The Invisible Armada

Hate Propaganda and “culture of the enemy” in Taipei Times cartoons

Alain Brossat

Hate Propaganda and “culture of the enemy” in Taipei Times cartoons

In the history of political cartooning, as it appeared in France from the 17th century onwards, then experienced a fantastic boom during the French Revolution and throughout the 19th century, a fragile and shifting dividing line, but nonetheless decisive, separates two orientations: one, primordial, one would almost say, draws its inspiration from satire whose constant register is the mockery of those above (the masters, the powerful, the rulers) by those from below, those who embody the popular spirit. This inspiration dominates during the French Revolution and during the 19th century, even if one sees there pointing out, when the struggle sharpens between the opposing camps, a spirit of vindictiveness or forms of hostility which anticipate the second modality.

Once its contours were clearly drawn at the turn of the 19th century, the latter distinctly comes under a completely different orientation; it places itself under another regime – that of hate propaganda and a rhetoric of radical hostility. More perhaps than the Paris Commune, it was the Dreyfus Affair on the one hand and the First World War on the other that were the highlights during which this second modality took the upper hand over the first.

Subsequently, even if satire, in its classic form (ridiculing the powerful, caricaturing their failings, making people laugh at their expense...) seemed to regain its rights, the poison of hate propaganda and the "culture of the enemy" have never ceased to run through the veins of political cartooning - during the rise of fascism in the 1930s, during the Second World War, during the German Occupation in France, a period during which the horrible anti-Semitic propaganda in both image and word thrives; then, again, at the time of the wars of decolonization and this, on a more or less intense mode, until this new paroxysm which was the affair of the caricatures of Muhammad of the anti-Muslim agitation by the image of which the so-called satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has made its specialty[1].

Here is what makes things somewhat complicated for a synthetic approach to political cartooning in a country like France and, no doubt, more generally: very often, in practice, the dividing line between the two directions that I have just mentioned seems to become indistinct. But, from another angle, it remains essential for the analysis to keep in mind not only the distinction between these two orientations of the political drawing, but especially, what opposes them, for they concern incompatible dispositions, inspirations and gestures.

The satire that derives from the extension of immemorial popular traditions such as those of the carnival or the charivari is fundamentally joyful, it aims to arouse a liberating laughter which is generally that of the "little ones", of an audience made up of ordinary people and who rejoice in seeing exposed, caricatured, mocked those of whom they generally have reason to complain or to fear – whether they are rulers, the rich, representatives of temporal or spiritual powers [2]. Satire understood in this sense is partly linked with the resolve of laughing at it, and if it is a kind of pillory, it is precisely a fictitious pillory, without afflictive (punitive) character. Satire thus understood is not linked with vindictiveness, it is not the instrument of settling of accounts, but rather the vector of a rite – the one by which the ordinary frees himself joyfully, even temporarily, of the grasp that a powerful person has on him.

When the caricature is placed under the sign of hate propaganda and the “culture of the enemy”, the gesture is quite different, as are the affects to which the drawing appeals: if it is a question of making people laugh, it is in the spirit of denigration, belittling, humiliation, and not liberating but evil sneering. The horizon of the attack that contains the drawing is, even more than the denigration of the one it targets, its expulsion from the community of the living, even its symbolic death. The caricatured character is not simply designated as an importunate, a powerful whose prestige must be defeated, but quite simply as an enemy whose account must be settled. The affects that inspire the caricaturist here are resentment, hatred – as is distinct both in anti-Semitic caricature (Der Stürmer of the Nazis or the newspapers of the Collaboration in France during the Second World War [3]) and in anti-Islam pornography from Charlie Hebdo and others.

On this side, the political caricature is always placed under a sign of death. It aims to promote a war, in whatever form it may be, to neutralize a “hyper-enemy”. It is inspired (unlike the jubilant and cheerful satirical caricature of more or less Rabelaisian inspiration) by sad passions – it is the realm of the man (woman) of resentment.

If constraining oneself, out of professional obligation, to swallow each morning the minced pig's silk proposed by Taipei Times is a particularly trying exercise, it is among other things because of the drawing with humorous claim that one discovers in good place, on the page of the editorials and the forums (“columns”) which fix the orientation of the newspaper there. It is because these caricatures themselves represent, with a desperate constancy, a superlative caricature of the political cartoon which is placed under the regime of the propaganda through vindictiveness and hatred, the “culture of the enemy”. They have, as such, a high diagnostic value: Taipei Times being, more or less, the English-language organ of the current political and governmental mainstream in Taiwan, they are like a concentrate of the dispositions and affects that inhabit these elites of power – especially with regard to their relationship to what is supposed to embody hostile and upsetting otherness - mainland China, its political regime and its leaders first of all; but also, everything that is supposed to loom behind it, the "totalitarian" specter, the non-democracies, the evil forces that stand in the way of the assertion of Taiwanese "sovereignty"...

