dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing is that one of the first extended subplots of the middle years is the final fate of Thelma Baird. As it stands now, we're about to have Elly dismiss bingo because it's not to her tastes and be mildly warmed by the fact that the woman she sees as sort of a proxy aunt has found herself male companionship for the last few years of her life.

The reason that I mention this is that instead of being equally touched by this, Anne is scornfully dismissive of Thelma's finding love late in life owing to poorly disguised jealousy and something else that should be obvious when you read her Liography and start reading crap about Cinderella and Prince Charming and all the rest of the sheer hokum that they're poisoning today's little girls with.

This is because it's obvious to me that Annie is one of the first victims of Disney Princessery and decided romance is a con-job because Steve turned into a normal man with emotional needs she didn't understand and refused to meet. I'm not absolving the jerk for running around on her but I also ain't sparing her for making snippy comments about his baffling silences when it's obvious to anyone with a soul that he feels inadequate most of the time. Too bad for both of them that Elly assumes that the only possible reason love becomes a dial tone hum is that parents have to chase after children. She might have been able to help Annie.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One thing that you'll notice in a few months' time is that Elly hasn't the vaguest notion in her head why it is that Annie is not overjoyed that Connie is moving back to town. While Annie's Liography has her recoil in horror from Connie's flouting of the old pieties and shudder in disgust at the thought of her bastard son running around in public as if he belongs there, the truth is much less racist and sectarian and for more a realization that she's dealing with someone who's too dishonest with herself to admit that she plays favourites. Whatever it is Connie has that she doesn't, she knows that Elly only pretended that she accepted the substitutes that were her and Mrs Enjo.

This means that she knows better than Elly does that the 'friend' that friend zoned her over coffee breathed a sigh of relief that she could go back to thinking of the portly blond woman with the three kids and no real ambition in life as a poorly-paid babysitter to be disposed of the second she could find an excuse to drop an unneeded part of her life. While Elly would later go on to claim that she stopped seeing Annie because she couldn't stand watching her forgive the man she should have divorced, the fact is it took three years for her to decide this. What actually happened is that Annie decided she could make more money at the hotel than she could bratting for the Pattersons. This tells us that being a doormat is pretty much okay but inconveniencing Elly Patterson is unforgivable.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
It's fairly safe to say that I've been a bit harsh on Annie about all of this. Most people in her condition would probably try to blame their child's misfortunes on their own selfishness until they'd had time to think things over (and even then, they'd still play what-if.) What makes her condition worse is that most people also have real friends and husbands who aren't pretty much stick figure caricatures in their corner while all she's got is the warm steam off of Elly Patterson's pee. Doing what Elly did and telling her how lucky she is that it isn't worse seems in hindsight to be something of a dick move.

This is because she's basically giving a woman who has no real emotional support and no way to explain what went wrong that isn't staring her in the mirror the refugee in the war zone speech. When she has time to think things through, she'll realize that while she has another hard slog ahead of her and will have to earn another happy ending for her loved ones, she does admit that maybe she got ahead of herself. In the immediate future, she'll think of Elly as being a well-meaning clod who unintentionally said something inappropriate and hurtful because she thought she was helping. Once Elly ditches her because she stupidly misreads things, she'll have a good chuckle at her expense imagining what would have happened had what happened to Leah happened to Lizzie.

As I write this, I do so in the knowledge that as they sip margaritas at Cabo, Annie is telling Steve "If you think Elly would have blamed herself if one of her kids had twelve fingers, you are daydreaming in Technicolor! I know that crazy rhymes-with-witch better than you do, pal! She'd have just stood around screaming about the ungrateful, selfish brat who decided to be born with extra fingers because it loves chaos and hates her soooo much, she has to go broke buying custom gloves forever and ever."
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One of the odder things about the very late part of the Middle Years is that at some point, the Anne who doesn't believe in divorce no matter how many people tell her that staying together for the kids is sort of a bad idea reverses her policy on working outside the home. This seems to energize Elly who thinks that her incoherent and mostly hypocritical advice about self-actualization and throwing off the chains of the patriarchy have finally sunk in and caused Anne to see the truth that she doesn't need to be an appendage of any man when Anne says the words that break Elly's heart forever: "We needed the money."

