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Could Hergé's characters stand for 'something else'?

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#21 · Posted: 1 May 2005 16:35 · Edited by: yamilah
you might well still refer to her archly as "La Castafiore", because it's a shorthand allusion to her grand diva manner.

OK for La Diva, La Callas, La Castafiore and other grand divas...

Thus it might simply be that 'enamorated' Calculus is mistaken when he speaks of La Castafiore as 'La' Bianca, because of 'La' Bianca, i.e. the white rose, a 'thing' he created in her honor...

the speaking style of all the characters is rather flowery, almost to the point of being unrealistic.

Thanks for this comment Jyrki21, and for the one about 'vous-voying' and 'tu-toying', that ends with 'just seems wrong'.

I think Tintin (and Calculus?; I'm not sure) never address their close companions via the familiar/colloquial 'tu' way.
Haddock says at least 3 times an overjoyed 'tu' to Tintin in Claws, Prisoners and Flight 714 + a disparaging one to Calculus when he discovers him aboard in Rackham + a non-disparaging but 'anxious' one to the same Calculus + a disparaging one to Carreidas, both latters by the end of Flight 714...
The Dupondt/Thompsons say 'tu' to Tintin in Cigars and Lotus when they arrest him...
(there might be some more 'tu' addresses I did not notice)

Usually, when you start saying 'tu' to someone, you don't return to a 'vous' afterwards, which could then even be disparaging, as it hints you pretend not to know the person...

I might even be able to find the same message in twenty different posters(...)

Thanks for your '20 posters' example, excellent indeed... Let's now imagine none of these 20 posters merits any reflection, but they were actually drawn, one a year, during 20 years by the same artist for the 'Mt Blanc Tourism Office', which accepted to sign the 20-year contract he insisted on. As he was a very special artist, he also demanded a full freedom about the choice of the subject of his 20 future posters, and of course promised 'Mt Blanc Tourism Office', i.e. the advert text, would be visible on each of them...

What if this artist decided that every 'close-up' of each one of his 20 posters would stand for a syllable, in order to tell 'something else' via this kind of strange and very slow writing?
Every single poster would of course just be a poster ...but when one day a gallery would align the series of his 20 'Mt-Blanc' posters in the proper order, you might be able to read his message if you can devine his 20 posters are 'writing' this artist's personal rebus. Thus posters are not always just posters...

You have mentioned many other frames, that you find in some way curious, but I can’t recall a single one which merited extended reflection, or held even a hint of mystery.

Yes, most frames are just odd and don't seem to deserve any extended reflection, they just show there might be 'something else' in them, because one among the first seems to be rebus-like, because some others allow one to suppose that some names might be no names, for their bearers are addressed with an article, 'like' things, colloquially, and without any reason...
Such frames provide what could be called 'internal data' (not to speak of 'facts')...

As we already discussed in other threads, some other frames are 'special' simply because they invite to open books treating about history (1698), geography (meridians), astronomy (1944 solar eclipse in Peru), technology (funny side of steering-wheel in Lancia cars, Moon rocket's funny porthole), linguistics (Ben More, 'direct Irish solar circle' legible in the original Blue Lotus p.19), etc...
Such frames invite to search what could be called 'external data'...
Many more could surely be found, leading to discoveries that would sometimes seem to be related to the Tintinverse in an apparently inexplicable way...

In that context, imho, overinterpretation is a fact distortion such as seeing a simple fish as a 'dolphin' or a 'shark' to fit one's Tintin specialist theory (see 'coat of arms' thread). Another fact distortion is an 'omission' such as the one in 'Tintin at Sea', that doesn't even mention Mexico (see 'Rackham' thread) and thus may hinder the reflection about the 3rd possible meridian... (see below). Another type of funny omission is not to study an album, nor to even read it, when one is a Tintin specialist...

A linguistic study about Tintin ('Ketje'), a geographic study of the inexplicably premonitory 3rd meridian (30 years separate Calculus' many 'more to the west' from the 'Hotuaterbotl' Pyramid inspired by the Yucatan one), or an astrophysical study ('Mais ou est donc le Temple du Soleil') would not be reliable with 'fact distortions', imho...

