:: Friday, October 22, 2004 ::

Tintin in the land of the soundbites

The BBC had this story about a row over critical remarks made by a right-wing Belgian minister visiting the DR Congo.

The Congolese government accused Karel de Gucht of acting like Tintin - a colonial-era Belgian cartoon character...

The comments border on "racism and nostalgia for colonialism", the minister said.

"It's Tintin in the Congo all over again."

tintin in the congo

The politics of Tintin is an interesting topic. Remi Georges (who took the pen name Hergé - from the French pronounciation of the letters RG) first produced Tintin for Le Petit Vingtième which was a children's version of the right-wing and anti-semitic Belgian paper XXe Siècle (Twentieth Century). His first work was an anti-Soviet piece 'Tintin in the Land of the Soviets'. Crude by the standard of later Tintin's, it was nonetheless a massive hit. He followed up with visits to the Belgian colony in the Congo. An unsophisticated affair, it reflected Hergé's lack of real knowledge and colonial prejudices. Africans are stereotyped and Tintin carries out some environmental atrocities such as blowing up a rhino with dynamite!

Hergé's work improves, with a masterful 'clear line' style developing. His richly imaginative storytelling also improves. Politically several works satirise the nazi's and Italian fascists such as King Ottokar's Sceptre.

Under the nazi occupation, Hergé continues to work producing Tintin for Soir Jeunesse. As a consequence he is blacklisted for collaboration after the war. He is 'saved' by a resistance hero Raymond Leblanc, who employs him on less than favourable terms for Hergé.

Hergé went on to produce his best work. He also matured politically with a strong personal affinity for China and for native Americans. The racism of early Tintin had gone.

:: Alister | 3:11 pm | save this page to del.icio.us Save This Page | permalink⊕ | |


Post a Comment

This is an archived story. See current posts here!