dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Since Lynn's muse is quite obviously network television, it seems fairly obvious what Gordon was originally supposed to be: the troublemaker friend who guided poor, dumb innocent Mike into mischief. From dragging him to poorly-researched arcades to convincing him to risk arrest and-or just plain getting shot down in the streets by the police for defying society by wearing a punk rocker costume to blowing up spiders in a microwave, he's Lynn's vision of the Professional Bad Influence. The reason that I mention this is that why he's this says a lot about how Lynn is. To explain why I say this, I'd like to talk about who he's supposed to be: Eddie Haskell from Leave It To Beaver.

As we know, Eddie buttered up any adult in sight shamelessly before dropping Wally and The Beaver right into a mess. What we fail to realize is that while their other saboteur friends were far more destructive than he was, Ward and June hated him like fire while letting the others off with a "get our sons into a mess free" card because only Standards And Practices kept them from saying "Our asses are for sitting, not kissing." It's his transparent phoniness that made him The Bad Friend because the show runners hated his being a blatant fraud. The funny thing about that is that the show-runners also took special care to remind us that Ward and June weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. Ward could be too hasty and June was clearly too damned worried about what the neighbours might think about the daffier trends their kids adopted to really be effective sometimes. These were presented as flaws that hampered their efficiency in dealing with a younger son who never seemed to bother learning from history.

This distinguishes them from Elly and her claims of perfection. Since Elly is now The Best Mother Ever trying to get the Worst Kids Ever into shape, it stands to reason that she be hampered in her quest by an example of Uncaring Parenting. Gord's parents don't love him enough to scream at him all the time about trivialities, deny him reasonable demands out of spite and also to save face, fret endlessly about things she doesn't understand or like, be a brick wall of judgmental malice when he needs encouragement or sympathy and to dismiss his emotional concerns because nothing that happens when a child matters. Yes, since their parenting lacks the perfect absence of actual parenting, he's clearly a demon spawn come to tempt Elly's son away from fealty to someone who works tirelessly against his best interests.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, my post from yesterday presupposes that Elly would even be aware of people's negative reaction to her inability to quite understand that Georgia is more than 'the girl my brother married'. Elly isn't really good at understanding what people think because she shares her creator's limitation of assuming that everyone thinks just like her, knows what she knows and is ignorant of the things she is ignorant of. Since she doesn't know Georgia's last name, who her friends are and what her family is like, everyone else knows that Georgia has no birth name, has no friends or family because Elly has never asked who this person is. This leaves us with an interesting problem: how the people who should 'know' that they don't exist because Elly has never asked if they did think about the presumptuous dullard who blithely consigned them all to oblivion.

For the sake of argument, I'll assign Georgia's family the surname "Weatherly" because I like Agent Dinozzo and her parents "Bob and Margaret" because, well, I like animated Britcoms about dull English people dying of culture shock because Toronto isn't Hounslow. If we were to look at her mother's Liography, we'd probably get something a lot like this:

It was almost something of a relief that Georgia had finally convinced her boyfriend to make an honest woman of her after years of his cold feet about a church wedding. It bothreed Margaret that Phil stalled so long given how well she and Bob got along with most of the Richards family. The only person she didn't know especially well was Phil's sister, Elly Patterson. This is because Georgia never managed to be able to arrange a sit-down with this person because, well, the woman seemed to hate to travel. It was if she were living in some sort of television programme in which everyone had to go to her house.

This illusion that she was the focal character of a domestic situation comedy seemed to be why this 'Elly' person did something that everyone else called bad form: hijacking the wedding planning because Georgia planned on holding it in the pokey little suburb the presumptuous blusterer of a dentist's wife thought of as Xanadu. It almost seemed that she was trying to force Georgia to elope because of her mother issues or some such nonsense. As if this were not bad enough, one could never seem to make it stick that Georgia wasn't some friendless orphan girl who dropped out of the sky fully formed at twenty-six years of age. Ah, well. At least she finally understood why Phil was worried about the prospect of marriage. He probably feared living the same chaotic, miserable life his idiot older sister willed on herself out of sheer imbecile negligence.

This, of course, led to a rather sad eventuality that she'd fretted about for years since Georgia's bicycle accident. After four false starts, it became obvious that she wouldn't have grandchildren to fuss over. This was sad enough without Phil thinking it for the best because his inexperience made him see a boorish, fractious drone who brainlessly pitted her children against each other as the high water mark of parenting.

