January 14, 2016

"The cartoon... would be easy to misread as endorsing rather than satirizing the idea that Aylan Kurdi would have grown up to sexually assault European women."

"As was to be expected, this has sparked yet another round of Twitter debates as to whether these misreadings are the fault of Charlie Hebdo or of oversensitive readers who are unable to grasp satire."

Max Fisher, at Vox, tries to explain this:

Fisher is sure of the point: "Their 'point' here is that European anti-refugee sentiment, when laid bare, ultimately leads to the ridiculous and indeed hateful idea that even Kurdi is a threat to European women."

I tend to think that those who express themselves through art — including comics art — like ambiguity and layers of meaning and enjoy making everyone uncomfortable. To say I'm sure that the point is the thing that I believe would be the good thing to say is to be an out-and-proud non-artist.


MikeR said...

Fisher is sure of the point? Well, I'm just as sure of the point he tries to say is not there. Is he really sure?

buster said...

"I tend to think that those who express themselves through art ... like ambiguity and meaning and enjoy making everyone uncomfortable."

So what's the point of the cartoon?

That it's reasonable to assume the boy would grow up to be a groper? That it's unreasonable? Both? Neither? We just want to make you uncomfortable?

Ironclad said...

I don't think it would be an unreasonable assumption that someone raised in a culture that has decidedly non-Western attitudes about women would not act out if he grew up even in Europe.

But more to the point - the cartoon really lays it out that the image of a dead boy used to justify the flood of migrants has metastasized into the reality of large scale harassment of women. Something innocent into something terrible. (That said, his father would have been arrested in many places for child endangerment putting his family on that raft)

I'm waiting for the image of a violated woman, naked on the steps of a Cathedral, to evoke the same outrage as the Kurdi photograph.

Hagar said...

I think Mr. Fisher misread the cartoon. Aylan is the young Moslem in the background; the guy in the hat is "le Boche" in the French mind - so, two of a kind.

buster said...

Satire often works by ignoring ambiguity and layers of meaning. E.g., Nast's cartoons about Tammany Hall; cartoons about GIs in the field in WW2.

Clyde said...

Polar bear cubs are cute as can be. Adult polar bears are extremely dangerous.

Just sayin'.

Rick said...

We're supposed to think about all the possibilities the kid's life could have taken rather than just accept the "a child died - what an angel he was" implicit angelic outcome. I find it amusing the outraged are saying the same thing as the cartoonists but are unaware of it.

holdfast said...

I still believe that the picture was staged. Not saying the poor child didn't drown - I'm sure he did - but I think he was posed post-mortem.

mccullough said...

I dig the Hamburg hat. I think many of their cartoons are thought provoking. It's anti-propoganda

Shouting Thomas said...

The long term unintended consequences of feminism...

German women refuse to bear children. The resulting precipitous decline in population forces the German government to import Muslims to do the grunt work and (hopefully) to provide the tax base for the lavish social welfare programs.

Result: Rape gangs who regard feminist women as whores patrolling the streets of Germany.

What do you suppose will be the long term unintended consequences of gay marriage?

Answer: You don't know, but you will find out.

Traditional social arrangements appear arbitrary and without purpose... until you destroy them. It just takes a long time for the negative unintended consequences to become manifest and visible.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EDH said...

Portraying Aylan Kurdi as a young man with a pig nose who is sexually assaulting German women, even ironically, is tasteless.

To me, the cartoon symbolizes the effects of a failure/refusal to assimilate over time.

1.) First, the youngest image is he's fleeing from something.

2.) Then, still a youth, he's running to get something with open hands, presumably state benefits, which provides a subsistence that allows him to avoid economic assimilation.

3.) Finally, only in the third image does Kurdi have the pig nose as an adult (see hat) chasing the woman in a threatening manner as a result of a long-term failure to assimilate to cultural norms during the period of his youth.

EDH said...

I also think it's a jab at European elites who allow, indeed enable, that failure to assimilate.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Farook, what is wrong?"

"American Women: that is what is wrong, Amir."

"I think your nose is broken..."

"I was at the bus stop by the Shawarma Place and started to grind the Syrian Sexy-Sexy against this Blonde American Woman -- you know how they ask for it in their Yoga pants --"

"Indeed! Indeed! Yoga Pants Buttocks are Irresistible! Was there Camel Toe?"

"There was Camel Toe indeed!! Anyway, she took out a can of pepper spray from her purse and sprayed my eyes!"

"Did she have big breasts?"

"What does that matter, Amir?"

"I am just trying to picture it better."

"Yes, Amir, she had big breasts -- very nice."

"Blonde, Yoga Pants, Camel Toe AND Big American Breasts -- how could you NOT grind against her?""

"Exactly, Farook! Then after the pepper spray she kicked me in the ball sack with her pointy devil shoe!"

"Horrible Woman! What color was this shoe?"


"Red! I knew it! The Devil, indeed!"

"And after she kicked me in the ball sack a black man in a wheelchair punched me in the gut!"

"Not a lowly crippled black man! Was there no End to this Horror?"

"I tried to get away from the Infidels but they all surrounded me and beat me mercilessly. Then an elderly man hit me in the face with his cane: THAT is what broke my nose."

"Was he a Jew?"

"I don't know, Amir. Does it matter?"

"It's just that when you describe this I picture the old man with a cane as a Jew."

"He could have been, Amir. It was a very Jewish Thing he did."

"Uh, Farook, why do you smell of urine?"

"As I laid helpless and bleeding on the sidewalk a man in a dress peed on me."

"Just when you think things can't get worse..."

"I know! And he must have a huge bladder, because he kept peeing and peeing and peeing! I kept asking him to stop, but every time I opened my mouth he just peed in it!"

