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The Blue Lotus: Was it thought suitable for children?

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theone
Member
#1 · Posted: 10 Oct 2005 17:08 · Edited by: theone
If I understand correctly, the earlier Tintin strips were geared for children only, and I'm wondering didn't anyone question the inclusion of the following in Blue Lotus: opium, opium smugglers, procedure for inhaling or smoking or whatever (sorry, not really an expert on drugs) of opium, children using firearms (Chang with gun), suicide, intense racism, and etc.?

p.s. I have another question, could anyone tell me which format each of the early books were published in (meaning, by page, by strip.) I just find it interesting to look through them and see what the readers back then would finish each reading with.
tybaltstone
Member
#2 · Posted: 10 Oct 2005 17:34 · Edited by: tybaltstone
Generally, childrens' books and stories used to be far less sensitive than they are now. If The Blue Lotus was published new today, there probably would be an outcry due to its portrayal of drug use - which would be silly, of course. I suppose it's an eternal question - does a film that shows murder or drug use glamorise it or damn it? Actually, it's funny how murder is more acceptable than drug-taking in films, especially if employed by the hero.

If you look at early childrens' stories - fairy tales especially, they told of a whole range of killings, murder and death - all moral messages, probably the main reason for stories for children. Harry Potter is bringing some of that light and shade back, or certainly making it acceptable again - though not without some extreme critics. Tintin acted as a great role model through his adventures.

In my view, all the Tintin strips were aimed at children, not just the earlier ones. They can be enjoyed by anyone from '9 to 90' certainly. The early books were more naive, perhaps, less sophisticated, but perhaps Blue Lotus is actually one of the more 'adult' (mature) stories Hergé drew. ?

Back to the main question - I used to love adventures where the kids in the story pretty much acted like adults. It's all fantasy really. Some would say Tintin was/is an adolescent.
theone
Member
#3 · Posted: 10 Oct 2005 18:34
Generally, childrens' books and stories used to be far less sensitive than they are now

That's what I thought, or perhaps something to do with difference in cultural view of what children should be aware of, though I do wonder whether the kids would know what opium was in the first place.
snafu
Member
#4 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 02:04
If one looks carefully, drug use was being portrayed in a negative sense. No one looks good after having some opium (look at all the passed-out users). The villains themselves are drug-smugglers (as they are in other stories).

Chang and Tintin are supposed to be special kids who have the training to use the guns (although it's hard to believe that Chang would so quickly learn how to use one; there's a lot of recoil from those things).

The issue of suicide was briefly touched upon, so briefly that people wouldn't notice.

Racism: The Blue Lotus was radical in that it portrayed a non-Western culture in good light. Even the Japanese Embassy in Belgium protested the story's publication. Chang and most other Chinese were also portrayed in good light. In addition, the Westerners who contend that Western Culture is superior to Chinese civilization are borderline nuisances-villains. The good guys are not racist.

None of these things were supposed to be in good light, so there should be no reason for people to ban The Blue Lotus.
theone
Member
#5 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 02:12
The issue isn't that they're being promoted, it's more just that they're present, in a children's comic strip none the less. I'm not an expert, I simply thought that the inclusion of those not-so-kiddy subjects would have caused a little concern in a children's comic strip back then.

I'm not so much talking about banning the book, moreso to whether there was any reaction to them when they were originally published as a child-geared comic strip.

p.s. I'd appreciate if someone could answer my second question, really burning to know =)
tybaltstone
Member
#6 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 10:45 · Edited by: tybaltstone
p.s. I'd appreciate if someone could answer my second question, really burning to know =)

I think Hergé was drawing two pages a week for Le Petit Vingtieme (a separate topic really).

Chang and Tintin are supposed to be special kids who have the training to use the guns

There's no indication at all of gun training, in my view. These are fantasy adventure stories where someone can pick up a machine gun and rat-tat-tat away, purely for the excitement of adventure!
theone
Member
#7 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 12:10
I know, but I read that certain books were done by page, but then later by strip to save paper.

As for the Chang-gun-training, well, Tintin himself is I suppose already experienced with guns somehow and knows how to use them.

Chang, however, never fires the gun, does he? He only holds it, just to intimidate the villains.
Richard
UK Correspondent
#8 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 12:50
theone
p.s. I have another question, could anyone tell me which format each of the early books were published in (meaning, by page, by strip.) I just find it interesting to look through them and see what the readers back then would finish each reading with.

Just to answer the point with regard to The Blue Lotus, it's roughly two pages of the black and white edition for each colour page. So reading the story weekly in Le Petit XXè would have been pretty much the same as if reading one page a week now. If you'd like to know about the other books, it might be best to start another topic.

Chang, however, never fires the gun, does he? He only holds it, just to intimidate the villains.

What about Chang's amazing shot on p58, when he slices clean through Didi's sword blade ? But that's the only time ; as you say, Chang only holds a gun for the rest of the time in the opium den.
tybaltstone
Member
#9 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 12:54 · Edited by: tybaltstone
I know, but I read that certain books were done by page, but then later by strip to save paper.

Someone else may know better than me on this, but I believe that when Hergé was drawing Tintin for Le Petit Vingtieme it was two pages a week, then for Le Soir it continued as two pages until the war limited the paper and it became just a single strip - I think this was The Crab With the Golden Claws.

EDit: cross posted with Richard's post!
theone
Member
#10 · Posted: 11 Oct 2005 22:39
What about Chang's amazing shot on p58, when he slices clean through Didi's sword blade ? But that's the only time ; as you say, Chang only holds a gun for the rest of the time in the opium den.

Ah, but unless I'm mistaken (and if I am I am going to look dumb right now), there's no evidence that Chang himself fired the gun, because the others emerging from the barrels are holding weaponry also, and Tintin most likely exlaims "Chang!" only because Chang is the only one he knew out of all of them.

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