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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Was Charlie Hebdo obsessed with Islam? A study by two sociologists says "non"

Yesterday's issue of Le Monde featured an opinion piece by two sociologists, who looked at the cartoon covers of Charlie Hebdo over a period of 10 years (see graph at right.) Contrary to what many commenters have said (especially in the United States), their exhaustive study showed that only a small percentage of covers involved Islam (7% strictly about Islam.) Three times as many covers targeted Christianity. The main focus of the publication was on political figures.

The two sociologists also conclude, as most people in France know, that Charlie Hebdo was a left-leaning, anti-racist publication, albeit very rude and irreverent in the way it expressed itself. I would add a personal observation: Charlie Hebdo did not target Muslims or Christians, nor their religious beliefs; instead it rightfully took aim at the hypocrites who would justify their outrageous acts under the cloak of religious belief. That might have offended some people, but the right to offend people is fundamental to free speech.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Stuart Klawans on "American Sniper"

"People want American Sniper to come from the Clint Eastwood who directed Unforgiven, but it's made by the guy who talked to a chair at the 2012 Republican National Convention."

           --film critic Stuart Klawans in The Nation.