That metaphilm essay is absolutely delightful and brilliant. The only issue I take with it is its criminal misreading of Calvin’s father. Rather than the epitome of society postulated in the essay, Calvin’s father is a contrarian luddite who hates the effects modern technology has on people, cynically distrusts the media, often questions whether the oppressive structure of society is worth it, and has lots of weird, quirky behaviors that revel in “character-building” masochism. If anything, he’s more like Tyler Durden. But the real beauty and tragedy of the comic is that Calvin’s dad is exactly the type of person Calvin will eventually grow into. While frequently indulging in materialistic excess, Calvin also has a strong anti-societal streak, manifested primarily in his tendency to try and “get away from it all” in natural settings. His wagon rides closely parallel his dad’s bikerides, complete with ironic illustration of his ideas and frequent injury. Calvin and his dad also share fertile imaginations, though his dad usually only shows this when he’s coming up with absurd explanations to confuse Calvin with (that’s another thing––they’re both devious manipulators at times). Calvin’s dad has been forced to put his imagination and playful side after his responsibilities, which results in his pathological urge to build Calvin’s character, and his own, through often needless misery. Calvin might have more exaggeratedly bizarre tendencies, what with his outlandish fantasies and imaginary friend (but remember, his dad had an older brother to play with. Calvin, being an only child, must invent someone to fulfill that role), but they are more alike than either one of them would be willing to admit.
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