(What) might we learn from R Crumb and from Charlie Hebdo?
May I just start this post by expressing my deep sadness at the senseless killing of Stéphane Charbonnier, Cabu, Tignous, Wolinski, Bernard Maris, the two yet to be identified police officers trying to protect them, and the five other individuals murdered and still not identified publicly by the French authorities investigating the tragedy? My thoughts and prayers are for their grieving families, and for their nation, and for our world. And please know that my sentiments here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my other co-bloggers here at BLT, each of whom I respect very much.
I posted some time ago asking, “(What) might we learn from Adolf Hitler and from Otto Weininger?” Laura Ziesel had been asking about learning from St. Augustine and Martin Luther, which was also prompting my additional questions again about learning from R. Crumb and Aristotle. To be fair to my cobloggers and everybody else, although these questions of mine are mine, I am always interested in What are your questions? And so I’d asked.
At another blog, getting at Aristotle’s mindset and method behind his gynophobia and misogyny, I had asked Bible bloggers excited about cartoonist R. Crumb’s sexist and racist illustration of the first of the Five Books of Moses whether they were okay with the illustrator’s legacy of hatred of women, and his anti-Semitic and anti-black racisms. These questions produced a series of posts:
- “bibliobloggers on Robert Crumb: few mentions of his sexism and racism”
- “Ban Crumb?“
- “Robert Crumb’s Rhetoric, And How We Read It”
- “Re-presenting Genesis: through a sexist, racist, anti-Semitic misogynist’s eyes.”
- “Tackling Crumb’s Genesis, Bell’s Love, or Ker’s Bible?”
Carolyn Wyatt for the BBC has let all of us in the world know this:
In rational, post-Enlightenment Europe, religion has long since been relegated to a safe space, with Judaism and Christianity the safe targets of satire in secular western societies.
Not so Islam. The battle within Islam itself between Sunni and Shia, so evident in the wars of the Middle East, and the fight between extremist interpretations of Islam such as those of Islamic State and Muslims who wish to practice their religion in peace, is now being played out on the streets of Europe with potentially devastating consequences for social cohesion….
France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, some five million or 7.5% of the population, compared with Germany’s four million or 5% of the population, and the UK’s three million, also 5% of the population.
And so I think we all will want to ask questions as I go lumping Charlie Hebdo in with R. Crumb and all my questions. Didn’t the Holocaust happen in “post-Enlightenment Europe,” this “safe space”? Can Judaism, Christianity, and Islam with their respective middles and extremes and fundamentalisms be lumped together as needing safe spaces? Can Charlie Hebdo and R. Crumb and Rabbis, Priests, and Imams and heads of state, women and men, express themselves safely and peacefully? When wars and terror really are not okay for anybody anytime, then when are wars of words and terrible images that betray fears and hatreds okay?
Is what a former contributor to Charlie Hebdo writes something we might learn from? These are my questions? What are yours?