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  • Fair enough.
  • edited January 2015
    Part of the problem is the simplification of positions into binary hashtag bumpersticker things too.

    We're all of us situated in a complex set of power relations, so it's damn near impossible to figure out how to fight against certain inequities without replicating others. Even the best intentioned and even selfless, courageous gestures of solidarity are likely to be saddled with baggage we didn't intend.

    I was thinking about this in the context of this wonderful high school band whose record I am producing; there's a couple references to slavery on it, I think in reference to child labor in third world sweatshops, actual 1800s american slavery, and possibly like a degree of fourteen-year-old angst and over-identifying personally with having just read Frederick Douglas's autobiography and being moved by "Is there any God? Why am I a slave?" etc. It's kiiiiinda uncomfortable.

    (still a big step up from the A̶n̶a̶c̶o̶r̶t̶e̶s̶ Oak Harbor high school metal band that had a confederate flag on their kick drum; i made them cover it up; that was a weird conversation.)
  • but yeah i have no idea what it would feel like to be threatened with violence for creative work.
  • edited January 2015
    Don't forget about Boko Haram:

    “We have made sure the floor of this hall is turned red with blood, and this is how it is going to be in all future attacks and arrests of infidels. From now on, killing, slaughtering, destruction and bombings will be our religious duty anywhere we invade.”

    I'm pretty much over making any sort of excuse for these horrible religious motherfuckers at this point, regardless of the "western capitalist origins of their rage" or whatever.
  • Who is making excuses for them?
  • nobody is making excuses for them! nobody is condoning this shit. I am very tired of any attempt to have a nuanced critical conversation about difficult shit getting sidetracked into accusations that I think somebody or other "deserved" to die or whatever. That is facile and I am really annoyed by it. If you hassle and mistreat somebody until they kill you (or someone else), while the killing is of course wrong, it just seems logical and more helpful to also try to look for the causes that made the killing happen, right? In order to prevent it from happening again?

    Re: Boko Harum for example: Above, I mentioned work that serious thinkers have done, tying horrible violence against women to the global spread of free market capitalism. I don't see why that is something to just set aside in order to be like "these religious murderers are evil." I don't find that helpful or interesting or useful in any way, in getting to the root of things. It's very similar, to me, to gun conversations in America. Okay, so the Sandy Hook shooter is just "evil," and we leave it at that, and we don't look at ourselves or make any changes whatsoever? Or do we ask harder questions about gun availability, mental health treatment, etc.?

    Boko Harum and similar shit happens for REASONS. why are we so resistant to looking at reasons? Why does it make you feel good to say "whatever" to all these comments about capitalism, and just proclaim that you don't like Boko Harum? NO SHIT you don't like Boko Harum! NOBODY FUCKING LIKES BOKO HARUM. But in order to actually make shit like Boko Harum STOP, we would have to do some really fucking hard thinking and face some hard shit and make some massive changes in the way the system works, and to do that we simply have to stop displacing ALL CONSEQUENCES FOR ALL ACTIONS onto some individual just being "an asshole"

  • I get that it's hard and dispiriting to think about global capitalism because it feels so immense and not on a human scale. But it is honestly WORSE THAN POINTLESS to just say that everything on earth that works against capitalism in any way--violent, shitty, or otherwise--is "evil." That's how George W. Bush talks.

    Like just calling Hitler "evil." As if just one weirdly dysfunctional person could get an entire nation of human beings to collaborate in genocide. But dealing with all the myriad, intricate, systemic, centuries-old cultural and economic issues that ultimately made the Holocaust possible is too overwhelming (and, frankly, makes it too obvious that the Holocaust could happen pretty much anywhere if the right circumstances fell into place) so we just say "Oh that Hitler, he was a bad man, so glad he's dead" like now that can never happen again or something?? Like he's just this uniquely monstrous person who single-handedly did the Holocaust?? WTF
  • god i am steamed
  • edited January 2015
    It's also just insane to think about how Nigerian independence from Britain happened in 1960! And since then they've been through 4 attempts at being a republic, and 2 military dictatorships!
  • "it ain't easy"

