from the New York Observer Jan. 10. 2015
Robert Crumb is considered by many to be the single best cartoonist America has ever produced. The creator of counter culture icons like Fritz the Cat, the Keep On Truckin guy and Mr Natural, Mr. Crumb was inducted into the comic book Hall of Fame in 1991, the same year he moved his family to France, where he has resided ever since. Writer Celia Farber reached him at his home in Sauve, France on Friday, January 9, 2015, to talk about the massacre of cartoonists and others in Paris this week.
Celia Farber: Have journalists been calling you today to talk about the assassinations at Charlie Hedbo? Are you willing to talk about it?
Robert Crumb: Liberation wanted me to draw a cartoon, so I did this cartoon for Liberation about it. So far, you are the first American journalist that’s asked me to talk about it. I’ll talk about it, yeah.
No other journalists have called you? Really?
No, you’re the only one. You don’t have journalists over there anymore, what they have is public relations people. That’s what they have over in America now. Two-hundred and fifty thousand people in public relations. And a dwindling number of actual reporters and journalists.
We don’t have a context for this tradition here, merciless, political satire. One thing I keep noticing is commentators here are pointing out that the cartoons were very offensive and insulting. It’s as if we don’t understand that was by design. Very intentionally offensive, and very clear about why that couldn’t be compromised. That’s the part we don’t get, as Americans. It’s like, “Why did they have to be so mean?”
It’s a French thing, yeah, and they value that very highly here, which is why there’s like a huge amount of sympathy for the killing of those guys, you know, huge demonstrations and crowds in Paris – people holding up signs that say, “Je suis Charlie.” Even here in the village where I live, we had a demonstration yesterday out in front of the town hall. About 30 people showed up and held up “Je suis Charlie” signs.
Were you there?
Yeah, I went to it, sure. Since I’m the village cartoonist, I had to go