synthetic zero

January 9th, 2015

Like any non-psychotic human being, I’m appalled at the horrific massacre in Paris. At the same time, I find many of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo pointlessly inflammatory and tasteless, particularly those showing Mohammed in sexual positions. Yes, they targeted every religion and many public figures on the right and the left — but there’s something dark, mean-spirited, unfunny, and racist about some of these cartoons, and so while condemning the violence I can’t bring myself to post “I am Charlie Hebdo.” I am not Charlie Hebdo. There does seem to be a problematic attitude towards othering subcultures inherent in these cartoons, which for some reason many in France found funny, but I really don’t. We can abhor the horrific violence without valorizing everything the victims did in their lives.

Addendum: this is not about assigning blame to the victims for their murder, it is about whether or not victims should always be praised as unalloyed heroes for everything they did. The former is insane, the latter, however, I am uncomfortable with and have been from the beginning of this.

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