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January 08, 2015

The Charlie Hebdo Massacre.


What happened yesterday in Paris was of course horrible: the murder of 12 people, mainly journalists, at the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. Today and the next few are a time for grieving. For the polar ends of media coverage style to date, see today's NYT editorial The Charlie Hebdo Massacre in Paris, which I think gets a few things right. And see Ma Life!!, the blog of Eric Salch. Eventually, however, I hope to try write something longer on the "Je suis Charlie" movement, the gist of which in rough summary form in Facebook (when news breaks, I do summaries, rough drafts and notes on Facebook, apparently) has already made a few people angry. I'm not alone in wondering whether the current "Je suis Charlie" slogan and movement up to now may, in part, be missing the point. Part of what's bothering me is that (1) "free speech" instincts are not intuitive or something we are all born with (i.e., we can't hold the world to that standard yet), and (2) nearly every American, Brit and Parisian this week who secretly gloats about having free speech is in fact a chickenshit who won't exercise free speech rights when it counts. Think about how many times you've used your speech rights at work and in the community. And then think about times you should have--and you did not--because you were "playing it smart".

Posted by JD Hull at January 8, 2015 03:05 PM


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