The final realization that Annie is driven by practical considerations instead of wanting to strike a blow for the team is, I should think, what really drove a wedge between them. Oh, it's true that the stupid idiot saw Anne take him back and assume that she was weak and stupid and wanted to be humiliated more because that's just how French people are but it's closer to the truth to admit that there weren't really a lot of jobs for someone with Annie's lack of labor force world skills so it made no sense to untangle herself from Steve if that meant her and the kids going hungry.

Hell, even her upcoming decision to rush into corrective surgery on an infant has something practical behind it somewhere. She can foresee a life of misery and isolation for her child because of something that must be her fault because she must somehow have lost control and wanted to correct the results of whatever oversight resulted in Leah having extra fingers. Once the crisis ends, she realizes that it's not her fault but still, it's kinda more expensive to buy custom-made things so a panicky decision is actually a fairly sensible one after all because it makes it easier for them to live within Steve's means.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you all know, at some point Lynn decided for some reason that Connie's original back-story wasn't good enough. As we all know, the Connie who just sold her house was a woman who grew up in Milborough and made the mistake of entering into a starter marriage with some idiot she'd met in high school only to end up still reeling from catching him in the act and the ensuing ruinous divorce that left her with a child, a Siamese cat and crippling insecurity. If this sounds familiar, this is almost but not quite Anne's back story. This could, in fact, be why Lynn agreed to the change. You see, she'd needed Annie to have a good reason to not like Connie so that they didn't do anything like compare notes and realize what a crappy friend Elly is to both of them. As I've said before, the Annie of the new continuity dislikes Connie for implying that she's wasting her life being a man-servant to an unappreciative oaf who takes her for granted because of the very real need to not admit that she should pull her head out of her ass as well as defying the laws of nature by not treating her bastard son like filth or whatever.

This would be replaced by a new reason to hate Connie when you realize that both women followed down the same path in life for the same reasons; given that Connie at least had the intellect, decency and self-respect to make a clean break of things instead of being cowed into submission in the name of respectability, Annie would hate Connie for having enough guts to do what she's too spineless, stupid and selfish to do. Instead of being a pompous ass viewing the world through the distorting prism of customs meant to keep her apathetic, she'd be a shrew consumed with envy.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, the strip in which a humiliated and angered Anne has to pull Richard away from the dirt he was eating is a sort of re-run of one in which she was lecturing Elly about how her being irresponsible was why Lizzie got sick. In both cases, the same pompous noodle with the same too high opinion of herself was undermined by her offsprings. Also in both cases, Elly got her jollies mocking Annie for being in a situation that would leave her a goggle-eyed, muppet-mouthed and shrieking nutloaf.

This is because Annie is nice to have around because her flailings-about with her out of control idiot children allow Elly to actually laugh at children's stupidity without facing a horrible dilemma that really isn't that horrible when you come to think of it. As I've said once or twice, Elly might say that she wants her children to think of her as a human being and regrets that they see her as a monolith of moral absolutism but she's not aware of the saboteur inside that makes her think that if they see her laugh, they will never take her seriously again.

This leads me to a hidden reason why she thought that Annie should have divorced Steve and made herself acceptable company again. As funny as she was as a deluded housewife, she was sure to be completely hilarious as a single parent.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, Stupid As A Rock Elly's reason for not wanting to have anything to do with Annie after the mess with Steve is that she thought that Annie let her rat husband take her dignity away because she didn't divorce the skirt-chasing idiot like television said to. The countervailing image of the power-mad wife cackling with glee because she finally has a bludgeon to wield over a sucker husband never appealed to our hero for a reason that isn't a default belief that a weak little wifey should never pose a threat to a big strong man. (Note that I didn't say could. This is important.) The reason that this made a lot of sense to Elly is that aside from her 'letting her children run hog wild' (or, as we say in English, not being a crazy person screaming in rage about every little thing), there was another reason that she thought Annie's IQ is PU.

