Friday, April 22, 2011

The Left-wing librarian who won't let my children read Tintin

A window on the past that must be closed
"I noticed they had dozens of Asterix books but only a handful of elderly, dog-eared Tintins. “Got any more Tintin books?” I asked the nice librarian. “Well,” she replied in a conspiratorial whisper. “I did try ordering some, but was told by my superior that I wasn’t allowed to.”

“Why not?” I queried. “Because they weren’t politically correct,” she replied. Just to be sure, I said to her: “So they actually used those words, ‘not politically correct’, did they?” “As far as I can remember, yes,” she said. Her hushed tone indicated that she was terrified of a colleague over-hearing and no doubt reporting her to the relevant authorities and getting her dismissed.

So I went home and looked out a collectors’ edition of the 1946 full-colour album version of Tintin in the Congo which I bought when it was published in English a few years ago but had never opened.

Now I’ve read the book and there’s no doubt the stereotyping is appalling to modern eyes. The crudely exaggerated physiognomy of the Africans in the illustrations, and the characterisation of natives of Congo as unintelligent and lazy – no author would get away with this kind of thing today, or would want to.

Tintin in the Congo all looks extremely old-fashioned. It could almost be depicting events on another planet. I suppose some of it made me feel a bit uncomfortable. But on the other hand what would be the point in banning it? It should be read with the proviso that it reflects old attitudes that have since changed. It’s of its time, a period piece. Many writers had a different notion of racial difference back then.

Part of the charm is the colourful illustration of exotic peoples and parts of the world which most of us are unlikely to have visited. They’re not to be taken as documentaries. They are, after all, only cartoons. And it’s miserable to ban them.


The past gives you perspective and shows you that present arrangements and ideas are not the only ones possible. But Leftists can't afford for people to know too much about history. What if people realized that Hitler was a socialist, for instance?


Spurwing Plover said...

Better tintin then that crap like THE BOONCOCKS and DOONSBURY

Anonymous said...

"To conquer a nation without the use of military force, you must first control the minds of their young..." --- Karl Marx

TheOldMan said...

Try checking out "Huckleberry Finn" at the library, if they even have it.

Anonymous said...

I was never a huge fan of Tintin, Asterix on the other hand is fantastic.

Flu-Bird said...

A few years ago they produced a version of TOM SAWYER or HUCKLEBERRY FINN and they called INJIN JOE as CRAZY JOE

Anonymous said...

So, I've only just today seen your blog for the first time. Here's my take on its theme:

Anyone who disagrees with me (an by 'me' I am talking about you) is a leftist liberal socialist.


(By the way, I am not any of those. I might even think that some things you are saying are true, but it's blogs like yours that make me sad that people have forgotten in our society how to talk politics without the bashing and name calling. I think your world is very small if all you have time to do is criticize others in your blog.)

Anonymous said...


Please do read with an unhindered heart the last Anonymous comment by a NEW POTENTIAL CUSTOMER OF YOUR PRODUCT. You do have a strain of comfortable partisanship that is not FUN enough to delight crazy creative people. You adopt the role of a patient teacher. Fine. That very much helps me maintain my sense of self-esteem in the face of a chattering class NYC world of suddenly late bachelorhood as a very well-trained scientist living in a world gone mad. But life isn't just about old world English colonial culture. Most kids don't feel much pull towards that. It's a very interesting era. Did YOU predict the US housing bust?

You *didn't*? Well then why should we listen to you now? How can you change our lives?

Don't take any vitamin pills and vote Republican?

Your character is your product. I very much wonder why, in a Freudian sense, you don't highly promote your SUPER HUMAN BLOGGING OUTPUT. You are NOT EVEN LINKED ON the Watts Up With That mothership blog! How can that be?!

Are you holding back in some way, stuck in a comfort zone? You could compete with Glenn Beck as a cultural force, but you prefer a provincial vibe, merely, with a hat toss to Oxford twice a year, merely?

If I eat home made beef jerky and good whiskey for six weeks, should I really not take any vitamin pills? That doesn't make sense, even logically. Of course I should. Yet this idea is labelled by you as being a "cult antioxidant religion"?

I can't figure you out. That's a complement.


jonjayray said...


I am not ambitious. Never was. Now I am old as well. And I enjoy what I do and have a pleasant life anyway.

jonjayray said...

Anon 4:30

Criticism has its place as long as it is backed up by facts. That is what science is.

Any what I report is all too factual.