Thursday, January 08, 2015

The "Stupid and Nasty" History of Charlie Hebdo

"How To Tell If Your Teenager is a Jihadist" was one of the articles in the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine. This was one of many features through the years that ridiculed religion. Charlie Hebdo spoofed Muslims and Christians and people in power and, like a good sport, even itself. It had described itself since the 1960s as "stupid and nasty."

Charlie Hebdo was originally titled Hari-Kari and was popular enough to warrant a change from monthly to weekly in 1969. It became Hari-Kari Hebdo ("Hebdo" short for "weekly) until the next year, when within one week in November there was a tragic, sudden fire in a nightclub killing 45 people, and, the death of Charles de Gaulle.

The magazine put out this cover:

Tommy Christopher writing for The Daily Banter:

Roughly translated, it means “Tragic Ball in Colombey – 1 Dead,” a too-soon joke so too-soon, it got the magazine banned for sale to minors by French Minister of the Interior Raymond Marcellin. One week later, Charlie Hebdo was born, a new incarnation of the “stupid and nasty” weekly named after the late Charles de Gaulle and another Charlie: Charlie Brown. Another French magazine devoted to cartoons, “Charlie Mensuel (monthly)” was named for Charles M. Schultz’s [sic] famous character, and was itself a takeoff of the Italian magazine Linus.Read more at

Yesterday, when three masked gunmen came into the magazine's offices in downtown Paris, they arrived during the editorial meeting. They planned when to come and asked for names at one point. They were looking for specific people. According to reports, at another point, they merely fired indiscriminately.

The goal was to avenge and silence.

Regardless, Charlie Hebdo, with its roots in traditional rude satire, de Gaulle, Charlie Brown, is now more known than ever. Thousands of Parisians rallied last night. "Many held copies of magazine, including the cover of a Muslim kissing a cartoonist that reads: “Love is stronger than hate" according to "Thousands Protest Paris Terrorist Attack" in The Daily Beast.

We can only hope, that in this stupid and nasty world, that thousands of Parisians are right. Who would want to live in a world where it's wrong?

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