Political drawing and cartoons have the property of fixing in images postures and affects relating to division, conflict and otherness perceived as threatening. They tirelessly tap into the reserves of theculture of the enemy” and they stand in a forward position in the dissemination of propaganda against the designated enemy. They are both fixators and intensifiers of negative passions, being endowed with this property of giving a visible and manifest form, a face, to all that is designated as to be reviled, rejected and perceived as a threat.

This is why caricatures reveal not only a psyche populated by images connected to the imaginary, fantasy images, but also inclinations: tell me how you see and represent the enemy, and I will tell you how you intend to use it – this “lesson” would of course apply here as much to Charlie Hebdo as to Taipei Times ... That's why, far from shrugging it off as if it were just a realm of childish futility (enhanced by a variable touch of pornography, in both present cases), it should be taken quite seriously, in its very stupidity and mediocrity - one can hardly expect nihilism as a religion of nothingness to rise into the spheres of lyric poetry or art for art...

In the columns of Taipei Times, as in its cartoons and as in the mouths of Taiwanese leaders, China and its rulers are commonly and explicitly referred to as "the enemy" - whereas the chancelleries and the media of the West today use preferably the term “systemic adversary”. This difference is far from insignificant: it indicates that Taiwan's ruling elites are standing at the forefront of the new Cold War and are sparing no effort to transmute it into a “hot Cold War”. In this very sense, to decipher the way in which image propaganda operates in this context, to analyze the treatment of the enemy by the caricature implemented there by a combat organ devoting all its energy to throwing oil on the fire of this war is to work for “public health”. These people who have supported Trump to the last extremity, including beyond the presidential elections lost by the latter, are arsonists and image propaganda is, in their hands, a time bomb. Still, it is necessary to understand the springs and the processes which support this agitation by the drawing.

One of the most salient features of hate propaganda and the production of a figure of the absolute, inexpiable enemy finding in the image one of their favorite means of expression, is the continuity of its uses, its mantras and its routines. This is the reason why the affinities between the anti-Chinese, anti-"totalitarian" cartoons published in Taipei Times and others (which relate to scenes from the past or the present, set in other places and contexts different) are obvious, despite the heterogeneity of the situations. These are essentially the same recipes, the same inspirations, the same clichés that recur in the anti-Jewish agitation through images in the days of the Dreyfus Affair, in the age of anti-Hun “cramming” during the First World War, in the anti-Bolshevik and anti-Communist caricature after the Russian Revolution and the advent of Soviet Russia, in the anti-Semitic propaganda of the Nazis before and after the establishment of the Third Reich... or even closer to us, in the anti-Islam agitation which newspapers like Charlie Hebdo have made a specialty of.

What these image campaigns have in common is a political vision of the world based on the friend/enemy opposition, but above all on the obsession with the hyperbolic enemy, the one through whom all evil occurs. The enemy immediately appears as an image, in the sense of a fantasy representation, an image endowed with a strong power of intensification of all kinds of negative passions and impulses. A variable image, but always referring to the same fantasy and panic fund - the animal, the monster, the parasite, the virus, the immemorial register of ancestral fears. According to this oversimplified vision of the political realm, the enemy presents himself as the first, if not the only, source of the evils that afflict the present. As soon as this verdict is established, its representation can switch to the register of victimization and persecution: it is this agent of evil who must be put out of harm's way insofar as it persecutes us and makes us victims. He is the Great Threat to which we are perpetually exposed and from which it is important, for our salvation, that we be rid.

The role of the image, of the cartoon, is to exorcise the specter, to present it before the eyes of the public in order to better be able to burn it in effigy – this rite constituting here the prelude to the real passage to the act – the war.

