I've now read six or seven reviews of SCHULZ AND PEANUTS: A BIOGRAPHY by David Michaelis and damned if every reviewer doesn't profess to be surprised to find that Charles Schulz was for at least some of his time in this vale of tears a sad and angry man.
As I've said here many times before--and I admit this is a generalization--I just don't think that nice normal people (those average folks who don't exist but we believe in anyway, sort of like compasionate conservatives)--become creative artists. Schulz was said to have never forgotten nor forgiven a slight. What better form of revenge than to create your own world and punish fools in it?
I'm not arguing here that all creative people are Norma Desmond getting ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille. But I do think there's a drive to leave something more than dust behind in our pitiful pining for immortality. Writing dirty books for Lancer probbly won't get you into Shakespeare heaven but at least you've made the effort, which is more than most of our fellow primates can claim. And who knows (we think in our most secret shameful moments) maybe this novel Hatchets & Harlots just might...just might actually be read three or four hundred years from now. Stranger things have happened, haven't they? Dick Cheney is president, isn't he?
I'm sometimes sad and angry so maybe I just like to comfort myself with the fantasy that ALL writers (actors, sculptors, painters, composers, dancers) are sad and angry people. Maybe Agatha Christie really DIDN'T swill gin while she was writing and indulge in servant-beating later on in the day.But it's nice to think so, isn't it?
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It's the best outlet for despair that I've found. Making those quilts just didn't cut it.
Meanwhile, a tv version of this is imminent, a PBS AMERICAN MASTERS episode, "Good Ol' Charles Schulz," is due in late October.
The well-adjusted might well not have anything to prove. Oh, well. Pity so many of us aren't that and can't find a means of expressing our discontent as arguably positively as a Lancer pornoback, as opposed to helping, however slightly...or enthusiastically, Dick and all those other Members dick us all.
I'm not sure how anyone could read the strip and not think Schulz was at least sad. It's a really sad comic. Funny, of course, but also very sad.
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