The Columns

Professor's Wall Street Journal Column Praises “Peanuts” Holiday Program

— by on December 22nd, 2015

Stephen J. Lind, assistant professor of business administration and an expert in the intersection of religion and the entertainment industry, published a guest column in The Wall Street Journal on Dec. 21 on the lasting impact of the television special “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Lind wrote that the 50-year-old program, technically rudimentary by today’s standards and at first reluctantly broadcast by TV networks, has become a Christmas tradition for millions of viewers because it communicates the true meaning of the season.

“The annual spiritual validation on mainstream television is a breath of fresh air,” Lind said in his column. “Free from gross humor or double-entendres, the show is a reminder that Hollywood need not reach to the lowest common denominator.”

Lind recently published “A Charlie Brown Religion: Exploring the Spiritual Life and Work of Charles M. Schulz,” a book made possible by the support of Schulz’s family and friends. His work also can be found in academic journals including The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, ImageTexT, Text and Performance Quarterly, and Communication Teacher. Lind teaches courses in modern professional communication, such as presentation design and digital video creation in W&L’s Williams School of Commerce, Economics, and Politics.

Lind and faculty colleague Amanda Bower, the Charles C. Holbrook Jr. ’72 Professor of Business Administration and a marketing specialist, hosted a one-hour public radio special program, “The 12 Questions of Christmas,” produced on campus at the studios of WLUR 91.5 FM and broadcast Dec. 20 by WMRA 90.7 FM, Harrisonburg. Lind and Bower posed answers to such issues as saying “happy holidays” or “merry Christmas,” lying to children about Santa Claus and Supreme Court rulings on public displays of nativity scenes.