November 18, 2015

What does this new Charlie Hebdo cover really mean?



The text translates: "They have weapons. Fuck them. We have champagne!"

One interpretation is: The French are resilient. They retain joie de vivre through all adversity. The champagne flows in and right out of the bullet-riddle body but life goes on. There's more champagne. They can never stop us.

But there's an alternate interpretation: We are oblivious. We party on as if we are not dying. We're in the last steps of a dance that cannot continue. The intake of champagne can't possibly match the outflow of champagne/blood. Stop playing and get serious.

87 comments:

Meade said...

"Let us eat foie gras and drink champagne, for tomorrow we die."

mccullough said...

Decadence over duty

Meade said...

Or perhaps this.

pm317 said...
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EDH said...

Maybe it's the onset of dementia?

Nearly all of the [friends or relatives of the patients] said, with hindsight, that they had noticed a shift in the nine years before the dementia had been diagnosed. Many of the patients had developed a dark sense of humour — for example, laughing at tragic events in the news or in their personal lives. The dementia patients also tended to prefer slapstick to satirical humour, when compared with 21 healthy people of a similar age.

BDNYC said...

Did you see the cover of this week's New Yorker? It is of a concert violinist watching a hard rock band with virtual reality goggles.

It must have gone to print before the Paris terror attacks. I can't imagine the New Yorker would run with that cover knowing that dozens of people had just been murdered at a hard rock concert.

n.n said...

The death of progressive liberalism in the West... served with some fava beans and a nice Champagne. Must be a French cultural difference. American planners prefer Chianti.

Anonymous said...

The first interpretation is utterly ridiculous, Ann. A person filled with holes is not resilient.

Use that noggin. I know you prefer to go for the "all is well" interpretation, but logic helps.

mikee said...

EDH, apparently I have suffered dementia since I was about 6 years old, if dark humor and slapstick are indicators.

Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk!

These days I laugh about suicide bombers detonating prematurely. Dementia?

Matthew Sablan said...

It could be a deliberate reference to all the commentators saying that ISIS shouldn't have picked a cultural fight with France, not acknowledging that ISIS was, well, picking a fight-fight, not trying to impress people with their baked goods.

furious_a said...

Good luck with that, mes amis

BDNYC said...

This cover is either about foolish complacency or the pointlessness of living in fear of terrorism. I think it's the latter. An individual citizen cannot do much to prevent attacks, so there's no use in worrying so much; come what may, enjoy your champagne.

It is the citizen's duty to live free and optimistically. Let the French police and security services lose sleep.

furious_a said...

Maybe Charlie Hebdo is trying to make the point that Champagne bottles are neither bulletproof nor of much use in a gunbattle.

furious_a said...

An individual citizen cannot do much to prevent attacks...

...except for, you know three Americans on a train.

Dude1394 said...

It is probably poking fun at the father/child bit where the father says all of the flowers will protect us. Such pablum.

Fernandinande said...

I hate that style of drawing. They got Crumb, why don't they use him?

AllenS said...

It's a cartoon laughing at the fact that French people who are being shot to shit, are acting like it's nothing.

Not funny.

BDNYC said...

...except for, you know three Americans on a train.

Sure, in a given situation, you might have the opportunity to physically restrain a person who's about to kill people. That doesn't mean you're supposed to be constantly on edge about terrorism.

We have police, military and intelligence services to worry about these things. Let them disrupt plots, arrest/kill terrorists, etc.

I would rather drink champagne.

EDH said...

mikee, It was an Althouse post on November 10. I should have linked it.

http://althouse.blogspot.com/2015/11/change-in-sense-of-humour-sign-of.html

Achilles said...

Or maybe the writers at Charlie Hebdo aren't as stupid as your average gun grabbing progressive?

Gahrie said...

It's the Weimer Republic all over again.....

jr565 said...

Clearly it's obliviousness. The guy drinking the champagne has bullet holes in him and is leaking the champagne he drank. It's the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.

jr565 said...

BDNYC wrote:
It is the citizen's duty to live free and optimistically. Let the French police and security services lose sleep.

do you think the guy in the cartoon is living optimistically? Considering he is spouting a leak form all the bullets in his body.

They might as well do a cartoon of someone going to a concert rather than worrying about about terrorism. I've got art and music. f*ck terrorism. Only the picture could be of all the dead people outside the entrance of the theater.

AprilApple said...

I think it's a white flag. If they are going to shoot us, we might as well get drunk.

Achilles said...

BDNYC said...

