Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

good grief

Here I am, horning in again, but I just finished David Michaelis' weighty tome "Schulz and Peanuts", and I am bursting at the seams to write about it. As a cartoon afficienado, I was eager to read the book, but found myself quite suprised in discovering how complex Michaelis' subject was. I always figured Charlie Brown was Schulz's alter-ego, but who knew that much of Lucy's character was based on his first wife, Joyce? Not to mention the acrimonious relationship of charlie Brown/Lucy Van Pelt was a reflection of the Schulz's long and troubled marraige.
Schulz, or "Sparky " as he was known to his friends, would undoubtably be called "depressed" by you or I, but Sparky eschewed this description in favor of the more romantic adjective of "melancholy". When his wife suggested he see a psychiatrist, he refused. "If I do that, I'll lose my talent," he reasoned.
Sparky instead worked out his issues in his strip. His insecurities were obviously, fodder for his art, but he also used the strip to process religious conflicts, family and business problems, even writing about an extramaital affair through the character of Snoopy, for Chrissakes! And all these years, people thought he was just making wry little comments on society...
Schulz could be warm and generous; he was suprisingly competitive, at times to the point of being bitter and vindictive. He eventually found a loving partner and a happy relationship, but his No. 1 partner, was the strip, to the exclusion of children, wives, friends and others. He did not "die well": although he had a deep religous faith, he stated he was angry at God for "taking this all away from me." "I wasn't ready", he said. "It's not fair"
All said, I found it absolutely fascinating. And the chapter on his death moved me to tears. Recycled strips from earlier decades still run each morning in my daily paper, 8 years after his death. Maybe it wasn't fair, after all. We're still not ready for a world without "Peanuts".


kat said...

I remember reading a review of that book....

Schultz owned an ice rink in Santa Rosa, California. When I was a teenager, I figure skated, and we'd have competitions at his rink. The competitor package (like a party favor) always included Snoopy Band-Aids.

Also, last year, the complete Peanuts were released in chronological order in hardbound volumes. I'd like to get them for my grandfather, who loves Peanuts. HE's get very advanced Parkinsons, though, and my grandma thinks that he wouldn't be able to focus or get anything out of them.

My argument is that because they're so visual, he'd have an easier time than with other books....

what do you divas think?

shadocat said...

Kat, having just read the book, I find it so cool that you actually skated at that rink! It's a big part of the book, believe it or not.

I say get your grandad the books. I've found (especially with my dad, who has Alzhiemers) that they understand so much more than we give them credit for. Plus, the book I read had lots of old strips in it---I'd forgotton just how funny some of those old strips were. Even if he could just read a few, think of how much he's enjoy that!

kat said...

neat! yeah, the rink is really neat, and has a nice little coffee shop so that parents can stay warm (which is better than my home rink, which made the dads freeze their butts off at 6am!!!) but the actual ice was soft and kinda mushy....oh well.

The week that Schultz had a stroke and was hospitalized, I was at a competition there. There was a giant Snoopy cut-out that all the Redwood Empire skaters signed for him.

I'm glad you agree about the comic strips. I think it would be cool, not only to give him something to do, but also since he's such a Peanuts devotee.