January 12, 2015

"At about 9:10 on Monday evening, laughter and a round of applause broke out among the surviving staff members of Charlie Hebdo, followed shortly by cries — joyous if ironic — of 'Allahu akbar!'"

"The group was cheering Rénald Luzier, the cartoonist known as Luz, who on the umpteenth try had produced what the editors thought was the perfect cover image for the most anticipated issue ever of this scrappy, iconoclastic weekly, which will appear on Wednesday. It showed a figure of the prophet Muhammad holding a sign saying, 'Je suis Charlie' ('I am Charlie'), with the words 'All is forgiven' in French above it on a green background."

So begins the NYT article, titled "Charlie Hebdo’s New Issue Has Mohammed on Cover."

ADDED: You'll have to look elsewhere for an image of that cover, of course. The NYT has decided not to show cartoons depicting Muhammad:
[NYT executive editor Dean] Baquet told me [NYT "public editor" Margaret Sullivan] that he started out the day Wednesday convinced that The Times should publish the images, both because of their newsworthiness and out of a sense of solidarity with the slain journalists and the right of free expression....

Ultimately, he decided against it, he said, because he had to consider foremost the sensibilities of Times readers, especially its Muslim readers. To many of them, he said, depictions of the prophet Muhammad are sacrilegious; those that are meant to mock even more so. “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.”

“At what point does news value override our standards?” Mr. Baquet asked. “You would have to show the most incendiary images” from the newspaper; and that was something he deemed unacceptable.
AND: You can see the new Charlie Hebdo here. One thing the NYT verbal description leaves out: cartoon Muhammad is crying.

130 comments:

Oso Negro said...

I suppose that demonstrates moral superiority. The temptation to make it obscene must have been overwhelming.

Meade said...

"Tout est pardonné"

Okay — so as a non-french speaker, I suppose there's some irony or a level of meaning there that eludes me.

Is it anything like "Let's roll"?

MayBee said...

I'm guessing Mohammed is forgiving the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who had earlier blasphemed him with their drawings.

He has changed his mind, and is in solidarity with them now.

JAORE said...

Good to know the Times would never publish anything that would offend the "sensibilities of Times readers".

Some animals, of course, being more equal.

Anonymous said...

Why do I think that the NYT would have published the cartoon if it had something about Christ or Pope?

The NYT is a Cheerleader of the Democratic Party.
The NYT is a Volunteer for the Democratic Party.
The NYT is comprised of Pseudo Intellectuals - such as Gail Collins and Dean Baquet.

I had enough of these jokers.

Anonymous said...

The NYTimes should run the cartoons. Some may need to be redacted partially to obscure private parts or profanity, but the 'toons are about as newsworthy as can be.

pm317 said...

Mohammad is crying over the massacre and hence holding the sign "I am Charlie"..(meaning the real Mohammad would not approve of what the assassins did) and Charlie Hebdo is saying "all is forgiven." Well, that is how I interpret it..

furious_a said...

I'm guessing Mohammed is forgiving the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists who had earlier blasphemed him with their drawings.

How magnanimous: in the Jihadis' Paradise, the murdered cartoonists are serving the Shaheeds as slaves.

MayBee said...

Isn't the NYT pretty happy to write words that offend the sensibility of Times readers?

furious_a said...

Why do I think that the NYT would have published the cartoon if it had something about Christ or Pope?

The Knights of Columbus don't actually wear armor.

n.n said...

So, Hebdo is mocking over 1 billion people for the actions of a few. I guess Muslims are considered viable targets in the politically correct scheme, and eligible to incur the same general defamation of character as white people, and especially white men. Actually, Hebdo is right in this case, but is wrong everywhere else; and, in the latter case (i.e. white people), the social complex doesn't have a principle to stand on.

The low moral road traveled. Oh, well. Morality is the root of all evil, or something. Just do whatever you can get away with. Hebdo is pro-choice or selective, after all. Vive la libertinism!

Krumhorn said...

Why do I think that the NYT would have published the cartoon if it had something about Christ or Pope?

You mean something like Serrano's Piss Christ? Or Ofili's Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung?

- Krumhorn

Bob R said...

I think the NYT and other news outlet with outposts all over the world have good reason not to publish the cartoons. Their organization is a soft target, and the people who would bear the brunt are not the people who make the decisions. It's not cowardice refuse to endanger others if you are much safer. Typical of the NYT to have a pompous, self aggrandizing reason for doing the same thing.

Ann Althouse said...

"All is forgiven" is a message I associate with Jesus.

What would it mean for Muhammad to say that? Who is he forgiving and why? "All" is a strong word, so: perhaps the answer is everyone, for everything.

All have sinned. All need forgiveness. Love is the answer.

Marty Keller said...

The good news is that the New York Times can not offend the sensibilities of non-readers, either.

JAORE said...

"I think the NYT and other news outlet with outposts all over the world have good reason not to publish the cartoons. Their organization is a soft target..."

I understand your point. But that leads us to lofty principles, like freedom of expression, only applied against non-aggressive types. Piss Jesus? Edgy, cool, boy that'll rile the rubes. Mohammed (even in the most benign depictions)? Offensive, too risky.

The fair thing would be to avoid offensive materials against anyone, right? But then the paper would be extremely limited in scope.

The Drill SGT said...

Charlie Hebdo has a lot of credibility right now. What they want to do, i give them the benefit of the doubt...

Shaun said...

And yet, the NYT has absolutely no problem whatsoever publishing review after review extolling The Book of Mormon musical.

What hypocrites.

MayBee said...

Bob R- I agree.

If the NYT would just be honest and say they are afraid of being killed, so they won't publish the cartoons, I could handle that.

It's the ridiculous lie that is dangerous.

Shaun said...

Out of curiosity, how does one know that that cartoon is depicting Mohammed and not UBL?

Revenant said...

They should have the guts to admit they're afraid of being shot or firebombed, instead of hiding behind this "we might offend a reader" bullshit.

Original Mike said...

"You'll have to look elsewhere for an image of that cover, of course. The NYT has decided not to show cartoons depicting Muhammad:"

"Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" seems a better descriptor of the New York Times.

Be said...

Spoke with The Frenchie today. One of the first things he expressed was the Disgust of the NYT for having pixelled out the Mohammed cartoons. (Monsieur le Coco: I've been telling you about this sort of stupidity for how long?)

Zach said...

Interesting how closely the "offend our readers" standard hews to a straightforward blasphemy interpretation.

Muhammad is not having a big slobbery kiss in this cover (gay kisses might offend many people in the audience, but I suspect we can find a couple of examples of that in NYT's voluminous archives). He isn't depicted doing anything that a reasonable person would find offensive, or anything that would be a Muslim stereotype. It's not offensive to put an arabic man on the cover of a magazine with a "Je suis Charlie" sign.

It is precisely the fact that the arabic man is Muhammad that makes this cover offensive -- and that's only offensive because of blasphemy.

Be said...

M Meade: They've been rolling for a while, // to, but not necessarily in agreement with the US.

When I saw the cover (Probably the classiest I've *ever* seen from them), it hurt. The first thing that came to mind was this:

http://youtu.be/JhNxXBTIjfk

kcom said...

"It's the ridiculous lie that is dangerous."

I don't know if it's dangerous, but it certainly is ridiculous. Just tell the truth. You're scared and you're knuckling under. Was that so hard? You're not scared to print things disliked by every other religion on earth. Hmm, what's different here? The principle? No.

Chriscom said...

The political left, as demonstrated in this case by Baquet, has two primary modes: Coward, or bully. At root, the same thing.

As for whom Mohammed is forgiving, I think it means he is forgiving the Charlie Hebdo staff -- as indicated by others, he is portrayed as never wanting this outcome.

By the way, as long as the Times and other major media have started referring to "the prophet Mohammed," I trust parallel mentions will start referring to that carpenter as Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

FullMoon said...

Suppose you really love someone.
A parent, spouse, friend.
Most likely a young child or grandchild.
Imagine you are also in a violent, macho gang, as are all your friend and family.

Everytime you go to a store for groceries, or maybe even to rob it, you see a magazine cover of your young child being pissed on by a dog, or anally and orally raped by animals.

These images are "free speech".
There is nothing you can do about it.

Now,for years, everybody you know asks you what are you going to do about it.

Also, you are a soldier who has experienced combat.

You are thinking of this insult every single day of your life.

If you punish the perpetrators, you will be a hero.

What would you do?


Be said...

Charlie Hebdo is a pretty radical, left-wing publication put into place by Doctrinal Atheists. What I've found interesting about the Atheists in France I've run into (sort of have intimate knowledge of that area), is a serious understanding of "Christianist" Imagery, among other things.



Hagar said...

There are Hebdo (and other's) cartoons I would not publish because they are gross, but this, "that they may offend some of our readers," is B.S.

Also note that this notion about not making drawings of Mohammed, or any other human for that matter, is by no means adhered to by all the "Moslem world."
The Mughal Empire in India, f. ex., had all kinds of artworks depicting Mohammed.

whitney said...

The west holds on to little bits of its ancestral inheritance. Forgive, forgive, forgive yet most forget that repentance comes first.

kcom said...

"One thing the NYT verbal description leaves out: cartoon Muhammad is crying."

It's almost like a picture is worth a thousand words.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Shaun said...
the NYT has absolutely no problem whatsoever publishing review after review extolling The Book of Mormon musical.


Two religions founded by pedophiles.

pm317 said...

The Mughal Empire in India, f. ex., had all kinds of artworks depicting Mohammed.

No they didn't.

pm317 said...

Forgive, forgive, forgive yet most forget that repentance comes first.

Exactly, where is the repentance from the people who support the assassins?

Drago said...

AReasonableMeltdown: "Two religions founded by pedophiles."