The reason that I have in mind is that Elly stopped having faith in Annie's common sense when it became obvious that unlike fellow whack-job Connie who fed into a delusion that she shared, Annie had the bad taste to tell Elly to her face that no, she wasn't a hideously obese blob and no, it wouldn't be the end of the world even if she were....which she isn't because she's only ten pounds over an 'ideal' weight decided on by a crazy man who thrives on female misery. The indulgent smile and warnings that Elly is making a masochistic fool of herself trusting in the health advice of a TV huckster who feeds into her self-loathing to make a life and living are clearly signs that Annie isn't aware of her surroundings and that her advice can be disregarded. It's only a step from telling a crazy lie about her being almost underweight but afflicted with a psychological disorder that makes her see herself as being fat to letting Steve win. Said step is right the Hell offa the deep end.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
This, of course, isn't the only year in which Lynn does something rather big in February. As we'll see in two year's time, that manipulative douchecanoe Greg throws Connie under the bus by making it look as if the transfer he arranged to put some distance between his little girl and some drone who's probably selling us a Ford Festiva right the Hell now was her idea. Since Lynn and Elly don't see any problem with rat-bastard behaviour like that inflicted on children who are designed to sit there, take it and ask for more, Greg is positioned as a wonderful fellow for cleverly dodging a non-event as well as showing some kid that she only gets a right to an opinion when she's old enough to drink.

The other wonderful thing that happens is that Elly gets her sycophant back. Since we're dealing with an insensitive clod who can't understand that not everyone sees the world exactly as she does, we're left watching her get baffled by the fact that Annie knows that she's about to be reminded of how little she really matters to the Pattersons. From what little we know about her, Annie seems to have spent most of her life on the outside looking in socially because no one wants to hang around a know-nothing know-it-all like her if they can at all avoid it. The arrival of a person with whom Elly can have a productive conversation is thus seen as a threat to someone who can't grok why people liken speaking to her as an exercise in futility.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, the Pattersons themselves are not the only people affected by the onset of the Middle Years. As we all remember, the Annie Nichols of the first years of the strip was a deluded housewife who thought her husband was more faithful than he really was. As [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck has said, Annie started out as merely a sort of ripoff of Cathy's more traditionally minded friend who turned into a means by which Lynn expressed her dislike of a real person. In this case, we seem to be dealing with Lynn's need to tell the 'real' Annie that she should have upset the apple cart just on general principle and damn the cost to herself and her family.

What seems to have happened when Lynn moved is that she encountered a mother who was parenting all wrong by treating her children as human beings instead of adversaries. Rather than admit that she was raised all wrong by an angry idiot who didn't know better, the idea that someone saw children not as evil, hateful, chaos-loving, mother-hating adversaries who had to be broken but as people who were essentially good angered, confused and scandalized Lynn. This means that Annie mutated into a weak parent who surrendered all of her authority to her selfish monsters. Eventually, Annie became an idiot who stupidly let the Papists take charge of her childrens' education instead of putting them in the same school as everyone else and accepting Ian Paisley into her soul.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Of course, the interesting thing about all of this talking about whether Elly can go right on angrily shoving her children's stuff into garbage bags and packing them away to farms to be lectured to about being entitled by their bearded hippie idiot uncle and snotty imbecile cousin because she's too fragile to cope with them as long as she whines that it makes her feel bad is that we should have been doing all of it last year. This is because Lynn should have followed up the Strip of Destiny with the one from 1 September 1980 and just gone on from there so that the dates would line up better.

The effect that this would have is that if she'd done that, we'd be talking about Connie's moving to Thunder Bay right now. As we all know, the proximate cause of all of this is that when Connie had dared to want to have some sort of stability in her life, gutless arsebucket Ted had yet again started to feel 'stifled' and 'tied down' when asked to stop behaving as if he were fifteen and a bit. What seemed to make things worse is that Phil "Plan B" Richards was engaged to Georgia Nolastnamegiven which left Connie feeling as if she had no alternative but to leave a town that she saw as little more than a box full of bad memories.

The interesting thing is not that Connie was depicted as someone who felt so humiliated by not finding any sort of good man in a town that was filled with places where all her hopes seemed to gutter out and die. It wasn't that Lawrence had been kept in the dark as long as possible lest he whine his way into forcing Connie to stay in Milborough and be constantly defeated by Ted and Phil. It also wasn't about how Lawrence had to be yanked out of the only home he'd ever known because his mother wanted to go somewhere where nobody knew her name (and thus wouldn't laugh behind her back) or even how Mike had to just up and accept the loss of his best friend for no reason he could fathom.

