Tuesday, June 12, 2007

First They Came for Piglet...

The cartoon exploits of Astérix may be enjoyed by millions of children around the world, but the ancient Gaulish hero has just been declared unfit to be official ambassador for children's rights. He is too French, too violent, he perpetuates stereotypes and his outlook conflicts with the spirit of the European Union.
It’s so sad that it defies the bounds of anyone’s acceptance of the absurd as an emotional defense.
The DCI organisation says that Astérix conveys an "archaic...hierarchical" world at odds with the "revolutionary" values of the 1989 convention. This stresses the child's existence as a being with rights while children in Astérix are fragile objects that need to be protected, said Jean-Pierre Rosenczveig, a senior juvenile judge who heads the French DCI.

Astérix also projects "a Gaulish vision which ignores the intercultural reality of French society," they say. His constant resistance against the Romans and other foreign invaders sends altogether the wrong message in the peace-loving European Union.
[ ... ]
It congratulated Obélix for tackling the problem of obesity but faulted the cartoon for failing to deal with unsanitary housing. The child defenders are also upset that Astérix delivers "a eulogy to tribal, hierarchical, society with frequent references to a chief." The right to education is sadly depicted by a woman school-teacher telling pupils: "Get into rows in silence please," adds the DCI.
Like the ubiquitous presence of the rainbow for a flag, turning holloween into an olympiad of gay narcissism, and the turning of clowns into icons for suicidal anti-capitalism, the ones who lose are the children who have their joy and innocence stolen from them by politcos trying to find the quickest and cheapest shot they can.

Astérix entertained generations of kids and also showed them that they could have moxie and valor. Evidently this isn’t good enough. It’s not that they themselves didn’t select it for their own kids, it’s that they also seem to need to give it a bad name while they punch up their own narcissism to state, but not prove by example, a “spirit of the European Union” in “peace-loving European Union” that has something as transparently fake as an “Ambassador for children”. What they need to do is set their personalized selfishness aside, show some hope for the future of man and actually have some children.

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