7 January 2015

The Economist gets it

Love or loathe or barely tolerate their politics, The Economist is a master of two arts: the image-caption and the obituary. The former has been drawn to attention recently via the related interaction of word and image that is the satirical cartoon. The latter is a form of writing that is always difficult, and always (in my experience) well done by them: invariably human, to the point of humanising the inhumane (for example, for Pol Pot and Ieng Sary); often looking light and easy, sometimes wry, and deploying the full repertory of the sardonic; elevating to high art a form that, in any other hands, risks falling into pathos, bathos, cliché, and platitude.

Here is the full text of their beautiful epitaph for Charb:


A quick note on why reading satire is good, and medievalist, and medievalistically-good

This is the Charlie Hebdo I grew up with, especially that of my teenage years: a magazine that is about protecting the poor and weak(ened) and underpriviledged; taking a stand against all forms of xenophobia in the name of internationalist common humanism; attacking power and defending the disempowered and powerless, while creatively suggesting alternatives to all that power-centred stuff (and this is one of the most important roles and raisons d’être of satire).



Continued, and in hope of further continuation

Uderzo comes out of retirement to pay his respects:

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Charb BBC interview in 2011

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On Vancouver’s silent vigil yesterday for Charlie Hebdo (and updated the day after)

Yesterday evening, I forewent a prior engagement to enjoy some Improvisational Comedy. Instead, I did this:

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Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 8.28.30 AMNow, in an ideal world, I would have expressed my views about what happened yesterday equally well by going to watch live comedy. But these were not any old views (of the “opinions are like arseholes, everbody has one but…” etc. common-or-garden variety) and this is is not an ideal world, as yesterday’s events show all too well.