Filed under "Something no lefty ever said to the face of a muslim...and never will."

Now, back to advocating for more NEA funding for Piss Christ!

Anonymous said...

If we in the West are going to debate why killers kill and not send soldiers to fight back, I think we all need to renew our first aid training and learn how to make bandages out of bedsheets. Our future is as victims of violence.

We march. We debate. We feel civilized. They bomb. They shoot. They kidnap. Who wins?

My Red Cross first aid certificate is valid until December of 2015. Is yours?

Bob Boyd said...

Be said
"The first thing that came to mind was this:"

Thank you for that.

MikeD said...

Our hostess almost got it with her "all is forgiven" comment. While I'm dealing with a corrupted memory file, I remember, from an early 60's comparative religion course/class, that while Christianity espouses free will & repentance/forgiveness, Islam is your life is predetermined & nothing can change that (as Allah Wills).
OK, I never stayed at whatever hotel but, I am an expert on which drinkable Canadian Whisky is on sale at one of my rural/mini/megamarts.

Paco Wové said...

"All have sinned. All need forgiveness. Love is the answer."

I'm sure imams worldwide will get right on propagating that message.

Gahrie said...

All have sinned. All need forgiveness. Love is the answer.

Allah doesn't ask for your love, or offer you his.

Allah demands submission.

traditionalguy said...

The sublime method of these cartoonists is a ridicule of the pettiness of all legalistic religious thugs whether in a Muslim, Hasidic , Catholic or Southern Baptist. Tradition.

That is what Jesus saves us from: The Laws that came through Moses being applied without forgiveness by petty assholes calling themselves God's people while punishing the weak as proud coldhearted sadists.

Hagar said...

OK, pm317, I may have gone over the top with "all kinds of artworks," but I am pretty sure I have seen prints of pictorial artworks showing Mohammed.
In any case, ordinary humans, including the emperors, were readily shown.

Revenant said...

The youngest of Joseph Smith's wives was 14.

If sex with a 14 year old is automatically pedophilia, that raises the question "why does the Left oppose parental and police notification when 14-year-olds have abortions?".

One would think "a pedophile got a kid pregnant" is the kind of thing parents and police would need to know.

Bob Boyd said...

It's a one a way street in a one horse town
We've been told to keep the strangers out
We don't like them starting to hang around
We don't like them all over town
Across the world we are going to blow them down

The reign of the super powers must be over
So many armies can't free the earth
Soon the rock will roll over
Africa is choking on their Coca Cola

One way people starting to brag around
You can laugh, put them down
These one way people gonna blow us down, 'coz

Charlie don't surf he'll never learn
Charlie don't surf though he's got a gun
Charlie don't surf think that he should
Charlie don't surf we really think that he should
Charlie don't surf, Charlie don't surf

-The Clash

Hagar said...

and, pm317, see this:Wikipedia Depictions of Muhammad

harrogate said...

"The NYTimes should run the cartoons. Some may need to be redacted partially to obscure private parts or profanity, but..."

Oh, comedic irony!

Hagar said...

And I do not think the NYT's reluctance to print the cartoons is due to physical fear of being attacked in NYC, which they well may be anyway, cartoons or no cartoons.
It is something else, I do not know quite what, but I suspect it originates from the White House.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

traditionalguy said...
That is what Jesus saves us from: The Laws that came through Moses being applied without forgiveness by petty assholes calling themselves God's people while punishing the weak as proud coldhearted sadists.


Hear, hear.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Revenant said...
If sex with a 14 year old is automatically pedophilia,


No 'if' here.

Birches said...

Cowardly. The cover is perfect.

dc said...

I believe that Dante places the Prophet Mohammed in the 8th Circle.
I guess he didn't get the "Islam is the religion of peace" memo.

pm317 said...

No Hagar.. never heard or seen artwork depicting Mohammad. If you give me the context/place where you saw some, may be I can weigh in on it more clearly. There is really no Charlie Hedbo equivalent in India. The press is as free as it can be but they don't want to have a bloodbath in the streets either. I don't think Indian Muslims are as fanatic or will do anything as violent as what happened to Hedbo and Indian press or other will not provoke them unnecessarily either. Indian Muslims don't do jihad but they do riot. Hindus riot too if their elephant god is seen as mistreated. There too many gods/prophets in India.

chickelit said...

Hagar said...And I do not think the NYT's reluctance to print the cartoons is due to physical fear of being attacked in NYC, which they well may be anyway, cartoons or no cartoons.
It is something else, I do not know quite what, but I suspect it originates from the White House.


Crumb calls it PR -- not reporting.

Birches said...

Wapo printed the cover. Good for them.

pm317 said...

Hagar, where is the Indian connection on the wiki page, nothing there says there were pictures depicting Mohammad in india? I am not challenging you.. I am really curious now to see if there were any in India in its history. I don't think there is any.

Anonymous said...

