Look, let me be up front. There is so much great writing coming from all corners of media today, establishment and new, nothing I say here is going to be some nuanced insight or written with prose that dances and delights your eyes. But I’m so moved by others’ writing and what I’m seeing, I’d be remiss if I didn’t write something about this situation and more importantly and likely, post the cartoons myself, along with other pictures of note. Today is a day to remember just how powerful a punch an image can carry. As a lover of language, I bow to the visceral punch an image can give that the most well-constructed and beautiful prose sometimes can’t match.
The situation in France where three Islamist extremists stormed the magazine office of Charlie Hebdo and killed 10 journalists, two police officers and wounding an additional 11 people is beyond tragic and sad. All because they dared to print cartoons like the above. They dared to stand while others, like CNN, MSNBC, NBC, preferred to kneel.
One day I wish to be so bold and courageous. For my ink to carry such weight that it pisses off some radical idiots. For my ink to declare boldly, “Fuck you, if you deserve a hardy fuck you.” And all authority does, whether government, religious, business, saintly individuals or otherwise.
It’s easy to defend free speech of someone saying the things you like or the things within the narrowly accepted mainstream viewpoint, but it’s much harder to say, “Yeah, you Westboro Baptist fuckers, I defend your right to spew your stupid shit.” It’s much harder to be that guy.
The cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were a collection of those guys. Equal opportunity offenders, “taking the piss,” out of authority and rightfully so. Authority always needs a swift kick in the shins to remind them where they stand (usually on the neck of the majority).
For once, the phrase “don’t let the terrorists win” could aptly be applied here.