. . . before he realized it was wrong to “punch down”:
Since this is the year 1436 in the Islamic calendar, that was only 49 years ago. Furthermore, since the Islamic calendar is lunar, and has a year of 354 days, 1387 would have been the Gregorian year 1967-8 (48 years by a solar calendar). Not only have I heard of familial grudges lasting longer than that, I’ve experienced them.
…but you’re assuming Trudeau knew than, which I doubt.
What makes your supposition (that he didn’t know that) any less probable than mine (that he did)? Trudeau may be acting like a jerk over this Charlie Hebdo thing, but he’s neither stupid nor uneducated, and the Islamic calendar is hardly esoteric knowledge.
Even if Trudeau did know, there’s a reasonable expectation that he’d use a Gregorian calendar anyway, either (i) because the Shiite character speaking was doing so to an an American who would likely not be familiar with the Islamic calendar, and/or (ii) because Trudeau would have known that the bulk of his audience would not be familiar with it.
I respond to your points this way: i. Making the American character culturally ignorant makes Trudeau’s point in this strip more trenchant ii. when did Trudeau ever give a shit about whether or not something would go over his readership’s head?
To which I will add this: I will accept your and Karl Elvis’ exuberant insistence that I cannot possibly right when you call or send an email to Trudeau himself and ask him what the situation is with the date in this strip. Otherwise, all you are doing is arguing over a point that can never be proven without the intervention of the originating party. In that, you remind me of people who argue in favor of the inerrancy and truth value of scripture, another point that can never be proven without the the intervention of the originating party.
It seems achingly obvious to me that Trudeau expected the bulk of his audience (which certainly included me) would assume he meant what we think of as 1387–or 700+ years ago, whether he knew of the Islamic calendar or not.
I thought you were joking at first.
So you’re interpretation is that the joke is *not* about the cartoonishly absurd culture of honor, vengeance, violence and tribalism in some parts of the Islamic world, but about cartoonishly ignorant Americans who should be aware that 1387 was only 49 years ago according to one of many calendars?
Umm … don’t you think that the entire point of the strip is to depict the craziness of the Iraqi’s vendetta? The joke doesn’t really work at all if the murder he wants to avenge isn’t 600+ years ago. As Diane put it, it seems achingly obvious.
This part of Mr. Blair’s comment:
“Making the American character culturally ignorant makes Trudeau’s point in this strip more trenchant”
makes me think that s/he doesn’t see the joke being about the Iraqi’s vendetta at all, rather about the “culturally ignorant American”. Which I think is a wildly mistaken interpretation.
Oops. I was careful not to assume gender with the pronoun. Dropped the ball with the honorific.
Of course it never, ever occurred to you that maybe Trudeau was working both sides of the street? Creative people do that all the time. When you work with writers, artists and designers, you get used to this and expect it. Maybe that’s a bar that’s a little too high. Go listen to some Firesign Theatre.
I think some people are seriously over-thinking and that the point of Trudeau’s cartoon had nothing to do with the Islamic calendar and everything to do with grudges based on events that happened over 1,000 years ago.
So the joke is that a blood-feud persevering for >only a half-century is reasonable?
The most infamous such feud in American history, the one between the Hatfields & McCoys, lasted less than half that time. That feud is universally considered the canonical example of how not to settle an inter-family dispute. Neither party is esteemed for its equanimity or held up as a paragon of neighborly virtue.
If the time calculation is as you propose, Trudeau’s cartoon loses much of its ironic edge. But it hardly gives rise to an obverse punch-line.
People like this always turn out to be hypocrites. We shouldn’t be surprised.
People like this?? You mean, like one of the greatest humorists and satirist of the 20th century?
No, people who have a self righteous certainty.
People who have forsaken examining evidence but instead cling to doctrinaire positions.
People who ready to condemn others for the slightest perceived misstep within that doctrinaire evidence light rigid world view.
KD33, I’m SO with you. It really hurts to see him thrown under the bus like this.
I think he climbed under there himself
Live by the pen, die by the pen, unless you punch in the wrong direction, then die by bullets.
I thought you meant Pierre Trudeau, the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada in the 70s and 80s,who took delight in being politically incorrect. Now his son Justin has been leader of the LPC for a couple of years and is sooooo PC that he gives me the dry heaves. He has forced me and my wife, and countless others I suspect, to cancel our memberships in the LPC. LPC = Liberal Party of Canada. I guess I should have known whom you meant, given all the brouhaha over Charlie Hebdo.
Old Pierre had a young wife name of Maggie, used to party with The Stones, right? Whatever became of her?
Maggie’s still around.
Don’t confuse her with Bianca Jagger.
I wonder what new Trudeau would think of the old Trudeau?
I have never, since he assumed the leadership of the LPC, been able to decipher what the young JT thinks of PET. I suspect that he, genetically at least,is much closer to his mother than his father. Justin T. was certainly not my choice for leader !
But compared to “Our Fearless Leader”, Stevie Harper??
Now there’s the Tanner ’88-writing, disabled-vet-helping, Jane-Pauley-marrying cartoonist I liked and admired!
I remember this excellent one!
Hey, I’m against “punching down” (personally, and in principle; I don’t think there should be any legal penalty for doing so). But anyone who thinks that Islamic terrorists, or the Muslim offense-and-insult mongers on campus, are “down” is spatially disoriented.
Both groups have arrogated privilege to themselves — the first, through their exclusive use of private, retributive violence; the second, by endeavoring to place their ideology above criticism — that makes them ripe for skewering by any means available.
I could not agree more with your post.
I wonder is demonizing the life’s work of several murdered unarmed cartoonists counts as “punching up” or “punching down”.
It’s definitely punching down as those cartoonists cannot punch back in any way now, and cowtowing to a bunch of overzealous thugs who are prone to murdering to anyone who disagrees with them in any way. Gary Trudeau has lost his mind if he thinks mocking such thugs is in any way “punching down” and I’d guess the Gary’s younger self of a decade or more ago would be ashamed of his elder self.
If you are attacking someone who is six feet under, seems obvious that you are “punching down”.
My feelings too, Ken.
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