Suomalaistunut amerikkalaisnainen kirjoittaa New Yorkissa asuvalle äidilleen.

Their cartoons were stupid, but #JeSuisCharlie

Lissu Moulton
Blogit Kirjeitä äidille 8.1.2015 11:17

Dear Mom,

Awful (albeit not really surprising) news about what happened in Paris yesterday. As a journalist (ok, mostly copywriter nowadays, but still) and an American (with a permanent residence permit in Finland, but still), I value freedom as much as the next person. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of whatever – I love them all. That said, I also believe that using that freedom as an excuse to be an a-hole is just stupid. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean you get to say whatever you want without any consequences. It just means the government can’t stop you from saying it.

IMHO, many of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were mean, hateful and not funny. And although I’m a Jew (or a “Jewtheran,” as you like to say), I can totally understand how many of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world could find the cartoons about Islam particularly offensive. Kind of like how Jews (and most other people) have a tendency to be a little “sensitive” about jokes about the Holocaust. As a New Yorker, I even found the helicopter scene in The Dictator offensive. And it’s worth noting that, perhaps out of fear or maybe for some other reason, even the New York Daily News blurred the cover of an issue of the magazine in its coverage of yesterday’s terrorist attack (as a news outlet, I actually think it’s pretty strange that they did that).

The point is, some things just really aren’t funny. And let’s face it, the French might know a lot about high fashion and good food, but comedy has never really been their forte. Come on, they actually think Jerry Lewis is funny! Oh mon Dieu!

So there you go. I know it’s not “the right thing” to say right now, but hey, I’m free to say it: I think many of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were stupid. Really stupid.


As another French satirical polemicist once said: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”


Lissu Moulton

Kirjoittaja on New Yorkissa varttunut ja Helsingissä naisistunut copywriter.


Dear Lissu,

The Washington Post columnist Art Buchwald used at times to write a letter to his French friend Pierre. (I think it was the name.) He should have received the yours too.

The French satiric tradition is particular. They use to mention Voltaire; he is kind of respectable, an intellectual. By his side their is the more bloody revolutionary tradition. The Paris mob, or its usual people, had their own rather raw ways of speech in those times. The ruling royals, the priests, were calculatedly targeted by its terms, they often both bloody and as insulting as possible.

They were also translated to acts later. All those noble heads, cut and on the pikes, carried around publicly, were the ultimate form of their satire. Some of the spirit has been living in that city, in its mentality ever since. I was working there when the first Charlie Hebdos came out. By the side of the older Canard Enchainé it was in fact radical, at times a bit tasteless too. But that was its right – and the tradition there.

Yet it is good to see that You at least have the courage to say something about all that. Another matter, worth deeper pondering, would be the state of the Islam, the historical insult of the division of their land by western powers long ago, and the silence in the west about the bloody consequences of their last interventions.

We don’t like many things. But we don’t shoot anyone for that. Only idiots do things like that. So Charlie Hebdo’s cartoon (” It is hard to be loved by idiots”) was more than right.
But who else than idiot uses these murders for political advantage.

So did Russian TV:s guest Martynov. He suggested that US intelligence had launched the Charlie Hebdo attack in order to sabotage the global effort against Islamist terrorism.
He also argued that the attack was meant to pressure French President Francois Hollande into maintaining Western economic sanctions against Russia.


Juu, monimutkainen ja monitasoinen tilanne. Ja aivan liian paljon uhreja kummallakin ”puolella”.


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