Mafalda vs soup, Libertad & Anarchism: R.I.P. Quino

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Mafalda vs soup, Libertad & Anarchism: R.I.P. Quino

Quino died a few moments ago from a heart attack.
I grew up reading his comic Mafalda since I was in the second grade.
In the comic, she's renown for hating soup, that was served to her by her mother.
She always protested fervently, but ended up having to eat it. She's the stand-in for every non-conformist, rebel and pessimist. There are many themes and social issues that are explored in different ways in this work of political satire, as well a many other publications after Mafalda, but the soup was one of the memorable running gags.

In interviews, Quino explained that soup was an allegory for impositions and anything that limited freedom, in particular the military regimes that existed at that time (he was censored in Spain during Franco, and was exiled to Spain during the dictatorship in Argentina), and communism, referring to ideological impositions as well.
It represents impositions that are done for your own good, not having anything to do with the that particular food or its flavor.

In each instance of refusal, a coping mechanism or negotiation tactic is explored. Resistance is always futile, always overpowered by grownups, authority figures and the majority of her peers, but she never gives up without a fight.

Mafalda: "Each and every one who would deliberately rebel and not drink, eat, swallow, guzzle, and/or slurp, would you smack them?"

Here we can see the melodramatism of the tactic of "speaking truth to power", pointing out the implicit menace of violence with which she is coerced to comply.

Mafalda: "Soup is to childhood, what communism is to democracy."

While the soup does feed sustain her, providing an essential and basic need, she is disempowered and has no say on the matter, no freedom to choose. While the comic strip critiques communism it also critiques the persecution against communists that was also going on at the time, as well as democracy itself.

Mom:"You have to have it! People who don't have soup don't ever grow up!"
Mom: "And they stay little, and don't ever get big!" ... (Mafalda looking at her soup)...
Mafalda: "What tranquility would reign today in the world if Marx hadn't eaten his soup!"

The anti-marxist sentiment is often explicit, yet she also rebelled against the capitalists who would sell her expired cans of soup at a high price.

Mafalda: "Soup in summer! Who would think of making soup in summer? No one! Only you could come up with making soup in summer!"
Mom: "I'm original, aren't I?"
Mafalda: "One for giving arguments to the enemy, GULP!...another for being stupid, GLUP!,...another for not knowing what to respond, anoth..."

Here we see the limits of a tactic of debate or dialogue with an enemy or someone who would want to impose something on you.

"Soup, right? Keep away from the ideological perimeter, please."

Sometimes no dialogue can be had and the most fitting approach is to make your clear boundaries explicit.

The comic strip also got a T.V. adaptation. Here you can see one of the first plot-lines that were on the strip, where Mafalda is trying to convince her parents to get a television. The kids at school mock her for being the only one without a television at home. After pleading her father to no avail, she decides to "wage guerilla warfare" by shouting at her father hiding among the houseplants.

Her father struggles with the decision to get her the T.V. concerned that all she will do afterwards is sing jingles from the commercials, and that it deforms the child's mind.

There were many characters in the comic strip, one of the last ones that was introduced was named "Libertad", a girl of very small size that always wore black, and she was clearly a more explicit stand-in for the anarchist position. From the wikipedia article:

"Libertad (5 February 1970): "Libertad" is a given name in Spanish, which means "Freedom". The girl is of small stature (a little shorter than Guille although she is around the age of the other kids), a reference to the impotence or small stature of freedom. Libertad appears somewhat later in the series, after Mafalda befriends her at the beach during a vacation, where she introduces herself to Mafalda, and, after an awkward silence, she inquires: "Have you drawn your stupid conclusion yet? Everyone draws their stupid conclusion when they meet me". She is the most politically radical character of the comic strip, more even than Mafalda herself. She took the place of being the political one while Mafalda became more well rounded in her topics of discussion. Although she claims to be fond of simple people, she often overthinks or overreacts to her friend's opinions on simple topics, like vacations or pets. She often gets in trouble with her teachers due to her point of view."

