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Cheers - AE

Friday, 4 September 2009

Revisionistas and bansturbation.

One of the things I can't stand is anyone who wants to burn a book because they hate or fear its contents, and those who'd ban rather than burn for the same reasons aren't much better. And so I want to talk about Tintin, being as he's such a vile little Belgian bastard that someone wants to ban one of his books.
A Congolese accountant is to launch a lawsuit in France against Tintin for racism, accusing judges in the cartoon hero's native Belgium of trying to bury his case to protect a "national symbol".
Personally I'd be too busy pissing myself laughing at the idea that Belgium is so short of national heroes that they've had to resort to a fucking cartoon character to carry on with the lawsuit, and in any case it's a little presumptuous given that the Belgians might well go for Jean-Claude Van Damme or Hercule Poirot instead. Or any one of heaps of people (less the notorius criminals on that list of course), most of them completely unknown to me but I imagine more worthy of respect among Belgians than some fucking dot-eyed quiff haired prick in plus fours that only exists in the print anyway.
Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, 41, is taking legal action claiming Hergé's controversial Tintin In The Congo is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to "racism and xenophobia".
Possibly it was colonialist propaganda, but unless we're to believe that Belgium is actually considering an invasion and re-colonization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo any colonialist propaganda past or present is pretty irrelevant, isn't it? As for the racism and xenophobia part, again it's possibly true though more in a casual and patronizing "white man's burden" way. And again, so what? I know it's offensive but the world is fucking jam packed with things that offend me and nobody seems to give a fuck. Almost certainly no one court would seriously give consideration to banning something just because it gets on my tits. When will people wake up and realize that there's no fucking right to not ever be offended by something. Hurt feelings are not a reason to press the ban button.
"Tintin's little (black) helper is seen as stupid and without qualities. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved," he said.
Personally it just makes me think that Hergé was a twat, albeit in a way that was a product of the time he lived in. Were he born in the 1970s and started his cartoons in the 90s I expect they'd be less liable to upset Mr Mbutu Mondondo.
Mr Mbutu Mondondo launched a case in Belgium two years ago for symbolic damages of one euro from Tintin's Belgian publishers Moulinsart, and demanded the book be withdrawn from the market.
But since then his lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice. "Our request to access the dossier was judged premature even though the investigation has been running for two years," he said.
Ah, now it's quite fair to get annoyed about that. Clearly the Belgian court are taking the piss out of him by taking such a long time to say: "The book stays. Fuck off."
Mr Ndjakanyi claimed the silence was politically motivated: "It's the symbol of Belgium that is under attack." The lawyer said he would launch parallel proceedings in France and go "all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary".
Perhaps it is politically motivated, though again I'm chuckling away at the notion of Tintin being the best symbol the Belgians have got. If he really thinks that's true then Mr Mbutu Mondondo could be ripping the piss out of them for it instead of nursing the chip on his shoulder and suing in another country because he thinks it's more likely he'll get his way.
In 2007, British race watchdogs pulled the book from children's shelves and attacked the Tintin cartoons for making black Africans "look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles".

Well, some people certainly look like monkeys and sound like fucking imbeciles, but they're not black Africans.
Moulinsart, Tintin's publishers, argued that the whole row was "silly" and that book must be seen in its historical context: "To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty," it said. "If one applied the 'politically correct' filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays."
Mr Ndjakanyi said this argument did not wash. "When the album was written there was no legal disposition incriminating racism. In 2009 there is. This isn't about history but the law."
No, it is about history and how we can learn from it. Mbutu Mondondo and his lawyer should consider that if those who forget the lessons of history are frequently doomed to repeat them then those who would deliberately bury a chunk because it offends them are likely to be partly responsible for future repeats. But I agree with the lawyer that it is also about the law - specifically whether we can ever apply it retrospectively and remain fair. I'd suggest Me Mbutu Mondondo gets over it and himself and gets on with his life.


JuliaM said...

Usually, these people turn out to be shakedown artists looking for a payout if they make a big enough song and dance about their 'hurt feelings'.

But I think Mr Mondondo's agenda is quite different...

Angry Exile said...

Yes. Symbolic damages etc. One of the Righteous perhaps?

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