I put “charlie hebdo covers” into Google Image. Try it yourself. They have had a LOT of gratuitously offensive covers. Not just anti Islam. It’s a broad church and they do skewer all religions. A lot.
It’s also not very funny. Now that is subjective, of course. I get that. You don’t. He does. She doesn’t.
So does that make a difference? Yeah, I reckon. Anything’s a topic for humour. I’ve always thought that. I am into edgy humour. But there are rules. If you cross the line, you have to be extra funny. That’s the payoff. There HAS to be a point. Otherwise you are a 5 year old running round a family party shouting WANKER and watching people’s reactions.
They do, of course, have the right to free speech. But it does rather seem like they are misusing that right in a very blatant and childish way.
It sets out to offend.
It also comes over as pretty racist and homophobic.
So, what am I saying?
I think I am saying free speech is a right, just as not having your religion repeatedly and unimaginatively mocked is a right too. We have laws against just that kind of thing here.
Did Charlie Hebdo “ask for it”? Yeah kinda. Did they deserve it? Obviously not. Were they making a point? I suppose so. Is it valid? I have my doubts.
I am super-atheist. Christianity has its rules. You can rile up those good ol’ boys quite easily. Those Westboro wingnuts need locking up on public order and intimidation offences if you ask me . Islam has its rules too. A big one is the whole “no images of their god” thing ever. I think it’s odd too. I think all religions are “odd”. But it’s their thing and I respect their right to it.
But is having the whole army on the streets of France and then having Charlie Hebdo publish something similar again on an industrial scale a reasoned and intellectually sound response?
I really can’t see it myself.