June 6, 2011 | by Sadie Stein
In what might be termed “Smurfgate,” a Sciences-Po lecturer’s new book has ignited debate about the true meaning of the blue gnomes’ utopian world. “The Little Blue Book: A Critical and Political Analysis of the Smurf Society” pits Antoine Buéno against Smurf creator Pierre Culliford, suggesting that the Belgian cartoonist harbored communist and anti-Semitic sentiments. As L’Express summarizes Buéno’s argument,
Smurfs, charming blue imps or horrible Stalinists, racists, and antisemites? ... In complete autocracy, the smurf society is collectivist and directed by a single and omnipotent leader, the great Smurf. They are ridiculous puritans ... Racism is obvious in the black Smurf album where purity of blood becomes vital ... Or in that of The Smurfette, where the blond Aryan is idealized. Their sworn enemy, Gargamel, has a profile reminiscent of an antisemitic caricature and his cat is named Azraël.
(Thanks, Atlantic Wire, for the translation!) We’ll leave others—like the artist’s son and an apparent legion of rabidly loyal Smurfs fans—to defend the honor of Smurf Village. But we would like to point out that in 2007, the Web site Jew or Not Jew proved convincingly that Gargamel is, in fact, not Jewish.