13 February 2000
One of the first books I remember buying was a collection of
PEANUTS strips. In fact, that may have been the first thing I
bought with my very first allowance of 25¢. Twenty five years
later, you can't even buy a paper for that much. So much has
happened between then and now. I've grown up, for one, and while
doing so, phrases like "Good Grief", "security
blanket", and the idea of the Little Red Haired Girl have
been part of the lexicon I live in. I don't think it's an
overstatement to say that this one comic strip has had as much
influence on my culture as the work of George Orwell, though this
might say more about literacy than anything.
I think I have seen "A Charlie Brown Christmas"
between 15 and 20 times. ("All I want is what's coming to
me. All I want is my fair share.") I saw it again this last
season, and even though I've heard it criticized for its
sometimes crude style, and for its complete lack of computer
enhancement, it is still charming for reasons that will take me
another 20 viewings to completely grasp. There's the music by
Vince Guaraldi, which is as clean and precise as you could ever
ask for. There's the conflict between the secular and the sacred.
And there are no animals that transform into flying robots.
But I write of things past. There is no end of snide things I
could say about PEANUTS' last few years, but I have to ask: would
it improve anyone's lives to hear them? Even my own brand of
egotism couldn't admit to that sort of bombast, and so I'll take
my lead from Gary Trudeau and give Sparky safe passage out of