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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Last Laugh

I cried for Cabu.

Last time I did that for a satirist was in 1988, when Pierre Desproges died 'of a short and funny illness', as he dubbed cancer in the epitaph he wrote for the occasion. But precisely because Desproges died of the cancer he said he wouldn't get because he was against it, I had time to mourn him long before he passed away*.

Yesterday, Cabu was murdered with AK-47 rifles. Among the other victims: fellow journalists, cartoonists, Charlie Hebdo employees, policemen... humans who chose to fight against different kinds of cancers (the kind that can eat away whole societies).

The image that sprang to my mind, when I learned that Cabu had been assassinated, was his 'Grand Duduche', a misfit who, disarmingly candidly, exposes the misfitness of our times.

Cabu's Le Grand Duduche -
Of course, I preferred Cabu the acerbic caricaturist, just like I adored the ferociously provocative Desproges. But these two mighty pens were carried by two true humanists. And each time I think of them, I first see two kids with irresistibly facetious smiles.

If death ultimately claims us all, humorists tend to develop a special relationship with it on the way - I actually define humor as the ability to accept death in general and one's weakness in particular, in order to make life in general more acceptable, and one's existence in particular more bearable to others.

And if satirists are not indestructible, all attempts to destroy satire tend to backfire: cancer made Desproges go even further, terrorists turned Cabu and his colleagues into global heroes, and actually helped atheists and true believers unite, hackers provided a record (and probably undeserved) publicity for 'The Interview', censors got Hong Sung-dam's 'Sewol Owol' exposed in the New York Times...

So yes, you can try to hack a media with machetes and AK47s, but satirists will always have the last laugh:


UPDATE 20150112: yesterday, over 300 showed up for the #JeSuisCharlie rally in Seorae Maeul, hundreds of thousands across the globe, millions in France.

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* and long after, of course - see "Peut-on rire de la mort ?" (1990), "20 ans de séparation" (2008). NB: Desproges was born a few months after Cabu, who would have turned 77 next week.

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