If you've been paying attention, this makes of her a minor antagonist like Fiona Brass because she identifies a problem with the Foobiverse that wears its hair in an unflattering style and thinks it's overweight because it slouches forward as if it has the weight of the world on its shoulders. This is also why Molly was insolent and lived in the darkness: she hated having to deal with the dolt next door.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you will recall, I made a bunch of noise about how it's highly likely that Mike would get a case of the vapours should he actually meet up with someone Lawrence was friends with in Thunder Bay. Just as the whole stupid, ugly mess of Lawrence's far, far too premature outing was visited upon us because the dimwitted sack of bastard thought Lawrence only pretended to be straight all his life in order to make a fool of him, it's highly likely that the obnoxious shnook is going to think that having a social life that doesn't involve pining after him is also a betrayal because he has a big-ass blindspot called "Not everything is about him or his family."

The reason that I mention his need to be the bride at every funeral and the corpse at every wedding is that he comes by it honestly. We are, after all, dealing with a man whose mother still, after thirty years and more of knowing the woman her brother married, has not the least curiosity about meaningless trivia that can't matter to anyone because it never occurred to her to ask pointless questions that have no bearing on reality such as:
  • "What is Georgia's birth name?"
  • "I've noticed a lot of people at the wedding talking to and about her. Who are they and why do they point at me and look at me in such an unsettling manner?
  • "Who is this woman in her late fifties and why is she asking me where the Hell I get off planning her daughter's wedding?
  • Why do these people all behave as if Georgia didn't drop out of the sky waiting to marry my kid brother?
  • Why are Phil, Mom and Dad agreeing with them when they call me an oblivious idiot? Why do people keep saying that?

This last question makes the most sense to me because it seems to me that while Phil and his parents more than likely interact with Georgia, her friends and her family on a regular basis, Elly is too blasted stupid and self-absorbed to do something like that. All she sees is a girl assigned to make her kid brother grow up and that's all she wants to see. She just tunes out anything not related to that purpose or that might imply that the Pattersons aren't the stars of the human race.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I've been saying the last little while, a person doesn't have to spend a lot of time reading the strip in order to see that Elly has a personality confict with her children: they have personalities and that leads to conflict. We hit the ground running with that in the first year or so watching Elly bellow at Mike for 'arguing' with her when he didn't immediately agree with every damned thing she said. The obvious conclusion is that once again, moron Elly was too blasted stupid to remember that a four year old generally hasn't the least idea of what he's doing to irritate his mother or that he simply can't see things from her perspective. Since she's a dolt, she assumed that he was a shrunken thirty year old playing mind games with her.

Her next great act of total mental failure was, of course, forgetting that he remembered things when that was an inconvenience. According to her, she was supposed to be able to yell about how miserable he made her life and how she could have a life outside the home if he were not a selfish, cruel demanding monster who wanted to destroy her. This (as well as John's need to undermind her to stay in charge) led to his hating the idea of her working outside the home when she was supposed to be at home because she was supposed to love him and take care of him and not treat him like he's a bad kid who wants to take and take and take.

This would have been bad enough were she not to insist that to be fair to Lizzie, he could never talk about all the great things he could do because that was boasting and it would hurt the feelings of a toddler who didn't understand English and that he couldn't win at anything because that would be bad and that he had to clean and clean and clean because she's not put on this Earth to be his slave and he really, REALLY had to erase from view any sign that her house had been invaded by children. Also, there was the shared duty he and the other children had to never do anything to disgrace Mother in public by calling attention to themselves or following trends or developing scary outside interests that might make them anything other than the blandest, least interesting people in the world.

The capper to all of this is that she used to spend most of her free time whining about how baffled and angry she was that for some reason, Mike resented her great big love and her loving attempt to suppress and destroy any scary sign of individuality that might make him leave her some day and live far away and leave her all alone old and used up. It doesn't matter that his horrible yearning for his love to be returned has made of him a highly dysfunctional adult who needs her to keep him ending up in a pile of his own filth, he needs her and that's enough because, unlike someone in Calgary, he's grateful.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To explain why the teal and lavender horror that was the Settlepocalypse was passed off as a happy ending, let's remind ourselves that Elly saw herself as the long-suffering victim in a soap opera filled with people who hate her love and want her to never speak when the reality is that her life was actually a horror movie about a stupid, crazy woman who would never let herself be happy. On that note, it's sort of too bad that Hanna-Barbera wasn't given the rights to Foob. If that had happened, the opening narration would go something like this: "Stupidity! Short temper! Wounded pride! These are the ingredients Lynn Johnston chose to make the perfect angry idiot parent....but she accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: insane troll logic! Thus Elly Patterson was born!! Using her ultra-stupid power to assume the very worst of her children, she's dedicated her life to fighting making life easier and happier and the forces of sweet reason!"