I read the cartoon as Muhammad crying and joining the I am Charlie movement because he was appalled at what had been done by those who claimed to act in the name of Islam. I assumed that it was the Charlie Hebdo staff saying they forgave Muhammad for what was done in his name, not the other way around. I thought it was a brilliant cartoon, sort of rising above in a way that was not necessarily to be expected of that group. Classy.

Hagar said...

See above for the Wikipedia article, pm317. It has some samples.

And according to that, there is no specific prohibition against depicting either Mohammad or normal humans in the Koran; this is something thought up much later and is primarily observed by (some) Sunnis.

And, yes, in modern India, it is quite understandable that they do not want anyone to start any more trouble than they already have to cope with, but that is their problem(s), not ours, and is no excuse for the NYT.

Revenant said...

If sex with a 14 year old is automatically pedophilia

No 'if' here.

Then you're missing a more obvious trolling opportunity. According to Catholic tradition, Mary was only 14 when she had Jesus.

Tari said...

WSJ and USA Today both have the Charlie Hedbo cover shown online. NY Times is pathetic.

kcom said...

I remember from an art history class I took in college that compared Jewish, Christian, and Islamic art that there were some depictions of Mohammed in the Middle East hundreds of years ago. I can't remember the details but I think it might have been in Persia. Obviously they weren't extensive but apparently they did exist here and there.

furious_a said...

Poor ARM, butt-hurt at getting thrashed on an earlier thread and lashing out here.

Revenant said...

kcom, Reason magazine linked to an article on this issue by a Muslim scholar. The article is here.

This page also has a bunch of depictions of Mohammed by Muslims from "medieval" times.

2yellowdogs said...

Baquet is a juvenile, gutless hypocrite. If he didn't have double standards, he'd have no standards at all.

Hagar said...

@pm317,
Immediately, I could only lay my hands on one history of India in my shelves, and the few photographc reproductions therein showed emperors and people, but no Mohammads.
However, it does say that the Mughal invasion was mixed Sunni and Shia with a strong Persian (Iranian) influence, and that the emperor Akbar loved to get a number of clerics of different faiths - including some quite esoteric - together and argue.
With an athmosphere like that at court, I think I am most likely right in thinking I have seen such illustrations.

alan markus said...

If sex with a 14 year old is automatically pedophilia

Can't be automatic - pedophilia is defined as attraction to prepubescent children, and it is possible for a child to be in puberty at that age.

Pedophilia or paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children, generally age 11 years or younger.[1][2] As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.[1] A person who is diagnosed with pedophilia must be at least 16 years of age, but adolescents must be at least five years older than the prepubescent child for the attraction to be diagnosed as pedophilia.

Pedophilia


George said...

Baquet and the Times have truly embarrassed themselves.

alan markus said...

ARetardedMan said:

Two religions founded by pedophiles.

Obviously ARetardedMan does not know what the definition of pedophile is - at least in the context of Mormon Joseph Smith who married a 14 year old.

iowan2 said...

Pay attention to what the Muslims have been telling us for 2000+ years. Any image of Mohammad is offensive.

You will die if you do not worship Mohammad, or, blasphemy Mohammad.

This is not complicated.

It ends with you dead, if you refuse to submit.

William said...

Any chance that that "all is forgiven" comment was a bit of post modern irony. The floors in their office are still sticky with the blood of fallen friends. All is forgiven, and it don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime........The NY Times ran an endless series of articles and pictures on the Abu Ghraib prison. There were complaints that these pictures were being used to recruit terrorists. Some Americans and lots of Iraqis definitely died because of those pictures. But the Times editors never wavered because of truth, freedom of the press, and their own courage and refusal to be swayed by public opinion.

pm317 said...

Look at the tidbit I found. Can we have these atheist Muslims back, please?

Roe believed Jahangir's religion to be of his own making, "for he envies [the Prophet]Mohammed, and wisely sees no reason why he should not bee as great a prophet as he, and therefore professed himself so..

Laslo Spatula said...

So we had the earlier post on Tina Fey's 'rape' joke, and now the cover of Charlie.

The stars are in alignment.

Here is a first draft of a Triple Threat: a joke that involves rape, Mohammed AND Anne Frank...


Anne Frank is being raped, yet again, by Mohammed. Her family and friends stand in the attic silently as the act continues.

"Friends, family," Anne says deploringly, "how can you let this happen? How can you let Mohammed rape me again and again?"

One of the elders responds in a sharp whisper: "Shhhhh child: the Nazis might hear!"

"But if I am being raped every day by Mohammed why should I even worry about the Nazis? Am I not already in Hell?"

"Anne, if you say anything we ALL will die!"

"But I am being raped, again and again and again!"

"Yes, but Mohammed does it so quietly."

Another elder nods in agreement: "He rapes as quiet as a mouse."

"A very QUIET mouse," another elder agrees.

A single tear runs down Anne Frank's cheek. "People! So as long as Mohammed rapes me quietly you will all let this happen?"

