Unpopular Opinion: Satire Should Punch Up. Charlie Hebdo Did Not.

Part 2 here!

ETA: Here’s a bunch of articles that have come out since I wrote this piece that I concur with, so some of your vitriolic comments can be spread out to all of us at once:

On Satire – a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks
Trolls and Martyrdom: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie
Charlie Hebdo: Understanding is the least we owe the dead
Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie: On The Charlie Hebdo Massacre And Duelling Extremisms
Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech — It Was About War
Charlie Hebdo Is Heroic and Racist (I disagree with heroic but I understand what they’re getting at)
No, we’re not all Charlie Hebdo, nor should we be

So, I’m generally pretty anti-censorship. I mean fuck, I just worked on a porn where we gently poked fun at the new British porn content laws by enacting all of them in a playful, consensual space. I am a big fan of art, and using humour to hopefully make people think and change their minds.

That said, I do not believe that racist, homophobic language is satire. I think it’s abusive, and I think it punches down, harshly and often. And that was exactly what sold magazines for Charlie Hebdo.

France is kinda known for racism, particularly against Muslim folks, so I find it difficult to treat a magazine where that’s their primary “hook” to not be a reflection of widespread racist, xenophobic attitudes. I couldn’t believe it when I found myself agreeing with the Catholic League on anything, but yeah- Muslims have a right to be angry.

“Stephane Charbonnier, the paper’s publisher, was killed today in the slaughter. It is too bad that he didn’t understand the role he played in his tragic death. In 2012, when asked why he insults Muslims, he said, “Muhammad isn’t sacred to me.” Had he not been so narcissistic, he may still be alive. Muhammad isn’t sacred to me, either, but it would never occur to me to deliberately insult Muslims by trashing him.” – Bill from the Catholic League

Reminder, folks- there is no such thing as “just a joke”. Humour impacts how people treat others, especially marginalized people. From that humour study I feel I quote all the time:

“By making light of the expression of prejudice, disparagement humor communicates a message of tacit approval or tolerance of discrimination against members of the targeted group. Our theory proposes that the recipient must accept the disparagement humor for a shared norm of tolerance of discrimination to actually emerge. Furthermore, our research suggests that people high in prejudice are more likely to accept disparagement humor and thus perceive a norm of tolerance of discrimination in the immediate context. Finally, people high in prejudice are likely to use the activated normative standard as a source of self-regulation, or a guide for interpreting discriminatory events encountered in that context.”

Additionally I’m really struggling with this expectation of freedom of speech not being related to “freedom from the government prosecuting you”. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from consequences, after all. And supporting a massively racist magazine’s freedom to incite hatred seems pretty fucked up. You can’t look at the shit Charlie Hebdo printed, making fun of raped girls as welfare check grabbers, or depicting black women as monkeys, and tell me that it’s “just a joke” and they were fucking martyrs of free speech, here. I hate how many people are saying “terrorists can’t kill an idea“- an idea like sexism, racism, rape culture, and xenophobia. Thank goodness those ideas can live on! Phew! Otherwise what’s a journalist to do?!?!?!

I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable (and I’m not alone). I think that after extended periods of police violence, if a protester attacks a cop, that’s pretty understandable too. Do I think that’s the best way to go about things? Not really, but I think to pretend that people being abused by people in power should just turn the other cheek or as those people in power to stop abusing them is the best method is fucking absurd. THAT DIDN’T EVEN WORK FOR JESUS.

ETA: OH MY GOD READERS

Saying that I understand why a culture that is being systematically and individually mistreated and ignored by the privileged in power may eventually spawn some folks who resort to violence doesn’t mean I condone that violence! It means I can see why decades of hurt, fear, and institutionalized abuse may lead to a violent reaction. Understanding is not supporting, it simply means I can connect the dots. Can you not?!?

What I find incredibly disappointing is that on my social media, I see a bunch of white people “standing up” for the “bravery” of a racist magazine to incite hatred against people of colour. I have seen next to nothing about the bombing of the NAACP by a white man on our own soil. I see anti-Muslim protests being started in Europe, and people calling for the genocide of Muslims on Twitter, but very little attention to the number of Muslims who condemned the violence.

