Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Editing our Icons

Like a lot of folks I no longer get a daily newspaper.  Hey, I tried but they kept raising the price and eventually stopped week day delivery to my semi-rustic homestead.  But I get the Sunday version once in a while.

I look at the Sunday comics out of very old habit.  There are even a few that retain a bit of entertainment value as their panel size continues to contract.  But what caught my eye the other day was a rather "senior" comic that still runs long after its revered creator has passed on.

Something seemed....wrong.  Can you catch it on first glance?

Snoopy was an iconic character when I was growing up.  He was much more interesting than his owner Charlie Brown.  Like all great creations he grew far beyond his original role, and provided much of the whimsy and philosophy for which Peanuts is rightly and fondly remembered.

Somebody appears to be messing with Snoopy.

Of course the picture should look like this:

In a stunning display of Political Correctness the bullet holes have just been photoshopped away.  Evidently the Red Baron shot him down with harsh words.

This is dishonesty on so many levels.  It trivializes an important debate, that which seeks a balance between public safety and Constitutional rights.  It totally ignores the fact that Snoopy's flights of fancy were just that, imaginary expeditions where he could be heroic. This from a society where the default activity of many young people is video shooting zombies and storm troopers.  And finally, I will just say it, Peanuts in its prime was art.  When you start messing with art who knows where it will stop.  All those Renaissance crucifixion paintings.....will we start airbrushing the wounds in His hands and side?

Ah, what would Charles Schultz have said about this?  In later years he did soften the Snoopy as World  War One Ace routine.  Less gunfire, more wandering about behind the lines sipping root beer with a French version of The Little Red Headed Girl.  But on his death he left firm instructions that the characters were not to be expanded upon.  No "reboots".  He wanted the Peanuts gang to stay as he imagined them.

I suppose the next logical extension of this sort of revisionism can be predicted.  Really now, isn't Lucy always pulling away the football just another form of bullying?

I will give the last word to Mr. Schultz:

Schulz was asked if, for his final Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown would finally get to kick that football after so many decades. His response: "Oh, no! Definitely not! I couldn't have Charlie Brown kick that football; that would be a terrible disservice to him after nearly half a century

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