    i'm so upset I can't write this stupid syllabus about Romantic art
  • Colonialism is so fucked; still so fucking present in lived reality
  • edited January 2015
    like how everyone makes fun of the African movement against taking AIDS drugs. Oh yeah, ha ha, those stupid Africans and their crazy ideas, after all the good western culture has done for them, why don't they just trust western science and docilely do whatever we tell them? Don't they know we have their best interests at heart? Just like we did during the TWO HUNDRED YEARS of kidnapping, raping, buying, selling, breeding, and murdering them because it was cheaper than paying wage laborers? Obviously they should be thrilled when white people parachute in and tell them to take weird pills. LOL they are so dumb, why don't they all have PhDs in chemistry
  • We can't even get people to stop hitting each other over trivial shit.
  • One of the things i did not understand much about before moving to DC is how much diplomacy matters and also, how hard it is. I had no real idea what the State Dept did. I heard news reports about ambassadors and political appointments and big parties and thought it was all silly and probably wasteful. Today when you hear news about it, it's mostly vague conspiratorial notions about the State Dept being a front for US hegemony. But then you talk to people about what they're working on and it all sounds like such difficult necessary work in situations reliably fraught with historical ugliness, where no party's hands are clean.
  • edited January 2015
    I know!! Diplomacy is fascinating. I know nothing about it, except that whenever I read one of those epic NYer profiles of Angela Merkel or Joe Biden or something, the vast majority of descriptions of what they are actually doing while hanging out with Putin make NO SENSE TO ME. I don't understand how these meetings influence actual government decisions, it seems so weird and theatrical. But apparently they do!

    Are diplomats, like, cultural historians or something? Is the point that they ideally deeply learn about the intricacies of another culture, such that they can interpret things on a deeper level for their own governments? e.g. I recently read some article and there's a part where a dude from some other country uses the word "serious" while asking John Kerry a question, and it offends Kerry, but actually in the dude's culture using "serious" in that way means something really really different than how it meant for Kerry. Shit like that is crazy. Wars start over shit like that! Mistranslation at the cultural level

    Jesus. "My hovercraft is full of eels"

    Kevin did you read that Merkel profile? It was so interesting, all about the German psychology that has developed post-war. Like no matter what Russia does (Ukraine, etc.), you can't suggest Germany intervene in any way or it gives all German citizens hives and they start hyperventilating and melting from self-recrimination and national shame. And Putin KNOWS this, and abuses it! But Merkel can't do anything about it because her people would instantly impeach her if she suggested interfering with Russia. Because of WWII!!!! That's fascinating, and also so intensely un-american, the idea of really brutally confronting your national failures and swearing to one another never to make the same mistakes again.

    But just one example of diplomacy issues. Like even with a country like Germany, that is in so many respects so culturally similar to America, globally speaking, there's still shit like this that no American could possibly foresee or even really understand without studying it up close. So I assume American diplomats in Germany are constantly like "ixnay on the utin-Pay, Mr. President" when Obama's trying to talk Ukraine with Merkel


    so glad I am a liberal humanist and not a politician

  • @YoursTruly, I'm sorry you got steamed and so upset you couldn't work on your paper.
    I didn't mean to dismiss "American free-market fundamentalism" completely as a culprit.

    I just think there are more ingredients to this specific fucked up Charlie Hebdo situation.

    When I hear of Palestinians suicide bombers, I often imagine desperate people who have been forced to consider extreme measures to make a point.

    But when I watch videos, read articles about ISIS, or Boko Haram, or the shooters from the Paris incident, I feel like there is something else at play which is basically YOUNG MALE VIOLENCE. I think these guys probably have experienced some sort of trigger in their past, but I think that a huge part of it is just wanting POWER THROUGH DOCTRINE.

    I don't know if I am making any sense. To really dumb down my point, I feel like there is a part of these young men that sees two sides and thinks "I am angry, I am joining a side, I am joining the dark, cruel side which will represent the underdog.". Sort of in a Star Wars Dark Force way, or in a Shredder's hideout way.

