Monday, August 13, 2007

Tintin and Politics

An investigation has begun into whether or not Tintin in the Congo (1931) is a racist work. A Congolese student in Brussels Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu has lodged a complaint with the public prosecutions office claiming it was "an insult to all Congolese." Having read several Tintin adventures in recent years to my 7 year old son I could imagine, (having not read 'Congo') that it does carry racist images as most of the Tintin books seem to. Bloodthirsty Indians, fiendish Chinese, violent Africans and hideous Arabs abound in Hergé's works. I have had my doubts about exposing my son to all this but they are good stories and I figured that if he sees the stereotypes now (as clumsy and out of date as they are in Tintin) he can recognize them for what they are, rather than when he is older and meeting more complex images of racial hatred as a teenager and refusing to listen to me (the voice of wisdom). Maybe in a year of three Ill slip him a copy of The Adventures of Tintin: Breaking Free, where our young hero leads an anarchist revolution in Britain. Much more interesting than blowing up hippos in the Congo.

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