dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we're about to see, Mike tends to not notice certain things about the clean-up phase of the storm because he's never been especially aware of his immediate surroundings. The same boy who's about to wonder why his family is mad because he made an obnoxious jerk of himself is racing around not seeming to see people shoveling out their cars. The reason is that he's simply not especially all that bright a person. The problem is that Elly would rather not believe that Mike is a stupid little boy who doesn't understand what's going on around him. She would rather believe that he's evil and doesn't care because it makes her life worse and that's a really high priority for a melodramatic twit like her.

We're going to see that soon when Lizzie has another episode of brain failure. We know that Lizzie is too dumb to anticipate what swining the milkbag is going to do because we remember that Elly is raising a family of pliable dimwits who come to her with every little thing. Elly still thinks that she deliberately planned to be as dumb as shit to make her pooooooooor mother's life harder because that's where her idiocy leads her.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
To continue on with my look at Elly's war against having a social life that isn't one hundred percent vetted by her, it's not as if seeing the back end of Martha soothed Elly's jangled nerves. The same moron who wrung her hands because her boy wasn't running to Mommy with every little thing and sharing every secret like a dummy went from fearing the vitality of Martha to fearing a different stupid thing about Rhetta: her ties to her family.

Elly's panicky bleating about how she wanted to TIE MICHAEL DOWN TO MILBOROUGH RIGHT OUT OF UNI when he was supposed to be allowed his nomadic phase before seeing how terrible the outside world actually was sort of proves some Republican dude's glib pronouncement that hippie is short for hypocrite right. She didn't mind Mike being tied down to a boring suburb so she wouldn't have to resent her own dumb choices....she just wanted it to be all on her own terms.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To expand on yesterday's piece in which I speculated that Elly seems biologically incapable of realizing that she looks like she's in a near-constant state of frustrated, implacable rage because the same misfiring neurons that make her see herself as the Blob prevent her from ever understanding that her default expression is an angry scowl and her default body language is hostile and confrontational, I think that it's germane to the discussion to remind you that she also has no idea why people see her as always being spoiling for a fight and always ready to visit retribution on a family that can never please her.

I think the best example of this tendency is this strip in which she stands around screaming about how her evil children are taking her for granted because they hate her and think of her as nothing more than a slave only to be told that it was just John being his typical oblivious self again. I'm pretty certain that Elly remembers herself as looking and sounding like a reasonable person trying to gently encourage her kids to try to think things through; that's because I do a really stupid thing called remembering the past and thus remembering that just as she stands there wailing about how suddenly, she no longer is fine with what she sees in the mirror, she also says that suddenly, the easy rapport she had with the kids has turned into a sort of war. She can't remember making a snotty comment about how while she loves Mike, she doesn't like him nor can she remember wailing about who took her baby away when Lizzie was starting to show signs of becoming an autonomous individual and thus doesn't remember that her kids had always seen her as being an angry, unreasonable tyrant who turns every single damned thing into a punishment and opportunity to remind them that she's always angry with and disappointed in them.

What she also can't seem to remember is that children don't respond well to perceived hypocrisy. This is going to come into play when she tells Mike to either go outside and play or she'll remind him that making him do chores is her go-to method for punishing him for not complying with her demands that he not oppress her with his intimidating and scary presence. He joins me in seeing him as being kicked out of his house because his mother is too damned fragile to deal with him. Were it to get back to her that he perceives her as having done so, it's rather obvious that he'd be punished for telling a lie about her. She never kicks children out of the house because she can't deal with them because that's what her mother did to her.

Since thus she's something of a hypocritical nitwit on top of having the brain damage and the dodgy memory, she thus doesn't understand that when her children act out, they're only responding to a very negative stimulus: an always-angry, never happy blowhard who stands around ranting about how her children are trying to destroy her. She can see this tendency in other people and be angered by it but somehow, she just can't connect her own behaviour to why the kids think she's a closed-minded idiot who won't admit when she's being unfair.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
About twenty years or so ago, a man named Scott McCloud created a sort of illustrated history of the comics medium called "Understanding Comics." At one point in the book, he postulated that one of the reasons that people so readily identify with the sort of simplified and stylized images we see in the four-panel world is that while we have a fairly accurate mental picture of what others look like, our mental image of our own faces are, well, broad-strokes caricatures. The reason that I mention this is that the crippling neurological defect that makes Elly look in a mirror and see some bloated, ugly, worthless wretch with no self control prevents her from understanding how other people actually see her. As we see in this strip, she's both horrified and intrigued by seeing the Elly Patterson normal people actually see. She's intrigued because she wants to know why people state that she's some skinny little thing with bad posture and horrified because they're in the right.

