A fairly dark-hued and egotistical portrait of Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schultz has emerged over the years. I remember reading Jonathan Franzen’s essay in The Discomfort Zone, wherein I learned that Schultz’s resentment at the name Peanuts, which editors had given his comic strip in 1950, was still vibrant at the end of Schultz’s life. (Schultz told an interviewer in 1987, 13 years before he would succumb to colon cancer in his seventies: “To label something that was going to be a life’s work with a name like Peanuts was really insulting.” When the interviewer suggested that 37 years might have softened the blow, Schultz replied, “No, no. I hold a grudge, boy.”)
So it was heartening to read in a recent The Sunday Times review of the new Schultz biography by David Michaelis that Schultz did have a little self-effacement: he had a regret.
“His one regret, he said, was that he never once let Charlie Brown kick the football held out for him by Lucy: always she snatched it away and always he landed on his back.”