Like everybody, we’ve been shocked by the terrorist attacks on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. They are abhorrent, and I am glad that the French have stood united against this attempt to stifle free speech. (“Je suis Charlie” means “I am Charlie”.)
I also admire – unfortunately posthumously – the artists and editors at Charlie Hebdo. It takes courage to publish things that may offend. Few editors in North America dare this any longer. Here, most are concerned about the bottom line, whereas the people at Charlie Hebdo paid with their lives.
We don’t face that kind of threat at Bicycle Quarterly, but we have to admit to misgivings when we published some articles that we knew would offend some. The most recent example was “Tullio Campagnolo – The Visionary behind the Legend” which debunked many of the myths surrounding this legendary man, questioning whether Tullio Campagnolo really invented the quick release.
We knew that we’d lose some readers over this, and infuriate others. We published the article anyhow, and I am glad we did. It’s our job to provide information, to challenge the status quo (even if it’s only in the arena of bicycle history and technology), and then let our readers form their own opinions. As a result of this approach, we are no strangers to controversy. (Long-term readers will remember the Internet flame wars when we first realized that higher tire pressures don’t make tires faster.)
The attacks on Charlie Hebdo have affected all of us. We hope the newspaper will continue to publish (whatever we may think of it), and we vow not to censor ourselves for fear of offending.
Photo: Cycles Alex Singer, showing their shop window.