This failure to know what other people see doesn't, of course, merely make her a shining mark for any charlatan peddling a quack diet; it also renders her a less effective parent than she would otherwise be. As I've said before, she doesn't know what her own face looks like when she's talking to her children so she doesn't realize that despite not especially wanting to do so, she makes it look as if everything she wants her kids to do is because she wants to punish them for something or other. Factor in her inability to accurately remember that she is too damned easily provoked for her own good and her just plain not having it in her to enjoy anything and you start to see why it is that Elly sort of ricocheted from one argument to the next.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about the recent strip in which super-fragile Elly thinks it's the end of the world because John doesn't say please when asking for the instruments he needs remind us of a very interesting fact: the Pattersons actually do seem to use the word in a reasonable facsimile of when they should. They may never thank people or apologize but they do actually spend the time saying please.

That being said, Mike and the kids use the word when it might be somewhat less than appropriate. As history teaches us, there are an awful lot of strips that have Michael (and to a lesser extent, Lizzie and April) ask a rage-faced Elly not to pleeeeeeeeeeeease turn down a very reasonable request. This works not at all because she needs to keep the kids from running over her and becoming the boss of her and keeping her from living her life and all the other panicky, stupid and petty excuses she uses to justify why she'd rather look cruel and unfair than weak. She sees a horrible child trying to run the house and keep her down. We see an angry idiot tormenting a child for a discreditable and laughable reason. I tend to prefer our take on events.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing that I've noticed about this arc is that we're a week or two away from Elly saying something amazingly insensitive and stupid about Ted and Irene. While she defends her idiotic remark by insisting that getting involved in someone else's mess like a dimwit is the best way to help Connie, she later repents of her actions because that awful voice people call a conscience calls her an abrasive dunderhead who refuses to learn from experience.

The reason that I find that interesting is that I cannot help but contrast it with the end of the "Elly bans television because she blames it for her children cursing despite it being fairly obvious that her own habit of using language that would scandalize Lenny Bruce is the actual problem" arc in which Connie essentially tells her "Go on and blame someone else for your own stupidity like you always do. It's cool." This form of emotional support is also why Connie smilingly enables Elly's delusion that her children keep their room messy and listen to headache music to defy and torment her and not as a means of defending themselves from having their living space picked over by a lunatic who wants to erase their personalities.

Simply put, the reason that Elly loves having Connie around is that she is as ready to blame her children for her own catastrophic total failure as a wife, mother, daughter, citizen and multicellular carbon-based life form as Elly herself is. This means that she never need hear awful things like "Hey, dummy! Do you know what 'picking your battles' means?" or "Hey, stupid!!! Maybe you should actually listen to April about this Kortney person!" or even "Given that the more you shout and threaten, the less the kids are willing to talk to you or listen to what you have to say, wouldn't it be a good idea to calm down, quit acting like you're under siege and realize that maybe you've read them all wrong all this time?" It's easier listening to Connie and her "Go forth and be a shrill, belligerent, judgmental and ignorant wacko" because being stupid means never having to say "I'm sorry."
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The current arc is, I should think, rather instructive in its own little way. This is because we're being given an insight into why it is that Elly resents her children as much as she does when she alludes to how Jean no longer thinks that being a traditional stay-at-home mother is all it's cracked up to be. As I've said before, Lynn tends to take every little thing far too seriously and thus seems to see it as axiomatic that new-born children feign helplessness as a means of depriving their mothers of time to themselves. Were that not bad enough, it's also axiomatic that children grow clingy and dependent and thus think that a world in which mothers are treated like people too is one in which they've been cruelly deprived of something they see as a necessity.

