Fraternity with Charlie Hebdo

January 7, 2015 at 12:51 pm (Civil liberties, comedy, Rosie B) ()

We the people declare our inalienable right to take the piss.


To no person will we deny the right to cock snooks at, give the finger to, take the mickey out of.


Fraternity with Charlie Hebdo.

(Crying as I post this.)


  1. Jim Denham said,

    Thanks for that, Rosie: I too feel like crying

  2. R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

    Try this from Comrade Seymour:

    That this should be published in an otherwise often excellent magazine called Jacobin is – oh FFS what’s the use…..

    • Jim Denham said,

      “It is too soon to have a complete, coherent political narrative of these killings. All one can have at this point are the correct but platitudinous points about there being no justification for this, that all attacks on journalists are abhorrent, that freedom of speech must be defended to the last drop of blood, and so on. If you really need that sermon, you’re in the wrong place….” Well, that last sentence is certainly correct.

      I was wondering who the first relativist “blow-back”-merchant would be to come out with some shite sort-of-saying that Charlie Hebdo provoked the attack by its disrespect of Islam: I should have guessed that the loathsome, ignorant, semi-literate clown Seymour would be first out the the traps. But what the hell is the usually excellent ‘Jacobin’ doing publishing this reactionary shite? It’s the sort of relativist nonsense that one would expect the Guardian to publish, but not a serious leftist publication (especially one calling itself ‘Jacobin’!).

      • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

        As I said what’s the use?

        These people are as beyond our powers of comprehension as they are beyond any hope of political redemption,

        But this is far, far, far more representative of your typical self-described left activist’s kneejerk reaction than our anger,

        The Left is dead,

        As the late Lou Reed ‘put it stick a fork up their ass and turn them over – they’re done’.

    • Rosie said,

      “the way in which that publication represents Islam is racist. If you need to be convinced of this, then I suggest you do your research, beginning with reading Edward Said’s Orientalism, as well as some basic introductory texts on Islamophobia, and then come back to the conversation.” – Done that. You’re still talking piss.

  3. damon said,

    Truly awful, but what can you do? It’s just mindless violence, as there’s no talking to those kinds of people. I can’t really see the point in getting too moral or even angry about it. Those kinds of people exist all over the world now. That they are in France and the west is something that has just happened because of the way history has played out.
    Mass immigration from Muslim countries being just one cause.
    And the alienation that quite a high number of second and third generation French Muslims feel in France etc. They were offended by this magazine, so they took their evil revenge. End of story really I think.

  4. Jim Denham said,

    Not as vile as Seymour or that bloke in today’s FT, but the ‘Morning Star”s version of a “backlash” “explanation” is pretty despicable, as well as a dishonest account of what’s been happening in Syria (see last para):

  5. Rosie said,

    Two comments from a little stomach-turning shit trying to comment here:-

    1. “This attack in the name of Islam comes at a very convenient time for those promoting a mass anti-Muslim movement in Europe. Why such an attack now, more than three years after the last major cartoon provocation by Charlie Hebdo against Islam, and why is the manner of this attack so different from typical Islamist attacks, which almost never involve attackers hiding their identity and escaping? How do you say “false-flag operation” in French?”
    2. And might “the alienation that quite a high number of second and third generation French Muslims feel in France” have any basis in the reality of French racial and religious bigotry, and its material consequences on the lives of these French ethnic Muslims, regardless of their religious feelings? Or in the imperial arrogance of France in its interventions in Muslim countries and its long-standing material support for Israel?
    I think it’s proof of the reasonableness, even restraint, of France’s 5 million ethnic Muslims that such a miniscule number of them have carried out any acts of violence beyond the usual internecine violence that occurs especially in poor and marginalized communities.
    So comment 1 says False Flag, comment 2 suggests that it was a justifiable act of violence from French Muslims. Couldn’t he decide on one or the other.

    • damon said,

      I don’t know what confusion Rosie has fallen into here, but she quotes me directly in point 2 there. I have nothing at all of do do with point 1.
      As for what are and might be causes for alienation among sections of working class French youth, they will be many and varied.
      I never passed any judgement upon them at all. Maybe because I didn’t think that was what the subject was about (in any detail).

