So I'm finally reading Tintin in the Congo, the one that's supposed to be ridiculously racist. To be fair, though, it only has that reputation because it is ridiculously racist. Not even "not that racist at the time, but now we know better." No, it is totally racist even for its time. Even Herge himself later came to feel that way. Yes, the Congolese characters are drawn like cartoon caricatures of black people, but the attitude that Herge approaches the people with is actually more disgusting. It's the imperialist white man educating these African children out of their superstitions and, at best, noble simplicity for their own good. It's White Man's Burden crap, done simplistically, and it is just ugly to read. No fun at all. Even without the racism this would be the least fun Tintin adventure, because he's such a condescending little cuss in this. The attitudes towards hunting and white "ownership" of nature are also pretty repulsive.
Good for Herge for eventually coming to be embarrassed by this.
Anyway, that out of the way, I'm here to point out the most bizarre non-racism thing in this adventure, in a Comics Make No Sense sort of way: Did you know there is absolutely nothing inside of monkeys?
Let me set the scene. Tintin's faithful pup Snowy has been kidnapped by a monkey and taken into the treetops. (It's obviously a chimp, but they keep calling it a monkey.) Tintin quickly hatches a plan to recover his pal.
First, kill another animal.
I know it seems like it would take a long time, but apparently there is literally nothing inside of monkeys. No bones, no organs, no muscle, no flesh even. It just slips right on like a suit. Weird that scientists don't make a bigger deal out of the fact that monkeys are just full of vapor and playfulness inside, and murdering them, cutting them open and wearing their skin is something a young man can do quickly on a whim. I guess keeping a lid on that knowledge is probably what keeps us all from going on a simian murder spree.
Also, note that despite being a sentient costume, you apparently cannot see through the monkey's eyes. So Tintin's going to have some work to do in order to blend in with all the other monkeys in order to rescue Snowy.
This is one of a surprisingly large number of instances in this adventure of Tintin treating animals with highhanded disregard. He shoots an elephant in the face, slaughters fifteen antelopes in a comedy scene, and feeds a leopard a sponge and then tells its owner to make it swallow a blackboard to stop the bloating. Clearly, the man is an expert on the care and biology of animals.
Here's my favorite, though:
So... not my favorite Tintin adventure.