Navel gazing can have its limits !

Late Summer on the East Coast of Australia (southern hemisphere). Warm to hot days in Sydney. Long evening Shadows in Perth, Western Australia. Humidity in Brisbane, Queensland. In recent years,  prolonged  heat waves in Adelaide, South Australia. Bushfires in the southern part of the Continent and floods in the North….

In the northern hemisphere, cold blizzards and icy weather delay the travel plans of many a holiday maker in London and New York….

It’s a reminder that we are part of a larger world than our own.

It’s all too easy to think we are the only ones on “our planet”.

The image-makers and wider Media assist in this regard by  “taking us out of our little worlds” via television…smart phones…personal computers…and FM/AM/Digital Radio .

I remember years ago (and occasionally still hear) The Seekers, an Australian Music Folk group, singing:

“We’ll build a world of our own that no one else can share…”

Navel gazing can have its limits !

Je Suis Charlie - Französische Botschaft Berlin 2

Je Suis Charlie – Französische Botschaft Berlin 2

“I am (NOT) Charlie” took its time to appear shortly after those terrible events in France.  The Paris Office and Staff of the legendary satirical magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’( named, I believe, after a former President and War Hero General Charles de Gaulle) were attacked and killed by a group who took exception to that Publication’s offensive cartoon portrayal of a revered Islamic religious figure (one of many in recent years, including Emeritus Pope Benedict, Jesus the Nazarene and so on).The response ? Hundreds of thousands of “Je suis Charlie” twitter feeds/facebook/street protest placards… (I even saw one sign which read “Jesus (is) Charlie”).

Personally, I felt alienated from the mass outpouring of emotion. For me, so called “free speech” and the “right” to say/express anything one likes, is a bit of a worry. I don’t think that I am free to insult others in a way which affects their right to hold/uphold certain beliefs/values; I would not want to offend another on the basis of their religious conviction, even if I didn’t agree with it…

The magazine in question has a “reputation” for attacking (albeit satirically) “sacred cows” such as religious figures (alive or dead); it is part of that Nation’s post-French Revolutionary Constitutional Charter.

Provocative behaviour, in my view, however,no matter how well intended, moves beyond so called “satire” when it belittles, demeans, “makes fun of” and derides, for the sake of “being funny”.

True, I don’t support the actions of the criminal mind to take matters into their own hands; revenge has no place either. However, there are , I believe, legitimate grievances regarding the way satirical presentations are made.

I cringe at times at our own “comedians” here in Australia who use crudity and crassness to “poke fun”; call me a “fuddy-duddy” and a “prude” but honestly: do we have to “scrape the bottom of the barrel” to get a giggle at the expense of good humour ?

I think we sometimes don’t accept that there are boundaries beyond which one should not overreach.

I certainly question whether we have “lost it” ourselves (in the West) at times…and I feel we just don’t get it – we find it hard to tell the difference between “funny humour” and funny “sendup” !

“I am NOT Charlie”.

Indeed !