      I think there was a case there of extrapolation being taken from the words I did write, and she got it quite wrong.
      I did say on some other site today though, that I wasn’t hugely impressed by people who have to show how personally they care about such events. Like showing off a bit. We are where we are now with extremism, and words on blogs and in the media aren’t actually changing much. Because even though they are a small minority, potentially violent extremists are just a fact of life now.
      For example, how are the French magazine and its personnel to be protected now? A policeman standing outside is not protection enough.

      I thought Dan Hodges was very honest today when he said this had unnerved him enough to take a cartoon image off twitter.
      It’s not a bad thing that France has such a large Muslim population.
      But it’s part of the reason why France faces some of the social problems it does. It’s not so easy to make these transitions without difficulties.
      Those were the points I was actually trying to make.

      • Rosie said,

        Damon – both those comments are from someone else, not you. The second one quotes some words from your comment. Sorry for the confusion.

  6. Steven Johnston said,

    SWP are taking the same line at the Morning Star lot. Except they go further, they don’t actually say the journalists deserve to die, but that they were guilty of racism (they weren’t) and that it’s a blow back for Western intervention in the Middle East. Because capitalism only exits in the West!
    As for the bit about racists hiding behind freedom of speech, well, they are not racists but surely everyone should be protected by free speech. The SWP want the press and cartoonists to censor themselves and to stop ‘insulting’ Islam.
    Strange coming from socialists as I thought Marx said religion was the opiate of the masses and hinders class consciousness.

    • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      Some of us have been pointing this out for ten or twenty years (Chris Harman’s The Prophet and the Proleriat theorising the SWPs turn to the Mosque was published in 1994).

      In politics as in life eventually you just have to admit that some people are so irreparably broken that they can’t and won’t be saved from themselves and that you just have to walk away.

  7. Rilke said,

    Let me see if I understand this correctly:
    According to the so-called analysis of the SWP, STWC and Morning Star, insulting people’s religious sentiments is ‘wrong’ and provokes understandable even justifiable deadly responses, but cutting people’s throats on camera is ‘understandable’ and should not provoke people to ‘justifiably’ join the BNP?
    These people and their apologists have no ethical awareness whatsoever and so any objection to capitalism itself as somehow ‘wrong’ or objectionable is no longer tenable from their standpoint. They condemn themsleves to the ethical emptiness they accuse capitalism of.
    Good riddance you garbage eaters!

  8. Rilke said,

    Jim, are you becoming mentally disturbed? I may refer to the US SW now and again, but I am in no way linked to them. Actually the US versions of political backwardness and ethical backrupcy are just as bad as the UK version. I ran into a few of those US Workers Hammer and Sparticist people during my time on miners’ pickets and demos and thought them utterly without deeper human values of any kind other than the usual ‘join our Party and all will be right in the world’ guff!
    My post is directed against such as them, and their lack of any sense of ethical right or wrong over and above a doctrine of political or party expediency, especially when it comes to crimes such as those committed in Paris. My position is that we are socialists and communists only if we adhere to certain human values as to what constitutes a decent life. Capitalism in its present form has outlived its potential to increase human dignity and freedom even though when set against feudal absolutism it was progress. If you do not believe there is any ethical imperative to what constitues a better life of freedom and equality then how can you be a socialist at all? By explaining away the aweful suffering and crimes being committed by Jihadists so-called socialists are cutting the ground from under their own feet. Why be against capitalism at all if there is only the political and no ethical imperative? How can the war, exploitation and alienation under state sponsored ‘market’ capital be ‘wrong’ if cuttng people’s throats is ‘understandable’?
    Maybe you do not care much for figural language and it is throwng you off! If you check out Rilke’s Duino Elegies, especially the ninth, you may find some small shadow of hope despite all the waste and fatigue.

    • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      As I am in elegaic frame of mind here are two of my favourite Rilkean small shadows of hope:

      First the close of Jetzt wär es Zeit (Now it is Time):

      Die Welt steht auf mit euch, und Anfang glänzt
      an allen Bruchstelln unseres Mißlingens…

      Your rising is the world’s, beginning shines
      from every crack within our patched up failure.

