The stars of an upcoming summer blockbuster, the world-famous Smurfs are once again the talk of the town – though not necessarily for all the right reasons.Known as Schtroumph in the original French, Puffi in Italian, Pitufos in Spanish, Stroumfakia in Greek, Kumafu in Japanese and Schlümpfe across the Rhine (since “schtroumpf” means “sock” in German), the little blue imps have been going strong for more than half a century, entertaining children the world over in comic books,Ugg din sko animated cartoons and feature films.More recently, however, the Smurfs have also caught the attention of a controversial French academic who says there may be more than meets the eye when it comes to the pint-sized characters. Hidden behind their charming veneer are some pretty dark undertones, argues Antoine Buéno, whose work “Le Petit Livre Bleu” (The Little Blue Book) accuses the Smurfs of being maybe just a bit fascist.
Buéno, who is both a senior lecturer at SciencePo University in Paris and a novelist,Ugg din sko never set out to destroy the magical energy that emanates from these blue-colored characters. Nevertheless, he analyzes their society and ideology – Smurfology – through an unforgiving political lens.“Le Petit Livre Bleu” focuses specifically on the man behind the cryptic cartoons, original Smurf author Pierre Culliford, aka Peyo. Whether he meant it or not, Culliford endowed his magical little creatures with some Stalinist, racist and anti-Semitic leanings, argues Buéno.
Buéno first questioned the Smurfs’ biological nature and sexuality: by the way, why is there only one Smurfette?Ugg din sko Then, he tried to show that Smurf society is the archetype of a totalitarian utopia marked by Stalinism and Nazism.Peyo came up with the word “Smurf” while dining in 1958 with his friend André Franquin. Peyo reportedly asked Franquin: “could you pass me the Smurf?” He meant to say “could you pass me the salt?” The rest is cartoon history.Born in 1928 in Brussels, Peyo lived in German-occupied Belgium. As an adult, he did not look back fondly on that time in history.Nonetheless, Buéno thinks that “a piece of work can convey an imagery that the author himself does not support. Thus, the Smurfs seem to reflect more the spirit of an era than Peyo’s political leanings.”