Yes, they deal in stereotypes and maybe Canfield considers that in and of itself racist. I find it a bit troubling, but Charlie is doing it to make an important point. But, I don’t think Canfield can call racism simply from the cartoons he presented. Perhaps he has seen more of them than we have.

    For exactly the same reason.our argument that they aren’t racist is weak. You say they aren’t racist because they would’ve quit after the first firebombing. Really? Are you sure? I’m not so certain; and in any event, I don’t think you can make that blanket statement without some sort of evidence. Similarly, I think you fall into the same trap that Cafield does, you just end up on a different side. If you have not seen anything that Charlie has done other than the cartoons that were published shortly after the shooting, (The ones you posted.) you don’t have enough information to say they aren’t racist.

    So, all of this thinking and writing has done little to settle my thoughts on the racism issue. (As for the asshole comment? I think that is in the job description for satirists!) I do know enough to revoke my I am Charlie comment. I certainly condemn the violence and mourn the dead. I pray for peace and I hope, as I do/did about Ferguson et al. that this will lead us to a conversation that takes us to a better place.

    Whew! That is a lot of typing and thinking and editing. Thanks for the brain workout. Now I gotta go be Dad. What on earth am I going to make him for his lunch? (What do you do with a boy who doesn’t like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

  3. Kenny Lazarus Says:

    …and then the is this!
    As usual, Gaiman does it better than anyone!

    http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/12/why-defend-freedom-of-icky-speech.html

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