Monday, January 19, 2015

Thoughts on Charlie

Since I was asked to share my thoughts about Charlie Hedbo, well! Here they are.

* I think the timing makes for some dark comedy, since Merkel in Germany was just recently huffing and pouting about the Pegida marches. How dare people question or even reject the value of importing a foreign culture into their culture! They're racists - bigots, even! Of course, one group of dead journalists and cops later has made that response a bit more muted. Maybe people are right to be worried about the influences of a foreign culture and, yes, even a foreign religion. Maybe they even have a point. Of course, the cost of admitting as much is a bit too high - those terrible nationalists, those right wingers, justified even in part? I think many would prefer minarets in Berlin to that.

* Of course, the reality is that Germany - and all of Europe - needs immigration because they're all committing collective demographic suicide. Cut off the immigration from muslim lands and they'll either have to find another immigration source (and likely re-introduce the same problems in a different form) or, God forbid, structure their societies in a way that encourages people to have more children - and along with it, healthy families. That's not happening. Feminist groups would be torn between A) screeching that massive amounts of benefits state-paid day care and such would be necessary to even vaguely encourage women to have children, and B) screeching that the very idea of thinking WOMEN should have CHILDREN is utterly barbaric. LGBT groups would throw conniption fits and demand front-row consideration and react with colorful hostility to the idea that a man and woman having sex and, eventually, children is in any way "the norm" or even "ideal". They would rather die as a culture than admit certain realities, or even possibilities.

* As for France itself... really, fuck Charlie Hebdo. They should be allowed to print whatever they want, but they didn't become saints, or even martys, just because they got gunned down by radicals. The saints and martyrs are the cops who tried to protect them, and us for tolerating their antics, as we should - but just as Larry Flynt didn't become a role model just because we (rightly) tolerate him, Team Hebdo didn't become heroic during this. And, just to be particularly blunt about that - when one of their number was threatened by the gunmen, she opened the fucking door. Someone should run a comic showing all these Je Suis Charlie people at a rally in a bar before a bunch of masked gunmen with turbans and korans burst in demanding to know which one of them is Charlie, at which point they all point at each other and yell "Il est Charlie!" That's closer to the truth.

* A bit more about Charlie Hebdo.  They're the worst kind of Cult of Gnu atheists, who mock not because it's funny, but because they want to reduce their targets to reviled jokes. It's hate speech - and still I defend them, because I think the West rightly enshrines freedom of expression as a right, and hate speech of their variety is covered. Hell, I'd even be against passively censoring them and keeping them entirely out of circulation by the decisions of private businesses - I think we should bite certain bullets on that front. But they're not heroes, and I'll even say their insulting of religions, including ones other than my own, are deplorable acts. I hope some muslim papers run some good fucking strips about their deaths, and their supporters see it. Nothing is sacred, remember?

* Finally, the Pope. Ha! Figures the one time he unequivocally says something I agree with is the time he pisses everyone off. I know I'm supposed to fit the mold of the stereotypical right-winger and enthusiastically endorse pissing off muslims, but the fact is I have no interest in intentionally provoking them - to a point. I even respect them - again, to a point. Really, they do less damage than the secularists when you really sit down and start taking stock of things.

9 comments:

Graham Esposito said...

I've seen a lot of atheist commentators spewing out a lot of faux-paternalistic defenses of mocking religion in response to this. It's practically a sacrament to these guys. It's very much like the bully who says he stuffed the kid in the locker to "toughen him up." Never mind that the bully loved every second of the cruelty.

France's anti-religion laws have made us Western Christians somewhat unlikely allies with French Muslims. It's against the law to pray in public over there, because apparently the secularist sensibilities are so profoundly fragile that they can't handle even the SIGHT of religious practice.

GoldRush Apple said...

I think the whole "Je suis Charlie" is downright feel-good BS.

B. Prokop said...

And of course, Skep over on his website has declared that he, too, is Charlie. Figures...

Syllabus said...

While I'd be the last person to call them saints, it seems to me that it wouldn't be an inexcusable stretching of truth to call them martyrs. They'd been threatened with death and bombed before for their cartoons, and given that they were killed for them, it's not unreasonable to say that they were killed for exercising their freedoms as free men. So in that (very limited) sense, they could very well, I think, be called a certain sort of martyr. Though I'm not sure they should be venerated or lionized for the speech they happened to express, since it was frequently obscene and distasteful.

Crude said...

Bob,

And of course, Skep over on his website has declared that he, too, is Charlie. Figures...

He doesn't have a website. He has what doesn't even rise to the level of a livejournal that no one reads. There's plenty of people who said 'Je Suis Charlie', including religious. Pardon me if I laugh.

Also, you can tell the people who are Charlie from the ones who aren't. Just look for the bullet holes.

Syllabus,

While I'd be the last person to call them saints, it seems to me that it wouldn't be an inexcusable stretching of truth to call them martyrs.

