dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

As you all know, I’ve made a lot of noise over the last decade about how Elly has it in her big, fat head that there’s this bullshit conspiracy comprised of pretty much everyone else ever dedicated to making her miserable. Children ‘insist’ on needing to be taken care of (when they should be able to shift for themselves if the world was ‘fair’) because they hate her and want to deprive her of freedom, happiness and a public identity. Husbands want their children to have a mother for the same reason. People insist on playing headache music and introducing computers and so on and so forth because the alternative is seeing her happy and carefree and for some insane, stupid reason, this is supposed to be bad.

What I tend to forget when I do that is the arrogant presumption that underpins the victimization and narcissism. As someone slightly more observant pointed out, Elly’s distinct lack of curiosity as to why people like things she doesn’t or do things in a way she would not is propelled by the default assumption that they’re too dumb to be exactly like her. The best proof of this is that hateful noise in which she mocked Mike for wasting his time on a computer because SHE could do it quicker with her damned flip book. What she loses sight of is that her inability to actually want to understand anyone makes her perhaps the stupidest person in the strip. There are so many strips that have her reeling in confusion or getting pointlessly enraged at someone because she cannot allow herself to understand that people can have a different point of view that it becomes obvious that she isn’t smart enough to know how dumb she is really.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, Lynn had no use for Mira's style of grandparenting despite it being much to be preferred to Elly's. While we saw a normal person taking the time to get to know her grandkids and allowing them to play and seek out stimulation and all of the other things that horrify Lynn, Lynn saw a domineering and ignorant monster who wanted to shackle Meredith and Robin to Deanna and deprive her of her identity and so on and so forth. Elly, on the other hand, was an ideal sitter because she never learned much about children and kept on doing the same stupid things with the grandkids she did with her own children.

It was hoped that exposure to an actual grandchild would change Lynn's tune but this seems to have been a vain hope. This is because she not only repeats old themes (children are natural enemies, parents need to escape from them, understanding their needs is surrender) but is happy to do so. This tells me that if the strip were to continue, Elly would be going out of her way to not see pressuring James Allen to use the potty is why he doesn't.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we know, the strip that was re-issued on 25 December 2013 was a rather alarming one owing to the fact that idiot Michael pointed a toy gun at Elly. This is because anyone with two clues to rub together would be terrified out of his or her mind by the concept of pointing even a toy gun at people. I think that we can all agree that one thing that the average person needs to learn is the basic principle of firearms safety that isn't "Always assume that there's a round chambered": "Never point a weapon of any sort at something or someone that you are not willing to see destroyed." This means that a sane, responsible parent should at some point explain that guns are not toys and that saying it's all just pretend is a foolish, dangerous habit. Sadly, this is not how Elly does things. Elly's idea of 'responsible' parenting is to simper "I DON'T LIKE (Insert phenomenon here)!!!" and assume "HUM!!!! I've told that offspring that I don't like this thing; therefore, he will stop doing it."

This betrays something that I've always thought inherent to Elly's character: a need to live in The World As She'd Like It To Be instead of The World As It Actually Is. She can run her mouth about how unjust it is that she has to endure the evils of living in the world that actually exists all she wants but she cannot escape the consequences of not actually living in the subjunctive tense any more than anyone else can. All she can do is whine futilely about how unfair her lot is when it's not really all that unfair at all.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Remember a couple of months ago when I was making all that high-sounding noise about how stupid Elly brainlessly robbed herself of a heaping helping of peace of mind by witlessly convincing herself that Mike HAD to be so filled with rage and hatred because of nuclear war that he'd turned his back on goodness and love and wanted to dress like a chaos-loving enemy of society punk rocker and how that would somehow inevitably lead to his getting gunned down by the police? As you'll recall, it was accompanied by more static about how his wanting his own costume meant that he hated her forever and rejected all the love from her great big broken heart? The same stupidity surfaces ten years later when college kid Mike decides to grow a beard like his good ol'Uncle Phil.

Before I remind you of how Elly reacted, let's see how a regular, normal, sane human being who actually understands how life, the universe and the business world work is going to react to the prospect of a college sophomore embracing his inner Wille Nelson. He or she would, I should think, react as follows:

What do we have here? Heh. Just another arts major going all bohemian on us to freak out Mommy and Daddy. That's fine when he's in school but he's not important enough to stand out from the crowd so he'd better cut his hair, shave and get into a business suit like the rest of the drones if he wants to play in our sandbox.

