The Philosophy of a Boy and His Tiger

The last Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, run in the Washington Post December 31st 1995. To me it was more than just a cartoon, it was the best damn cartoon. Nothing came close. And Bill Watterson walked away from it when it was at peak popularity, talking to no one.

And now he’s done an interview in the Cleveland Plain Dealer,

his first since something like 1989. Crazy. It got me thinking again about that comic strip named for two opposing philosophers. When it was running it had a large and profound effect on me when I was 18 I had Calvin tattoed on my shoulder–long before Calvin was bumper-stickered to the backs of pickups pissing on a Ford logo–to remind me that we remain in many ways like big 6-yr-olds.

Hobbes seems aptly Hobbesian, with a dim or cynical view of humankind and its capabilities. I wonder how Calvinian Calvin is. I know he’s smarter than your average 2nd-grader, with a bigger vocabulary than most of the college students I teach. Maybe a paper is there to be written about how each stacks up to his namesake.


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