All propaganda proceeds by tireless repetition of the same keywords, the same stereotypes, the same oversimplifications – the same images intended to embed themselves in the brains of the mass audience it targets. In this sense, propaganda in general presents a character of homogeneity, of quite particular compactness; its effect is that, in a certain way, "all propaganda is alike" and, as such, communicates with each other, plagiarizes each other, awakens echoes of each other - constantly incites a comparative approach to each other. This is constantly verified in the case studied here: the informed reader of Taipei Times, when he.she discovers the drawing of the day, is constantly inclined to make connections between it and others who populate the teeming universe, alas, from the 20th century hate caricature. From this point of view, these supposedly humorous cartoons do not present any originality, it is really the all-comer of propaganda cartoons.

If there is one thing that distinguishes them, it is their graphic mediocrity – the infallible sign being that the entities depicted therein, whether individual (public) figures or collective (parties, states, etc), are systematically accompanied, in the sketch itself, by a super- or sub-title indicating who they are – which is precisely what a quality cartoon must avoid: the reader must be able to immediately identify his characters thanks to the features particulars (real or imagined) highlighted by the drawing. This “performative” operation is inherent in the very substance of political caricature. If it is necessary to add explanatory subtitles, it is that it is not worth anything. However, all the cartoons published in Taipei Times resort to this process of over- or underlining.

It is also without doubt that the success of the political cartooning that accompanies the formation of modern political powers organized around the nation-state is depending on the existence of a form of familiarity and proximity between the caricatured public figures and newspaper readers. It is the time of public opinion, the time of the newspaper, the time of the masses who read and keep up to date with current affairs, see their destiny linked to the life of the State, with its apparatuses and its striking figures[4].

However, for a newspaper published in English in Taiwan and therefore intended for an opinion that is not directly connected to local public life by intimate ties, starting with the language and belonging to the community living on the island (or else as a foreign resident), this familiarity and this direct link hardly exist and the alchemy based on proximity cannot be achieved. The political cartoon therefore has an entirely ideological goal, its only purpose being the transmission of messages intended to condition the (thin) English-speaking readership both in Taiwan and abroad. It is only the relay in images of the anti-Chinese, pro-US and pro-independence storytelling that overflows from all the pages of the newspaper.

This is indeed the reason why the cartoons published in Taipei Times are not funny – it is not their aim, moreover, what they are aiming for is the conditioning of the readership recruited in the service of the new Cold War, ever more distinctly destined to become hot. It is here that we see clearly how the dividing line operates between the satirical drawing of popular inspiration and the caricature inspired by the propaganda of hatred: the first arouses, if it is successful, what Bakhtin calls a "belly laugh" (this "big" laugh which is opposed to the distinguished laugh or smile or the sneer aroused by biting irony or light humour) which relieves and accompanies the return of life against all that tends to repress and compress it. The classic example is “the pear”, the famous evolutionary drawing representing Louis-Philippe, the bourgeois king (1830-1848) as a pear.

By contrast, the vignettes published in Taipei Times are not enliven by joy and good humor, they are traversed by flows of hatred and resentment; affects, more than feelings, which they strive laboriously but stubbornly to transmit to the readers of the newspaper. It's because they are possessed by the enemy's obsession to stigmatize, to depreciate, to reject. Their inspiration, so to speak, stems from a real compulsion, it is always the same ideology of rejection and the same drive to belittle that inspires them. In this very sense, they smell of death, they exhale a constantly reactivated desire for death.

How does a policy of depreciating the intimate enemy, understood as a close political enemy, in a context that keeps the traces of the civil war more or less intact, how does such a policy portray itself in an obsessive and incantatory mood? By resorting, for the most part, to gestures, processes, expedients which are always the same, monotonous, predictable, stereotyped – the drawings become reflex acts which follow one another from day to day.

The first and most spectacular of these processes is the animalization and bestialization of the enemy – here, therefore, the “mainland China” entity understood as a supposedly threatening and hostile power, embodied by its leaders. This process has a double effect: on the one hand, the animalized other is thus designated as eminently dangerous: the animal is here associated with the threatening, the ferocious, but also with the repulsive and the abject: it is the beast of ancestral fears, both that of the “bloodthirsty” animal and that of the disgusting, contaminating animal, provider of diseases and epidemics; on the other hand, the animalization/bestialization of the decried “other” has the effect of emphasizing that an insurmountable barrier stands between him and us – that of the species. We are on the side of humanity, civilization and culture, he or it is on the side of barbarism and wild nature. Nothing can therefore reconcile us or establish a continuum between him and us.

