Domingos Isabelinho’s post on the Belgian courts and Tintin in the Congo provoked an interesting discussion in comments. I thought in particular I’d highlight Kim Thompson’s comment:

(1) At this date I think it’s irresponsible to publish TINTIN IN THE CONGO in kid-friendly formats without a warning or contextual introduction of sorts. (I specify “kid-friendly formats” because I don’t really have a problem with the expensive, black-and-white facsimile ARCHIVES format version, either the French one or the now-out-of-print Last Gasp English language version.)

(2) That said, I’m very, very, uncomfortable with the idea of legally enforcing the addition of this material under threat of a ban (and I have the American free-speech-libertarian’s extreme discomfort at European and Canadian “hate-speech” bans).

(3) That said, I can well see why someone who was sensitive to the material becoming so frustrated with the adamant refusal of those who control it to concede to this very reasonable request that they take legal action.

(4) And it’s somewhat unfair to accuse Mondondo of wanting to flat-out ban the book when it seems pretty explicit that he’s looking for the contextual warning and the ban is more of an if-they-can’t-agree-to-that threat that is part of the lawsuit.

(5) TINTIN THE CONGO is clearly not harmless, and I suspect those who minimize its toxicity, whether journalists or judges, do so to justify their own squeamishness on point 2.

(6) My guess is that if Hergé was still alive he’d either ask that the book be withdrawn (as it was at certain times) or insist on that kind of contextual material himself.

(7) It’s nice that later in life he was publicly and vocally mortified at the content of TINTIN IN THE CONGO himself, although maybe a little creepy that he seemed more genuinely distressed at Tintin’s bloodthirsty hunting rampage.


(9) I recognize TINTIN IN THE CONGO is evil.

(10) But I think in creating it Hergé was at worst misguided and naïve.


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