Sign reads: "Forbidden to step on grass."
*Steps on grass.
Libertad: "Damn the urge that I had to step on it, but I'm sick of being told not to do what I already know I shouldn't do!"

Libertad: "Pst, hey, Felipe! I was thinking... since we already have guns, why don't we stop this nonsense and let's play social revolution?"

She was introduced not only to voice a more explicit anarchist position, but also to mock it. She's presented as overzealous, preaching, difficult and complicated. The running gag is the she goes on long rants and lectures about complicated and confusing things and then finishes by saying something along the lines of "'s so simple, if only people would understand." while those listening were eye-rolling, passing out from boredom, or dizzy from confusion.

Libertad: "What seems wrong to me is that a few have a lot, a lot have few, and some have nothing. If those few that have nothing had a bit of the few that the many that have few have...and if the many that have few had a bit of the many the few that have many have, there'd be less trouble. But no one does a lot, so as not to say nothing, to improve a bit something so simple."

Libertad: "Newspapers! Newspapers make up half of what they say! And if we add to that that they don't say half of what happens, it turns out that newspapers don't exist!"

There are better and more relevant strips than the ones I found impromptu. Quino's books, including the whole of Mafalda in a single volume, are easily found online on pdf, translated in many languages, in various torrent sites. The rest of Quino's work ahs the same critical, pessimistic and satirical lens, but can be more absurdist, abstract, and existential.

This was an improvised recollection upon hearing the news of Quino's death, pointing out that at the least Mafalda comic strip could be of interest to anarchists, and that Mafalda and Libertad are with Anarchik in the realm of anarchist cartoon characters.

anon (not verified)
Argentine cartoonist Quino, creator of ‘Mafalda,’ dead at 88

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Joaquín Salvador Lavado, an Argentine cartoonist better known as “Quino″ whose satirical comic strip about a socially conscious girl named Mafalda with a loathing for soup, found fans across Latin America, Europe and beyond, died on Wednesday at the age of 88.

Quino’s “Mafalda″ comic strip was first published in 1964 and the humorist maintained a dedicated following throughout his career even after he moved onto other projects, skewering social conventions through ordinary characters who endured absurdity, exploitation, authoritarianism and their own limitations.

“Quino died. All good people in the country and in the world will mourn him, ” tweeted Daniel Divinsky, the cartoonist’s former editor.

Quino, who had suffered health problems in recent years, was remembered affectionately by Argentina’s political class, which was frequently the target of his acerbic humor.

Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Argentina’s vice president and former two-term president, uploaded a video to Twitter in which Quino had wished her good luck in governing. De Kirchner said Quino had “said things that could not be said” — a reference to censorship during Argentina’s military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s — and that he “challenged society with great strength.”

Quino was “creator of the unforgettable Mafalda and one of the most international cartoonists in Spanish,” the Madrid-based Royal Spanish Academy said. “His precise words traveled to both sides of the Atlantic thanks to his cartoons and his peculiar sense of humor.”

Mafalda, whose 6-year-old protagonist ponders the world’s problems to her parents’ bemusement, has sometimes been compared to the “Peanuts″ comic strip created by Charles Schulz.

Mafalda the “anarchist”: For Quino (1932-2020)

Here is another text with a bunch of images, three obituary links at the end, and link to artists website:

Mafalda the “anarchist”: For Quino (1932-2020)


anon (not verified)
Thanks for sharing this, I

Thanks for sharing this, I hadn't see it!

I watched the video of the interview and it mentioned some things I forgot to mention, that Quino was the son of vehemently anti-clerical Spanish Republicans (as they put it in the interview) that fled to Argentina during the Spanish Civil War.
In the interview he mentions how he still had nightmares about nazis and about doing obligatory military service again.

His comics have a special place in my heart. I used to sneak in a small booklet to class in second grade and one day the teacher caught me laughing and took it away from me while we did our work. Then she started reading it in her desk and started laughing and gave it back to me. XD

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