Tintin Forums

Tintinologist.org Forums / Curious about Tintin? /

Alcoholism as a Form of Humour: Is Captain Haddock safe for children?

Page  Page 1 of 2:  1  2  Next » 

Tintinrulz
Member
#1 · Posted: 6 Nov 2011 07:00 · Edited by: Tintinrulz
Before you hurl Loch Lomond bottles at me and shout, "Billions of blue blistering barnacles, what a troglodyte!" hear me out.

We all know some people get offended with alcohol (and smoking I guess) when they are featured in movies/TV shows/books children may read/watch. That's fair enough. They're very impressionable and don't have all the skills early on to discern such things but they're far from stupid. There's nothing wrong with that but what is wrong, in my opinion, is when they try to put their modern politically correct sensibilities about these things into removing all trace of them from existing history, specifically in media.

I've recently been involved in an interesting discussion on Internet Movie Database about alcoholism as humour. The original creator of thread seemed at least to know the basics of the adventures and yet they had concern about whether Captain Haddock should be drinking in a family movie, especially at a time when addiction was not something at which to laugh (when has it ever?).

In the US the movie has been rated PG for 'adventure action violence, some drunkenness and brief smoking' (it sums up the Captain pretty well - haha!) so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
That said, the albums the movie is based on are from the early to mid 1940's so what did they expect from the characters?

If you're interested, the thread can be found here.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0983193/board/thread/190561780


Here were my replies to the original posters concerns:
The first Tintin album to feature Captain Haddock is 'The Crab with the Golden Claws'. The reader is introduced to a miserable alcoholic and his first appearance is a memorable yet frightening one. Yes, humour comes out of the Captain's angry rants and intolerance for many things/people due (in large part) to his drinking but I don't believe Herge was downplaying the role of alcohol and how it can be incredibly destructive to the person and those around. They are too very different things. Also, Captain Haddock wasn't created to be a role-model (that was Tintin) but to show the flawed humanity of us all. Someone to identify with in many ways - no one is as good and pure as Tintin but we can all relate to a man who gets really angry and upset at times but tries to do the right thing. If they removed the Captain's alcoholism from the movie, that would prove unfortunate and unforgivable. It's such a large part of his character. Not one to emulate for sure, but one that exists all the same.
I've been a Tintin fan for most of my life, I've enjoyed Captain Haddock's character immensely and have never felt the need to get drunk. Herge was flawed in many ways (as we all are) but I don't believe he was an alcoholic either. One must have flawed creations to create interest and understanding in fiction.

If the environment a child grows up in promotes drinking in moderation and they see that example set by the adults in their life, they're much more likely to be sensible drinkers later on. ...he (Captain Haddock) probably saw it as normal adult behaviour and grew up to do the same. We wield enormous influence, let's be mindful of that.

The Captain is definitely a tragic figure in The Crab with the Golden Claws, his behaviour even frightening. His alcoholism is not taken lightly. I imagine they changed the bit where he knocks Tintin unconscious while the young reporter is flying the plane. They changed that part in the animated series and it always disappointed me. Sure it doesn't help us sympathize with the Captain, but it's much more interesting and disturbing and shows the dangers that can come with irresponsible drinking.


I suppose I could've mentioned the instances in the TV series where they removed pretty much all mention of alcohol (and smoking) resulting in the dumbing down of his character and the obvious contrast between Tintin, as the straight man and the Captain as someone easily relatable but not someone who was a 'boy scout'. I'm not saying he was his flaws but they did attribute to his character. One could also argue that the Captain's drunken tantrums constantly get them/him into trouble or prove dangerous.

I don't believe this topic has ever been discussed on the forum, I could be wrong but I did a search. What are your thoughts on alcoholism as humour in regards to the wonderful Captain Haddock?
mondrian
Member
#2 · Posted: 6 Nov 2011 08:35
Haddock drinks, Haddock smokes, Haddock behaves irrationally, that's him and that's how he should be presented.

Whether that's suitable for children (and for children of what age?) is for the parents to decide. Personally I don't think it's possible (or preferable) to completely protect children from "the adult world". Drinking, smoking, sex, violence and consumerism are the reality, it's the parent's job to explain them to children. Closing their eyes completely is irresponsible.




************POSSIBLE SPOILER FORTHCOMING****************


Personally I thought that the movie had a moralistic undertone towards Haddock's alcoholism. Yes, there was a few scenes where alcohol did some good, but mostly drunken Haddock was presented as a hopeless wreck. And "true Haddock" only arrived when he quit drinking.

I wasn't very happy about that, in the books "true Haddock" drinks and consequences vary. Sometimes they're catastrophic, sometimes whisky gives him strength and courage.

Not quite sure yet what I should think of that aspect of the movie. I suppose it could be argued that there was no more moralism than in the books (especially when Milou drinks, Tintin gets on his high horse). However, I felt the moralism in the movie and wasn't too impressed. Opinions?
Tintinrulz
Member
#3 · Posted: 6 Nov 2011 10:20 · Edited by: Tintinrulz
Granted I haven't seen the movie yet, it hasn't been released in Australia, but it sounds to me as if the movie version of the Captain has been tamed somewhat, although not to the level of the TV series. I'm okay with that.