The reason she'd be the dumbest, meanest Powerpuff Girl ever is that most people in this world have something Lynn would prefer them to not have: the ability to tell chicken salad from chicken shit. Just as they would notice that the reason Elly is tired, panicky and frustrated after a day's inept maintenance of the home is that she's too dumb and angry to do things properly and efficiently, most people would pick right up on the fact that she brought a lot of the trouble with her kids on herself. As her need to browbeat Liz into admitting that everyone cool was a jerk trying to ruin her and everything cool was a bad thing because it scared a Mommy who hated to lose, she could never quite manage to see them as anything other than combatants to be pounded into submission because she seems to have declared war on their free will for a different reason than John. He wants to go through life without having to do anything. She wants to go through life without having to grow up and admit that her mother is right about things....or worse still, wrong about her children. Tomorrow, I'll show how that made Mike into the dimwitted pig he is.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I've said before, Elly's habit of stupidly doing what she thinks Marian is doing comes into play when it's time to clean the house. What seems to have happened is that Marian made an honest effort to show her child how to do things properly only to be frustrated by three factors. First, her daughter is a rather tragically dim creature who misinterprets what she sees and who doesn't listen well. Second, we have to deal with the easily wounded stupid pride that convinces her that people who tell her that she's doing things wrong hate her and want her to fail. This leads to the third stupid factor: the stubborn belief that she did actually get it right after all.

This leads to her doing a slipshod travesty of what Marian actually does as a housewife. Elly does loads of clothes because she never bothered assimilating the boring and inefficient tip about separating whites, lights and darks, she makes ironing into this great big production because Marian tried telling her how not to burn herself or the clothes and this leaves her no time to tidy the house properly. It would have been instructive to have John's bad back give out in 1981 in order for him to see the marvel of angry imbecile inefficiency he'd married; the end result of noting that instead of sitting on her ass watching the place fall down around her, she spent all day being a whirling dervish of ineptitude and frustration would have led to his sudden discovery that, hey, maybe he shouldn't have welched on letting her get that degree after all. They can afford a (competent) maid to take care of the house and dock the kids with a (competent) baby sitter because it's worth the extra dough to keep the lunatic moron wife happy. And, hey, it'd sure have been easier on the kids to have a Ruth around. It would have saved them from Elly's war on their having a personality of their own.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To continue on with my look at the not-very-well-hidden flaws of the Pattersons, I'd like to restate a point I made long ago. As I said about eight years ago, the strip makes the most sense if we assume going in that Elly was never exceptionally bright to begin with. What little we do know about her past tells us that she's just not smart enough to have ever figured out why it was that Marian wasn't big on praising children. Oh, she does raise the children to believe that nothing that they ever do is really good enough herself but we're talking about copying a method without understanding why it's done. What she'll never see is the blind optimism behind the reproving glare. In my mind, I can imagine someone coming along and telling Marian to her face that Elly feels as if she's a disappointment and a failure of a daughter that she's right not to really love only to get a blank stare and a reassurance that Elly knows things that she never will. Marian went to meet Masky McDeath justified because she wrongly thought that her daughter knew that she was loved and approved of and appreciated. After all, she sure seems to have figured out what Marian was up to and did it herself so, yeah, Elly isn't the gloomy, self-hating, literal-minded dimwit convinced that her parents are ashamed of her silly people see.

This would be bad enough were it not for the fact that the end result of thinking that people spit her name when she's not looking is that Elly is also somewhat short-tempered. There's so much pointless, needless rage and bitterness coming from that stupid place that can't love itself that it can't help but spill all over the children. We see an angry dumb woman who was never really allowed to win arguments because she had to be held down for her own good overreacting to mild reverses because she doesn't know enough to not argue with a toddler.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
While it's rather obvious that John is a rather lazy, selfish man who is has no greater preoccupation than to either avoid or shout down anything inconvenient that would require sacrifice of him, what's not so immediately obvious that he mostly gets away with this because he married one of the dumbest people on the face of the Earth. While everyone knows someone who knowingly stays in a horrible relationship because she's been cowed into submission, it seems to me that Elly is actually stupid enough to think that John is a great person who's on her side despite his tendency to do and say and think inconvenient things that he can be trained out of. This despite the obvious fact that the self-serving creep still thought he was doing her a favour keeping her from doing all the things she wanted to do in this life because the arrogant knob is funny that way.

