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Denzil_DC

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Member since: Mon Sep 7, 2009, 12:57 AM
Number of posts: 753

Journal Archives

UKIP Deputy Leader's Rant on BBC Question Time Swells SNP Membership

Last Night's edition of Question Time featured a question from an audience member about the Scottish National Party's influence on UK politics, which provoked some revealing responses from the panelists.

Of course, nobody from the SNP was on the panel to offer a counter-view.

Eddie Hitler lookalike UKIP Deputy Leader Paul Nuttal didn't hold back ...



In a more extensive clip, the LibDems' Tim Farron wasn't far behind him ...



Labour's Diane Abbot had the decency to look like she'd rather be anywhere else in the world at the height of the rants, then made a brave attempt to inject some semblance of sanity into the rabid frothing. As for the Tories' Esther McVey, well ...

The hashtag #BBCQT is currently trending with reactions.

As the Exposing UKIP Twitter account observed:

Exposing UKIP IMP @SLATUKIP

#UKIP blames for UK ills so far....
Immigrants ✓
EU ✓
NHS ✓
Foreigners ✓
Unemployed ✓
LibLabCon ✓
Scotland ✓
Gay weather ✓


ETA: Nuttal's shocked by the Liverpool Echo's readers' reactions to his performance:

UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall brands BBC Question Time reaction 'appalling'

Some of those reactions came to light as the Echo liveblogged Question Time here: http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/recap-question-time-mp-esther-8501106

Fox "Terrorism Expert" Steve Emerson Says Listening to His Own Words Is "Like Waterboarding"

Steve Emerson, Fox's "terrorism expert" who's been ridiculed mercilessly, along with Fox News, on the Twitter hashtag #FOXNEWSFACTS and by UK Prime Minister David Cameron for his claims that the UK city of Birmingham is "totally Muslim," is at it again.

He went on Sky News to apologize for his earlier remarks. It ... didn't go so well.

Steven Emerson, Fox News pundit and "terrorism expert", has likened listening back to his incorrect comments on Birmingham as "like waterboarding" in another gaffe today.

While speaking on Sky News Mr Emerson apologised for his "inexcusable error" after he described Birmingham as a city that non-Muslims "simply don't go" into, but then caused further controversy by saying "hearing it over when you played it was like waterboarding I guess".

When it was mentioned that some people may find that analogy offensive Mr Emerson replied "I didn't mean to offend anyone...I deserved to have experienced the pain of listening to it over again".

(Original article plus video here (warning: autoplay ad): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11341426/Fox-News-terror-expert-Listening-back-Birmingham-Muslim-error-like-waterboarding.html )


Video with no ad here: http://news.sky.com/story/1406714/fox-commentator-gaffe-like-waterboarding

He also claimed to have received numerous death threats. I've no idea whether that's another of those #FOXNEWSFACTS.

The Context of the Charlie Hebdo Cover Cartoons

I've posted versions of this as comments in a couple of earlier threads, but given that a number of us are still trying to figure out what some of the cover cartoons were aiming at, maybe this OP will help discussions when these issues come up. Or maybe it'll just add to the furor? If anyone can fill in more context for these or other cartoons, please go ahead.


I found a discussion on Quora where number of people were answering the question, "What was the context of Charlie Hebdo's cartoon depicting Boko Haram sex slaves as welfare queens?" You may have seen the cartoon in question. If not, there's a copy at this link:

http://www.quora.com/What-was-the-context-of-Charlie-Hebdos-cartoon-depicting-Boko-Haram-sex-slaves-as-welfare-queens

The full question was:

After the terrorist group Boko Haram kidnapped and enslaved Nigerian girls for sexual slavery, french satire magazine Charlie Hedbo had this as their cover:

Which depicts pregnant girls saying "Touchez pas a nos allocs!", which translates to something like "Don't touch our (welfare) allocations!"

What was the context though? It'd be great if a French person who's read that article could explain.


One of the answers reads:

Jean-Baptiste Froment, toulousain


This cover is mixing two unrelated elements which made the news at about the same time:
- Boko Haram victims likely to end up sex slaves in Nigeria
- Decrease of French welfare allocations

In France, as in probably every country who has welfare allocations, some people criticize this system because some people might try to game it (e.g., "welfare queens" idea). Note that if we didn't had it there would probably be much more people complaining because the ones who really need it would end up in extreme poverty.

