As most of you probably know by now, terrorists in Paris shot up the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this week, killing 12 people. Charlie Hebdo is known for publishing provocative cartoons. Some of these cartoons mocked the prophet Muhammad, and this earned the magazine the enmity of reactionaries within Islam. Before we think about emotionally charged events like this, it often helps to think about how we should think about them. To get the objective distance we need from events to analyze them with the most fairness and impartiality we can manage, a little temporal distance can be useful. Over the last few days, I’ve been digesting a variety of visceral, emotive reactions from people across the political spectrum. In most of the think pieces I’ve read and discussions I’ve seen and participated in, there has consistently seemed to be something missing, and today I’m ready to identify that something.
Read the rest of this entry »