While composing a New years post for this blog, a killer Flu virus burst into our offices and downed the staff for nearly two weeks now. It appears that while we were out, the religious world around us went batshit insane.
In just the first weeks of 2015 since we last wrote, 12 cartoonists in France were gunned down by Islamic extremist who yelled, well…you know what they yelled. Yes, once again it was over cartoons depicting Mohammed, along with other Islamic themes, in a not-so-flattering light.
As you have certainly heard by now, millions of people and over 40 World Leaders gathered in Paris to honor the fallen cartoonists (the U.S. was strangely absent from the rally, and is facing some harsh criticism for it-although Obama did call Hollande and said, “Yo, we’re with ya bro!”).
Immediately after the two gunmen committed this atrocity (police are currently looking for possible accomplishes), the arguments about whether or not it was appropriate to print the cartoons began. People who had never seen or read a copy of Charlie Hebdo and couldn’t speak or read a word of French condemned the images as racist (pretty funny coming from a strongly anti-racist, nonconformist, and left-wing magazine), always careful however, to hedge their words with a weaselly ‘but’ as in, “I would never say the cartoonists deserved it, but…” Some people (especially the kind of people that are often the subject of it) just can’t seem to get a grip on satire. Satire draws portraits of a power or authority and holds it up to the real thing like a mirror, but grotesque and distorted (which is what the subject looks like in truth, without the mask of social decorum firmly in place). It draws the views of these people and drags them out kicking and screaming into the light of day for everyone to see (hence the depiction of so-called ‘welfare queens’ of Islam in an issue of Charlie Hebdo-that was the view of a certain intolerant right-wing party pushing ‘immigration reform’ in France, and CH was laughing at that view, not endorsing it. When the great Johnathan Swift wrote satire entitled”A Modest Proposal” he was, (razor tongue in cheek) suggesting that the government deal with starvation, famine, and the almost non-existent economy at the the time by selling unwanted children for food, and using the skin for the fine clothes of great Lords and Ladies. He was, of course, highlighting how little the rich cared about the plight of the people, by shoving it in their faces. You can read this masterpiece of satire here:
A Modest Proposal for preventing the children of poor people in Ireland, from being a burden on their parents or country, and for making them beneficial to the publick (1729)
But hey-let’s grant (just for a moment) that the cartoons were every bit as racist as argued; vile spiteful little drawings from a colonial white power elite intended to belittle and laugh about the hopes and problems of some minority brown-skinned race that France doesn’t like. Let’s grant that ridiculous notion for a moment.
Here in America, we had a group of elite whites cartoonists that really did do that, (and they slip in sometimes even today) and we had an entire group of people-recently freed African Americans, who really did have every reason to decry how they were depicted (not to mention how they were beaten in the streets on a regular basis, lynched by vigilante mobs or plain old hate mobs, and numerous other forms of direct oppression). They were oppressed by a colonial power, laughed at and made fun of with openly racist cartoons of a truly sickening nature and had every right to go after cartoonists when the civil rights movement erupted. Yet no cartoonists were ever murdered by angry revenge mobs that I’ve ever heard of, and if they had, no one would have ever said, “it doesn’t excuse the murder, but…”. If this kind of revenge murder didn’t happen then, I wonder what the different factor was that tipped the scales towards violence this time around? Of course it’s religion, the factor everyone screams has nothing to do with it (or anyways, isn’t the real reason) even while the murderers claim to A: be working in the name of the prophet, B: demand that others submit to their understanding of blasphemy, and C: demand the institution of religious governance.
One person who has had a long career of tweaking his nose at power is legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb, best known for his underground comics of the 60’s and 70’s and who now lives in France. This interview about the cartoon he just drew for the French newspaper, Liberation of “The hairy ass of Muhammed,” is an excellent read.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before our resident apologist Reza Aslan got into the act, but that’s the subject of a later post-we will need all our health to take on the grand master of uncertainty.
Meanwhile, Boko Haram, who desperately needs more attention by the international community, went on a murderous rampage through villages that left as many as 2,000 dead and 30,000 displaced in Nigeria starting on Jan. 3rd of 2015. The Islamic rebel army have been terrorizing the region for the last nine days and bodies are still lying uncounted and unaccounted for. For some strange reason, nobody is wearing shirts or holding signs saying “I am Baga town and surrounding villages and 2000 senselessly-killed and 30,000 driven from their homes, possibly forever.” We guess it’s just not catchy enough. Regardless, our we will post in greater detail about the massacre soon.
In lesser news, the Atlantic contained an article relating what must be some of the most terrible, faith-testing, frustrating questions an Islamist militant could ever face; the first-world problem-based questions of aspiring Western Jihadists. The website Ask.fm has become a sight where hip aspiring IS militants gather in order to find out such essential-to-survival questions as whether or not WI-FI will be available (it will…or so they say!), or if a scrappy young Jihadist needs a parents permission to go marauding (It’s best, but better yet to bring the parents along! “Hey Mom! Guess where we’re going on vacation this year!?”) Reading this article, you can just imagine some battle-hardened Jihadist, wearing his suicide vest with a bloody machete strapped to his vest, facepalming over and over and over again…
Last but not least, the non-hacktivist group Anonymous is pissed over Charlie Hebdo. They have vowed to hunt down every last terrorist and annoy them for a day or two (as long as nobody throws an insult at one of their GamerZone buddies or something, in which case they will be forced to devote all their resources to Operation: Kid in Basement). They reportedly already hit one target (a French extremist site) for like, a whole hour. Rumor has it that al Qaeda, Is, Hamas and Hezbollah and the other major terrorist organizations are all expected to formally surrender and turn over their weapons over the next few days.
Here’s one of their silly videos, complete with that Max-Headroom shit.
Anonymous could have cost quite a few lives back when it tried to interfere with the IDF in Israel during the last major conflict there. This time they may lose a few of their own.
A quick message for Anonymous; denial-of-service attacks are not hacking. Could you maybe learn a new trick?
That’s only a portion of the insanity raging around religion over the last few weeks and the remaining staff at C.A.A.C.A. swears that this virus will not keep us down. The blog will continue. The blog must continue. We are C.A.A.C.A.