"I would rather drink champagne."

I wish you could have your dream where you are protected and cared for by the ruling class. They can read your email and listen to your phone calls. They will let you know, nicely I am sure, if you do something wrong.

I personally would rather take responsibility for myself.

There is a place you describe where only the state has guns and they will wipe your ass for you. Venezuela, Cuba, Europe. The vast majority of us don't want a police state run by plutarchs who will replace us with immigrants when convenient.

Curious George said...

If you look at the man as France collectively, the message is "nothing they do can change us."

And that's not a bad message to convey to your enemies.

Curious George said...

Or make that "Paris collectively"

dbp said...

The arc of the champagne looks like the shape of an inverted menorah. Interesting, even if accidental.

Fen said...

Ace already fisked this:

"This incredibly stupid hot wet Chinese Food Fart of reality-dodging sophistry is being praised among the Cult of the Left for its daring. Vox claims it's "exactly the right way" to deal with the terrorists; the Daily Beast moistens its panties to praise John Oliver for breaking out the Big Guns against Terror: routine profanity favored by idiot bloggers who are entirely impotent of power and so who shout Nasty Things at the great big world they can't actually touch in any meaningful way.

They don't seem to notice that IS did not mount a "Lifestyle and Culture war" against the French; rather, they have, in a series of attacks over the past year (remember Charlie Hebdo?), launched an actual war, a bullet and bomb war, against France.

Yes, John Oliver, the French culture is immensely superior to the joyless death-cult of the Islamists. Well-spotted, as they might say in England (and bien vu as they'd say in France0.

But unfortunately, a war is not won when two sides get together on the field of battle and show off to each other who produces the best pastries, the best fashion, the best Progressive Televangelist Rants which "DESTROY" the opponent, nor the best #HashtagMemes.

Wars are not won or lost the way gang wars are won or lost in 80s movies, that is to say, with a dance-off.

They are won with guns and with men capable of and willing to use those guns."

http://acecomments.mu.nu/?post=360110

n.n said...

Charlie Hebdo is secretly advocating for gun control.

I wonder how much Champagne is spilled from a knife laceration.

Not a single drop of Champagne lost. Gun control regulation. And, of course, selective-child policy. That's it. Make room for the second string.

BDNYC said...

Lol @ Achilles. You really think that's what I'm saying? Terrorism is simply a risk that we have to live with, especially those of us who live in big cities, and while every person should "take responsibility for himself" (whatever that means), I do not think I should have to change my life and waste time worrying about what some assholes want to do.

I don't want a police state; not sure where you got that. And who the hell is talking about gun control? Lol.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I hope it's the latter.

Ann Althouse said...

"The first interpretation is utterly ridiculous, Ann. A person filled with holes is not resilient. Use that noggin. I know you prefer to go for the "all is well" interpretation, but logic helps."

Why are you attributing to me what is linked to a source and comes from someone else?!

The question is what did the cartoonist mean. I suspect the cartoonist intended ambiguity, to draw the viewer in with the sunnier idea and then to trouble the viewer with the negative idea.

Achilles said...

BDNYC said...

"We have police, military and intelligence services to worry about these things. Let them disrupt plots, arrest/kill terrorists, etc."

I apologize but this is where I got that impression.

I have been in on killing more of these barbarians than most. They aren't very scary to be honest. I am far more worried about our federal government and the freedoms they are stealing from us.

That apparatus you want to depend on at best will only stop a majority of attacks. They are far more likely to go after law abiding people because they are easier to find and give traffic tickets to.

cubanbob said...

What is the point? That the artist could hold two opposite positions? Maybe he is bi-polar.

tim maguire said...

The fellow in the picture doesn't look happy. He's not partying joyously, he's partying with intensity. Like the man compelled to dance as the devil took his soul in the first movie version of The Devil and Daniel Webster.

Mike said...

That's a great cover. It won't actually offend anybody either so Secretary Kerry should be okay with it.

AJ Lynch said...

One could view it as sand that is pouring out of a clueless Frenchman and the sand will accumulate and ultimately turn France into just another backward and ugly Middle Eastern desert nation.

But I doubt that is what the artist meant.

Original Mike said...

"Sunday night, a group of Parisians stood outside one of the sites of Friday night’s massacre and sang La Marseilles. Without fear, a woman garbed in the black robes of radical Islam stepped into the crowd and began bellowing out Allahu Akbar. She probably isn’t a card carrying member of IS. Rather, in all likelihood she is just someone who ascribes to radical Islam and so sees France as her enemy."

