Ed Driscoll

Think of them as the Blue Meanies, but with Better PR. Until Now

“Are the Smurfs Crypto-Fascists?” Time magazine asks, in perhaps the definitive example of what James Taranto would call a question that nobody is asking:

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, animated cartoons and feature films. (See The Smurfs in TIME’s 2011 Summer Entertainment Preview.)

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, 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? Then, he tried to show that Smurf society is the archetype of a totalitarian utopia marked by Stalinism and Nazism.

Given that the smurfs are crypto-fascist and/or crypto-commies (say, somebody should write a book about the similarities the two ideologies share), and given that someone on the left has declared every other Hollywood film of the last 15 years as racist, then there’s only one thing to do. Hollywood must shut down its industry, and undergo a long period of introspection until its product is once again as chaste and pure as the days of the Hays Office.

Besides, it’ll help fight Hollywood’s pet cause of global warming, too.