Re: Links

1

Next up, LGM explains why it is George Bush Osama bin Laden Ralph Nader who is completely responsible for the deaths in the Iraq War.

No, Juan Cole isn't right, even if correct about motivations for the attack, and is worse than wrong in most of the article. Juan Cole is not even good.

If the French overreact to this attack and attack Muslims in general, that's on the French.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:12 PM
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Resistance to a specific antibiotic must carry some evolutionary disadvantage, right? So can we revive the effectiveness of old antibiotics by taking them completely out of circulation for some time, letting the resistant bacteria be outcompeted?
I totally just solved the crisis, didn't I.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:29 PM
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You've invented what's known as a rotating formulary. Most people don't think they're especially effective, partly due to the coordination required across health providers.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:32 PM
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If it's just a coordination problem that should be solveable. I mean, the stakes are pretty high.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:39 PM
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Have you met people?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:45 PM
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I try not to.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:46 PM
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Too high a risk of infection.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:49 PM
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Goldhammer is good here:http://alj.am/1xSvs3T

And Paris Review interview with houllebec makes interesting reading, no time to hunt up link.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 2:57 PM
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Yeah, I spent the morning writing about the Houellebecq interview until a sudden email saying that in the light of the news from Paris -- what news from Paris? -- Oh.

And, frankly, "Oh" is about all I have to say that's not stupid right now. The only good news is that if it is true, as the grauniad reports, that they have been caught, someone must have turned them in, which means that even their natural sympathisers are shocked. Though Figaro had a page of horrible tweets saying that Charlie H deserved it, and well done the killers, etc.

The Houellebecq interview is here


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:13 PM
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Kim Lewis is a total badass researcher. Seriously nice work and very good news. Hope they make it to the finish line. Their technique is really cool, too. Elegant.

2: Sometimes there is a fitness cost to resistance, sometimes there isn't. There are coordinated efforts currently to keep some drugs as a "last resort" to try to limit resistance. Some bacteria are losing penicillin resistance. However, resistance is extremely easy for bacteria to develop and transfer to other strains, so your reintroduced antibiotic wouldn't be effective for very long. I don't know how long it takes for resistance to be lost from a population, but I know that resistant strains are usually characterized within a year or two of a new antibiotic's introductionfor a particular disease.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:21 PM
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The odor of truth smells like a tasty steak.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:22 PM
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Executive Summary: Juan Cole had a quota of words due today and filled it.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:32 PM
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The claim is that the new antibiotic works like Vanc, binding to a substrate in the cell wall preventing assembly, rather than targeting a protein which is relatively easy to mutate and generate resistance (tet, cillins, most others). Vanc resistance took 30 years. This one is only Gram positive (although also TB apparently?) which is another reason they say resistance is harder, the host bacterium for it just has resistance by having the Gram negative membrane rather than a specific resistance mechanism so nothing to transfer.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:34 PM
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12: It's "heighten the contradictions," there were no Stalinists in 1919, and God knows I am not going to trust Karl Popper as a primary source on the German Revolution.

Really bad Cole. Bertram also rapid-responsed some anodyne.

Richard Seymour was quick out the gate at Jacobin.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:48 PM
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liberation reports that the killers were a pair of French-born brothers, Algerian parents who died when they were little, the older brother was arrested in 2005 trying to go to Iraq to fight. At the time, he was described as totally secular, drank alcohol during Ramadan. The third killer was a 19-year old, apparently homeless. Tsarnaev redux.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 3:57 PM
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13 to me? 10 was just answering 2, not addressing the new work. No quibbles with 13, just an added note that vanc use was very limited in the first twenty years following its approval (partly due to tox concerns), which would delay development of resistance. I believe it's still classified as a drug of last resort. I wouldn't bet much on a similar lag without similar very limited deployment of this compound, should it work in humans. The mutation leading to Vanc resistance is a single amino acid mutation, not so terribly fancy. I wouldn't hang too much on an inability to generate resistant mutants in their experiments, but maybe that's a buzzkill.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:05 PM
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Not sure what "drug of last resort" means, but I think vanc is given pretty much all the time someone has a systemic infection that looks like staphylococcus. But those are life-threatening situations I guess.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:09 PM
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If you get a "drug of last resort" for a venereal infection, you've sexed to to limit of science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:13 PM
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4-6 are awesome.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:18 PM
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I think Cole performs a service by reminding us that terrorists can be in rational pursuit of political ends. It's an obvious enough point, I suppose, but it's inevitably forgotten in the aftermath of incidents like this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:20 PM
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17: Basically yeah. Life-threatening situations where nothing else will do. Like, you wouldn't give vanc for strep throat or ear infection. It's a designation used in various situations, but for antibiotics, it's meant to limit overprescription of new drugs. Sepsis is extremely dangerous, so it counts. This story from NPR is pretty good.

For things like cancer, it might be an off-label use of some antineoplastic that is off-label after other efforts have been exchausted.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:21 PM
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Pretend that last sentence makes sense, please.
-- one iteration of off-label
exhausted


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:35 PM
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Thanks for posting the link, Nworb! I've been trying to think whether putting houllebec in the same aesthetic category as 18c anticlerical porn would make his stuff readable, hasn't been successful yet.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 4:55 PM
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Didjyall hear about the Colorado Springs NAACP office bombing? I've been on news sites regularly for the last two days, and a friend's FB post was the first I've heard of it.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 6:30 PM
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||

Damn, I guess that's why those amazing kilo bags of sea salt crystals are so cheap at the Korean market.

|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 6:47 PM
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24: It was just on the news here, complete with bomb sniffing dog video.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:13 PM
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Well thank God for "if it bleeds, it leads", I guess.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:24 PM
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Damn, I guess that's why those amazing kilo bags of sea salt crystals are so cheap at the Korean market.

Aaaah, Jesus Christ.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:39 PM
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I don't shop at the Korean market. Only my produce and poultry is produced by dubiously acquired labor. Mostly.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:42 PM
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The AP had a fine story about it last week, that may still be on their website. According to them, the mentally handicapped are particularly unwanted in Korean society, and sometimes the virtual slavery is supported by the slave's family.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:44 PM
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putting houllebec in the same aesthetic category

What Conrad do you think he's referring to in the interview: The Secret Agent? Nostromo? Or is he just handwaving?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 7:46 PM
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13 to everyone- I'm trying to start a Vox-like educational thing but I'll sound authoritative by using lots of jargon and abbreviations so no one will really understand it, but no one will want to admit they don't understand it so it will get lots of buzz about how informative it is.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 10:38 PM
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It's a designation used in various situations, but for antibiotics, it's meant to limit overprescription of new drugs.

Is the pricing on vanco a function of the intent to reserve it as a drug of last resort? Or is that just a helpful coincidence?


Posted by: dk | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:18 PM
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Han Bong-cheol, a pastor in Mokpo who lived on Sinui Island for 19 years until June, sympathized with farmers forced to deal with disabled, incompetent workers. "They spend their leisure time eating snacks, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. They are taken once or twice a year to Mokpo so they can buy sex. It's a painful reality, but it's a pain the island has long shared as a community."

FUCK this guy. Fuck this guy. Fuck this guy. (Teaching a course on slavery this coming semester, and holy shit, things that helped build this fucking capitalist economy 400 years ago are happening all the fucking time, still, because that's how the machine works. We have to have subhumans to shit on and then complain about how they smell like shit.)


