Justin Smith at his blog:
But then after class I went and looked at an online archive of Charlie Hebdo cartoons, and I apologize to the academics among you who think language and other symbolic acts can be violent in the same way shooting someone in the head with a machine gun is violent, but reviewing this work, with which I have long been passively familiar, my principal thought was: these cartoons are fucking great! Charb, in particular, is a genius. They have nothing in common with the uninspired image of Mohammed with a turban-bomb in the Jyllands-Posten, which is one of the distal causes of today's attack. They are light and joyous. They don't just condemn one way of looking at the world; they also celebrate another way. That way is the raunchy and ridiculous way, for which I have a deep personal fondness.
I've been disturbed over the evident lurch at Charlie Hebdo over the past few years from its longstanding commitment to French-style liberté de la parole and to exposing all species of rottenness, to an unhealthy obsession with the menace of Islam and the specter of a future 'Eurabia'. But as Marco Roth reminds today, Charlie Hebdo has not only published satirical cartoons aimed at radical Islam, they have also been “relentless in exposing corruption among French government officials, especially during the Chirac years, and also corruption among members of the Front National.” We could also add the exposure of the inhumanity of the blockade of Gaza, bullfighting…