Trees, Peanuts, Two Whiskey Sours, and Fried Rice: Some Unorganized
Over-Exaggerations on Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts,
a Hand-Me-Down Array of Poems Related to the New York School of Poets, and
Getting High and Reading Paper Rad
Readers tend to secretly admire
their own submission into the lone realm of reading. To be a reader is, I think, to also acknowledge that one is a
reader and to let all surrounding aspects of life conform to this position. To not engage, or even chance the encounter,
with those deemed unfruitful to the reader’s cause. The Non, or more
importantly, the Casual reader is against the reader’s cause. A cause established in a wealth of
uncertainty and seclusion. A cause that comes not from the reader’s pink head
meat, but rather from a type of third eye, an unknown gland, or a phantom
appendage that the reader can cast down upon the casual reader. A cause to open up this cemented third eye,
this far too long dormant gland, and this gauze wrapped phantom appendage, all
hidden underneath a cement hardened and solidified by the disregard and
shunning by the all-too-close wild of the world. This is a wild that has been paved over by the enclosed genre of
mediocrity. The casual reader is just
but the mere annoyance of the reader, a rubbing of sweat on the phantom
appendage. An annoyance spawned from
the casual reader’s role of not reading for the written word, but reading for
the simple desire to occupy their time, rather than having their time occupied.
The unknown gland rejects everything that engages the casual reader’s mind, an
interest in the word only to serve as a social back dropping. The cause of the reader’s third eye shuns
bestsellers and books of the moment. While snobbery is in the air at all times,
is it possible for our eyes, our glands, and our appendages to reach out to
what may be waiting right in front of us? While so easily blaming the mediocrity of the bile-laden pages of the
impulse item literature as reason not to explore what the rest of society has
deemed wonderful, liberating, and even inspirational – the eye will remain
shut, the gland will remain inactive, and our appendages will stay folded and
crossed. In doing so, the reader often misses widely accepted literature that
holds a fixated spot in the minds of the everyday, casual reader. What does it
indicate for the self-proclaimed reader, in which something so obvious and
present in American culture is downplayed because it has not been canonized
into the forced realm of popular study?
From a strip that has stained many fingers in its infinitive run, Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts survives post-mortem for the sole purpose of reminding the everyday newspaper reader that, yes, life will stay constant and it will stay constantly in a fixated moment – ageless and directionless. The fears of failure and rejection that have plagued the general population since the first moment of each individual’s waking life. Schulz’s children refuse the aging process, forever staying in a constant, endless state of rejection, denial, and pain. A pain sparked from a carefully planned schematic of squiggly lines.
active engagement of the reader to the pleasurable mask of Schulz’s Peanuts exists so the reader can
unknowingly relate in all comfort to a life of endless failure. Charlie Brown and unrequited love. Charlie Brown and the football. Charlie Brown and the kite-eating tree. Linus and his refusal to grow up, always clenching to his blanket –
fearing that something will snatch away any remaining sign of youth and
innocence. Lucy’s endless bored desire to profit from her peers’ troubles. These reflective images of their childhood
selves is a smug and selfish reassurance to the reader.
What appealed me to these poets? I don’t know. Was it the sense of a confession unheard within every poem, muffled by the sounds of conversation and city? Was it the over-analyzed, intellectual mumbo-jumbo that boggled down every single one of John Ashbery’s poems? Was it O’Hara’s sprawling landscape of lunch breaks and news headlines that carried bored and drab undertones that mumbled ‘eh-anyone-can-do-this’? Maybe that was it, that if anyone had enough time and wasted thought, they could just sit down and spill some words out onto a page, sign it ‘Kenneht Koch’ and call it a poem.
This was a trap for me, and my co-workers and friends knew it. Often, I will walk into work and a book will be laying there for me, usually dealing with hatred and angst. Of course, I am appreciative. This time, I was flattered, but offended at the same time – is it really so obvious that I will fall to literature that is written by the bored and the directionless? Sighing won’t do anything, so I fell deep into it and went through the stack of books that I acquired from various outlets. The gland, the eye, and the appendage immediately absorbed it. It was directionless, beautiful filth and I loved it. Every poem after the first and before the last was unable to be navigated – it was a whirlwind of cityscapes and thoughts that moved as traffic. There was a sense of direction, but it was lost in the motion of it all. These were passages from a certain time, maybe a time lost, or possibly just a time that ran out. So, In Memory of My Feelings, Rivers and Mountains, Lunch Poems, sticky and filthy Carnegie Library Koch books, The Tennis Court Oath, As We Know, Thank You. Even though these poets have now dominated my interest, at the very end of it all – I still told Koch, Ashbery, and O’Hara to just go to hell and ended up staying awake all night reading Eliot’s The Waste Land.
And again, at the
very end of it all, I still don’t understand what the appeal is to all of this
– peanuts, poets, or what-have-you. I
will never know a Kenneth Koch or a John Ashbery, and I’m not sure if I would
even want to. I have known Charlie
Browns, and many other Peanuts, and I know that I wish I would have rather not.
So, in the end, what’s the difference and are they even comparable and then
again, who even cares? I just know at the very end of it all, at the very end
of it all, and just once again, at the very end of it all – there is absolutely
no problem with just sitting around with my roommate and reading the Carnegie’s
copy of Paper Rad like it’s the first
time either of us discovered drugs.