As a human being, I am shocked and appalled at the attack upon the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in Paris this past week.
As a comedy writer…well, I won’t say the shit has been scared out of me. But I have to acknowledge, there’s been some movement.
What’s been truly disconcerting about this attack (Aside from from the attack itself.) is the hand wringing that’s been going on in some circles over the magazine’s blunt force style. “Yes, shooting people is wrong but..”
THERE IS NO BUT!!!
Okay, pop quiz. David Duke decides to start his own magazine called “The Klu Klux Komics.”. (And before you start, I am in no which way comparing “Charlie Hebdo” to the Klan. I am simply picking an example of something that secular progressives would find offensive.) And it’s first cover is a cartoon of President Obama eating a full meal of fried chicken and watermelon while just behind him, Michelle Obama is giving a hummer to Saul Alinsky.
1. Say “Holy Crap, that’s totally racist!”.
2. Be a pendent and point out that Saul Alinsky is dead and therefore unable to receive a blow job from anyone, including Michele Obama.
3. Be an even bigger pendent and point out that as a white person, you have over the years, consumed your body weight in both fried chicken and watermelon and that enjoying said meal should be considered a universal value that is not and should not be confined to the African American community,
4. Shoot David Duke in the head.
If you said 1, 2, or 3, you are correct.
If you said 4, fuck you!
Because as hateful as those images are, Mr. Duke would be totally in his rights to produce them. Just as it would be in my rights to respond with a cartoon showing David Duke crying over the sudden bout of impotence that has effected his micro-penis.
On a recent episode of “Fresh Air” the writer of the new biography of Richard Pryor’s biography, Scott Saul called said that doing stand-up for Pryor was like “Whittling on Dynamite”. And that seemed to be the same credo that “Charlie Hebdo”operated under.
Now there is a fine discussion to be had about the uses of comedy. About when jokes can slope into hate speech. How far is too far. What is the purpose of the joke you are making.
The thing is you don’t get to make a argument with a Kalashnikov.
If you use a gun because you are offended by a joke, you have revealed yourself to be worth the effort of offending.
I stand with “Charlie Hebdo” and the right to be offensive.