Friday Frownies

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Does anyone notice an obvious difference between these cartoons:

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And this:


The lamest ones are the ones that depict a growth of pens in response to the Islamic violence that attempts to silence the pens. Why? Because these cartoonists aren’t actually taking any risks.

The Bringbackourgirls hashtag activism came to mind as I read about cartoonist reactions to the Charlie Hebdo murders. Followed by more.


cartoonists around the world created drawings responding to the attacks in Paris that killed 12 staffers at the satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo. Many of the responses quickly gained traction on social media, gathering likes, shares and retweets.

I read online comments from people praising cartoonists for “not being silenced” as standing united with the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists and editor-in-chief. BS.

Apparently, I wasn’t alone in my derision. Mark Steyn, via HotAir:

A necessary corrective to the well-meaning but impotent “Je suis Charlie” cris de coeur. Yesterday that was a social media phenonemon, hashtag solidarity in the spirit of the “Bring Back Our Girls” phrase that circulated months ago after the Boko Haram kidnappings. Months later, the girls still aren’t back. And we — particularly our major media outlets — are most emphatically not Charlie. As Matt Welch said, “few of us are that good, and none of us are that brave.” If you doubt him, pay close attention to the many, many cartoon tributes to Charlie Hebdo appearing today in newspaper op-ed pages or being favorited on Twitter and Facebook. Most are variations on “the pen is mightier than the sword,” which is nice but hollow in this case for the simple reason that virtually none of these tributes takes the bold extra step of featuring Mohammed in the cartoon. The trend is towards stronger anti-blasphemy norms, not vice versa. Let’s keep what’s left of our dignity by acknowledging that, at least.

Steyn’s point, amid the “Je suis Charlie” cacophony, is that if more of us really were like Charlie, the Hebdo staff probably wouldn’t be dead. They assumed the entirety of the risk in defying Islamic taboos because their bigger, stronger, better funded brothers and sisters in western media declined to share it by publishing the images themselves. Even now, with blood on the floor in Paris, many of them are still blacking out the cartoons. (The Washington Post is a notable exception.) How do you censor the images those men died defending and then say “Je suis Charlie” with a straight face? And more to the point, how do you do it when those images are at the center of a major international news event? Steyn makes the same point here as Ross Douthat did yesterday. It’s one thing to reject a cartoon of Mohammed on grounds of poor taste or poor skill. That’s an op-ed decision. It’s another thing entirely to refuse to publish it when it’s part of the lead story in every paper in the western-speaking world. Douthat:

[T]he kind of blasphemy that Charlie Hebdo engaged in had deadly consequences, as everyone knew it could … and that kind of blasphemy is precisely the kind that needs to be defended, because it’s the kind that clearly serves a free society’s greater good. If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said, because otherwise the violent have veto power over liberal civilization, and when that scenario obtains it isn’t really a liberal civilization any more. Again, liberalism doesn’t depend on everyone offending everyone else all the time, and it’s okay to prefer a society where offense for its own sake is limited rather than pervasive. But when offenses are policed by murder, that’s when we need more of them, not less, because the murderers cannot be allowed for a single moment to think that their strategy can succeed.

But their strategy did succeed. They machine-gunned a roomful of satirists, daring western media to defy them by printing the cartoons themselves, and most declined.

If these cartoonists want to show true solidarity and make an “eff u, we won’t be silenced” statement, they’d be drawing Mohammed. Not to disrespect decent Muslims; but to defy the salafists and Islamic terrorists.

There’s nothing writ in the Quran that prophets can’t be drawn, anyway. The belief that you can’t draw or depict Muhammad’s likeness because if you do, you are insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad is somewhat of a recent, modern convention than a traditional one.

Similar to the lameness of the cartoonist “solidarity”, is the refusal of news organizations to show cartoons of Mohammed. As I wrote:

At this time in history, it’s very appropriate and necessary to give an eff-u and draw and post cartoons of Mohammed. Everyone should do this. Reasonable Muslims should and will understand that this act of defiance is not meant to disrespect and hurt them, but to make a statement against murderous terrorists and those Islamists who think like them, desiring to impose their beliefs unto others. If a Muslim feels affected negatively by this, that’s a problem he needs to resolve within himself.


Who remembers the South Park “Super Best Friends” episode? It came out in 2001, before 9/11 (and no, 9/11 wasn’t blowback for South Park):

There was no controversy over that episode until around 2006, post-Danish Mohammed cartoon controversy.

Some more cartoons making related statements:

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3 Responses to “Friday Frownies”

  1. 1


    Since this attack another Islamic group took over a town, killing upwards of 2,000 people.
    Boko Haram.
    Hashtag campaigns don’t work.
    They are like ”Earth Hour,” in that they make the people who do them feel good but are impotent.


    When our earliest-serving soldiers came back from Afghanistan they related how most Afghani homes had poster art of Mohammad. Cheap, loud, modern, cartoonish depictions of Mohammad and Allah, too, hanging on their living room walls. I saw a couple photos of these posters among their pictures sent home years ago.
    So, even in modern-day Islam there have been varieties of beliefs followed until strong men come along and impose their wills on the more humble people.

  2. 3




    In the wake of the brutal killings of the satirists of French weekly Charlie Hebdo, the people of the Internet are having a national — actually, I guess it’s an international — conversation on the role of satire, the importance of free speech and the need to defend free expression, no matter how objectionable that expression might be. One unique thing that’s emerged in the past few days is a sudden outpouring of affection and support for people who regularly pursue the dissemination of cross-the-line content and repugnant ideas.

    This shock to our sensibilities, doled out so cruelly by terrorists, has resulted in a new environment where all of us are encouraged — if not urged! — to take to our content management systems and go for broke in the act of ruthlessly producing content that ruffles feathers, impales our sacred cows, offends widely, and leaves no target immune from our LULZ. And to do so wantonly.

    Slate’s Jacob Weisberg put it like so: “The best response to the Charlie Hebdo attack — other than catching and punishing killers — is to escalate blasphemous satire.” His call has been echoed by others. The New York Times Ross Douthat urged, “The right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order.” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait let it be known that “one cannot defend the right [to blaspheme] without defending the practice.”

    Of course, as of this writing, none of these defenders of blasphemy have actually chosen to offer up any blasphemy themselves. I guess that was meant to be someone else’s job?

    Oh, well: challenge made … challenge accepted, by First Look Media’s Glenn Greenwald, who today has published a raft of virulently anti-Semitic cartoons. He didn’t ask for anyone’s permission, folks … he just “went there.”

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