The Hypocrisy of Freedom of Speech

I’ve managed to make it 16 days into 2016 without being reminded that the world is full of idiots.

If you cast your mind back to last year you might remember how the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, was attacked by terrorists in response to an offensive cartoon they had drawn of the prophet Muhammad. As a result the movement “Je suis Charlie” was begun on social media and shared around the world by people who don’t, and never will, understand what it was all about. It seems that everybody had somehow seen the light and loved Charlie Hebdo all of a sudden, to the point that their small magazine that prints about 60,000 copies per issue then had a massive 12 million copy printing for the next issue in 8 different languages. Now though, all that good will has been squandered by the cartoon you see before you.

The cartoon depicts Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian child who was found dead, face down at the beach last year, all grown up and taking part in the sex attacks that happened in Germany on New Year’s Eve. The french directly translates to “What would have become had Aylan grown up? Grabber of buttocks in Germany.” The internet seemed to not like this very much and at this point I’m reduced to laughing at them because, if I didn’t, I might go mad.

“Je suis Charlie” was all about Freedom of Speech, which is a term thrown around very loosely with a lot of people not understanding what it means. Freedom of Speech literally means that you can say whatever you want, regardless of how offensive it is. However, it does not exclude you from the consequences of what you say, and this is a classic example of people misunderstanding this. It was fine when Charlie Hebdo was just attacking Muslims, but now it’s turned on refugees and Syrians in general people are all up in arms about it.

I reiterate a previous blog post and ask people, instead of complaining, to just vote with their wallets. It’s a private company, it can publish whatever it likes, and, living in a capitalist society, you don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it. In 2014 Charlie Hebdo was an obscure, french satire magazine that had a taste for black- and edgy-humour. In 2016 it will become just that again, and I support it for it.

It had its audience, it knew it was never going to be contending with Time magazine or Vogue that, to this day, still have a huge circulation compared to Charlie Hebdo. It doesn’t want to use its newfound success to pander to what the masses want, and, frankly, I think that the people at Charlie Hebdo are laughing at the idiots who are getting offended at the moment. People who probably shared #JesuisCharlie months ago in shallow support.

It’s just a cartoon. It can be ignored. Why can’t we just get on with out lives?

 

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One comment

  1. Sabiscuit · January 16, 2016

    I don’t read the magazine but was against the shooting of reporters for printing satire. I think that some things are sacred, and human life is at the top of that list. We can turn a blind eye to what we don’t agree with but is Charlie Hebdo so different from Miley Cyrus on stage on her Bangerz tour? Many things are displeasing but we don’t have to buy tickets, songs or subscriptions. Yes, we can and should vote with our wallets. Great points.

    Liked by 1 person

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