    I know this is a bit of a fucked up comparison. But please bear with me. I come from a place where a lot of kids ARE actually conditionned to feel oppressed from infancy, at least it was still that way when I grew up. And Québec is not a pile of rubble, Québec hardly has any violence. But still, I was made to believe that English-speakers had taken something away from me, that immigrants from all over the world who chose to speak English over French were not "good immigrants", and that I was a victim of something until that one day when we'd get our own country. These feelings were based on actual things which had happened generations before, they were hardly a part of MY reality, they were based on my family's anger. Still, if you had met me as a teenager and asked me what I thought of Howards Stern or Mordecai Richler (a Canadian writer from Montréal, but English-speaking) I would probably have spewed confused venom. Why? Because they said bad things about French-speaking Québecers once upon a time, something about us being whiny, and I guess that was unforgivable to my people...

    Being offended is so ridiculous. Being victimized is one thing, but offended is another. From what I read, the only people who made threats against Charlie Hebdo were extremists. Some French muslim communities did take the paper to court, but the paper won the case because in France, blasphemy is not a criminal act. They got rid of that law a long time ago.

    Those cartoonists did a lot of poking, but I think it is wrong to think that all muslims were offended, or if they were, they'd just move on. Not every religious person is a literalist. The cartoons were ALWAYS about fundamentalists because that's who was making the threats. I personally would never draw a cartoon like that (and I am also not really feeling the massive amounts of "pen is mightier than the sword" cartoons we've seen in the past few days). But I think that the attacks (unfortunately) justify massive publication of those cartoons, just so that everyone can see how dumb and senseless this entire affair is. And that sucks, because if you are a muslim and it is a big deal for you not to see your prophet depicted (in any way), you are being punished for the actions of a handful of violent loons.
  • It's true that male violence is so real, such a huge part of why life on earth sucks so much.

    I haven't even begun untangling my thoughts on male violence and patriarchy. I do think there is stuff about capitalism in there somewhere but also other stuff too. It's so dark.

    Good calls dude. Good insight into the feeling of victimization and othering.

    ugh! Life
  • feeling lucky to know so many smart, sensitive, thoughtful men who are aware of male privilege and who work hard every day to be excellent to women and to one another. Many of them on this board. Some of them even people I have recently shrieked at about capitalism
  • Yes, male violence is my #1 bummer and the root of many of the other bummers on my bummer list.

    Did y'all see that study where they made men braid hair and then if they did not let the men hit a punching bag, their stress and anxiety levels went up? BLUH.
  • Admission first: I'd never heard of Charlie Hebdo before this attack, and was only vaguely aware of this tradition of political cartooning.

    But, if I'm understanding it correctly, isn't their mission, broadly speaking, to take the powerful down a notch, independent of the root of that power? Whether you're a politician or party, religious figure or religion, you're on Charlie Hebdo's list. From that, I perceive only the meta-message, which is that by poking fun the powerful, you diminish their power. That's a mission I can appreciate.

    I think it's bizarre to get personally offended because they attacked YOUR party or YOUR religion, or even you! It's narcississtic, even. It's not about you. They'd just as soon go after the next guy, and in fact, they will, they'll move right along to the next embodiment of power and make dumb jokes about them.

    It just seems so stupid to interpret what they do as an attack on anyone in particular, to see them as your enemies, and then go kill them.
  • I am a huge fan of Joe Sacco and honestly have formed many my current opinions while reading his excellent books, but I struggle to understand the point he is trying to make with this comic.

    I like zin's summary.
  • Last night I saw an interview on Democracy Now! where Art Spiegleman compares "Charlie Hebdo" to "South Park". I think it is the most apt comparison. "South Park" is the closest thing America has to this type of obscene satire where things are really pushed over the top and no one is safe from being ridiculed.

    How do you guys feel about South Park?

