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May 06 2015

surveyork
20:10

The main argument being squeezed to pulp is that CH was, and is, an inherently racist magazine. That it is staffed by "privileged white men", who either deliberately or like "wanton boys", continuously defecate on a beleaguered minority (French Muslims, whether from the Maghreb or other parts of Africa) while making their jejune barbs. That they've been doing this while ignoring France's history of colonial oppression, and while trying to impose a shallow Enlightenment universalism that blindly feeds into the West's project of re-colonizing Muslim countries.

This is untrue on almost every count. CH has always been run by a kind of fringe leftist-anarchist bunch who are anything but privileged; over the years the team has been a mix of men and women, white and not, straight and gay. And as to constantly attacking an already oppressed minority, Le Monde recently did an infographic of the 523 Charlie Hebdo covers between 2005 and 2015, and the subject breakdown is this: politics - 336 covers, economic and social - 85, sport and others - 42, other subjects - 22, and, finally, religion - 38. Of the 38 covers lampooning religion, Christianity catches it in the neck 21 times, other religions 10 times and Islam a total of 7 times. Leaving that aside for a moment, CH's main targets by far have been the racist, white supremacist Front National led by Jean-Marie Le Pen and his daughter, and after them a certain Nicolas Sarkozy (remember those 336 political covers). Besides this, CH has made it a point to lampoon the military, oligarchs of every nationality, and capitalism in general. Here's a link that explains in some detail what some of the more startling covers and cartoons mean: http://www.understandingcharliehebdo.com/#theorie-du-genre

All the critics of CH I know, Facebook contacts claiming to be anarchist, artist friends taking on big business, academic friends who so love to drop names of hefty lefty intellectuals, journalists who are assiduous in defending minorities, none of them addresses the major part of CH's output. None of them, not once. Instead, they prefer to put a magnifying glass on about 1.5 per cent of what the magazine has produced in the last decade. They then take this and claim they have a fair fix on CH and its staff. Ten years, 523 issues, but, like some pungent spicing, those 7 covers obviously go a long way.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl