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December 12, 2004
St. Paul Snobs Strike Snoopy Statues

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a local beautification group has filed an objection to bronze statues of "Peanuts" characters in Rice Park, complaining that the memorialization of perhaps the most beloved and influential comic strip in American culture demeans the historic nature of the area:

The Ross Group is an 11-member organization that's been involved in city beautification efforts for the past dozen years. They say bronze statues of Peppermint Patty and Marcie don't fit with the historic character of the park in the middle of downtown St. Paul. In particular, they say the characters clash with the park's statue of St. Paul-born author F. Scott Fitzgerald.

The group says the "Peanuts" statues could jeopardize the park's possible designation as a historic site.

The snobs at the Ross Group apparently do not understand -- or care to learn -- the influence of Charles Schulz on American culture, one that arguably outstrips that of F. Scott Fitzgerald. I don't intend on demeaning Fitzgerald at all, but who can doubt that Schulz' depiction of childhood life in St. Paul and its allegorical reach into all aspects of American culture was and is historic and influential? The Ross Group must believe that cartoons do not qualify as art, nor does Schulz rise to their notion of importance, a perception that nagged Schulz during most of his prolific and amazing career.

The Ross Group should try expanding their horizons from dry, timeworn tomes that ironically ridiculed the very snobbery they practice and look towards the possibility that other St. Paul natives may have contributed positively to American culture. Their snobbish rejection of Schulz indicates that Fitzgerald may have had much less influence on Twin Cities culture than they maintain.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 12, 2004 11:59 AM

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