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 01- 7-15 11:19 PM
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I don't really understand the objections to Cole's article, which makes a simple point, but a true one: terrorism is seldom "mindless"; terrorists generally have an objective, a strategy and tactics, even if they tend to lie about what these are. It seems very likely that these people, Tsarnaev redux or not, had the idea of heightening the contradictions in mind, because it isn't actually very hard to think up (sorry Bob, if I appear to suggest that Lenin hit on a tactic that was not the apex of sophistication).

Cole may be stating the obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs to be stated.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 2:46 AM
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The future of teixobactin must surely depend to a great extent on whether agrobusinesses can be prevented from using it like candy on their animals.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 2:51 AM
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34: yes. He is one of the most evil religious people in the week's news.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 3:13 AM
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I've been on 'vanc'. It wasn't fun.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 3:33 AM
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I read the thread out of order, so I assumed 'vanc' was some sort-of slang for 'vacation'. Nothing on this thread has changed my mind.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:31 AM
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33: Partly. Limiting use keeps the market small, which means the manufacturer needs a higher margin per prescription to profit. The other reason it's expensive is that it can't be given orally (except in some unusual circumstances), so part of the expense is administering it.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:34 AM
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How expensive can suppositories be?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:40 AM
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The future of teixobactin must surely depend to a great extent on whether agrobusinesses can be prevented from using it like candy on their animals.

Yes, definitely one of those cases where the economics of drug discovery don't line up well with public health goals (diseases of poor countries being another). Once you've spent the money to get a therapy approved, you want to sell the shit out of it before the IP protection expires. And while even I am not quite cynical enough to impute this level of venality to Big Pharma, the fact is that antibiotic resistance amounts to a kind of planned obsolescence for cheap generic compounds, so there's a bit of a perverse incentive lurking in the background there.

You really need a different incentive structure for antibiotic development: challenges, prizes, direct grants, that kind of thing. Ydnew probably knows more about what's being done at the policy level on this already.


Posted by: kermit roosevelt, jr. | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:50 AM
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How expensive can suppositories be?

The can cost you your dignity.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:00 AM
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IMHRTAHOBISIBYF would be a good acronym to use.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:04 AM
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German pharmacies only carry suppositories, homeopathic remedies, or the Holy Grail of medicine, homeopathic suppositories.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:05 AM
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the Holy Grail of medicine, homeopathic suppositories

They exist!


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:08 AM
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42: the fact is that antibiotic resistance amounts to a kind of planned obsolescence for cheap generic compounds, so there's a bit of a perverse incentive lurking in the background there.

Tim says that antibiotic resistance is one of the reasons that Pharma doesn't do antibiotic research. That, and the fact that you don't take the drugs for non-acute episodes. Antibiotic resistance frequently emerges before the patent expires.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:29 AM
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I find myself horrified on several levels by the shooting in Paris - on the one hand, mass murder is not ok, and it is definitely not a reasonable response to being offended by a cartoon, even deeply offended. On the other hand, the magazine in question was clearly taunting the extremists essentially for the sake of taunting them; I don't see a larger point to any of the drawing beyond "you can't tell us what to do" which strikes me as really childish. Of course murder is a horrific response to this, but those cartoonists were also being assholes. Their manner of death makes them brave defenders of freedom of speech, but their lives involved behaviour I find troubling.

Anyone else trying to square this circle? Or at all sympathetic to my discomfort? Maybe I'm just being an ass too, of course...


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 8:18 AM
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48: Any free speech corner case is likely to involve real assholes.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 8:36 AM
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Probably boundary pushing case would be a better term in 49


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 8:36 AM
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As far as I know Charlie Hebdo is a horrible publication which specialises in aggressive and unfunny attacks on anybody with deeply held beliefs, not just Muslims. It normally musters a national circulation below 50,000 - I imagine most of them are 13 year old boys.

But you don't normally go around shooting people for being horrible and immature.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 9:09 AM
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So this is basically like if someone gunned down the 4ch/an (or 8c/han) guys, right?


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 9:16 AM
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More like the South Park guys.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 9:18 AM
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48,51: See the Richard Seymour article at Jacobin, linked above at 14

The argument will be that for the sake of "good taste" we need "a decent interval" before we start criticizing Charlie Hebdo. But given the scale of the ongoing anti-Muslim backlash in France, the big and frightening anti-Muslim movements in Germany, and the constant anti-Muslim scares in the UK, and given the ideological purposes to which this atrocity will be put, it is essential to get this right.

No, the offices of Charlie Hebdo should not be raided by gun-wielding murderers. No, journalists are not legitimate targets for killing. But no, we also shouldn't line up with the inevitable statist backlash against Muslims, or the ideological charge to defend a fetishized, racialized "secularism," or concede to the blackmail which forces us into solidarity with a racist institution.

CH was pretty foul. OTOH, American liberals IIRC had few problems with the Larry Flynt Hustler cases. But that was long ago in the 1970s, and I wonder if the current identity left would accept virulent and offensive racism and misogyny in a major publication.

I think CH would be illegal in Canada, and ran into trouble even in France.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 9:50 AM
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In fact I remember a recent post here about a Asian advertisement depicting a kneeling woman with wideopen eyes and mouth and a footlong sandwich. That ad got quickly pulled. Oh yeah, also naked celebrity pics and panty shots.

"They shouldn't die for it" is pretty easy. Should the vicious depictions of Islam have gotten them shutdown? Perhaps not by the gov't but by public protest? Is there a huge difference in how censors organize themselves?

Not that I care very much. The hypocrites on all side can battle each other for hegemony. "My feminist anti-racist gored ox is more important than those of Catholics or Muslims cause they aren't like us."


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 9:59 AM
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55.1: I thought that was Burger King.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 10:00 AM
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Free speech supporters seem to have a much easier time disassociating their support of free speech from an obligation to propagate the speech when it's the establishment being degraded, rather than out-groups. I doubt anyone was burning flags in "solidarity" surrounding Texas v. Johnson.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 10:17 AM
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Oh yeah, and there is the wingnut whip who attended some David Duke quasi-Klan meetings.

If you watch, these battles for hegemony happen nearly everyday. As long as you admit it isn't about rights or justice or protection of the abject and agree that it is just the exercise of your faction's brute power, all ok fine with me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 10:19 AM
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Speaking of media, history, and hegemony this Slate article about how the movie
Selma flat out admittedly fucking lies about LBJ, but that's ok, because whatever is pretty interesting.

"What is DuVernay trying to tell us when she makes Johnson more reluctant than he was, or when she shifts the timeline to give him a role in the FBI's smear tapes?"

Well, why not? Since she'll get the Oscar anyway, and generations of kids will grow up with lies in their heads?

This is why I no more trust current American historians on race or gender (when discussing America) than I would trust Stalinists.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 10:36 AM
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I am shocked by your revealed McCarthyism. Who says Stalinists are presumptively untrustworthy? Tailgunner Joe, that's who.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 10:39 AM
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59: Nice conflation of someone whose film credits most often include "publicist" with "historians!"


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:11 AM
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61: wait--I think I parsed that wrong. Are you calling Jamelle Bouie an historian? Because I really don't think he is. Nor do any of the sources he cites argue that the parts that are incorrect are in fact correct.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:13 AM
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#IAmDerSturmer


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:44 AM
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^ posting here because I don't have the stones to throw that out on Twitter and calibrate just how much square on which it's kidding


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:45 AM
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I think you should do it. Maybe I'll do it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:47 AM
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But it should be

#ichbinderstürmer #kampfumdiewahrheit


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:47 AM
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59.3 Still haven't seen Boyhood yet?