It's bad enough that she's a stupid wife who, despite being one of the banes of [livejournal.com profile] jjamele's existence (viz. the well-off housewife who behaves as if she had been drugged and woke up a mother and housewife), thinks that the boring life she leads is the best possible outcome of her life. While we can spend an eternity thinking that she could have done a lot better for herself than the goggle-eyed dope she's lashed to, she would do it all again given the chance and recommends doing it to others. Worse, someone followed her example despite it being a cautionary one. Just think of it as the last great evil that resulted from her witlessness: being a horrible, stupid failure of a mother brainlessly failing to protect her children from a bad thing.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The sad thing is that Elly seems to have learned nothing at all from the debacle with Lizzie's tooth. This is because two years later, we find her standing around berating a child any fool could tell her felt bad about mislaying her eyeglasses about how stupid and clumsy and thoughtless and mean she was for wanting her poor mother to go broke buying eyeglasses in bulk to spread chaos and to prove how much she hated her mother and yadda-yadda-yadda. John's attempt to defuse the situation by appealing to reason, reality and the fact that Lizzie was freaked out by this fell on deafened ears because of a very sad and stupid reason: Elly doesn't especially want to listen to herself or think about how she appears to her children.

After all, listening to herself and picturing how she must appear to the kids yields a depressing and terrifying picture of a vain, self-absorbed and stupid bully screaming at sitting duck victims because she doesn't care about anything but herself and her needs. The children have to be monsters trying to ruin her life because the alternative is that she's a belligerent, insensitive, self-centered and thoughtless nincompoop who needs to make every little thing about her at any cost and that would be terrible. After all, her mother would be right about why her children act the way they do and that would be horrible. If she's just this big, angry dope who lives to take offense and overreact to every little thing to make herself feel big and important at her kid's expense, she's also a stupid buffoon trying to do other futile things because she's too dumb to see life for what it is. Why, she couldn't even talk Farley into not acting like a dog if she were just this loud, obnoxious bonehead nailing herself to her cross because her children are fallible and messy.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about the last strip in which Melody Morrison was mentioned is that it came as part of a wider arc about Lizzie losing a baby tooth. While it might appear at first glance that the nadir of it was Elly being angry and gobsmacked that Lizzie is holding out for more dough because of the whole "Why does MY child have to fit in with the crowd? Doesn't she want to prove that she loves me by getting eaten alive by the mean girls?" horseshit that hoves into view every time Elly confuses wanting very much to avoid being made to feel like shit for not fitting in with the herd with laughing cruelly at her as they renounce her because every God-damned thing is a referendum on if they love her but it is not.

The low point comes into play because Lizzie wants to actually catch the tooth fairy in action (because she's seven) and tried to find various hiding places to make that happen. One of those hiding places happened to be the hole it fell out of and, well, she ended up swallowing it. This is a rather odd little scrape that made her feel foolish and afraid that the tooth fairy would not come and she'd be on the outside looking in again. Elly's reaction to this is, sadly, classic Elly: boiling over with rage because once again, her children are trying to ruin her because the alternative is that she's a raging asshole whose rage-filled overreaction to every little thing is proof that her mother is right about her STILL being a spoiled brat who thinks she's the axis about which the world rotates. From Elly's perspective, this is not a dumb kid who did something dumb without meaning to. Since that would mean that not everything in the God-damned world is about Elly Patterson, this is really a crafty kid who tried to trick her poooooooor mother out of a quarter because a good child who loved her mother and didn't worship chaos would have not inconvenienced her by doing something silly and expecting to be reassured. This leaves me wishing that the real payoff of this arc would have involved the sudden arrival of a large Russian man telling her "Give teeth to Russian tooth fairy! Those are the People's teeth for ALL to share!" Granted, having RED Heavy come along and punch Elly's teeth out would not have cured her of the lunatic misapprehension that her blind-eyed idiot children were plotting her destruction when they make a moronic blunder like this but it would be rather cathartic.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, we're about three months away from another of Elly's attempts at becoming the public face of Milborough when she becomes the Thomas family's welcome wagon. The problem is that when Elly tries to become a spokeswoman for something, it almost always leads to all sorts of mischief. From how her incessant nagging and whining about how much work her family wants her to do not doing work in a way Marian would approve of leading to them becoming slobs to her public role in making the masses yearn to see the Old Town Hall Theatre get firebombed to keep the terrorists from winning, when Elly tries imposing her vision of the world on the world, the result is an ugly mess that achieves the exact opposite of what she wanted to accomplish.