The first and most spectacular of these processes is the animalization and bestialization of the enemy – here, therefore, the “mainland China” entity understood as a supposedly threatening and hostile power, embodied by its leaders. This process has a double effect: on the one hand, the animalized other is thus designated as eminently dangerous: the animal is here associated with the threatening, the ferocious, but also with the repulsive and the abject: it is the beast of ancestral fears, both that of the “bloodthirsty” animal and that of the disgusting, contaminating animal, provider of diseases and epidemics; on the other hand, the animalization/bestialization of the decried “other” has the effect of emphasizing that an insurmountable barrier stands between him and us – that of the species. We are on the side of humanity, civilization and culture, he or it is on the side of barbarism and wild nature. Nothing can therefore reconcile us or establish a continuum between him and us.

In other words, these cartoons constitute a bestiary, a sinister caricature of the tables of animal species drawn up by the naturalists of the 18th and 19th centuries.

We find there the whole range of threatening, bloodthirsty, monstrous, infected animals. What proliferates here is obviously not a realistic representation of the animal kingdom, but a very conventional imagination of repulsive bestiality, in all its states, in all its dubious brilliance: octopuses with a thousand tentacles, piranhas with sharp teeth and eager for human flesh, cobras of monstrous proportions, rats swarming in numbers, rabid and drooling dogs, woodlice fleeing the light, bloodthirsty bear devouring an innocent goat, warthog with sharp fangs launched to conquer the world, deformed crocodile emerging from its backwater, shaggy monkey launched in pursuit of an innocent Taiwanese dove, reptiles and saurians all uglier and more aggressive than each other, pigs covered in mud, featherless vultures with oversized beaks, etc...

This inventory would not be complete if we did not mention two other recurring processes: on the one hand, the representation as an animal of a character presented as associated with the Chinese regime (the Secretary General of the WHO as a "doggie" crouching at the feet of the autocrat Xi, for example), on the other the promotion of mixed creatures, half-beasts, half-demons, half-humans, devils with cloven feet, Paleolithic monsters devouring poor humans, deformed creatures borrowed from the register of Hollywood or Japanese disaster films... Our present becomes, under this regime of representation, a hell populated by an infinity of creatures associated with death, according to a very wide range ranging from the woodlouse to the devil of Christian hell via Rodan and Godzilla...

It is, as is always the case with hate propaganda, a regressive register, under which sad passions, sensations, base emotions are stirred up: horror, disgust, repulsion, desire to be done with the object presented. in this degraded, abject and infamous form. It is not the reader's imagination that is appealed to, but his phantasmagoria – with these monstrous creatures, it is indeed a question of populating his fears and his nightmares, of maintaining a feeling of panic, a perpetual moral panic - the Chinese threat.

Incidentally, we live in a time when there is a need in Western civilization and, more generally, in the Global North, for a radical reassessment of the relationship between humans and animals, both from a philosophical viewpoint as in practice – the perpetual harm that the human species inflicts, through the most diverse means, on the infinity of animal species. These cartoons, which relentlessly surf on the immemorial perception of vile and threatening animality, find their obscurantist inspiration resolutely at odds with these salutary developments. In all respects, the animalization of the other, of the stranger, of the adversary, of the enemy is a procedure and a passion which, although timeless, today very clearly display their incompatibility with the civilization of morals – animalizing insults and invectives no longer are fit to be uttered in the public life of the countries of the global North. In the determination of its caricaturists to draw their inspiration from a bestiary from another era, Taipei Times stands out here as a rag of obscurantist agitation increasingly at odds with propriety and the code of civility inspired, supposedly, by the “softness of mores” (Tocqueville) inseparable from democracy.

Moreover, animalization is the expeditious process through which is operated, in the context of a permanent call for the reinforcement of the witch hunt on the island, the amalgams between external enemy (Communist China) and its supposed agents, clients and local allies. The "fifth column", in its various components, is placed under the same regime of representation as its alleged masters and inspirers - the agents of the Beijing dictatorship: hounds, sneaky parasites, birds of prey... The fundamental homogeneity of the camp enemies - those from without and those from within - is recorded in a pictorial form by their common reduction to the animal condition.

This process of degradation and incrimination applies particularly to the Kuomintang (KMT), the main opposition party, whose leaders are routinely decried and depicted as agents of the Chinese regime. By extension, however, anyone who does not align himself with the policy of active and militant enmity which constitutes the first and last dogma of today's ruling party, the DPP, is liable to fall under the decree of animalization and represented as a parasite infiltrated into the country of “vibrant democracy” or as a doggie of Beijing imperialism. The fatal abolition of any distinction between the foreign hostis and the internal enemy comes here to expose in full light, in a completely involuntary way, this salient fact: the vindictiveness which sets the brains and pencils of Taipei Times in motion has indeed for matrix the Chinese civil war, again and again, and not the conflict of two state entities and / or two nations, two peoples that everything would separate...