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:53 AM
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go for it! Pedantize as needed.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 11:57 AM
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This is, or should be, the true face of Islam. And from a land where the world's greatest leader, Napalm Death fan Joko Widodo, reigns.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 12:46 PM
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67: I am a media expatriate. If I can manage it, I will never watch anything produced in the English language again. Partly affirmative action, or a commitment to diversity

Nanni Moretti is terrific.

Zanussi, Godard, Demy, Marcel Carne, Forman, Leontine Sagan, I Bergman, Chytilova, Carlos Saura, Zurlini, Truffaut, Herzog, Haneke, Reinhard Hauff, Jakubisko, Dragojevic, Fassbinder, Alain Tanner, Jiri Menzel

and a metric ton of Asians

But since I watch (and read about) a lot of commie-era East Euro films (for instance), I like to think about hegemony, repression, propaganda, censorship, resistance


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 12:48 PM
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Damn I forgot. If we are talking about Charle Hebdo, I should point to this "retraction and apology" from

Adam Kotsko

No idea what he said, or how much trouble he is in.

Hell no, I don't do twitter. Like I got impulse control.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 12:53 PM
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There's an actual intelligent discussion in the comments on Goldhammer's blog: http://artgoldhammer.blogspot.com/2015/01/tragedy-at-charlie-hebdo.html?m=1


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 1:34 PM
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Glenn Greenwald

Like the law generally, criminalizing online speech is reserved only for certain kinds of people (those with the least power) and certain kinds of views (the most marginalized and oppositional). Those who serve the most powerful factions or who endorse their orthodoxies are generally exempt. For that reason, these trends in criminalizing online speech are not so much an abstract attack on free speech generally, but worse, are an attempt to suppress particular ideas and particular kinds of people from engaging in effective persuasion and political activism.

Kevin Drum

"He's [A Sullivan] suggesting that even if I wouldn't normally publish something because it's offensive, I should actively do so now just to prove that I can."

I think it might be a good time to revisit...GamerGate!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 2:05 PM
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63 is pretty much exactly what Godwins Law was invented to prevent. Not to mention the analogy ban. Yes, ho ho, how daring! How insightful! Indeed a left wing satirical magazine (that let's not forget employed both Jews and Muslims on its staff, and some of them died the other day) is exactly the same as the government sponsored exterminationist propaganda organ of a deranged genocidal state! Post it on twitter. Make sure you hashtag it so the survivors see it and know what dreadful people you think they are.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:15 PM
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72 gets it right.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:18 PM
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What pisses me off is that "murder is everywhere and always wrong, the killing of journalists is an especially heinous act, and also the publication that those journalists worked for was at times racist" is precisely an enlightenment liberal stance derived from universalist values and absolute moral principles blah blah blah - but I've seen many people argue it's multi-culti-wussynes to take that position. Bah humbug I say.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:34 PM
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I'll give you "at times racist," because what isn't, but the idea that Charlie Hebdo was some kind of deeply horrible thing and therefore we should be hand-wringing about this incident, which for some reason seems to have become a popular meme among people I know on Facebook, is preposterous. It was certainly inclined to be offensive (sometimes in a not super funny way) about religion, but in a kind of general sophomoric spirit of "fundamentalists and priests and the pope are all fuckers." South Park isn't exactly a perfect analogue, because it was such a specifically French thing, but it's maybe as close as we'll get.

I mean I actually for real am religious but the notion that somehow it's off limits in a documentary for people to draw not that funny cartoons making fun of religions is just so ludicrous. I really have no idea where people are coming from on this one, living in a democracy means that we should be able to handle pictures of Christ or Mohhamed masturbating, or whatever.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:44 PM
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I guess I should also say that I don't find South Park very funny, and the cartoon style of Charlie Hebdo didn't translate very well for me. But it wasn't some deeply racist horrible entity and it would be nice if people who hadn't heard of it until yesterday would shut up with assumptions about it until at least the bodies of its editors are buried.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:46 PM
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64 to 74. I'm not too proud to give you my bad ideas, nor am I dumb enough to broadcast them. Nor do I want to muster the troll-heat to argue that 63 is the exact kind of fuck-ungiving poke in the eye that Charlie would applaud.

I still don't understand how CH is "a left wing satirical magazine" while "its cartoons often represent a certain virulently racist brand of French xenophobia." They appear to be equal opportunity offenders, much as bridges are equal opportunity bedrooms.



Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:49 PM
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This Quora response sheds some light on it, although there still seems to be some pretty well-shared assumptions that allow people to describe them as left-wing pro-immigrant.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 4:52 PM
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I dunno I'm pretty ok with saying that lots of left-wing French actions that the people who carried them out would self-describe as non-racist are in fact racist, on account that clever white Frenchmen working in the media are not exactly known for their ability to exercise effective self-criticism of that kind.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:07 PM
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I still don't understand how CH is "a left wing satirical magazine" while "its cartoons often represent a certain virulently racist brand of French xenophobia."

They would make fun of the French elite, and particularly the conservative Catholic elite, in a deliberately offensive way. They also had a left wing economist on staff, who was also killed yesterday, and who wrote anti-neo-liberal stuff for them. They also did a bunch of basically sophomoric stuff about how stupid fundamentalist Islam is. If there was an underlying politics beyond "satire" (in a way that has no exact US equivalent), it was basically relentlessly secular, anti-Catholic, anti-Islam, anti-fascist, pro-immigrant, pro-welfare-state. But that's giving them way too much credit for a political agenda, since it was much more just "ha ha people are dickheads here's a drawing of Jesus fucking a priest."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:13 PM
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I am completely unfamiliar with South Park, but there is a certain rancidity to CH that seems to be lost (understandably) in a lot of the reactions, maybe SP has that quality as well I just don't know. Last night I kept seeing all thus non-French "Je suis Charlie" stuff and couldn't help thinking, ummmm no you really aren't and this whole dynamic is a bit more complicated...

On a lighter note, I find this old Hara Kiri cover hilarious - http://instagram.com/p/xm1oICHrU3/.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:18 PM
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I am really sincerely not trying to pick a fight with you, TRO, but a more detailed overview of CH has to encompass this dreck as well as the "stick it to the man!" stuff: http://negronews.fr/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/CHARLIE-HEBDO.jpg

There is an element of kicking down as well as up, and I suppose sideways maybe for gay white bougie French dudes.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:24 PM
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82: Anti-Islam and pro-immigrant? That must be a tricky position to hold in France.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:28 PM
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You can be a virulently xenophobic French left winger (that's easy) and there's lot of the French left which is ostensibly colourblind / anti-racist, while also being, in actual effect, unfortunately, kinda racist.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:30 PM
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For instance, one of the editors at CH said (paraphrased) "how can we be racist, we mock the Papists as well" which, yeah, hmmm, there's maybe some differences there I dunno.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:31 PM
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There is an element of kicking down as well as up, and I suppose sideways maybe for gay white bougie French dudes.

Sure, agreed. The kicks went everywhere AFAICT, often in a (to my taste) pointlessly and deliberately offensive way. Definitely not kicking down only (I find South Park suffers from this as well). From the few times when I read them I didn't find them particularly funny. I still feel like my summary in 82 last is pretty accurate and that they certainly weren't a "racist" or right-wing publication and that in a democracy people should be able to handle stupid, somewhat offensive things put out there about their sacred cows without freaking out and there's a seemingly weird excess of immediate handwringing that I've seen about the murders, at least from the odd subset of people I happen to know on social media.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:31 PM
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seemingly weird excess of immediate handwringing
Regardless of the merits of CH, it's annoying that this incident gives right wingers an ostensibly principled justification for being assholes.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:35 PM
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I'm not exposed to the freaking out you describe so okay. But it is odd to claim it isn't racist or misogynist, that's all.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:35 PM
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I figured it had to be something like that--we love everyone and all cultures, so long as they fully adopt our cultural mores. I guess I was interpreting pro-immigrant to mean something stronger--say, actively encouraging immigration from outside Europe and arguing it should be safer to cross the Mediterranean.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:36 PM
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Anti-Islam and pro-immigrant? That must be a tricky position to hold in France.

