I apologize for the limited content this week, but out of respect for the awful news that all of us are trying to process from Paris today and the past few days it didn't seem appropriate to run what is a rather lighthearted No Politics Friday.
A lot of left-wing people around the internet have suggested that their reaction to these events is split among 1. Defense of free expression, 2. Abhorrence of violence, and 3. Finding the cartoons in question something ranging from insensitive to racist. I don't consider that an untenable position; if I paint a giant-lipped Obama eating a watermelon and someone murders me, it is possible to believe that I did something offensive but that doesn't give another person the right to shoot me. Personally, though, I don't see the cartoons as racist or offensive so much as they appear puerile and silly. Like most Americans I'd never previously heard of this French magazine, and frankly the art (and the level of humor/satire involved) looks like junior high students drew it. Minus the shock value of depicting something some Muslims find insulting, what is the real value of this?
These journalists strike me as a European sort of Bill Maher/Howard Stern hybrid, getting more mileage out of being provocateurs than anything else. Rather than cheapening their deaths, I think the general silliness and MAD Magazine-esque tone of the publication they worked for makes the idea of anyone being willing to kill them over these cartoons even less comprehensible.
In short, I've decided that I can feel like these guys were a bunch of ass clowns without believing that they deserved to die or that I don't care that they did. I don't think anyone deserves to die a violent death for making jokes, good or bad. Although I waver sometimes on Jeff Dunham.