To which Mohammed replies: "Shhhh woman! Of COURSE I rape you quietly -- the Nazis might hear!"


I am Laslo.

Hagar said...

India: A History also states that the invading army of the Mughals contained a lot of troops of various religions and origins. Like most such ventures in history, if you were healthy enough to carry a weapon, you were welcome to come along, never mind minor conflicts over faiths.

F. ex. today, Binyamin Netanyahu has become best buddies not only with the present Egyptian government, but also - gasp! - with the Saudis. Why? He has the bomb, and they have not, but need it to ward off the Iranians and other enemies.

Laslo Spatula said...

THAT should be front page material.

I am Laslo.

Hagar said...

The emperor Akbar also got in trouble due to his supporters shouting "Allahu Akbar!", which apparently was across the line for at least some Indian (more or less) Sunnis.

Titus said...

I just read Double Header, My Life With Two Penises.

Loved it.

tits.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

alan markus said...
As a medical diagnosis, specific criteria for the disorder (pedophilia) extend the cut-off point for prepubescence to age 13.


Cutting it pretty fine here, at best. Because of poor nutrition a 14 year old in those times could well have not hit puberty. Smith was 38.

So maybe not a clinical defined pedophile, just an actual one.

Glad we cleared that up.

Wince said...

Coming back from watching your colleagues get chopped up by an AK-47 -- not knowing if you're next -- ain't no cakewalk.

Have they found a cure for PTSD?

Hagar said...

A couple of centuries ago, a girl of 14 was quite old enough to marry.
Yhis was true of Catherine the Great, Empress of All the Russias, and her mother, as well as the 2nd wife of my own great-great-great-grandfather, a parish minister (though she was the younger sister of his first wife, and probably was needed to take care of her sister's motherless small children).

Jason said...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5lQA3bipHc

"I pardon you."

Ken B said...

There was a CH cover showing Mohammed lament and cry over some of his idiotic followers. This cover is the same idea.

Est is singular third person for "is" . All is forgiven. All are forgiven wolud be a completely different sentence, all meaning everyone being "tout le monde".

This is a defiant cover. It depicts Mohammed, it has him forgive CH, it has him weep over the actions done in his name. It is not Ann's ridiculous fantasy of universal forgiveness.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

Revenant said...
According to Catholic tradition, Mary was only 14 when she had Jesus.


Can God be a pedophile? What's the jurisdiction for all knowing beings?

The Cracker Emcee Refulgent said...

"ARetardedMan said:

Two religions founded by pedophiles."

Goodness gracious! Great ball's o' fire!

Make that three.

CWJ said...

ARM writes -

"Cutting it pretty fine here, at best. Because of poor nutrition a 14 year old in those times could well have not hit puberty. Smith was 38.

So maybe not a clinical defined pedophile, just an actual one.

Glad we cleared that up."

Yeah "at best(?)" "could" "maybe" whatever.

ARM does his dance then takes a bow and imagines he's actually said something.

el polacko said...

in the last couple of days, i've seen quite a lot of knee-jerk mentions of serrano and ofili's works as examples of art that is offensive to christians.
i suppose the horse has long ago left the barn on this but, for the record, those works are two of the most misunderstood of recent times.
serrano is a devout catholic whose series of striking photographs of a crucifix immersed in various bodily fluids are meant to explore the relationship between the humanity and divinity of jesus (although one wouldn't necessarily guess the origin of the brilliant amber in 'piss christ', for example, without reading the title card).
ofili (another catholic) did not splatter dung on a picture mary, as widely mis-reported, but rather his 'holy virgin mary' is partly composed of pigmented elephant dung used as a medium in honor of his time in zimbabwe where the mixture is common in local art.
there was no offense intended in either work. folks just saw headlines shrieking 'piss' and 'dung' and assumed scatological blasphemy.

kcom said...

"But the Times editors never wavered because of truth, freedom of the press, and their own courage and refusal to be swayed by public opinion."

Yes, their current rationalization is pure twaddle.

Moreover, this crap about Muslims being poor, pathetic, oppressed minorities that have to be patronized is also twaddle. They are over a billion people. They are one of the major religions on earth. They have a 1400 year history. They are the dominant power in dozens of governments. They conquered half the known world by force at one point. They can take care of themselves. We don't need to stand up for them. They're perfectly capable of doing that themselves. We need to stand up for ourselves and our values. That's our inheritance and our gift from our forefathers. We owe it to our children to preserve those values and pass them on. The only problem with colonialism and Muslims is that a certain segment of them have never given up the taste for it they acquired in the 600s when they were slashing their way through Christian and other communities. They can "submit" all they want. Most of the rest of us aren't interested.

RonF said...

Want to see an image of Mohammed in the U.S. Just go to Washington D.C. and visit the Supreme Court building. In that building there is a sculptured frieze showing great lawgivers of history. One of them is a sculpture of Mohammed. The Supreme Court has been asked to remove it. They've refused.

