Global Smurf Day

Today, in 12 different cities around the world, crowds will gather, many of them painted head to foot in blue.  This is not a woad-fest, nor a gathering of fans to celebrate James Cameron’s epic Avatar, with its important themes of greed and ecology. No, this is a day set to celebrate the little blue people whose origins lay in the mispronunciation of the word ‘salt’ over lunch. Belgian artist Pierre Culliford and his friend were sharing a meal when Pierre forgot the word for salt and said ‘schtroumpf’ instead. Thus the ‘schtroumpfs’ (or smurfs) were born.

As a person who dimly remembers the little creatures, ‘3-apples high’ from my childhood, I can’t say that I have ever thought much about the profound themes of Smurfdom. My principle recollection is of their annoying theme song. However, in print and on the worldwide web today you will find interpretations of smurf society as everything from an anti-Semitic and misogynist hell to an even handed and exemplary community paradise (And these are only the ones I have found before 9am!)

As a preacher I try to abide by a code of hermeneutics which is honest about those elements of my own experience which colour me. I also seek some degree of rigour in the interpretative task. Today,on a day when my hermeneutical skills are not required, I shall watch other people going about the task, and probably smile as I do so.