Reading The Pictures is dedicated to the analysis of news photos and media images.
March 28, 2016

Brussels, Tintin and White House Wild Things: Juxtaposition of the Day

Belgian soldier Tintin

U.S. President Barack Obama @BarackObama and first lady Michelle Obama perform a reading of the children's book "Where the Wild Things Are" for children gathered for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

In our photo pairing of the day, the overwhelming similarity has to do with the two enormously popular, illustrated children’s stories. That, and the (real versus mock) fear.

The caption of the first photo reads:

A Belgian soldier stands guard in front of a shop selling Tintin comic books in central Brussels, March 24, 2016.

But the twist comes in the political vibe of the French series. Max’s anger might stir Trump comparisons, and taming beasts could be more seen in America’s ongoing terror war. On the other hand, as a good friend writes me:

I love Tintin. We raised our son on Tintin books (along with its French counterpart). But Tintin is more than a bit racist and is certainly a product of a colonial and imperialist time.

I have to say, I do appreciate the first couple play acting. Unfortunately, as the soldier reminds, we’re living in an age where innocence and play doesn’t go all that far. If it seems a quaint notion, one of the highest values of literature — especially for the young — is to work out fears and difficult feelings through the imagination.

(photo 1: Vincent Kessler/Reuters. caption: A Belgian soldier stands guard in front of a shop selling Tintin comic books in central Brussels, March 24, 2016. photo 2: Yuri Gripas/Reuters. caption: U.S. President Barack Obama @BarackObama and first lady Michelle Obama perform a reading of the children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” for children gathered for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, March 28, 2016.)  

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