Punching Down and Shooting Back

Every now and then someone will die, and I see the headline and think, “What? He was still alive?” That’s how it is with Doonesbury. Is it still being published? I have no idea. But its author, Garry Trudeau, is still around. He came out of retirement, perhaps, to attack Charlie Hebdo.

In his younger days I suppose Trudeau would have claimed to be an advocate of free speech, but no longer. He has joined most others on the Left in the view that whether speech is free or not depends on whether it conforms to leftist dogmas. Thus, Charlie Hebdo’s satirizing of Islam was “hate speech.” While he doesn’t quite come out and say it, Trudeau seems to think that the magazine’s editors had it coming:

Traditionally, satire has comforted the afflicted while afflicting the comfortable. Satire punches up, against authority of all kinds, the little guy against the powerful. …

By punching downward, by attacking a powerless, disenfranchised minority with crude, vulgar drawings closer to graffiti than cartoons, Charlie wandered into the realm of hate speech, which in France is only illegal if it directly incites violence.

Which, of course, it did. The minority in question turned out not to be powerless after all–something that Charlie Hebdo’s editors could explain to Trudeau, if they were still around to do so. How can you tell which minorities it is proper to satirize? By whether they are likely to shoot you, apparently. Trudeau spent his career unfairly attacking Republicans, so he never had to worry.

One of the comments on the linked unz.com post sums up Doonesbury perfectly: “Forgotten, but not gone.”