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Charles de Gaulle: "My only international rival is Tintin!"

#1 · Posted: 5 Jun 2004 11:18
Au fond, vous savez, mon seul rival international, c'est Tintin! Nous sommes les petits qui ne se laissent pas avoir par les grands. On ne s'en aperçoit pas à cause de ma taille ! -- Charles de Gaulle

What does that translate to in English, please?

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#2 · Posted: 5 Jun 2004 13:41
"Basically, you know, my only international rival is Tintin! We're both little fellows who won't be got at by the big fellows. Nobody notices, because of my height!

Or if you prefer US English: "...we're both little guys who won't be pushed around by the big guys..."
#3 · Posted: 11 Jun 2004 21:31
I like this quote, which I haven't heard for years - can you tell me when CdeG said it, and in what circumstances? He wasn't usually given to humourous remarks!

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#4 · Posted: 12 Jun 2004 12:44
I'm not sure when, but it was said to André Malraux, who was himself a Tintin fan.
#5 · Posted: 22 Feb 2015 13:44
Just to expand on Ed's comment, I've finally (it's only taken a little over a decade!) come across an attribution for the source from which the Malraux line is taken; it is to be found on page 52 of his book, Les Chênes qu'on abat... (The Oaks that are Felled...), published by Editions Gallimard in 1971.

This may not date the de Gaulle quote precisely, but it does at least give us a context and a cut-off date; the interviews with de Gaulle were undertaken for the book, so they most probably are within a year or two prior to publication.

The book's title is itself a quotation from Victor Hugo, taken from the poem Á Théophile Gautier: Oh! Quel farouche bruit font dans le crépuscule/ Les chênes qu'on abat pour le bûcher d'Hercule! , ("To Theophilus Gautier: Oh what brutal noises in the twilight/ Oaks being felled for the funeral pyre of Hercules!").
#6 · Posted: 17 Apr 2023 19:49
Another eight years, and another piece of the puzzle can be added...

I've come across an article from the Charle De Gaulle Foundation, which talks about the Malraux quote: it does caveat the whole thing by clarifying that the quotation was first published after de Gaulle was already dead, and therefore, "It is not certain that the General made such remarks", but, on that basis, it says it is still has "become one of the most famous attributed to the General".

It's also most interesting to read a letter that Hergé wrote to the Charle De Gaulle Foundation in 1973, in response to a request for his reaction to the comparison - he says that, although the remark is obviously framed as a joke, it gave him a serious message, which helped him to "discover a simplicity, even a humility, which restores a human dimension to the character".

Given that this would have been in the period running up to the start of Tintin and the Picaros, it's interesting to think that this might have been one of the sparks used to re-ignite the long-bubbling "Bigotudos" plot, which had played a part in the creation of Flight 714 before it.

The article makes interesting remarks about how the use of Tintin, as opposed to the possibly more obvious choice of Astérix (le gaulois), might have been a deliberate snub to the generation who had demonstrated in the civil unrest in May 1968, which had caused de Gaulle - then the President of France - to flee briefly to West Germany, dissolve the National Assembly and call for parliamentary elections.

Written by French MP Didier Quentin, the article also contains this interesting summation of Tintin's politics, in an answer he'd previoulsy given to the question, "Is Tintin Right- or Left-Wing?". He says:
Tintin est gaulliste, et je dirais même mieux: gaullien, car comme le Général, il a le mépris de l'argent et du luxe ; il n'aime pas "les communistes séparatistes, proches des Soviets", pas plus que "le capitalisme façon pétrodollar". À l'image du Général, Tintin n'incarne ni la droite, ni la gauche!
(Tintin is Gaullist, or I might better say, Gaulle-ian, because, like the General, he has contempt for money and luxury; he does not like "separatist communists, close to the Soviets", any more than "petrodollar-style capitalism". Like the General, Tintin embodies neither the Right nor the Left!)

Anyway, it's a good article to read, and very nice to know about Hergé's reaction to it!

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