Not actually at all. The idea, in theory, is that everyone can and should come into France, regardless of race, background, etc., as long as they're more secular than religious and subscribe to the purportedly universal enlightenment values of France. The enemy are primarily old school Catholic Frenchmen who are racist and elitist and anti-sex, but the dislike is extended to religion more generally. That in one way or another has been the position of much the French left for more than 200 years. It's not a view that really translates to the US political spectrum, exactly, but it's not that different than what e.g. the PZ Myers school here claims that they think.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:37 PM
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Which, of course, is, I think, Cole's point. This is a tragic, small scale version of the mutually reinforcing xenophobic playbook.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:37 PM
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93 following up on 89.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:37 PM
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86's use of racist should maybe be replaced with "complicit in structures of racism" or whatever.

The isn't-this-stuff-kinda-racist seems to be a two prat reaction, one to the uncritical application of the "je suis Charlie" thing, which, hmmm, and also to all the shitty right wing "if you say anything bad about this fine guy Charlie Hebdo YOU ARE JUSTIFYING TERRORISM" which pretty obviously produces an immediate response.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:38 PM
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Je n'ai pas l'epeler Charlie.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:39 PM
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Don't disagree with 93, that's obviously a reasonable fear.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:40 PM
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Like this interview is a good example of that viewpoint: "You are French even if you are a Jew, even if you are a Muslim, even if you are a Christian. First of all, you are French. That's the base of what France is about. "

Which maybe I dunno if you're an Algerian Muslim living in a shitty part of town and facing discrimination that kind of colourblind integrationist rhetoric coming from a rich white son of a rich white family seems a bit hollow and perhaps operating to mask some unpleasant and racist structures of power.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:49 PM
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77: (sometimes in a not super funny way)

I can't tell if "sometimes" or "super" is doing the most work in that sentence.

What strikes me as odd about this is that the establishment left in France supported a publication, off-and-on, for 40 years, that was less funny that the developmentally disabled kid in my 3rd grade class's attempts to gross the rest of us out by putting mustard in his milk and drinking it.

IS EVERYONE ON THE FRENCH LEFT A COMPLETE FUCKING MORON?!

This shit was not funny, it was racist, stupid, homophobic, stupid and xenophobic. Jesus Christ, there were bodies of Algerians drifting in the Seine within living memory, and you're going to go around congratulating yourself on how clever you are for making fun of Mohamed? The fucking French government is still, continuously and continually, after all this time, going all around the Middle East and North Africa with their colonialist power trips. Maybe not as hot shit as they were back in Camus' day, but still pretty oppressive by any objective standard.

And forget about Islam qua Islam for a second -- keep a large population of young men from a despised minority around with no job, no family, no prospects -- whaddya think is gonna happen? This ringleader dude was a pizza delivery guy and general dogsbody when he was working. Not hard to make the case for going on suicide missions to someone like that.

Sigh.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:50 PM
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92: Thanks for clarifying. I wouldn't have considered that pro-immigrant, but I suppose it's not anti-immigrant in the usual sense. Maybe anti-anti-immigrant.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:52 PM
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Interestingly, the PZ Myers blog , right now, pretty much takes the French-anti-religious leftist position. He's probably a good an analogue as any to that kind of politics, though instead of Myer's staged eating of a communion wafer, Charlie Hebdo would have drawn a graphic of Jesus, Mohammed, and Moses jerking off onto a communion wafer and feeding it to Jacques Chirac.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 5:53 PM
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42- Read the PCAST report for policy ideas. You may even see the name of someone you know!
there is a certain rancidity to CH that seems to be lost (understandably) in a lot of the reactions, maybe SP has that quality as well I just don't know.
Excuse me?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:00 PM
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99 is a more extreme version, but basically similar in kind, to the reactions I was seeing on Facebook.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:05 PM
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So, do you actually think that shit is funny, or what?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:08 PM
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Je suis Fred Phelps


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:11 PM
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I usually despise the word and concept "politically correct" but if we're at the point at which the immediate and still-in-the-moment response to a mass-murder of cartoonists who happened to draw vulgar cartoons about religions, including Islam, is to immediately start tut-tutting about how offensive the cartoons were, I think we maybe do for real have a problem on the current version of the twitter-activist social-media Left.* And I say that as someone who's both religious and didn't find Charlie Hebdo (when I read it, which was until yesterday exclusively years ago) funny.

*Obviously, if it had been an anti-gay Christian fundamentalist group who had done the murders, the reaction would be totally different here and elsewhere. And, sure, there are legit reasons for why that should be, but, honestly, the correct political view can't be 'unlimited license to make fun of Christianity, but, you know, if you're making fun of Islam, I'm not gonna go all the way towards saying mass murder is justified, but let's focus primarily on how offensive and racist you were."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:31 PM
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102: I meant south park, sorry SP!

TRO should click on the link in 84 and NP should *not* click on it, and EVERYONE should definitely click on the link in 83 because we could all use a laugh.

The ideal of republicanism in France is doing a lot of work here that is complex and doesn't map well onto non-French political assumptions. But I'm on a phone and have unintentionally irritated people here before re France so although many many issues involved in this whole mess are both interesting and personally important to me I think I am just leaving it at what I've already said.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:32 PM
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106: Dude, what's wrong, can't you take a joke?


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 6:51 PM
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In a very-specifically French complication to this, the "companion" (i.e. long term girlfriend) of the murdered lead editor of Charlie Hebdo was an ethnically Algerian Frenchwoman who headed up an anti-discrimination agency in France.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:01 PM
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And the same guy, "Charb," did the artwork for this anti-racism campaign.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:04 PM
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I got an idea, if these folx think they're so goddamn amusing why don't they print a cartoon of some French EMTs looking over the gruesomely murdered bodies of the CH staffers and saying "Hmm, do you think maybe they did go too far with the anti-Muslim stuff?" Put it on the cover of their 1 million circulation issue. I'd buy a copy.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:09 PM
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I think there's a lot of people who'd rather have an argument about the meaning of french cartoons than discuss the grisly and depressing details of mass murder, not because mass murder isn't evil, but because talking about french cartoons is actually kinda fun and the other isn't.

Plus I dunno once you start going down the "why are we talking about this minor thing not the big thing" route, well, how many kids dead from drone strikes now buddy?


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:11 PM
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I usually despise the word and concept "politically correct" but if we're at the point at which the immediate and still-in-the-moment response to a mass-murder of cartoonists who happened to draw vulgar cartoons about religions, including Islam, is to immediately start tut-tutting about how offensive the cartoons were

It's pretty clear that the overwhelmingly "politically correct" response for the vast span of politics is to valorize the magazine and everything it stands for, and I think the likelihood of immediate anti-Muslim violence merits a few hedges about what, exactly, it stands for.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:16 PM
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It also seems evident that the Twitter/Tumblr left has not gotten what, exactly it stands for exactly right, and your links, T"R"O, are helpful in this regard.

