Thursday, January 14, 2016

Is Charlie Hebdo's Aylun Kurdi "groper" cartoon more PC than provocative?

Many so-called satirists like to think of themselves as edgy and provocative. But they're usually anything but. Take the lame "satirical" smartarses on the ABC. Their "comedy" is drearily politically correct, very careful to only mock Christians, conservatives and the like -- and usually very badly at that.

They tend to do this because there's a set template for this kind of stuff, so they don't have to be creative or original. Also, it will keep them in the good books with the PC powers that be (thereby ensuring long term employment) and they won't suffer any negative consequences at all bar a few outraged e-mails from viewers.

These clowns (and I use the term loosely) were always pretty gutless of course. But after the slaughter of a bunch of cartoonists at French magazine Charlie Hebdo a year ago they're even more so.

Speaking of which: The magazine has gone and done it again! This time half the bloody planet is in uproar over a new cartoon that seems to suggest that if drowned toddler Aylun Kurdi had lived he would have grown up to become a sex pest like one of the group gropers in Cologne. 

But you could also read its message in the opposite way. Rather than mocking Muslims, it could be seen as a parody of the politically incorrect "Islamophobic" stereotype of them. 

This kind of thing often happens with satire -- even when the writer thinks he's being crystal clear with it. A personal example: I used to perform a right-on leftie character who was clearly the joke, not the joker. He was meant to be laughed at, not with.

After 9/11, he would say how sad he felt for the "innocent victims" of that terrible day, "all nineteen of them". Almost everyone saw what I, through the character, was getting at. But at least one audience member didn't. After the gig he paid out on me because he thought that I agreed with the character and was thereby condoning what the terrorists did! I tried to explain that I was mocking that very attitude. He didn't buy it. You see what you want to see, as the saying goes ... 

So, it's easy to grab the wrong end of the satirical stick. And it looks like this is what is happening with this latest Charlie Hebdo "outrage". As this tweep points out, the offending "Aylun as groper" cartoon was placed in a context that should be considered.

If you're going to ignore that context you completely distort the message. I think this tweet sums it up well:
Getting all outraged about it therefore becomes a massive own goal. Needless to say, there are heaps of them being scored all over the world.

And even if Charlie Hebdo is trying to offend Muslims with their most recent offering, their cartoonists certainly don't deserve to die for it. Yet this is what a lot of people are wishing for. "These fascists deserve a repeat of what happened a year ago!" is a very popular sentiment.

Of course you'd expect lots of Muslims to believe this. But heaps of those caring sharing, compassionate and "pro-freedom of speech" liberals and lefties do too. Depressing that so many of them don't see where all this is leading us.

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