Charlie Hebdo is known for being left-wing attached and very controversial, and I think they wanted to parody people who criticize "welfare queens" by taking this point-of-view to the absurd, to show that immigrant women in France are more likely to be victims of patriarchy than evil manipulative profiteers.

And of course if we only stay on the first-degree approach, it's a terrible racist and absurd cover.

As Adrien points out in his answer, it was neither the first nor the last time Charlie Hebdo used this kind of "satirical news mixing", and had no "preferred target".


There are also explanations of the depiction of French Justice Minister as a monkey (it was parodying and labeling as racist a Front National politician's Facebook post which carried a photoshop of a similar image), among other cartoons you may have seen.

There are no explanations there of other cover cartoons, for instance those showing "Mohammad," "Jesus," or certain politicians. Maybe a number of them don't need explanation or context, but fall or stand in their own right as to some people obscene, to others iconoclastic (and to others both) depictions of figures of renown and influence.

One explanation I've found of a cartoon of a naked "Mohammad" lying on a couch with his behind to a cameraman, saying "And my buttocks, do you love my buttocks?" is that it's a parody of a famous bedroom scene between Brigitte Bardot and Jean-Luc Godard in the movie Le Mepris where she runs through parts of her body and asks her paramour a similar question for each.

I wrote in my earlier posts:

My problem with people outside France simply reproducing these particular cartoons as part of "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" - which they're obviously free to do - is that they're removed from their context, which makes them ambiguous - to non-French audiences, probably not even ambiguous, but incomprehensible, if not downright offensive to some, and cheeringly offensive in a non-liberal way to others (like those who love to circulate cartoons of Obama as a monkey, for instance). Again, they're obviously entirely free to do so, but how many understand what they're circulating, and how many who see them understand what they portray?

On the other hand, I don't think there's similar ambiguity about a number of the other cartoons about religious figures or French politicians. They're often scatological or sexually explicit. There's a long tradition of that in satire, not just in France (the British 19th-century cartoonist Rowlandson, among others, is definitely NSFW at times). I also find some of the depictions of Jews and Muslims very stereotyped - which may be part of the joke, but is a bit sophisticated for something that's going to sit on a newsstand and be visible to people who aren't necessarily going to take the time to parse it.


I am not Charlie Hebdo. Different people will mean different things when they adopt this slogan, but for me to make such an audacious claim, I would need to do the following:

(a) feel it worthwhile to post cartoons such as these in public;
(b) do so under my own real-life name;
(c) have my physical location widely known and advertised;
(d) do all this in the full knowledge that I had been threatened with violence or death if I did so.

Others are obviously free to make their own choices. These are mine.

I see you haven't received an answer yet.

And I get the feeling you're genuinely curious.

I've made some of my feelings about this whole isssue known elsewhere on this thread and others (condemn the murderers outright, not a fan of the depictions), but I did find this Quora discussion which may be food for thought:

http://www.quora.com/What-was-the-context-of-Charlie-Hebdos-cartoon-depicting-Boko-Haram-sex-slaves-as-welfare-queens

Here's one person there's explanation of that particular cartoon (the link has some background on others, too):

This cover is mixing two unrelated elements which made the news at about the same time:
- Boko Haram victims likely to end up sex slaves in Nigeria
- Decrease of French welfare allocations

In France, as in probably every country who has welfare allocations, some people criticize this system because some people might try to game it (e.g., "welfare queens" idea). Note that if we didn't had it there would probably be much more people complaining because the ones who really need it would end up in extreme poverty.

Charlie Hebdo is known for being left-wing attached and very controversial, and I think they wanted to parody people who criticize "welfare queens" by taking this point-of-view to the absurd, to show that immigrant women in France are more likely to be victims of patriarchy than evil manipulative profiteers.

And of course if we only stay on the first-degree approach, it's a terrible racist and absurd cover.


Similarly, the "chimp" cartoon is explained like this:

The first clue that all is not what it seems is that the cartoon was drawn by Charb - the editor himself. He was a Communist, and his girlfriend's parents were North African. A funny kind of racist. Next you have to note that the text next to that cartoon says "Rassemblement Bleu Raciste". This is a play on "Rassemblement Bleu Marine", the slogan of Marine Le Pen's national front, and the tricolor flame next to it is the party logo.

So, what you then need to know is that the cartoon was published after a National Front politician Facebooked a photoshop of the woman in the cartoon as a monkey, and then said on French TV that she should be "in a tree swinging from the branches rather than in government".


