Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Libraries Ban TINTIN by Hergé

Above: Two Africans, speaking "pidgin English," spot Tintin's ship in a 1930 original cartoon panel from TINTIN AU CONGO. To the right, a revised panel, showing that they had "changed their clothes [and] also made their French less degrading."

The NY Times talks about TINTIN AU CONGO and other books being "held under lock and key" in A Library’s Approach to Books That Offend by Alison Leigh Cowan.

"The cartoonist Hergé is popular again, as is his adventurous reporter Tintin, who will be featured in a Steven Spielberg movie due out in 2011.

"But if you go to the Brooklyn Public Library seeking a copy of “Tintin au Congo,” Hergé’s second book in a series, prepare to make an appointment and wait days to see the book.

"'It’s not for the public,' a librarian in the children’s room said this month when a patron asked to see it."

When a public librarian tells the public that a book is "not for the public," I get suspicious.

TINTIN IN THE CONGO, first published in 1930, depicts racially insensitive caricatures. It was banned for years in Europe. Even though Hergé revised this book, TINTIN's second adventure, years later, it remains an offensive volume to some library patrons. More on TINTIN AU CONGO.

A few other titles that have been banned according to the ACLU:

  • ELOISE IN PARIS
  • THE GRAPES OF WRATH
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD
  • THE COLOR PURPLE
  • MARVEL MANGAVERSE VOL 1
  • DRAGONBALL Z

Hat tip to John Klossner!


1 comment:

Greg said...

When I first read that article in the NYT, I was peeved to hear that libraries are hiding books just because some people find them offensive.