In the wake of the massacre at the offices of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, the American media, both mainstream and social, has almost become a satire of itself. We have a media landscape in which everyone feels the need to say everything there is to say about an event within the first few days afterward, and which rewards those with the loudest voices and the hottest and most controversial takes. Americans who had surely never even read an issue of Charlie Hebdo decided to twist what the magazine stood for to fit their predetermined agendas based on what seems like a few Google image searches for a small sample of its cartoons.
To some, they were the bad boy defenders of free speech who were really righteously sticking it to those reactionary Muslims. To others, they became a racist magazine who used their satire to punch down. We are in the somewhat surreal situation of using the chilling murder of satirists to discuss ethics in satire journalism.
This has lead to an frankly bizarrely earnest hashtag war between #JeSuisCharlie and #JeNeSuisPasCharlie.
If ever you've doubted American media and discourse is going down the toilet in the internet age, then there is no better evidence than the fact that we've responded to a major tragedy that could have far reaching effects across the globe by arguing over the proper use of Twitter hashtags to represent how we feel about silly cartoons.More »