Headless May, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie

I’m sure Chalrie Hebdo staff must feel that Sisyphus had it easier than this. Having to explain Charlie Hebdo, again, and again, …

I made an attempt a while ago: Amatrice Pasta, Yet Still, Je Suis Charlie, when the Italian victims were on the cover but the target was Italian politics.

This time the images are of London victims fleeing ISIS, and Theresa May, head under her arm.

CH is not mocking the victims but those that contribute to the creation of victims. CH asks you to think. The image is the shock that makes you question. But if you just look at the image and jump to your own simple conclusions based on that alone, it is YOU that is failing to think.

I’ve not read the recent issues, but there are usually more clues in the articles. CH is a deeply social mag that supports the underdog; and knowing that alone is enough to make you look deeper, to try at least to imagine what message they are sending out. Without reading any more, anything CH tells us inside, this is all you can do, … but, if you presume they are making fun of victims, you will be way off the mark.

So, given what I know I can make a stab at what these images are telling us … so at the very least, I have to think, and not take the images at face value.

The Theresa May image, reminiscent of cartoons of Anne Bolyn, out of favour with her subjects rather than her king, victim to the machinations of the court of Westminster, is lampooning successive governments that have promised to DO SOMETHING about terrorism, and do too little. They cry “Nothing to do with Islam” when we all know it has a lot to do with Islam. The May image is telling you that we might actually wake up and say “Enough is enough!” when it is already too late.

My guess on the ‘slimming’ tips is that it’s a critique the soft sell of Islam in the press, how we pretend it’s an entirely benign religion when it’s a political judicial religion that demands how you should live your life. We pretend it’s foriegn policy, personal identity problems, … any number of other causes for terrorist (not that some haven’t contributed). We treat the actual message of Islam, there for all to see in the Quran, with no more seriousness than being given slimming tips.

You’ll have to try a bit harder and read the mag itself if you want to get the actual intention. If you’re going to make up your own, as I have just done, at least make the effort to read more charitably when looking at shocking satirical cartoon images. If it’s satire and you take cartoons at face value, you probably missed the point completely.

This is what they say about themselves:

Charlie Hebdo is a punch in the face….

Against those who try to stop us thinking.
Against those who fear imagination.
Against those who don’t like us to laugh.

Charlie Hebdo is an angry magazine, a paper that takes the piss.
It’s a weekly with a wallop, a digest with a dream.
It’s a periodical that argues and a journal that thinks.
It’s a gazette of the grotesque – because that’s what so much of life and politics is.
It’s a rag that has nothing to lose in the afterlife for the laudably simple reason that there is no afterlife.

Charlie Hebdo has no need of God, nor any need of Wall Street. Charlie doesn’t need two cars and three cellphones to be happy.

To be happy, Charlie Hebdo draws, writes, interviews, ponders and laughs at everything on this earth which is ridiculous, giggles at all that is absurd or preposterous in life. Which is to say – very nearly everything.

Because life is so awfully short that it would be a pity to spend it whining in dismay instead of laughing it up a storm.

But what better way to understand than to see it in a cartoon of their own:

From Cartoon satire for dummies



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