As it happens, that's exactly what does happen to him when he applies for a job in the real world. I would be fine with that were it not for the depressing and awful fact that Elly manages to turn that into some kind of victory for loving motherhood. This is because her reaction to Mike's letting his outward appearance more closely approximate the person he really is is one of sheer idiot moral panic. What makes Elly react in the terrified way she does is not that she doesn't get that Mike doesn't want to get carded everywhere he goes. What makes Elly react the way she does is that she believes the following absurd idea:

Oh, no! What has University done to him that he totally turned his back on everything good? Why is he following down the same road as that beatnik Phil? Why do people DO that? Don't they know that their pooooooooor mothers love them and don't they care that they're breaking my heart? What HAPPENED to my BAAAAAAAAAAABYYYYYYYYY????????!!!!!!!!!!

The idea that Mike is still the same unpalatable clod she goes out of her way to not understand because that gets in the way of her living through him and off of him is not one Elly can fathom. Doing so would mean facing the terrible idea that she's a superficial jerkwad who doesn't know crap-all about anything and that would be just terrible.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, Lynn and Elly's anger at being excluded from doing things that they might have enjoyed owing to their gender isn't the only childhood hang-up that continues to distort how they see the world. We must also keep in mind Elly's exaggerated fear of either being or having to care for the victim of some sort of debilitating injury. As history teaches us, every time John and the kids try getting Elly to skate or ski or do anything remotely amusing as a group, Mommy makes a whiny, fun-denying fool of herself because she never bothered learning to skate or ski because that would have involved the possibility of getting hurt.

We are, after all, dealing with someone who thinks that pain is forever so it's not hard to see that her belief that falling on her rump means that she'll be crippled for life and thus be sent away to an assisted living home for being useless to herself and everyone else is really why she fears sports. Her tendency to wring her hands and moan piteously about how evil, conflict-causing MEN want to ruin a good time by worrying about who wins is a smoke-screen meant to disguise her fear that playing hockey will inevitably lead to Michael ending up as a hopeless cripple she'll be stuck taking care of.

Well, there's that and her default hatred of any scenario in which the child DARES to set the agenda at his poooooooooooooor mother's expense. It isn't about having fun or winning trophies or making friends, it's about being a wicked, selfish, ungrateful brat dictating to an adult in defiance of all that is good and true and pure. Heh. If Mike did manage to end up with a steel plate in his head, Elly would think that he did it on purpose to mess up her life because he hates her.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Then again, it is probably asking far too much of Elly to move past her very narrow comfort zone. One of the reasons that it would probably be for the best to simply let life pass her by and serve as a buffer between her and a real world that she wants to pass her by is that she's not quite smart enough to realize that her children have John's ability to do two or more things at once. As we saw yesterday, her thought processes simply can't cope with the idea of there being more than one way to open a package and as history teaches us, she can't do her stuff AND pay attention to her children.

She also can't wrap her head around the idea of someone listening to music and doing homework because she was never able to do that. The odd thing is that Marian must have thought that Elly was more pliable than she actually is because she never quite understood that she'd accidentally raised a boomer with a one-way brain. This probably led to awkward conversations in which Marian said "Well, I never had tell you not to have the radio on, dear. You were the one who turned it off on us and yelled about not being able to hear yourself think." Another way in which Marian's inability to see just how rigid Elly had gotten is that she was always having to order the house to suit herself when Elly was away. She probably blamed the chaos on her grandchildren or son-in-law when it was obvious that Elly's inability to divide her attention like normal people resulted in her only moving the dirt around.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Picture, if you will, the humble jewel case for a compact disc. As we all know, it's quite obviously a hinged box that has to be opened like any other hinged box. Those of us who still have compact disks will probably tell mildly bored children that when we were their age, we used to slide something called a record out of a protective cover called a sleeve and put in on the sort of turntables deadmau5 uses. It would be the height of stupidity to assume that since the content of a container is a music disk that you still have to slide the thing open. The reason that I mention this is that as we see here, Elly is stupid enough and foolish enough to do just that despite having it explained to her that a hinged box is a hinged box because she still thinks in terms of sliding a phonographic record out of its jacket and thinks people are making it difficult to slide the CD thing out of its case like you're supposed to in order to make a fool of her.