Also, purely to be a dick, allow me to point out that you're doing a great job of pushing the Reason Magazine party line on this.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:20 PM
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Je suis Autumn

http://thefreethoughtproject.com/cop-kill-family-dog-kills-woman-instead-front-husband-4-year-old-son/


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 01- 8-15 7:37 PM
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99: morons or not, the French left seems to have achieved way more in terms of actual leftist objectives like equality and fairness than the U.S. left ever will. Maybe you should beasking them for advice. Unless you guys have really beentrying to sharpen the contradictions for the last forty years in which case well done!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 12:07 AM
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14.1 to 116.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 12:56 AM
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107 - the link in 84 still isn't any sort of justification for what they did, and I agree with TRO, I don't understand why people are trying to mitigate the shootings.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:48 AM
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116:Well then, and I suspect it has been said before, isn't it fair to view Charlie Hebdo as part of the French establishment punching down at minorities rather than standing up to power? I doubt that the Pope and Islamic fundamentalism are important forces in France oppressing free thinkers and secularists. CH ain't Voltaire and Diderot.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 4:36 AM
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and I agree with TRO, I don't understand why people are trying to mitigate the shootings.

I hear you. I also agree with TRO. As for why people are trying to mitigate the shootings, I think it's American left-v.-right politics: this incident looks like it might lend support to right-wing outrage over radical Islam; therefore, let's figure out a way to be more outraged by that right-wing outrage than by the actual murders.


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 4:48 AM
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117: common misconception. It's a mistranslation. "Sharpen" is a better equivalent English term.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:06 AM
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Another shooting and hostage taking at a kosher supermarket. Worrying primarily about immediate anti Muslim violence as in 113 seems to have been an error.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:57 AM
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Nice Comment at, umm, Richard Seymour's place.

Bernard Kouchner holding forth on the need to bring democracy to the middle east, others speaking of the need for Muslims who have 'chosen to live among us' to reform their religion etc. And much worse to follow I feel. The Hebdo magazine was at the sharp end of promoting these kinds of resentments about Muslims in France for a very long period of time

The left should be speaking about the urban uprisings against police oppression, about the near segregration in employment and in housing, about the disenfranchisement, about the diiscrimination, about the wars ravaging large parts of the world. None of which is happening because of a failure of Muslims who live here to 'reform their relligion'. This idealist rubbish about evil ideologies masquerading as the values of Enlightenment and Secularism is in fact the dominant ideology of a world where these horrors actually occur. Those who are being left isolated are not those who think that it is a priority to establish the right to mock the religous beliefs of minorities, but those minorities worried and frightened by what the future holds living in a society caught up in this kind of triumphalist chauvinism where every basic liberal and leftist value appears twisted and upside down. And those are the people the left has a duty of solidarity towards, whether or not we agree with this or that religious belief.

That actually is the real meaning of Voltaire. The defence of minorities against majorities, not the other
way about.

"Condemning the violence" or "first, mourn the real victims" actually at times like this is a sort of loyalty oath, a loyalty to the form of order we enjoy and protect in our bourgeois Western metropoles.

Oh, and remember the "Black Hole of Calcutta" And "Nanjing!"

Ain't gonna play that Imperialist game.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:59 AM
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107.2. National Lampoon, back in the 70s, had a photo much like the one from Hara Kiri, except it was a nude black woman whose head, underarm, and pubic hair was all in giant, fluffy afro do's. Was that racist? Sexist? National Lampoon was more like CH than South Park is.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:23 AM
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It's a mistranslation. "Sharpen" is a better equivalent English term.

Exactly right. And even that literal translation doesn't fully capture the spirit of "die Widersprüche zuspitzen und verschärfen", inasmuch as "zuspitzen" has a common secondary meaning (actually more common than the literal usage) of "to bring to a head".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:14 AM
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"Punching down" is the wrong metaphor for Charlie Hebdo, at least as regards the Islamic terrorists. The cartoonists were deliberately taunting people with guns and bombs and a well-known inclination to use them. Even bob knows whence power emanates.

I think it's American left-v.-right politics: this incident looks like it might lend support to right-wing outrage over radical Islam; therefore, let's figure out a way to be more outraged by that right-wing outrage than by the actual murders.

I'm able to square that circle by understanding that the gunmen and the right-wing outrage machine share a set of goals (as Cole notes in the link in the OP). I can, therefore, feel contempt for both without suffering any cognitive dissonance.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:18 AM
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Oh for crying in the fucking milk! Look, some of you: it is possible to condemn the use of mass murder to shut down your ideological opponents without endorsing the puerile and offensive editorial policy of the publication (some of) the victims worked for; it is possible to criticise the publication of material which is gratuitously offensive to many people who already suffer appalling social disability without giving comfort to people who think that those who do publish it should be shot for their trouble. It isn't hard. It's simply a matter of keeping two ideas in your head at the same time. Can you do that? Go on, give it a try.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:18 AM
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I wasn't going to bother with 14.1, but as long as we're talking about it: Cole doesn't say that Stalinists existed in 1919. That's just a misreading.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:19 AM
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123. No, Seymour (middle class white journalist, fukkit, who cares?) has not covered himself in glory on this one. A more inglorious example of "Why these atrocities mean we must support my politics" than his piece I cannot remember seeing.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:24 AM
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127: Oh sure. They are two different subjects. The problem only arises when people try to connect the terrorism with Charlie Hebdo's transgressions.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:25 AM
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In terms of the discourse about the Charlie Hebdo cartoon business (not in terms of the murders, but in terms of the discourse) : I've been in several settings where people have said "oh, it's too soon/disrespectful to talk about the political context of the shootings" while then launching into "Charlie Hebdo is a great satire magazine, we should all satirize Mohammed in solidarity, free speech, it's mere political correctness to suggest that satirizing Islam has any political meaning, France is a great land of laicite and some Muslims just don't get that" and so on. It's frustrating because there was already, instantly, a political discourse about the shootings, and "it's too soon" was used to reinforce an oversimplifying and distasteful narrative about Muslims in France. If we're not going to narrate, we shouldn't narrate - that's all I'm saying.

In one case I felt honor-bound to try to push back on that a little and did a rather poor job of it; in another I've just watched people get on with the whole business on the theory that it's no good at all and people get far too much enjoyment out of creating a stupid and reductionist narrative about Islam for any counter-narrative to be successful.

I find this all very frustrating because, living in Minneapolis and working at the university, I know lots of Muslims, and I feel like a lot of people I've talked to on the internet do not, so there's this "isn't this a satisfying theoretical conversation" aspect for them.

(Needless to say, this applies to conversations with people who are not themselves French, have no particular connection to Charlie Hebdo, etc. It's also a little weird to realize so sharply that the twelve in Paris count so much more than, say, the Syrian refugees who froze to death because a storm prevented aid from reaching them, or even the large group of soldiers mass-executed by ISIS last year - this isn't a moral argument because the internet communities I frequent are in such different relation to Western media people than they are to Syrian refugees or foreign soldiers - I don't especially expect that people would feel the two things the same way. But it just brings home so sharply how the world works. It's just a terrible, terrible thing all around and it makes you feel that humans are a bad species - we either need a lot less consciousness or more empathy/reasoning ability; as it is, things seem pretty useless.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:48 AM
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Well it looks like all the shooters are dead now, so everybody will have forgotten about it by next week, except for a lot of families and friends.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:40 AM
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Here it will be mentioned in literally every gun-rights thingy for about the next 400 years.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:42 AM
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I wonder if guns, as we know them today, will still exist in 400 years' time.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:47 AM
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132: what? Seriously?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:48 AM
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I think in 400 years time we'll be in Videodrome territory.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:48 AM
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134: We still have knives and clubs.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:49 AM
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re: 137

And my people will rule you all ...


