The Nazis Lost, So Caricaturing Them Is “Punching Down” – satire

By Garry Trudeau, cartoonist

People trying to defend Charlie Hebdo’s artists on free speech grounds might have an argument, but the exercise of free expression carries responsibility. One may not abuse that right just to offend a persecuted minority – which is why I pose the question: with the Nazis out of power and long ago subjected to humiliating defeat, who among us would now exploit that downtrodden Nazi status by caricaturing them? That would be punching down, when satirists must always punch up…

…The next time you see Neo-Nazis or their ilk demonstrating against immigrants, Jews, or some other group, let it go. They’ve suffered humiliating defeat, and we must bite our tongues – and our caricaturists’ pens – before we boorishly and unwisely bash those who do not enjoy the political advantages we take for granted….

…Mockery, as Charlie Hebdo’s treatment of Muslim mores shows, must only be directed at those who wield genuine power. Muslims only control several dozens countries and the bulk of the oil trade, plus all the government-controlled journalism in their societies and ownership of several Western outlets. And the Nazis no longer control a thing. All the more so must we avoid insulting them…

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