It's interesting that you should mention that the consequences vary when he drinks. I didn't think about that angle. That said, drinking whisky can stabilise one's nerves and give them more strength and courage in some circumstances. The fiery flavours of whisky alone feel like liquid courage. I'm not promoting drunkenness, personally I drink in moderation, but Herge didn't push moralism onto children in the albums, so why should any other interpretation. Moralism while good-natured smacks of heavy-handed laziness - a moral lesson pretending to be an entertaining story if you will. That's not the ingredients that make up a good story!
mct16
Member
#4 · Posted: 6 Nov 2011 12:10
Tintinrulz:
The fiery flavours of whisky alone feel like liquid courage.

There's "Shooting Star" when Haddock is all set to give up beating the Peary to the meteorite. It's when he's had a whisky and Tintin mutters "You may be right. Let's give up and go home" that he suddenly springs into action and almost catches up with the opposition.

I've always loved that scene because in an American or British comic, TV or movie, you'd have Tintin and Phostle talking, talking and talking until they find the words to get the reluctant Haddock to act and that kind of preaching can be tedious.

When Haddock was forced off alcohol because of Calculus in "Picaros", do you think that Herge himself was starting to wonder: maybe his alcoholism is not such a great example?
Furienna
Member
#5 · Posted: 27 Nov 2011 08:20
Since I've always known, that alcohol is no good, I've always seen the captain's drinking as a bad trait, even though it often brings humor into the adventure, and some times even can make him do the right thing (like when Tintin tricked him into staying with him in "Tintin in Tibet"). Is it suitable for children to see it? Well, millions of people have read "Tintin" as kids, and most of us have turned out fine. So I guess it's okay.
mct16
Member
#6 · Posted: 27 Nov 2011 20:30
"Picaros" in which Calculus introduces his alcohol-allergy pills makes a good point about looking out for a friend's health and the right of the individual to choose their own lifestyle.

My 20-year-old cousin has been smoking for some time now and gentle persuasion is just not enough to put her off. Some tobacco-allergy pills would be useful.

While on the subject
In "Red Sea Sharks", Tintin, when trying to wake Haddock up, remarks that he always has a flask of rum for emergencies. Do you think he means as in medicinal purposes (alcohol can be good if in a cold environment) or to get Haddock to co-operate?
Jelsemium
Member
#7 · Posted: 28 Nov 2011 02:38
I think that having Haddock unable to drink alcohol was Hergé's way of finding a new way to get humor from the situation.

It occurs to me that not being able to tolerate alcohol could have unintended consequences. For one thing, so many over the counter medicines (like cough syrup)are made with an alcohol base. It also seems to me that half of European cuisine uses alcohol... coq au vin, chicken marsala, crepes suzette, bouillabaisse, fondu and beer battered fish come to mind.
Furienna
Member
#8 · Posted: 28 Nov 2011 18:37
mct16:
In "Red Sea Sharks", Tintin, when trying to wake Haddock up, remarks that he always has a flask of rum for emergencies. Do you think he means as in medicinal purposes (alcohol can be good if in a cold environment) or to get Haddock to co-operate?

I think your first suggestion was why Tintin started this practice, but your second suggestion was a good (?) consequence of it.

Jelsemium:
It occurs to me that not being able to tolerate alcohol could have unintended consequences. For one thing, so many over the counter medicines (like cough syrup)are made with an alcohol base. It also seems to me that half of European cuisine uses alcohol... coq au vin, chicken marsala, crepes suzette, bouillabaisse, fondu and beer battered fish come to mind.

Not that I know exactly how Calculus's anti-alcohol medicin works, but when you use alcohol in cooking, it usually just leaves a certain flavor, right? You can't get intoxicated from coq au vin, for example, can you? So since the intoxicating parts of the alcohol disappears, you would still be able to eat these dishes.
Magpie
Member
#9 · Posted: 7 Jan 2012 01:25
Personally, I first saw Tintin when I was four years old, in the Nelvana TV show of Les bijoux de la Castafiore.(The Castafiore emerald) I loved Tintin, but I had to watch the show since I couldn't read the comics, being to young to be able to read properly.(I was in canadian french immersion, so I had a fairly good idea of what they were saying in the shows.) I know that they did not show Captain Haddock drink in the show if they could help it, since it was for kids. I can only remember seeing it when Milou drinks the alcohol, in Tintin in Tibetwhen the bottle falls out of captain Haddock's back pocket and breaks. They needed to show this scene, because the alcohol causes Milou to fall over the mountain. So I didn't even know about the alcohol. I didn't have access to the information. (Those smart Nelvana people!)
Tintinrulz
Member
#10 · Posted: 7 Jan 2012 01:45
Having now seen the movie, the only part I saw as inappropriate alcohol-related humour was when Snowy switched Captain Haddock's glass of water for a jug of vodka, to help him remember. It's obviously played for laughs but if you examine it too much, it comes across as disturbing. That's not to say I didn't laugh at that scene, I did, but it was a slightly awkward moment.

Page  Page 1 of 2:  1  2  Next » 

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Forum Posting Guidelines.

Disclaimer: Tintinologist.org assumes no responsibility for any content you post to the forums/web site. Staff reserve the right to remove any submitted content which they deem in breach of Tintinologist.org's Terms of Use. If you spot anything on Tintinologist.org that you think is inappropriate, please alert the moderation team. Sometimes things slip through, but we will always act swiftly to remove unauthorised material.

Reply

|

» Login  » Password  Forgot your password?
Please log in to to post. No account? Sign up for one!

 

Online now: 5 guests and 0 members
Members online:

Most users ever online was 311 on 30 Sep 2013 21:02: 311 guests and 0 members

Load time: 0.463