I've seen other French people elsewhere discussing this who evidently didn't get these references, or if they did, didn't think they were worthwhile, and have a different take on Charlie Hebdo's politics, feeling that they went for shock value in order to boost sales.

My problem with people outside France simply reproducing these particular cartoons as part of "Je suis Charlie Hebdo" - which they're obviously free to do - is that they're removed from their context, which makes them ambiguous - to non-French audiences, probably not even ambiguous, but incomprehensible, if not downright offensive to some, and cheeringly offensive in a non-liberal way to others (like those who love to circulate cartoons of Obama as a monkey, for instance). Again, they're obviously entirely free to do so, but how many understand what they're circulating, and how many who see them understand what they portray?

On the other hand, I don't think there's similar ambiguity about a number of the other cartoons about religious figures or French politicians. They're often scatological or sexually explicit. There's a long tradition of that in satire, not just in France (the British 19th-century cartoonist Rowlandson, among others, is definitely NSFW at times). I also find some of the depictions of Jews and Muslims very stereotyped - which may be part of the joke, but is a bit sophisticated for something that's going to sit on a newsstand and be visible to people who aren't necessarily going to take the time to parse it.

I'm not sure which cover cartoons are being most widely circulated now outside France. It might be interesting to know. It was apparently the ones of Mohammed that the murderers used as their "justification."

As I said above, from what I've been reading, even some French people who presumably keep up with current affairs don't get these references and/or don't appreciate some of the cartoons, so they're unlikely to travel well.

Woah.

That one was on a roll! I hadn't seen the second hide.

I've had some really good discussions on other threads the last couple of days. There's no concensus on this. I am seeing quite a bit of browbeating and attempted bullying.

One argument I've seen others put forward (on this very thread, in fact) is that if I don't applaud or link to or promote the cartoons in some way, I'm doing what the murderers wanted.

I hold a contrary view: if I forced myself to buy into the tone of some of the worst cartoons I've seen (I'll leave aside their intent as those who know for sure what it was have been murdered), I'd be doing what the murderers wanted. Juan Cole framed it as the terrorists' desire to "heighten the contradictions" - to increase tensions, leading to more bloodshed, mistrust, alienation of those from a different culture. I won't let them manipulate me posthumously and abandon my values. Then they would win.

Warren, there was a jury hide earlier of a post

which said in no uncertain terms that anybody who did not declare "I'm Charlie Hebdo" didn't belong on DU, but should go to some "Arab jihadi" site.

There's a whole undercurrent here at the moment that anyone who doesn't phrase their reactions to these events in a certain way is somehow impure or wrongheaded to the point of being digusting.

I'm not saying that's what you're doing, but I'm probably not the only DUer who has shied away from commenting on certain threads at the moment because the events are too raw and there's a lot to process, and there's going to be a whole bunch of conflict and probably more blood shed in coming days and weeks, so I'm not up for a fight about it at the moment.

I have no problem condemning the murders. I condemn them not just because those cartoonists and staff and police and others absolutely didn't deserve to die, but because the murders will provoke more violence and more victims and more deaths.

My "but" is that I wouldn't have appreciated those cartoons I've seen before the murders, and I'm not going to be pressured or bullied into compromising my beliefs to pretend I appreciate them now. That's not saying they should have been banned. That's just an expression of who I am.

But just quietly holding that opinion seems to make people like me some sort of pariah at the moment. It's not a big deal in the great scheme of things, but it's pretty prevalent, and it's overshadowing discussions.

I can't speak about the content of any articles Charlie Hebdo carried as there's been very little focus on them from what I've seen - it's all about the cartoons.

Sadly, the cartoon you linked to is inaccessible, but I get the gist.

One irony is that despite its (broken) longevity, I don't think Charlie Hebdo was particularly influential before now, judging by its readership stats - no doubt just another of those daily provocations of city life, visible on newsstands that some people just shrug at, some recoil from in distaste or well-grounded fear, others buy because it titillates in some way, others read knowingly, and still others take as confirming their revolting prejudices. If it's art, it's subject to multiple interpretations. Whether that makes it "good" satire is both beside the point in some ways, and unknowable without being sure of the intent behind it, as well as understading the social environment within which it exists.

It's like the old maxim about blogging, or political or social ridicule as a whole: Punch up, not down.

