Wednesday, January 07, 2015

#JeSuisCharlie and David Bowie’s teeth

I realise I’ve been rather slack of late in the attention I’ve been paying to this silly little blog, but really, does it matter what I write or don’t write. I did have a few vague ideas for writing something about the apparent modest upsurge in sales of print books versus e-books, with particular reference to the covetable designs of the past two or three Murakami titles; and I also toyed with being sardonic about the fact that someone made a sculpture based on David Bowie’s teeth. But ultimately, I was thinking, hey, it’s just a blog, who cares?

And then, on the way back from a visit to review a restaurant (it was very good, by the way, thanks for asking) I found out about the Charlie Hebdo attack. And you think you’ve become, immune, numb to such horrors, and in terms of numbers it wasn’t even the worst terrorist attack of the day but something about the scenario in Paris overwhelmed me. Some people drew some silly cartoons, so some other people went round and killed them. All sorts of words came to mind, disproportionate, barbaric, counter-productive but the one that kept banging around my head was “stupid”. This wasn’t really about religion or politics, it was about people who have invested their whole selves in an identity of wilful, blinkered stupidity and when they see anything that challenges it (because even if a cartoon is silly, it can still be clever) their only response is bullets or bombs. Just like the recent school attacks by the Taliban and Boko Haram, this was about not being able to cope with any manifestation of intelligence or curiosity or critical that might threaten one’s own lumpen, black-and-white view of the world. And I started spewing on social media, mainly links to some of the other cartoons that people have been drawing in recent hours in support of their slain colleagues. And ultimately it doesn’t really matter what I say on Twitter, what pictures I put on Facebook or Flickr, or even whether I go back to regular postings on this blog. Except that it does matter, because I can say things and suddenly it’s very important that if I can, I do. And the same applies to all of you. Say it. Write it. Draw it. Because you can. Because the fact that you can matters and it suddenly matters even more.

Sorry, I’m still so sad and angry that this isn’t really going anywhere. In a few days I’ll come back and it’ll be all about Bowie’s teeth again. But for now I’ll just repeat something I wrote on Twitter a few hours ago, that felt like howling into the void but a few people said they appreciated it: If your faith is so fragile that it can be troubled by a silly cartoon, is it worth even being faithful?


Anonymous said...

I've managed to find a blog that i actually enjoy reading and you're wondering if it matters whether you write?! Please continue Mr Footman. I'm currently working through your back pages - yes, I know blogs are meant to be of the moment but that's how much I enjoy your posts. Apologies for the Anonymous comment - I don't have a Blogger account or whatever it is you need etc.

Martin said...

An excellent piece, as ever. Your closing remark about the fragility of such faith seems spot on, to me. I've linked to this post from - hope that's okay.

Tim F said...

Thank you, Anonymous. It's comments such as yours that prod me to get off my arse and write.

And thank you as well, Martin. Of course it's okay.

Robert Swipe said...


Say it. Write it. Draw it.

(Especially if it's about David Bowie's Teeth)