Irreverence is Worth Dying For, Vargas Llosa


I recently attended a lecture by Peruvian Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. He spoke about how the world is getting to be a better place, slowly. One of the reasons for this is the gradual spread of freedom. 

Although he only mentioned the shootings at Charlie Hebdo briefly, he said something that has stayed with me since. Irreverence, according to the writer, is a freedom that humanity has fought long and hard to win. The right to make fun of our rulers, religions and rituals must be both inseparable from free speech and absolute. It is also worth the fight. 

Pope Francis might not agree with someone’s desire to irrespect the Catholic Church or his mother, but if he intends to be history’s first truly modern pope, he must defend people’s right to do so. 

The book cover above is dangerously irreverent. No doubt the publisher had to consult the in-house lawyer, big boss and marketing team prior to printing it. But stumbling across its genius reworking of a staid symbol woke up my lazy Sunday brain. 

That’s another thing about irreverence. It can make us think, even without giving it too much thought . 


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