The Charlie Hebdo horrors in Gay Paree reinforce my gratitude for the journalistic environment we have here in Texas.
Before the deranged disciples of Allah all but annihilated the French magazine’s editorial staff last month, the most dangerous place for ink-slingers to work was Mexico.
Drug cartel killings of Mexican journalists all but eliminated what free press might have existed south of the border. And media reports on Mexico’s drug business are little more than a distant memory today.
Such is not the case in France.
Talk about waving a red flag in the bull’s face.
In Texas we have bumper stickers that read Don’t Mess With Texas.
There are no stickers in France that say Don’t Fuck With The Prophet Muhammad.
Charlie Hebdo, France’s National Lampoon with no governor on religion spoofery, paid a big price for ridiculing Islam’s prophet.
Magazine staff killed
Two Muslim radical brothers killed 12 members of the Charlie Hebdo staff before Paris police wiped them out in a shootout.
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the magazine killings.
Showing no fear, Charlie Hebdo responded with yet another front cover cartoon lampoon of Muhammad.
A blow for freedom of expression? Or an exercise in journalistic insanity? No matter which, I admire Charlie Hebdo’s guts.
I have always tried to steer clear of religious doctrine and sectarian gobbledegook.
I do admit to being a big fan of Mahatma Gandhi.
Gandhi said God has no religion.
Gandhi also said: “I like your Christ. I do not like your
Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
All of which confirms what I have always believed. Jesus hasn’t caused trouble for anyone.The ill will came from members of His fan club.
Hate the Joneses
I have always believed that it was both moral and true to Tom Landry’s memory to hate the sin but love the sinner. Gandhi said it long before me. I love the Dallas Cowboys, but I will forever hate Jerry Jones.
Contrary to my upbringing, the Jews don’t believe that Jesus was the son of God, and I understood perfectly what my friend Kinky Friedman meant when he said, “Jesus was a damn good ole boy.”
I can hold still for most any belief system. I didn’t even panic when a priest in a long gown splashed water on my head at my friend’s rosary.
But the Islamic radical is a camel of another color.
Here is a dude who believes it to be perfectly okay for him to marry little girls and chop the heads off his fellow men, yet fears the wrath of Allah and the imps of Hades if caught eating a ham sandwich.
It’s hard for caricature artists and professional jokesters to ignore turd hounds like this.
Long before Charlie Hebdo’s first volley at the Prophet Muhammad, National Hockey League Hall of Fame member Jiggs McDonald was taking his own irreverent shots at Islam.
Now a noted Canadian broadcaster, McDonald was speaking in Ontario when he said: “I am truly perplexed that so many of my friends are against another mosque being built in Toronto. I think it should be the goal of every Canadian to be tolerant regardless of their religious beliefs. Thus the mosque should be allowed in an effort to promote tolerance.
“This is why I also propose that two nightclubs be opened next door to the mosque, thereby promoting tolerance from within the mosque. We could call one of the cubs, which would be gay, The Turban Cowboy, and the other, a topless bar, would be called You Mecca Me Hot. Next door should be a butcher shop that specializes in pork, and adjacent to that an open-pit barbecue pork restaurant called Iraq of Ribs.
“Across the street there could be a lingerie store called Victoria Keeps Nothing Secret, with sexy mannequins in the window modeing the goods, and on the other side a liquor store called Morehammered.
“All of this would encourage Muslims to demonstrate the tolerance they demand of us. Yes we should promote tolerance, and you can do your part by passing this information on. And if you are not laughing or smiling at this point, it is either past your bedtime or it’s midnight at the oasis and time to put your camel to bed.”
No Zetas back when
When I was writing a column for the San Antonio Express-News back in the 1970s, there were no Charlie Hebdo assaults anywhere, and the bloodthirsty Zetas who have paralyzed Mexico editorial boards were years from assassinating their first poor newspaper reporter.
The French magazine has reared up and bared its teeth at the radical Islamic world, a laudatory blow for the free press. But it should be noted that all of France, including all branches of law enforcement, has demonstrated a rock-solid support for Charlie Hebdo and other sacrilegious publications of like ilk.
In Mexico, the poor newspaper reporter enjoys no protection from the bad guys, and law enforcement officials who aren’t hiding out with the media guys are already on the cartel payrolls.
When we were emerging from journalism school, the textbook phantasy of a fearless Evil Eye Fleagle reporter in a trench coat was imprinted with still wet ink in our brains. Nobody could then imagine a force so sinister and threatening as the Gulf Cartel or the violent corpse-making Zetas.
I believe it would be hard for me to condemn any surviving member of the Charlie Hebdo staff should he or she elect to get another job.
I’m ready to testify that the Prophet Muhammad was probably a damn good old boy, for self preservation is an inherent attribute to be cherished. And I have never had to trudge in the shoes of a Mexican newspaper reporter.
Had I have walked out of the Express-News city room to view Dan Cook or Paul Thompson swinging from the Nolan Street bridge, I would have hung up my typewriter ribbon on the spot.