By extension again, any public figure likely to appear on the international scene, in such and such a particular situation, as an ally of Beijing, an accomplice of its totalitarian leaders finds himself exposed to being the object, in the same way, of rite of animal degradation – not only the secretary general of the WHO, suspected of “playing the game” of Beijing in the early days of the Covid epidemic, but as well Putin, of course, the Pope, incriminated, him, for his supposed complacency with regard to the Beijing regime, the head of International Olympic Committee, etc... The intrinsic Manichaeism of hate propaganda finds, in these games of association in images, the most expressive of translations...

Hate propaganda drags caricature down, towards ever greater vulgarity and infamy, often (as abundantly illustrated, in France, by the Islamophobic drift of Charlie Hebdo). Taipei Times is no exception to the rule. Pure regressive and quasi-pathological obscenity abounds, when we see for example the Chinese leader Xi riding the former Taiwanese president and leading figure of the KMT, all dressed in leather, a whip in hand, in a scene of sado-maso sex of the most dubious taste; or even when, in the middle of the George Floyd affair, a brave American cop extends a helping hand to an inoffensive Taiwanese citizen who is threatened by a sinister Chinese thug armed with a nail club, accompanied by his inevitable KMT henchman; in another one of these vignettes inspired by unbounded cynicism, it is, again in the context of the assassination of George Floyd, suffocated by a white police officer in Minneapolis, a Chinese brute who strangles Hong Kong using a rope - in both cases, the implicit reference to the racist assassination which went around the world and provoked in the United States even an unprecedented wave of protests is obvious, as is its nihilistic diversion for the benefit of the anti-Chinese propaganda which Taipei Times has made a specialty of.

As often also in the general register of anti-enemy hysteria, of the fabrication of the hyper-enemy by image propaganda, the cartoonist, who obviously has a big problem with sodomy, regularly gives free rein to his fantasy : in one of the many caricatures lingering in this register, a missile depicting the brutality of the Russian invasion of Ukraine perforates the posterior of a figure crouching on the ground and pinned "KMT" - another register which the unimaginatively polymorphic pervert of Taipei Times has in common with his Charlie Hebdo colleagues this typically fantastical image consisting in representing prostration – in Islamic prayer version as well as Chinese- style kowtow – as an invitation to sodomy.

It remains that, essentially, propaganda by image is a permanent, incantatory call, of varying intensity, to the extermination of the inexpiable enemy. This call is explicit in a cartoon where a hunter wearing a cap marked "Taiwan" holds in his hand a hunting rifle which he has just used against two dogs drooling and foaming designed as "China" and states with determination: " You have to talk to them the language they understand”. The representation as rabid animals of "China" (a global entity where the leaders and the population of what is understood under the all-encompassing title of "China" are amalgamated), but also of its supposed accomplices and associates is recurrent in these drawings. However, the characteristic of the rabid animal, of course, is that it can only be slaughtered – neither cured nor saved…

In the same spirit, when “Totalitarian China” is represented as a clawed demon, horned and afflicted with a trident-shaped tail, this in contrast to "Democratic Taiwan", there is no doubt that, in the spirit of this oversimplified Manichean figuration of the conflict between the two entities (in the official names of which appear, moreover, the same signifier "China" - "Republic of China" and "People's Republic of China"), the devil's only vocation is to be fought to death and exorcised...

This iconography of all or nothing, white and black, Evil and Good draws the contours of a policy for which there is no space for interlocution, negotiation, compromise between the parties involved. The only principle that inspires them is that stated by Cato the Elder: Carthago delenda est . The cartoon of hatred is a tool of all-out war or, more exactly, of the total mobilization and conditioning of public opinion for such a war. Which does not prevent it, according to the current process of reversing incriminations (in favor in all propaganda of totalitarian inspiration) from affixing to the enemy the stigma of... propaganda by hate, in the form of a Chinese Godzilla designated as "Mobilization of hatred" devouring a gullible opinion composed of KMT voters...