It just makes me think about what gets justified under “freedom of speech”- Porn WikiLeaks outing sex workers legal names putting them at serious risk, or Gamergators doxxing women and threatening to rape and murder them, often graphically, or radical feminists claiming trans women are all rapists.

Is that really the hill you want to die on?

Gross.

It makes me sick to think that the people working for Charlie Hebdo got exactly what they wanted- the public riled up into violence against Muslims.

 

87 Comments

  1. Voltaire

    “I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable.”

    In other words, they were asking for it, and if they didn’t want to get murdered, they shouldn’t have satirized those people.

    You disgust me. It’s not understandable, it’s not right, no one deserves to die because they expressed the wrong opinion.

    • Actually, I think that if a bully with systematic power ends up getting eventually punched in the face by a marginalized person, yes, that is understandable. I understand why that person would punch someone who is abusing them. If you don’t, then you’re being willfully ignorant.

      And saying “I understand why this happened” is different from “I endorse this behaviour”. Come the fuck on, dude.

      • Ian Beetlestone

        The people with the power are the ones holding the guns

        • So, the prison industrial complex? Agreed.

      • dan

        More or less it comes down to a belief that some violence against others is legitimate if motivated by social injustice.

      • Lala72

        I guess I missed something here. You’re acting like the cartoonists had no fodder for their acts. Are you kidding me? Do you ever read the news? Would there be a situation in which satire was employed by a newspaper to call out a religious group if a large sect within that group had not already brought so much damage to the world with its fundamental crusade??? In other words, who slapped who in the face first? You’re assertion is along the lines of saying that the satirists were the bullies…even though THEY were raped and molested as children by the SAME GROUP they now “bully.” Get some real perspective, darlin’.

      • Brian Stearns

        You think its understandable? Fuck you then. You are perfectly free to have this opinion. But its seriously messed in the head thought.

      • Jon Swift

        Kitty, here is a simple analogy to illustrate why you are wrong:

        This would be like if in the 1920s, some proto-form of the Black Panthers (I guess the closest at the time would have been Marcus Garvey..?) had shot up a minstrel show. Minstrel shows, while very offensive, were no systematically oppressing Black people in the same way that, say, the police of many Southern states were (heck, the Federal government was pretty bad, pretty often in that same period).

        See, by assigning “hate speech” some totemic power to poison minds and cause people to initiate violence, you are doing the same thing as those who accuse pornography of causing rape or other societal ills.

        Furthermore, your belief that oppressed people are simply unable to control themselves from lashing out with violence makes you a racist. It’s the bigotry of low expectations- “Oh, you know those Muslims- they can’t help to get riled up, so we best not do anything to offend them.” You just dress the bigotry up in words of concern for the poor, benighted group… which now that I think it is an incredibly colonialist attitude.

        • I think you’re making some wild assumptions here, but do go on.

        • Black violence against black people =/= extremist violence against white people. Try again.

    • Eoin

      Not right, sure. Not understandable? The cause and effect here is psychologically simple – a child could understand it. If you’re not being willfully ignorant here then you’re either cognitively impaired or you’re a sociopath.

      • Pretty much, but I guess it’s hard for a lot of white folks to grasp. They have apparently never been in an abusive relationship where they hit back.

        • marco

          “I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable. I think that after extended periods of police violence, if a protester attacks a cop, that’s pretty understandable too.”

          ” it’s hard for a lot of white folks to grasp. They have apparently never been in an abusive relationship where they hit back.”

          I think this is the part of your reasoning that is eliciting the most criticism. You claim that, differently from everyone else, you can understand this act (and that your understanding does not imply that you morally condone it).

          On the other hand, you explicitly say that for you, understanding this act means thinking of it as analogous to that fo a protester who attacks a cop after an extended period of police violence; or the act of a person hitting back their abusive partner.

          I think people are reading into your analogies correctly: if you do actually believe these analogies are fitting, then it means you are in fact implicitly saying that those cartoonists deserved their fate.

  2. Voltaire

    “I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable.”

    I don’t think that raping that woman was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable. I think that after extended periods of being pent up, if a man rapes a woman, that’s pretty understandable too.