Tintin's internal data as well as his language and image own distortions might have a reason though, and thus deserve to be studied a little further more, imho...

surely you are the one who is overinterpreting facts that are plain??

Would you name 'overinterpreting' the mere designation of strange language, odd drawings, and coincidences?
Belgium Correspondent
#22 · Posted: 2 May 2005 09:20
"I think Tintin (and Calculus?; I'm not sure) never address their close companions via the familiar/colloquial 'tu' way. "

After a long search (helped by my kids), I found one exception to this rule, in "Claws", page 56, b2(second strip, second picture).
"Haddock says at least 3 times an overjoyed 'tu' to Tintin in Claws(page 20, a3 and b2, page 25 d1 and d2, page 53, d3), Prisoners(page 12 a2 and b1)and Flight 714 (page 55 d4) + a disparaging one to Calculus when he discovers him aboard in Rackham(page 20, d3) + a non-disparaging but 'anxious' one to the same Calculus (page 49 d2) + a disparaging one to Carreidas (page 55, b2) both latters by the end of Flight 714... "
"The Dupondt/Thompsons say 'tu' to Tintin in Cigars (page 29, d1 and d2 and Lotus(page 46 a3 and b1) when they arrest him... "

Another example of "tu" addresses is Tchang.
#23 · Posted: 2 May 2005 12:02
Thanks chevet for your explanations and quotations.

Another example of "tu" addresses is Tchang.

Yes, I forgot Tchang, and maybe some others. I think with him the 'tu' are immediate and permanent, like between children...
Belgium Correspondent
#24 · Posted: 16 May 2005 12:17
Hereunder, some other "tutoiements":

- Seven Balls, page 53 frames 3 and 5 (Haddock to Tournesol)
- Destination Moon page 48 frame 3 and page 49 frame 3 (Haddock to Tournesol)
In Flight 714, Haddock says "Tu" to Szut (page 3 frames 1 and 3) which is quite normal for a friend. Tintin continues to say "vous" to Szut (see for example page 12, frame 1 and page 50).
#25 · Posted: 17 May 2005 09:15
But surely use of 'tu/vous' is a matter of personal preference? It doesn't necessarily say you're not close to that person if you use 'vous' (to suggest Tintin and Archie are not close is absurd), just a matter of speaking style. Remember that Herge was writing at a time when 'vous' usage was much more prevalent than it is now; till even quite recently, 'tu' was the province of lovers and family, and to call anyone else it, even if they were friends, would have seemed slightly vulgar...

For example Colette (the famous French writer) ALWAYS called her husband 'vous', despite being "lavish with tu elsewhere". This does not suggest she didn't love her husband, but was a matter of personal choice. In fact calling him 'vous' when she called everyone else 'tu' is much more a case of personal distinction/regard, IMO.
#26 · Posted: 17 May 2005 20:05
Thanks everybody for your answers.

Still the topic isn't so much the 'tu/vous' aspect than some characters sometimes treated as 'things', in the Tintinverse...
#27 · Posted: 17 May 2005 20:11 · Edited by: jock123
overinterpretation is a fact distortion such as seeing a simple fish as a 'dolphin' or a 'shark' to fit one's Tintin specialist theory

The “distortion” of which you speak dates to the Middle Ages, and isn’t anything to do with over-interpretation: you need to read up on heraldry, where you will find that that that is what a heraldic dolphin has been depicted as for centuries…

“Over-interpretation” is taking the simple and non-controversial statement by Hergé that his books have a message, as many authors and artists do, and deciding that that means the message is a code, and that it has been hidden, and that he then spent decades hiding it in the books in a way that only you are able to see…

some characters sometimes treated as 'things', in the Tintinverse...

But you haven’t made a case that this doesn’t happen in the real world, and only demonstrates Hergé using a common colloquial construction, so why is it of interest?
#28 · Posted: 17 May 2005 20:33 · Edited by: yamilah
why is it of interest?

Well imho some of the given examples show an addressing that does not match with such 'smooth' a children's comics series, not to say it's even inexplicably totally non-relevant...
#29 · Posted: 2 Jun 2005 07:18
I still don't quite follow...
#30 · Posted: 2 Jun 2005 07:55
Whatever dude. You look to deep into these things. Tintin is one of the few things that can be enjoyed purely by its value on the surface.

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