In lockdown, we’re all Calvin.
May 13, 2020 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Calvin and Hobbes and quarantine [Polygon] “Calvin was looking for a way out. He was trying to escape. He didn’t like school, so he fled it as Spaceman Spiff. Bathtime, a nightmare for small children, saw Calvin turning into a tub shark or being attacked by a bubble-bath elemental. He escaped the corporeal form of a kid’s (arguably limited) body with the Transmogrifier, and most importantly of all, escaped loneliness by befriending a stuffed tiger who Calvin knew was actually real. A tiger who listened to him, who challenged him, and who ultimately loved him. Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? Calvin went to school, had a loving family, but even still, he felt alone. And his imagination gave him a way not to feel that anymore.

• Yes! Calvin & Hobbes Embodies Our Loneliness, but We're Never Alone [Indefinite Loop]
“Why I loved reading it was not clear to me until much later. It dawned suddenly one day that I was alone, and the comic is about a kid’s loneliness, and the disappointment of living in a world where he wouldn’t fit in; no that’s not right. It is about a kid’s loneliness, and the disappointment of living in world where he didn’t want to fit in. Naturally the only other option was to create his own world, and What a world it is! A world where your geometrical shapes never matter. A world where any one can fit into. [...] I never quite did fit in. The reasons behind that fact may be many, and all of ’em lead up to me being myself; but the fact of finding myself alone, even today, stands true. And every-time I feel or ‘ve felt like that, there’s always been Calvin and Hobbes. So, yes Calvin and Hobbes embodies loneliness, and it is about a kid taking the loneliness in his stride, but it’s definitely not meant for just kids. I never felt alone when I read the comic.”
• Calvin And Hobbes embodied the voice of the lonely child [A.V. Club]
“Loneliness is a funny thing because generally it has less to do with being alone and more to do with not having other people around. That sounds paradoxical, but being alone and being isolated from your peers are two very different things. The former is a choice, the latter a decree. In truth, it’s even more complicated than that, as loneliness can strike at any time, even when surrounded by people. That niggling sense that maybe you don’t belong is all it needs to gain a foothold. For as much as the brain of a child is growing and changing and maturing, for as many distractions as the world provides to developing minds, kids aren’t stupid, particularly children as highly sensitive and attuned to the world around them as Calvin. Disappearing into his own world is a coping mechanism for dealing with a world that seems to have little patience or place for him. His isolation breeds fantasy, which breeds isolation, which does him no favors at school or at home. To be a lonely child in the world means creating your own fun, your own friends, your own magic.”
posted by Fizz (18 comments total) 40 users marked this as a favorite
The final C&H cartoon: ...LET'S GO EXPLORING!
posted by cenoxo at 10:25 AM on May 13 [6 favorites]

BRB, gotta go get supplies to make tuna fish sandwiches and snare traps.
posted by ckape at 10:41 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]

Huh. I never thought of that take before which you think I would have since I did the same. Great post.
posted by kanata at 10:42 AM on May 13 [1 favorite]

posted by chavenet at 11:23 AM on May 13 [7 favorites]

Incidentally, 'a bouquet of goat hooves' is my new sockpuppet name.
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:33 AM on May 13

I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul.
posted by markslack at 12:16 PM on May 13 [7 favorites]

Thanks for posting this. I never thought of C&H this way before, but it makes so much sense why I liked reading it so much as a kid.
posted by airmail at 12:21 PM on May 13 [1 favorite]


...a sober reflection of our current partisan politics.
posted by cenoxo at 1:39 PM on May 13 [4 favorites]

Trying to stay sane during the shutdown I've taken up smaller rituals everyday to help me through it. They're all fairly mundane, having some nice loose leaf tea every morning, playing a silly puzzle game that has daily updates, but one of the nicest has just been reading a daily Calvin and Hobbes strip. I loved it as a kid, I think I devoured all of the books multiple times, but coming back to the comments as an adult has really enhanced my own appreciation for the comic. It's not just funny, though has humor in spades, but there's a real depth and poignancy that really resonate though I'm no longer 6 years old.
posted by Carillon at 2:05 PM on May 13 [5 favorites]

and a sober reflection of the economy
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 2:37 PM on May 13 [8 favorites]

Crouching in my RSS feed every morning, waiting to pounce...
posted by jim in austin at 2:37 PM on May 13 [2 favorites]

“I think grown ups just act like they know what they’re doing.”

Yep, checks out
posted by Automocar at 3:26 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

I grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes, and treasured it as much as I did anything that didn't talk down to me as a kid. It wasn't that Calvin knew that Hobbes was actually real, as the article in the OP says, or anyway it wasn't just that: it was that Hobbes knew that Calvin was actually real, in a way that Miss Wormwood and the principal and even his parents didn't. I wanted that, and I still do.
posted by bokane at 3:27 PM on May 13 [13 favorites]

Dear Mr Watterson is one of the best documentaries ever. It’s a true love letter to a one-of-a-kind artist.

I like to think that Bill Watterson has seen it.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 5:50 PM on May 13 [3 favorites]

P-B-Z-M, that Dear Mr. Watterson link is borked: what's the correct link?

From The Comics Journal, December 6, 2013, there's also The Bill Watterson Interview (originally in The Comics Journal #127, March 1989, conducted by Richard Samuel West).
posted by cenoxo at 9:26 AM on May 14

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