Charlie Hebdo and Free Speech

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What a terrible way to start the day. I knew it was bad when I saw all my favorite artists begin posting “Je Suis Charlie” on Instagram. Yes, I found out through Instagram, and soon I was reading The New York Times in horror. I’m not sure if it’s my fear that the attack against free speech is going to get worse before it gets better, that artists always get targetted during the darkest times, or that satire absolutely infuriates humorless factions with guns. But when cartoonists and journalists are targeted, whether they were political satirists or not, it feels like a direct threat to everyone who holds a pencil, draws pretty/disgusting things or has a story to tell.

Here’s an article about the four cartoonists who were killed today.

Here’s the Cartoonists Rights Website.

Here’s some social media coverage on BoingBoing.

If you look on twitter #jesuischarlie, you’ll see an enormous outpouring of artists, all sad and horrified and all determined to upkeep free speech and draw.

One of my realizations at the end of 2014 was that I usually get quiet when difficult subjects come up and get lost in my own little world of making beautiful things. But making beautiful art /IS/ power, in the face of violence, oppression and fear, we have to make beautiful things. I stand by my contemporaries who have the fight and balls to look politics, religion and terrible things in the face and draw them.

We need publications like Charlie Hebdo, and the writers and artists behind them, to challenge, reveal and instigate. To make people laugh at the uncomfortable.

For now I feel sad, but I picked up my pen and drew my first self-portrait of the year.

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