Enemies of the People-Recalling the “Charlie Hebdo” Murders, Now

     I cannot imagine signing a petition/request to get South Park (our closest regular offering to Charlie Hebdo, I suppose) to soften its approach. I could not have imagined falling in with those who aided, generations back, in Lenny Bruce’s self-immolation, either. If, for example, we can tolerate South Park mocking rabbis, popes, the LDS Church (with its backgound episode-long vocal drumbeat “dum(b), dum(b),  dum(b), dum(b)…”), we can live with verbal and pictorial pokes at big-nosed Jews, Catholics, unveiled and/or sans-pantied Muslim and Orthodox Jewish women.

     It was said that a reason to have signed a petition asking ‘Hebdo’ to go soft is the notion of minority sensibilities (in this case a slice of the French  Muslim community).  Yet the idea of a minority is a flexible one as to time and place, and relative to actual power. It’s not simply about numbers and there are geographies where religious Jews and dedicated Muslims and devout Catholics are in substantial majority. Of itself that should not be persuasive.  There never was the complaint that ‘Hebdo’ was in any way out of line because Muslims are __ % in Paris, in France, or that copies of  ‘Hebdo’ might offend the Paris kosher deli neighborhoods (where Jews live in numbers). For the murders were never about numbers. They were always about a wholly indefensible response to those insisting on living in the Twenty-First Century from those insisting that they — and we  —  dwell in the Twelfth.

     This is precisely why (to bring it home) state-sanctioned bible reading in our public schools is nothing short of bizarre; that demand is just as ludicrous as anything that even looks like a demand on the press (accompanied by threat or no) to have to cater, in the public sector, to any religious sensibility.

     We can petition media to go soft, bow to religious demands as to prayer in public schools, we can crater in the names of caring, good relations, open-mindedness. And  when we do we issue those invitations to Medievalism to subvert and replace our Constitution as well as the French and Romantic Revolutions, by bomb, ballot, or by scimitar, we will not have become something akin to sensitive, we will be witness, in the name of open-mindedness, to our brains spilling out, our freedom falling by the way. 

 

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