France had better adopt the second viewpoint, although with their large unassimilated Muslim population it's probably too late. We can not follow in their footsteps. The first thing that has to happen is to get out from underneath the fool in the White House.

lgv said...

I see it as more analogous to the "The Masque of the Red Death". More of a quote from Prospero.

The Muslim extremists are the plague that the French think they can ignore, all cozy in there provincial lifestyle. You cannot escape the terror.

Derp said...

"Our social cohesion is our best reply" - Hollande

Maybe, but he also says they need to reassert control of their borders.

Derp said...

Oh yeah, and send us 30K more Muslims! Increasing the Socialist vote always takes precedence over national security

http://abcnews.go.com/International/french-president-francois-hollande-welcomes-refugees-paris-attack/story?id=35274658

holdfast said...

But can he drink hard and fast enough to replace all the fluid that is leaking out?

Can France pretend hard enough that there is no problem before the body politique bleeds to death.

Will Marine Le Pen be the next President? She's even starting to tie up the Jewish vote, for Yawah's sake!

France is utterly f*cked - Mulims make up a disproportionately big chunk of draft age makes in France. The French government cannot trust their own troops to suppress an uprising.

Basil said...

It's the later.

traditionalguy said...

That is really funny. The Frogs have been systematically disarmed under the delusion that means the Jihadist Raiders will not get machine guns, hand grenades and suicide vest Bombs either.

The little Frenchie has his only legal weapon, a bottle of 44 Cal Dom Perignon that returns fire with corks at them as he dies.

clint said...

"dbp said...
The arc of the champagne looks like the shape of an inverted menorah. Interesting, even if accidental."

Interesting.

mikee said...

Charlie Hebdo is pointing out that after the attacks on Jews, French complacency led only to more complacent Frenchmen with Islamist bullet holes in them.

First they came for the Jews, and all that...

whitney said...

Second interpretation

Derp said...

Meanwhile the Obama administration appears to be continuing their policy of attempting to overthrow the govt of Syria. Didn't he run against that kind of crap?

LarsPorsena said...

A modern restatement of the après moi le deluge attitude.

M Jordan said...

A must-read short story for today's world: Poe's "Masque of the Red Death." It captures completely the essence of the Charlie Hebdo cover which, to my eyes, is repulsive on every level.

Brando said...

Only the second interpretation matches that picture. Look at the expression on his face, and the fact that he's guzzling the champagne rather than enjoying it--this isn't a resilient winner, this is an oblivious man full of holes. And in the context of that magazine losing staff to Islamic violence earlier in the year, it makes sense that they would criticize a sluggish response to what France is going through.

The obliviousness of people who see that drawing and think "resilience!" sort of prove the artist's point--people still unable to see the enemy.

Brando said...

"Meanwhile the Obama administration appears to be continuing their policy of attempting to overthrow the govt of Syria. Didn't he run against that kind of crap?"

I think the Democrats from 2003-2009 could be summed up as "we're antiwar, but only when it is some red-state cowboy moron doing it! Totally different if a Cicero-reading nuanced special man leads the way!"

Maybe if the GOP wins next year we'll go back to having at least one anti-war party.

Coupe said...
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Big Mike said...

There are numerous interpretations, however the second one offered by Althouse is the most likely.

You know, the thought crosses my mind that if the Brits and Americans could smuggle fully automatic weaponry into occupied France during World War II despite the best efforts of the whole Wehrmacht and especially the interrogation methods of the Gestapo, then there may be no way to stop gun running into France (or 21st century Chicago for that matter) right now.

Big Mike said...

To paraphrase Martin Niemöller, first they came for the Jews and the cartoonists, and I did not speak out because I'm not Jewish and don't draw cartoons. Then they came for the soccer fans and the heavy metal fans, and I didn't speak out because I don't much care for soccer and I care even less for heavy metal.

Big Mike said...

Meanwhile the Obama administration appears to be continuing their policy of attempting to overthrow the govt of Syria.

Except that as of today Assad, with thanks to Vlad Putin, appears to have recaptured control of nearly 100% of his country's territory. ISIS is now operating out of Iraq and Libya.

Meade said...

It's Coco's translation of Churchill's “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

The terrorists want French blood but they get something else: French defiance.

Coupe said...
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MayBee said...

Good call on the shape of the menorah. They have got to have heard Kerry say it was ".. a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of – not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they’re really angry because of this and that. "

They must be glad they included that image on the cover.
Why is Kerry not getting called out for that? Is it because too many people thought the same thing? Is that why neither he nor Obama went to the memorial for them?

