One year later, the staff of charlie Hebdo decides they prefer terrorists to the rest of you fucking ingrates.
By Jim Knipfel
On January 7th, 2015, a goodly percentage of the staff of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was killed all to hell by well-armed terrorists with no discernible sense of humor. It was only the culmination of nearly a decade’s worth of threats and fire bombings that followed the weekly’s rare and brave decision in 2006 to republish the Mohammed cartoons no one else would touch.
The threats and firebombs didn’t deter them. Satire can be a dangerous business in this day and age, after all. Charlie Hebdo continued to publish cartoons satirizing not only Muslims, but Christians, Jews, and politicians (French and otherwise) of every stripe. They clung tight to their mission to be equal opportunity offenders.
But the world was changing around them. Humor, and certainly any appreciation for strong and subtle satire, seemed to be fading away as the world got, well, dumber. As a result, the magazine’s subscription base began dwindling, almost to the point at which continuing to publish was becoming a less viable option. In that sense, the 2015 attack and the deaths of eight of their top cartoonists was the best thing that could have happened to them.
After the attack, as they had before, the remaining staff soldiered on, buoyed in no small part buy a huge influx of sympathy donations and millions of new readers who’d flooded the internet with well-meaning, heartfelt, trite and ultimately just plain annoying “Je Suis Charlie” twats. It got so bad that one of the surviving cartoonists even came out publicly, bless him, and told them all to fuck off—they’d never read the magazine before, they were all just morbidly and stupidly jumping on a blood-soaked bandwagon because it was the thing to do.
Well, it seems he didn’t have to say anything, because as all these new fans jockeyed to be the first and hippest among their hip friends in the dorm to snag the new issue of Charlie Hebdo, you know what they discovered? They discovered that Charlie’s MEAN. And Charlie’s a RACIST. And Charlie’s just a MEAN BAD MAN who’s not very nice at all to ANYONE! That’s not funny! And they didn’t like him very much after that.
Yes, all these kindly earnest souls who believe in all their hearts in freedom of expression, when it comes right down to it, don’t believe in it all that hard anymore if it means the freedom to be mean about things they like, or other people’s religions or dead Syrian children or important, verboten things like that. Nope, those people should be made to shut the hell up, so we can all live in a nice and pleasant world where everyone’s nice to everyone no matter what they believe (so long as it’s something we believe, too). By “freedom of expression” we sure didn’t mean “freedom to be nasty” or “freedom to say things we don’t agree with,” right? That’s just stupid. If they’re goanna be mean and nasty and racist like that, showing a dead Syrian baby washed up under a McDonald’s sign and stuff like that, maybe they deserved to be killed the way they did.
I mean, why couldn’t they just be satisfied to be more like that Cracked magazine, right? I mean, like, Cracked can be pretty funny sometimes.
Wait, Cracked can be kinda mean sometimes, too. I remember they did a thing about Sonny and Cher once that was kinda mean, and I really really liked that show! Okay then, that’s it. Where the hell’s my gun?
Published January 8th, 2016
Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.