Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 3, 2011

A Few Updates On The Bombing Of Charlie Hebdo’s Offices

* I thought this was the best of the on-line video reports from the scene of yesterday morning's bombing of the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. This week's issue featured a special focus on issue of Islam in government (in Tunisia and Libya, particularly) and the day before the publication sent out PR that Muhammed himself was a special Guest Editor.

* this is a pretty good written follow-up, which notes the condemnation of many Muslim groups and mentions that the firebombing really only forces other journalistic sources to re-run things like the magazine's cover -- the opposite of the kind of silencing intended.

* the satirical magazine has decamped to the offices of Liberation for their forthcoming issues. That's good to hear, because with incidents like these there can be calls of support without an actual response of a place for people to continue their work.

* this is one of many articles we're likely to see over the next few days as to the issue of whether or not a publication like this provokes Muslim people in an unfair, unfriendly and unnecessary way. I read at least one piece where the writer savaged the publication for making the choice to bait Muslims with this kind of publication and PR stunt. I don't quite see it that way, even though I'll admit to less than 100 percent certainty that this will be my position after I think about it for a couple of days. As much as I continue to criticize Jyllands-Posten for the way in which it published the initial Danish Muhammed cartoons, it seems to me that a satirical magazine is a satirical magazine, and should be expected to go after subjects of cultural interest without violating the same sort of public trust one invests in a paper that more comprehensively exists in a public sphere. I see a satirical magazine reacting to cultural news like the recent events in Libya and Tunisia as acting less like the original editors at Jyllands-Posten and more in a way that I wanted all of news coverage to act back when the original Muhammed cartoons in Denmark became a concern. Again, I could be full of shit here. To be frank with you, I found the bombing upsetting and scary in a way that Ali Ferzat getting his hands broken was, a violation of a compact of the kind by which we all benefit. I'm not sure how I'll think about this stuff when it finally settles in.
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink

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