Charlie and Louie: An Affair of Two Magazines, Two Cities, and Too Many Questions

“Terrorists are eventually going to kill somebody or destroy something. They are, after all, looking for reasons to activate their agendas and force us all to recognize their vital role in whatever holy crusade, ethnic grudge, or extremist stupidity they represent. Our best defense would seem to fall along the lines of a more informed, compassionate, and internationalized public that strives to understand each other sincerely, wisely, and peacefully. As we all know, humor, comedy, and satire can play enormously important roles in that process. OR, they can muck it up good!”

Humor in America

Je suis Charlie Hebdo, et aussi Michel Brown, et aussi Darren Wilson et aussi… As Teresa Prados-Torreira recently observed in this space, the last month has seen an international slurry of reactions to the Charlie Hebdo Massacre from outraged officials, scampering journalists, erstwhile academics, dedicated peace-keepers, and, of course, the international community of artists, cartoonists, and satirists. Prados-Torreira astutely summarizes in her 20 January post, “at first glance, it seems obvious that the answer to this dilemma should be a wholehearted affirmation of the need to stand in solidarity with the French magazine, with the murdered cartoonists, and in support of free speech. But the content of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, their irreverent depiction of Mohammed and Muslims, have resulted in a cascade of critical essays online and elsewhere.”

Many have since noted that, for interpreters within and beyond French culture, the magazine’s scabrous treatment of all things sacred…

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