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Picaros: Is Hergé saying things don't change at the end?

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Jeeves
Member
#11 · Posted: 4 May 2008 01:02
I see very little diffrence between Alcazar and Tapioca. They are both cruel and ruthless and they are often being prped up by those smarter than they are. Alcazar may call Tintin his friend, but as soon as he finds him irritateing or inconvieniant he has no qualms about sending him to the fireing sqaud. Alcazar is basically only intrested in things that benifit him directly, for example agreeing to become involved in the Grand Chapo war because he would get a share of the prophits.Also much of what we know about Tapioca comes from Alcazar or Tintin who are both biased sources. We are supposed to side with Alcazar because Tintin does, but if you look closely you can see that the two dictators are basically interchangable.
tuhatkauno
Member
#12 · Posted: 4 May 2008 17:58
Jeeves wrote:
I see very little diffrence between Alcazar and Tapioca.


First I thought there is a difference. Alcazar seemed to have a mission (bit romantic kind of revolution) and thus his actions wouldn't be completely selfish. Moreover Alcazar is very human in his own way, not so clever macho latin guy, married with lovable Peggy - a poor creature after all. But so is Tapioca, poor man, I almost feel sorry for him when he has lost his authority in Picaros and like Jeeves mentioned the difference between those two guys vanishes.
Jeeves
Member
#13 · Posted: 4 May 2008 18:29
tuhatkauno wrote:
First I thought there is a difference. Alcazar seemed to have a mission (bit romantic kind of revolution) and thus his actions wouldn't be completely selfish.

Yes thats what he says, Tapioca is a criminal, I will provide a better quality of living, etc. But when we have seen him activly ruleing all he seems to do is play chess and order executions. I also agree with the widely held interpretation of the frame at the end of Picaros, nothing has changed just the political placards and uniforms. Don't get me wrong general Alcazar is one of my favorite characters, one of the reasons why being his moral ambiguity
tuhatkauno wrote:
Moreover Alcazar is very human in his own way, not so clever macho latin guy, married with lovable Peggy - a poor creature after all.

I too like their relationship, and I love Peggy. However in a previous version of Picaros Alcazar tells Tintin that the reason he married her is because she is the wealthy daughter of arms dealer Basil Bazarov and sits on the supervisory board of his company and that has "greatly simplifyed his problems securing arms supplies"
Vicky
Member
#14 · Posted: 6 May 2008 22:00
Strictly speaking, besides being Alcazar’s political opponent, any other information on Tapioca comes exclusively from the “Tintin and the Picaros” book and my personal opinion on him was not formed based on Alcazar’s or Tintin’s comments on him but from the events in that story. Surely Alcazar is no saint himself and I had never particularly noticed him in any book other than "Tintin and the Picaros". I didn’t read them in the right order and the first book I read that featured him was the "Seven Crystal Balls" where I overall liked him as a character but I barely realized at that time that he is a politician (consider though that I was no more than 12 years old). After that I read “The Red Sea Sharks” where I didn’t really notice him very much due to his small part in the story and later in “The Broken Ear” I disliked him a lot. It wasn’t till I read “Tintin and the Picaros” that I actually thought there may be some more good into him after all than what meets the eye. As I said before, I thought he is a loyal friend since he went all the way to help Tintin and friends escape at the pyramid even though he could actually lose a lot from this mission and had nothing to gain. Not knowing Tapioca well enough, I cannot say that he wouldn’t have done the same for his friends but when it comes to who is the most the reliable of the two, I cannot possibly place them on the same level. As previously mentioned, Tapioca is not as good at keeping his promises as Alcazar. Alcazar did keep his promise that he wouldn’t have anyone executed.Tapioca would have probably said “Promise or no promise, I am fed up with you Tintin, now that I am in charge I am going to have any officer I don’t like shot and if you don’t like it just go home”. I think so because when one gives his word that guests in his country will be safe but in fact they are not all that safe, I guess this says a lot about this person’s character. Giving him the benefit of doubt, perhaps Tapioca really believed that the documents incriminating Castafiore, Tintin, Haddock and the others were real (after all, Sponz slipped the documents into Castafiore’s things and it was not secret that Tintin and Haddock were acquainted with both Castafiore and with Alcazar) so maybe Tapioca thought that by falsely inviting Tintin, Haddock and Calculus in order to dispose of them he was getting rid of some dangerous enemies. But this is no excuse for breaking his word and not at least discussing things first with his guests. And above all, having the Thompsons sentenced to death when they were not even mentioned in those documents is ridiculous. Whereas for some bizarre reason, Castafiore who was supposed to be the real conspirator got a life sentence instead. Considering that there obviously hadn’t been a proper enquiry in the affair, that was not fair at all either but how come the Thompsons got the death penalty whereas she didn’t? That’s justice over there I guess. Again, goodness knows what would have happened if something similar had happened with Alcazar in charge but considering that he disapproves of the whole thing while watching the trial with Tintin, maybe he does aim to be a bit milder than Tapiocal. Yes, I remember that Alcazar had once had Tintin sentenced to death but that was because he believed him to be spying against him. A random note is certainly not much evidence but at least it was more than what Tapioca’s officers had against the Thompsons (or even Wagner and Irma) who were only accompanying Castafiore and as far as I remember, there was no evidence against them. I also remember that at some point in Tintin and the Picaros, Alcazar did threaten to have Tintin shot if Tintin did not keep his promise to stop the Picaros from drinking but as he threatened to shoot way too many people including the drunk fellow who tossed a tear gas grenade into his hut but never did carry out the threat, I don’t suppose he seriously meant to do it. What I am trying to get at is that I think that Alcazar in “Tintin and the Picaros” seems to be rather different as a character than what he used to be in previous books and not as arrogant and corrupt as before ( I guess his marriage had an slight impact in his personality) and perhaps his intentions after the takeover are actually not that bad. I am not saying that he is God’s gift to the country or something and I too felt a bit sorry for Tapioca. I am just saying that after the events in "Tintin and the Picaros", Alcazar may turn out to be a bit better than Tapioca (and a bit better than what he himself was in "The Broken Ear"). The fact that he began his presidency without bloodshed is a good sign (that was under pressure of course but he did anyway). It will not make a difference for the poor (not anytime soon anyway) but for many poor people it never makes too much of a difference who is in charge even in democratic countries. At least there are chances that with Alcazar there may be some improvement in the justice system of the country and a few other aspects of the daily life there. Hopefully he might even do enough not to be regarded as being the same as Tapioca.
jock123
Moderator
#15 · Posted: 6 May 2008 23:28
Jeeves wrote:
However in a previous version of Picaros Alcazar tells Tintin that the reason he married her is because she is the wealthy daughter of arms dealer Basil Bazarov and sits on the supervisory board of his company and that has "greatly simplifyed his problems securing arms supplies"

