Killing the actual staff of Charlie Hebdo in Paris did not stop the comic satire magazine from continuing to poke and prod and make fun of every self-important sacred cow under the sun, so it stands to reason Friday's terrorist attacks would not slow their roll. Behold their latest cover:
The text translated reads "They have weapons. Fuck them, we have Champagne!"
Because the image presented on the cover is of a white French male, it's probably less likely to be drawing ginned up outrage by the superficial-minded. We all remember the vapid abandonment of the concept by "free speech" by alleged intellectuals due to Charlie Hebdo's refusal to exempt Muslims from its list of targets, accused of "punching down" even after being murdered by people with guns.
Charlie Hebdo was attacked again just a couple of months ago by people who didn't bother to find out (or simply, more likely didn't care due to the chance to be offended on social media) what their cartoons even meant. Hebdo's target? The abandonment of Syrian refugees by the West. The cartoon presented the image of the Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, the child who drowned off the coast of Turkey and whose body washed ashore. The image of his tiny, dead body for a time was a symbol of how the modern world was failing to figure out what to do with Syrian refugees.
Cartoonists used the image in their cartoons to essentially mock the privileged lives of First-Worlders. One showed Jesus walking on the water next to the drowned child. The text said that Christians can walk on water while Muslim children sink, and it was meant to mock the invocation of the Christian identity in the West and the fear of Syrians not integrating. Christians are perfect. Muslims are screwed up. (Please see: Mike Huckabee). The second cartoon showed a McDonald's billboard near the child's dead body with the caption "So close to the goal," obviously intended to illustrate the kind of easy access to the marketplace the Western world tends to take for granted.
And yet, people feigned offense for the representation of the dead child. I would argue that, more likely, people are offended because the cartoon is pointing the finger at them, the implication that our behavior contributed to the child's death. Feigning offense about the imagery of the dead child in a cartoon is an easy way to distance oneself with the issues it presents. Dismiss a cartoon for being offensive and then you don't have to actually engage with what it says.
Read more from Reason about Charlie Hebdo here.