Before ululating lunatics murdered a dozen people in and around their offices, the French parody magazine Charlie Hebdo meant as much to me as a tween pop star’s Myspace page. Let’s be honest, kids: Their brand of humor makes Seth Rogen/James Franco stoner comedies read like Aristophanes. There’s more than enough sophomoric yammering to be had in this country to keep me from seeking it out au français.
In fact, Hebdo’s depictions of Muhammad, infuriating to the jihadi set though they might be, pale in comparison to much funnier lampooneries by “South Park” and “Family Guy.” And they barely scratch the surface of offensiveness when compared to some of the treatment faced by the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, who have also figured into comedic storylines in the aforementioned animated sitcoms and in many, many others that clock in well down the laugh-o-meter. But being unfunny isn’t a capital crime, not even in France. According to more than a few of you dear readers, I should join the surviving Charlie Hebdo staffers in being glad for that.
If my detractors among Personal Liberty Digest™ readers are right, I might need to cut my celebration short. If presidential spokeshole Josh Earnest is to be believed, the party is already over. As Earnest acknowledged during Monday’s White House press briefing, albeit in mangled verbiage that made me wistful for President Bush’s comparative eloquence, President Barack Obama “will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform.” As relayed through the opening in Earnest’s face, Obama’s rationale for future attempts to repress things that get al-Qaida’s keffiyehs in knots lies in his belief that poking fun at Muhammad endangers American service personnel. Far be it for me to enlighten one so wise as Billy Ayers’ best pupil, but if anyone — American soldier or Nigerian ditch-digger — is in danger because Muslims can’t take a joke, the punchline isn’t the problem.
Days After Free Speech Rally, France Arrests 54 People for Offensive Speech – disinformation
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre last week and just days since the historic Paris unity rally when world leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder and declared their support for freedom of speech, French authorities have arrested 54 people on charges of “glorifying” or “defending” terrorism.
The French Justice Ministry said that of those arrested, four are minors and several had already been convicted under special measures for immediate sentencing, AP reports. Individuals charged with “inciting terrorism” face a possible 5-year prison term, or up to 7 years for inciting terrorism online. None of those arrested have been linked to the attacks.
Controversial comic Dieudonné was one of those taken into custody Wednesday morning for a Facebook post in which he declared: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly”—merging the names of the satire magazine and Amedy Coulibaly, the gunman who killed four hostages at a kosher market on Friday.
Obama Invokes Sony, CENTCOM Hacks in Calling for Cybersecurity Action – Defense One
“I’ve got a State of the Union next week; one of the things we’re going to be talking about is cybersecurity,” Obama said at the top of his White House meeting with lawmakers. “With the Sony attack that took place, with the Twitter account that was hacked by Islamist jihadist sympathizers yesterday, it just goes to show much more work we need to do both public and private sector to strengthen our cybersecurity,” he said, referencing the intrusion on U.S. Central Command’s social-media accounts that took place Monday.