What this all means is that it's kind of obvious that Elly thinks that if John had drunk a tall, cool glass of shut-yer-fat-yap and let her put Mike and Lizzie into daycare at six months of age and not acted as if it was the end of everything ever if she had a real job like everyone else gets, she'd think more highly of them and they'd be better children. It matters not that Elly can no more handle disagreement than her fragile oaf husband can or that she'd feel as if she were being replaced and forgotten. What does matter is that she's lost six years of her life chasing after children who won't admit that she too has needs because she too is a person without thanks or sympathy and she can never get it back. Therefore, the need to make sure that no other person she cares about is trapped and alone and filled with resentment.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about the upcoming "Mike is EVIL because he doesn't want to admit that his room should show not one single trace of any identity that's separate from Elly's" is that we see the first appearance of a rather irritating device: a child thought-bubbling the word "GLOOM" as a means of Lynn telling the other high-handed, rigid and unsympathetic mothers of the world that yes, everything children do is just melodramatic noise meant to make WE MOMS feel bad about staying the course and saving them from themselves.

I should think that John's constant fulminations about how, CHEE!!!, when did we end up raising a princess sort of explain quite clearly what the thought processes are. As I've said before, people really don't like having to deal with a world in which they're the bad guy so they'll do pretty much anything to prevent themselves from seeing that yes, sir, it is they who are your villains. The problem that I see is that Elly, while not much actually liking the idea of disciplining her children (as her breaking down and blubbering the instant she realizes that her children resent her attests), tends to let things escalate far too quickly because of an aforementioned dread of her losing control. She can tell the kids that she hates being the bad guy until she's blue in the face but her habit of exploding in blind rage the instant she's threatened makes them see that as a lie. This means that even the most reasonable request is going to be seen as an imposition because we're dealing with someone who simply can't step outside the situation and realize how ridiculous and needless the messes she wills on herself are. Best to assume that her children walk around thought-bubbling the same "GLOOM!!" she does when she's faced with the horror of having to actually iron clothes.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, Elly seems to take it as a point of pride that she be the same inflexible, shrill, belligerent and short-tempered disciplinarian Marian seems to have been. It sort of delights her that yes, her mother is right about children and yes, she has to do things that make her feel like a monster in order to stave off the chaos Marian thought her own being a normal child testing limits heralded in. The odd thing about that is that she never read the this passage from Marian's liography:

It amuses her to see Elly setting exactly the same rules in her own home as she rebelled so vigorously against as a child. There is a special amusement in seeing her try to enforce them, especially with Michael, who is a mischievous male copy of his mother at the same age. At this point in life, with her own mortality beginning to make itself felt, Marian has come a considerable way over toward Jim's point of view. Childhood is a time for music and laughter, playfulness and fun.

Translated from gushy person into plain English, what is being said is that watching Elly do exactly the same things she did and seeing that the results are as completely ineffective and counterproductive with regards to Michael and Lizzie as they were with regards to Elly herself has finally made Marian see that her stupid screaming about how if Elly were not sat on, she'd become the same sort of petty tyrant her brutal ape father was had the revenge effect of taking what could have been a normal, happy child and turning her into the paranoid, doom-obsessed basket-case moaning about her weight, her lack of support and fighting a rear-guard action against chaos. Having realized that her attempts to save Elly made Elly into what she feared has given Marian a great deal to think about and leaves her with the hope that her child has the same realization.

This is not to be because when it comes time for Elly to watch Liz be the same sort of jerk-ass closed-minded petty tyrant, the boomer idiot will assume that tyrant parenting is the way of the world and the norm all aspire to because thinking that way is sure to please a mother whose only reason for not saying that she regretted the way she raised Elly is because she was told that it would cause her to die of confusion.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, the principal reason that Elly doesn't realize that she is an inherent difficulty to herself and those around her is that while she owns up to more flaws than John does, she can't admit that her false cause fallacy makes her life worse. As I've done before, I'll use the time Lizzie was sent to the store to get a bag of milk. As we all know, she didn't look what she was doing and the silly thing broke. We know that she was just a dumb kid who didn't mean harm but Elly does not. Mom's thought processes seem to me to go as follows.

