4 years ago5,000+ Views
The legendary cartoonist Robert Crumb sat down with Celia Farber from the Observer for an interview about the recent massacre in Paris. Robert has lived in France in 1991 and has some great insight on the attack, what the French people thing, and how things should be handled going forward. Robert claims that merciless, political satire is something very highly valued by the french people. The idea is that you offend those who abuse power. Robert Crumb knew the guys at Charlie Hebdo, not very well, but working in the same field for 20 years he has communicated with them and grew to know them. Robert claims that editor and staff knew what chances they were taking, with the fire bombing in 2011, the sanctioned security, even the editor claimed he'd "rather die standing than live on my knees." Robert realizes that many people think the cartoon was tasteless, and he himself didn't understand why someone would make a career out of provoking crazy religious fanatics. That being said, when asked to make a crude cartoon of Muhammed for the publication Liberation, Robert was quick to do so. Robert said, "You know, that's the most I've stuck my neck out for a long time..." He was compelled after the shooting to stand up for freedom of speech, what his acquaintances lost their lives for. Crumb now jokes with his wife that he will have to go into hiding, I truly hope that is not that case and that he and his wife can live safely. I have the utmost respect for the cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo, standing up to those who abuse power is never an easy thing to do. As an American I feel we are scared to stand up to anyone with power, whether they would harm us or not. But these men, they knew it was likely that they would die. Some of them never married, never got credit cards, and just kept things simple because he knew how possible it was. The arts have always been a medium of expression without boundary. Just look at famous artists like Robert Maplethorpe and the US court cases he won against those who saw his artistic expression as obscene. A cartoonist's struggle is no different. I will always respect what they did, their courage for standing in the face of oppressive people and not backing down is just astounding. A good step in recognizing their sacrifice is what Robert Crumb did, putting his neck out their even though he didn't want to put himself in harms way. When it comes down to it freedom of speech won't live if we stand idly by and let others use fear as a form of oppression.
I agree, @amog32. That kind of stuff really makes me cringe.
Like @dillonk, I'm happy to see the support, I only wish that I didn't have to see the outright and misplaced hate that has come along with it.
Vulgar imagery aside, I complete respect the attempt to ridicule those who abuse power through the arts. It's a medium of expression just like speech. It's a terrible tragedy, but I'm happy to see the massive uprising of support for Charlie Hebdo from artists like Crumb and society in general.
I had no idea Robert Crumb was living in Paris, strangely enough. What brave people, and what a brave man for standing up to these dangerous people.
The art he did, too is interesting, and satire certainly has its place in a growing society, but I wonder what others who are feeling sensitive about further instigation feel about such a work.
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