Robot 6

Today is Tintin’s 80th birthday

Tintin and Snowy

Tintin and Snowy

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tintin16

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I plan on celebrating by buying a white Scottie dog, befriending an inebriated sea captain and thwarting a string of drug smugglers and slave traders. All the while being pursued by two identical policemen. Then I’ll read this BBC article.

Ironically, when it comes to Tintin the person, it is perhaps his very internationality that is his undoing. Euro-characters who do well in the States – James Bond, but also those portrayed by Hugh Grant and Gerard Depardieu – often play on national stereotypes and foible-laden sophistication. Herge, however, went out of his way to deny Tintin any specific Belgicite, underlining rather his international features.

And then I’ll go to Tibet.

Tintin in Tibet

Tintin in Tibet

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Comments

6 Comments

I read a lot of Tintin as a kid. I’ve been really struck in recent years by how racist the stuff is – Tintin in Africa is like George Allen’s global imaginary, and Tintin in Peru wasn’t much better. There’s a lot of franco-belgian colonial attitudes on plain display in the art and in the stories themselves.

I wish this story had 150 plus comments and the Willingham one only had two. Tintin > Life

As for the BBC comment quoted in the post:
“Herge, however, went out of his way to deny Tintin any specific Belgicite, underlining rather his international features”

I wonder, maybe because Hergé felt that Tintin’s true country was the land of adventure.

As for “old values” in the comic, it is true that many of Tintin’s early adventures had tha “white man”‘s point of view about the rest of the world (but then the same could be said about “Terry and the Pirates”) but this changed quite when, prior to making “The Blue Lotus” Hergé met and befriended a chinese student who helped him to drop pre-conceived ideas about China.

In fact, there is that wonderful scene in that album where Tintin is talking with Tchang about some of the preposterous European beliefs about the Chinese, and they both burst laughing at such absurdities: this, by 1936, when it was published, showed an open minded attitude which was not usual in comics (world-wide) at the time.

As a curious note, it has to be said that some albums were updated by Hergé as history changed: i.e. in one album, Tintin reaches the middle East, where he is escorted by Scottish soldiers (the place was then in British hands)… In a later verssion of the adventure, we have arabic (I think it was Jordan) soldiers instead.

Tintin also defended the people which is, even today, subject to the most racism in Europe: The Gypsies!

A great comic character!

Best,
Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I’m sure you have been pointed out many times by now that Snowy wasn’t a white Scottie but a white Wirehaired Fox Terrier. Quite a difference. So if you want to imitate Tintin then it is this fearless and loveable breed you have to consider – it’s agility (not as good as border collie’s though) is much better suited for adventure. Just a word of warning: I’ve never seem a Wirehaired Fox Terrier that didn’t hate hedgehogs!

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