Yes, but as you say, that was in a different version, only a draft, and just something that Hergé played with amongst many other ideas which didn’t make the cut. As it isn’t in the finished version of the story, I wouldn’t hold it as having any significance now - it just doesn’t apply.
Jeeves
Member
#16 · Posted: 7 May 2008 04:57
I suppose, but when you think about the two characters why else would they be together? And yes Alcazar could be worse, but I still think he's a crook. This doesn't meen i don't like him because I do

Vicky wrote:
Considering that there obviously hadn’t been a proper enquiry in the affair, that was not fair at all either but how come the Thompsons got the death penalty whereas she didn’t?

I think Herge thought that a woman going to the fireing squad was worse than the men.

--
[Moderator's comment: combined 2 consecutive posts.]
Pharaoh
Member
#17 · Posted: 1 Jun 2008 06:13 · Edited by: Pharaoh
It's a satirical look at third world countries and the events that take place in them over and over. Tyrants depose each other all the time, each promising changes, but ultimately all that change are images of the leader while the people are left to suffer.

Whenever someone who does not know better starts laughing at my interest in "children's comics" as they call it, I just show them this book and let them compare the two frames and draw conclusions, then I ask them if they still think Tintin is a "children's comic". Usually the answer is negative :-)
Jeeves
Member
#18 · Posted: 1 Jun 2008 23:37
Couldn't agree more pharaoh

and regarding my earlier post about Senora Alcazar's background and proffesion, if el General's comments are irealevant why is it posted on the officail website as part of Alcazar's character page?
Vicky
Member
#19 · Posted: 9 Jun 2008 20:47 · Edited by: Vicky
jock123 wrote:
Jeeves wrote: However in a previous version of Picaros Alcazar tells Tintin that the reason he married her is because she is the wealthy daughter of arms dealer Basil Bazarov and sits on the supervisory board of his company and that has "greatly simplifyed his problems securing arms supplies"

Yes, but as you say, that was in a different version, only a draft, and just something that Hergé played with amongst many other ideas which didn’t make the cut. As it isn’t in the finished version of the story, I wouldn’t hold it as having any significance now - it just doesn’t apply.


Jeeves wrote:
I suppose, but when you think about the two characters why else would they be together? And yes Alcazar could be worse, but I still think he's a crook. This doesn't meen i don't like him because I do



Personally I think that Peggy being Bazarov's daughter is a lovely bit of trivia. I had never imagined that there is any connection between these two characters until I read about it on a Tintin website some time ago. Regardless of not being mentioned in the final version, it does look like this is the case in Herge's mind and it doesn't create any problems in the story so I am personally OK with the idea. But supposing Bazarov is meant to be alive during the events in "Tintin and the Picaros" what concerns me more is what the old man thinks regarding his little girl being stuck in the middle of the jungle hiding from the government with her rebel of a husband and his bunch of bandids.
Jeeves
Member
#20 · Posted: 10 Jun 2008 02:36 · Edited by: Jeeves
Vicky wrote:
what concerns me more is what the old man thinks regarding his little girl being stuck in the middle of the jungle hiding from the government with her rebel of a husband and his bunch of bandids.

I think any normal father would ask "where on earth did I go wrong?" I don't know how Bazarov would react, he is after all an unscrupulus arms dealer I can't see him careing too much.

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