  1. Elizabeth broke the bag of milk I sent her to get.
  2. This is an inconvenience that makes me angry.
  3. Therefore, she must have done so with the specific intent of inconveniencing me and making me angry.


followed by:

  1. Elizabeth tells me that she didn't mean to do so and isn't setting things up so that I have to do everything.
  2. If this is the case, I'm an old sorehead looking to nail myself to my cross like Dad says.
  3. I don't like the idea of me being an irrational old fool yelling at the kids for nothing because that means I'm the problem.
  4. Therefore, Lizzie must be telling a lie in order to make me feel bad about feeling right.


The reason that I mention this is that a future story arc reminds us all that Elly believes that her children deliberately get sick in order to chain her to the house. We knew going in that Elly thinks that kids play sick to make sure she doesn't get anything done because they hate her. Despite that little lesson in reality, she's still all about the minor inconvenience to herself and not so much about being there for her kids if that clashes with her need to have an identity that isn't Mommy. Mike is, of course, milking it shamelessly but we remember something Elly doesn't. We remember that he remembers that stands around braying about how awful it is to have to be around him because he's eating her happiness so he can't help but wonder if she'll be there for him when the chips are down. The annoying part to her is that his flu lasted just long enough to make sure that she missed the rest of a week of something that means something to her.

The resulting belief that her family get sick merely to make sure she drops what she likes to do so as to wait hand on foot on them because they HATE her and never want to see her do anything SHE likes seems to have been reinforced by their questionable levels of support when she was sick. As we see here, the kids have it in their heads that if she's well enough to stumble to the kitchen (despite being as sick as a dog), she's well enough to cater to them because they're too stupid to understand that she's not a God-damned robot.

Hmmm. I just thought of another inherent factor Elly doesn't want to admit to: her children are kinda clueless and haven't the blindest idea of how they're perceived nor the least glimmering of awareness that what they do and say irritates the Hell out of her. As we saw in the last one, Mike is too bloody idiotic to notice that his question is the worst possible one he could have asked. He doesn't mean to be a bloody idiot but his being so dense, light bends around him is simply a property of his that Elly needed to allow for. More on that tomorrow.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Another problem with Elly is that she doesn't realize that she herself is a problem inherent in the system. As we'll see during the length of the "Phil's engagement" arc, she has no idea that her refusal to listen to Phil's fears that he's condemning himself and Georgia to a mistake they can't get out of serve to amplify said fears any more than she can admit to herself that her non-stop whining about how unfulfilling and miserable her married life with kids is might be what put the idea in his head in the first place. Since Phil's married friends are too busy living their lives to set him straight, the poor fool went to the only person who had the time to share her teachings and it made his life worse. That being said, we could still be living in a world where he assumes that his and Georgia's relatively happy life is an anomaly because he had the worst teacher ever.

The reason that I say this is that he still has yet to realize even now that he's in his early sixties that Elly has never been what you'd call an education mother. He doesn't have the advantage of reading the strip so he has no idea that most of her life has been spent shooing the children away because she can't think straight when she has to keep track of what other people happen to be doing and can't admit that children might actually be interested in what she's doing let alone admitting that they'd like to be part of the process.  As I've said before, the poor dope doesn't seem to realize that Elly learned the wrong lesson from watching their parents parent. I can see a world in which Jim and Marian actually did try to include the kids in the process when they had the time and I can see Phil remembering that and assuming that that's what Elly is doing. Unlike him, I can see a world in which Elly came to the conclusion "Don't let children get underfoot or you'll never get anything done. Mom shooed us away and we turned out great so she must know what she's doing."

What this means is that he doesn't realize that there's never been a moment wherein Elly could communicate with her kids that she couldn't somehow or other dodge in the unswerving belief that doing so is the best thing for all concerned. On the rare occasions she does try, the kids are so unused to the idea of being able to talk to her, they don't know what to do. 
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we know, one of the interesting side effects of Connie's temporary departure from the strip is that no one is nagging Elly to get off of her rump and exercise any longer. It'll take another two years before we see strips that feature Elly wheezing for breath because she has to run the impossible distance of TWO HUNDRED YARDS!!! or me wanting to haul off and punch Mike's head clean off for mocking her. What's even more interesting is who Elly blames for her letting herself get "fat" and unmotivated: Connie. It's not her own fault for not having the stamina to get out there and get fit, it's Connie's for not nagging her.

