Lisa’s Logos: French satire under fire


Lisa Nhan , Managing Editor

I have always been questioned about my pursuit in journalism.  From adults who constantly reminded me of the “poor” job prospects or the fellow peers who failed to see why I would spend my time writing stories most people would never read, the time I’ve spent reporting and writing has always faced scrutiny. It, apparently, was never worth the time.  But, in light of the recent tragedy of what has happened at Charlie Hebdo, I am reminded why I am proud to call myself a journalist and the importance of freedom of speech in our lives.

I am a journalist, because there are stories that need to be told. There are questions that need to be raised. There are voices that deserve to be heard. As a teenager, I often fail to communicate how I feel. But with journalism, there is the chance to tell stories that matter. In the case of my stories, they are realistically not groundbreaking nor will they change the world or win me any Pulitzer Prizes. But what they have done, if I am lucky enough to find the right story, is give a louder voice to something worth hearing.

To paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, the best thing in life is to work hard at work worth doing. Journalism, including editoral cartoons, give someone the chance to tell their story or to show the world a different perspective and raise some questions. There is no growth or change if we do not question things.

Journalism to me has always tackled the problems I am often too scared to handle. I am so often scared to say what I think and feel that it leads to many sleepless nights and imagined conversations. I consider the repercussions, the possible outcomes of outrage or awkwardness if I could just have bravery to say what I wanted to say. This month, ten great men who were never afraid to do that were taken from us. Two men who put their lives in danger to protect others will never get to tell their stories. I have never known that amount of bravery to do either.

Something I’ve heard from many is that while many understand that Charlie Hebdo had the right to print what they wanted, they did not understand why they printed what they did. I cannot claim to understand why they printed what they did at times. But from what I do understand, comedy has always been a way to discuss important subjects that are typically hard to talk about in an open and accessible way. In the uncomfortable laughs or the gasps, the air feels lighter and conversations can start.

Sometimes you need to laugh. Sometimes you need to feel uncomfortable and offended and angry. Because as much as we do not like it, it reminds us that while our opinions are entitled to us, they are also entitled to the rest of the world. We feel so entitled to our beliefs that often the ones that may contradict it become personal acts on us. To us is doesn’t make sense why anyone would think or do such things. It’s all immediately affecting us. But being offended never means you are right. It’s means you are hurt by the thought or act of someone else. Often the anger we feel is due to our inability to see why anyone would do such a thing. It is what we do with that anger that defines us. Because that angry and uncomfortable feeling in the pit of your stomach can be a chance to see from a different perspective. In all likelihood because of human nature, it usually will not change your mind. But, for a few seconds or minutes, it gets you out of your mind and into the mind of someone else’s.

I could never say that I agreed with everything Charlie Hebdo published or released. However, nobody could ever say that anyone should have their lives taken from them in such a cruel way. But that’s the thing about journalists and cartoonists, the story will always go on and there will always be another punchline to tell.