french policeman

DID YOU KNOW?:

-The North American gray wolf population in 1600 was 2 million. Today the population in North America is approximately 65,000. The world population is approximately 150,000.

-Unlike other animals, wolves have a variety of distinctive facial expressions they use to communicate and maintain pack unity.[

-In 1927, a French policeman was tried for the shooting of a boy he believed was a werewolf. That same year, the last wild wolves in France were killed.

-Dire wolves (canis dirus) were prehistoric wolves that lived in North America about two million years ago. Now extinct, they hunted prey as large as woolly mammoths.

Originally posted by vukovski

-A wolf can run about 20 miles (32 km) per hour, and up to 40 miles (56 km) per hour when necessary, but only for a minute or two. They can “dog trot” around 5 miles (8km) per hour and can travel all day at this speed.

-Between 1883 and 1918, more than 80,00 wolves were killed in Montana for bounty.

We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be –the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.

- Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf

-Wolves howl to contact separated members of their group, to rally the group before hunting, or to warn rival wolf packs to keep away. Lone wolves will howl to attract mates or just because they are alone. Each wolf howls for only about five seconds, but howls can seem much longer when the entire pack joins in.

-After hearing of “frightening spirits” in the woods with human features that walked on four legs, Reverend Singh in 1920 discovered a den with two cubs and two human girls, one around age 7 or 8, the other around 2. After being brought back to “civilization,” the younger one died within a year. Recently, authors have questioned the validity of this story as modern knowledge has revealed that wolf-like behavior is often seen in autistic or abused children

I know I’ve spoken a lot about UScentrism on tumblr before but recent events have really spilled how bad this behaviour is into the open.

It honestly amazes me how some US social justice blogs that are ostensibly interested in decrying US imperialism and the white supremacy inherent within it are incapable of seeing how on tumblr, they continue be “part of the empire” through their irresponsible and entitled behaviour. So they talk about how terrible US imperialism is because of the way the US appropriates culture and other people’s narratives, or how the US Army barges into foreign countries, or how the likes of the CIA cynically meddle in foreign conflicts as pawns to further American interests.

But they, at the same time, are COMPLETELY INCAPABLE of seeing how their own actions of ceaselessly turning things like Charlie Hebdo or Boko Haram or ISIS into comparisons and rhetorical, background props for US issues is A PERFECT PARALLEL. It’s a perfect parallel for the way the US government they so deplore tramples people in foreign countries to advance American interests. It’s a perfect parallel for how the US mainstream media and Hollywood will repackage foreign narratives for local consumption, nevermind if it has completely distorted it beyond recognition.

17 dead French citizens from at least three different religions, of multiple ethnicities murdered in cold blood are remade into “US celebrities only care when some white people died”. The superficiality of this post is sickening, seeing that a French Muslim policeman was one of those KILLED. Not to mention the black policewoman has been erased. How ironic when this post is about people ignoring “#Blacklivesmatter”. I think it’s we non-Americans who are terrified that people like the OP seem to never ever give a shit about non-US issues unless they can somehow make it some background prop to advance things Americans care about.

The 2,000 people killed by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram, the millions more murdered or displaced in Syria and Iraq by ISIS are rendered non-existent. That time when tens of thousands of Yazidis were trapped on Mt. Sinjar, surrounded by ISIS without food and water and everyone feared a massacre? Despite the fact that people are being cut down without mercy right now, their murderers are trivialised, their murderers are said to be INSIGNIFICANT next to the statistic that the “KKK had 6 million members”. As if there aren’t more compelling reasons to say “you shouldn’t be Islamophobic” other than the fact that a horrible racist group in the US had millions of members? Nah, let’s play oppression olympics. Highest number wins!

It’s quite amazing how a lot of US social justice blogs go ahead and reproduce American imperialism and yet think they’re furthering social justice, in an almost completely analogous manner to the way the US sees itself as the “leader of the free world”. This parallel extends down to how American involvement often makes things worse precisely because no care is taken to actually understand the issue and listen to the locals. It extends down to the entitlement to barge into an issue without any sort of sensitivity towards people who may be hurt by their behaviour.

Honestly, the American who isn’t aware of a foreign issue or doesn’t talk much about it because they don’t quite understand it is a thousand times less infuriating or harmful then these hypocrites.

Charlie Hebdo : cover analysis

Other French people have done tons of good posts about Charlie Hebdo in response to the magazine’s so-called rampant homophobia, racism and islamophobia. I won’t ramble on the definitions of satire, secularism, or the concept of freedom of speech and its peculiar importance in France. Google is your friend.

Rather, I’d like to analyse several covers of the mag and shed some light on the subtleties that a lot of non-French and (sadly) French people themselves miss. Some are hard to interpret sometimes, but for the sake of intellectual honesty, we need to go over those whose message should not be mistaken.

Humour is something to be made with intelligence, if not always with class. I’m the first to battle anyone who tells me that humour of all sorts absolves all attacks against minorities. Humour is a fantastic tool, it can be used for the worst but also the best. Charlie Hebdo is not a humouristic magazine void of any political message. It is exactly the opposite. It begs to question problematic aspects of French culture, politics, and religions via humour. This post is not to revere them or assert that they cannot be subjected to criticism. But Charlie Hebdo is not a racist, homophobic, or islamophobic magazine. This is incredibly simplistic and dishonest. I will do a series of three posts trying to highlight that as best I can. French people are free to complete my comments.

