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Charlie Hebdo Is Not Opinion, It’s Sarcasm

“God Exists. He drowned all the Neo-Nazis of Texas,” was the daunting caption listed alongside an illustration that portrayed the flooding in Houston in the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The wildly satirical French magazine that caused a ruckus in 2006 when the publication came out with a controversial anti-Islamic cartoon mocking the Prophet Muhammed has once again clashed with the majority of the public. Their most recent depiction of the flooding happening in the United States is specifically targeting Houston in their illustration.

Much of the rage is directed at a false impression of what the magazine is trying to achieve in their brand of satire, especially at what I would call an abrasive and caustic brand of satire.

The captions that accompany the outrageous cartoons are not blatant statements of opinion, but deeply sarcastic remarks.

If we apply this definition of satire to the incident in 2006 or the anti-Islamic cartoons of the Barcelona attack in 2017, it could easily be understood what the magazine was attempting to do. Now, let’s say we apply it to the recent cartoon of the flooding that has been ferociously met with criticism from the far right. Alt-Righters, white nationalists and other famed personalities have been crying out against the “offensive” take. Although they have dubbed themselves as “free speech crusaders,”  they have somehow decided to choose what is not to be mocked.

Charlie Hebdo is not what I would consider a publication that takes any side on the spectrum, for they cover various topics. From an analysis done by two French sociologists, they were able to conclude that out of the 523 covers they have done from January 2005 to January 2015, 336 of them covered political news, 42 covered famed personalities, 85 covered economic and social news and 38 focused on religion. Out of those 38, 7 targeted Islam. It is not a far-right, fascist publication. They are not using their editorial opinions to paint a picture of what they personally perceive or to push for any agenda.

The hypocrisy of the Right and their version of political correctness is something to be aware of and to criticize.

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Hannah Alzgal
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Hannah Alzgal is 18 years old and this is her first year writing for Affinity. She will be covering various topics from intersectional feminism to political affairs. In her free time, she enjoys writing short stories and reading.

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