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:51 AM
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re: 135

If I was taking bets on 'EU police force most likely to kill them all', I'd definitely bet 'French'.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:52 AM
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I was going to say, it's a good thing they've been killed so efficiently, because it's the feeling of powerlessness and having been bettered that motivates a lot of stupid reprisals.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:53 AM
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135: Apparently so. So the usual "they" managed to cover up the false-flag plot to start a world-wide religious war.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:54 AM
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135. Yes, seriously. Coordinated police attack at both sites, civilians apparently OK.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 9:57 AM
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No, I meant "by next week every one will have forgotten it? Seriously?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:00 AM
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No, only the media.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:00 AM
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127 lifts my spirits considerably. I just composed something very similar to post on facebook, but then I realized that I don't have the stomach for the fight that would inevitably follow. Anyway, thanks.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:03 AM
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The dairy industry is really strong in your part of the state.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:05 AM
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127 - Yeah, most of us are capable of keeping two ideas in one's head at once, but thanks for the condecesnion. It's just that (a) satire, including offensive satire about religion, is an important sign of health in a society and (b) most Anglophone commenters seem to be getting what Charlie Hebdo actually did wrong. I don't find a picture of Jesus having anal sex with Mohammed particularly funny but I absolutely want to live in a country where producing such a thing is no big deal at all and people shrug it off. And, in any event, the appropriate response to murder on the basis of speech isn't handwringing about the speech.* Frankly I don't think that last part should be a negotiable commitment for any kind of liberalism that I want a part of.

*120 of course is the most simple and most sufficient explanation for what's going on; people neither know not care much about France and are primarily concerned about giving fodder to local political enemies. Which is fine but maybe it's worth having a broader perspective when people are getting murdered for their speech.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 10:23 AM
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the appropriate response to murder on the basis of speech isn't handwringing about the speech

but people aren't responding to the murders by saying "they had it coming." They're responding to the people who are, as what's-his-name said, "sacralizing" CH in response to the murders. One asshole in USA Today aside, the horribleness of the murders is a point of unanimity. It's when people insist on including the infallibility of Charlie Hebdo in the point of unanimity that people are like, "Can I please not sign on to that?" and then they get called inappropriate.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:08 AM
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Yeah, I think the "hold on here about Hebdo" is a response generally to "I AM CHARLIE HEBDO" type responses from the people who tend to go for these sorts of displays. And it's not handwringing or inappropriate for someone to respond with "Um, actually no I really am not Charlie Hebdo because Charlie Hebdo is kind of objectionable in certain ways and not exactly my ally here".


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:11 AM
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I agree with Goldhammer (who is one of the great ones) about the sacralization point. I read the Je Suis Charlie thing, at least as done by most French people who had heard of the magazine before this week, as sending the following message: you come after cartoonists for being "offensive," you come after all of us, and damn straight we're taking sides in that battle. That's not "sacralization," or insisting on "infallibility", it's precisely the opposite, standing up for the right in a free society to offend people's religious beliefs.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:24 AM
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To elaborate on my 130, the expression of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo is partly solidarity against the killers. Which I think everyone here agrees with.

But it's also an expression of solidarity regarding the acceptability of the specific things that got the cartoonists killed. I think the only available choice for liberals is to be okay with that, too.

The Je Suis Charlie folks aren't endorsing every shitty thing Charlie Hebdo ever did, and in the face of a mass murder that wasn't motivated by those transgressions, it seems a bit beside the point to bring that stuff into the conversation right now.

If a New Black Panther decides to assassinate David Duke for his racism, that's a trickier case. Duke's loathsomeness becomes relevant and I'd be at least a bit ambivalent. But that's not what's going on here.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:46 AM
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Without signing on to every last point, I thought this, on "dead moral questions, was a nice way of understanding these kinds of debates.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 11:57 AM
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152 -- I dunno. In France right now, "can you say offensive things about Islam without being killed" doesn't really seem like a dead moral question, at all, it seems like a totally live issue. There's also a separate question of "can you say offensive things about Islam, and get killed, without playing into the hands of the FN" and "does immediate handwringing about the offensiveness of satire in the wake of people being murdered for satire concede too much to the terrorists." I understand that Freddie DeBoer is most worried about how these kinds of things play into the hands of his political enemies in the US, but (again, in addition to not actually knowing anything about France or Charlie Hebdo) it seems weird to describe an issue that just resulted in the death of a bunch of people as "dead."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 12:10 PM
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In France right now, "can you say offensive things about Islam without being killed" doesn't really seem like a dead moral question, at all, it seems like a totally live issue.
Is-ought slippage.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 12:18 PM
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OK, "should we be supportive of people who have said offensive things about fundamentalist Islam when they are at demonstrated risk of being killed for doing so?" is a very live question indeed.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 12:24 PM
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Re this: "I read the Je Suis Charlie thing, at least as done by most French people who had heard of the magazine before this week, as sending the following message: you come after cartoonists for being "offensive," you come after all of us, and damn straight we're taking sides in that battle." To the extent it is French people taking that stand it is coming from actual knowledge of CH and the role it plays in French society. The sacralization issue is absolutely live in France, as is eg whether one wants to sign on in toto to identity with those who've recently decided it was swell to publish a cover depicting Nigerian women and girls in caricature as pregnant post-rape/kidnapping by boko haram and in the act of protesting vociferously against the withdrawal of welfare benefits. I fully support their right to publish this vile image, but am sure as hell never going to say I am Charlie. I think it is more in keeping with the most generous possible interpretation of CH's values and mission to point out the vileness - more speech and whatnot.

The pictures of "je suis Charlie" signs posted outside mosques during Friday prayers - now THAT is a powerful statement. If eg M Le Pen republished a few of even their "milder" caricatures of her, A Sullivan flagrantly homophobic cartoons from CH, or J Goldberg virulently anti Semitic stuff from them (he'd be embarrassed for choice) - now we are talking.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:02 PM
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Well, we should extend the same protection of the state against violence etc to them, while also maybe saying: you guys are dicks.

That's a pretty easy stance, and very classical liberal: I disapprove of what you say, but ..., as it were.

I also generally don't think that the world on balance suffers from too much discussion of the ways in which clever white guy free speech negatively impacts on minorities, so if this leads to some discussion on that, overall it's not exactly a bad thing.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:03 PM
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Well, we should extend the same protection of the state against violence etc to them, while also maybe saying: you guys are dicks.

That's totally fine and appropriate (though I think the extent of the dickishness is pretty exaggerated, this was also an identifiably left-wing magazine, though not one that conformed to US norms at all), but that's not what e.g. 99 is doing, or the Freddie DeBoer piece. It reads to me more like "yeah yeah murdering journalists is bad, but let's focus on the real issue, which is that Frenchmen shouldn't publish offensive stuff about Islam."


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:11 PM
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I also generally don't think that the world on balance suffers from too much discussion of the ways in which clever white guy free speech negatively impacts on minorities, so if this leads to some discussion on that, overall it's not exactly a bad thing.

Timing does matter, though. To shamelessly violate the analogy ban, I don't think the world on balance suffers from too much discussion of how binge drinking at college parties is a bad idea. Nevertheless, if my contribution to the discussion in the immediate aftermath of a rape at a campus party is "Should she really have been drinking that much? I mean, of course that doesn't mean rape is OK. Obviously rape is bad, that goes without saying. But, you know, it was a really bad idea for her to go to that party and get drunk." I should probably consider whether choosing this particular moment to make that point is exhibiting very good judgement.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:18 PM
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158 - Yes I am not particularly in agreement with 99.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:20 PM
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But the world does suffer from way too much discussion of why rape victims are asking for it, plus, you know, going to a party and getting drunk isn't a bad thing in and of itself.

