I missed Joe Sacco‘s cartoon at (where else, but the Guardian) about the Charlie Hebdo affair until earlier today. It’s entitled:
On Satire – a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks
The acclaimed graphic artist and journalist Joe Sacco on the limits of satire – and what it means if Muslims don’t find it funny
And when I read it, it rankled. But I won’t attempt any commentary, because this piece at Harry’s Place (by Quizblorg, whoever that is) is damn fine blogging, and spot on.
Sacco begins by mocking those who respond to the massacre with “defiance” and by “reaffirming the principles of free speech”, representing such an attitude as atavistic and primitive by way of a loincloth-wearing, Tarzan-esque version of his cartoon avatar – implying that it can never be an intellectually considered response, but only one of pure irrational emotion. Defiance is, of course, the exact response that the survivors and the bereaved of the attack consider appropriate – Charlie Hebdo columnist Patrick Pelloux has said that his dead colleagues “would be murdered twice if we remained silent” – but that doesn’t discourage Sacco from denigrating it.
Read it all. And note the conclusion – one I heartily endorse:
The place of publication delivers a final irony. The Guardian had just explained that it wasn’t going to show its readers Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammad cartoons (not because of the associated risk, but for “principled” reasons) – but had obviously no problem with publishing Sacco’s cartoon, and the grossly racist images contained therein. So those looking for hypocrisy would be better advised to look to the Guardian than to Charlie Hebdo.