Over at Samizdata, Perry de Havilland has a few thoughts on recent efforts by the Commission for Racial Equality to have Hergé’s Tintin in the Congo removed entirely from the shelves of British booksellers:
“The fact is, Tintin is racist. So what? It is a very good illustration of the attitudes of the era in which these stories were written (Tintin in the Congo was published in 1930), which was during the Indian summer of colonialism (with apologies to the people of Tibet still under Chinese colonial occupation circa 2007). I personally find books glorifying Socialism hideous as history has proven again and again that Socialism is repression and its end state is mass murder and horror. Maybe I should demand Borders stop selling those. Better yet, maybe bookshops should not sell anything that offends anyone, which should limit them to selling phone books in all likelihood.”
Tintin in the Congo has been moved to Borders’ adult graphic novel section and can be bought online here. Predictably, sales of the title have risen dramatically in the wake of the CRE’s protests. The book also comes with a warning that its contents include “bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period - an interpretation some readers may find offensive.” Readers will be thrilled to hear that Tintin in the Land of the Soviets is still available too. More on Tintin here.
I mention this because a few hours ago I caught part of the 1955 film The Dam Busters in which Richard Todd plays Wing Commander Guy Gibson, whose dog, a black labrador, is, unfortunately, called “Nigger”. Which raises the question of whether subsequent screenings will entail some discreet redubbing at the hands of the CRE.