Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Charlie Hedbo Cover: Slander, Terror and Ridicule in Post-1968 France

I share some of the questions about the cover.

At first I thought I just didn't get it-obviously I'm not the only one who has questions.

Paul Berman, in Tablet, writes: 

"The cartoon is inspiring, moving, slightly mysterious, and entirely beautiful. It is inspiring because, in the face of the ultimate in terrorist pressure, the editors and cartoonists have chosen to go ahead and put the drawing on the cover. The cover of this week’s Charlie Hebdo is the most defiant newspaper cover in the history of journalism—a bolder cover even than the cover of the 1898 Paris newspaper that presented Zola’s article, J’Accuse (which, by non-coincidence, also bore on the question of what Zola called “imbecile anti-Semitism”). Zola knew that, by publishing his accusation against the enemies of Captain Dreyfus, he ran a danger of persecution, arrest, and imprisonment, but probably not murder."

"The editors, staff, cartoonists, printers, truck-drivers and kiosk vendors of Charlie Hebdo are in danger of murder. And they are unfazed."

"The cover is slightly mysterious, at least in my eyes, because, looking at it, I am a little puzzled by the words, “All is forgiven.” Who is the speaker saying this? And who is being forgiven? It is not immediately obvious."

"Uncertainty lends majesty."