Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Calvin and Hobbes Co-star Jamaican News

I am an unapologetic fan of Calvin and Hobbes, the comic strip created by Bill Watterson and one published by The Jamaica Observer. Whenever I happen to take a copy of The Observer in hand, if I read nothing else, I must read Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin is a six year old going on sixty and Hobbes is his stuffed tiger who goes on these amazing adventures with him as well as helps him with his home work. Calvin and Hobbes never fail to tickle me and set me green with envy that I wasn’t the creative genius that invented them.

I take Calvin and Hobbes more seriously than I do the current and the most recent former Prime Ministers. The current Prime Minister just gave the police (and is about to give teachers) a 15% raise in the first year and 7% raise in the second, after a 57% rise in the cost of living. Yes, I admit, this is a personal grudge, for I am a teacher. Also, among his other foul-ups, while claiming to be tough on crime, the PM recently held a welcome home ceremony for Usain Bolt, at which a dancehall artiste who is a known gunslinger and a glib promoter of violence was a performer. The former Prime Minister pronounces the word ‘athlete’ as ‘aflete’, is rather cantankerous, and she believes that God voted her Prime Minister and will soon ‘restore’ her to that position, so how can I take her seriously? I prefer Calvin's version of reality.

Calvin and Hobbes are also more interesting than the news and commentaries. The news invariably goes something like this; “The murder toll has risen by four”, “The road toll is to be raised” or “Corruption is taking a toll on Government”. The news commentaries basically add up to this “tut-tut, things are really getting from bad to worse”. The Observer is not worse off than its competitor The Gleaner, but it does have the distinct advantage of carrying Calvin and Hobbes.

Therefore when I take up The Observer, if I have plenty of time, I browse, stopping to peruse an article of interest here or there, and I top it off with a leisurely read of Calvin and Hobbes. If I do not have plenty of time I simply head toward the back and read my favourite comic strip, yep you guessed it; Calvin and Hobbes.

It rained yesterday and as our roof leaks, I got me an old copy of The Observer to place at the spot where the water is dripping before placing a basin there to collect the drops. Of Course I flipped through to see, if nothing else, what my friends Calvin and Hobbes are up to. Are they getting into that transmorgrifyer of theirs to be launched into outer space or back in time? Are they pulling some prank on the babysitter, or subjecting Dad to a gruelling interview?

This time Calvin is telling Hobbes about a report he did in class that day:

Calvin: Boy you should’ve seen the sparks fly when I gave my half of the report. I’ve never seen Susie so mad. She accused me of not doing any research and claimed I made up the whole thing.

Hobbes: Did you?

Calvin: Heck no. I took a few creative liberties.

Hobbes: And they called your mom over for a few creative liberties?

Calvin: You think Susie was mad...


Geoffrey said...

I didn't think that was a rant at all, Jackie.

I feel it's very charming that you prefer "Calvin and Hobbes" to politicians. I'll confess to feeling the same way and sometimes enjoy that same comic strip too! (It has been syndicated worldwide). You'll be pleased to hear that I do not support G.R.O.S.S. (Get Rid Of Slimy girlS) and as a matter of fact, I rather enjoy girls...so long as they are not politicians! I've been thinking about forming my own club, G.R.O.P.E. - Get Rid Of Politicians Everywhere! *laughing*

Keep smiling, Jackie.

Hugs and stuff,


Daisy Soap Girl said...

We all get those days where things just tick us off. The good thing is that you have a perfect remedy in Calvin & Hobbes. My remedy is a comic strip named "Cathy" where she pokes fun at everybody especially herself. She says things that you wish you had thought of first.

Kyt Dotson said...

Politics is the big, dumb bruiser of the gossip and journalism world. It rarely sits down with us at breakfast quietly and tends to break our silverware... Thank goodness that there's some levity in the form of cartoons.

I have to admit, I don't read much Calvin and Hobbes, but I do like the tiny stories when I see the strips.

Jacqueline Smith said...


Have you noticed how guys and gals may have these noble intentions to save the world, serve their people, bring about a change- until they become politicians?

Sign me up for GROPE!


It's true I was ticked off about things in general when I wrote this post!

