Deep Fried and its attendant shenanigans will post on Wednesday. In the meantime, I’ve got something to get off my chest.

So, now that the blood has been wrung out of the mops at the offices of Charlie Hebdo and the ashes of the burned-out churches in Nigeria are cooling, it is safe to assume that the story of the slaughter that took place on January 7th will start to fade from people’s minds until a new massacre is added to the string of pearls in the saga that is The War That No-one Understands.

The political cartoons that were drawn to show solidarite´ with the fallen French cartoonists will mostly, we hope, also be forgotten, committing as so many did the obvious no-no of using the first and most obvious image that anyone would think of. A thousand portrayals of “the pencil being mightier than the gun” is as lazy a tribute to the fallen as those cartoons of the late Rosa Parks sitting in the front seat of a bus to Heaven.

The tribute they deserve, if any nationally published cartoonist in America could get away with it, would be one identical to the cartoon Charlie Hebdo itself delivered: a drawing of the Prophet Mohammed. That’s what they died over, not pencils.

Instead, the legacy of Charb, Wolinksi, Tignus, Cabu and the others who perished is a controversy over whether it was Charlie Hebdo’s dedication to free speech or vulgarity that brought the Reaper to their door.

Certainly the shows of support from the masses which have followed the assassinations, taking the form of candlelit vigils and piles of pencils and hashtags in place of raised fists––collectively, “I Am Charlie”––are a bit vulgar. But then, the tone set over the years by Charlie Hebdo’s satire probably makes that un-nuanced response all the more appropriate.

The true vulgarity is the liberal intelligentsia’s contrarian response, which proudly rallies under the banner “I Am Not Charlie.” It has taken two forms: the first being those of apologists for the hurt feelings of Muslims, the other being the decision by most media in the United States to not run any of the Charlie cartoons that featured Mohammed (the absurd exception is London’s Telegraph, which ran art of someone reading Charlie Hebdo and pixeled out the cartoon on the magazine’s cover, as though Mohammed were a character in Minecraft. Twenty people died in one day because Muslims hate patches of white and yellow squares?)

The apologists come from various schools of excuse. Some do not want to join in martyrizing artists whose work they feel is, at bottom, shitty and merely scandalous. Others cite the obvious blowback against minority Muslim communities in Europe. Why should we be cheering the men whose sacrifice is only going to increase those people’s woes? Then there are the accusations of Charlie Hebdo’s racism, bigotry and xenophobia (usually by Americans) whose only justification is exactly two drawings from Charlie Hebdo’s 45-year history that disclose the colonialist cancer to be found at the magazine’s core.

However, anyone who has been Pied Pipered  into thinking that Charlie Hebdo was somehow France’s Tea Party in disguise should visit Understanding Charlie Hebdo, which translates and decrypts the symbolism in some of the cartoons that the apologists are using to tar and feather the victims of the attack. The reality is almost 180º from what the critics (whose cartoon literacy does not extend much beyond Don Martin gags) would have you believe.

The logic that subscribers to I Am Not Charlie use to both praise and damn Charlie Hebdo would put Roger Penrose in a straightjacket. All their commentaries begin with a disclaimer tut-tutting violence before arriving at the conclusion, 1000 words later, that Charlie Hebdo is the natural heir to Volkisher Beobachter. In fact, those critics are trying to thread the same needle as Charlie Hebdo itself: to disparage terrorists who have issued a fatwah against anyone on planet earth who makes fun of their movement’s L. Ron Hubbard, while at the same time trying not to rub raw the nerves of a second-class population that happens to share the terrorists’ religion, if not their ideology.

Politically speaking, to offend and endear at the same time is a move requiring tighter choreography than an OK Go video. But if the apologists think that Charlie Hebdo fucked up that message then they can congratulate themselves for having crafted a rejoinder that is equally incompetent, with the added feature of having been delivered while the bodies were still warm.

Worse, however, is the near unanimous decision by editors and producers of Western media to cover the Charlie Hebdo story without running even the most tepid of the offending cartoons. Their excuses boil down to: We do not deliberately insult our readers’ sensibilities, and we are not going to rise to the bait of terrorists or free-speech anarchists.

Left unspoken is the plain threat of violent retaliation that is the nub of the very story they are covering. If the apologist’s creed is “We are not Charlie”, the media’s has been “We are not going to be the next Charlie”.

I could give those institutions my grudging respect if they would only be upfront about this obvious fact. But that they bury the truth under a pile of bullshit from Standards and Practices makes me ill. It also begs the question, famously posed by Rabbi Hillel, “If I am not for myself, what am I?” If running a cartoon about Mohammed is not newsworthy now, when the loonies have called off the truce, when the hell will it be?

Fortunately, Charlie Hebdo still exists, despite the despicable acts of scum and the laments of liberals whose agonized editorials reveal that they are the ones who can’t tell the difference between Muslims and terrorists. Charlie has not missed a beat, and is back doing what, apparently, they alone can do: poking fun at His Undepictableness the Prophet, and proving to the world that there really are atheists in foxholes.