In the wake of the brutal killings of the satirists of French weekly Charlie Hebdo, the people of the Internet are having a national -- actually, I guess it's an international -- conversation on the role of satire, the importance of free speech and the need to defend free expression, no matter how objectionable that expression might be. One unique thing that's emerged in the past few days is a sudden outpouring of affection and support for people who regularly pursue the dissemination of cross-the-line content and repugnant ideas.
This shock to our sensibilities, doled out so cruelly by terrorists, has resulted in a new environment where all of us are encouraged -- if not urged! -- to take to our content management systems and go for broke in the act of ruthlessly producing content that ruffles feathers, impales our sacred cows, offends widely, and leaves no target immune from our LULZ. And to do so wantonly.
Slate's Jacob Weisberg put it like so: "The best response to the Charlie Hebdo attack -- other than catching and punishing killers -- is to escalate blasphemous satire." His call has been echoed by others. The New York Times Ross Douthat urged, "The right to blaspheme (and otherwise give offense) is essential to the liberal order." New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait let it be known that "one cannot defend the right [to blaspheme] without defending the practice."
Of course, as of this writing, none of these defenders of blasphemy have actually chosen to offer up any blasphemy themselves. I guess that was meant to be someone else's job?
Oh, well: challenge made ... challenge accepted, by First Look Media's Glenn Greenwald, who today has published a raft of virulently anti-Semitic cartoons. He didn't ask for anyone's permission, folks ... he just "went there."
It's a brand new day in terms of free expression. We're blowing past boundaries. We're pushing envelopes. We're monetizing content that normally would curdle the souls of our readers and advertisers. But not everyone is excited about this new world. Earlier this week, Rusty Foster of "Today In Tabs" wondered if we maybe shouldn't try to "chart a course in between 'cause maximum offense at all times' and 'murder people for cartoons.'" Well, nuts to that. The Thought Leaders are urging us to dispense with the labor-intensive activity of probing our own work in deference to the considerations of others, because this is a war on all of us, and it needs to be won by, say, close of business Friday, Pacific Time. And I want in.
So, having been called to this duty, I am now going to republish some of the most vile and objectionable content available on the Internet, in this forum. I will warn you up front that this is going to be brutal and offensive material -- stuff that only a ragtag fringe of leprotic minds would cheer to see disseminated. Nevertheless, it must be done, and I'm not going to apologize for the hurt that this is about to cause many of you.
This video's content launched the world on a path of ruination with which we're still grappling.
Simply stated: a pure distillation of unrelenting hate.
There are fewer things in this world more disgusting in nature than what's depicted above.
The ideas contained herein have been thoroughly denounced, discredited and defamed. Look upon them again ... if you can take it.
Much like ISIS was deemed by al Qaeda to be horrifying, this video's contents even seared the souls of this world's most flaboyant hate-merchants.
I'll admit it. This is where I wavered. This is where I thought I might be going too far. But I screwed my courage to the sticking point.
When the world first saw this, we all found it so easy to say, "Not in MY name!" And yet when you think about it, we are ALL responsible for this.
I know. you'd rather not live in the same world as this. Consider it my bitter reminder that you don't get a pass.
There you have it. Now, some of you scolds might still have the temerity to ask me, "What was the point of this?" The first thing I'll tell all you politically correct pukes is that you just don't get it, man. We're well past the point where the need to account for a "point" is required. But if you must know, I'll say simply this: If it's really our conviction that there's nothing and no one who is so sacred that it is beyond the bounds of lampoon, then -- in the truest spirit of Charlie Hebdo ("...its creators would be dumbfounded to find themselves memorialized," writes Arthur Goldhammer) -- the most courageous act of satire right now is to satirize everybody's endless goddamned sanctimony.
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