Julie Klausner—podcaster, author, and star of the TV series Difficult People—and Snoopy, whose literary work doesn’t get the attention it deserves, actually have quite a bit in common. They’re two of the best. Their strengths are very particular, specific to both of them, and probably unlearnable.
Klausner is essentially a broadcaster and writer. I see broadcasters as writers whose favorite medium is talking, and writers as broadcasters who like to talk, or not. And even though Snoopy can’t talk (he’s not that kind of cartoon dog), his persona is as cultivated and mercurial as a late night talk show host.
Snoopy is prone to associations. Grandiosity too. He leans into creative projects against the blustery discouragement of the world, which sometimes shows up as Lucy, who tells him he ought to give up writing novels. Or sometimes it’s Charlie Brown, who is consistently perplexed by the strange behaviors of his dog. Other times, depending on the season, an atmosphere of disaffection is visible, but lightly, as it blows around Snoopy’s doghouse in thin mean lines. Dauntless, Snoopy continues to do whatever he wants to do. And when he does, he reminds me of a broadcaster—hooking one thing to another, then another, then arranging those items into a form, then abandoning that assemblage for the next thing.
While similarities between Klausner’s and Snoopy’s temperaments are fun to point out (pluck, moxie, brio, verve, etc.) they do in fact have their differences. Snoopy’s novels all end immediately. Julie Klausner, on the other hand, has published several books, including an essay collection and a YA novel. She’s better suited for longform deliverables.
Julie Klausner and Snoopy are both my favorites. They’re deeply loving towards art and artists and stubbornly committed to their own work, but with a light touch that lets each of them invest proportionally in many ideas, which they have, because they are great. They are also incorrigible and groovier than everyone around them. (Although it would be unfair not to say that Linus is groovy, too.) Not to exclude—grooviness is not a starvation economy. (That would be very ungroovy.)
If you have time (and you do), check out Klausner’s excellent podcast, How Was Your Week. And as luck would have it, you can watch Snoopy in a new Peanuts movie out this weekend. As a tribute, and because I couldn’t stop making these, here are some cartoons starring Julie Klausner as Snoopy, with selected quotes from her podcast.