    I think it is really juvenile sometimes, but a few episodes have gotten hearty laughs out of me. I remember loving the "butt-out cigarettes" one and the Obama victory one, as well as the World of Warcraft one.
  • I still watch South Park and I'm pretty impressed by how funny it can often be. It's wild to think how much of the show relies on Trey and Matt and how long they've kept it up for.

    Yeah, it can be super juvenile. I don't really find bodily fluids funny and there's plenty of that, but they also hit topics that no one else covers.
  • edited January 2015
    I hate South Park and think it has no value! I have to leave the room when it comes on. I can concede that it is funny if I am sucked into it for more than a few minutes but for me, I hate what it does to my brain. It is like the feeling of going to the mall. And similar white dudes punching down vibe not redeemed by the handful of times when they punch people I think need punching.

    I thought the Sacco bit was pretty straightforward: just because you're allowed to offend doesn't make it worth doing, or provocative, or helpful. Holding up a middle finger or drawing an offensive cartoon might feel good but is easy. Actually wrestling with the complexities that led us to this historical moment is a lot harder. Not coincidentally, it's what Sacco's spent his career on.
  • edited January 2015
    OMG I love going to the mall. I usually don't even buy anything.
  • Gary and I have been talking about this prevailing idea that "free speech" means there should never be any consequences whatsoever for anything you say. Which is not at all what the Right to Free Speech guarantees. All it guarantees is that the government can't put you in jail for something you say--it has nothing to do with you being criticized or yelled at by people who don't like your speech. It has nothing to do with advertisers pulling ads from duck dynasty because of that dude's speech.

    But every time an act of free speech bears any kind of consequence, people say their free speech is being attacked, and that's not the case. I'm absolutely not saying "you deserve to get brutally murdered for something you've said," but just that the murder has nothing to do with free speech.

    And like, you can't consistently depict Muslims in a borderline racist way, over and over again, and not expect Muslims to get mad, right? That just seems obvious to me. Of course, getting murdered over this is fucked up, but the way people pretend to be SO DEEPLY SHOCKED that ANYONE COULD POSSIBLY BE ANGRY over a beautiful act of free speech is weird to me. Those cartoons are meant to be offensive, and then we act like it's crazy that people get offended.

    And the punching down thing is so real. Sure, all religions are stupid, but does Charlie Hebdo feature jokes about Jesus Christ as often as it features jokes about Islam? I don't know, but I guess I'd be surprised if this were the case. And so I also don't like this thing where someone consistently criticizes or mocks mainly just Islam, but then tries to hide behind the whole "I make fun of ALL religions equally" stance. A focus on Islam as the avatar for all religions being stupid just seems straight-up racist to me.

    And speaking to Zin's point--it's true that I can't imagine behaving in this way, but then again I am not a member of a race/class/religion of people that is not only constantly mocked and belittled by all the most powerful nations but is also literally being genocided all over the world as we speak. Maybe I'd feel differently if I were? Seems like I might.
  • also, I want to hate South Park for all the reasons Kevin says, but I have to admit whenever I see it it makes me laugh

    what are you gonna do

  • edited January 2015
    I'm a sucker for most cartoons. I do sorta hate South Park but occasionally it will just get real weird and I just like it with no qualms. The Cartman and Cthulhu recreating scenes from My Neighbor Totoro episode for instance. From that world, I liked Futurama much better for social commentary. I wish this was the religious war that was actually going on:
  • Re: Charlie etc..

    I think Teju Cole does a good job with the context here:
  • I feel like I am going around and around in circles trying to argue against these same two points so many Amercicans unfamiliar with Charlie Hebdo are making right now:

    >you can't consistently depict Muslims in a borderline racist way, over and over again, and not expect Muslims to get mad, right?<

    Charlie Hebdo did not attack "muslims", they attacked FUNDAMENTALISTS. I feel weird defending them in this case because I have made it clear a couple times above in this thread, I wasn't into the cartoons and I wouldn't have drawn them myself. Charlie Hebdo actually has subscribers who are muslims. Many muslims have come out saying they are sick of having the "vocal minority" commit atrocities on the world and that they found Charlie Hebdo's approach to be somewhat entertaining (some loved it, some others just didn't care).

