Considering my life and career I would be severely remiss to not mention something about the hideousness that transpired at Charlie Hebdo.
In terms of the actual terrorist crime that transpired in Paris the other day there is little I can state that has not been iterated and reiterated for days and days in all the media of the western world. And the primary sensation is one of abhorrence. And for those who are alienated by western world satire I have a simple bit of advice, stay the fuck out of countries whose view of the world is at odds with yours and simply remain where you seem to be happy. Nobody invited you to the party.
But, I am not about to get into the politics of the matter. What I instead want to consider is the value of satire and how it keeps us sane. Or at least a bit saner.
When I was a child in school I got in a fair amount of trouble for stating my mind. I had deceived myself into thinking what was going on in my burgeoning mind was important and therefore I liked to share my thoughts, even if they were at odds with the conventional prescribed thoughts the teacher was attempting to impose on tykes. That meant I spent a lot of time standing in drafty corridors rather than being encouraged to share my wit with my classmates.
When I grew up, after my fashion, I went into the writing business. Actually that came about after my stint at teaching during which time I was suffering under the delusion that held if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em. After a few years I realized I had no desire to join ’em.
So, I became a columnist. I became a number of journalistic entities, but my pride-and-joy stemmed from my task as a columnist. A columnist who actually even managed to glean some awards for columns that were irreverent, hole-poking at conventional sacred cows (badly mixed metaphor, so sue me), and yes, satirical. I held to the belief that the best way to defeat the nonsense of convention was to mock it; to point out its illogic, by whimsy. I found inspiration from the giants in the mockery biz from George Cruikshank, to Lewis Carroll, to Mark Twain, to Stephen Leacock, to Pogo’s Walt Kelly to HL Mencken. I believed I was in good company, and still believe that to be so. The pen, or the electronic keyboard can indeed be mightier than the sword and we must be relentless in holding to that belief, especially out of respect for the courage of journals like Charlie Hebdo.
Yet I still see in letters to the editor and elsewhere indictments of personal favorites like Jack Knox and Adrian Raeside (both of whom are real as well as FB friends) who are inundated with shit screeds from members of the public who steadfastly refuse to ‘get; those talented men who are both paramount in the field of satire. People don’t like them mocking their icons, be those icons the government, the church, or the monarchy. Sorry, dear souls, that is their job and they do it well.
So, mainly take some time out today to show full respect for all those who toil with courage, honesty and wit to toppled those who would choose to enslave society with narrow-mindedness.
And that’s what I have to say about the matter. Not a terribly funny blog, and it wasn’t meant to be.