Personally, I think 'martyr' only goes to people who very reasonably expect they'll be dying, and choose death or the likely result of it. I suspect that does not apply in this case, in any way. People would have a better case arguing that the gunmen were martyrs.

Oh, and in case it's not obvious - I'm honoring the Hebdo killers with these comments. They held mockery, blasphemy, offense and disrespect up as essential to discourse, so it would be an insult to treat their demise as anything but a joke opportunity.

Syllabus said...

Personally, I think 'martyr' only goes to people who very reasonably expect they'll be dying, and choose death or the likely result of it.

Well, while death wasn't the only possible outcome, it certainly was a credible possibility, given the crap that happened to Salman Rushdie and that Van Gogh guy (can never remember his full name) who got stabbed. Hell, their own offices got bombed in 2011. So I think they knew it was a possible outcome.

Now, I think it's perfectly reasonable that it takes a little more to call them "martyrs". I'm not advocating that they should unqualifiedly be so described, only that they were facing real danger and knew they were.

Oh, and in case it's not obvious - I'm honoring the Hebdo killers with these comments. They held mockery, blasphemy, offense and disrespect up as essential to discourse, so it would be an insult to treat their demise as anything but a joke opportunity.

Me, I don't find your comments to be particularly offensive - but, then, I'm not the easiest guy to offend or piss off.

Though I did had someone on Facebook describe the situation to me as one of two possibilities: 1, the gunmen were, to use almost their exact words, "well-intentioned, just trying to stop blasphemy", or 2, this was a false flag by Al-Qaeda that wasn't really about punishing blasphemy but about stirring up Islamophobic violence which would let them recruit more people. That did the trick.

Crude said...

Well, while death wasn't the only possible outcome, it certainly was a credible possibility, given the crap that happened to Salman Rushdie and that Van Gogh guy (can never remember his full name) who got stabbed.

I really am skeptical. Salman, if I recall, was right in the midst of Islam when he made his move, which is a whole different story (and he's still a jackass.) Van Gogh is another matter, but also more of an anomaly. I think it was a credible possibility in a very broad sense, but not exactly the stuff of imminent threat. I'd wager they felt safe in France.

And I understand what you're arguing. By all means, disagree with me - I'm not exactly staking out the most popular position right now.

Though I did had someone on Facebook describe the situation to me as one of two possibilities: 1, the gunmen were, to use almost their exact words, "well-intentioned, just trying to stop blasphemy", or 2, this was a false flag by Al-Qaeda that wasn't really about punishing blasphemy but about stirring up Islamophobic violence which would let them recruit more people. That did the trick.

Well-intentioned, haha. And I saw another 'false flag' claim pop up too. They never end, do they. Just wait'll one turns out to be obviously correct.

Codgitator (Cadgertator) said...

I take the punch-in-the-face bit as Francis's version of BXIV's Regensburg Address. In his own inchoate and smarmy way, he was saying, like BXIV argued, that Islam lacks a fundamental "logical" check on will, and, thus, on the violence endemic to its aims. You shouldn't mock anyone, he says, but you should especially not piss off those Muslims.

If that is all he were saying, though, it would be fine. The deeper implication, however, is that every expression of religiosity is on an equal footing, and to be equally spared public criticism. The Church has been confused and cowardly about its own teaching on religious liberty since at least Vatican II, and the pope's off-the-cuff defense of "religion" is just another crystallization of that fact.

Point being, I would take his remarks about religious backlash more seriously if he coupled it to the teaching that the State has a duty to suppress error and support truth, i.e., a duty to cooperate with the Church as the teacher of wisdom. But, like a typical post-Conciliar prelate, he denies all such rights for the Church. Oh well. Time keeps on ticking.

BenYachov said...

What the Pope said is simplicity itself. It is easy to understand unless you are a member of the clueless media right or left.

Lawless Violence is never justified but it is natural to want to respond to deep intimate personal insults with physical aggression(i.e. expect a punch in the nose). Those who choose to insult others in this manner ought to be aware of it.
Additionally the Pope is telling us there are moral limits to free speech. So merely mocking Muhammed for the sake of mocking him is wrong even thought Muhammed is a false prophet to us Christians.

If I might add. Then there is all this mishigoss about "Blaming the victim".

Well "blaming the victim" is more akin to saying "Ok this man is clearly guilty of forcing this woman to have sex with him against her will" but because she is a drunken slut who acts out with other men we aren't going to throw the book at him.

No, you throw the book at him regardless if she is a slut or virgin. BUT....that doesn't mean it's out of bounds to suggest to the woman that it is a very bad idea to get drunk and trust your safety to a bunch of misogynist drunken jerks.

In a like manner we must hunt down and destroy the Jihadists. We must recognize they are an existential threat to western Christian civilization & we can also say Hebdo might be alive today if he followed the moral law.

It's not either/or it is both/and.