What is wrong with our leaders?

Nichevo said...

Why is Kerry not getting called out for that?


IOKIYAD

YoungHegelian said...

I'd disagree with the translation a bit.

I'd translate On les emmerde as "Let's bug the shit out of them".

"Emmerder" doesn't mean "fuck" in any sense except an Anglophone might translate "emmerdeur" as "a fucker", but it at root means someone who's really, really, obnoxious & annoying, so it could be a "bastard" or a "SOB", too. It's literally someone who puts you "in shit", as opposed to "le Systeme D", demerder, which is a good thing, & means to get out of the shit, to always land on one's feet.

Rick said...

MayBee said...
What is wrong with our leaders?


Kerry was caught trying to split the baby because that's what State officials value and he wasn't smart enough to recognize these extreme circumstances would reveal him. He's an impotent man for whom action is so incomprehensible he's come to believe posturing is the action.

Brando said...

Kerry should be forced to step down for his vile comment. His job is to be the nation's top diplomat, and his words (should) matter. To lend any sort of empathy to the barbarians who slaughtered the magazine's staff shows a moral decay that sends a terrible message--that there is any justification at all for this barbarism.

I can be a bit forgiving with a case of "mouth stupid" where someone just rambles and says something they completely didn't mean to say, but here the only "clarification" acceptable should be "I had a brain fart. Of course the monsters who attacked Paris last week and the monsters who attached the magazine earlier this year are vile, disgusting subhumans and the only true justice will be done when they and their fellow travelers are ground up into a fine paste and fed to pigs."

Otto said...

Well said Jersey princess

Mark Caplan said...

There is no hidden message: the cartoon is to be taken literally. Muslims have weapons but not champagne, because under Sharia alcohol is prohibited. And French citizens have champagne but not weapons, because under French law fire arms are prohibited.

Rusty said...

YoungHegelian said...
I'd disagree with the translation a bit.

I'd translate On les emmerde as "Let's bug the shit out of them".


Now they're talkin my language.

Coupe said...
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David said...

Third interpretation: Charlie Hebdo is immersed in a vain incoherence.

Coupe said...
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Barry Dauphin said...

Champagne doesn't stop guns.

Coupe said...
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rcommal said...

There was a viral video (which I saw referenced in international news coverage) involving a dad and a kid and someone else in which there was this discussion about having guns and having flowers. I am curious: Which came first, that video or this Hebdo cover? Or did the two things both happen without relationship to and without reference to the other one of these two things (that is: spontaneously and coincidentally, both)? Consider my interest perked.

rcommal said...

Curiosity piqued + attention stimulated = interest perked

(and the percolation is likely to continue for a very long time)

Matthew Sablan said...

"If you look at the man as France collectively, the message is "nothing they do can change us.""

He is now filled with holes and bleeding to death. I'd say he's changed.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Why is Kerry not getting called out for that? "

Because the people who will call him out aren't surprised to hear him say it. I wasn't surprised to hear him say what I was sure he thought: That some targets of terror are acceptable and others don't make sense.

Barry Dauphin said...

Don't lose any sleep over it.

If somebody doesn't lost sleep over it, there will be many more than 200 dead.

Brando said...

"Because the people who will call him out aren't surprised to hear him say it. I wasn't surprised to hear him say what I was sure he thought: That some targets of terror are acceptable and others don't make sense."

I've got to say as stupid as I always knew Kerry to be--in full display in 2004--I was still pretty surprised to hear him hedging on the Hebdo massacre. There is really only one good response to that--absolute disgust for the killers. His hedging is awful.

Char Char Binks said...

I hope it's a jab at the "Occupy the Cafes" do-nothings who think they're brave for ignoring the terrorists when really they're cowardly for not fighting back.

Robert Cook said...

"'Let us eat foie gras and drink champagne, for tomorrow we die.'"

Meade nailed it in the first post. The rest has just been (mostly dumb) prattle.

This is true of all of us, always. In terms of geological time, we die moments after we are born. Enjoy life for the brief moment we have it, as we never know when--or how--it will end.

Coupe said...
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Robert Cook said...

"Everyone has to die, and we sometimes don't get to choose the hour."

Actually, we almost never get to choose the hour.

Coupe said...
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Coupe said...
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David Blaska said...

I would translate On les emmerde as "they can shit themselves." But that's just me.

Coupe said...
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Coupe said...
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