Yesterday’s vicious attack at the offices of Charlie Hebdo resonates and reverberates far beyond Paris, where the very notions of free speech and freedom for all people were enshrined during the great Age of Enlightenment.
As we have read the coverage from Europe, including reports of Italy’s heightened sense of vulnerability, I can’t help but thinks about one of the journalistic trends that emerged during the months that followed the Tragedy of the Twin Towers in New York in 2001.
“Is irony dead?” asked many writers and critical theorists at the time.
In the wake of what happened yesterday in Paris, it’s more important than ever for us to embrace irony.
The despicable men who committed this atrocity are so convinced of their misguided, evil beliefs that they — quite literally — held no quarter for irony and the satirical medium employed by the editors of Charlie Hebdo. And where and when irony were to be eliminated, there would be only totalitarianism.
Without irony and without negation (as the critical theorists would call it), there can be no truth because truth cannot exist in the hermetically sealed world of totalitarianism. And that’s what the attackers want more than anything.
I can’t think of more urgent moment than now to shout at the top of my lungs, vive l’ironie! and vive la France!
To our French sisters and brothers, know that we stand with you!
The photo above was taken in February 2009 when Tracie P and I visited the City of Lights for a tour with my band Nous Non Plus.