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Regressive ideologies in Tintin

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#1 · Posted: 19 Oct 2006 13:34 · Edited by: Moderator
Hey, I've chosen the Tintin series as my topic for my popular culture paper.
Now I need to find any "regressive ideologies" that are expressed in the books - e.g. colonialism in Tintin in the Congo.
Since I've only recently been introduced to the series, could you guys please help me with this?
Can you please suggest books that you think have any sort regressive tone in them?
All I've found is Tintin in The Congo and The Blue Lotus.
#2 · Posted: 19 Oct 2006 18:41 · Edited by: Ranko
Hi Nazz, welcome.

It's not a real world scenario but the obvious example I can think of is the Taschists of Borduria. The Kurvi-Tasch regeime is very prominent in The Calculus Affair. As we've heard on the forum before, Taschist=Fascist. An obvious regressive ideology.
Mikael Uhlin
#3 · Posted: 20 Oct 2006 19:45
Ranko wrote: the obvious example I can think of is the Taschists of Borduria. The Kurvi-Tasch regeime is very prominent in The Calculus Affair. As we've heard on the forum before, Taschist=Fascist. An obvious regressive ideology.

Please note that Kurvi-Tasch and Tascists weren't the names used by Hergé but by the English translators. Hergé called the Bordurian leader Pleksy-Gladz, a wordplay on plexiglas.
#4 · Posted: 20 Oct 2006 21:35
But their ideology remains the same, right?
Mikael Uhlin
#5 · Posted: 21 Oct 2006 07:42
Right, but I only wanted to point out that Hergé never used the word Taschist (which would suggest Fascist).

Also, in The Calculus Affair, Borduria isn't exactly a Fascist state but more like a communist state with Kurvi-Tasch/Pleksy-Gladz looking more like Stalin than Hitler.

But then again, a regressive ideology it is.
Shaggy Milou
#6 · Posted: 22 Oct 2006 01:44
Oooh, such a nice juicy topic you've got to work with.

In regards to Borduria's regime, "King Ottokar's Sceptre" would be extremely useful, which was based on the Anschluss in Austria in the 30s and was an obvious anti-Nazi statement. (The villain's name is Dr Musstler, a comination of Hitler and Mussolini).

The first album, Tintin & the Soviets, was published barely a decade after the Russian revolution and is hugely anti-Communist. I'm to understand that Herge wrote it on the advice of the Catholic abbot who ran Le Petit Vigenteme (the paper Tintin was published in originally), and later regarded it as a mistake of his youth.
#7 · Posted: 22 Oct 2006 16:01
Thanks a lot you guys! Now I actually have some good stuff to work with.

While it is "a nice juicy topic", honestly, I am quite worried about filling in 15-20 sides with concrete criticism - but it is definitely very interesting!
I will also be using The Broken Ear - I think I'll concentrate on racism and imperialism as the core themes, followed by others that I come across.
Has anyone read Tintin and the Secret of Literature? The book isn't available here in India, but I did go through some excerpts online.
While it might be fascinating for some, it's just way too much analysis for my taste.
#8 · Posted: 13 Jan 2007 15:03
This is my first post on the forum, so be gentle if I say something that's wrong or misconceived...!
As regards regressive ideologies in Tintin, I think you're right that racism and imperialism would be good themes to explore in your thesis; but I think that if you wanted to take a more interesting slant, you could claim that one of the triumphs of the way Hergé developed his characters and the medium was that he went from reflecting contemporary attitudes to challenging them.

So, in Tintin in the Congo, for instance, the indigenous population are crudely-drawn caricatures reflecting European attitudes of the time, but from The Blue Lotus onwards, Herge increasingly begins to challenge these attitudes and adopt more complicated positions.
In Flight 714, for instance, the attitude to the Sondonesians is quite sophisticated: at first, they're the willing henchmen of Rastapopoulos; but, after being jabbed with Dr Krollspell's truth serum, Rastapopoulos reveals that they've been duped with promises of help in their struggle for independence, and their junks have been mined.

I also think that you'd be missing out on some good material if you ignored the Kurvi-Tasch regime, which goes through an interesting transformation, providing a surrogate for Nazi Germany at first and then, later on, taking on the role of the Soviet Union.
You could argue that this shows Hergé's consistent defence of democracy, and older, established forms of order, in the face of arriviste, extremist forms of government.

I hope this doesn't sound too convoluted or pretentious..!
#9 · Posted: 17 Jan 2007 15:52
This is my first post on the forum, so be gentle if I say something that's wrong or misconceived..!

Welcome to the forums, Verkitso!

You have made an interesting point about the reflecting/ challenging counter-points in Hergé’s work. It would seem pertinent to add here that Hergé apparently had a notion to re-visit the American West in another book, to try and better portray the plight of the Native Americans than he had managed in Tintin in America. It could have been the perfect example of what you say.
#10 · Posted: 17 Jan 2007 22:16
Thanks for the welcome, jock!

It would have been interesting to see Herge re-visit America later in his career, but I do like the frames in which a metropolis springs up within minutes. I don't have my copy of the book readily to hand, but I seem to remember that it followed the discovery of oil on Native American lands, so I think that we could certainly add rampant, unfettered capitalism to our notional list of ideologies that Herge sends up in his books.

One of the interesting things I learnt from reading Michael Farr's Companion was that the counter-expedition in The Shooting Star was supposed to be American, so there's another interesting conflict being set up there, too, with the scientists' expedition on one hand and the brute force of the financier's expedition on the other, reaching an ethical nadir when a member of the crew tries to shoot Tintin, descending on his parachute. A similar theme emerges in Explorers on the Moon, when Wolff's gambling debts lead him into what proves to be a fatal compromise with another sinister foreign power.

For me, this is what makes the books so fascinating, and is perhaps why, at the great age of 33, I'm still returning to them. There's simply so much going on and, as this site proves, so much to say about them.

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