Yesterday, religious fanatics shot and killed 12 employees and wounded 11 others in an attack on the office of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The publication had attracted condemnation, threats, and violence in the past for its jokes and criticisms of Islam, and yesterday’s attack was likely in response to Hebdo’s irreverence.
But if your faith is so weak that it can’t withstand jokes—no matter how “disrespectful” they might be—then your faith is built on sand. This goes not only for religion, but any group that lashes out with threats and violence when met with criticism (Gamergaters come to mind). The attack on Charlie Hebdo reminds us that comedy is not only something that brings us joy, but it’s also something that brings us strength, and that scares feckless thugs who hide behind perversions of faith. In response to the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, two of America’s leading satirical outlets, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Onion responded in the earnest, thoughtful, and brilliant manner that once again demonstrates why these institutions, and comedy as a whole, are not only celebrated, but necessary. Click here for The Onion‘s piece, and hit the jump for clips from last night’s Daily Show.