We'll see that in the coming months and years when Molly Thomas-Whatever thinks of a banal, generic suburb where she could have lived a reasonably pleasant life as being Hell on Earth because she mentally associates it with a pompous nitwit housewife and her smirking goof son. Molly started off on the wrong foot with the whole damned town because she spent her first summer there feeling sorry for herself because as far as she knew, that horrible woman who wanted to come in and take over and make her forget her real mother hoodwinked dear old dad into being a dear old sucker and move away from her home so she could drink coffee with some horrible old witch who also talked down to her. Things got worse when said horrible persons's horrible son talked the neighborhood kids into spying on her like she and her feelings were nothing more than a freak show. She couldn't date another disaffected youngster without THAT WOMAN and HER FRIEND getting Daddy to also panic and she couldn't wait to leave the horrible town of exile where even her own sister wanted her to embrace the monster woman next door who clearly wanted to her to admit that her real mother should die forgotten and alone.

As I said, this is because she had yet to realize that her real mother would have probably done exactly what Connie did for exactly the same reasons. If her parents were actually compatible, she would still have had to deal with an inflexible curfew, trivialization of her feelings and having some huffy bitch adult backing her parents' play and trying to win over her kid sister. She can thus forgive Connie and admit that yes, she should have given her a chance when it mattered. What she can't do is forgive a town that produced a whining invertebrate who subjected someone she's starting to see as a brother to all sorts of torment because Mikey Girl made boom-boom in his diaper and started ranting about how Lawrence was playing a big trick on him and trying to make a fool of him by not wanting to get kicked outta his house for being gay. I'd hate a town like that like fire because as of this writing, Mike still doesn't seem to notice what a gutless and ridiculous traitor he is. All she does see is him on the news hawking a terrible book as his failure of a mother looks on with pride.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we saw, yesterday's reprint had Lizzie totally fail at pouring juice because she didn't understand the core concept. We also saw her fail at sharpening her pencil because she obsessively ground it down to a nub to get it razor sharp. This tells us that we're starting to develop the second part of her middle years identity: the little girl who's rather incompetent when asked to do things because she isn't really paying attention.

She doesn't get better with age, sadly. In a few years, we'll see her run for her life from an accidentally drenched Elly because she's tasked with washing the house and forgets to check if all the windows are closed and deal with her asking Mommy if unintentionally bursting the bag of milk because she doesn't pay attention to that either means that she has to move. We also have to see Elly stand around screaming when she forgets where she put her glasses and so on and so forth. This means that the pattern is:

1) Lizzie is asked to do something.
2) Through inattention, she makes a mess of things.
3) Elly stands around screaming about how everything bad happens to her.
4) No one explains what Lizzie did wrong so she can do better next time.
5) No one teaches Lizzie to do things the right way.
6) Things are forgotten and Lizzie learns the wrong lesson.
7) Return to Step One.

This means that Lizzie's oblivious nature is a direct side-effect of her mother being an angry idiot who loves martyrdom and pissing away teachable moments because the stupid cow thinks that's asking too much of her. Eventually, she'll be perplexed that Liz goes to a stranger for advice instead of listening to her guano.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Before I rehash the Space Babe phenomenon, I'd like to remind you of Elly's habit of mentally editing what her children tell her to get. It's highly likely that Mike and Lizzie wanted her to go to Burgerland and buy a box of Frosted Zappos instead of eating another stodgy casserole that makes them too stuffed and dyspeptic to play or another box of dried twigs designed to flush out their colons as if regular bowel movements were the sovereign goods. Given that Elly was brought up to believe that mealtime consisted of shoveling grub down our grub-holes so as to fuel up for more cleaning, she doesn't see the point of food designed to make people happy. This is why her internal martyr edits brand names into what she thinks of them as being; thus does 'going to Burgerland' and 'buying Frosted Zappos' become 'eating junk food' and 'buying sugar cereal.'

What this tells us is that we're dealing with someone who, while lamenting forever the accidental destruction of her walking doll, cannot see that her children should fall in line with the other kids wanting to get THE trendy toy of the year. A person who thinks that the best toy runs on imagination and is also easily put away so that she doesn't have to have her life ruined by being reminded that she has kids underfoot is going to see herself as being some kind of heroic martyr for actually breaking down and giving in to the evil peer pressure of not being the only voice her children listen to. This is a woman who blamed nuclear Armageddon for Mike's wanting to do what the other kids wanted to do instead of being a good, loyal child who loved her and wear her burlap sack of a costume; she's going to go to her grave thinking that not disappointing a child makes her SuperElly.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The depressing part about the wedding that's coming up is that we spend a lot of it watching John root around in a dumpster like a raccoon because he stupidly lost his watch because he stupidly decided to combine taking out the trash with driving everyone else to the church. This need to slam Rod for insisting on his harem distracted us from a rather interesting scene that we should have been allowed to watch. Said scene is an older couple coming up to Elly, introducing themselves as Henry and Louise Wilson and asking her who the Hell does she think she is planning their daughter's wedding. The reason we do not see this sort of thing is quite simple; we're looking at Georgia through Elly's eyes and what Elly sees is someone that seems to have materialized out of the ether for the sole purpose of making Phil grow up.

This means that Elly doesn't have to do something difficult that she hates to do and find out who this woman is, where she comes from, what her childhood was like or what her last name was before she married Phil. As I've said before, John might know because he does her dental work but since Lynn clearly believes that the only surname the woman needs is Richards, her past is quite irrelevant to Elly. Even in Phil's Liography, we do not get anything more than that she's from Montreal and has parents of some sort and Elly only learned that because they moved there shortly after April toppled into the river. I know that I tried to flesh her out but I didn't have much to work with because all Elly sees is someone a bit too young for Phil and also a bit too ready to criticize her parenting despite not having children. Other than that, we don't need much else because we have to accept Elly's lack of curiosity as a given.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
I think that it's fairly safe to describe Elly as being a deeply unhappy woman who has a hard time being satisfied with what she has. She's not a happy homemaker, she doesn't much like John and has a hard time sympathizing and empathizing with her children. Everything her family does bothers her and she doesn't seem to see any sort of light at the end of the tunnel that isn't that of an oncoming train. Even now that raising Mike and Liz is finally paying off, she's still not happy because for some reason, it happened too late and also for some other reason, April seems to think that no one really loves her.

The benefit to readers of having Elly look at a half-full glass only to stand around screaming about how someone drank it on her is that they are reassured that they are not alone in feeling as if motherhood isn't quite what it was promised. A lot of people out there like it that Elly is never going to be happy because their own feelings of disappointment are validated and also that she never got to savor her triumph because it would be like watching Charlie Brown finally kick the football.

The problem is that Lynn decided to carry this phenomenon of Elly never being able to feel happy into the bookstore. As others have mentioned, we saw no new friendships being formed and no regular customers manifested themselves as someone for Elly to talk to. All we had was more hostility, more disappointment, more of Elly being infuriated by trivialities and overreacting to minor irritation, more of Elly being the same intolerant, self-absorbed raw nerve who pissed away the best part of her life being pointlessly angry with her children for no other reason than the fact that she's a depressive narcissist who needs to feel sorry for herself. Her staff wanted her to pack it in before she ruined the place and having to bother with other people became so much of a bother that she quit and declared collecting rent from Moira victory.

While Lynn might have felt good defaming her staff thusly, what she doesn't realize is that her insinuation that it was okay for Elly to retire because she'd paid John back the money he spent buying for her made her look like a flake and dilettante. Since she never actually made a real profit and only manages to skim from someone who does, it also makes her look like someone's wifey who got bored and played at running a business. The worst of it is that she'll no more understand this than understand that a budget cut is not a popularity contest.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The problem with Elly probably blinding herself to the harm she was doing with her stupid picketing and drunken mess of a Halloween party is that she didn't learn a single thing from it. The conclusion most people would draw from the mess is that Elly really doesn't have much to say politically and should limit herself to sending checks to the candidate with the sincerest-looking smile because her take-away is that someone stole her idea when it's more likely that she actually was an ill-informed meddler making things worse. This blindness to the negative impact she's having on those around her seems to have gone unnoticed by Mike and Elizabeth but not by April.

