Article written by

tigtog (aka Viv) is the founder of this blog. She lives in Sydney, Australia: husband, 2 kids, cat, house, garden, just enough wine-racks and (sigh) far too few bookshelves.

6 Responses

Page 1 of 1
  1. Tamara
    Tamara at |

    This is really interesting and calls to mind recent posts at Reelgirl about Tintin books and historical media. Reelgirl’s focus is of course the depiction of women and girls in media, which, surely, should be called when sexist, just like racist depictions are. Of course, our tolerance of sexist depictions is much higher.

    BTW China Mieville is a ‘he’, which may be why he didn’t extend his argument to sexism…

  2. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    BTW China Mieville is a ‘he’

    Oops, I meant to check whether my gender assumption was right there, and then didn’t do so. Corrected now.

  3. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    There’s always going to be archives of the original versions, Paul, and often annotated versions which make sure to reference the redacted portions and list them as appendices (rather like Catholic Bibles have the no-longer-canonical Apocrypha as a separate section from the current canonical books).

    The court case in Belgium regarding Tintin au Congo didn’t even want the “bad” parts edited out – it just wanted the book to have a warning sticker on it about containing racist stereotypes, and for it not to be shelved alongside children’s books that don’t need a warning sticker. No pretending these things never happened, just refusing to pretend that these things don’t matter.

    Disney on the other hand chose to edit their racist unicorn segment out of Fantasia on their own, and did then try to pretend that it had never existed, you’re right there. But because the original versions are in archives, that original segment was found and distributed to highlight their lie, and now the fact that we know that they lied tells us something important about the ethical standards of the corporation.

    It’s an interesting contrast to Warner Bros, who have chosen to not include racist episodes of Bugs Bunny or Merry Melodies in their big anniversary DVD collections, and who long ago withdrew them from the compilations they make available for TV syndication – but who don’t pretend that those episodes never existed.

  4. tigtog
    tigtog at |

    P.S. I guess my point, and China’s, is that when it’s material created primarily for children, then it should no longer be socially acceptable to confront the children of certain cultural groups with cultural slurs that tell them that they are inferior to other cultural groups. There’s no reason at all that publishers cannot still continue to publish only the racist originals, but if they do then they should not be able to continue stocking it on the children’s shelves. They could even double-dip by doing an “updated” version acceptable for today’s children, and an “original” version acceptable to the nostalgic traditionalists.

  5. Katherine
    Katherine at |

    The most hilarious thing I ever heard was a radio presenter saying she didn’t see what the big deal about Tintin in the Congo was, that it was ‘just a children’s book fercrissakes’. I laughed so hard, there’s no way she could have possibly read it to make a statement like that.


  6. Aqua, of the Questioners
    Aqua, of the Questioners at |

    @Tamara: I could really use an advisory for the approximate level of sexism on the cover of all books! I read a Tintin (from the library) recently and there were women at the very beginning, in the background at an airport; and at the very end, watching TV with a man who was doing all the talking. The intervening actual story had no women and no evidence they existed.

    @tigtog: I think you’ll want to release from moderation the comment (by Paul?) if you’re going to address it in your comments. Or a redacted form if necessary. I’m guessing it’s racism 101 and not really appropriate for this blog, so perhaps your comments should have been sent straight to Paul?

Comments are closed.