Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Calvin and Hobbes

This website contains the only writing I’ve come across that pinpoints the disturbingly subversive brilliance of Calvin and Hobbes. The visual and textual parallels to the Columbine High School shooting presented by the author, Douglas Ord, are brilliant in themselves.

“As brought to life both by Watterson's ‘magic’ and -- in a second order of activity within the strip -- Calvin's waking dream, Hobbes was obviously so much more than the stuffed animal that ‘others’ saw.

“As a truly noble beast, he became, at different times, the voice of sophistication, of charm, and of irony. A voice, that is, which was almost entirely denied, in Calvin's real world American suburban vicinity...

“But Hobbes, while being an awesomely indulgent and intelligent playmate, was also complex in a different way. As a presence, he both personified and contained the projection outward of a coiled spring rage that -- as kept within the waking dream -- could then rebound on Calvin harmlessly, as he and Hobbes bantered with one another, mocked one another, sometimes even thrashed one another, in the privacy of Calvin's backyard.

“How big was that rage, though, that potential for violence? In this there was a critical uncertainty, and even a mystery, because Hobbes himself had a night-time side that, apparently on Watterson's whim, could stalk and terrorize Calvin: the side that was captured in Calvin's own description: ‘homicidal psycho jungle cat’.”

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