We first noticed this habit April had of pointing out that Mommy's head is in the clouds when she pointed out Elly's faulty logic as regards what to do about Jeremy. It's somewhat obvious that Elly still doesn't really understand that the miniature delinquent wanted to kick the shit outta April because his daddy plays harmonica and since she does, she wants him to not have a daddy or whatever loony bullshit excuse he's hiding behind. This puts her on the same page as the huffy, pious simpletons who can watch a cartoon show about people fighting inhuman monsters who want to kill everyone and wonder why they don't talk them out of it.

Fast-forward a few years to Elly not wanting to believe that someone on the inside was robbing her blind. April told her flat-out that this refusal to accept the possibility that sometimes, people are mean left her vulnerable. Elly had to be sat down and told what had happened and she was mostly mad at other people for not telling her what she didn't listen to. Simply put, she was being a terrible parent to April and she doesn't understand it because she's dense.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
In retrospect, it might very well be that Radcliffe was telling the truth when he wrote that article about how he'd been quietly fighting for the theatre for months. After all, Dynamite Dave mentioned another do-gooder trying to save the old place and it could well have been the person Susan pointed Elly at. Since Lynn is more familiar with plagiarism than politics, the only way what he did makes sense is if he and Elly were on the same side and she never actually understood that.

The reason for this is quite simple, I should think: Radcliffe was trying his damnedest to rid his cause of a loose cannon who was doing more harm than good. The man who referred to Elly as the nut with the sandwich board reminds me of something I heard on the radio about thirty years ago. You see, for some reason, CBC Radio decided to spend an hour or so making fun of itself with a sketch comedy special of some sort. One of the recurring themes was that some lefty peacenik no-talent had written a long, boring, depressing play about nuclear war called "We are your dead" that really got under people's skin. When they got to the parody of the call-in show "Cross-Country Checkup", one guy said "If that's what life is going to be like after the Reds push the button down, yes, I very much DO wish to be obliterated in a nuclear holocaust." The reason I mentioned that is that it's sort of obvious that Elly and her noisy display and her disruptive tactics alienated the masses to such an extent that she was poisoning the well. Radcliffe's supporters didn't want to support his plan to save the theatre because it would mean that the crazy-ass idiot the dentist married would win.

What probably happened is that he explained this to Sue after the talking-in-circles speech and she and the theatre board convinced him that Elly was not acting as their representative. Since he didn't need to be told that she just plain gave up because she didn't understand his attempt to say "Stay out of politics, you drunken mental pygmy," their saying that she'd been instructed to stand down mollified his backers to the extent that he could save the theatre without having to worry about the monster raving loony showing up. What happened is that everyone won except the bugfuck crazy idiot yelling about the barbarian sports-loving hordes who hate goodness, happiness and love. Radcliffe got the old place fixed up, Sue learned that politeness got results, the rate-payers don't have to watch some deluded nitwit parade around screaming about nothing and John can have a quiet life. The only loser is the stupid person who's standing around moaning about her idea being 'stolen.'
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The other day, I was just goofing around with the dialogue of a couple of the strips about the end game of the theatre arc to make it mesh better with reality. Unlike Lynn, we know that city councils aren't in the habit of randomly tearing down buildings, that someone not affiliated with the city might be the real owners of the old town hall and that any sort of grant money given to a theatre company would probably go to renting space in a more convenient building instead of renovating a space they might not actually want to perform in. Also, if the old town hall is to be torn down, we're probably looking at a public safety issue such as being no longer structurally sound or having enough mold in the walls to turn people cobalt blue. To paraphrase what used to be Peter Capaldi's signature role before he became a punk-rock Time Lord, if wind blew across the strings of a harp in such a way that it said "I'm a cat-f***er," Lynn and Elly would believe that the harp indeed f***s cats.

This means that in the real world, Elly would have no chance in a million of actually saving the Old Town Hall. It's no longer fit for human occupation, the arts community is about to move into a nicer space and pestering the local Thors and Wotans is as useful as a cafe on the moon. What would actually be happening is that some minor good would be accomplished. In the scenario I envisioned, it seemed to me as if the props, sets and costumes were to be simply destroyed out of hand despite their being still fit for use. It would irritate Sue and Nilda that they would have to buy all this new stuff when it would be a little easier to simply store the old material professionally so they'd try their damnedest to maintain some connection to the old building. The best way to accomplish this would be to get someone loud and noisy and who doesn't like asking questions when she gets enraged to make a big stink about things so they could beat down resistance. Enter someone kind of stupid, kind of gullible and all kinds of angry: ELLY. The whole point of this stupid party would be to show the politician they interface with that no, the costumes won't cause contact dermatitis at fifty paces.