    Your victim blaming disgusts me. I thought a fellow feminist would know better than to victim-blame.

    Sure, they’re racist, but they have a right to not be murdered for expressing an opinion, no matter how controversial or offensive it is.

    • Cause women have systematic power over men, right?

      OH WAIT

      Your implication that a bunch of privileged white men who courted controversy gleefully is the same as a woman walking in public disgusts me. You’re not a “fellow feminist”.

      • nada

        I donno why all the comments eventually leads up to – “What cis men say is right, there’s no victims expect the white men, and white men are the heros ” EVERY conversation. https://medium.com/the-archipelago/every-internet-conversation-with-dudes-ever-6e17bb4b906d

      • White Male

        The issue is free speech, and you bring up “privileged white men”, “systematic power”, “bullying” etc… What part of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons physically harmed anybody, anywhere? Yet they were MURDERED for those cartoons. Cartoons do not = murder in any civilized, intelligent, thoughtful civilization. Your ugly fat body, ignorant viewpoints, and victim mentality offend me to the core of my being but I would never physically harm you and never wish that anyone else would either. Nor would I justify anyone else doing so or state that “I can understand why they would want to kill you”. I honestly do not know how you look at yourself in the mirror (unless its a very big mirror). Its good to know your childish mentality will ALWAYS, FOREVER be in the infinitesimal minority.

        • When someone resorts to childish name calling instead of logical adult debate, I find it kind of adorable to watch them tantrum all over my blog. Thanks for the giggle!

    • Future comments will be kittened.

  3. Jesus, I agree with you (and share your politics) but you’ve expressed yourself in such a polarizing, divisive way here. Also your claiming that the murderers were speaking up for the marginalized Muslimfolk of France is offensive to those oppressed.

    @HoobHan basically said the same thing you did without being nearly as offensive

    http://www.hoodedutilitarian.com/2015/01/in-the-wake-of-charlie-hebdo-free-speech-does-not-mean-freedom-from-criticism/

    • Where did I say that the murderers speak for the marginalized? I said they themselves were marginalized, which is not the same thing.

      • David Jones

        If you’re not talking about a presumed systemic marginalisation of Muslims in general then how on earth are you in a position to make any particular claims about the marginalisation of these particular individuals so quickly?

  4. Some links to the images Kitty brings up of CH’s racism and homophobia: http://social-justice-fire-mage.tumblr.com/post/107444852419/pm-hello-i-agree-that-no-journalist-artist

    Also people seem to forget that Muslims are also the target of repression of free speech, even by other Muslims. Yet you don’t see a Saya Syed Azmi or I Am Sooraya Graham or some such (unless it’s FEMEN claiming that all hijabi women are oppressed). Here are some examples: http://notyourexrotic.tumblr.com/post/107452346341/i-wish-all-these-zomg-free-speech-defenders

  5. Christian Jonasson

    So when you do not like what someone else is saying then it is understandable to kill them?

    Now that opens for some interesting legal situations.

    you truly scare and disgust any normal person.

    • I’m confused, is this about the mosques that were bombed today? Oh, wait, no? Hm.

  6. Roni Elboini

    From one left-wing feminist to another – your article is disgusting.

    You should hang your head in absolute shame. You could have waited until the “deservedly killed” bodies were cold before you started skiting about how much they deserved it. I hope to goddess anyone you disagree with or anyone you may find racist isn’t gunned down and killed with your tacit approval, because that’s what you’re advocating here. Deny it all you like.

    There is such a thing as “dog whistling” and you just did a mighty good job of it. Your article is tone deaf, utterly illogical, unintelligent, contemptuously ill-timed and a kick in the gut to journalists everywhere and freedom of expression. (Whether you agree with their damn politics or not).

    Hopefully the next person to disagree with your inflammatory article doesn’t get someone to gun you down.

  7. ADC

    I think some of your problem comes from thinking of “Muslims” as an oppressed group, when most of the people making noise about offense are in reality extremely powerful (at least within their communities), ultra-conservative and misogynist men. I think you should spare your sympathy for Muslims who are gay, or young women denied sexual choices, or indeed sex workers, and whose oppression at the hands of religious conservatives is real and horrendous.