The key word (or the keystone) of this incessant anti-Chinese activism is totalitarianism. The cartoons published in Taipei Times show that this notion (which, in major works like that of Hannah Arendt or, after her, Claude Lefort, was elevated to the dignity of the concept) fell back, during the new Cold War, at the level of the most vulgar anti-communist propaganda. "Totalitarian", "totalitarianism" today occupy a prominent place in the rhetoric of the enemy, which is intended to stigmatize the regimes, parties, institutions and political leaders who stand as obstacles in the way of reduction of the entire planet to the conditions of the false universal promoted by imperialist democracy.

These are elastic terms that make it possible to manufacture quite improbable chains of equivalence between the most dissimilar political contexts (the war in Ukraine and the tensions in the China Sea), the most different regimes (Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela...), the least comparable leaders (Xi and his "friend" Putin), but also to operate the most vertiginous shortcuts between past and present, in particular by assimilating the enemies from today to exemplary figures of past state criminality – Xi = Hitler = Stalin. These are protoplasmic terms which, by dint of designating everything in the greatest confusion and against a background of limitless amalgams, come to no longer designate anything at all, to be only pure equivalents of invective , at the service of a politics of abjection; they are boats which, by dint of being too loaded, leak water everywhere and which, by dint of entering into endless associations placed under the sign of approximation, end up being nothing more than the password of vindictiveness: totalitarian China = tyranny of Xi = dictatorship of the CCP = criminal communist regime = rogue state, etc.

"Totalitarian", "totalitarianism" are, in this context, pure decoys, stopgap intended to mask the emptiness of thought, the empire exercised by the conditioned reflexes on the thought of the other reduced to its threatening and monstrous otherness. The sketches published in Taipei Times testify, in their very indigence, to this evasion of thought and imagination when it comes to producing an image of the enemy carried by an idea or endowed with some symbolic or allegorical whatsoever. " Draw me a sheep! “, asked the Little Prince to the visitor landed on his lost planet, in the famous novel by Saint-Exupéry – a wish which, granted, brings up an image suitable to linger in the reader’s memory... “Draw me Chinese totalitarianism, the totalitarian Xi! ", intimates the editor of Taipei Times to the jobber on duty... and, the latter executing immediately, the result is still just as distressing: a devil, a monster straight out of a disaster film of the RKO... The essence of propaganda is that it never has anything akin to an idea – only recipes and reflex actions.

In a cartoon published in the uncertain times of the war of succession between Trump and Biden, a time when the Taipei Times wanted to believe until the end in the victory of the first (this very newspaper had been tirelessly and unreservedly supporting him throughout his tenure), the appointed designer represented a Biden silhouetted in the distance, while facing him are two brave soldiers with the "US allies" logo (one of them wears an English helmet from the Second World War) and who intimate to him: “Halt! Who goes there? We need to know if you are friend or foe”! - in other words, will Democrat Biden continue with Trump's anti-China policy and pro-Taiwanese activism, or will he return to the dangerous fundamentals of the Nixon's doctrine of "One China"?

The sequel would quickly remove the uncertainties, with Nancy Pelosi's resounding stopover in Taipei in particular, but this drawing best exposes the paranoid principle which inspires the policy of the enemy illustrated by the cartoons of Taipei Times: at the slightest step aside, at the slightest deviation from the policy of confrontation with China radicalized by Trump, Biden would have found himself caricatured as a repulsive animal appearing the most abject of betrayals and forfeitures...

As what came next quickly showed, this was not the case and only the poor in spirit will rejoice at it... Supposing that the role of the newspaper as an emblem of a certain modernity is to "peddle the news” (Peter Sloterdijk), the one and only news that Taipei Times cartoons peddle and expose, tirelessly, is this: a war is coming, and this is infinitely desirable, because it will be the means by which we will finally become what we are... Which is, par excellence, and as the sequel will show, the most radically nihilistic version of "the news" that can be conceived, news of death, death as news, nothing more, nothing less...

[1]On this point, see the collective book Je Suis Charlie – ainsi suit-il , L'Harmattan, 2015.

[2]On this point, the major reference remains the book by Mikhail Bakhtine: L'oeuvre de François Rabelais et la culture populaire au Moyen-Age et à la Renaissance (The work of François Rabelais and popular culture in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance) , Gallimard, “bibliothèque des idées”, 1973.

[3]Der Stürmer , Nazi weekly published by Julius Streicher from 1923 to 1945. For the French newspapers of the Collaboration, see in particular Je Suis Partout , founded in 1930 by Pierre Gaxotte.

[4]See on this point: Gabriel Tarde: L'opinion et la foule (Opinion and the crowd ), PUF, 1989 (1901)