17 July 2007

Mothers Against Book Discrimination

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, it is offensive that these books, these 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. Hello?!

How overly sensitive do we have to be now in the name of political correctness? P.C. in my book just stands for Pursuing Controversy or Pissy 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.

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 (let's call them Morders AND Darnes & Soble), I understand there is very little those bookstores can do to remove a book, unless it is deemed illegal. As a self-proclaimed photographer and former bookseller, 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. (magazines were also common...ewww very gross) These were 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 so often. They were 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.


Jeff said...

Nothing like a good controversy to stir up sales eh? They say there is no such thing as bad press.

Rocket surgery. Heh. ;-)

Clare said...

I think it's madness how suddenly it's deemed that things are offensive when they've been around for years and no one has complained.

McBunni said...

Rocket surgery! LOL

Don't EVEN get me started on being PC and censorship!...even though I'm going to start anyway....

Every person has their own likes and dislikes. If we banned things or censored things, or made things illeagle (I can never spell this word right), that could possible offend someone----we wouldn't have anything left. As you may know, I am a HUGE advocate of open-mindedness. This is the epitome of the opposite. People drive me nuts. If it offends you, don't associate with it. For those of us who like it, let us partake. To each their own!

.....and now we know why I don't post about such things. My grammar and spelling leave something to be desired, eh? Sorry about that. I do have a college degree, I swear!

R said...

I have read every single Tintin to my Oldest son. I am in agreement with you on this. My Oldest LOVES Tintin. It is totally not realistic. So, should we pull it off the shelves too because Captain Haddock is a flaming alcoholic and it pokes fun at alcoholics? May it never be!

I initially thought it bad that black people were portrayed in the comic as being really black and having big pink lips, but if you think about it, every character is exaggerated including white, Indian, Asian, etc. Let's pull Tintin in Tibet because of Tintin's friend Chang, or anyone of the comics that have a Middle Eastern guy saying "Sahib". The Thompson twins are the biggest twits in the whole comic and they are white guys.

Wow. That makes me mad that they will pull that comic. GRRRR...

R said...

I just have to say this:

"Blue blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!!!!"

Ian said...

I remember Tintin! I actually still have one book that is now on my 8-year-old's shelf.

Someday, I hope to write a banned book. That would make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


Herr Krokodil said...


I use to eat at Sambos right up until a black dude came in and stabbed me.

I don't no any racists but I would imagine they get that way by reading racist books.

I was in Barnes & Noble this past weekend looking at car magazines when I had to use the facilities, down on the floor next to the john was a book at least 2 inches thick titled "Sex Positions". I had trouble going after that.

Danielle said...

There is only one place where children learn to be racists and sorcerers...and that is at home....and not from the books that are read at home..but by the examples set.

Ba Doozie said...

I liked your comparison with the harry potter books, people defend those things to the death because they supposedly don't promote witchery, so the same should go for every other book on the shelf. I HATE double standards TOO, I want to STAB double standards!!!!!!!!!!!

Jenn said...

stab away. I've got sporks.

Oh, you are SOO right on.

I ate at Sambos too, right before Denny's bought it, in So. Ca.

You need to insure it (hehe), they are going for $45 on Amazon right now...wow.

BLISTERING BARNACLES!! I love those books. I know, Tintin in the Land Of The Soviets should be included. Hey, and Dr. Suess, because he discriminated against the odd looking.

Spelling never means uneducated to me, it just means you aren't a visual person. More of a touch or hear kind of person..and knowing you are a classically trained singer, I'd say that would be about right..hehe.

It's so true. Next we should ban rotten co-workers. hehe. You can be our spokesperson.

harmonica man,
Is was that or Brain Science.

Gary said...

I'm with you on this. I read some dated books with my kids, including Huck Finn, and we talked about the language (the "n" word in that one) and the context. That was part of the interest. But the best thing is for kids to find things to read that they love. Mine are 17 and 20 now and both are avid readers, thinkers and debaters.

wolfbaby said...

it blows my mind sometimes what they allow and dont allow or throw a fit about....

thos pics of the kids you were talking about is just wrong plain and simple

trespassers william said...

I hear you about the "Evil Potter". Anyone with an ounce of honesty and an iota of brains knows that the Wicca sights plainly state that "Evil Potter" has been an enormous "blessing" to them and their recruitment. Still, the idiotic P.C. crowd finds it more important to pull a children's comic book rather then be honest, great double standard. Anyways, tommorrow July 22nd, is DaPoppins B-day. Stop by and wish her a happy one :).

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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