Mixed Media

Charlie Hebdo Unveils First Cover Since Paris Massacre Featuring Image of Muhammad

| Tue Jan. 13, 2015 4:15 PM EST

Warning: An image of the controversial cover appears below.

Charlie Hebdo unveiled the cover illustration for its first issue following last week's deadly attack on the magazine. The cover, for what is being dubbed the "survivors' issue," features an image of the Prophet Muhammad holding a "Je Suis Charlie" sign. The words "Tous Est Pardonné"—"All Is Forgiven"—hang above. A tear is falling from his eye.

"We don't feel any hate to them," cartoonist Zineb El Rhazoui, who survived the attack and worked on the new edition, told the BBC, referring to the terrorists. "We know that the struggle is not with them as people, but the struggle is with an ideology." Asked if the cover might alienate Muslims who have spoken out against the violence and in support of the satirical magazine—after all, Islam prohibits the portrayal of Muhammad—she said that Islam ought to be treated like any other religion and that anyone who is offended need not buy the issue.

Charlie Hebdo's decision to print an image of the prophet appears to be in direct defiance of the two terrorists who executed 12 of the magazine's staff members last week. Past covers in which the prophet was illustrated, many times in crude or offensive light, have drawn the ire of Muslims throughout the world, prompting repeated threats of violence against the controversial publication. Since the attack in Paris, various news outlets, including the New York Times and the Associated Press, said they would not be publishing Charlie Hebdo images depicting the prophet because of its "deliberately provocative" intent. Other publications, including the Washington Post and the Guardian, have gone ahead and published the latest cover, citing freedom of speech, the covers' newsworthy element, and the special role that scorching satire has in French political and cultural life. For the Post, it is the first time a depiction of the prophet has appeared. Executive Editor Martin Baron said that although the paper prohibits material that is "deliberately" offensive, Charlie Hebdo's newest cover did not meet that measure; the Guardian explained it would be publishing this cover because of its "news value."

While Charlie Hebdo has historically skewered all religions and various government figures, in the past few years, its editors have specifically targeted Islam. Given France's fraught relations with its Muslim population, many have questioned whether Charlie Hebdo went too far, or as one French politician once put it, chose to "pour oil on the fire." Following last week's attack, Adam Shatz wrote in the London Book of Review:

Charlie Hebdo had an equal opportunity policy when it came to giving offense, but in recent years it had come to lean heavily on jokes about Muslims, who are among the most vulnerable citizens in France. Assia [a pseudonym Shatz refers to in his piece] does not believe in censorship, but wonders: "Is this really the time for cartoons lampooning the Prophet, given the situation of North Africans in France?"…If France continues to treat French men of North African origin as if they were a threat to "our" civilisation, more of them are likely to declare themselves a threat, and follow the example of the Kouachi brothers. This would be a gift both to Marine Le Pen and the jihadists, who operate from the same premise: that there is an apocalyptic war between Europe and Islam. We are far from that war, but the events of 7 January have brought us a little closer.

The issue is set for release January 14, with an estimated 3 million copies being printed. The normal circulation for the magazine has been 60,000.

 

Update, January 14, 2015, 8:50 a.m. EST: After copies sell out in France, Charlie Hebdo raised its print run to 5 million. 

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Jon Stewart Explains What's Wrong With World Leaders Who Censor the Press Claiming #JeSuisCharlie

| Tue Jan. 13, 2015 12:58 PM EST

Citing the importance of political optics, many have vocalized anger over President Obama's notable absence during Sunday's march in Paris showing solidarity with Charlie Hebdo victims. The massive demonstration drew over 1.3 million people, with world leaders including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also in attendance.

Jon Stewart is among those unhappy with the president's decision. But unlike most of Obama's critics this week, The Daily Show host got to the real reason Obama should have joined his fellow heads of state in "the most powerful game of Red Rover ever." 

"How could the U.S. not be there when representatives of such beacons of freedom and lack of censorship as journalist-punishing Russia was there?" Stewart asked. "Journalist-jailing Turkey was there! Egypt, nuff' said! Palestinian-jailing cartoonist Israel was there!"

 

Watch: Maggie Gyllenhaal Just Gave a Perfect Golden Globes Speech

| Sun Jan. 11, 2015 11:05 PM EST

Maggie Gyllenhaal is great. She just won the Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie Golden Globe for "The Honourable Woman." Her speech was perfect.

"I've noticed a lot of people talking about the wealth of roles for powerful women in television lately. And when I look around the room at the women who are here and I think about the performances that I've watched this year what I see actually are women who are sometimes powerful and sometimes not, sometimes sexy, sometimes not, sometimes honorable, sometimes not, and what I think is new is the wealth of roles for actual women in television and in film. That's what I think is revolutionary and evolutionary and it's what's turning me on."

Watch, watch, watch:

Watch Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's Opening Monologue at the Golden Globes

| Sun Jan. 11, 2015 9:38 PM EST

The Golden Globes are tonight! Tina Fey and Amy Poheler are hosting! They just finished up their monologue! They finished up their monoluge with some semi-awkward Bill Cosby jokes!

Watch!

This Is One of the Worst Retractions a Newspaper Has Ever Had to Publish

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 9:04 PM EST

The News-Enterprise in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, had a story on its front page today that paraphrased a local police official as saying that most cops typically go into law enforcement "because they have a desire to shoot minorities." Spicy stuff! Only problem: It never happened.

The paper quickly issued a retraction on its home page and updated the online version of the story—ironically headlined "Law enforcement to be honored for service"—to include a formal apology from editor Ben Sheroan. The corrected story now reads: "Hardin County Sheriff John Ward said those who go into the law enforcement profession typically do it because they have a desire to serve the community."

So what happened? The paper initially called it a "typographical mistake" but that obviously didn't make any sense. Jim Romenesko reports that it was actually a joke mistake. "One [copy desk staffer] wrote the 'shoot minorities' line on the page proof as a joke and the second—in charge of the front page—put it in the story."

Never joke on the page proofs.

Jessica Chastain Hits Back at Russell Crowe's Denial of Hollywood's Ageism Problem

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 4:27 PM EST

Jessica Chastain is firing back at comments made by actor Russell Crowe, after he attempted to explain why there aren't enough roles for women over the age of 40 by blaming unrealistic, female desires to only play the hot young thing.

Crowe's controversial comments came during a recent interview with Australian Women's Weekly:

The best thing about the industry I'm in – movies – is that there are roles for people in all different stages of life. To be honest, I think you'll find that the woman who is saying that (the roles have dried up) is the woman who at 40, 45, 48, still wants to play the ingénue and can’t understand why she's not being cast as the 21 year old.

In response to Crowe's victim-blaming away Hollywood's well-documented ageism problem, Chastain told reporters, "Russell keeps getting his foot stuck in his mouth!"

"There are some incredible actresses in their 50s and 60s that are not getting opportunities in film, and for someone to say there are plenty of roles for women that age, [that] is not someone who's going to the movie theater," she added. 

Riding to Crowe's defense, however, is 18-time Academy Award nominee Meryl Streep:

I read what he said -- all of what he said. It's been misappropriated, what he was talking about. He was talking about himself. The journalist asked him, 'Why don’t you do another 'Gladiator,' you know, everybody loved that.' He said, 'I'm too old. I can't be the gladiator anymore. I'm playing parts that are appropriate to my age. Then the conversation went on to actresses. So that was proving a point, that he was talking about himself, as most actors do. That aside, I agree with him. It's good to live in the place where you are. You can put old age on; it's a lot harder to take it off.

But as Jezebel points out, Streep is not dismissing the charge that Hollywood lacks roles for older women—she has spoken out against both sexism and ageism in the film industry on numerous occasions. Streep is suggesting actors in general play their own age. Chastain is saying that many great actresses aren't given that opportunity. 

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Is Bringing Science to Late Night Television

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 3:39 PM EST

"April is the cruelest month, breeding/ lilacs out of the dead land, mixing," wrote T.S. Eliot. I don't know what the hell he was on about because this April is going to be awesome.

