Friday 30 September 2011

Tintin in the Congo' racism trial opens
(AFP) – 4 hours ago
BRUSSELS — A Congolese man pleaded with a Belgian court on Friday to remove "Tintin in the Congo" from bookshelves, arguing that the comic book is littered with racist stereotypes about Africans.
"It is a racist comic book that celebrates colonialism and the supremacy of the white race over the black race," Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo said as he arrived for the opening of the civil trial in Brussels.
"Will we continue to tolerate such a book today?" asked Mondondo, whose case against Tintin's publisher is backed by a French anti-racism group.more


Blogger Michael Avolio said...

What're your thoughts on this topic?

30 September 2011 at 21:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

I believe we shouldn't change or eradicate the past. It should be on the official record forever that Tintin went to the Congo, what he did there, what he saw, and how it was depicted. Whether we should keep it in print and in full view of today's citizenry is a different argument.
I am pleased that I can have all of Will Eisner's Spirit unaltered, for example (to pick something that I care about, because I don't really care about Tintin). If a judge somewhere decided that i was not permitted to have it, I would be displeased. If the judgement was that it couldn't be displayed complete on the shelves in a book store such as Borders, it wouldn't matter to me one way or the other. If I obtained it by International parcel post and Customs went through my stuff and decided what i was allowed to keep, I would be furious.

I think that covers it. A single sentence black and white rule would be dangerous in one way or another. Let's see how the judgement works out.

1 October 2011 at 01:46:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Michael Evans said...

As far as I am aware, Tintin in the Congo is generally sold shrink-wrapped with a warning label indicating its dubious and offensive position in the works of a bygone era that might be of interest to the modern reader. If we were to adopt the position that it ought to be banned from the bookshelves, then there are works of greater concern freely available for purchase. Most bookshops have a copy of Mein Kampf for sale. Surely a much more dangerous work (although not half as imaginative). Start banning books and you will end up having to burn them. Better to be informed by the past and be armed so as to avoid its mistakes.

3 October 2011 at 17:43:00 GMT-5  
Anonymous Michael Evans said...

Mea culpa. I did not realise that Moulinsart and Casterman do not wrap and sticker the book in Belgium as Egmont do for the English edition. I certainly oppose any outright ban but the book is better sold with disclaimers.

3 October 2011 at 17:59:00 GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

I must admit that even as a kid this Tintin (and some others) made me cringe but they are - unfortunately - images of earlier times. We should not condemn books for not keeping with trends or opinions; they serve as a marker.

5 October 2011 at 01:18:00 GMT-5  

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