I Am Charlie -- Even If Charlie Is Vile and Unfunny

I have been seeing several comments, blog posts, and articles pointing out the racist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic nature of Charlie Hebdo's content over the years. From what I've seen, I wouldn't disagree.

Here's the thing, though. It shouldn't matter. If this had happened at the offices of Barely Legal or the Westboro Baptist Church it would have been equally as tragic and unacceptable. We should fight for the rights of even the most vile individuals to express themselves, tastelessly or not. We have Larry Flynt to thank, remember, for making The Onion and South Park possible. 

Many have gone out of their way to say "I am not Charlie" because of the type of content for which Charlie was responsible. This strikes me as not too different than saying "I am not Mike Brown" because I wouldn't have stolen a cigarillo, or wearing an "I can breathe" shirt because I'm not overweight selling loose cigarettes on the street corner for extra bucks. None of these people deserved to die.

It doesn't mean that we shouldn't call out those who peddle in racism, xenophobia, and misogyny. The French satirical magazine has been around for decades. To call out Charlie Hebdo right now for their content feels too much like telling a rape victim that she shouldn't have dressed so provocatively.

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