The interesting thing about Connie pulling up stakes because she's stupid enough to think people actually give two shits about her love life so that she can wind up being a deluded idiot so happy to have stability to realize that she's married a monstrous jackass is that the real victim, the one suffering more than anyone else, the person who we must pity to the exclusion of all others, the one whose pain eclipses that of those around her and thus makes said pain irrelevant is, of course, Elly herself. It's not about Connie making yet another hasty, stupid decision or Lawrence being uprooted or Mike being bereaved of a sidekick; all of those things are shadowy nothings compared to the fact that Elly only has one person to gossip with and said person is stupid old Annie. Oh, Annie is someone Elly doesn't mind exploiting when she needs a sitter but since she has no higher ambition in life than to pop out kids, do laundry and cater to a lying, philandering ass who treats her like his slave, she's just not good enough to be a real friend. Since evil, selfish, conflict-causing men like Phil and Ted have left Elly alone in the world and deprived her of someone who can agree with her that it's hard to be a career woman because husbands and children want to hold you back, she's the only real casualty here and don't you forget it!!
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
The really interesting thing about how Michael is interpreted as being an unsupportive little monster who wants to destroy Elly's freedom of expression because he won't be a good little boy and play with the Nichols children is that he is too young to object to their tear-arsing around like the ungovernable, over-indulged savages whose company people who actually matter are actually allowed to object to.

This is because at some point, Lynn decided to make Annie Nichols into a critique of people who parent via manuals instead of blindly plodding along doing the same stupid things Saint Marian did. The end result of her daring to question the time-tested wisdom of the woman that raised her is, as one could expect from someone with mother issues as complex as Lynn, CHAOS!!! The premise seems to be that if Anne would have put the books down and behaved just like Elly, her children would be well-behaved and support her in her older years like children are supposed to instead of acting as if they're autonomous individuals who can follow their own destinies.

That being said, only Elly and John are permitted to comment on how destructive and crazy the Nichols children are. Michael is not yet a tax-paying adult and since he is not yet fully human when he is forced to associate with them, he is no more permitted to object than April was to the Housening. Feeling bad about things, you see, is a privilege given adults; children not only owe their parents all the money spent on them, they also owe them instant obedience as well as a canine eagerness to do whatever insane thing Mommy and Daddy propose. Simply put, Mike was a bad kid because he isn't filled with unthinking glee when told to associate with Annie's whirling dervish Hellspawn.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Of course, Annie isn't the only idiot who storms around thinking that she knows everything only to collapse into a heap of melodrama and despair when she's knocked for a loop. Just as how Leah's extra fingers and Steve's extracurricular activities turned Annie into a panicky basketcase instead of the rock colossus of smug self-righteousness she normally is, I can think of another person who freaked out because she thought that an innate property of a child was indicative of a moral failing on her part as well as being blindsided by the obvious fact that Doctor Da Silva would rather not spend his life being a shrill, entitled imbecile's chocolate fantasy. I'm talking, of course, about the other know-nothing know-it-all that Elly hangs out with so she can at least feel superior to someone: Connie. Elly, it would seem, needs to associate with idiots who can't run their own lives but make pompous, ill-informed noise about how they've got everything under control.

While I appreciate her need to be with her own kind, it always used to puzzle me that while Elly gets on reasonably well with her fellow ignorant jerkass lecturing idiots, it's clear that Connie and Annie can't abide each other's company. As we know from Annie's Liography, the heftier, more traditionally minded know-nothing know-it-all made a smug, ignorant comment about how she thought Connie brought her problems on herself by talking down marriage and how horrible she was for daring to blight the world with an illegitimate child. Annie, it would seem, believes that Connie needs rescuing from herself. What she doesn't realize is that Connie seems to think that Anne should go first. This is because the same woman who made pious noise about how every child should have a mother and a father is pretty much a single parent in all but name. She might say after the fact that she was too frightened to confront Steve about his peregrinations but the plain fact is that she's what a weak man like him needs: a woman who blinds herself to the obvious because it's easier. She had plenty of warning that Steve was a shiftless layabout and skirt-chasing jerkwad but she just didn't want to see the signs; this makes her the same as Connie and her belief that despite bending herself into a pretzel for her MAYYYYUUNNNN, he's the one being changed.

Another commonality they have is what I mentioned in the first paragraph: their tendency to fall apart when things don't go the way they expected. Just as Annie thought that Leah's extra fingers were a sign that she was somehow living her life wrong, Connie seems to think that Lawrence's sexual orientation is somehow a sign that she didn't live her life right. She probably still thinks that if she'd managed to get him a father quicker, he'd be as straight as an arrow. This sort of thing leaves me wondering what would happen if she actually said this where Fatso could hear her; the idea that Connie only rebelled against the belief systems of her parents because she was on the wrong side of them would make Annie's brain explode; since said brain is simply two neurons tied together in a slip knot, the mortician wouldn't have to order a prosthetic head for the service.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
The interesting thing about the immediate after-effect of the Mystery Disease Arc is that we get a bit of a reminder that about the only friend Annie has is Elly. Before making her smug, ignorant and thoughtless comment about playcare, the fat dodo whines piteously about how much she misses the human contact she got from dealing with Elly. We get another reminder that Annie really doesn't have many friends when Connie returns and the poor, dim thing mopes that she's being replaced. This isolation makes her life after she finally admits that Steve is a philandering jackhole even more depressing than it would otherwise have been because learning-impaired Elly assumes that since she didn't divorce the prick, she rolled over and thus wasn't worthy of her friendship.

The problem that faces us is why is it that no one much cares to hang around Annie Nichols. I believe that I know the answer and it's related to why she simply didn't do what most people would have expected and simply kicked Steve's cheating ass to the curb and started anew like a sane person. It's fairly obvious that she assumed that everyone expected her to keep her malfunctioning marriage going for the children and also because that's what the Church expects of her. This odd habit of not realizing that what everyone knows has changed is also why she packed her kids off to the Catholic school and why she mutilated Leah to sate her own vanity. As I said the last time I talked about her friendlessness, no one wants to be around a smug dimwit who, despite being wrong about practically everything, has a look on her face that says "I'm right!!!"

The strange thing is that we see the same look on Connie Poirier's stupid face too. More on that next.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
I'd like to take a brief pause from explaining why the strip would work just as well without April serving as proof that Lynn can't write about anything she isn't currently experiencing to talk about the sort of people who are oh so glad to have the opportunity to tell the incompetent and very lucky woman what a brilliant author she'd like to think she is. There are two broad hints as to what sort of person agrees that we've been so cruel and mean to the bitter, ungrateful and vindictive clod. The first broad hint is that they all agree that Elly and John are the injured parties in the "I quit motherhood" sequence. They don't see a child being reminded that only Mommy and Daddy are allowed to have opinions; they see a defiant monster who needs a good smack in the mouth because she has what they call a bad attitude and what people aren't up their own ass call having free will.

The second broad hint is that when Lynn turned her strip into a moronic morality play in the Declining Years, they were on board. We might as well have been on the date Liz and Anthony had when they checked all of that stupid crap off their idiotic list:

  • Liz slept around like a floozy instead of keeping herself pure like Elly: CHECK.
  • She got cheated on by a Man Who Was Not Right For Her: CHECK.
  • She missed her chance to marry Sainted Assthony right after college: CHECK.
  • Anthony fell in the arms of an EEEEEEEEEEVIl, irrationally jealous career woman with evil ambitions: CHECK.
  • Liz suffered the torment of being in an evil Northern town where everyone was laughing behind her back when the man of snow cheated on her: CHECK.
  • The evil career woman left Anthony high and dry for no reason that anyone can mention and think of him as being sympathetic: CHECK.
  • Chastened by their experience with the scary, evil world outside of their beloved home, the two of them learn to trust in fate and faith again and marry so as to enjoy the same bliss as John and Elly: Check!!
  • A man named Paul J who lives in Saint John, New Brunswick retches in disgust at the repellent spectacle: BLAAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHH.

What sort of person honestly buys into crap like this? Small-town, small-minded conservative housewives who get defensive about how they live their lives because they're filled with free-floating rage because they don't have the happy life that they were promised and jealousy of people who clearly having a better time of it than they are. The interesting thing is that there is a smug, self-righteous bundle of ignorance, twaddle and gutlessness racing around in the strip. She used to be a fixture until Elly cut her dead because of a stupid misapprehension: Annie Nichols. It seems to me that she'd be the first to cheer Elly on when it came time to sabotage Therese because of that being pissed off at her betters thing she's rocking.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Recent commentary about Annie's "thought" processes as regards Leah's extra fingers remind us that repulsive vanity and a near-criminal lack of self-awareness are by no means limited to the Sainted Patterswine. Anne herself is also a horrible, entitled person who makes stupid decisions for self-serving and ludicrous reasons. As I have said before, most of why she couldn't wait for a cut-happy surgeon to lop off fingers that could have been perfectly functional was that she had convinced herself that people would line up to call her a super-extra bad person for selfishly making her child deformed. While there might be at least one other person that is as stupid in the same way she is, I should think that the average Milboroughite would refer to what happened as the time that the fat, stupid woman who took years to finally admit that her husband was stepping out couldn't wait to rush her kid into surgery because she felt ashames for some dumb reason or another.

This would be a passing evil were the extra digits simply vestigial. In that instance, all we would have to deal with is very rushed cosmetic surgery. The problem is that it was a plot point that the extra fingers worked as well as the ones that didn't end up being disposed of as medical waste. This, as I said the last time I discussed this, is a little thing that we call "mutilation". Worse, it would not be very well disguised as the bones, muscles and nerves that operate the extra fingers would still be there right where Leah could see them. Having to explain that away would be like explaining something else Annie never thought of when she was panicking about how she would be perceived: phantom pain. At some point in her life, it probably occured to Leah that her mother rushed her into unnecessary surgery for a stupid reason and she probably reacted the way anyone who isn't a God-damned Foob expected: badly.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Last week's strip in which Elly had a big, nasty grin on her face because Annie finally admitted that trying to be a model parent was impossible and wrong got me to thinking about what it is about Elly that makes her so crappy a parent in the first place. Fortunately for us, Lynn has unintentionally given us evidence which can point us in the right direction. The strip that most clearly explains what Elly's major malfunction is is this little gem from 5 December 1982. What you and I see is a small, insecure child who wants a hug from Mommy because she needs to feel loved. What Elly sees is a leech who wants to keep her poor, put-upon Mommy from expressing herself because children are evil little strangers who want to suck their poor Mommies dry of everything and hate the idea of her being happy almost as much as they despise the very idea of being grateful for anything Mommy does. Simply put, when sensible advice that presumes that people aren't monsters out to destroy one another out of sheer malice collides with a mutton-headed narcissist's assumption that everyone is out to destroy her because she's too awesome for the room, common sense goes sailing out of the window at supersonic speeds.

What this translates to in plain English is that Elly gets a cheap thrill watching her friend admit a defeat that she doesn't see as being one. Just as Annie's main objection to working outside the home was that she didn't need the money, her deciding to not bother being perfect was less inspired by a need to not let her children be the boss of her but by the fact that it simply took too much time. Heh. Even when Annie is being not as devoted a parent as she was, she's still a better mother than Elly is. She doesn't get to fail at being a parent until she seriously takes up denying the fact that her treating Steve like a peon has driven him into the arms of someone less haughtily judgmental.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

As we all know, Anne started her career in the strip as the hyper-competent traditional supermother whose function was to not only make Elly feel uncomfortable with not only the compromises she was forced to make between reality and the ideals she’d started out with but also to set the bar so high that even if our hero didn’t feel inadequate, she certainly looked the part. The problem, of course, is that just as Connie transformed from strident antagonist to Elly’s little ventriloquist dummy, Anne became a laughably incompetent and stupid mother who let her demonic brood walk all over her; this meant that her function was to serve as a warning to Elly what could happen if she let her guard down. The question which faces us is why is it that the children slipped loose from her control. The answers Lynn gives reveal some very interesting things about her. Let’s list them, shall we?

  1. Lack of a father figure: Both the book Lives Behind The Lines and Anne’s Liography tell us that a lot of what was wrong with the children is that Steve was not there for them physically; since Lynn was brought up to believe that without a stern father figure to have final say, their poor, weak mother cannot possibly control them, what could have been good children went to the bad.
  2. Perceived Antagonism: It would also seem that Richard was the sort of clingy, demanding little child that Lynn presents as being an incomprehensible trial to his or her parents; since it’s impossible for Lynn to spare much attention, what is simply a panicky infant who needs to be consoled is perceived as a calculating monster who hates the idea of his or her mother having free time.
  3. Perceived Favoritism: Another factor that caused the shapeless, doughy-looking brood that Annie gave the world to become Lovecraftian horror freaks was that the older child started resenting what he thought was special treatment right from the get-go. It doesn’t matter to Christopher that Richard is helpless and needs looking after, he’s not getting any love and he hates the kid for it.
  4. Bigotry: Another factor in their descent is Anne’s insistence that they go to a parochial school; the reason this is bad is that they will end up learning French, accepting the Pope’s right to mess with them at will and fail to agree that King Billy’s crossing the Boyne is one of the niftiest things ever. If I didn’t know going in that the Ridgways were the more swinishly agressive sort of Orangemen going into reading Foob, watching Lynn spout arrant nonsense about the innate subservience of Catholic women and the need to keep French off the cereal boxes would do the trick.