    • I think considering the stats on Islamaphobia and racism in Europe, it’s pretty reasonable to consider Muslims an oppressed group there. But yes, there are varying levels of oppression, depending on access to the resources of colonialism. I agree with that.

  8. Literallyhitler

    I just want to tell you that you are a miserable cunt, and that your shitty drivel inspires me to keep oppressing women and Muslims.

    If you are interested, I am open to letting you suck my rape rod.

    • this is your one comment, I hope you enjoyed it!

  9. Melissa

    Thank you so much for being brave enough to share a very unpopular opinion, I’m sure you knew the shitstorm that would follow. Just because you CAN say something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD. No, nobody should be killed no matter what they say or draw. Duh, of course. We all accept that. But if you hit a hornets nest and get stung, it doesn’t make sense to say that it clearly proved the hornets nest should have been hit. There are actually things more important in the world than free speech. Like common sense, compassion and social justice. Free speech has become the new god that nobody is allowed to criticize or mock.

    • THANK YOU yes. <3

    • David Jones

      nobody should be killed no matter what they say or draw. Duh, of course. We all accept that.

      I rather think the problem is that not everybody does accept that.

  10. Chris

    This guy Anjem Choudary agrees with you and promises that under Sharia law you’ll have a better time as there won’t be a need for people to attack things (like freedom of speech) as there will be no need for it:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/01/07/islam-allah-muslims-shariah-anjem-choudary-editorials-debates/21417461/

    • LOL yeah cause I’m basically promoting Sharia law. Go home, logic, you’re drunk.

  11. Cullen

    >I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable.

    It is understandable it in the same way that we understand why a vicious dog bites others. Does that make me a racist? Am I a hypocrite also, since I have a pet dog? How is shooting people to death an “understandable” response to having been lampooned by cartoonists? It is barbarism.

    • Actually, exactly- we understand why most animals become vicious. Some, it’s because of abusive breeding. Others it’s because of training. Still others it’s sudden and surprising. But rarely is it unexplainable or inexplicable.

      I recommend reading this.

  12. Matt

    You know, this article is very divisive, and it’s sure to bring you a lot of hate. I think you’re very brave to have written it and to leave it up on your site.

    That said, it is very divisive, and is sure to cause offense, so if someone ends up murdering you because of it, I’ll understand. I won’t condone it, mind, but I’ll understand.

    • Taking bets on if it’ll be an entitled white cis dude, probably wearing a fedora.

      I mean, that’s a snarky response, but I’ve already had rape and death threats over email from this piece. I knew that was a possibility, and I published anyway. I understand why people react in this way- challenging centuries of white imperialism and colonialism is scary for many white people. The idea that they’re benefiting from privilege, even, or entitlement, is something they must reject and silence, sometimes violently. Does that mean it’s ok to send rape and death threats? No. Do I understand why it happens? Yep. Don’t you?

      • Matt

        No, I’d have to say I pretty much don’t. It’s certainly a reason to not respect your opinions, or even express a distaste for you, but I must say I cannot understand the motivations of those who send rape or death threats, much less those who’d actually follow through.

    • Offended Man

      Matt, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. I’m sure Kitty will cry out in Social Justice Ecstasy as the Islamists saw off her head for being a westernized infidel ho. After all, such things as Kitty Stryker are very offensive to them (or so I’ve heard.)

  13. Chris

    I reccommend getting the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo – which is anti Islamophobe…

    But you can moderate and not let people find out.

  14. Kay

    “Saying that I understand why a culture that is being systematically and individually mistreated and ignored by the privileged in power may eventually spawn some folks who resort to violence doesn’t mean I condone that violence!”

    Well it’s not that you literally came out and said it, but then what was the whole point of your post? To yammer on about how you disapprove of offensive material? LOL! So you’re all about free speech until it’s something that you don’t like? Okay, I’m not saying you have to like it, but yeah sure, lets make a social comment about how the victims were being racists, so it makes it a little more understandable that they were murdered. Because that sounds logical. Here’s an analogy I know you will get your knickers in a bunch over: It’s like saying a woman who turns down a guy in an offensive way deserves to get raped. Your logic says “Well, she was being an asshole, so what happened to her makes sense”.

