Since Wednesday, the Internet has been overrun with coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attacks, and the subsequent manhunt that ensued. Now that the manhunt has ended with the death of three suspects and an uncertain amount of hostages, it would seem that even more coverage is unnecessary. Maybe it is, but the discussion around satire and free speech — and satire’s place within free speech — is an important and ongoing one.
It’s very easy to forgive a satirical publication simply because of its being labeled a “satirical publication,” but, as this cartoon from Joe Sacco points out, that’s often an extremely dangerous position. Its a position that magnifies the problematic urge to take things at face value, whether it be a publication, or a headline, or even a public figure.
It seems flippant to move from such heavy territory to the silliness of Justin Bieber being photoshopped into somebody with an actual bulge, but one must live. The case here, as you can tell by the included image, is Bieber’s Calvin Klein body being photoshopped into the hulking, small-headed, big-crotched man that it is not actually. Where is the public outrage about this body-buffing?
And now, from the mildly innocuous to the purely inane: the Consumer Electronics Show, as covered by someone who has begrudgingly succumbed to the wonder of seemingly useless electronics. Didn’t we prove that you can’t simply shake your ass away? Inventions have always been mostly silly things: when I was a child, I dreamt of inventing an ice tray that had a cover, so that I wouldn’t spill as I reached up to the freezer, diligently replacing an empty tray with a full one. I thought it was a dumb idea. Turns out it wasn’t. And that’s a lesson for you all: sometimes ideas aren’t dumb, even if you think they are. But most of the time they are.