Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Man-Baby Speaks!

A sensitive soul in Belgium is seeking to get the 1932 graphic novel "Tintin in the Congo" banned. I spoke my main piece on this in Man-baby files suit over 'Tintin in the Congo'. Reuters carried a version of the article I quoted in that post that featured a quote from the Man-Baby himself, along with a sensible reaction from the company that holds the rights to the Tintin property:

"I want to put an end to sales of this cartoon book in shops, both for children and for adults. It's racist and it is filled with colonial-era propaganda," said Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu, who lives in Brussels.

Bienvenu is also seeking symbolic damages of one euro ($1.38) from Moulinsart, the publisher that owns the rights to Tintin.

Belgian prosecutors said a motion had been filed at the beginning of August. A judge will examine the case, probably not before September, but a decision on whether to proceed could take six months, they said.

Belgium controlled the country that is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo until 1960.

Moulinsart said it was only aware of the action through the media. A spokesman argued the company was not in a position to remove the book from shelves as it controlled Tintin rights, but did not publish the novels.

"The book dates back to 1931 and has to be seen in the context of the time. We are surprised to see this complaint after so many years," the spokesman said.

I still think Lil' Mondondo is a crybaby, but I don't have the same level of contempt for him that I do for certain others who file suits like this. At least he's not trying to claim he's owed any financial compensation for mental anguish or any-such nonsense.

(Not that it matters for someone with my level of journalistic integrity, but I'm now wondering who got his name right, though. The order is different in the two sources. "Man-Baby" suffices, however.)

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