The reason they chose Elly is, as I've said, because she doesn't get facts straight, she doesn't ask questions, she gets angry really easy and she stubbornly clings to stupid ideas for days at a time when she's told something that irritates her. It's the only way to defeat her innate tendency towards inertia and not disgracing herself.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Looking ahead through the years, I've noticed something very odd: after the theater is 'saved', we never discuss the place again. This seems odd as you'd expect Lynn to look back and revisit the place. After all, we spent a few years going back to Farley's tree so we could be reminded that he's sort of a ghostly presence that still stupidly hangs out with the lazy idiots who mistreated him in life so why not the theater? Also, we also had Mike hired on by the Valley Voice as a summer job to get experience so at least that didn't disappear down some sort of memory hole.

The problem is that usually, once Elly is no longer associated with a person or a thing, that person or thing tends to vanish. Once she was let go from the library, it was if a great force scooped it up because she never went back there. Once Mike stopped playing hockey, the only time the rink was mentioned was so Elly could complain about how tax dollars were wasted on sports and keeping our infrastructure from crumbling. Once Annie was left to fend for herself, it took years for her to show up and explain why it is Elly was stupid to ignore her. Once Fiona was squared away, she vanished into the ether. Once Mrs Dingle had her heart attack, she might as well have been put on an ice floe. It's as if Lynn has an aversion to revisiting things and people she's outgrown.

What this tells us is that when April went out into a wider world, it would be as if she were never there in the first place. Instead of the expected hand-wringing about how her poor misguided child failed to see the great big love Elly only thought she had for her, we'd be dealing with her having to be reminded that she had a third child at all because she can't remember things she's not actively dealing with.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about Elly's being slumped over in despair because someone else was right about how to proceed in saving the theater is that we end up dealing with again over the years. One of the more annoying ways in which she witlessly betrayed April was by refusing to let Kortney go despite everyone else telling her "This kid isn't honest. This kid is playing you for a sucker and she's been doing it for years and you wound up getting your child jammed up in the process because you don't listen to us."

The reason that I mention that is that when Moira decided that when the failure was away, someone competent had to rise up and do what was necessary instead of what simply made her feel like some big, stupid hero, Elly's response to having her turnip nose rubbed in the truth was to cry like a child and then throw a stupid tantrum because she'd let herself be made a fool of. Her response to other people at the time was to want to not think about the problem but instead to rant at length about how OUT OF CONTROL April was for wanting to fit in with the other children who do not have vindictive bitch mothers waging a war on the popular girls of the year 1965 CE because no one wanted to date a snarling, petulant, high-strung know-nothing know-it-all who delighted in taking every little thing the wrong God-damned way. It's not about her being a chump who let herself get defrauded because she was hooked on flattery, it was about how April was, for some reason, someone who lacked trust in her pooooor, sainted mother.

Once she calmed down, she delivered the following chunk of blame-evading verbiage:

It seems our ex employee must now suffer the indignities of fingerprinting and having a police record to dog her probably for the rest of her life. Even though the people whose cheques she forged refused to press charges, she has still been found guilty of fraud and theft of cash and merchandise. She is not in prison, but is being held responsible for her actions by having to repay the amounts stolen and doing community service. She is under the care of a counselor and has to report to a probation officer. She has a lot of restrictions, and I doubt she'll be able to secure employment for quite a long time. This is a suburb of Toronto, but is still a fairly insular community and news like this travels far and fast. I feel sorry for Kortney. She seemed to self destruct for some reason. I guess I'll never know what made her do the things she did, but it's up to the justice system and perhaps support groups to help straighten her out.

that shut out any suggestion that the reason that Kortney went kablooie is that her boss was a negligent idiot who let her. The difference between this situation and the one where she knew that she was the author of her own misfortune is that she couldn't find someone to blame for her problems. She'd been talked into doing something that made her uncomfortable and scared her. She knew that what she was doing wasn't working. She knew that the only way she contributed to said goal was to serve as a delivery system for the idea of a more agile mind and she knew that the plan worked exactly how he thought it might. When it came time to sum up the catastrophic defeat that was willingly participating in being defrauded was to shoot the messenger because she had a victim to blame that wasn't her.


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