17 July 2007

Snowy Crackers In The Congo

I read this morning that Borders Books is pulling the comic, Tintin In The Congo, off of the children's shelves. After complaints of racism, Borders decided to put that publication in the graphic novels over in the adult section. According to the Associated Press, other Tintin titles will remain in the children's section.

I've read these comics growing up. This one in particular is silly, fun, and adventurous. It was originally written in the 1930's by Belgian born, illustrator and writer, Herge'. Herge' later stated the book was a bit embarrassing but merely a reflection of the naive views of the time. Some of the scenes he later revised for later editions of Tintin in the Congo.

If anything, the offensive idea is that these books, the very books that encouraged me to read as a child, are being picked apart bit by bit. Some people might consider the karma sutra offensive...or perhaps Hilary Clinton's biography as offensive. Maybe I should complain about the Tintin books. His dog *is* named Snowy and there are drug addicts out there. We also know that Snowy is just another name for Cracker. Not cool, unless you are a saltine or triscut.

How overly sensitive do we have to be now in the name of political correctness? Or should I say, PC: Pursuing Controversy or Petty and Complaining.

What I don't understand is Borders reasoning. If this book is racist in the children's section, why isn't it equally racist in a different section? Heck, why don't we just ban them all, paint on little Hitler mustaches and make a bonfire. Is it irony that sales of this particular edition have shot 3800 percent since this controversy hit the news? I know they aren't banning the publication, but limiting children's access. In their own argument, adult racism is allowed but childhood racism is not?

Apparently the outrage I hear and read is that reading such publications will make children racist and yet in the next breath I hear that I'm ridiculous because, of course, Harry Potter won't turn your children into little sorcerers. Can you say double standard?

As a former employee of two bookstores...for clarity's sake lets just call them "Borders" and "Barnes and Noble"... I understand there is very little those bookstores can do to remove a book, unless it is deemed illegal. As a self-proclaimed photographer, I have encountered books that I consider full on child pornography. I complained about these two books with my manager at the time after removing one of these publications *twice* from the men's bathroom. Blurgh.

The photography books were nothing short of full of nude child photography, done 'artfully and tastefully'. Certainly not my words. Somehow within the year, both of the dust jackets got ripped and damaged for being looked at, in and out of the bathroom. The books were then returned to their publisher as damaged and never reordered.

There are reasons to limit access to publications, but Tintin and his dog Snowy? Pleeese. Let's just view these how the were intended: A silly comic about the adventures of a boy and his dog. It's not rocket surgery.

~Bee still thinks Tintin's bearded twins are funny

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"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words."

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe