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Now that we're pretty much nine years into the post-Settlepocalypse era, we're beginning to realize why the Hell Lynn has just thrown her hands in the air and decided that she's DONE with the Patterson family and wants very much to do something else. It seems to me that she realizes that if Anthony and Liz's marriage isn't doomed to collapse utterly, they're going to make each other very miserable. I'm not talking about the misery made by Elly and John rushing headlong into marriage without really bothering themselves with the 'trivial' question "Who the Hell am I marrying?" and not dealing at all well with reality. This is a worse misery based on their spending years and years trying to get to where they are now.

We start off with Anthony's mommy issues and daddy issues making him yearn for a place to belong in life warping him into thinking that it doesn't matter who you're fixated on is as a person as long as you're sincere enough in your ardor. Just as he tried to turn Therese into what he thought Liz was, the reality of who Liz really is has probably made him start yearning for the halcyon days wherein Therese brought a certain measure of class into his existence because he's a gloomy asshole who only ever wants what he cannot have. End result: his being desperately unhappy because he tries to lead the frumpy, frightened-of-life lardass with the martyrdom complex he married places that terrify her.

When one combines this with her being a superficial twit who's most in love with the feeling of being in love but not especially in love with the day-to-day crap that also aggravated and bored her idiot mother, we can see that his discontent meets up with a greater discontent of her own. By now, she's probably boring the shit out of whatever friends she has left by whining piteously about how empty her existence is and how her life is all grey and dull. At some point, she's going to alarm someone with an unsubtle hint that if the right man came along, she might bend her vows just a little just to feel like a woman....only to turn around and howl to someone about what's wrong with her that Assthony nailed his secretary because she's pleasant to be around.
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 As we know, I've no intention of covering any arc or individual strip that has Elly nag her teeming get about wasting food, cooking food for themselves or bitching about their having the good table manners she doesn't have herself. The reason why is the arc we're just about to watch. We start things off with Elly reacting to Lizzie not wanting to eat a hot dog that had the flavour boiled the Hell out of it with her near-standard expression of blind rage. Since the strip is for angry mothers who blame their children for the fact that they were born to resent anything not themselves, we can safely say that most of the idiots who get defensive when it's intimated that most sane people think that Elly is a violently unfit parent want to join her in screaming about the unfairness of an evil law enacted by professional childless people that would penalize Elly for sitting on Lizzie's chest and FORCING her to eat the weenie. We then transition to her acting all superior to her selfish and evil and selfish child by eating the tube of lips and assholes she doesn't want to eat while the other horrible child says that palatability and food should go together because evil children are evil and turn their backs on the love in their mother's great big hearts and want the food they show their love with to actually taste good.

This transitions into the wider scope problem: her turning a blight on society at large into something that only makes her own life worse. For some reason lost to history, Elly was trained to think that emptying her plate was the touchstone of being a loving child while at the same time believing that being 'overweight' meant that no man could or should love her. This means that she has an unhealthy relationship with food that will pretty much never get better. She'll die seeing a plate of left-overs or food tossed away because no one wants it as meaning that she herself is morally defective and should be brutally and publicly murdered for the greater good; what I object to is seeing this sort of self-destructive and insane neurosis being presented as some sort of sacrifice to be admired instead of what it is: a destructive narcissist crucifying herself because her kids don't like her heavy-ass casseroles that make them feel as if they can't move.  
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An interesting thing took place recently that reveals something about Lynn that she might not be aware of and wouldn't delight her to be reminded of if she were; that's because she again used the phrase "shadowy figure" to refer to a character that we knew reasonably well: Steve Nichols. Despite her declaration that he's this vague shape in the background who we don't know well, we know him quite well indeed. We know him to be a bog-standard moron sitcom husband who sits on his fat ass watching sportsball instead of being a 'loving' husband and doing chores. We know him to be a husband making an honest attempt to reassure the flake he married that she shouldn't be put to death because their daughter has six fingered hands. We know him to be less inclined to pea-brained autocracy as a parent. Since we do know him very well, this need to turn him into a vague shape we can't recognize and never could means something.

The hint as to what this retconning him into a cipher might mean is remembering that we were all supposed to agree that another man we knew exceedingly well was suddenly this vague, grey shape only now emerging from the Land Of Wind And Ghosts: Fucking ANTHONY!! Up until that sweeping ultimatum, we knew him to be a sort of larval John who'd upped and married a woman he barely tolerated because he'd sort of given up on his twee fantasy of marrying his high school sweetie and was thus frustrated and felt cheated and so on and so forth. The reason that he and Steve were suddenly Men Without History is that Lynn had decided to let her real life tell their stories. As it will be when Anthony varies between being her and Rod when inviting us to cheer on her affair with Rod during her marriage to Doug, Steve is about to become a vessel for everything she hates about her first husband. Thus the need to make of them unknowable figures whom she has to bring into a vindictive light of never accepting personal responsibility for her actions. Also, if we remember who they were before, we're fungus people who want to swarm her at the playground and make her cry forever. 
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Well, as I was reminded yesterday, Connie was one half of the "having your cake and eating it too" sandwich Lynn served up when she was plagiarizing Cathy Guisewite. Connie represented Lynn's need to look down on feminists because they represented a threat to her marriage while at the same time using feminist slogans to complain about customs that bothered her. This allowed Elly to complain about being thought of as "female adjunct of an actual (i.e. MALE) human being" while at the same time varying between thrilling at and being disgusted by the allegedly wild life Connie had.

The reason that I mention this is that Annie is the other half of the equation. She started out as a pompous old cow who went out of her way to make Elly feel like a horrible parent when she represented a woman in Lynn Lake who intimidated the shit out of Lynn only to mutate into a different sort of unsympathetic twit who was really asking for the affair she got when she represented some PERSON in Corbeil who had NOISY children and who didn't respect Lynn's career and so on and so forth. While Connie became more sympathetic when she started to talk and act and think more like Elly did, Annie stayed unsympathetic because every social circle needs a friend no one really likes. The sad thing is that Annie doesn't realize that that's her role in Eternity's grand scheme.
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Of course, it's not just the Pattersons and those luckless enough to marry them that lose out because of glaring character defects. As I type this, I do so in the knowledge that Elly is still convinced that Connie Poirier is some sort of inspirational figure who can stand as an example of courage and triumph over adversity. This is because Elly is rock-stupid and tends to take exaggerated claims at face value.

I find myself being what Lynn would probably refer to as a hating snarker-troll fungus person because unlike Elly, I remember that Connie is defined by the following attributes:
  1. Teeth-grinding stupidity: Despite Elly's belief that Connie is one of the smarter people in her social circle, I can count the clear-headed and rational decisions she's made on the thumbs of one hand. Case in point: her fear of Dirk because he was homely and she'd be blamed for the ugly babies Molly would have.
  2. Stomach-churning vanity: Every damned thing in sight has to be all about her and her needs and any claim to the needs of others is clearly an attempt to beat her to her knees and leave her with nothing.
  3. A horrifying lack of self-awareness: She'll be the first to tell you that she's not some pathetic zombie flinging herself at men because she's a needy freak; it's just that if she doesn't have a man, ANY man, she might as well be dead.
  4. A need to evade personal responsibility: This horror she has of admitting that she makes one stupid and impossible life choice after another forces her to plead the question via an army of straw men.
  5. A concomitant need to hog the credit due to others: This explains her belief that someone else's grandchild is somehow her heir because she pretended that she was a great influence on someone she stupidly alienated.


The horrifying mess that Connie is would naturally appeal to Elly because she too wants to do stupid crap like equating a child wanting to eat a hot dog with actual flavour in with said child wanting to stab her poor mother in the heart and reject her love and so on and so forth owing to a similar discreditable vanity and stupidity. Simply put, they're idiots together banded together to marvel at the stupidity of an even worse and intentionally unsympathetic nitwit housewife.
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As I've mentioned in the past, it seems rather bloody obvious that Anthony never actually loved Elizabeth as a person. We got a great big malodourous whiff off of the compost heap he calls a mind when he drooled about the fantasy of rescuing an inert Liz from drowning. She was supposed to be sooooo grateful, she'd just fall for the freak without hesitation, wants and needs as a person be damned. The problem is that the poor dimwit doesn't realize that he himself is the subject of the whole damned Patterson family's sick and disgusting rescue fantasy. They don't see the entitled and sullen dick who hollered like he was being bum-buggered because his 'evil', 'cruel' and 'greedy' father suggested that if he wanted a car, he'd actually have to work for it. Oh, wait. That's why he needs rescuing: his father suggests that if he wants good things to happen, passively waiting for the Miracle is for suckers, daydreamers and idiots.

It's like how they want to very much not see that Elly and Mira Sobinski are functionally the same woman and distract themselves from that sad fact by playing up a rescue fantasy wherein they save her from a filthy beast who's pretty much a product of their own need to deny that they too are grasping social climbers who aren't really fooling anyone. What they don't realize is that Deanna probably sees herself as saving Mike from 'evil' people like Rhetta who shouldn't come with a warning label stating that she has toxic levels of mommy issues. Since they aren't really married to one another but instead are married to fantasy projections of victimization, I don't really see their having a happy life for very long. Their marriages will probably last the rest of their lives but most of said lives won't be really worth living owing to having to spend all that time in denial.
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Of course, there's another reason besides watching Mike be a whiny, oblivious bitch about his dalliance with Martha that makes me too damned angry to want to cover it in the Foobiverse. It's bad enough having to remember that he never actually really trusted Martha in the first place or that he can't allow himself to admit that whining "But that's DIFFERENT" when it's pointed out that expecting her to endure the anger of the girl posse he expects her to rebel against while he HAS to worry about what THE GUYS think is gratuitously self-serving and hypocritical without having to remember the one thing that more or less spelled the death knell of their relationship: having to meet her family.

You see, Michael never really seems to have wanted to understand that she had a life outside of worrying about whether he was going to blow hot or cold. It pleased him to imagine her as simply standing around in some sort of limbo waiting for him to make her life wonderful and the realization that she had a family that had an opinion about him didn't humanize her, it made her a lesser being in his eyes. It made her someone who wouldn't collapse and die of loneliness when he was out of the picture and that made him angry and hurt because she could dump HIM first when she got sick of him and that was such a cruel thing to do. Why, she was probably agreeing with the cruel people that he was all wrong for her in the first place. This seems to have had the odd effect of convincing his mushhead sister Liz that it would not do to meet Paul's parents either. She wanted the option of dismissing him as a fantasy creation and having to meet them would ground him in reality and make her partly to blame if things didn't work out. Blaming her for anything is cruel and wrong because SHE LITTLE!!!!!!!!
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 As I've said before, I don't really expect April to actually stay in Calgary in the long term. The reason why this is has to do with how she explains to herself the same phenomenon that baffled and ruined Mike and Liz: Elly reacting to her reaching out to her as an infant with a look of confusion, disgust, anger and horror. WE know that Elly is living proof that the maternal instinct that John and Anthony swear by is so much rubbish. We know that Elly isn't going to be able to relate to another living being making demands on her time just because she gave birth to her. The kids never figure that out and it costs them because they ruin themselves trying to get love from the barren rock that is their mother's soul.

The out-loud reason April might give for fucking herself up by trying to show up that sitting duck antagonist Becky is that the poor sap is innately bad and ruinous and always has been. We see in Becky someone a damned sight like April herself so we're dealing with the same sort of depressing clusterfuck that has Luann De Groot piss all over her clone in all but name Tiffany Farrell while whining that no, she's not jealous because both depressing idiots are the victim of moron parents who sell them on the dumb idea that only bad people have bad moods.

What differentiates Luann from April is that the former is at pains to keep herself from admitting that she's the same sort of passive drone who expects things to be handed to her on a tray that Real!Tiff is while April has a different problem. April screams about how jealous of Becky she isn't because she'd rather not admit that yes, she does think that Becky should get to run her life for her and win all the time and take everything from her because Becky didn't kill that fucking dog and that's why no one can or should love her.  Simply put, April's convincing herself that she made up the country boy and marrying the Continental was decided on a river bank years ago and nothing can stop it. 
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One of the things that I've noticed is that the Patterson family do not travel well with children. The idea seems to be that children can only accompany them if it will be 'good' for them with 'goodness' being defined in a rather self-serving manner that seeks to impress upon John and Elly's teeming get that they ARE selfish and entitled monster children who are cruel and bad and way out of line because they do not grovel and beg forgiveness every damned day for selfishly insisting on wanting to be clothed, housed and fed without doing anything in return. This is why I make that churlish comment about how John reacts to stories of children working in factories by being enraged at his own children for their lack of initiative. Also, children had to be reminded that they're heartless monsters who hate their family because they keep pointing out that they don't know these old people, never went to some place that went out of business years before they were born and weren't alive when things everyone should know about took place. 

The hidden (and ultimately parent-beneficial) side effect of this habit of being wrenched from home at random and being forced into the company of that bearded asshole Danny, his carping shrew of a daughter and John's endless array of hayseed relatives who look down on Liz for wanting to talk about things she's actually experienced is to put it in her head that Things Far Away from the Pattermanse are a threat to her really. This dovetails nicely with John and Elly's horror that she and Mike might move more than two hours drive from where they live and thus force them to be put-upon supplicants cruelly commanded to deviate from a routine that's so damned boring, they ain't gonna notice when they die. It's not just the need to finally get John and Elly to finally admit something that they aren't able to concede that drove her foolish and self-defeating campaign to make Paul move South if he REALLY loved her. We also have to consider the fact that only when she's somewhere 'safe' and 'familiar' can she be safe from The Looming Shape Of Imbecile Malice. The sad thing about this is that watching her lose her country boy because she wanted something worthless is that we know that the same fear of abandonment means that eventually, April will lose hers too.
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One of Michael's more distressing traits is that when he looks back on his past, his theatrical nature, poor grasp on what's going on around him and just plain being a knuckle-dragging simpleton makes him see the wreckage left behind when people he genuinely did love did what everyone does: string him along to make a fool of him so they can repay his love with mockery about how they only pretended to be his friend to be cruel and laugh at him for being stupid enough to think that anyone would want to be around him. His inability to process Elly's dread of his need for affection makes of him a muttonhead who turns every failed relationship into a recapitulation of that first and earliest rejection.

The reason that I mention this reason why Mike is going to lose out in life is that while he is in love with people until they reveal themselves as really wanting to kick him and mock him and so on and so forth into the miasma of self-hatred is that at least his objects of affection are actual people that he tries to value for themselves. This differentiates him from Liz because she doesn't seem to care much at all about who's paying her attention just so long as she gets it. The barnacle child who went UNG-UNG-UNG because the large object she clung to was pushing her away when IT shouldn't have seems never to have really picked up on the fact that people have more to do with their lives than look at her. 

This makes of her someone who's never been in love with any person at all in her life. She's in love with the feeling of euphoria she gets when people make her feel safe so never bothered learning how to keep the flame alive really. She alienated Warren and Paul by making it obvious that she didn't seem to feel any sort of need to earn the attention she expected and I should think that the only real reason that she's still married to Anthony is to make sure that her parents still pay her attention and make her feel good. Also, there is the need to hit back at the terrible people who call her a vain show-off who barged in where she didn't belong. 
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To sort of paraphrase Moira Kinney, Elly has two faces and her children got the one that had the baffled, horrified and disgusted scowl on it. This is because the deluded donkey had herself convinced that their normal, healthy need for attachment was part of a sinister plot to make her into a babbling cretin who loved her shackles. Since Michael is much the same sort of gloomy, melodramatic thickie who jumps to idiotic and self-defeating conclusions as she is, he made the mistake of blaming Liz for coming along and destroying a bullshit paradise in which Elly loved him and wanted to be around him when neither really obtained until he was able to agree that children are a life-ruining burden. 

This means that he was both caregiver AND combatant to Liz during her formative years. The end result is the manufacture of a paranoid basket-case who wanted to make sure that people and situations were 'safe' before she allowed herself to deal with them. It also made her a jealous goof who only allowed certain people on the island in her head that kept her from the scary monsters and super-creeps that haunt her nightmares. Given that she believes that Daddy did his best to stop the Primeval Monster only to be stopped by Mommy because she wanted Daddy to herself or some such nonsense, I think it's safe to see why she and Elly never really saw eye to eye much and why she was the only girl allowed on that magic fantasy island of hers.

It seems rather obvious in hindsight that on some level she's not allowing herself to be aware of, she regards Elly (and, by extension, every other woman on the planet) as a threat to her 'innocent' desire to fling herself at whatever Daddy substitute she fixates on at any given time. Somewhere in that head that loves being in love with love is the belief that Elly is stopping John from doing his job of, if not outright killing her siblings and anyone else who gets in her way, than at least forcing him to grovel pathetically every day about what a bad and selfish person he and April and that evil career woman are for also wanting attention that should be all hers. This need to attack anyone who might make her feel uncomfortable tends to negate any tendency she might have for the feelings of empathy and remorse that are unknown to Pattersons and thus means that she'll be an anxious basket-case all of her life.   

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As we know, it's been ten years since Liz stood there grinning like a big, God-damned idiot because Jesse revealed that he hooked onto Jim's harmonica. We know that he was pissed off at her for rushing off down South but he handed her a bullshit story about wanting a souvenir of what she meant to him. Since she's the same sort of dimwitted sponge for flattery her mother is, Lizardbreath gladly swallowed his bullshit sundae because the idea met an emotional need. Her reaction to April's inconvenient and cruel comment about how the damned thing was not hers to give (and, perhaps, to someone else's mean-spirited and heartless remark about how giving Jesse a free pass on petty larceny fucked up his game) tells us what one of the three factors that make Liz fail miserably at life is.

The distressing is that said factor makes that self-absorbed dickchoad Michael into something of a prophet because, well, his comments about how she expects people to just show up and fling praise at her for doing essentially piss-all are pretty much spot on. Liz does expect to trade on her looks and she doesn't want to really do anything to earn the attention she lives for and she's both pissed off and frightened by a world in which she has to understand that there's a price to her being gushed at. Having to be actually worth the attention paid to her is even scarier than the Looming Shape Of Pea-Brained Malice that still haunts her sub-conscious mind. 
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As I've said before, Michael has always been a rather theatrical little glory-hog with a warped idea of what should be expected of him and what should be expected of two different categories of others. It's as if one were watching some asshole on a reality show lose his fucking shit because someone is forgetting that his job is fawning over him, letting him do whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it, allowing him to not do things that confuse him, bore him or requite actual physical and mental effort to master and, above all, keep him from the evil of having to share what he has. Given his melodramatic and self-serving nature, his interpretation of having to not hog everything to his damned self is to misinterpret not 'generously' allowing the person he's depriving to watch him enjoy life while she goes without loops back to a vision that leads him like a pillar of flame by night and a pillar of smoke by day. It is the vision of his parents laughing cruelly at him as they inform him that he is NEVER allowed to have ANYTHING at all and must watch them hand the whole WORLD to a boring, useless lump of a GIRL who does and never will do ANYTHING while standing around apologizing FOREVER for being greedy and selfish and bad and unable to be loved by actually wanting a crumb of anything to himself.

Okay, That was a damned long-winded way of reminding us that Mikey-Girl is always going to be a spolied brat who never got over having a kid sister. Since admitting that it's okay that Liz, you know, exists and has just as much right to the good things in life as he does and the only reason that he's pissed is because he projects his greed onto her person means that he's a boring, ordinary jerk with entitlement issues. Since he'd rather not admit that he missed out on a lot of good things feeling sorry for himself, he'll also be a bitter old asshole who doesn't understand why everyone tells him to stop being a shit to Liz.
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 The interesting thing about the discussion of the renovation project is that it was pointed out that Mike became Super-Handy Guy out of the blue for a very stupid, annoying and predictable reason. Well, actually, it was THREE reasons. The first reason was to show OFF to someone who got under his skin what a great guy he was by doing a half-assed job that would look like shit the instant any sort of water got on it. The second reason was to get praise from an easily-impressed old lady who sees him as a replacement for the children she alienated being a moron. They both lead to the third stupid reason: him reminding himself that he's really the best person ever and shouldn't have to deal with boring, ordinary people and their stupid and mean-spirited comments about getting paid, not being required to do something and, worst of all, shitty carpentry that cost a fortune to fix later on.

A poorly-built back that aged horribly and made Michael look like an even more insufferable prick than he already did might be said to serve as emblematic of why when the curtain fell on the Pattersons, he too failed hard at life. The jackass who sneered at the mean man because he got paid in full is pretty much the same person as the asshole kid who will die hating his kid sister because everyone fussed over her for doing nothing when they were always ever supposed to praise things he was supposed to do anyway. His bottomless need to be rewarded for every stupid little thing makes him perhaps an even less sympathetic jerk than John is and that's saying a lot. It's saying that he'll be a bitter old man complaining that the world passed him by some day. 
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To get back to the irritating problem that is Mike not really learning that other people have feelings too is having to remember the stupid conclusion that he drew from his encounters with people in genuine distress. In the case of Deanna, he came to the stupid conclusion that he didn't need to learn sweet fetch all because Fate delivered unto him the MIRACLE that was a reunion with a longed-for childhood crush. We had to deal with a similar problem when his accidental salvation of Mrs Dingle left him with the belief that he's a magic man fated to make miracles happen for the downtrodden. In both instances, he transmuted his blithe lack of concern of or interest in the lives of others into his being a super great guy who just makes things better for those worth his time. (This, of course, is accompanied by his belief that people in his way should die in a cancer fire.)

This, I should think, is why he too loses at life. Simply put, he's still the same dumb kid whose idea of a complete story was "Sum kidz wuz lost an'then waz fownd"; since he never really cared to learn who people are and what they want because he thinks everyone should want what he does, he's doomed to barge through life not really understanding why things happen and why people do what they do. Also, his lack of self-awareness means that he still doesn't know that he's seen as a ridiculous dilettante who got lucky and won't shut up about it.
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 Of course, it's not just John who lost big getting everything he desired at the end. Elly also lost out big when Liz walked down the aisle because she got distracted and let her issues keep her from seeing what needed to happen. Let's review how her failings as a person led to her failing life hard:
  • Her seemingly inexplicable belief that her mother thought of her as a disgrace to be despised because the woman thought that praise would make her complacent made her lose out big time by making her blame someone else for what seems to be an innate inability to take pleasure in who she is.
  • Her rushing headlong into marriage and motherhood before she bothered figuring out who she was and what she wanted out of life because she thought that her mother wanted to mock her forever for being a spinster led to her being a frustrated mess taking out her self-pity on her children.
  • Her need to flee said children because she saw their normal, healthy wanting to be reassured that they were loved and wanted as their cruel, selfish demands that she become a weak, mindless child babbling about pointless things merged with John's need to see them as extensions of his will to turn them into a pack of hyper-competitive whelps engaged in a brutal and pointless competition for love and approval that she cannot and will not supply them.
  • Her lack of stamina and poor grasp on how the world works made it difficult to craft any identity for herself that wasn't "the dentist's crazy wife.'
  • Her bailing on her business because it got boring gave John the gift of confirmation bias.
  • Her desire for endless flattery led her to embrace actively destructive idiots like Kortney and passively destructive imbeciles like Deanna and Anthony who help make her kids dependent.
  • Her refusal to take advantage of the one opportunity for a woman of her background to legitimately put her stamp on the world because she wanted not to be a pushy mother of the bride makes her look like she's too self-absorbed to be there for her children.
  • Finally, she will never really have any identity that isn't somehow parasitic off of that of a male relation.
This means that as it was with John, having her dreams come true by having Liz marry the same sort of massive, weeping dick she did means that she's a total loser who utterly failed at life. It's a good thing that her kids are all also losers or else we might feel bad about that. 

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Now, the interesting thing about John is having to remember that for all intents and purposes, he didn't win when the strip faded to black nine years ago. He might have thought that having watching Liz walk down the aisle was a great way to end the story but for all intents and purposes, he can't be said to have much to look back on with any sort of pride. Sure, he got his daughter married off to someone who said all the right things but that isn't really the victory he thought it was. When I think of his history, I remember the following dubious accomplishments that constitute the wreckage of his past:
  • His insistent belief that he's doing Elly a favour protecting her from claiming the identity she wanted and deserved had made his life worse by making her into a frustrated mess.
  • His alternating between bellowing rage, seething disappointment and cravenly running away when faced with children's behaviour that doesn't entertain him has left a yawning void where memories of how he shaped their lives for the better are supposed to be.
  • His tendency to judge his family by how well they perform the tasks he presumptuously assigned them and the accompanying refusal to find any interest of theirs that deviate from same has not only made him look like an arrogant twerp, it's robbed him of the opportunity to take pride in their accomplishment. 
  • His staff is still convinced that when April came along, he selfishly and cruelly checked out of his marriage and had to be forced back by her family under threat of violence because he breeds disrespect and suspicion by being a high-handed moron whining about how hard his lot is pretending that he cares about his wife's needs.
  • His patients regard him as that distracted old fool who spent more time bitching about his home life than worrying about their teeth.
  • The neighbours regard him as that ridiculous old redneck in the old-timey conductor costume who doesn't realize that he comes across as the neighbourhood short-eyes.
  • Marrying Liz off to the septic pile of mommy and daddy issues called Anthony is a horrible solution to a non-existent problem.
  • Thinking of himself as the victim because he's exposed to having his stupid point of view challenged makes him look like a worse moron than he already is.
By every objective standard that matters, John's getting what he wanted out of life only served to make his life worse than it would have otherwise been. It's as if he and the others are the doomed, damned souls in a film noir kind of thing. 

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Since we'd probably be living in a post-John world anyway if the strip had continued, it seems fitting to mention that a dead John would be as ready, willing and able to admit that he'd read the people around him all wrong as the living one was. The reason, as I've mentioned before, is that John has the detrimental habit of assuming that whatever position he happens to be holding at any given time has to be the right one because it's his position (which, of course, means that any opinion not his own that doesn't make his life easier MUST be wrong). He simply can't ask himself the question "What if I'm wrong?" because it would mean he's not the protagonist of the human drama. Since he'd sooner swallow a bucket of live scorpions than admit that he's not in the right, we're just going to keep on seeing him make an ugly, unhappy fool of himself because he can't admit that he doesn't know what he's talking about most of the time.

The damage he wills upon himself in this instance is that he further alienates his wife because he demonstrates yet again his terror of taking her and her concerns seriously, he makes his staff think that he's a bastard husband who's probably looking for an excuse to chase something fluffy down a rabbit hole and he robs himself of piece of mind because he's trying to convince himself that he's under the gun financially when that's just not the case. He never learns anything from making his life worse being stubborn and reflexively attacking any idea not his own so eventually, he probably ended up leaving his kids tongue-tied because they can't think of anything positive to say at his funeral when asked how he shaped their lives. 
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
To continue on with yesterday, it's fairly obvious that John might not especially want to have to remember why Elly doesn't like to share much. The first and most obvious reason is that he doesn't really like remembering that he's got a nasty temper when he feels as if he's being disrespected or treated like a chump. Just as Woefully Inept And Self-Servingly Vindictive Monster Mom Elly thinks of herself as being things she is not like loving, fair, firm and kind, Hot-Tempered Man-Infant John doesn't want to admit that he's anything other than a friendly, approachable but misunderstood type. Admitting to himself that Elly doesn't want her head bitten off or cruelly mocked for having emotional needs that get in his way means looking in the mirror and seeing the dickhead he actually is and that's not allowed.

The less obvious reason is that he never actually troubles himself to understand who the Hell he married in the first God-damned place. Just as he sees Michael as a bio-robot meant to do yardwork without hesitation or complaint and the girls as a cheering section that reminds him what a great guy he is, the moron with the mechanistic viewpoint sees Elly as something plopped on the ground to cook, clean and rear children. Understanding that she was forced to lose every argument in order to save her from herself by his imbecile mother-in-law is something the dolt files under A for "Absolutely Irrelevant" despite its potential to fuck up his life. 
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The irritating thing about the renovation arc is that John is yet again confused by the fact that he married someone whose complaints tend towards the inarticulate. This tendency Elly has towards a vagueness that confuses and angers John manifests itself in a baffling to him refusal to be more specific than "something better than this" and "I'll know what I want when I see it." What he doesn't want to know is why this is: her fear that stating what the problem is means his leaving her.

The reason he doesn't realize this is that he still doesn't realize why she gave him the silent treatment because she wanted to dummy up about being dissatisfied with having to put her life on hold after having jumped into marriage and motherhood before bothering to figure out who the Hell she is and what she wants out of life. One would think that his knowing that Elly clearly seems to believe that complaining to the person you're complaining about will have nothing but ruinous consequences might clue him in but John's not really all that smart. All he sees is someone who won't help him by saying what needs to be done because he's the man with the plan and to make things better, he's gotta know what needs to be fixed.....just so long as it ain't him because he can do nothing but good OR ELSE. 

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