The reason that I mention this is that the reason Mike gives for putting things off to the last minute that isn't his copying Elly's own reluctance to do and thus delaying doing things that she herself hates is that Elly didn't come in to the room and nag him about things like she's supposed to. The interesting thing about that is that, as you could probably guess and as I have mentioned before, is that Elly doesn't really want to see how much she has in common with her son when that common factor is a bad habit. You see, admitting that he learned to procrastinate, be a disorganized mess and beg the question via a fall guy from her means that not only does she have to worry about following the bad example she thinks she set as a child, she has to worry about his following the bad example she actually does set in the here and now.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The interesting thing about Friday's strip is that we have Elly try to silence Michael because she's sure that he's going to say something that would embarrass the Hell out of her only to have his neutral statement of fact be even more embarrassing when it's revealed that she has no idea who her son is or what he's going to say. This, I should think, is one of the strips that can be called "Essential Foob" as it shines a harsh light on what hampers Elly's being the loving, fair, firm and kind parent she wanted to be: her inability and-or refusal to get to know the little strangers it's impossible for her to get to know because she didn't grow up with them.

What always happens is that Elly gets angry at the child she thinks she's seeing for his doing the things she thought he did for the reasons media tells her he has. As we see from this very early example of Mike simply explaining that she's only got a vague idea of what she's doing, we get the idea that she sees a small child who's trying to tell her that he's going to get teased for having a costume that's all wrong as being a monster who hates her and wants to pick her apart because she's been programmed to believe that the least bit of disagreement means that he's trying to destroy her. Never at any point is she aware of who Michael really is or what he really wants; all she sees is a child who refuses to admit that he should only want what she wants for him. His good intentions are never seen because she can't see past not getting her own way all the time.

This is because he makes the mistake of reminding her that her own good intentions are lost behind her deeds and actions. She wants to be a kindly voice that accepts her children for who they are and doesn't fly off the handle for no reason but her short temper, persecution complex and inability to see past frustration tend to make her children see her as a petty tyrant who lives to find fault and spends her free time waiting to tyrannize the children she only had so she could have someone to hate with a clear conscience.

This means that while they can predict what she'll do in any given situation with a fair amount of success, she's always baffled (and angered even more than usual because they confused the Hell out of her) by what they do.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One of the more annoying things about the silly and counterproductive conflict as regards what the kids are going to wear to school is the fact that almost unfailingly, the kids reject the umbrellas and winter coats Elly tries to get them to wear. What generally happens is that the child in question will balk at Elly's insistence that they'll get drenched by complaining that they'll look stupid only to end up looking far stupider standing around drenched to the bone or freezing their asses off. While Elly (and Lynn) might ascribe the otherwise inexplicable phenomenon of a child getting soaked to the skin or risking frostbite as being an irrational act meant to spite their poor mother and turn their backs on all of the love in her great big heart, she, as always, loses sight of the fact that it's not personal.

Not, of course, that she especially wants to see that the very real need children have to assert their independence and not look like some candy-assed little muppet who clings to Mommy like a God-damned barnacle and lets her do her thinking for her isn't part of the bullshit, fake, no-way, impossible make-believe conspiracy to silence her and ruin her life. Just as she needs to see the first day of school as a sign that her children are growing up far too quickly (thereby making her old before her time), she needs to see signs of their becoming individuals as a complete and utter rejection of her because she's only happy when she's feeling like a miserable victim of a plot to take her voice away. If it's not personal, if it's just a normal part of growing up that isn't about hating her, she's a poor, benighted slob deliberately stirring up trouble where none exists or should exist just to feel big and important and that would be just awful.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, there's one exception to Elly's need to turn teachers into figures of pity because they have to put up with her chaos-loving monster children that proves the validity of the rule by being interpreted as an existential threat by our hero: Sharon Edwards-Taylor. It alarms, angers and saddens Elly that Liz goes to someone else with her problems when Mommy is there to fix everything. It also never seems to occur to her to understand what the appeal is because doing so would reveal her as being what Malcolm Tucker of "In the thick of it" called an omnishambles.