Beloved Commenter AReasonableMan said...

el polacko said...
in the last couple of days, i've seen quite a lot of knee-jerk mentions of serrano and ofili's works as examples of art that is offensive to christians.

there was no offense intended in either work. folks just saw headlines shrieking 'piss' and 'dung' and assumed scatological blasphemy.


Where did this guy come from? Thoughtful, informed commentary. A few more guys like this and we could have some interesting discussions around here.

Meade said...

"The Supreme Court has been asked to remove it. They've refused. "

I am Charlie Supreme Court.

Gahrie said...

So....when we are talking about the Washington Redskins, intent doesn't matter, some might be offended. When it comes to Piss Christ, intent matters, and who cares if you're offended?

Alex said...

That cover is a big F U to the Muslim world. Already many New York Times readers are wailing, gnashing teeth and rending garments over it. Keep it up!

Je suis Charlie!

buwaya said...

Re Serrano et al. - yes offense was meant. That was the whole point. All the other post facto justifications were just disingenuous attempts to rub salt in the wounds. The very reason for these works was to appeal to people that relished the attack on their cultural enemies.
Tribal warfare, made worse by the passive aggressive denial of malice. The smartest bullies work this way.

LilyBart said...

Where did this guy come from? Thoughtful, informed commentary. A few more guys like this and we could have some interesting discussions around here.

Except that he appears to be wrong: Serrano described the piece as a commentary on the commercialisation of religion.

buwaya said...

And Serrano, for one, is not a "devout" Catholic. He has done enough pornographic work, still in his catalogue, to make hash of any pretense of religious devotion.
These people make a living by deliberately stoking hate among both their fans and their detractors.

LilyBart said...

I thought the cover was satirizing all the magazine's new 'friends'.

I read that the magazine's surviving cartoonists were irritated by all their new found friends. The magazine was one of the few publications that reprinted the Danish cartoons as a support the free speech. There was an idea that publications world wide should reprint them together in a show of solidarity and support. However, very few publications joined in, but Charlie Hebdo did.

Rosalyn C. said...

I saw the irony of the Muslim world condemning the attack since journalists and bloggers are being jailed and flogged in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere for committing blasphemy. Muslim countries are still supporting terrorist groups.
"Mohammed" holds up a sign of solidarity and sheds a tear so now we can go back to normal and "all is forgiven." Yeah, right. I think that is called sarcasm.

David said...

The genius of the cover is its ambiguity.

Revenant said...

there was no offense intended in either work.

If Serrano didn't think dunking a crucifix in urine was going to offend people, he's not very intelligent.

In any event, the latest CH cover obviously isn't intended to be offensive either -- but the NYT still won't show it. So the double standard still applies, even if you think Serrano had no intention of offending.

David said...

The NYT motto is "All the News That's Fit to Print." Just living up to the old standard.

Anonymous said...

Even The Guardianistas, true Guardians of The People's freedoms (to be administered to each 'People' once utopia is implemented) published a tiny reprint of the new Charlie Hebdo cover with a trigger warning for the delicate protected class of potentially oppressed Muslims.

The NY Times couldn't manage that much, apparently.

Two papers separated by an increasingly similar worldview..

Chance said...

Why didn't Althouse post the cover directly on this blog?

Robert Cook said...

"Why didn't Althouse post the cover directly on this blog?"

Because it would violate their copyright?

Robert Cook said...

"You mean something like Serrano's Piss Christ? Or Ofili's Virgin Mary covered in elephant dung?"

To sake second things first, Ofili's Virgin Mary was NOT "covered" in elephant dung. One globe of dung, decorated, if I recall correctly, with colored beads, was affixed to the canvas, and represented one of her breasts.

In Ofili's culture, elephant dung has positive connotations, and his painting was a celebration of the Virgin Mary, not intended at all to be sacrilegious or in anyway derogatory.

As for Serrano's PISS CHRIST, what's wrong with it? Frankly, it is the most ineffable and beautiful image of the crucifixion I have ever seen. Do you assume Serrano intended to desecrate the image or idea of the crucified Christ, (as you assume much about Ofili's painting that is wrong)? I have not heard any statements by Serrano that was his intent.

Robert Cook said...

"Charlie Hebdo is a pretty radical, left-wing publication put into place by Doctrinal Atheists."


Doctrinal Atheists??! WTF is that!?

Anonymous said...

NYT won't post things that are upsetting to its readers. I am pretty sure they had vast articles of the art installation called Piss Christ. So clearly they are only concerned about upsetting non-Christians. I guess we are commanded to turn the other cheek, but I am quickly running out of cheeks to turn.

Anonymous said...

Robert Cook,

If you think that Piss Christ is a first rate piece of work, you're starting to make me wonder what else you may be wrong about, comrade.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Hasn't anyone else pointed out that the only reason people assume that the guy in the turban is Mohammed is because everyone else has already assumed he is Mohammed? He might just as well be Abdul from the Algerian grocery round the corner.

Robert Cook said...