    The very people this magazine were satirizing are the people that behead women because they can. They are fundamentalists, they are anti-women’s rights and if you lived in their countries, they would have beheaded you by now for all the shit that you post.

    But I get what you’re saying. Muslims have a right to be angry. Sure. Anyone has a right be angry about the things that offend them. That is not really the issue though. Do rational, sane adults murder people that offend them? Do peaceful Muhammad (Jesus)-loving people shoot up newspaper offices in the name of their deity? NO. It’s not about whether Muslims should be angry about the portrayal of Muhammad. It is about Islamic fundamentalists taking it upon themselves to portray their religious sect in an ugly, despicable way. This way they act is the reason why we need satirists. And this notion has obviously gone completely over your head.

    And with that, I will leave you with a quote by Malala Yousafzai’s father: “Is Islam such a weak religion that it cannot tolerate a book written against it? Not my Islam!”.

    • I think satire is one thing, but abuse is totally different. And frankly I think Charlie Hebdo was abusive. That doesn’t EXCUSE murder, but yeah, I think sometimes the abused fight back violently… especially after having tried peaceful means and being systematically ignored.

    • Also please see this post for my deconstruction of the oft-misused rape analogy here http://kittystryker.com/2015/01/freedom-of-speech-and-my-life-as-a-pornographer/

  15. Guy Masterleigh

    The reason for the leadership of the muslim fundamentalists particularly and directly targeting cartoonists and satirists is because these media are particularly effective at undermining the passive acquiescence of most muslims, helping them to turn aside from blind faith to become doubters and possibly enlightened muslims or even atheists later. Appeasers and apologists who would limit that freedom are surrendering the legacy of freedom our forebears bought with blood. http://thehumanist.com/commentary/religion-violence-and-satire-a-humanist-response-to-the-charlie-hebdo-massacre

  16. Noah Skocilich

    Really appreciate what you are getting at here, and thank you for saying it all so clearly and articulately.

  17. CEOUNICOM

    So have you shared your deep thoughts and biting analysis on the current ‘Fatwa’ against fellow porn-person, Mia Khalifa?

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/07/us/lebanon-porn-star-uproar/

    I’m sure when you speak at her eulogy, you’ll offer similar platitudes about how her murder was “Understandable”?

  18. dan

    “Additionally I’m really struggling with this expectation of freedom of speech not being related to “freedom from the government prosecuting you”

    Do you think the people behind Charlie Hebdo should’ve been prosecuted?

    Freedom of speech without consequences.. Er without the “consequence” of being shot dead?.

    Satire should punch up, guess that should include rich comedians making fun of and ridiculing the poor working classes and portraying them as chavs.

  19. Area Man

    There are many things you say in this piece that I wholeheartedly disagree with, but I read things I disagree with every day so that is not the source of my disgust. What I do think is really obnoxious is the tone you use. You seem to want everyone to carefully consider the things you say and respectfully disagree with you, but you don’t seem to afford the same luxury your readers/commenters, many of whom obviously disagree with you.

    Additionally, stop drawing broad comparisons between the US and France; when you do so it makes you sound ignorant and naive. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to know the complex relationships each country has with the cultures that inhabit it. If you aren’t up to speed on that stuff, don’t lump them together; it causes your piece to lose focus and credibility.

    • I lived in Europe for 4 years, in Finsbury Park, which had a reasonably high Muslim population. I saw the abuse they got regularly just for existing. Don’t tell me what I don’t know.

  20. Pierre

    “It makes me sick to think that the people working for Charlie Hebdo got exactly what they wanted- the public riled up into violence against Muslims.”

    You really have no fucking idea, do you ? Those who want the public riled up into violence against muslim were one the favorite target of Charlie Hebdo. So yeah, they were crass, vulgar, napologetically blasphemous (against all religions, including the neutered ones). Among other things they joked about the prophet being beheaded by the djiadists if he was alive today. Is that islamophobic ?

    Yes, there’s islamophobia in France. Yes, these murders will be used to stir up hatred. And the young french going to irak or syria to be brainwashed do so because of despair, alienation, decades of violence against the immigrants and their decedants, and all sort of toxic mediatic discourse and policies.

