Monday, December 5, 2022

Good grief!

An appropriate recognition:
A century after his birth and two decades after his death, the Peanuts characters remain beloved American icons. What American doesn’t know Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, or Lucy? The Peanuts Christmas special, made in 1965, remains a holiday tradition. The Peanuts Movie, released in 2015, made a quarter of a billion dollars worldwide. The U.S. Postal Service is honoring the centennial with stamps of the Peanuts characters — but not of Schulz himself, who always insisted that he should be known only through his comics. ....

Watterson, who has written that Schulz “blazed the wide trail that most every cartoonist since has tried to follow,” is the first to acknowledge his debt to the melancholy Minnesotan. Schulz expanded the whole idea of what a comic strip could be about, and he did so without ever depicting an adult. ....

.... More than anyone else in the popular culture of the day, the sensitive and cerebral Schulz grasped something important about childhood: that it is a time not only of play but of anxiety, insecurity, social uncertainty, and the struggle to forge an identity and place in the world. The Peanuts gang knows only unrequited love and endless frustration, except when Snoopy is disappearing into his Walter Mitty fantasy lives. Schulz also understood that portraying these feelings in children would resonate with adults, because so many adults still carried those emotional scars, as he did for his entire life. Peanuts could be clever or wickedly funny at times, but it was the pang of emotional recognition that bound audiences to its characters. .... (more)
Dan McLaughlin, "Charles Schultz at 100," NRO, Dec 1, 2022.

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