@chrisnavin.com

Piss Christ is the most beautiful image of the crucifixion I've seen. I'd love to hear your arguments explaining how and why my opinion of it is objectively wrong.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, how many NYT readers are Muslim, and how does NYT know?

furious_a said...

That Missouri Rodeo Clown's satirization of President Obama was the ineffable essence of Commedia dell'Arte, but Missouri Democrats saw to it that thereafter the Missouri State Fair required their Rodeo Clowns to attend sensitivity training.

Bless His Holy Name.

furious_a said...

Showgirls is the most faithful cinematic valentine to Dance I've seen. I'd love to hear your arguments explaining how and why my opinion of it is objectively wrong.

A to the C said...

Doesn't Offili's piece have a a bunch of little clippings from porno mags on it, in addition to the smear of elephant shit? Seems pretty sacreligious to me. And if, without a verbally-gymnastic explanation, it comes off as sacreligious, who cares? Just have the balls to call it what it is.anyway, the real focus is the lame hypocrisy of the NYT, to have no problem publishing a picture of Offili's work (I've seen it in there myself) under the guise of art criticism, while not running even this relatively tame Charlie Hebdo cover so as to avoid "offending religious sensibilities. " come on....

LilyBart said...

there was no offense intended in either work.

Of course not! Artist don't intentionally stir up controversy. What a silly idea!




buwaya said...

Nobody would have bothered Serrano, or bothered with Serrano, if the usual people didn't deliberately and with malice aforethought try to slap it in the faces of their cultural enemies. Its not even really about religion. It is a deliberate act of contempt, in the context of a sea of similar acts of contempt, by a cultural faction against another cultural faction.
This was not art, this was a band of monkeys flinging feces at another band of monkeys.

Pecker Wood said...

Along with CNN (now DNN), the NYT is now a proud member of the Dhimmi News Network.

pious agnostic said...

CH is mocking all the people who post pictures of themselves holding signs and looking sad.

THAT is what this cover means: they are saing FU to all the people who suddenly claim to be their supporters, and who soon forget what happened.

They are satirizing their supporters. "All is forgiven" now that you've held a sad expression for the length of time it took you to take the picture.

FU!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...
@chrisnavin.com

Piss Christ is the most beautiful image of the crucifixion I've seen. I'd love to hear your arguments explaining how and why my opinion of it is objectively wrong.


Something something Korans at Gitmo, performance art, riots, false anyway...I don't think I have the energy to actually engage such obvious trollery, so we'll just take this as a self-refuting statement.

Robert Cook said...

"Showgirls is the most faithful cinematic valentine to Dance I've seen. I'd love to hear your arguments explaining how and why my opinion of it is objectively wrong."

Hey, Furious A, who is to say this is not true for you?

Robert Cook said...

"Something something Korans at Gitmo, performance art, riots, false anyway...I don't think I have the energy to actually engage such obvious trollery, so we'll just take this as a self-refuting statement."

Huh?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook:

In 2005 Newsweek reported Korans were deliberately damaged at Gitmo. I believe one accusation was that a soldier intentinoally urinated into a cell and onto a prisoner's Koran. The allegations of deliberate abuse were apparently false, but there were deadly riots in several nations over the reports. I don't remember much argument at the time that the holy book of Islam could be treated in any way anyone wanted because after all it's just a book; most of the Left lined up to condemn the Bush admin once again (since it's their fault Gitmo exists, since Abu Ghraib was their fault, etc).

Imagine if I created an art installation suspending a Koran in a jar of urine. Imagine further that someone said "piss Koran is the most beautiful representation of Islam I've ever seen." I'm relatively sure that artist would have to go into hiding immediately and I'm also sure we'd hear denunciation of that "art" from nearly everyone on the Left, including of course the current Admin ("the future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam"). I'm relatively sure the act would be widely considered hate speech and possibly even a hate crime. Thus your comment relating to a similar piece of art (subsidized/underwritten in part by the US gov) that happens to "target" Christianity is ridiculous and, one hopes, obvious trolling of the most basic kind.

Robert Cook said...

"In 2005 Newsweek reported Korans were deliberately damaged at Gitmo. I believe one accusation was that a soldier intentinoally urinated into a cell and onto a prisoner's Koran. The allegations of deliberate abuse were apparently false...."

Actually, I believe they turned out to be true, even though we probably claimed at the time (and probably to this day) they were false. After all, we're nothing if not a dishonest nation. I mean, if we're torturing and beating the prisoners, why wouldn't we desecrate their holy books?

"Imagine if I created an art installation suspending a Koran in a jar of urine. Imagine further that someone said 'piss Koran is the most beautiful representation of Islam I've ever seen.'"

This is a non-sequitur. The Koran is a book; the crucifixion of Christ, whether true or not, was an event, the central event in the Christian myth, (if we consider the crucifixion and subsequent resurrection as part of one days-long event). There have been many depictions in the visual arts of the crucifixion, and Piss Christ is but yet another. If one were not focused on the fact that it was a plastic crucifix immersed in a container of the artist's own urine, and if one did not assume a priori that this was intended disrespectfully, and if one could just look at the image as an image, I don't see how it cannot be seen as beautiful and ethereal.

