In the leadup to the election, I was feeling increasingly more and more stressed to the point I could often barely focus. This was already an issue for my physical reading anyway for the last four years, and especially during COVID when I could no longer go read in my favorite coffeeshops for a few hours on Sunday and Saturday mornings. So I needed something that was light, but not too light, and had something energetic and hopeful to say.
So I picked this up to read for the first time in probably 25 years. Obviously going back to something like this is risky because a beloved childhood favorite can hurt your feelings in a few different ways: what’s if its racist? Sexist? Homophobic?
What if it’s bad?
It’s luckily not any those things. Bill Watterson has the sense of humor of a devilish but heartfelt middle school science teacher. His jokes border but rarely cross over onto corny, and they’re almost never cruel or offensive. They’re insightful and incisive, and most importantly, kind. Calvin crosses lines, obviously, but not Bill Watterson. Sometimes Calvin’s treatment of Susie is a little suspect, but it’s oddly mostly not. He’s a character, and so his antics can be chalked up to that. And the love and kindness of Hobbes, who is the definition of avuncular, as far as tigers go, follow suit. It’s a lot of book and needs to be paced, especially as many many of the jokes are variations of themes (in the mode of Goldberg, rather than repetitive), but it was right for the 1980s (the dad election jokes are especially wonderful), and for now.