“They have weapons. F**k them. We have champagne.”
It’s goofy but graphic, funny and disturbing. Bubbly gushes out of bullet holes, spewing in arcs like the Fontaines de la Concorde. The man looks like he’s dancing; if he were real, he’d be dying. Charlie Hebdo’s response to Friday’s attacks acts as a kind of visual counterpoint to the viral “Peace for Paris” picture by Jean Jullien. Where Jullien’s image calms, Charlie Hebdo’s challenges.
So, exactly what one might expect from the minds behind Charlie Hebdo, which has a long history of detonating provocative imagery like a bomb.
The cover is Charlie Hebdo’s response to the terrorist attacks on Paris last Friday that killed 129 people. It’s been less than a year since Charlie Hebdo was itself the target of a violent attack; in January, 12 people were killed in a shooting at the Charlie Hebdo offices. The magazine had lampooned the Prophet Muhammad on its latest cover — not new territory for the publication; in 2011, the office was hit by a firebomb after Charlie Hebdo published a spoof issue that was “guest edited” by the Prophet Muhammad and named “Charia Hebdo,” a reference to “Shariah law” — in a cartoon that wished a Happy New Year “and particularly good health” to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
After the 2011 bombing, the magazine’s front page depicted a bearded Muslim man and a male Charlie Hebdo cartoonist kissing in front of the still-burning Charlie Hebdo offices. The cover line: “L’Amour plus fort que la haine.” (Love is stronger than hate.) And the magazine went on to feature Prophet Mohammad caricatures in future issues, against the wishes of the French government. Days after the 2015 shooting, the magazine featured a cartoon of — who else? — the Prophet Mohammed on the cover. He was holding a sign that read “Je suis Charlie.”