Simply put, Lynn’s biases against single parents, non-punitive thinking, treating children as something other than being Always Chaotic Evil and her sectarian upbringing combine to make for a rather nasty little casserole of envy, malice and spite.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
As I said yesterday, the most we know about Leah Nichols was that she was born with six fingers on each hand. The reaction of two of the characters to this interesting little bit of trivia tells us things about them that Lynn is possibly not aware of. As we all know, Steve and the boys didn't much care one way or another but Anne was nearly hysterical about the horrible imperfection that she felt sure was a sign that she'd done something wrong to blight her child's life. Her reaction to this was to have the child's fingers lopped off at the age of two months so that she could at least look perfect; it says a lot of awful things about her that the risk to her child seemed to weigh less on her mind than the need to conform to some ideal that no one else cares about. I'm not saying that she shouldn't have had the surgery but I am saying that she should have waited until it was safer to remove them.

Another character also used Leah's extra fingers to make a jerk of himself; that's because Mike overheard an off-hand comment someone made about a mistake made on Leah and stated that God made one with Lizzie. Said mistake was her being a girl that, since she was a girl, he couldn't get along with instead of the brother he probably would have bullied anyway but convinced himself he'd have gotten along with.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
You know in the past that I've mentioned how Connie and Elly presume to look down with a reproving glare at poor, deluded Anne and how she lets her children go wild and create havoc. How very telling that they look at a woman who doesn't expect children to be grinning little ventriloquist dummies that sit in a glass case, who doesn't assume that a crying child is a self-centered little monster who's only weeping to make Mommy feel bad for wanting time alone, who won't chase either futile and temporary crazes or futile and temporary crushes at the expense of her children's well-being and who is loving, fair, firm and kind and call her a fatuous nitwit who doesn't know what she's doing.

What I failed to mention is another factor that causes Elly and the Patsy to her Edina to roll their eyes in idiot derision: the fact that Anne learns from her past experiences and uses that knowledge to improve herself. When she explained to Elly that the reason she didn't go overboard on the organic excellence of Richard's baby food, she told Elly that since he was her second, she didn't see the need to bother. What we were meant to take away from that was that she'd either gotten lazy or was a big hypocrite; what turned out to be the case was that she'd learned that she didn't need to spend more money than she had when the cheaper alternative was just as good.

Elly can't quite understand that and thus tends to think Annie fickle and silly; that's because she confuses plodding along and stupidly doing the same stupid thing over and over again despite that thing never working with firmness of character.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Now that it's been roughly three years since the Settlepocalypse, I'd like to remind you all of something we all already know; simply put, the perspective of other people in the Patterverse when looking back at the Patterpast is bound to be very different from John and Elly's.

I'll use Anne Nichols as my example; given that she was a minor character who used to be a lot more central to the action, she'd have something to say about what went on next door to her. Given that someone she thought was a friend shunned her for years based on a willful misreading of events, she might interpret the events of the Declining Years in a way that Elly would not sympathize with because she herself doesn't much see the point of some of Elly's concerns.

Take, for instance, how little she herself cares that her own children are living their own lives and don't need her to hold her hand. Listening to Elly cluck her tongue in unnecessary sympathy because people she'd raised to be independent were, it probably bothers Anne that her ex-friend needs to do something she wouldn't ask of her children: stay dependent on her because she needs to be needed. In her mind, she's more a grandmother than a parent so Elly's need to surround herself with selfish, lazy and ungrateful adult children would no doubt bother her.

She'd also probably not much care for the Settlepocalypse because it would seem to her what would have happened if Steve had married his little sweetie and left her holding the bag. She'll do the catering because she doesn't want Elly to feed people a cake that's dripping with grease but that's about all. I mean, it's not like Elly would deign to really speak to her what with Connie hanging around.

As for Everyone's Favorite Desperate Love Freak, the same Anne who rejects traditions that don't work doesn't actually care if Connie is a single mother; what probably really bothers her is that the woman is a self-serving lunatic with entitlement issues who's made a patsy out of a muttonhead with a bottomless appetite for flattery. It would seem to her that the idea that she forgave Steve comes from the same place as the ten extra pounds that Elly thinks she has: Connie's fat yap.


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