    Also, Charlie Hebdo's copy editor was a muslim. The wife of the slain main editor was a muslim. The cop from the videos who is lying on the sidewalk raising his hands and waving them at the shooters was a muslim, too. His family had a press conference yesterday in which they said "These killers are pretending to be muslims, but they are just killers".

    >Sure, all religions are stupid, but does Charlie Hebdo feature jokes about Jesus Christ as often as it features jokes about Islam? I don't know, but I guess I'd be surprised if this were the case.<

    They are not just saying "we made jokes about everyone", they did really make nasty jokes about everyone and everything. The thing is, again, the only people who truly got offended were fundamentalist muslims. Charlie Hebdo themselves have been called "fundamentalist atheists" by the media because they truly hate ALL religions and attack them all. They also hated the military, they hated the French government. They were all super left-wing, but still attacked the left. Whenever they saw something they could make fun of, they did (which doesn't mean it would make anyone of us laugh).

    The other point I feel I need to repeat is that I recognize that urge of doing the thing you have been specifically told not to do. Back in the fall of 2004 Fudge and I played a huge house party in Pittsburgh and the kid whose party it was specifcally told us not to say anything about George W. Bush while on stage. We had no plans to do so, but do you get why all of a sudden we felt an urge to say something really smart against Bush ?

    Not depicting the prophet is not that huge of a deal to ALL muslims. The idea that doing it once would create enough of a (delayed) stir for embassies to get burned down, for newspapers/joke papers to get death threats is INSANE. Harper's republished those Danish cartoons at the time, I don't know if they did it for the same reasons as Charlie Hebdo, but Charlie Hebdo's attitude was like "Look at these cartoons, they are not even that good! The whole world is freaking out about them, but look at what they ACTUALLY are: they are so tame." which is an idea I can get behind. I remember being mostly shocked and annoyed by the one of Mohamed having a bomb on his head. That was the meanest, most "throwing oil on the fire" one. Again, this is not my agenda in life.

    And about "free speech", I think the French term being thrown about by CH and their supporters deserves a better translation "liberté d'expression" is always translated by "free speech" but I feel like there is a nuance. Like, I don't even know if "the freedom to express oneself" cuts it.

    I believe in politeness, I believe in being politically correct, but I guess only up to a certain point. The way @kdawg talks about DC reminds me of how important it is to be politically correct. But the reality of living in France is completely different! Not only do politics work differently, not only is a (fairly meek) party called "the Socialist Party" in power, they have a whole different history and their very own sets of traditions!

    I think political correctness is very American (or Canadian). In France there is just more of a desire to shock, in general, and it is accepted as part of the culture. And that has been a very difficult thing to convey to some of my American friends as we talk about Charlie Hebdo. So, in the context of nasty satire, what CH was doing was really not as over the top and surprising as if some comics newspaper did the same here. The climate is entirely different. Yes, they are a bit like South Park, but that is only the closest comparison. If South Park makes you feel like going to the mall, well, Charlie Hebdo shouldn't make you feel like going to the mall. Their vibe is more "I was waiting around for a train at the station and bought the most recent issue of their paper and read it on a bench and felt a little bit embarrassed to be seen with that thing in my hands".

    I mean, it's printed matter!
    It's not a thing on your phone, or a thing on your computer, or a thing on TV.
    It's an actual newsprint object that comes from a long line of obscene satire and people still (sort of) buy it. That's not something I see around here.

  • I think the Teju Cole thing is less convincing than his usual stuff. Some weird false equivalencies e.g. people being in jail being morally equivalent to multiple murders.

    Joey, that story about the house show is INSANE? What was the deal? Was his family Republican?
  • I also want to know more about this house show!