Famous science man Neil deGrasse Tyson's new late-night talk show Star Talk, based on his acclaimed podcast, is coming to the National Geographic Channel in that very merry fourth month of 2015. With it brings the promise of dozens of easily embeddable, highly shareable video clips of Tyson debunking anti-science nonsense to creationists, and explaining actual science goodness to America's sweethearts (movie stars) and black sheep (comedians). The Hollywood Reporter, err, reports:

Star Talk will indeed follow a similar format to Tyson's podcast, which marries science and popular culture and feature interviews with celebrities, comedians and scientists. He's still sorting through all of the elements that he'll add to the television iteration, but he does intend to give Bill Nye a platform for a minute-long rant in each show, much as Andy Rooney had for many years on CBS' 60 Minutes.

Look out, John Oliver: America fucking loves science.

(via NYMag)

Don Lemon to Prominent Muslim Human Rights Lawyer: "Do You Support ISIS?"

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 3:26 PM EST

After Arsalan Iftikhar, a prominent human rights lawyer and editor, explained at length to CNN's perpetually clueless Don Lemon why it's dangerous "to conflate the actions of a very few to a population of 1.7 billion people" when discussing the attack on Charlie Hebdo, Lemon followed up with a stat claiming 16 percent of French citizens support ISIS.

"They obviously have sympathies for that ideology,” Iftikhar said. "I don’t think that would mean they would justify the killing of innocent civilians or murdering people on the streets."

Unsatisfied with Iftikhar's response, Lemon says, "I just want to get more specific. Do you support ISIS?"

"...Did you just ask me if I support ISIS?" Iftikhar asked in apparent disbelief. 

"Mmm hmm," Lemon nodded in confirmation, yet again blinded by the sheer offensiveness of his question.

"I just answered your question. I said that obviously these 16% of people support the ideology, but I don’t think that would necessarily extrapolate to supporting of killing of innocent people. You can have sympathy for an ideology and not support the mass murdering of people."

Watch below:

(h/t Mediaite)

"They Were Brave. And They Are Dead." Best Friend of Paris Cartoonists Honors Fallen Comrades.

| Thu Jan. 8, 2015 1:22 PM EST
Mourners hold signs depicting victims' eyes during a rally in support of Charlie Hebdo, in Union Square in New York.

Our friend and Mother Jones alum Sydney Brownstone has published an extraordinary interview today over at The Stranger: A Q&A with a French editor who gave refuge to Charlie Hebdo staff members after the weekly's offices were fire-bombed in 2011, and who counted the murdered cartoonists amongst his best friends. Nicolas Demorand is the former editor-in-chief of the leftist French newspaper Libération, which was founded by Jean-Paul Sartre, and Brownstone reached him at the end of a truly harrowing day in Paris—after protests swept into the streets.

The interview is well worth your time. Amidst overwhelming grief, Demorand eloquently—and with great dignity—discusses the issues emanating from yesterday's attack: suburban disadvantage in France, American missteps post-9/11, the threat of hard-line right-wing parties scoring points using tragedy, and the meaning of secularism in France today. But this bit instantly made my hairs stand on end, as it would anyone who works in journalism:

You know, I cried all day long. I never cry. You know, we're journalists. We know about shit, about sadness, about horror, about misery, about terror, about all that shit. We know about that. I cried all day long, you know. They killed the best guys. They killed the best guys. It's horrible. It's really horrible.

Read the whole interview at The Stranger.

Future Scientist Investigates Ice, Falls Adorably, Wins Everything

| Mon Jan. 5, 2015 7:52 PM EST

This video is from last year but it popped up on Digg today and I really don't care that it's old because today is the first real work day of 2015 and that's sad because work and the passage of time are two of the main reasons I'm going prematurely gray. So, instead of letting that frown sit unturned upside down, press play and, awwwww.

Here is a GIF of the moment when, in Mother Jones copy editor Ian Gordon's words, "someone takes her batteries out."