Who knows how many more people from minorities may have been victimized because some nutter, not a million miles removed from these murderers, had his prejudices confirmed by seeing these cartoons to the extent that a bit of casual "Muslim-bashing" on a dark night might seem like a bit of fun? (And, of course, how many more will be victimized now?)

But that should be a matter for the artists' and readers' consciences and any existing state legislation on hate speech and acts, and/or serious debate about those issues, not an armed attack that will sadly probably end up with more Muslims dead and living in fear than the writers and artists who populated the Charlie Hebdo offices.

The irony I mentioned is that it's obvious the next issue of Charlie Hebdo will be super-provocative, and sell more than the magazine ever has. As Juan Cole puts it, this serves the terrorists' goal of heightening the contradictions and destabilizing societies that already have problems enough. And the media furor and many of our reactions make us complicit in that.

So, in some ways, Charlie Hebdo's satire may end up being very powerful indeed. But to what end, I'm not sure. Many of those we might be able to ask about it are dead.

IMO, satire is most powerful/relevant when it targets ingroups, especially those with real power.

Satire aimed at outgroups/demographic minorities is always going to be problematic, and lead to the question of what it's trying to achieve beyond a visceral reaction that may simply serve to reinforce existing prejudices. What's the difference between such satire and hate speech?

Did the cartoonists perceive "Muslims" and "Jews" and others sometimes clumsily portrayed (in my opinion) as being vested with a certain power, whether through myths of threatening violence from an Other in the case of the stereotyped portrayal of "Muslims," or at worst being part of some grand behind-the-scenes financial cabal, as in some of the stereotyped portrayals of "Jews"? Was that a threat they were trying to address, or is that overthinking it? Or were they trying to subvert those old tropes of portrayal and hold them up to ridicule? If the latter, then that assumes a certain sophistication among the readership that may not always be present.

If satire doesn't need to be funny, I do think it needs to be relevant. That relevance depends on the intent behind it as well as the perception of the audience.

I shouldn't have to add my wholly heartfelt opinion that none of this excuses the wanton murder of anyone, but in the current climate, I guess I'd better.

Three murderous individuals whose actions will no doubt rebound on whole communities.

They'll also be capitalized upon by opportunists with nefarious aims, as they already are.

I have to admit I'm not a fan of the cartoons I've seen. Some of the cartoons that have arisen in the aftermath have been much more cutting and to the point, to my taste anyway. I can only hope the written content of the magazine was of a higher quality.

The whole issue's tended to get sidetracked into a quasi-libertarian argument about whether it's acceptable to pillory Islam, whereas I agree with you that the depictions of "Muslim-looking" people (among stereotyped images of other minorities) are crude - obviously not all Muslims wear turbans and long robes, for instance. The counter-argument would no doubt be that depictions of figures like Hollande are equally crude.

I prefer my satire to have an agenda beyond gratuitous offense, which Private Eye (I'm a subscriber) manages to pull off more often than not by focusing on those with power and influence, rather than outgroups. It does slip up on that, though - I hate the "Chavs" series of cartoons, for instance, for the same reason that it relies on lazy sterotypes of those who have little or no power and influence; there are a few other of its series I'm not a fan of on similar grounds, and they often aren't redeemed by even being funny.

From what I understand, Charlie Hebdo didn't have a very high readership anyway, despite its prominence on Paris newsstands. I expect the next issue will be a best-seller.

It should go without saying that none of this excuses murder, including that of another Muslim who happened to be a policeman.

I don't know if it's a forlorn hope, but maybe a movement will arise like the "I'll ride with you" response to the Sidney cafe siege. That would be a positive development.

I always find it fascinating looking at this readout of what's happening on the UK electricity grid

http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/

It shows everything practically in real time, including the European interconnectors that shunt power back and forth as supply and demand fluctuate. Hover over the dials for detailed explanations. It particularly shows the over-reliance on coal and gas, especially with so many nukes out of service at present. I don't know whether the US system is integrated enough to have a similar site available.

It has to be said that October was a pretty shitty month with periods of very high winds. Problems arise when we have large high pressure systems stalled over the UK in cold weather, meaning there's little if any wind and the windfarms lie idle. Onshore wind needs to be a stopgap while offshore and tidal/wave power systems are developed and deployed (some significant developments already under way there), which will help to fulfill the baseload needs and overcome the still-air/cold-weather deficit. We also need to use less electricity, of course ...
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