    But Charlie Hebdo and the departed cartonists and journalists were as much part of the system your talking about as you, or any critic, or the french anarchist federation, are. They lived under its rule, and mostly fought back. They certainly werent any paragon of free speech nor a beacon of light in obscurantism, ever perfect, even if it will probably be said by the people they constantly made fun of.

    So yeah, cis white dudes killed by marginalized people. Only their war on islam was not the one conducted by “the prison industrial complex” or “white european middle class” or anyking of people in power. It was a war on religion. You know, the “no gods no masters” one, even if they probably printed some pretty moronic things, even if they werent free of any prejudice coming from being cis white dudes from the sixties. You could say they were useful idiots, or mislead, even that they were part of the system they thought they fought. That they did not recognised theirs biases for what they were, as a lot of white cis dudes do not. And because they tried to hit hard all the time, when they missed it hurt a lot people that did not deserve it.

    They were certainly killed because they dissed the prophet, in a country were islamophobia is an electoral plateform. But I sincerely think your opinion is not only unpopular but mislead. I personnaly prefer to arm myself against the avalanche of shit that risk to bury any useful discussion on social inequalities and racism in France in the coming weeks. Because if you’re appaled by the prejudices that probably skewed some of the cartoonists depiction of islam, brace yourself for what the local ennemies of the departed will do of the shooting.

    And no, that was most certainly NOT what Cabu, Charbs or Wolinski wanted.

  21. Jon Swift

    Actually, the best thing about this all: The same ideology that the people who shot up Charlie Hebdo offices follow would gladly, happily put you up against a wall and shoot you dead for making pornography. Or believing that women should have rights. Or wanting to get an education. And so on.

    In fact, in places where extremist Islamic thought is followed, the people who are oppressed are women, queers, racial and ethnic minorities, and religious minorities. And they aren’t oppressed in the way that any of these groups are “oppressed” (and I have to use quotation marks not because some legitimately bad behavior doesn’t exist in the West, but because we are in a whole nother ballpark) in the West. We aren’t talking the dreaded, Fedora-wearing dudebros making microagressive comments. We are talking about lashes and stonings for minor infractions. We are talking about rape as a judicial punishment.

    Kitty, there is a reason that people such as yourself were so valuable in filling the ranks of Stalin’s “useful idiots”- right until you got shipped off to the gulag.

  22. Puhleeezzzzeeeeee. First, Charlie Hebdo has, at times, “gone after” both Christians and Jews as well as Muslims.

    Second, Muslims, like Christians, and Jews (when counted as a religion) ARE A RELIGION NOT AN ETHNIC GROUP.

    Third, as for your main link? The suspects in the Hebdo attack (and not general French citizens) may have attacked other mosques.

    Ergo, your SJW rant about “white cis men” and “privilege” is exactly that — a rant and nothing more.

  23. Jim

    As soon as you say the murders were “understandable”, you justify the actions of killers. Shameful.

    • Evie F

      Jim, your logic is anything but. Saying that one understands WHY something happened, is not the same thing as saying it was justifiable.

  24. David OHara

    Liberals like Kitty do not believe in Freedom OF Speech, they believe in Freedom FROM Speech they dislike. Yet it is precisely unpopular speech that needs protection. Nobody has a right to never be insulted on any basis. Racist cartoons, fine by me, holocaust denial, fine by me, saying white folks are all gang raping murderers, fine by me, showing Jesus porking his mom, fine by me and depicting Mighty Mo in any way is also fine by me. Speech is not protected when it becomes libel or slander against an actual person(s) and satire has always been held to be freedom of speech in the USA.
    If you make exceptions to Freedom of Speech by banning hateful satire then you soon ban other speech you dislike. However, for liberals, this is a feature and not a bug.

    • Hate speech is not protected speech in France. Sorry.

  25. Andrew

    So those who savagely murder others (and would gladly murder you given your occupation and gender) are to be pitied. While those who would stand up for your right to engage in neo-feminist porn shoots should not be killed, but if they do get gunned down, eh? Got it.

    Thank G_d for the second amendment and the right to self defense.

    First they came for the satirist, then they came for the porn stars.