    I laughed really hard at the Passion of the Christ south park
  • The show was basically some rich kid's kegger on a hill overlooking the city. As Fudge and I drove up, all the cars on the side of the roads were fancy. Like Mercedes and BMWs and Lexuses (Lexi?) and whatever other kind of cars rich people drive. When we got to the place it was like three houses all in a row, mansions. There was a stage set up and the kid who's house seemed really pathetic, like a skinny, confused, republican hippie. His friends were the ones who welcomed us and told us what to do. I think I only played four songs to a bunch of people queueing in front of the keg. Everyone was talking and the sound was shit so I didn't say anything. Fudge played and we had nowhere to stay so the kids that lived there said it was ok to sleep in the truck on the lawn.

    There was a crazy thunderstorm that night. It was terrifying.

    We were woken up at six in the morning by a man who looked exactly like Ronald Reagan, grabbing Fudge's foot that was sticking out from under a blanket.

    Reagan: What the fuck is going on here?
    Me: We played a show here last night, at the party, and we were told it was ok to sleep...
    Reagan: You shut up! I am asking HIM a question!
    Fudge: We are the people who played at the party last night. (So and so) told us we could park on the lawn and sleep here.
    Reagan: Oh no you can't sleep here! You can't park on my fucking lawn either. Get the fuck up and move your car, I am going to have to clean up your tracks and shit!

    (referring to the tire marks on the grass?)

    Then we felt like crying because of the mean man and went into town to look for food. Nothing was open except for a pathetic bagel café chain, so we got bagels and drove away from Pittsburgh.
  • FUCK

    that is a truly emo tour tale

  • When people ask me to describe yours and Fudge's music, I usually start out "Imagine if a rich kid threw a kegger..."
  • edited January 2015
    I can't stop laughing at Lexi. That story is horrible though!
  • everyone should compile Worst Tour Tales and sell it as a book, I bet it would sell

    I thought of so many just off the top of my head. Mine and others. Kevin remember the house in Walla Walla where that homeless man was trying to expectorate all the phlegm in his lungs in the kitchen and we asked if we could sleep in your dorm room

    Katy and I were recently talking about how a lot of the discomfort of tour was due to us being SO YOUNG. It happened slowly, but somehow now I've become someone who would prioritize, for example, putting a muffler on the car before driving it 1,500 miles, but at the time, the idea of spending $100 to make the car like 5,000 times more comfortable was unimaginable to us; it wasn't even on the table. It didn't even cross our minds as a thing to do. Same with maybe staying in a motel sometimes instead of sleeping crammed in the car on the side of the highway, etc. etc.

    Personal comfort was so not a priority, and that is what it is like to be a young kid like that I think. And it leads to really stupid hilarious experiences, like sleeping with no blanket on a concrete floor in a basement in Boise. And it not even being THAT bad. Like, you're uncomfortable, but it also just seems normal. You pop up in the morning ready for another glorious day, like a dog who is always happy

  • edited January 2015
    Oh gosh. Thomas. He eventually died, of lung cancer. But not until like six years after that.
  • "Like, you're uncomfortable, but it also just seems normal."

    Yes, totally.
  • oh god Kevin that is so emo
    now I feel bad for how i have told that story as a humorous anecdote so many times
  • edited January 2015
    Those are some great stories! Oh man, tour tales...two of my best stories to share are tour tales. I am a sorta bad writer but a cliffnotes of them:

    One involving a town called Carefree Indiana in a Days Inn sports bar with a guy named Ray (that was short for Rayzor) and a weird impromptu show where we played Pretty Woman on request to (unexpectedly) a couple of mostly toothless ladies stripping for him. They liked us WAY more than we thought they would though and gave us a sweet party barge to hangout on all day the next day (seen in this set. I had hair once!). Also another good story in Athens Georgia where our guitar player stole this huge group of muscled out bros's softball trophy and made a harrowing escape. The only part I caught was while I was walking back to the bar from our van he (for some reason wet) ran by me with this trophy and like 10 dudes chasing after him.

