Some random and probably disjointed thoughts on Wednesday’s events in Paris. As a onetime journalist (and a lifelong news junkie) I’m still a little numb.
Satire is a hard business. Just ask Jon Stewart, Bassem Youssef, or any Onion writer. Editorial cartooning is even harder, as it is part of the point to draw a hard and unmistakable line. I won’t pretend that I’ve ever read Charlie Hebdo, in translation or in French. Yet it’s clear that we must stand in solidarity with them, for they were brave and uncompromising.
On days like this every media organization on the planet should publish things that offend everyone.
— Dan Gillmor (@dangillmor) January 7, 2015
My hometown newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, had two editorial cartoonists for years after the morning and afternoon papers merged. A year or so ago, they dumped the last full-timer, in favor of two syndicated editorial cartoons a day (usually one just left-of-center and the other just right-of-center). A month ago, they dropped the separate op-ed page and drastically cut the number of letters they published. Oh, and there’s just one syndicated cartoon left. It will probably be on the right side of free expression, but in a relatively bland and inoffensive way.
So spend some time with your favorite satirists today, and recommit to exercising your freedom of expression. Start a blog!
If you haven’t got a favorite satirist, you can start with a couple more of my favorite satirists (feel free to share your favorites in the Comments):