Australian politics, society & culture


The best reads from around the world

Tuesday, August 4th

Charlie Hebdo’s multi-million-dollar pile of tragedy money “Gérard Biard, the new editor in chief, remarked in his first editorial after two jihadist killers, the Kouachi brothers, murdered a dozen people at the paper on January 7 to avenge the caricatured Prophet Muhammad: ‘For a week now, Charlie, an atheist paper, has accomplished more miracles than all the saints and prophets together.’ Foremost among those miracles is newfound wealth. In the space of a few months, a publication with a storied past but uncertain future, beset by dwindling revenues and readership, casting around for financial support, has been transformed into a cash cow. People who had scarcely heard of the paper now flaunt the ubiquitous ‘Je suis Charlie’ badge. The post-massacre edition, No. 1178, sold some eight million copies, an increase of more than 13,000 percent over previous levels. Subscriptions have soared to more than 200,000 from about 10,000. Donations have multiplied, from Google, the French government, and sympathizers across the world. One Web site garnered close to $2 million through the contributions of 24,500 individuals. As a result, Charlie Hebdo, irreverent mocker of all forms of power, reportedly finds itself sitting on more than $33 million in cash, a once unthinkable sum … Charlie, in its self-image, is of the left, the scrappy outsider rather than the moneyed insider. It is above all of the school that believes there is a right in Western democracies to laugh at everything, to blaspheme, and to commit sacrilege.”

Vanity Fair