However, leftist Nick Cohen is more polite than I am:
She objects to PEN honouring “white Europeans killed in their office by Muslim extremists”.
Anyhow, this is URGENTLY important and I’m getting tired of explaining it to people:
Those who shout the loudest about respecting “diversity” and the culture of others, cannot stir themselves to respect the French enough to learn their language and understand their culture. If they did, they would know that Charlie Hebdo is a left-wing magazine, which used Boko Haram to parody conservatives so lost in paranoia they imagined enslaved Nigerian women were threatening to come to France and steal their money. (…)
…no one who understood Parisian culture could fail to see that Charlie Hebdo was mocking the prejudices of the French Right.
When I worked at a big Catholic publishing company and the new catechism was coming out, we were the obvious choice to publish the children’s version, “written” (that isn’t quite the word but you know what I mean) by Madame Berube (because that’s what everyone called her), who “wrote” the catechism of my childhood, Come To the Father.
Because this company was cheap, they thought:
“Right, all we have to do is take the (Parisian) French galleys, which are all done, illustrations and all, strip out the French text and shove in an English translation.”
So Berube and this whole entourage show up at our Toronto office. We go into the boardroom and my boss unfurls the French galleys.
It’s a cliche to say “she almost had a heart attack” but that really did happen.
Struggling with her normally quite decent high school/college/on the job French, my boss panted and wheezed:
“Mais… mais… Madame Berube… c’est… non… la…”
Because one of the pages in the French galleys — obviously something about how we are all God’s children — was this total, absolute 1947 style “It’s A Small World After All” illustration of…
Little black kids and little white kids and little yellow kids, all in their “national” costumes.
And by “yellow” I mean that the Chinese children literally looked like this:
And none of the Frenchies at the meeting could comprehend what that problem was.
Of course, the whole thing had to be scrapped and ended up costing us way more than anticipated, just like every other thing that company ever did, which is why I tried to quit three times and they kept giving me raises to stay and I finally ran away after lasting an incredible four years trying to WORK WITH GODDAMN FRENCH PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC.
It’s like we all know that Japanese culture is crazy and kinky, and “English eccentrics” used to be a thing.
Yes, there are would-be intelligent, sophisticates who didn’t know this when the Charlie Hebdo thing happened but I assumed they were typical “young people today” who know fuck all about fuck.
But I promise that ALL the asswipes like Ondaatje and company know this, because they are older, well-travelled individuals who don’t think The Breakfast Club is “an old movie” or whatever.
They are pretending they don’t know this — while simultaneously insisting that we notice their moral and intellectual superiority.
THAT is what makes their putrid horribleness even more contemptible.