Charlie Hebdo's Russian Heart

The story of Charlie Hebdo founding editor Francois Cavanna makes his magazine the wrong icon for a xenophobic backlash following Wednesday's terrorist attack.

Founding cartoonist.

Photographer: Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Perhaps you did not find Charlie Hebdo, the Paris satirical weekly attacked by terrorists on Wednesday, all that funny. That's only natural: People in different countries laugh at different jokes and have varying tolerance for irreverence, offensiveness and plain grossness. As the French magazine, notwithstanding all it's suffered, prepares to print a million copies of its next issue --  17 times its usual run -- it's important to note that it comes from a European tradition much broader than the French brand of satirical slapstick it most employs, and has at its roots a personal story as tortured as the continent's recent history.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.