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Gaul Divided

The January 7, 2015 terrorist attacks provoked the largest demonstrations in France since the liberation of Paris. The impressive spectacle of many thousands calling themselves “Charlie” suggests that the French all accept the scatologists of Charlie Hebdo as national saints. On this view . . . . Continue Reading »

After Dinner, a Beheading

November 2015 will be remembered as the month in which the world woke up. The year began with the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on January 7 and 8, an atrocity which drew millions to the streets of the French capital to stand in solidarity on behalf of civil liberty and freedom of speech. Militant . . . . Continue Reading »

While We’re At It

• I am not Charlie. I am not a trickster or prankster. I do not think freedom is based on mockery and transgression. I do not believe that a culture of freedom is nourished by the conceit that nothing is sacred. • Charlie Hebdo reflects a self-­complimenting nihilism. It claims the . . . . Continue Reading »

When Africa Bleeds

Seldom in recent memory has the Western world seemed more united than on January 11, 2015, when an estimated 1.5 million people, including forty-four world leaders, flooded the streets of Paris to protest the atrocities carried out by Islamist terrorists at the offices of the French weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Who can forget the impressive show of unity—with the notable absence of the top constitutional officers of the United States—as Christian, Jewish, and Muslim lead Continue Reading »

Europe and Nothingness

In the wake of the horrific jihadist attack on the Paris-based journal Charlie Hebdo, the trope “satirical magazine” was regularly deployed to explain Charlie’s character and content. But that’s not quite right. Continue Reading »

In Praise of Folly

The reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo highlight the odd affinity between the left and radical Islam and also draw attention to the unsung—and Augustinian—champions of liberal democracy: Satirists. Continue Reading »

My Life With Charlie Hebdo

As a student at the Sorbonne in my early twenties, back in the mid 1990s, every Wednesday before hitting the subway I would buy Charlie Hebdo. I was young, I was studying French literature in the course of becoming a teacher, and Charlie Hebdo was a weekly break from the classics. I didn’t pay much attention to the politics, which were far left. My friends and I would discuss the drawings, our favorite part of the magazine: “This one is perfect!” “Right on!” “And this one! Poor [insert name of politician]! They really got him!” “But Charb exaggerates in this one—it’s just mean.” Continue Reading »

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