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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Photo used by permission of Annie Rhiannon.
Last week, in a flurry of Tintinology, I gobbled up seven Tintin adventures in my quest to read all the (accessible) Tintin adventures in chronological order.
Following The Blue Lotus, is The Broken Ear.
It was great to see Tintin wearing Chinese-style blue pyjamas, a souvenir from his Blue Lotus days, along with the huge Blue Lotus vase from the cover of the previous book. Then, on the ocean voyage, there's cringeworthy depiction of a black waiter, utterly black with shiny brown patches, exaggerated lips and something of a popcorn hairdo, rather like Balthazar the artist's apartment manager's nighttime hairdo earlier in the book. Then again, one of the Hispanic characters is called Señor Tortilla.
Other interesting tidbits: Tintin is very dashing in his colonel's uniform and Snowy goes through a lot in this story. The poor dog gets shot by a bullet and a poisoned arrow, nearly goes off a waterfall, runs into a predatory South American tribe that wants to kill him and pluck out his heart, and is attacked by piranhas. It'll get worse for Snowy in upcoming stories.
Next in line on my Tintin reading list was The Black Island, a Scottish gorilla tale. Snowy has the following mishaps:
Yet Snowy also shows his brilliance: he uses a goat to save Tintin's life, he brings a fireman to the chloroformed Tintin lying helpless in a burning house, steals a whole roast chicken (and gives Tintin a mere drumstick to nibble on), he harasses the gorilla, and retrieves a gun from the criminals, getting rewarded with a bone but not that Loch Lomond Whisky.
This book was also cunningly copied into Tamil by children's author Vaandumaama. To get around copyright restrictions, Tintin becomes Balae Baalu, an Indian boy who, remarkably, goes on the exact same adventure, with the Indian equivalent of Snowy.
King Ottokar's Sceptre finds Tintin in the fictional Balkan state of Syldavia. Tintin still has one of his Chinese vases around, though it is smashed at the beginning of the story. The Thomson Twins, as in the previous story, play a big role in this story, and the awful opera singer Bianca Castafiore appears. Oddly enough, though Tintin presumably loses his luggage when travelling to Syldavia - did they throw his suitcase after him when they ejected him mid flight? Did they put his suitcase in the Klow International Airport lost and found? - his Chinese-style pyjamas turn up again when he sleeps over at King Muskar's place.
This time, Snowy
Some other King Ottokar's Sceptre comes again from its Wikipedia entry. In the 90s cartoon version, Professor Alembick's evil twin is the smoker instead of the other way around. The cartoons also downplayed Captain Haddock's drinking problem (and apparently made a mute out of Snowy). Though Tintin in America and The Black Island were banned in Nazi Germany because they were set in enemy countries, this book squeaked by despite its criticism of forced unification and its villain, the would-be usurper Müsstler (his name a melding of Mussolini and Hitler).
The Crab with the Golden Claws finally introduces Captain Haddock. His most amusing insult in this issue, among equally alluring fuzzy-wuzzy, anacoluthon, technocrat, carpet-sellers, ectoplasms, etc., is toffee-noses.
Snowy starts off the story by getting his snout caught in a can of crab meat. Tintin admonishes his "dirty habit of exploring rubbish bins." Poor Snowy must not be fed at home because he robs a homeless man of his bone. With regards to the homeless man's bone, my parents told me that they once ate a roast chicken at a Polish restaurant where a poor woman asked for their bones, which she took away in her bag. So there is something about poor Europeans collecting bones. Anyone know why?
Back to Snowy, he has to play the role of "dog," fetching Tintin's wretched magnifying glass and, when Tintin is absorbed in his mystery, Snowy sneaks off behind the couch to gnaw away. I should mention that Snowy has an angry and devious look on his face at this point.
My favourite Tintin book as a child was The Shooting Star. A little sillier and more sci-fi, this story had cute white mushrooms with red splotches and funny spiders.
But enough about the humans. Let's see what happens to our canine hero. Poor Snowy has the following misfortunes:
The Secret of the Unicorn has Nestor and Marlinspike's debuts. This book, along with the other WWII-era books The Crab with the Golden Claws, The Shooting Star and Red Rackham's Treasure, keeps to a less controversial story, centring on a treasure hunt.
From the beginning, we see there is no end to Snowy's suffering. To please his tactless master, he accompanies him to a flea market, picking up some sort of itching parasite as they wander among the bric-a-brac. His sacrifice is hardly noticed and, rather, Tintin blames Snowy for breaking a newly acquired trinket. Only later on will Tintin realize that Snowy's one instance of poor judgment turned out to be a lucky one. Snowy also shows he can answer the phone and bring it to his master.
Of course, it wouldn't be a Tintin adventure without more physical pain for Snowy:
The poor dog does get drunk again (on whiskey), is caught with a human thigh bone in his mouth, nearly suffocates in Calculus' diving shark, falls on his bottom (with a preoccupied Haddock not heeding his mournful crying), gets slapped on the nose with another rope, and is hit with dirt. Though by the end of the story, he gets his bone. Still, I hope that this doesn't mark the end of Snowy as the little complainer.
The criminals' objectives in these seven stories were:
Ah, you reveal your non chef-y-ness, as well as your don't-own-a-dog-ness.
1) The most common cooking use for bones is as the base for soup stock. However, it's possible that they might just be going for the marrow.
2) Snowy not fed? Most dogs, unlike most cats, will eat bloody anything they can get their teeth on just about any time they can get their teeth on it. When we first got our dog, we were inadvertently overfeeding it, and the poor mutt would gobble up its food, then throw some of it up, and then usually re-eat the mess.
None of that would prevent it from taking every opportunity to raid the garbage, find bones on the lawn, et cetera.
But I love these reviews!
1) But other people's bones? Doesn't that come with other people's saliva?
2) Yes, I forgot that dogs sometimes eat their own vomit. I am suddenly thankful for being a hamster owner. Well, I should be a hamster owner again soon.
I agree about soup stock. And isn't the theory that you boil the bones, thus (hopefully) killing any nastiness in remaining saliva?
This makes me want to dig up my old Tintin books...
1) aside from the fact that Boiling Kills Everything*, I daresay that the phrase "beggars can't be choosers" was never more apt.
2) dogs are gross. There's no two ways about it.
*does not apply to botulinum toxin
Ryan: I once adored a dog. Then it went into the women's washroom and came out with a used menstrual pad taped to its back. I don't pet dogs anymore.
Poor beggars, nevertheless.
Justin: Read those Tintins! Wait, you have a collection of them?
LJ: technically, that's not Matt, but it could be the spitting image of Mr. Maktaaq.
Maktaaq: the joys of dog ownership, vol. XLIV.
LJ: See Ryan's answer.
Ryan: I commented on your photo. Yes, that dog of your is bad. Breed? Age? Maybe these have something to do with it?
RE: "Please tell me that the picture of the man is NOT your husband!"
Hello! That picture of the man is my brother, Fergus. He's had that tattoo for about 10 years now. In fact, I just blogged about him myself.
And thanks Maktaaq, for using the pic – love the article.
Fergus is his name? That's great to finally know who's photo I used!
I'm going to check your blog about him now. :)
Anyone that owns a dog knows that they will eat pretty much anything, mine eats dog food (of course) pizza, chips and just about anything I am eating, she loves bones and buscuits and for some unknown reason my argos garden furniture which she will chew on, not out of boredom or malice but because I like to lounge on it, she also eats bugs, spiders or anything that walks, crawls or flies past her mouth in the garden.Post a Comment