In short, I'm just looking at the image, and I don't care about the means by which it was produced.

If Serranos had dunked a Bible in a container of urine and taken a picture of that, it would have been simply stupid, as there is nothing evocative in the idea or image of a book bathed in amber light.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...This is a non-sequitur.

Well no, it isn't, but very well-substitute a small statue of Mohammed for the Koran--same point.

If one were not focused on the fact that it was a plastic crucifix immersed in a container of the artist's own urine, and if one did not assume a priori that this was intended disrespectfully, and if one could just look at the image as an image, I don't see how it cannot be seen as beautiful and ethereal.

Whole lotta ifs, Cook. If you turn off your rational critical faculties altogether you feel "hey, that's a real purty picture," then? Ok, good for you. Any thoughts on how well-designed the German gas chambers were, or how dashing Stalin's troops looked as they rounded people up to be shot?


Actually, I believe they turned out to be true, even though we probably claimed at the time (and probably to this day) they were false. After all, we're nothing if not a dishonest nation. I mean, if we're torturing and beating the prisoners, why wouldn't we desecrate their holy books?

Right, forgot to whom I was talking, my mistake.

furious_a said...

Oh, for phuck sake...

if one could just look at the image as an image, I don't see how it cannot be seen as beautiful and ethereal.

Yessss, a Kodak Moment for bodily waste.

Robert Cook said...

Well, Hoodlum Doodlum, and furious_a, while we're at it...you obviously are hung up on the aspects of PISS CHRIST that are irrelevant to any appraisal of it simply as an image.

I don't think anyone who objects to PISS CHRIST can really put forth any substantive reason why it it is objectionable, at least, I haven't seen any...except that they think it's yucky, 'cuz of...the pee!

Robert Cook said...

Oh, and don't be so coy about the abuse of the Korans at Gitmo...did you ever really believe the denials?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Robert Cook said...you obviously are hung up on the aspects of PISS CHRIST that are irrelevant to any appraisal of it simply as an image.

No, no, Cook, we get you. As an image those Triumph of the Will Riefensthal scenese are evocative; as an image those SS black uniforms are quite dapper...etc. You're operating on a higher asethetic plane that I can't possibly understand, so although you can't imagine any possible substantive reason anyone could find the art objectionable (at all, or just as an image, one wonders) that lack of imagination is simply a reflection of your refinement and not an intellectual fault.

don't be so coy about the abuse of the Korans at Gitmo...did you ever really believe the denials

I mean, the journalists who first published the allegations believe the denails or at least didn't believe they had enough evidence to sustain them (since the journalists retracted the story), but clearly you know better than they do and by substituting your own bias for their journalistic judgement you're saving us all the hassle of independently evaluating the facts as known (and covered in several subsequent investigations, none of which-as far as I can remember-showed widespread intentional abuse). Cook knows best.

Anonymous said...

While republication of the covers might originaly have been offensive, once the terrorists acted, the covers became an essential part of the news story and failure to print them proved that cowardice trumped the purpose of the newspaper.

Krumhorn said...

In Ofili's culture, elephant dung has positive connotations, and his painting was a celebration of the Virgin Mary, not intended at all to be sacrilegious or in anyway derogatory.

As for Serrano's PISS CHRIST, what's wrong with it? Frankly, it is the most ineffable and beautiful image of the crucifixion I have ever seen. Do you assume Serrano intended to desecrate the image or idea of the crucified Christ, (as you assume much about Ofili's painting that is wrong)? I have not heard any statements by Serrano that was his intent.



I didn't think it possible, but you have reached an entirely new level of absurdity.

- Krumhorn

A to the C said...

Robert Cook,
If a viewer ignores the obviously objectionable elements of Piss Christ -- you know, the Piss combined with the Christ -- that viewer would be refuting the artist's intent, since he put "Piss" and "Christ" right thete in the title. Of course, you, as a viewer, are free to interpret the work any way you'd like, but it helps to remember the title of the piece is NOT "Beautiful, Ethereal, Ambiguous Amber Liquid Christ."

Robert Cook said...

A to the C:

I am not interpreting PISS CHRIST; it does not need to be "interpreted." I speak about and react only to the beauty of the image as an image.

Why do you (and others) allow the title and your knowledge of how it was made to color your view of the image? Why do you assume the title is meant to provide a negative connotation, rather than being merely descriptive of what the image actually depicts? It seems to me that those who dislike it are the ones interpreting it, rather than simply looking at it.

Perhaps I am a philistine, but when I look at art I seek pleasure in what I'm looking at, first and foremost. If the image is not pleasing to me on that basis alone, no amount of "interpretation" really makes up for it or interests me, and if the work pleases me visually, no interpretation is necessary.