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Tintin books: animal and child abuse?

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jock123
Moderator
#21 · Posted: 18 Mar 2005 08:00 · Edited by: jock123
I don’t think Hergé was controlled so tightly that Abbé Wallez was saying, “Oh by the way, include a rhino being blown up!” – that came out of Hergé’s head in all likelyhood.

I think that in this instance we are dealing with a question of a more fundamental change in tone of the strip over the years, not the actual change in the social politics; that in effect we have in Congo a paper version of the sort of non-naturalistic physical violence which was endemic in cartoons (especially animated) up until the fifties, when it started to be phased out. So Ignatz and Krazy Kat were lobbing bricks, Popeye and Brutus/ Bluto were putting each other through mincing-machines, and Tom and Jerry were doing all sorts of awful things, which usually ended with Tom looking like a coffee table with blinking eyes in the middle.

As the books progressed there was a sea-change, and Hergé largely abandoned the un-naturalistic violence, and made the books more realistic; what makes Congo stick out is that a) it is unlike the later books, but b) it lookslike them because it was re-styled when it was redrawn.

Addition:I initially posted the following in another thread, but think now that it is better here.

In the recent coverage of the “Made in Belgium” debacle (see this thread), Hergé’s nephew has been quite outspoken.

He mentioned along the way in a couple of places that he enjoyed trips to his uncle’s office, and that he was always made welcome – so much so that he was never really aware of his uncle as anything other than his uncle, as opposed to a celebrity.

There was also a boy who was Hergé’s neighbour, who over the course of years amassed a collection of virtually every Tintin item going, and solemnly went and got Hergé to autograph them for him, which he did unfailingly and without complaint. There was a book published, show-casing his collection.

I therefore would avoid the heresay of Hergé being anti-child, and take the word of a child who knew him over second-hand reports.
OJG
Member
#22 · Posted: 18 Mar 2005 13:15 · Edited by: OJG
The rhino scene is the only one that I can think of where animals are subjected to cruelty by a 'good guy'. Like I said earlier, this was a very early stage of Hergé's career. I very much doubt that he would have foreseen the immense following Tintin would gain in the future and for how long into the future it would last. If he had, I think that he would have realised that a more moral approach to his stories would have been necessary. The rhino incident, and in fact the whole book, were products of their time and would not have been considered wrong at the time. At this stage of his career, Hergé didn't put nearly as much research into his work (particularly a book he didn't really want to do), and would have probably given the people what they knew anyway, regardless of his personal feelings. As his career progressed, Tintin's values reflected Hergé's more.

On the point of Hergé being 'anti-child', I think it was probably more a case of shying away from all the publicity he got, which was largely from children.
miloumuttmitt
Member
#23 · Posted: 7 Jul 2007 18:37
Is nobody mentioning the horrible pain the leopard must have gone through?
cafe_noir
Member
#24 · Posted: 8 Jul 2007 09:38
I am anti-cruelty to animals, but I think of the Tintin of the very early adventures as not being fully formed yet -almost a prototype Tintin. Hergé did say something along the lines that he never took the series seriously until he did 'The Blue Lotus'- and so I don't take the very early stories too seriously either. I'd be more concerned if he had created 'Congo' later in the series. As it is, I take it as part of the development process of Tintin and I'm glad that the themes of the early books were not a direction he continued to follow..
Dupondt
Member
#25 · Posted: 8 Jul 2007 19:36
In terms of the rhino incident i just think it's funny. It's so ludicrous that he'd drill a hole in a rhino and stuff it with dynamite, ontop of the fact that the rhino was blown completely into tiny pieces. It's not animal cruelty, It's slapstick. It's a comic. It's not like say tintin kicked a cat or something, that may influence a young reader, but i doubt it would encourage a child to blow up a rhino.
The Sceptre
Member
#26 · Posted: 22 Jan 2009 16:32
I think it's comical how we're accusing Tintin of practising cruelty to one animal when our own times are replete with perhaps the cruelest form of animal abuse in history. Modern factory farming has been practised for three decades and it's far much worse than what Tintin did so I think his action should maybe be overlooked.
William
Member
#27 · Posted: 12 May 2009 20:41
miloumuttmitt:
Tintin was reported hitting Snowy in The Black Island. Tintin, naturally, seems not to be cruel, but in The Black Island, he seems to be to Snowy (not to mention him hitting Abdullah in Land of Black Gold).

Whatever about his actions in Congo, which are too early to really judge the character of Tintin proper, throughout the series he shows a clear devotion to Snowy, risking his life to save him, so I'm willing to excuse the odd reprimand for drink. In general, Tintin does seem to have a distaste for alcohol, so it's not surprising that he's disapprove of Snowy drinking.
Haddocks Beard
Member
#28 · Posted: 28 Jun 2009 19:16
I just had to address this issue. As far as I'm concerned, Congo and Soviets were prototypes and not strictly canon. The Tintin we see in the rest of the books has a fairly consistent anti-abuse character, only using weapons as a last resort. That Tintin would have never blown up Rhinos etc. I agree with those that say the smack he gives Snowy or Abdullah is not equivalent to abuse.
Furienna
Member
#29 · Posted: 3 Mar 2019 03:57 · Edited by: Furienna
Seriously, I don't really like it when Tintin smacks Snowy or Abdallah. Not to mention all of that disgusting slaughter of animals in "Congo". Yeah, I know that this would have been acceptable in the 1930s and 1940s. But I don't feel that it has aged well.
snowybella
Member
#30 · Posted: 3 Mar 2019 06:12 · Edited by: snowybella
Furienna

At least Tintin smacks Snowy and Abdullah for a reason -

Snowy doesn't obey him in the earlier books, and Black Island is a clasisc example. I've had to slap my (pampered) dog a few times when she doesn't listen to me: she's tried to rip open a trouser-pocket once because it smelt of some breadcrumbs, and other times she's tried to eat chocolate, and after a hearty telling-off, she doesn't do those things anymore. If you had a dog, would you like it if it kept running off to eat or drink things it shouldn't?

Abdullah is a spoilt child, and I do understand the times when Tintin and Haddock smacks him on the bum in Black Gold: he didn't understand the serious situation he was in, and he behaved so ungratefully to his rescuer - I remember another member writing, in the forums, that it was more like a case of rescuing Muller from Adbullah! He deserved it.

However, I do agree with you on Congo - there was no proper justification for slaying all twelve antelope (why couldn't have he bought food from the village where he hired Coco?), and killing the gorilla and elephant was just cruel, not to mention the "exploding rhino".

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