I try my life without paying too much attention to things that aren't (as we say here) "on a level". But sometimes it's hard to do. One of my friends tell me that we have earned the right to be jaded at thirty something.

Humour tends to take the edge off things.

Welcome and thanks for your comment. Yes, aren't cartoons are quite soothing? Newspapers wouldn't be the same without them.

Jennifer said...

My husband and I always loved Calvin and Hobbes and bought many of the books of the comic strips before we had kids. When my younger son was about 8 or so he found them and fell in love with them. He actually got them, even though there is more than meets the eye.

I can't think of a better distraction.

Jacqueline Smith said...

Hi Jennifer,
The pictures are cute and cuddly, but the words and concepts do get complex, it takes a smart eight year old to love C&H.

Fly Girl said...

Are you kidding? Nothing is better than Calvin and Hobbes, nothing! Politics? Please. They stopped carrying the comic strip here and I bought up every Calvin and Hobbes book collection (there are about 8) and read them religiously. My daughter also discovered them when she was eight and we are always arguing over her habit of sneaking them into her room where I can't find them. Calvin is a little boy with a clear-eyed perspective of the world. Gross girls aside, he typically gets it right and when he doesn't Hobbes offers machete-sharp commentaries. They just started to run the strip here again but not in Chicago papers. I must find the ones that carry it because Calvin and Hobbes are a lot wittier than most of what's offered as entertainment these days.

Jacqueline Smith said...

Fly Girl,

I've only read one of the collections, but I've read it twice. I haven't been able to get any of my readaholic friends to even raise an eyebrow at C&H. Too bad for them.

I am always scandalized when Watterson shows Hobbes as a lifeless stuffed toy, I pity Calvin' parents for not being able to see the real Hobbes.

So you are one of those lucky parents with a child who reads for fun, huh? Or doesn't luck have anything to do with it?

Fly Girl said...

I don't think luck really has anything to do with it! I believe it was heredity and environment. My daughter comes from 3 generations of voracious readers. I preferred reading over playing as a child as did my mother and my grandmother. Now my daughter prefers playing over everything, (she's an extemely social child)but when she can't play she's reading. She goes through about 5-6 books a month and they have to be at least 200 pages. She grew up watching me reading constantly (even if I'm watching TV I read a magazine or book during commercials) as well as her grandmother and all my poet/author friends. I think that she just modeled the behavior. My stepson on the other hand, didn't grow up with that environment and I have to make him read regularly. He's a lot better than he was, though. He's actually picked up a book and read without me asking on occasion.

Jacqueline Smith said...

Environment plays a big part in whether or not children develop a love for reading. I'm not sure about heredity, although I am open to correction.

One of my friends says reading is over-rated. She says technology and modern lifestyle makes it less essential for survival, success and personal development. She points to how so many things like instructions and signs are illustrated by icons, you can get by some very basic things without being able to read. And as for critical thinking and problem solving you can acquire those skills playing video games. The web is going audio. Nowadays you can hit a listen button and get the same access to info and stuff as the guy who prefers to read! My friend makes these clever remarks and sometimes I'm left unsure of whether she's serious or not!

As for me, nothing can replace reading. I'm hoping that my two little ones will come to be like your daughter; self-motivated and insatiable when it comes to reading.

Anonymous said...

hi jay, the sunday observer's Book ends will interest you

Ruthibelle said...

I too am an avid reader/consummate lover of Calvin and Hobbes. In fact, it's safe to say that my love for this comic series is rivaled only by my deep-seated admiration for one Charles M. Schulz whose brain-child 'Peanuts' usually has me spellbound or tied up in a fit of laughter... (and while I'm on this rant, can I just mention Dr. Suess, which is not comic, but still...)

On to more serious, (hence tedious) matters, I think a love for reading is a matter of chance, as well as the result of one's environment.

In my case, I swear I was just born a bookworm! My mother is quite convinced of it too! I was somewhat antisocial till bout 17: a true definition of the consummate reader. Now, I'm learning that people are actually interesting and fun sometimes too! But hey, you live, you learn, you grow, right?

PS It does take a smart 8yo to love C&H! And did I tell you I loved your blog?? I really do!