      And perhaps my favourite poem in any language.


      Wem willst du klagen, Herz? Immer gemiedener
      ringt sich dein Weg durch die unbegreiflichen
      Menschen. Mehr noch vergebens vielleicht,
      da er die Richtung behält,
      Richtung zur Zukunft behält,
      zu der verlorenen…

      Früher. Klagtest? Was wars? Eine gefallene
      Beere des Jubels, unreife!
      Jetzt aber bricht mir mein Jubelbaum,
      bricht mir im Sturme mein langsamer
      Schönster, in meiner unsichtbaren
      Landschaft, der du mich kenntlicher
      machtest Engeln, unsichtbaren.


      Whom will you cry to, heart? More and more lonely,
      your path struggles on through incomprehensible
      mankind. All the more futile perhaps
      for keeping to its direction,
      keeping on toward the future,
      toward what has been lost.

      Once. You complained? What was it? A fallen
      berry of joy, unripe.
      But now the whole tree of my joy
      is breaking, in the storm it is breaking, my slow
      tree of joy.
      Loveliest in my invisible
      landscape, you that made me more known
      to the invisible angels.

      Translations are mix of Michael Hamburger’s from An Unofficial Rilke and Stephen Cohn’s Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke both of which I’d recommend along with Stephen Mitchell’s translation of the Duino Elegies.

      Sadly I now remember so little of my never very extensive German that I can only judge these poems by the translations.

  9. Jim Denham said,

    Like Rosie, I must apologise for my mistake: the links to the US Socialist Worker are provided by Steven Johnston, comment #6. An innocent error, I assure you.

  10. damon said,

    I can’t see where anyone else quoted me. But OK.
    A thing that I find odd about some of the talk about this, is someone like David Arronovitch saying in the Times yesterday that people who don’t allow for their religion to be mocked should go and live somewhere else.
    This is an arch-liberal who has castigated the likes of Rod Liddle for saying similar things.

    But the point that people who get accused of being racist on issues of multiculturalism are sometimes making, is that people who move to westen countries form other more traditional ones, might find it harder to get the finer liberal points about allowing one’s beliefs to be publicly mocked.
    Surely you can’t be surprised if you make a new society, that not all parts of it will take on the supisid liberalism of the host country.

    Also, not being French perhaps, I didn’t particularly ”get” Charlie Hebdo, and thought it was just offensive for the sake of it quite often.
    Is it free speech? Maybe in the way that page three of the Sun is.
    I would support the right of both to continue what they do, but wouldn’t champion them.
    And as someone said on the radio last night, how come the Chairman of Wigan football club got such stick for his ”offensive” comments about Jews being a bit canny with money? He hadn’t meant them to be insulting even.

  11. Rilke said,

    I am sorry to say this damon, but I simply do not comprehend what you are talking about and fail to grasp how any sentence you have written is connected to the events in Paris. Unfortunately, I encounter this kind of blather a lot on the so-called ‘left’. A debate is opened about devastasting crimes that have left people dead, mutilated and utterly traumatised and the debate is concerned with how the left should respond to these crimes that are in the end, connected to a new and deadly political thrusts in world strategic relations. What is the response of such as you? Well, there is a skin head guy in Leeds who will use any acute analysis of these events to whip up hate against the Muslim community and he is a bigger threat and so we better talk about him instead. There is a tosser in Wigan who is an anti-Semitic cretin and he is just as ‘bad’ so let’s talk about him and how we are really hypocrites in the ‘West’ as that is more important. I do not much take to satire and cannot distinguish it from the crude ridicule by the likes of the Sun newsparer and so the shock of the crimes is somehow neither here nor there. In any case, the perpetrators have no real human agency or consciousness and are just the manipulated products of Western militrary adventurism and racism and Israeli ‘oppression’ so let us shift the debate to that agenda. Of course, at a last resort, we can always blame the cops as they are just a bunch of establishment thugs a deserve all they get and we can talk of their collusion with state thuggery instead. These are lazy tricks and rather pathetic, even I can do them!
    By the way, Edward Said’s book Orientalism, is now seriously out of date, (1976) and principally concerned with the image of the eastern ‘exotic’ in Western literary works and cultural discourse (he trained under the great German literary critic of comparative literary analysis Erich Auerbach) during the period of high empire. He admitted in later interviews that he underestimated Ottoman dominace in other areas of the ‘East’ and in fact that theocratic Arab regimes would ban the literary works he most admired by the likes of Flaubert and Hardy and so on. Also, he once said to me (I met him in Edinburgh a long time ago) that by using terms such as the ‘West’ he often felt he was rhetorically mimicking the very generalising discourses he sought to attack. He thought this part of the ‘irony’ of any critical opposition! A wonderful and elegant thinker, unlike the crude anthology leeches who try to steal and feed on his work!

