London, Jan 10 (ANI): As the whole world celebrates cartoon legend Tintin's 80th birthday today, France is one nation where revels have been tainted by the 'gay' claim made by a British columnist.
France has long adored Tintin as one of its own although his creator, Georges Remy, known as Herge, was a French-speaking Belgian.
An article by Matthew Parris, The Times columnist, on Tintin's "obvious" homosexuality has triggered uproar in the media and in the web world.
"They have walked on Tintin," said the headline in French newspaper le Figaro, attacking The Times for "reviving for the upteenth time" the sexual orientation of the reporter whose adventures have sold more than 200 million copies, reports TimesOnline.
Parris said he came to the conclusion from an examination of Tintin's life.
Tintin, who was born January 10, 1929, on the pages of a children's supplement to the Belgian newspaper Le Vingtième Siècle, has an unknown background and origin, says Parris, adding: "This is common among young gay men, some of whom find it hard to believe that they really are their parents' child."
"What debate can there be when the evidence is so overwhelmingly one-way?" Parris asked.
"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? A sweet-faced lad devoted to a fluffy white toy terrier, whose other closest pals are an inseparable couple of detectives in bowler hats," Parris added.
The gay theory might have been around for a long time now, but it was too much for some French critics.
"At this age the hormones are usually asleep," sniffed Les Echos, the main business daily.
"But for Matthew Parris, it is never too late to wake up the houppette of the nice Belgian hero," the daily added.
Houppette means both quiff and powder puff.
Le Figaro even pulled in Serge Tisseron, a celebrity psychiatrist, to explain that claiming the hero as gay "is a lovely revenge for a homosexual".
"The problem is that the sexual dimension is totally absent. Tintin is a creature whose sex is never defined. Beware of launching into a sexual reading of Herge's works. In reality all the characters in Tintin are children," Le Figaro stated.
France Info, the public news radio network, pointed out that Herge, who died in 1983, scoffed at the gay Tintin theory after it was aired in the 1970s.
The standard view among Tintin fans is that the gay argument is irrelevant. (ANI)