Its A Marxist Conspiracy Charlie Brown!
Hey its Halloween this Saturday, ain’t that something?
I’m not usually a Halloween guy. Most people use Halloween as an excuse to let their freak flags fly unfettered. Good for them, I just don’t get all crazy for it like when I was a kid. Still, there are things every year I look forward to with the advent of Halloween. First and foremost is that classic tale of man versus conformity Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. My lord, if this 22 minute little political/social allegory isn’t the most brilliant thing I’ve ever watched then I don’t know what is!
See we have our everyman character in Charlie Brown, who struggles to be accepted by his snobbish peers. Let’s face it, Charlie Brown is a schmuck, he is constantly searching for acceptance by the asshole children he hangs out with and all they give him in return is pure ridicule. Sweet lord, the fact that Good Old Charlie Brown hasn’t freaked out at 10 and killed everyone is a god damned mircacle. Reading Charles Schultz is like some fucked up version of Ayn Rand and given what a nutjob Ayn Rand was that should tell you something!
I mean all Charlie Brown wants in this story is to get some candy via ‘Trick or Treating’, and then go to Violet’s Halloween party afterward. Sure, he gets the invite to the party but Violet pretty much states that she doesn’t want him there. Even worse is that his attempts at candy gathering always end up with him getting a rock. That right there symbolizes the futility of Charlie Brown. He has been given the instrument of revenge against a party that has wronged him, in this case the people who won’t give him candy. They have provided him the means by which he can play a trick. But he is Charlie Brown, wishy-washy, stuck in neutral and not going anywhere no matter how much progress he makes. He won’t throw that rock and even worse is that he knows he won’t… EVER! Then he goes to Violet’s and is mocked by his peers as a perfect model for the Jack O’Lantern. In one night he is proven to be impotent and then emasculated. His humiliation is endless, just a perpetual ode of failure so pitiful it is less than mediocre. My God! Charlie Brown is the moderate wing of the Democratic Party!
Then we have Linus, the boy genius that is accepted by society but doesn’t actually fit in with it. There in lies the genius of his character. Is it any wonder that Charlie Brown has Linus as a best friends? Charlie Brown is a normal kid who people actively choose to dislike. Linus is a kid they actually SHOULD DISLIKE but accept. Together, Charlie Brown and Linus are an outcast group, always teetering on the fringe. Linus also has to deal with his bully of a big sister Lucy. Lucy bullies both Linus and Charlie Brown. She gets her way through strong-arming and psychology. She is the Ugly American in every sense. In this scenario Linus and Charlie Brown are any major Third World country. But I digress…
Linus is actually the major outcast in this tale. He has the opportunity to be in the group but opts to stay in the pumpkin patch hoping that The Great Pumpkin will come. My lord! If this isn’t a metaphor for Communist Revolt, then I don’t know what is! See Linus is a pinko-commie Bolshevik, sitting on the sidewalk telling people that the workers of the world will unite and if they join the cause then the revolt against their masters will begin. See, The Great Pumpkin is the Bolshevik Revolution, The Pumpkin Patch represents joining the communist movement and Linus is… fuck… Linus is Carl Marx? I didn’t even see that one coming!
The other children here, including Lucy and Charlie Brown, try to talk Linus out of his Bolshevik ways. Lucy tries her usual method of ridicule and Charlie Brown tries reason. Both fail and only further strengthen the little Marxist in his belief that the Revolution will come. I give Linus mad credit for sticking to his beliefs. Hell, he even proves his atheism earlier in the show by denouncing Santa Clause (a metaphor for religion) in favor of The Great Pumpkin (The Communist Revolution).
Then, as always, there is Snoopy. I am not a Snoopy fan. I’ve always identified more with Charlie Brown as a youth due to my own issues of acceptance at school and at home. My inability to be accepted by all led to me developing a half-assed way of accomplishing my goals. Those feelings of lack of acceptance lessened when I was shipped to boarding school, though they were still there. Understand at a small private boarding school, everyone has to get along on some small level. You can utterly despise someone and ostracize them but chances are that the people that are doing the ostracising have already ostraciszed others that you can then identify with and befriend. You savvy what I’m saying?
Snoopy is the anti-thesis of both alienation and acceptance. He is an individual that lives in pure fantasy and doesn’t rely on the social dynamics of others to feel accepted. I mean he is a dog after all, but a very remarkable dog. He is the escapist we all wish we could be but can’t because if we did, we’d be classified insane. To be Snoopy is not a good thing, not in the least. It measn you have lost all touch with reality.
In the end, Linus is left disappointed when the Revolution doesn’t come. Even worse is that it is Charlie Brown’s insane dog that rises out the pumpkin patch, proving once again that the Pumpkin Patch is just that… A Pumpkin Patch. Even more telling is that the Ugly American, Lucy, brings her brother in from the cold thus proving that regardless of political belief, America will always take him in.
So what did we learn today?
Well, for starters, Linus Van Pelt is a dirty Communist. I mean c’mon, if you didn’t realize this before then you haven’t REALLY been watching those Charlie Brown specials closely enough. Charlie Brown is the man afraid to speak up and be heard and even when he tries to do that he is shouted down. Sadly even when he does succeed, he manages to fail on a spectacular level. He is every moderate Democrat to ever get elected. He isn’t conservative enough for his peers and he isn’t liberal enough for Linus. As for Lucy, she is U.S. Foreign Policy under Kissinger. She’ll bomb the fuck out of Cambodia just to show the Vietnamese that she means business. Finally, the most important thing we can determine from reading Peanuts and watching Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! it is this… Charles Schultz was FUCKING INSANE!
Don’t miss Its The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! Tonight at 8pm on ABC! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS!