By Guest Contributor China Miéville, cross-posted from rejectamentalist manifesto
Stand down: literature has defeated the Thought Police. Belgium’s supreme court has defeated the mischief-making of the whining PC brigade. Tintin is not banned. Huzzah!
The badness of the bad faith involved in the commentariat’s discussion of this issue, the relentlessness of their categoric elisions, the unpleasantness of their crowing over the victory, should come as no surprise. This was never, at root, about banning.
Yes, Bienvenue Mbutu Mondondo was applying to the court to have Tintin in the Congo declared unacceptable under the Belgian race-relations law. However, he had made clear for years that he would be satisfied if, as in Britain, the book was published with a visible warning, a reminder of the context in which it was written (maybe even of the toxic ideology enshrined within). What Mondondo wanted was an official recognition that this text was a spitting in his face. That it came down to what was always clearly a nuclear option was due to the steadfast refusal of the publishers to countenance this–and thereby take responsibility for what they publish. The Belgian establishment went to cultural war, and it did so not for free speech, but for their right not to apologise for racist slander.