High level clouds. Mild.
In the wake of a momentous and horrific political event, there is a fairly predictable cycle of response and counter-response. This is usually indicative of good and healthy debate, as people refuse to accept the truths that they are fed and analyse different angles to every story.
It played out like this with the Paris shootings:Horror: Look what happened at Charlie Hebdo!Solidarity: I am Charlie #jesuischarlieMass hysteria: We are all CharlieContradiction: You are not Charlie, you are not brave enough or clever enoughUndermining: I never wanted to be Charlie anyway; Charlie is a racist bigot.
It's gone to our headsWhile every round of analysis has brought new information and insights to light, I think that all of this "freedom of thought" we enjoy has gone to our heads a little.There were articles about how we aren't brave enough or strong enough in our convictions to liken us to such satirical heroes.And then there were articles about how we shouldn't want to liken ourselves to such racist Islamophobes anyway.And then there were articles about how the people who think that Charlie Hebdo is racist aren't property understanding what is being satirised.The argument about whether or not we are all Charlie Hebdo is ludicrous. ?#jesuischarlie wasn?'t a metaphor that stated that we are literally every one of those slain cartoonists, down to the type of toothpaste we use and how we tie our shoelaces.
What #jesuischarlie meantIt was a show of solidarity. It was saying that anyone who ever enjoyed freedom of speech and who expressed an opinion has been dealt a blow by what happened in Paris.What happened there was an atrocity. It was a strike against human rights and freedoms and humanity as a whole, and we felt moved to express our association with that loss.Any attempt to distance yourself from #jesuischarlie is denying the slayings were an undeserved horror and undermining the solidarity that was the only good thing that emerged from this.
Literal thinkingI’ve also seen articles saying that the cartoon response to the Charlie Hebdo killings – where pencils rained down like bombs on the jihadists or broken pencils were sharpened and became whole again – downplays the horror of the people whose homes are being bombed every day in this war. Apparently, we will not win the war with pencils.But here' s the thing. Again, I think everyone has started taking this all too literally. No one is saying that we will win our wars with pencils.People are saying that terror will not still our hands and silence our thoughts. That we live in societies where speech and thought are free, and fundamentalists’ attempts to suppress this will not be successful. Try to silence us, and we'll shout louder and draw more.There's a whole lot of extremely literal analysis going on about these cartoons, when we need to think in metaphors. Cartoonists are brilliant at helping us see the world in this way. What a tragedy that there are eight less of them in the world.
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