Here’s a history report on Times of Israel from the AFP about Belgian cartoonist Georges Remy’s (Herge) reporter character Tintin, and the claim that wearing a Scottish kilt marked a change to “wokeness”:
It’s the moment experts say that Tintin stopped being quite so racist, and began his long journey towards what we might now call culturally sensitive “wokeness.”
A key drawing of the crime-fighting cub reporter from his British adventure, “The Black Island,” will go under the hammer in Paris next month.
Worth an estimated 300,000 euros ($326,000), the A3-sized ink drawing from 1938 marks a turning pointing in the development of the comic book boy hero as a more rounded, self-aware individual.
Having engaged in full-blooded Russophobia in “Tintin in the Land of the Soviets,” and piled on the racial stereotypes in subsequent scrapes in the Congo, America and the Middle East, Tintinologists say the story marks a “stylistic and ideological change.”
And they credit Tintin putting on a skirt — or a Scottish kilt, to be more precise — for this radical transformation.
Professor Laurence Grove of the University of Glasgow told AFP that in the story Tintin “goes from looking at other cultures from the outside to taking on other cultures.”
“He’s not saying, ‘I’m going to tell you what to do,’ as he did he in the Congo where he wanted to turn the natives into good little Belgians,” Grove said.
“This time Tintin is saying ‘I’m going to be like you and by doing that I’m going to help solve the problem,’” said Grove, president of the International Bande Dessinee Society, the French name for comics.
C’mon, is this serious? Because if you consider social justice activists today who’d accuse people of “cultural appropriation” if they took on hairstyles and outfits similar to the folk costumes of blacks and Asians in Africa and the far east, that’s why this sounds awfully peculiar. For Tintin to wear a Scottish kilt is actually rather easy, and it’s not like he actually took on foreign cultures for the sake of “being like them”, though as some historians know, he did wear the folk outfits of Chinese in stories like ‘The Blue Lotus’, and keffiyehs of Moslems in the middle east in stories like ‘Land of Black Gold’. And it was mostly for the goal of “mingling in” if that enabled him to infiltrate enemy locations. For the twin detectives Thompson & Thomson, however, it probably was mostly for comic relief, as the panel presented from Blue Lotus indicates.
But if he wore folk outfits of black Africans, something tells me there’d be objections expressed today. The Moslem outfits, however, are unlikely to be considered objectionable, if you consider how Islamofascists want their culture to be accepted above all else, and leftist SJWs today are not only aware of that, they agree.
So why does anybody think it’s a big deal Tintin would wear a Scottish folk outfit, one worn by men who, in their time and era, weren’t pretending to be the opposite sex any more than the typical modern women who wear trousers? If he’d taken up certain cultures of south Africa, it would probably make sense, and even some of Asia’s, but Scotland is almost on Belgium’s doorstep as one European country to another, and on that continent, there’s only so many cultures that can be known to one another. IMHO, that’s what is so funny about this report about a comic strip notable for bearing some of the most questionable elements from its time, and was practically a whole bizarre mixture of elements you could consider both good and bad?
On which note, here’s a description of the bad:
The Paris sale also includes a preparatory drawing for the 1967 story, “Flight 714 to Sydney,” and the cover of “The Shooting Star,” produced during the German Occupation of Belgium — both of which comics expert Hugo Frey has said contained anti-Semitic tropes.
Grove said “The Shooting Star” was “overtly pro-Nazi, and the story is really the Axis against the Allies,” with the baddie Blumenstein a stereotypical Jewish capitalist.
Herge made significant changes to the story after World War II, including reducing the size of Blumenstein’s nose.
Yes, I know, he reworked a few early stories in the post-WW2 era, and avoided making more mistakes with others in their final drafts. I realize Herge may have originally been forced to write the Shooting Star according to National Socialist-dictated beliefs, but in hindsight, it’s long made me feel dismayed; a leading reason I’ve thought these tales don’t age well. Even after he updated Tintin in Congo, from what I know, it still remained galling, as the black rail engineers Tintin was supervising were depicted as incompetent, and he doesn’t make things any better by berating them. That was one of the reasons it was not translated into English for many years. Herge may have depicted the Japanese as the enemy they were in Blue Lotus, which was set at the time China was occupied, but he still depicted Americans negatively, and I seem to recall reading a story from another series he’d created, Adventures of Jo, Zette & Jocko, where an American was the villain, in a negative sense. I don’t condone censorship, but Herge’s ambiguous politics never did the tales many favors.
Herge’s take on autocracies remained questionable to the end of writings, since, in ‘Tintin and the Picaros’ the story ends with General Tapioca deposed, but when General Alcazar reclaims his former position, nothing changes, and San Theodores remains as poverty stricken as it was before, with no real change in the continuing autocracy. And the way women were so sparse in the stories, if at all, was decidedly another problem. Especially when the only really significant woman in all the proceedings happened to be the one with the most annoying characterization, Bianca Castafiore, the opera singer with the shrill voice who particularly gets on Capt. Haddock’s nerves, and appears to be a riff on the old expression, “it ain’t over till the fat lady sings.”
I honestly don’t know why Tintin’s considered the most important strip of its time either, when there are others that were just as significant, like an early 20th century strip called ‘Becassine,’ or even the later Michel Vaillant, Yoko Tsuno, and goodness knows what other European strips have been produced since, which could use the attention just as much, or maybe more. And about that whole matter of “wokeness” in Tintin, this article, at least if you view it from a USA-based vision, makes little sense. If the populace of Scotland said they didn’t see foreign embrace of their culture as “appropriation”, then it hardly seems like what leftist social justice advocates would consider a case of needing wokeness. Maybe this is just a clickbait article trying to draw the very idiots who’re too obsessed with political correctness, and that’s why it looks more like a joke.
Originally published here.