Saturday, January 10, 2015

Comments On Joe Sacco's "On Satire"

The cartoon satire of Joe Sacco is pointed in the direction of Charlie Hebdo. In this sequence Sacco satirizes the satire of Hebdo (and yes, such a thing is possible) by creating as many offensive panels as will fit onto some publisher's page (but not of Islam of course, that's like stepping on a landmine on purpose). Sacco is attempting to create a satirical condemnation of Hebdo and his satire of absolutely everything. But how does satire work to condemn satire? Are stupid statements and stupid drawings to be blamed for the deaths of their creators? That seems to be the message, down to the final panel.

In the final panel, Sacco satirically concludes that Muslims must be driven into the sea, if we cannot get along with them.

Satire can be a form of Reductio Ad Absurdum which takes a truth, inverts it and takes it to its extreme limits to show the absurdity of the falseness of the inversion. But it also takes a truth, does not invert it, and takes the truth to its extreme merely to ridicule it. So with the bomb/Muhammad cartoon, non-inverted ridicule is the process. But with Sacco, the attempt is to tell a truth by taking its inversion to the limit, and ridiculing that. But he fails.

Here's why. Freedom is not a value which succumbs to assaults by using it. In other words, using freedom to attack freedom is absurd, logically (self-referencing, non-coherent). So Sacco's final panel becomes an enigma: is it ridicule of a concept? Or is it ridicule of the ridicule of a concept? At this point, satire itself falls apart and becomes just a curiosity of paradox. We are no longer able to discern whether the final concept is what Sacco wants us to believe, or what he wants us to disbelieve.

This is especially true, if Sacco's use of the freedom to publish is an attack on Hebdo's freedom to publish. Regardless of the logical disconnect involved in Sacco's panels, both he and Hebdo are exercising freedom of speech, and if Sacco is against his own freedom of speech, he is still free to say so, and does. The irrationality stands proud for all to see.

This recalls to mind the Christopher Hitchens incident in Beirut. Hitchens and friend were walking down a street, and Hitchens saw a sign posted which offended him. So he defaced the sign. An Islamist across the street was offended by Hitchens' actions, so he came over and gave Hitchens a sound thumping, which took him quite a while to recover from.

Atheists are offended nearly as often as are Islamists, just by different things. But both groups want to act on their offendedness in an eliminationist fashion, so that their own ideology is the only one available and must be accepted. In Hitchens' case, Karma (different religion altogether) was virtually immediate.


Phoenix said...

This remind me of another common used Atheist tactic;the back-handed compliment.As Maher once said "Your religious nuts (muslims) are worse than our religious nuts (christians)."

Bill may not be a logician,philosopher or scientist but at least he is knows how to make some people laugh.

Rikalonius said...

All these self-proclaimed lovers of tolerance would have a heck of lot more credibility if they voiced their opinions about the perils of unrestricted free speech when artists were dumping crucifixes into urine for the same reason Charlie Hebo published cartoons, for shock value.

When Christians merely asked for labels warning them of particular lyrical content within music they were roundly criticized. And with acute irony impairment they then excoriated the parents for shirking their responsibility of knowing what their children were listening too.

I've read a lot of articles in the last couple days. Too many that seem waffle that while it was technically free speech, maybe it was also racist and not something authorities should tolerate. How fascist of you. Where these sensibility warriors during the US vs Larry Flynt. As I found out recently Charlie Hebo was just as crude when it came to Catholicism, but nobody was rushing to judgement prior to these attacks to condemn them for depicting masturbating nuns.

At least Charlie Hebo had the conviction to attack all religions equally unlike our so-called free speech warriors here in the U.S. The point was made by Charlie Hebo's editor a couple years ago. I live under French law, not under Koranic (Sharia) Law. That is ultimately the truth here. It is also true that suddenly, after a couple Jihadi sympathizers whose ties to radicalized factions have been ignored by French authorities, many are advocating rewriting the laws to disallow this sort of "hate speech".

Finally lets play the age old game wherein we postulate how the rhetoric of the terrorist apologist might be different if a couple Christians where the ones to gun down Charlie Hebo staffers. I think we all know the answer to that. I just read Cher the other day comparing this to abortion clinic bombings. When was the last abortion clinic bombing, 30 years ago?