Symbols: Decoding the symbolism in the “Smurfs 2”

smurfs2

We all know the Smurfs.  I enjoy watching the Smurfs, in fact many of you perhaps grew up watching the Smurfs.  Recently in fact, I found myself at the theatres watching the recently released film “The Smurfs 2.”  But this time I saw things about the Smurfs which I never realized in the past.  I saw symbols, and as the movie played, my mind began to decode these symbols right before my eyes.  In this blog entry I discuss the symbols I saw in “The Smurfs 2” and try to figure out what is it about the story of the Smurfs that make it so popular in our culture.

I don’t mean to spoil the movie, however, the story of the Smurfs is very well known and it’s actually quite straightforward.  After reading this blog post, you should still have an enjoyable experience watching the movie with your kids and I encourage you to see the movie for yourself and compare your own thoughts.  The Smurfs is a movie about a group or community of individuals called the Smurfs who are in constant battle with a character named Gargamel who would say or do anything to steal the magic formula which makes the Smurfs who they are.

There are a few things one must realize as I define the symbols in this story.  First, one of the main things that differentiate the smurfs are that they are blue in skin color.  In my view the smurfs are Black Africans and the color blue represents melanin.  They are always shown as living “primitively” in a village in a community like structure.  They have no visible hair near their sides or neck and wear hats on their heads over which could be the only spot of visible hair (with the exception of Papa smurf who has a white beard due to old age).  Gargamel has the ability to create smurf-like individuals with the main difference of being “grey” (melanin deficient) and have no color.  In my view, these sons and daughters (as the movies puts it) are white people with no visible melanin.  Gargamel’s whole scheme is to steal the formula from the African smurfs to turn his “white” smurfs into colored “black” smurfs.  But of course in all his brilliance, he fails every time.

One of the most important characters in the movie, besides Papa smurf who is said to be the village leader of the smurfs, is the character Smurfette.  Smurfette is very popular because in the movie she believes Papa smurf is her real father.  But turns out Gargamel is her real father.  Smurfette is blue (“black”) however she has long blonde hair like a white person (having been born of Gargamel).  This seems like a contradiction.  However as shown in the movie and traditional stories of the smurfs, Smurfette was born of Gargamel and in fact did not have color or visible melanin.  Smurfette in fact, in the traditional story, used to help plot to steal the magical “melanin” formula from the smurfs, however in one instance failed and was caught.  It was then that Papa smurf took pity on her and turned her from grey to blue (from white, to black).  She thus lived among the African smurf community as an African but with long, blonde hair.  It is also interesting that Papa Smurf decided to entrust in her the “magical formula of melanin.”  Thus Gargamel just had to trick Smurfette and he’d then possess the formula and thus the power to produce melanin–so he hoped.

Smurfette is a very complex character and symbolic part of the story.  There can be various views of her role symbolically.  She could perhaps be a representation of white hope, the wanting to not have a genetic deficiency (the ability to produce melanin) or even of white people being melanated themselves.  I believe that in the story of the smurfs, Papa smurf giving Smurfette color was actually metaphorical and not literal.  Smurfette was an albino or white person accepted among the African community and lived just like any other black person.  This acceptance of an outsider into the melanin-filled African community was symbolically represented by Smurfette having blue, or “black” color.

I encourage one to do further research and look at what Wikipedia has to say about the story of the Smurfs and that of Smurfette.  For example, according to Wikipedia, “The Smurfs wear Phrygian caps, which represented freedom in Roman times.  This gives us a little bit of context and time for the original story.  Also note Rome’s proximity to Africa.  Wikipedia also states that, “the Smurfs lived in a part of the world called “Le Pays Maudit” (French for “the Cursed Land”). To reach it required magic or travelling through dense forests, deep marshes, a scorching desert and a high mountain range.” It further states that “Humans such as Gargamel are shown to live nearby, though it is almost impossible for an outsider to find the Smurf village except when led by a Smurf.”  Two things, the Smurfs are from Africa, as we discussed, and Gargamel is referred to as a Human.  Thus, the smurfs aren’t thought of as being human?  It doesn’t take much education to know people being referred to as not being human is common in the days of slavery, even when these smurfs are free, and even wear Phrygian caps.  On a side note, many African communities, even today, are comprised of individuals who each have a function and contribution to the village.  In fact Smurfs were given comical names, but they were also given names to denote their function in the village.  According to Wikipedia, the smurfs were also given names according to their profession, “for example, Poet, Actor, Handy, Harmony, Farmer, Clockwork, Painter, Tailor, Miner, Architect, … , Barber and Doctor Smurf.”

One can find many things about Smurfette from outside resources as well.  Referencing Wikipedia once again, it states that “The first female Smurf was magically created from clay by Gargamel, the Smurfs’ archvillain, to cause jealousy and stir trouble among the Smurfs. But his plan was flawed: Smurfette was ugly. Only after Papa Smurf took pity and did some plastic smurfery on her she became beautiful.”

It is important to note, as I state in previous blog posts (see the Introduction), that stories such as the smurfs aren’t necessarily done on purpose to portray some symbolic relationship.  I’m not saying the author was well aware of all his intentions because stories like these written by whites can come from their consciousness or sub-consciousness, whether they know it or not.  Whites suffer from a psycho-spiritual relationship with nature due to their melanin and genetic deficiencies within nature and their inferior feeling of being the minority on the planet being out-numbered by non-white people.  This is what makes stories like these popular, similarly to Tarzan (100 year-old story) and King-Kong.  But maybe it is of importance to note the original creator of The Smurfs is a Belgian named Pierre Culliford.  It’s also important to note that Belgium had colonized parts of Africa.  However, in 2005 something interesting happened with the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) linking Belgium and the Smurfs to Africa.  According to Wikipedia, “In 2005, an advertisement featuring The Smurfs was aired in Belgium in which the Smurf village is annihilated by warplanes.  Designed as a UNICEF advertisement, and with the approval of the family of the Smurfs’ late creator Peyo [Pierre Culliford], the 25-second episode was shown on the national television after the 9pm timeslot to avoid children seeing it. It was the keystone in a fund-raising campaign by UNICEF’s Belgian arm to raise money for the rehabilitation of former child soldiers in Burundi [Africa] and the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Africa]—both former Belgian colonies [in Africa].”

Hmm, but so what?  What’s the point?  Why is it important for me to write about these things and our culture today?    If one were to try and figure out what a lost people, or lost culture was about, individuals would often look at the symbols of that culture.  If an image portrays a thousand words, then a symbol portrays a thousand images.  A symbol helps show the consciousness and sub-consciousness of a people during a period of time.  We are living in a time where the minority group of people on the planet dominates and rules the whole world.  Where whites (minority) rule the world that’s mostly made up of non-whites (majority).  They maintain rule through a global system known as white-supremacy (racism) which employ various strategies to keep non-whites oppressed and controlled.  This power is communicated in the symbolism we see during our time.  This story of white-supremacy over non-white, or Tarzan (a white albino child being born of African parents) later to take vengeance on nature and rule all of Africa, or King Kong portraying the great Black Ape (representing the Black Man) capture the white woman, communicating the fear of white genetic annihilation through black dominant genetics and white genetically-recessive genes, is important to reinforce and communicate over and over in a sort of internal-messaging system within the system of white-supremacy (racism).  Now we have the Smurfs, which reinforces the psycho-spiritual feeling of alienation among whites in a system of nature.  The wanting and need to have that significant part of nature which is absent amongst themselves and that no money can buy and that no man can engineer, except for non-whites which produce this significance in nature in the most natural way known to man–the production of melanin through reproduction of oneself.

african-smurf

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