    Wow. I haven't thought about that time in a while. Youth! I know there is probably low interest on this stuff but thanks for fueling/humoring my reminiscing! Just thinking about sleeping in a van again makes my back hurt. I'm going to go stretch.
  • I played a super weird festival at a "cult" commune. The weirdest part was that a kid who dropped out of my college ended up being a commune resident.
  • Come to think of it, are there any non-weird tour stories? Tour is pretty much nonstop weirdness.
  • edited January 2015
    Someone should try to convince terrorist groups/organizations that this is maybe a way more effective and definitely way better option than murdering people.
  • This article is long but covers pretty much everything that needs to be covered:
  • edited January 2015
    I appreciate the effort to untangle the publication's jumble of good politics and bad politics. I also agree that lefties don't always do their homework about the cultural contexts they're writing about. But I find the free speech sloganeering to still be a weird smokescreen. Especially when the dude starts defending Bill Maher. Especially when all those international leaders come out for their big free speech photo op but are denying their own citizens and journalists free-expression rights at home.

    And I do think anti-clericalism usually ends up being racist in practice if not in the abstract. Freedom of expression that means teenage girls can't wear headscarves in school, but does allow people to make fun of religion however they want? That's messed up.

  • Maybe I am too out of it to understand the article properly but this sentence:
    "If you opposed the headscarf and burqa bans, then today you must rally to the defence of freedom of expression with respect to Charlie Hebdo." seems to mean that the writer is in support of teenage girls having the option of wear headscarves in school.

    The weird irony behind all those world leaders (censors of the press or not) offering support to Charlie Hebdo is that any world leader, any person in a position of power, was an enemy of Charlie Hebdo. They didn't choose their supporters at this point.

    Forced secularism can be scary. A little over a year ago there was talk of a messed up charter in Québec which would have prohibited wearing any kind of religious garb if you were a government employee. So teachers, doctors, nurses, and a vast amount of others would have had to conform. We all know this is more about Islamophobia than fear of any other faith. While I was definitely against the charter, my opinion remains the same about satire in the French tradition, it is not my cup of tea, but it should be allowed to take place.
  • the burqa ban is so interesting because it's technically not a "burqa ban," it bans all obvious display of religious belief, as I understand it. So, yarmulkes too, or your big crucifix necklace I guess?

    I think the fact that everyone fixated on the burqa aspect does indicate that it's felt to be Islamophobic. It's hard to imagine gangs of French people hassling a dude for wearing a yarmulke.

    I read a really interesting article a long time ago about it. It was a profile of this super super rigorous French feminist who supported the ban, but her reasons were so intense. It was all about how France is supposed to be founded on these ideals of RADICAL egalitarianism, like people who believe in the egalitarianism of France are supposed to strive constantly to make the law, as well as society, recognize ZERO difference between any peoples based on any reason. So, obviously, wearing a burqa or even a headscarf is an example of women being set apart, women being treated differently than men, and furthermore, EXEMPTING Muslim women from having to abide by the religious-symbol ban would also be setting them apart. It was epic, her ideas were like, even laws that are put into place to protect or help women are bad, because they bely the supposedly radical egalitarianism of France, in which we aren't even supposed to acknowledge that women and men are different.

    It was complicated and I'm not sure I understood all the issues, and I certainly didn't agree with her for the most part, in practice, and I do still think that France (like all western countries (like probably just all countries, period)) is super Islamophobic and xenophobic generally (gnarly stuff going on over there right now re: kicking all the Romanian people out of France, straight-up, like patriating people's children and kicking the parents out of the country, families torn apart kind of thing), but there was something about this ferocious commitment to secular egalitarianism that kind of struck a chord with me. I don't think it can work in today's world--the religious symbols ban CAN ONLY end up being Islamophobic in the world we have today; in a shitty patriarchy the only hope for women is laws protecting them; etc.--but just intellectually I was interested in it. Because I'd been thinking of that ban as purely racist (which I think for millions of French people it was motivated totally by racism, for sure), but all these other deep French philosophical traditions underlying it were really interesting to learn about. In America we don't have those same traditions, weirdly, even though in many respects our democracies were actually founded by the exact same people, more or less. Maybe because of our Puritan roots? Anyway I haven't had coffee yet
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