    • damon said,

      Well Rilke, is this a place where people thrash things out or not? I don’t know. I think it’s hard to get over what one means on these forums often though.
      You said – ”crimes that are in the end, connected to a new and deadly political thrusts in world strategic relations” – and I might say that they were nihilistic crimes committed by losers not so different to the Columbine killers. Who have some warped murderous jihadi bullshit to latch on to though.
      Extremely dangerous of course. Completely vile – and contagious.

      But you see already how we’ve taken off from different points?
      Who’s right? It’s certainly very very complex, and maybe these forums where you exchange ideas with strangers just aren’t up to it, or I’m not.

      What are we to do about this? Well the police in France are doing their job now. All the talk I can hear on the radio and the internet today isn’t doing a whole lot. Although I thought Kenan Malik wrote a good piece on his blog?

      The other stuff about the football chairman etc…was just in relation to this idea of free speech at any cost. Even when it’s overly and unnecessarily offensive. So I raised a couple of cases where the ”I am Charlie” people might not feel so inclined to support. Like the Wigan chairman and manager who are accused of racism – and I would defend them even so.

      At the end of the day, we’re going to find it very hard to combat these nutcases, because they are beyond reason. It’s more an issue of psychology than politics I think.

    • ZINR said,

      Rilke, it’s unfortunate but this fine site has, of late, inherited two of Harrys’s Place’s foulest commenters (the other being Arab-hating, Pakistani-loathing thug Lamia, who tones down his obnoxious EDL-ish tendencies for this more Leftish environment and thus slips under the radar). Damon’s slackjawed witterings have been published for the sake of mass ridicule over there for a few years and I think he may finally have been given the push. Your missive, piercingly accurate though it is, will have no effect on this chiselling twatter. His comments on this devastating and heartbreaking event are too idiotic and trivial to be considered, but expect more emigres from HP as their comment section (once reasonably varied and stimulating) sinks ever further into the Far Right mire.

      • damon said,

        ZINR, I’ve never heard of you. And I have no idea what your opinion is here. You think I’m wrong? A point I would make is that people on blogs can get so full of themselves that they become completely intolerant. That certainly happened on Harry’s Place.
        There, to even suggest I think, that you didn’t really go in for Charlie Hebdo’s aggressive style would get people swearing at you today. It’s like a closed blog now, only for like minded people.
        And they use the ”you hate Jews” accusation very cheaply.
        Very poor moderation on that site.

        And I am banned from there.
        Probably for enraging people by saying I thought that Israel killed too many Gazan civilians last summer.

  12. Rilke said,

    For you McCarthy, yet in spite of all…

    And if one day our doing and our ado’s
    and all that happens to us should appear
    trivial and strange, and it were far from clear
    why we should struggle out of children’s shoes
    merely for that – would not, perhaps this run
    of yellowed lace, this finely woven length
    of flowery lace, then have sufficient strength
    to keep us here? For look, it all got done.

    A life perhaps was slighted, who can know?
    A chance of happiness let slip – yet, spite
    of all, there still emerged, however slow,
    this thing, not easier than life, but quite
    perfect, and, oh, so beautiful – as though
    now were no more too soon for smiles and flight.

    • R F McCarthy (@RF_McCarthy) said,

      Wouldn’t you simply die without Rilke?

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Islam should be banned and mass repatriation conducted including decendents of original immigrants who allegedly came to the West for a so called better life from the shitholes they abandoned. Islam is a death cult and lefties are thick.

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