Hello everyone, sorry this response is so tardy... This is the first chance I've had to weigh back in, so I know I'm a little late with this. As MT50446 said earlier it is probably a fine time to close the debate for now, but I would like extend it a little farther to respond to Mr. Jock123.
Jock, you actually bring up some excellent points and I must say that in general I agree with you in the overall message of your post. You yourself highlight the fact that in reality the album is not being banned from society. Arguing that the vast majority of books written throughout history are out of print,however, is not quite a balanced argument. Sure, it's absolutely true. The difference is that I can walk into a bookstore and buy Whispering Smith
by Frank Spearman for $10, whereas even now while Tintin in the Congo
is still (briefly) in print it just cost me $90 to purchase it from Amazon. Egmont is the sole publisher - to my knowledge, Jock you would probably the publishing status better than I - of the volume in English, so I wouldn't be surprised if that volume becomes prohibitively expensive very soon as a collector's item, which I think is a bit of a shame. Tintin has such an astoundingly large world-wide audience I think it's a bit sad that one of the stories could become so cost-restrictive to purchase an English translation in physical form
to top off a collection.
This leads into my conclusion about banning and censorship - No, the book is not being outright banned or censored, but Egmont dropping it in print format has a much larger impact than many other books going out of print. (And yes, I use the term 'other' very loosely.)
Next, I think many of us would agree that this volume really only
has it's merit in a historical context. I stated earlier:
if you read something which challenges your own personal beliefs to the point that you wish it censored or banned, then perhaps you should instead examine the strength of your own beliefs.
if you read something which is seen by so many to be offensive, out-dated and out-moded, but aren't moved to change, you too should examine the strength of your belief...
The only problem with this is that you yourself suggest that the volume's merit lies in it's historical context. If it's merit lies in it's historical place in the Tintin canon, then it shouldn't be vilified for 'propagandizing,' per se, racism, animal brutality, and colonialism because it's not
, it's simply mirroring the morés of the times it was written in. It's not a matter of buying into the volume's morality, its a matter of respecting it for what it is (especially since Hergé eloquently displays the quality of his character in most of his other body of art.)
Now you could argue that the news reports that another, unnamed, publishing company is purportedly going to pick up the book. Well, if we assume that Egmont dropped the book for it's racial tones, because it was not making enough profit, or both, it seems reasonably illogical that another company would be pick it up. If it was dropped for it's racism, it could very likely prove unsellable as a curiosity piece for another publishing company just like it was for Egmont. And if it was dropped purely for monetary reasons, any other company would have to advertise it in order to generate a profit that makes it worth while - which would require 'selling' a book full of questionable morals.
I have trouble seeing it being picked back up any time soon in an English print format.
Also, as a matter of taste, I should state that I am not racist.
you too should examine the strength of your belief...
The implication here was on par with the implication of my own statements earlier, but I should clarify that I was not arguing to defend racism or colonialism. On the other side of the coin, I don't doubt that you, Jock123, give the album a degree of historical respect it deserves either. I certainly respect your opinion as a Tintin aficionado as well as a practiced artist of discussion. I was merely making a point, as I trust were you.
Now, back to the topic - and as Jock123 points out in his later post - the real
point here isn't about the books racism, it's simply the news that Egmont is dropping it's print publishing of the volume. I would suggest that the argument we've all been having really isn't about racism - at least it shouldn't be. That's pretty clear cut - it's bad. Rather, the discussion surrounding Tintin in the Congo
should be about how justifiable it is to vilify the album over it's racial (among other) overtones.
I'm solid in my opinion: it is not justifiable. The book has merit on a predominantly historical and canonical context. It has (by today's standards) mature themes of violence, racism, and - as Jock123 eloquently pointed out - colonialism - which make is largely unsuitable as being held in the same moral esteem as most of Hergé's other works. But these overtones should be taken in stride with the times in which it was written as well as where Hergé was in his own artistic development when he penned it.