    • Oh honey, they came for the sex workers a long time ago, and continue to. Bless your naïveté but no one’s been fighting for my right to speak as a sex worker or porn performer… but they HAVE fought for other people’s right to threaten me and my family.

      • Andrew

        Hang out with more libertarians. They will defend your right to do as you please with your body, and defend you from murderous thugs (with the large selection of firearms and ammunition they have been saving for just this occasion). To paraphrase Glenn Reynolds, “I want to live in a world where two happily married men can keep assault rifles to defend against the homophobic assholes who want to kill them.”

        • I dunno, I’ve hung out with libertarians and I’d rather avoid it in the future ;)

  26. Evie F

    Ok, so, basically a bunch of you are upset that someone is saying, “I don’t believe that the killings were justified, but I can see why they happened, and the publishers should not be held up as martyrs, since what they did was horrendous, and hurtful, and in fact, inciting of violence”? And this is what you’re upset about?
    Wow.
    Get over yourselves.

    • Pierre

      No, see, that’s the point. They were not actually. Of course there are reason why that happened, what’s telling is that the murderers attacked people who specifically draw a line between djiadiste and muslims and said that treating islam as a seperate spiecies was damaging to both the french muslim communities and whats left of the press. Its not a question of catering to a culture of christian white privileges, but to address the fact that islam is not what the right wing nutjobs pretend it is.

      Wanna know what the fuss was about ? A headline saying “Mohamet overcomed by integrists” and a cartoon showing the guy crying that “it’s hard to be loved by assholes”.

      So pretending that Charlie Hebdo was just another journal who made money (they were bankrupt because they refused to draw money from ads) by pitting people against each other because of their religion is kinda unfair. If not grossly misplaced.

  27. Fatima

    Thank you for writing this. It’s not easy to have an unpopular opinion, but yours is really the only appropriate stance that a conscientious person who genuinely understands power and privilege dynamics could possibly take.

  28. Maskwasit

    The vitrol in these comments is the reason I’m apprehensive about sharing this, but I really enjoyed this read. You basically put my thoughts on the matter into words. Also, why is it that everyone reads this explanation as justification? What the killers did was wrong, but it didn’t happen at random. It had a context. Thank you for writing on that context.

  29. Arekushieru

    I totally get where you’re coming from, Kitty. Also, to some of the other posters, how do you think this ‘fodder’ came about? It just grew in a vacuum? You think oppression grew in a vacuum for that matter? Oppression affects everything and everything affects oppression. Which side do YOU want to be on? The side that lessens it or increases it? It seem to me that some of your readers, Kitty, want to be on the latter side. :/ Also, France just cracked down on Pro-Palestine Muslim protesters. I think that’s a larger example of letting terrorism win, just like Kitty said. Darn, eh? I’ll leave you with this thought: Why is it that Muslims always have to take responsibility for the elements of terrorism within their society but ‘good’ white Christian people never do?

  30. fruitbat_

    The ‘Humour impacts how people treat others’ link is not working (anymore?)

  31. Anne

    Would you call this an act of terrorism?

    • I think so, yes. Why?

    • Anne

      Do you have a college education?

      • Yes. Do you?

  32. Caitlin

    This is exactly how I feel about women who are raped. Hey, maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing that mini skirt. Maybe you shouldn’t have walked down that dark alley at night by yourself. Probably shouldn’t have teased that guy and said no at the last minute.

    I mean, it’s not right with a capital “R,” but it’s understandable.

  33. defenestrationBeforesanitu

    Hmmm I hate how people have a black and white view on this. As though stating that riling up psychopathic , marginalised groomed individuals whose only response to this is going to be violence is an endorsement of their actions. You didn’t say that. No it isn’t and you never endorsed the violence. I’m saddened that response to point out the people you would be ethically and morally would behead you despite your support for them (something you never stated) and failing that offering to assault , humiliate and rape you for the opinons you’ve expressed.

    I’m so sorry people in particular men are doing this andand I agree with your stance. For what little it’s worth in a sea of vomit inducing islamaphobia and misogyny.

    • thank you <3 it’s been a hell of a day

  34. Lycos

    “I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable.”

