7 Jan 2015

Freedom of Speech - Forever Charlie Hebdo

Visuals are powerful and impactful means of communication. As pictures, cartoons, illustrations, graphics and other forms of visual expression, they are each conveyors of a thousand words, emotions, actions, messages, ideas, wit, humour, innuendo, controversy, that words fail to express in one instant, one shot, one swoop. A French scandal magazine by the name of Paris Match even made the tagline "Le poids des mots, le choc des photos" (weighty words and shock pictures) its trademark - with an ambiguous play on the word 'weight'. Meanwhile let's just pause for a moment and try to figure out the likes of Life magazine and National Geographic without their image stock. This is simply unfathomable.

The power of the internet has from the start capitalised on the power of images (increasingly at the dispense of words), and social media have harnessed their success based on visuals, a perfect fit to wordless transmission, culture on the go and 'live in the moment' inclination. From the advent of the printing press, satirical magazines like Punch and Le Canard Enchaîné have had a field day with cartoons, building their readership around them. Charlie Hebdo did this too, with its star cartoonists Wolinski, Cabu, Tignous, Honoré, and of course Charlie's chief editor Charb.

Charlie Hebdo (pict source)

Since day one of 1970, Charlie Hebdo has been flirting with controversy. Then again, isn't controversy the one-size-fits-all word used to describe the free-thinking members of society, defenders of Free Speech and Free Press? Charlie Hebdo shot its poison arrows in all directions though, with no affiliation to a political party or faith or creed or line of conduct, just depicting the world around us with a streak of - sometimes acute - sometimes oblique - attitude, objectivity, sarcasm, derision, mostly turning to ridicule anything that took itself too seriously and imperiled freedom at large, democracy as a whole, and republican values. This cost Charlie dearly.

With this obituary cartoon by Charlie to Charlie, La Baguette Magique herein self-proclaims to be one of Charlie's guys ("Je Suis Charlie"). By slaying on this very day 12 people at Charlie's HQ and whereabouts, the terrorist low lives that take themselves way too seriously shot our already ailing Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press but they will not sentence them (us) to silence! Meanwhile the ultra-polished, ultra-sanitised politically-biased media brigade that deliver the news should shut up instead of yet again missing the point with their silly verbiage and pretend affliction.

Charlie Hebdo (02 Nov 2011)
Charlie Hebdo (03 Sept 2013)
Charlie Hebdo (29 Apr 2014)
Charlie Hebdo (16 Sept 2014)

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