I almost missed this February piece from the inimitable China Miéville, but for the blog Who Makes the Nazis? reposting it as “China Miéville: When Did Bigotry Get So Needy?” London School of Economics doctorate and literary polymath Miéville demolishes the logic behind the Belgian Supreme Court’s decision to allow the publication of Tintin au Congo without any label warning against its acrid racism; he responds with a tour de force of arguments encompassing very au courant tropes of free speech, political correctness, and libertarian saber-rattling. I should have mentioned him here sooner, as possibly my favorite polemicist and fiction writer.
[…]To claim that everyone talked like Tintin about the Congo back in the day is (whatever other serious political arguments we may have with them) to slander, say, Felicien Challaye, Albert Londres, the French Socialist movement that declared at its 1907 conference that colonialism ‘relies on violent conquest and institutionalises the subjection of Asiatic and African peoples’.[…]
[…]There is the absurd hyperbole, to turn a victimiser’s culture into a victim. In his effort to derail the issue, Staggs insists that the ‘trump’ of racism is ‘used to blot out any part of our cultural heritage that might cause embarrassment.’ ‘Blot out’. Right. Who, after all, could forget the monstrous erasure performed by Stalin on Trotsky, by putting a warning sticker on him & refusing to shelve him alongside The Gruffalo? The Tintin Vanishes. Quick, conjure images of book burning! First they came for the Boy Reporter & shelved him alongside Persepolis & Sandman, & I did not speak out, because I was not a Boy Reporter, &c.[…]
Again, read the entire essay here.