Sun, Jan 11, 2009 - Page 6 News List

As Tintin turns 80, the question of his sexuality returns

MYSTERY MAN Matthew Parris, a former member of parliament in the UK, says Tintin may actually be a spy, not a journalist, and is obviously homosexual

AFP , LONDON

As Belgian comic-book icon Tintin celebrates his 80th birthday, an age-old question has resurfaced: Is the boy reporter gay? One British commentator believes the signs are unmistakable.

“Billions of blue blistering barnacles, isn’t it staring us in the face?,” the Times journalist Matthew Parris wrote under the headline “Of course Tintin’s gay. Ask Snowy,” ahead of yesterday’s anniversary.

TWO MEN IN A MANSION

“What debate can there be when the evidence is so overwhelmingly one-way?” he wrote. “A callow, androgynous blonde-quiffed youth in funny trousers and a scarf moving into the country mansion of his best friend, a middle-aged sailor?”

Tintin, the creation of Belgian Georges Remi — whose pen name Herge comes from his initials, inverted and pronounced in French — first appeared in 1929 along with his faithful companions, Captain Haddock and his trusty dog Snowy.

Translated into 60 languages, the cartoon books sell upwards of 2 million copies per year.

Parris, a former British lawmaker who is openly gay, said Tintin’s sexuality was obvious to anyone who reads the cartoon books closely.

FAMILY TROUBLES

His family background gives a first clue.

“Tintin never talks about his parents or family, as though trying to block out the very existence of a father or mother. As psychologists will confirm, this is common among young gay men,” Parris said.

The fact that, while nominally being a journalist, he almost never files any stories, is also fishy — fueling speculation that he is a spy.

“As the remotest acquaintance with [for instance] British espionage will confirm, secret intelligence has always attracted gay men. I myself applied for and was offered a post in MI6,” he said.

WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?

The lack of women in his adventures is also suspicious — only eight out of some 350 characters are identifiable as female.

While Tintin never shows any interest in girls of women, his canine sidekick is “unambiguously heterosexual,” having a “tendency to be distracted by lady dogs: a tendency in which he is consistently foiled by his master.”

“Pity this dog, wretchedly straight and trapped in a ghastly web of gay human males,” Parris said.

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