"Was the man in the dress pretty?"

"What? He was a MAN, Amir."

"I have seen some men in dresses that were very pretty, Farook. For a man, that is."

"Amir: Please tell me that you are not going to masturbate about this."

"Of course not, Farook."

"Thank you."

"Um... Farook?"

"Yes, Amir?"

"What color were the yoga pants?"

"I am Laslo.

mikee said...

Any political cartoonist unwilling to draw Mohamed is not worth looking at.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Once more. Laslo wins.

Apparently simply considering the thought that allowing large numbers of military age men from a completely different culture that holds values diametrically opposed to yours into your country might not be a good idea, even after those people demonstrate, repeatedly, that they have no regard for your culture and are going to practice their customs regardless of how you might feel about it, is considered to be bigotry.

There is no good way out of this situation. There are probably 8 - 10 million more "refugees" heading to Europe right now. Before this is over we are going to see fortified borders, forced deportations on a massive scale, street to street fighting, probably even civil war.

Either that or European culture will be completely subsumed.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

buster said...So what's the point of the cartoon?

That it's reasonable to assume the boy would grow up to be a groper? That it's unreasonable? Both? Neither? We just want to make you uncomfortable?

Well buster, if we think deeply about what the artist wants us to feel and consider, maybe the point is to force us to confront the wide range of emotions we experience when we think about something that gets crammed into the small confines of the word "refugee." Maybe the artists wants you to remember how much sympathy you felt watching coverage of the poor deceased child refugee and contrast it with the shock and anger you feel watching coverage of the gang attacks that included sexual assault and rape and was carried out in part by refugees. Maybe that juxtaposition, and examining the very different emotions and actions each case inspires, is the point. Maybe the artist wants to highlight those differences both in your own feelings and in how the stories/events were covered and portrayed in the Media. Maybe the artist wants you to have to deal with the fact that just saying "refugee" doesn't really give much information (ie doesn't distinguish btw the two vastly different cases) and therefore people who make blanket statements about what should be done with refugees, what the refugee problem is, etc, are intentionally trying to manipulate you (by relying on ambiguity as to what "refugee" really means).

Or, I dunno, maybe not.

Char Char Binks said...

Who's to say Kurdi wouldn't have grown up to be a rapist?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Wow, I clicked through some Vox links, what a fun time (in a house-of-mirrors sort of way).

For some reason I couldn't help but think of the Left's use of the idea of "toxic masculinity" when reading Vox on the Cologne attacks. I mean, traditionally a chief masculine virtue (and in fact one of the primary jobs of and justification for the patriarchy) was in protecting women. To be sure, protecting one's own women (spouse, daughters, family members), but also those women in one's society (fighting WW2 to help save helpless Continental women from marauding Huns, etc). Now, that's sexist. Advanced Western nations with Leftist values scoff at the idea that women have to be protected by men; it's insulting to even think in those terms.
But the women assaulted in Cologne, you know, I wonder how they feel about it. I mean, it's obviously toxic masculinity that's responsible for the immigrant men assaulting and trying to rape them, but on the other hand isn't it a lack of toxic masculinity that's responsible for there not being any German men available, willing, or able to protect them (to fight off the attackers)? The police themselves couldn't do much to help!

Oh well, let's keep promoting passivity and wimpiness to our men and importing foreigners who have a more, let's say, regressive idea about masculinity, it's expression, violence, and gender roles. What (else) could go wrong?

buster said...

@ HoodlumDoodlum

Point taken. Sometimes satire does rely on ambiguity and layers of meaning. Sometimes not. Remember the cartoon depicting GWB as a chimp?

n.n said...

The problem is anti-native policies and proponents that have precipitated a refugee crisis while promoting abortion rites under the quasi-religious pro-choice doctrine.

As for the European women, apparently progressive morality advanced by female and male chauvinists has not prepared them to provide friendship with benefits to mass capacity mobs of alien men. Also, there are an insufficient number of Planned Parenthood offices to provide abortion rites and or clinical cannibalism services.

Ann Althouse said...

""I tend to think that those who express themselves through art ... like ambiguity and meaning and enjoy making everyone uncomfortable." So what's the point of the cartoon?"

Why did you take out the words "layers of" before "meaning"? Not even an ellipsis. Do you think you're being an artist?

Ann Althouse said...

Anyone old was once a child. Any dead child looks innocent and tragic.

Remember Jeb Bush is up for killing baby Hitler.

Dead baby Hitler would look just as tragic as Aylan Kurdi.

One interpretation of the cartoon is as a critique of propaganda, including the photo of the dead child.

coupe said...
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buster said...

@ Althouse

It was a mistake. Noticed it afterwards but didn't bother correcting. Didn't think you would make a big deal about it.

buster said...

@ Althouse

You're right about ambiguity and layers of meaning w/r/t Charlie Hebdo. Heirs of Rabelais and all.

campy said...

"Who's to say Kurdi wouldn't have grown up to be a rapist?"

All men are rapists, and that's all they are.

Ann Althouse said...

"It was a mistake. Noticed it afterwards but didn't bother correcting. Didn't think you would make a big deal about it."

Okay. I'm a stickler about quotes. I think in a cut-and-paste environment, it seems that omitted words have been deliberately removed.

The Godfather said...

As I understand it, Germany desperately needs young workers to support its welfare state. The Germans aren't producing enough babies to do the job themselves. The first time I heard about this problem, 15-20 years ago, it was from a Finn. I gather now it's a European problem. The solution is obvious: Europeans need to produce a lot more children. We know where children come from. So why aren't European governments encouraging their people to produce more children? Would a German woman really rather be groped by some smelly Syria "migrant" in the Koln Dom Platz than to have a couple or three children with her husband? That seems to be the choice.