Clearly if I knew the friends and family personally, I wouldn't be having this conversation with them - it's a horrible personal tragedy which for them is going to drown out any other considerations. But once you get people going "oh what an awesome amazing thing this magazine was" well yeah you are going to get pushback on the lines of "sometimes they were dicks and maybe racist dicks at that because, after all, the white left in France is pretty dodgy on these issues".

(Also, this is my other belief, that the people going "yes they were dicks but Islam is a religion not a race" etc fuel the fire on that by sucking Charlie Hebdo into a weird US culture war, and that's kinda their fault, not their interlocutors.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:27 PM
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159: nothing, and I really do mean nothing, that I can think of would be MORE in the spirit of CH than to seize these particular moments to be as crudely and rashly inappropriate as possible in evaluating nay mischaracterizing through deliberately mean spirited distortion the life and works of Charb et cie.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:43 PM
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Really, 120 is a complete and sufficient answer. People worry about local political concerns, and in the US and the Anglophone world the norm of free expression is so complete, and the threat from religious terrorists to media so low, the issue of minority cultural representations so live, and the particular culture of deliberately offensive political satire so absent, that of course people will just fit this incident into already-held beliefs that respond to the issues they're immediately concerned with and the particular culture wars they're actually fighting.

That pretty much explains everything, and it was basically naive and stupid for me to expect anything else or to be surprised by people's responses.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:44 PM
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http://spectator.org/blog/61434/next-weeks-charlie-hebdo-cover-revealed


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:49 PM
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But once you get people going "oh what an awesome amazing thing this magazine was" well yeah you are going to get pushback on the lines of "sometimes they were dicks and maybe racist dicks at that because, after all, the white left in France is pretty dodgy on these issues".

That all seems correct to me, but we're still having the discussion about CH's transgressions even though (I don't think*) anybody on this thread has contended its overall record is wonderful.

Anyway, I'm not contending they're a wonderful publication.

*I've read the thread, but maybe I've forgotten something.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:50 PM
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163: I think another factor is that the French left has a pretty robust tradition of in-your-face anticlericalism that is very foreign to the anglophone world where "religion gets handled with kid gloves" has been the norm until very recently. "P.Z. Myers on steroids" is, I think, much more common and less scandalous stance in France than in the US. A lot of the hand wringing in the English speaking press seems to be of the "Well, it's terrible. But they were insulting peoples' religion! Something bad was bound happen eventually." variety.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 1:52 PM
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163 is also true. 164 is pretty funny but seems a little too tame.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:02 PM
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I meant 166, that wasn't supposed to be autofellatio.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:03 PM
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Are you doing crossfit or yoga?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:08 PM
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Joe Sacco, Cartoonist responds to the attacks very close to all I wanted to say

from Te-N Coates via Crooked Timber


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 2:54 PM
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This was pretty interesting.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:14 PM
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156: DQ, Can you explain that cartoon to me? Everything seemed conflated to me, and I couldn't get the joke. It horrified me, but I didn't get who they were attacking/mocking. (I'm sure that this is a sign of my thick headedness.)


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:33 PM
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The joke is pretty incomprehensible, but I think the idea is that now the Boko Haram guys are fucked because now even the women that they enslaved and impregnated are, like the French populace, demanding that their social benefits not be cut (which was a big issue at the time that cover appeared). It's weird and dumb and is picking up pointless shock value by linking two news stories together but it's not saying "stop paying Muslim welfare queens" or anything like that.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:38 PM
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164 is fake.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:40 PM
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I think the sacralization of the victims here is entirely unproblematic. The magazine did bad things -- making fun of rape victims, and good things -- making fun of Muhammed and radical Islam. The staffers shouldn't have been killed even for the bad things, on freedom of expression grounds. But from what we know, they weren't killed for the bad things, but the good. Making fun of Muhammed or Islamic radicals is a completely unproblematic act. Radical Islam is one of the most reactionary, anti-left forces in the world today. The only correct attitude towards them is "fuck 'em." The writers at CH may have been wrong about everything else, but they got killed for the one thing they were unquestionably right about.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 3:55 PM
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I guess "social benefits" in 173 is vague. The debate was over cuts to specific benefits that you automatically receive for having children (some of them not means-tested); the "joke" is that now the Boko Haram guys have to worry about paying those benefits. It's probably even harder for American to understand a universe in which the government pays you automatically a reasonably large amount of benefits (in addition to subsidized day care, etc etc) just for having children than it is to understand the weirdo French political tradition of offensive political satire.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 4:27 PM
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Halford, I think you are being *way* too easy on that cartoon. Yes, it has meaning in many valences. But one of them, without question, is "ugly black ladies screaming for their welfare checks." It really really isn't "All the French people understand wanting nos allocs!" Honestly, I am as big a Francophile as you are, but I have -- and I am sure you have too -- been at fancy French academic cocktail parties where they will start doing a non-ironic and non-funny version of the Chris Rock "black people and n-words" routine. (Obviously not that on-the-nose but close.) The French folks I know d'origine Africaine don't think the French make their black jokes non-racistly.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 5:48 PM
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But one of them, without question, is "ugly black ladies screaming for their welfare checks."

I totally have been at those cocktail parties, conceded. But I don't really agree with the italicized statement, at least not fully or not in the same way it reads to an American audience. It's not made in a Reagan-like context where the issue is "minority welfare queens taking our money" because there's a different baseline assumption that everyone is getting the welfare money ("arabs shouldn't get your money" is something like the FN position, but CH was explicitly very extremely anti-FN). It's definitely for sure lampooning ugly black women in a offensively casual way, but the (pretty incoherent) joke is also directed against Boko Haram. No question that the same image wouldn't pass at all in the US, but, without getting close to approving this one, I am willing to give a bit of a pass on cartoons with exaggerated racial features in France because of (a) the more broad general tradition of exaggerated-feature cartooning and (b) it's just not the same taboo there as it is here so the cartoon isn't taboo-violating in that sense.

Bottom line, I'm fully on board with it being casually racist in a way that doesn't reflect well on France and I'm totally OK with using it as evidence of French casual racism. But it's not an intentionally aggressively racist document that's meant to specifically attack Muslim women in France, nor does it support the view that CH was aggressively xenophobic or right-wing. Adjusting for cultural context I'd put it at about the rough racism level of ... I dunno, Seth MacFarlane, which is to say dumb and pretty casually racist, but not like Andrew Dice Clay style intentional OTT racism.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:13 PM
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Weirdly enough, it is precisely the tradition of xenophobic depictions of the Other leading to genocidal acts committed by the French that pushes me to say that cartoons like that by the French are a very fucked up thing that shouldn't get a pass.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:16 PM
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Also fuck this "adjusting for cultural context" noise, that's some mealy mouthed cultural relativism you've got going on there! I want my hard and fast universal moral principles to help me oversimplify everything!


