Last week while watching the news I saw a story featuring a blogger who believed that Charlie Brown specials, starting with, but not limited to, “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” should be retired from television.
His opinion centered on the fact that the name calling and teasing throughout the Charlie Brown specials was nothing more than bullying and that, “Charlie Brown is supposed to be the hero, instead he is kicked and demeaned at every turn, even by the adults giving out candy.”
In addition the blog goes on to criticize Snoopy’s World War II “flying ace alter ago” as being inappropriate for young children.
Ok, before I go any further I need to make very clear I am not coming out in favor of name calling, bullying or violence. I respect other bloggers' opinions and am not trying to criticize them. That being said, however, I simply do not agree with this one.
Fact of the matter is I love Charlie Brown. What I see in Charlie Brown isn’t a victim but a child who is dealing with the everyday challenges that go along with growing up.
I see a kid who, like so many others, is finding his place in the world. I see a boy who doesn’t give up and, more important, doesn’t give into peer pressure and change who he really is. Charlie Brown has doubts and sometimes struggles with confidence but, in the long run, he always stays true to his beliefs and carries on.
The blog looks at Charlie Brown’s Halloween adventures sees no value to children, because, “Linus’ blind faith in a Great Pumpkin is never rewarded other than to promise Charlie Brown he’ll try again next year.”
Yes, I see disappointment but, at the same time, I see a very important lesson in perseverance. I see Charlie and Linus proving that they are more than willing to stand behind their beliefs and try again next year. While the blogger sees blind faith I see commitment and determination.
Yes, words like “Dumb,” “Stupid” and “Blockhead” can be cruel and degrading but they are nothing that our kids aren’t already hearing every day. The beauty of Charlie Brown is that, in spite of the name calling, he continues on and remains true to himself.
When Charlie Brown goes out looking for a Christmas Tree for the annual pageant he passes by the fancy glittery trees and, instead, settles on a tree that, much like himself, is an underdog. He nurtures the tree and, in the long run, proves himself to be a bit of a hero.
Does that mean that Charlie Brown will never be teased again? Probably not. It does, however, mean that he will always have the memory of a small victory to fall back upon when times get tough.
As for Snoopy and his WWII flying antics I simply don’t find them offensive or inappropriate. World War II and the pilots who flew in it are a part of American History that children need to learn to respect and treasure. Every child needs to understand that, without the brave individuals who have served our country over the years, our world would be a very different place.
Instead of seeing Charlie Brown as a tortured soul I see him as a survivor. I look at him as a hero and an inspiration to kids and adults alike. As far as I’m concerned Charlie Brown will always have a place in our home and on our television.
Editor's note: Burlington Patch also carried a discussion piece on the “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” issue. Click the link to check it out and share your thoughts.