    You diddled with porn, right? I guess this would be like me saying “I don’t think that gang raping Kitty Striker, or tarring and feathering her on the street, is ethically Right. But I do think it is understandable.”

    Oh, and both would be much better than murder.

    • Dude that’s not even CREATIVE anymore, like 10 people already said it. I even wrote a response piece on how fucking stupid that is. Do keep up.

    • Also, yes, it would be understandable. One of the main ways patriarchy seeks to silence women is through humiliation and sexual violence. Soooooo yep!

  35. Avoin

    I’m posting this comment now because I didn’t read this article until now. Consider my post on your part 2 in the context of someone who views you as reasonable and hadn’t read part 1 or its comments. Consider this comment in the context of someone who thinks you’re reasonable and skipped all of the comments above.

    I can understand why you got a lot of hate on this post. I can also understand why you wrote your post the way you did.

    The problematic words were as follows.

    I don’t think that shooting up the Charlie Hebdo office was ethically Right with a capital R, ok? But I do think it’s understandable (and I’m not alone). […] Do I think that’s the best way to go about things? Not really, but

    The text you wrote used the word “understandable” but the emotional context and juxtaposition of other situations strongly lended to an interpretation of “not really condemnable” – from which some people lept to “kind of justified”.

    The major word of importance is “but” – which you used twice to tie something extreme to something non-extreme. That, in effect via context, minimizes the atrociousness of what the killers did. Tying responding to abusive humor with terrorism (something absolutely unjustified) to responding to recurring physical abuse with a single attack (something arguably justifiable) makes you sound semi-approving (or at least open to the idea that physical violence of some sort is an appropriate response to abusive jokes).

    To be honest, I can’t tell what your real feelings about these issues are, because what you wrote in one part of your post is so different from how you presented things at the end of the post. Considering that I have a charitable view of you, it’s unsurprising that other people read you as saying that the terrorists’ actions were justified.

    Their responses should have been more charitable unless and until you wrote a comment saying that you felt the terrorists’ actions were excusable to some degree. However, it’s also true that your post should have been modified to express your views more clearly.

    To put it in the terms of your post, the reactions of the commenters can’t be ethically justified or excused, but they certainly are easily understandable when viewed from a detached perspective.

    • Well that’s kind of my point, isn’t it? The abusiveness of the commenters isn’t justifiable or excusable, but it IS understandable because they feel provoked.

      So, too, is it often with violence. Having read a lot and experienced some of what racism in Europe is like, I think that anti-Muslim violence is a very real, very constant, often institutionalized thing. I can absolutely see how eventually someone would blow their top. Of course they might.

      I think this is a hard thing for people to understand because we believe SO STRONGLY in freedom of speech that we feel we should be able to say whatever we like with no consequences. In the real world, though, this is not the case. Right or wrong, if you get in the face of someone who is inclined towards violence, they might shoot you. We culturally say “what did they expect” when it comes to gang violence, I don’t understand how it’s different when it’s terrorism of a minority against people who directly participate in creating a violent culture against you.

      I’m not honestly looking for advice or sympathy. I stand by what I said, because it was important to say. We need to start recognizing that our words, what we choose to say and who we choose to say them to, has real life consequences. Until we accept that people are fed by the direct and indirect messages we send and condone, I don’t see how terrorism will ever really be addressed effectively, and innocent people will continue to die.

      • Avoin

        I think you might have missed my point. As you said, there are consequences for what people say, and we need to recognize that the words we use are important. Your wording could have been better. In regard to this blog post, you were Charlie Hebdo, and the commenters were the terrorists. To respond by saying “Yeah, well, fuck off.” to the comments and “I’m not looking for advice or sympathy.” to me sounds an awful lot like CH and the commenters saying “Freedom of speech!” and ignoring how CH presented themselves.

        Which is all to say that I think you got a lot of shit because other people recognized the parallel, even if they didn’t articulate it.

        • And I very specifically addressed that in my followup post. Incredibly, this is MY blog, and freedom of speech does not apply for anyone but me.

Trackbacks / Pings

This post and the comments above originally appeared at http://kittystryker.com/2015/01/unpopular-opinion-satire-should-punch-up-charlie-hebdo-did-not/.

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