1. On July 16th, 1942, the French police arrested Jews in Paris to have them deported in concentration camps. It was the most massive organized deportation to take place in France with 13 152 Jews arrested and deported. Less than a hundred of them survived. This event is known as “La rafle du Vélodrome d’Hiver” and the cover of CH titles “30th anniversary etc” with a Jew man using the yellow star that marked them as Nazi cattle as a squirt flower on a French policeman, mocking him playfully and saying “No grudge held”. This is a reminder of how traumatic the collaboration of the French government has been in recent years (and it is still denied on some levels). The Jew man here is getting back at the policeman in a downplaying way meant to highlight the actual horror that the Rafle represents in contrast to a harmless squirt flower.

2. On September 13th, 1987, Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and ex-leader of the nationalist party the Front National, declared that the gas chambers were a “detail” in the history of WWII. This cover is parodying the infamous sentence by having Le Pen declare that the killings of Toulouse (the caption says “Anti-Semitic Toulouse killings”) that were perpetrated by Islamic terrorist Mohamed Merah in 2012 were a detail (“It’s just a detail of the campaign”). In the back, you can see Marine Le Pen, her daughter and actual leader of the FN, deploring that declaration. Why? Because the FN could use it to make it emblematic of one of their most important fight, “Muslim terrorists” (the line between the two being often blurred by the party), during the election campaign, which Le Pen Father has seemingly forgotten in his usual crass insolence.

3. In the past three years, gay marriage debates have propelled discussion about the deeper introduction of gender studies in France. Although the subject is recognized in the humanities field at a higher education level, discussion about how sexism could be reduced from a very young age by reforming the education system has sparked a massive paranoid backlash from the Catholic, conservative right, still going on to this day. There have been speculations as to how teachers were encouraged to teach 4 year olds about explicit sexuality and how to masturbate (I’m not kidding, no). In France, a mistranslation has made gender studies widely known as “théorie du genre”, from the variant term “gender theory”. The word ‘theory’ doesn’t bear the exact same meaning in French and is inappropriate to use to designate gender studies and research. This is what is written on the blackboard of the classroom on the CH cover. Advocates for measures against sexism (like the ABCD of equality, which was unfortunately terminated early because of protests) are often depicted as deranged, sexual perverts who are going to teach children how to masturbate and “change their sex as they wish”. These people are not afraid to put up posters claiming “Don’t touch our gender stereotypes!” Back to the cover, CH illustrated these ridiculous fears by having a teacher dressed as a transvestite pervert giving a seemingly scholar course about sex. Translated, it can give something like: “Globanal or sylladick method?” CH is poking fun at such paranoid speculations: no, teachers are not going to dress in bras and panties to teach children how to fuck and whatnot.

4. During the general elections, the nationalist party was elected in much more areas than we anticipated. Needless to say, this was alarming. In the above cover, the cartoon represents a Frenchman killing himself with a bullet whose trail takes the shape of the nationalist party logo. The caption titles “Desperate? You’re right, go on and kill yourself!” meaning French people are killing themselves by voting for the FN.

5. This is a reference to Nazi skinheads. Here we have Marine Le Pen on a horse that symbolises the Trojan Horse, pretending she doesn’t know that her party is problematically racist and ethnocentric, and much more: “Skinheads? I’ve no idea what these are!” all while skinheads are filling the horse underneath her, bats in hands, with the intention of harming people. Moreover, again, she is wearing the nationalist logo on her arm. You should know that by now, she alone has filed 40 complaints against Charlie Hebdo’s attacks against her and the FN. Edit : someone remarked that she’s also dressed as Joan of Arc, historical figure who fought for France against the English and also a symbol of the FN.

6. The lifeless head is that of Mohamed Merah, whom we have seen earlier. This cover basically bears the same kind of criticism as the second one: the imagery tells us that Sarkozy, ex-President from the right wing UMP, is using the Toulouse killings to encourage people to vote for him during the presidential election of 2012, as he is slipping the head into a ballot box as if it were a voting paper.

7. “Sarkozy is finished!” says the headline on the newspapers the servant is holding. “Fear changes sides” claims the caption. This is a critical view of upper-class, rich people who often hire women of color to do their laundry, take care of the children, etc and how the end of Sarkozy’s presidency may change things the privileges they have.

8. We have here a priest with a kid on his knees. The above caption is saying “Private school” (or public, in British English), assuming we’re in a Catholic private school. The priest tells the kid “If you’re nice with me, I’ll take you to the anti-fags demonstration”. The cartoon denounces the paedophilic acts perpetrated by the Church along with their hypocrisy towards same-sex marriage, meaning they have no lesson to give to anyone in terms of morality.

9. On this cover, a bishop is confessing his paedophilic acts. In response, the Pope advises him to “turn to cinema, like Polanski did”. Reminder: Polanski raped a 13 year old girl in 1977. Again, this is criticism against the scandalous paedophilia perpetrated by members or the Church, but it also points out the fact that being famous can absolve you of past criminal activity, like many other male celebrities often cited on Tumblr (Chris Brown, Bill Murray, etc).

10. Last year, a member of the FN, Florian Philippot, was revealed to be gay by a gossip newspaper with pictures of him and his partner. Knowing how much the right wing hurt the movement for gay marriage and the general opinions the party has of homosexuality, this was obviously a scandal. People have commented that it was unacceptable to out someone, others appreciated this bit of transparency. In any case, this cover makes fun of the far-right party again. The caption says “Philippot’s parents are shocked” while the parents declare: “We didn’t know he was extreme right” which is yet another euphemism and a reversal of the scandalous aspect of the case. We all knew he was a member of the FN, but we certainly didn’t expect to discover he was, ironically, gay.

Part II.