Josh Healey: I Will Grieve. I Will Laugh. But I Am Not Charlie.

Common Dreams has the article I Will Grieve. I Will Laugh. But I Am Not Charlie by Josh Healey. This article beautifully puts into words why I have felt some unease about the Euro/American support for Charlie Hebdo magazine.

This excerpt about Molly Ivins captures the way I think about satire.

As the late great Molly Ivins said, “Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful. I only aim at the powerful. When satire is aimed at the powerless, it is not only cruel — it’s vulgar.”

This is a good description of the kind of satire I like and the kind that I can easily live without. For instance, this is why I preferred David Letterman instead of Jay Leno.

Josh Healey had a pithy summary point of his own.

 I love free speech as much as anyone, but I can separate the right of people to have free speech with my support for their actual speech. When the ACLU supported the right of neo-Nazis to march through the suburban shtetl of Skokie, IL, they didn’t go around saying #IAmHitler.

I don’t really know why Josh Healey’s explanation should come as a surprise to anyone.  There can’t be very many people who are unfamiliar with the following quote:

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

See two Wikipedia articles for the source of the quote, Evelyn Beatrice Hall and Voltaire.  Hint: If you believe Wikipedia on this subject, the phrase was not coined by Voltaire.

Thanks to Chris Spear for commenting on this article on a Facebook post. His comment is what brought this article to my attention.


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