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The first Peanuts comic strip was published on this day in 1950. As Sarah Boxer noted in our November 2015 issue, its storyline was surprisingly dark:
The first strip, published on October 2, 1950, shows two children, a boy and a girl, sitting on the sidewalk. The boy, Shermy, says, “Well! Here comes ol’ Charlie Brown! Good ol’ Charlie Brown … Yes, sir! Good ol’ Charlie Brown.” When Charlie Brown is out of sight, Shermy adds, “How I hate him!” In the second Peanuts strip the girl, Patty, walks alone, chanting, “Little girls are made of sugar and spice … and everything nice.” As Charlie Brown comes into view, she slugs him and says, “That’s what little girls are made of!”
Although key characters were missing or quite different from what they came to be, the Hobbesian ideas about society that made Peanuts Peanuts were already evident: People, especially children, are selfish and cruel to one another; social life is perpetual conflict; solitude is the only peaceful harbor; one’s deepest wishes will invariably be derailed and one’s comforts whisked away; and an unbridgeable gulf yawns between one’s fantasies about oneself and what others see.
Read more here.
David Dennis Jr., a lifelong New Orleans Saints fan, wrote about choosing to stop watching football in support of Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest—and about how other fans are boycotting the NFL for the exact opposite reason. This reader has a reason of his own for not watching:
The league’s epidemic of brain trauma was the straw that broke my camel’s back. Perhaps I’m being irrational, but I felt that my support of the game was somehow complicit in the scourge. The stories of the mental and physical and social deterioration of these athletes were too much. So I pulled the plug.
The NFL has a lot of things to fix about the game; I hope they do so, because the game still has a lot to offer.
More readers on the ethics of football fandom here.
Rockslides triggered, sports shunted aside, communities honored, mayonnaise disrupted.
Time of Your Life
Happy birthday to Mimi (a year younger than The Godfather); from Ky to Byron (the same age as the UN General Assembly); to Mazelle’s best friend Lucy (twice the age of Twitter); from Polly to Andy (a year younger than Harry Potter); and to our art director, Paul (one-fifth the age of The Atlantic).
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