This is because Miss Edwards does something that Elly can never be asked to actually do: understand the situation Lizzie has to deal with. Unlike Elly and her delusion that the sibling rivalry she stupidly aggravates is abnormal, she correctly identified Mike as being a non-descript, dime-a-dozen jackass whose fragile ego can't cope with being the centre of attention, correctly identified Lizzie's obsessive need to let Anthony monopolize her free time as the cause of a petty disagreement with Dawn and even explained that the trick to things is to understand what other people want out of life. Elly, on the other hand, has the inconvenient habit of allowing her biases, wishful thinking, envy, self-pity and ignorance on a situation and always gives Liz horrible advice when she isn't shrieking about how everything happens to her or simpers about starving orphans in war zones. What this all means to her conscious mind is that if Miss Edwards is more loved, Elly can be replaced. What the evil, scary, wrong voice that tells her that from bean to cup, she [BOXCAR]s up tells her is that Liz went elsewhere because Elly is a huffy fruitcake who doesn't know what's going on and has a hair-trigger temper touched off by nothing much at all. This results in Miss Edwards being not sympathetic because she can coexist with Liz without losing her temper or treating her like a freaking monster trying to destroy her.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we're about to see, Elly tends to turn buying back-to-school clothes into a losing battle she should never have fought in the first place. This is because she looks at a butt-ugly orange jacket, thinks Lizzie will look completely cute in it and stands there wailing about how her horrible child turned her back on all the love in her poor mother's great big heart because she's not the one who has to wear the stupid thing. To Elly, it's not about the child getting teased mercilessly for wearing something hideous, it's about proving that she loves Mommy.

This, of course, is a first cousin to her need to force them or trick them into eating foods they hate because she thinks that by rejecting her mounds of swill, they're rejecting her. Unlike John (who wants them to dress a certain way because it's a reflection on him), Elly's need to make everything a referendum on how much she is or isn't loved turns the already annoying spectacle of a kid trying to explain that he or she actually has to wear the 'lovely' clothes Elly picks out and that the consequences of wearing something not cool are actually real even if they don't affect her into something far worse than a mutton-headed boomer nitwit who thinks that caring about what's hip ended forever because her children ruined her figure. It's also an opportunity for said plastic flower child to nail her stupid self to her cross.

This is why Elly, who would have unhinged her jaw and hollered about fascism if they'd tried to make HER wear a uniform back in the sixties, finds them to be a God-send. Not only can she inform April that her taste in clothes is wrong because it's not what her loving mother would pick, she can stiff-arm any irrelevant argument about the non-issue of a popularity that can't exist because she doesn't have to worry about it by pointing out that everyone dresses the same anyway. It's a win-win for a petty authoritarian too stupid to pick her battles and too in love with herself to see that not everything is about how she's perceived.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One of the strips in which we're supposed to cheer Elly on for rejecting evil technology designed to enslave busy mothers with no help and no time to themselves by evil, conflict-causing men who make things complicated so as to ruin things for poooooooor women who just want simplicity so they can be happy for once is the one in which she smugly poured cold water on one of Mike's enthusiasms by declaring that since she can do something with a flipbook, everyone everywhere should throw their computers away because she's right and they're wrong. This leads us to a fifth reason as to why Pattersons have to sat down and have it explained to them that they are so unfit to run their own lives, they have to shut their filthy mouths and run their decisions by people with the brains, decency and empathy their corrupted genes leave them wanting for: their nitwitted incapacity to judge what is and is not useful.

Of course, it's not just the devices that surround them that they do not know how to use competently or correctly. As I've said before, the reason why Mike and Liz have jobs for which they're almost criminally unfit to pursue is because Mommy wanted to be something she couldn't be and wants to live through her children. Mike impresses me as being potentially a fairly competent script reader at a television production company and Liz seems to have been designed to manage a produce section. The problem is that Elly never dreamed of adding notes to a sitcom or checking to see if the lettuce isn't wilted so those careers are clearly unfit dreams. Also, Elly never dreamed of sticking a thermometer up a cat's backside so April is a disappointment.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
I feel it only fair to warn you that we're heading towards yet another strip in which Lynn nags Aaron about his alleged ingratitude. This is because we have him respond to real, basic human being Elly's telling him that since they do him the favor of letting him freeload off of them, he should pay for his board with chores with whining that he can't wait until he's an adult and no one can make him do stuff he doesn't want to. The unspoken implication is that John and Elly don't want to raise their children but the mean old government is making them so Mike and Aaron should just deal already.

This is the sort of self-serving illogic that had Mike respond to Liz telling him that he hurt her feelings by saying that she did the same thing so has no kick coming. The problem is that in both cases, the logic stinks on ice. First off, the only reason Mike's feelings got hurt is because he got punished. Second, Elly and John should have expected some trade-offs because children are people, not things.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you might recall, Lynn cheerfully shared another alarming anecdote from her horrible childhood when she gushed with delight about being a gullible woman who's still faithful to the traumatizing and coercive lie her mother told her about how snake eggs live in cold water pipes and will lay eggs in the stomachs of little girls who drink right out of water taps. Not for Mrs Ridgway the more honorable techniques of appealing to maturity (you want to look like a grown-up, right?) or the opinion of others (you don't want people to think you were born in a barn, right?) or even authority (because I said so, THAT'S WHY!!!) so as to modify her child's behaviour. The first club out of the bag was telling an impressionable idiot who wanted to please an unyielding dope who thought that praise would ruin her child a monster under the bed story in the sure knowledge that she would be believed or else. Like most of the moron monster moms in Lileks's 'Mommy Knows Worst," the woman didn't give a brass farthing about what her scaring her child into doing things would do to her later on because the immediate results loomed larger in her mind. Not only did it help create an alcoholic (the brewing process kills the snake eggs), it left us with a woman who thinks that threatening small children and making them fear their parents so much as to not talk with them is a great idea.

It is thus that we are asked not only to cheer Elly on as she frightens her children into thinking that she's an unyielding block of absolutism whose decisions can never be questioned and who will judge everything they say in the harshest possible light (while also wondering why children she's trained to believe that she'll turn everything they say against them as proof that they're bad children who can only do wrong, hurtful things never come to her with their problems) but also think Anthony quite clever when he tells his child "This is Daddy's Special Friend Elizabeth! Respect her and forget your birth mother who is bad because she doesn't want to be chained to a worthless nice guy OR Santa will never come again." All this because a stupid woman is too stupid to realize that "honor thy mother" doesn't mean "don't question stupidity."
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, John is not the only person whose flaws are magnified by an over-reliance on the use of media archetypes. Knowing that his stupid envy of his children is made worse because of the idiot lantern is bad enough without having to remember that Elly isn't any better off. If anything, she's worse off owing to being around the kids more often. Piling media imagery on top of her default assumption that her children are little more than extensions of her will placed on this Earth to abase themselves in her name is akin to trying to put out a tire fire with kerosene in terms with the damage it did to the children.

The reason for this is that when Elly looks at her children, she's convinced that their reality of being born helpless and ignorant is unrealistic not just because she has to give up her precious free time raising them but because having them be the tiny adult joke machines would give her someone to talk to about things she's currently experiencing. Having to listen to Mike, Lizzie and April bore her with useless things like what's happening in their useless little child lives makes her feel bad because other people expect her to do something strange and care about something that she isn't experiencing. If only the kids could be made to realize that since Mommy no longer has to deal with it, it's no longer important.

That being said, it's not just her connection with her kids that got screwed over by the flickering blue parent. Most of the reason she's been a crappy friend to Connie is that she looks at a messed-up, angry and confused woman who doesn't know what she wants out of life and sees a horror freak from a day time drama having it all. Eventually, Connie had to leave town to get away from the damage her idiot gal pal did. It's like how she treated Annie like a leper because television told her that the only reason she didn't toss Steve out was because she caved. The other archetype of the matron having a club to beat a weak husband over the head with intimidated the Hell out of Elly and made her feel like a weakling and thus had to be ignored.

Finally, we have to remind ourselves that she still thinks that the reality of Farley's not being a dumb guy in a dog suit is unrealistic and unfair is that if she admits to being a loud, angry woman doing something futile and confusing, she'd have to cop to being stupid and bad and that would be bad.

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