Like everyone else, I loved Calvin and Hobbes in its heyday. How could you not? The strips were very well-drawn and imaginative, the characters were vivid. I especially liked Hobbes, the tiger. How do you make a toy tiger so expressive?
But I guess I've changed, I guess maybe another 15 years of parenting have changed my perspective. Not that my kids are Calvins; I just think being a parent changes your perspective more than merely thinking or reading about being a parent can ever do, even if you have perfect kids. Which, of course, you all do.
Whatever the reason, it's just not being as fun for me to read the strip. Bill Watterson stopped producing fresh strips in 1995 — it's been that long? — but they're still circulating. I've set up a comics page via iGoogle, and see a classic Calvin and Hobbes strip daily.
I still love Waterson's art, and still like the tiger... but Calvin just isn't fun for me. Maybe I'll simply delete the strip.
If you take it any kind of seriously, that is just one miserable house, and one miserable family. Calvin is at constant war with both of his parents, everyone at school, his teacher. He hates everything his mother cooks, and insults her over every meal. He won't do anything that isn't his own idea without griping — bathe, get dressed, go to bed, stay in bed, go to school, play. He disrespects both his father and his mother, constantly reports to his dad that he's failing as a father, accuses his mother of trying to poison him.
They can't even take Calvin picture for a Christmas note. Bathe him, dress him, comb his hair - and he makes faces to ruin the shot. He's a happiness-thief. He robs mom and dad of the joy parents should have, and spoils their ability to enjoy each other.
And the parents (do we ever know their names?) aren't much better. They are clearly embattled. They can't enjoy their son, each other, life. They have to approach everything strategically, as if in a war — because they are! They're grim, they're sarcastic, they are worn-out, they are (at best) dutiful, but they are joyless.
Calvin should be making them happy. That's his God-given job.
The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice;Of course, Calvin is not to disrespect his parents...
he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him.
Let your father and mother be glad;
let her who bore you rejoice (Proverbs 23:24-25)
There are those who curse their fathers...but he is positively to honor the both of them: “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you" (Exodus 20:12; cf. Ephesians 6:1-3). You know there are a host of similar Scriptures, and Calvin is most lustily failing in the role for which God created him.
and do not bless their mothers (Proverbs 30:11)
The parents? Well, I say again, it is just a comic-strip.
But I don't recall their ever pointing Calvin to Christ, to say the least, nor walking with Him themselves. So they may have had nothing to give — and that is a massive fail, as people created in God's image and as parents.
An aside: you've probably seen the bumper-stickers of Calvin worshiping Christ. I won't reproduce or link to one, because they are all counterfeit; none of them is authorized by Waterson. Isn't that ironic? People selling something dishonest, putatively to honor Christ? But I digress.
Calvin most needed mom and dad to love God with all their beings (Deuteronomy 6:5) and, out of that overflow, to teach him the words and heart and mind of God (6:6ff.). They failed
Calvin needed them to teach him, and to love him enough to discipline him and teach him his God-given need of the Gospel, and his need to respect God's lordship and their delegated authority (Proverbs 1:8ff.; 13:24; 29:15; Ephesians 6:4). They didn't.
Now, even had the fictitious lad been the model child, there's no guarantee that Calvin's "mom and dad" would have been model parents; and even had they done everything right, there is no guarantee Calvin would have snapped into line.
But, HSAT, reading the strip is like having to watch a horribly dysfunctional family being dysfunctional every day, and it's losing the fun-factor for me.
So I'll probably delete it.
Anyone else feel the same? Am I the last to the party, or just a sourpuss?