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:18 PM
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the tradition of xenophobic depictions of the Other leading to genocidal acts committed by the French

what is reference please? I went to college in the 90s and studied only the trendy newfangled genocides, none of the classics


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:43 PM
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Mostly I was thinking of the French complicity in the Nazi genocides, but there's also a bunch of unsavoury stuff that went on in the colonial possessions that was maybe genocide/maybe not. And inasmuch as you can point to cultural factors underlying these horrible events, there are parts of French culture which are pretty awful, and one of those is the racism thing - same as it is in any other post-colonial European state - and one of the ways that is often expressed is in particularly unpleasant parts of visual culture.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:51 PM
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I think you can consider what happened in the Congo as genocide and Belgium as being not worth the mental effort to keep separate from France.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:56 PM
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It's not made in a Reagan-like context where the issue is "minority welfare queens taking our money"

I agree with this, and therefore disagree that it's an American-style depiction of "ugly black ladies screaming for their welfare checks." Granted, I have not been to the same fancy French cocktail parties that you and Oudemia seem to enjoy, but I'm pretty sure the French allocs does not have the same derogatory valence as the Anglo-American welfare. And I believe your interpretation ("the idea is that now the Boko Haram guys are fucked because now even the women that they enslaved and impregnated are, like the French populace, demanding that their social benefits not be cut") is on the right track.

That said, I disagree that the depiction is merely "casually" racist. It may not be intentionally, aggressively racist, but if its racism is a, possibly unreflective and unexamined, product of a deeper-seated xenophobia, is it really okay to call that "casual"?

In other words, in a typically wimpy Canadian fashion, I both partly agree and partly disagree with everyone in this thread.

(Though in terms of the overall tendency of the argument, I'm with Halford on this one).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 6:56 PM
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183 - it does let you cram in Tintin in the Congo as an example of fucked up and racist work by a beloved cartoonist, even if it is technically not the same country as such per se.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:00 PM
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Actually Oudemia went to cocktail parties. I just got drunk with some dudes. 184.2 seems fair.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:03 PM
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Also my spoken and written French are so seriously degenerated at this point that I should renounce all claims to cultural expertise. I still can read sort of decently but I don't think I've had a real conversation with someone in French, racist or non-racist, in maybe 10 years.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:08 PM
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It might actually be 15 years. Fuck am I old.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:10 PM
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I agree with Halford-manqué that the mention government benefits is not immediately pejorative in the same way it is/would be in America.

Incidentally, I don't mean fancy-fancy necessarily, just cocktail parties, or drinking parties, filled with academics. I have never heard blithe racism at this sort of party in the States. It was pretty common in France, and if you tried to question it, you'd invariably be subject to nonsense like, "No we don't mean this sort of "blac," we mean that sort of "blac"!"


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:11 PM
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178. Bsomething: Uh uh, the French totally don't get a pass on black stereotypes in cartoons. It's been going on as long there as here. And as oudemia says, black readers are aware of it even if white ones choose not to be.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:14 PM
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The thing is though that the French are so totally obsessed with what other people, including especially other French people are doing wrong culturally, that it's sometimes difficult to separate things like 189 from the general baseline level of disapproving of something cultural. If there's one thing that France is definitely not into it's being chilled out and relaxed about minor differences in behavior.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:21 PM
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Which also explains the weird cartoony-offensive humor. It's just an incredibly tight-assed, neurotic culture.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:23 PM
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It's just an incredibly tight-assed, neurotic culture.

Don't even get me started on the French language police, and their disdain for the patois of French Canada.

"You are from Canada?"
"Yes."
"But your language is [Gallic shrug] reasonably good."

(From an actual exchange I had, in French, with a hotel-keeper in Paris. My sister then kicked it up a notch by complaining about the lack of a toilet seat in our supposedly en-suite hotel room. Hotel-keeper argued with her that the missing toilet seat was no big deal, while my sister pointed out that a toilet seat might not matter to a man, but was kind of a deal for a woman: "Eh bien, vous êtes un homme. Moi, je suis une femme..." Next morning, I looked out the window of our (not quite en-suite hotel room) and saw the hotel-keeper brandishing a new toilet seat for our room. And then he insisted on giving us a free breakfast. It was my sister's willingness to stubbornly argue with him that made the difference, I'm pretty sure).


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:45 PM
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"But it's not an intentionally aggressively racist document that's meant to specifically attack Muslim women in France" - what are you even talking about????? The Nigerian kidnapping victims could only be insulted qua Muslims by that depiction???? Or they are supposed to take it on the chin for the chuckles and free speech? It's like you've never experienced the tension on a bus in Paris when a mother from sub Saharan Africa boards with several perfectly behaved children who *might* cry.

Well, so long as you confine yourself to bloviating about the anti clerical/ultra montane controversies vintage Stendhal you'll probably impress where you want to most!


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:47 PM
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What are you talking about? I didn't say anything about what any individual person should or shouldn't have to put up with, just putting the thing in some degree of context. But don't let me get in the way of your rant.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:55 PM
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Actually 195 was probably too kind given 194, but I'm sick of going for the jugular with personal attacks.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:57 PM
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196: I'd appreciate it if you avoided it with me, too. I have this hangup about necks, so any other vein of your choice works.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 7:59 PM
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I've only skimmed, but what's the argument here? It's not appropriate to call CH racist because France is really racist? Or the French are racist, but not in a way we can understand?

Anyway, the "free speech!" reaction I partly understand, and partly think, tell it to Samir Khan.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:04 PM
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Well, so long as you confine yourself to bloviating about the anti clerical/ultra montane controversies vintage Stendhal

To bring the issue up to date, up to the very last minute, perhaps you agree with the ultra-montaine Bill Donahue of the Catholic League (just posted two days ago!)?

Stephane Charbonnier, the paper's publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn't understand the role he played in his tragic death.

http://www.catholicleague.org/muslims-right-angry/

Oh, of course the murder of the cartoonists was wrong (standard-issue disclaimer, wink wink cough cough). But were not the cartoonists very wrong in their grievous insult of religion? Did they not, at the end of the day, have it coming, for their sins, and their spirit of blasphemy?


Posted by: Just Plain Jane | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:18 PM
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198 -- I don't know what the argument is now, exactly. I think CH is pretty racist but mostly in ways that reflect French background racism rather than trying to deliberately move it forward. Like I said above more like Seth MacFarlane racism than Andrew Dice Clay. It was clearly and deliberately trying to move the ball forward on being antireligious in a particularly French way. None of that suggests I agree with it at all, or with the general level of background racism in France, or for that matter even with laicite in the French sense, just that we're talking about something closer to killing everyone involved with South Park or American Dad than we are with shooting David Duke. Also I make African mothers in Parisian buses cry, for some reason.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:21 PM
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Have you tried it buses in LA?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01- 9-15 8:22 PM
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I don't know what the argument is now, exactly.

Jedediah Purdy, neither.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 4:30 PM
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Hah. Jed is so smart, and (I guess maybe because of his early success, and then slight embarassememt about the success, or maybe just temperament) so incredibly willing to learn. That piece actually does say it all, and do so honestly. I'll retract everything I've said in this thread in favor of that piece.


Posted by: Tim "Ripper" Owens | Link to this comment | 01-10-15 11:19 PM
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202: Absolutely fucking wonderful. I love it, but I would, wouldn't I? Veritably Olympian, it is

Yeah, given enough context, judgement and affect disappear. We become as gods. Gods, I say. Or animals

Limiting context, picking and choosing and naming and grasping and loving and hating is like the original sin that makes us human. Evil fallen scumbugs every fucking one of us, kyrie eleison

Bodisattva, won't you take me by the hand
Can you the show me
The shine of your Japan
The sparkle of your china
Gonna sell my house in town


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 4:09 AM
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Sorry if I stomped your satori, dude

Reading queer theory on BL and yaoi Heart of Thomas Les Amities Particulieries Kaze to ki no uta Rose of Versailles I had a horrible hotflash in which i felt fucking Aschenbachian. Fuck.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-11-15 4:27 AM
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