This self-centered belief that the only reason people constantly change the way things are done is so that they can laugh at her for not keeping up seems to have its basis in a default negativity that fears being hurt or humiliated. Just as her angry, panicky, ignorant belief that Mike only wanted to dress up as a maker of scary headache music that had to be a threat to her personal because it confused her is her way of saying no to his thinking for herself and no to finding out what's actually going on because ignorance felt better, her fear of being made a fool of comes from her saying no to having to do things she isn't interested in. She would far rather hold her family back and dominate the conversation than scare herself by becoming part of a world where she's just a voice in a chorus.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we've seen, Elly has made her own life worse than it could by by believing in monsters and doomsday scenarios. Anything fun or risky or exciting is forbidden because a chicken-hearted imbecile would have to pass between the Scylla of doing something that terrifies her and the Charybdis of being mocked for worrying about nothing. The strip in which she gets pissed off at a toddler for not loving Mommy's derivative and unimaginative idea of what she should look like hints at another thing that makes Elly's life less enjoyable than it should be: her lack of curiosity and imagination.

It seems to me that this is another occasion in which Elly's fear of the outside world make things worse for herself. Just as all she really knows about Boy George is that he makes music that terrifies her because it's not familiar and thus not safe, all she really knows about video arcades and punk music comes from alarmist sources that confirm her fear that the world is coming to an end. Best not to do anything new and scary lest she invite either the chaos her conscious mind fears or being laughed at for being a dimwitted old stick-in-the-mud who's too stupid and cowardly to keep up with the times that her subconscious mind fears.

It's also best to ignore the fact that her children are the ones who have to pay the price for her lack of anything like a spine. She might think that she's thought of as an exemplar of common sense in a world that's spinning out of control but my gut tells me that her time being described as "that nut with the sandwich board" is not the first time she's been thought of as a panicky ignoramus screaming about something that she knows nothing about. The end result is that her children have things worse because they have to absorb grief when she goes on another battle to the death with windmills.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I said yesterday, the real reason that Elly randomly decided to make a very broad subsection of humanity into caricatures is that she doesn't have much in the way of patience or empathy. As by way of example, she simply had to assume that the people who wanted to build the new arena had the worst possible motives because she's not good at sports, people who are good at sports were dismissive of her ill-informed beefing and because she assumes that everyone has the same poorly-hidden desire to smash things in blind frustration she has. Thus did a group of people with an edifice complex sick with the desire to tear down the old so as to glorify themselves by taking credit for the new become transformed into club-swinging Morlocks come to destroy the civilization that only inspires fear, confusion and jealousy in their brutish brains. Thus also did prehensile boosters seeking immortality gain an opponent fighting the wrong irritant and making an idiot of herself to boot.

This is because what Elly never realized is that she herself is seen as a caricature. We know from watching her in action that she honestly sees herself as being the only person who cares about the direction in which things are going. We also know that she's seen as being a dangerously ill-informed meddler who wants to stand in the way of progress because she hasn't got the facts at hand and wouldn't listen anyway. The reason that this resonates with me is that I remember that any number of useful projects that would have created jobs and made people's lives better died a-borning because some dumbass housefrau in stretch pants wailed piteously about her children's safety and well-being and not, as cynics might say, about her precious property value. This makes me more inclined to be on the side of the people who want to raze the clapped-out old barn of a town hall in order to improve the lives of the real protagonists of the human drama. As "Life After People" shows us, it's the people who build things and maintain the things they build who are the real stars of the human endeavor. You and I and dim-brained housewives who think that children want to dress as punk rockers because they're filled with rage are simply extras. The difference between me and an Elly is that I don't mind my tax money being used to improve and maintain the sewage system.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I said yesterday, it irritates me to be told that explaining what's wrong with Foob is the act of a heartless cynic who lives a miserable life because he cannot experience joy and wishes to deprive everyone else of that sensation is that a close-in look clearly shows us that the Foobiverse is one of the most cynical places in fiction.

The image that should solidify that in people's minds appeared in the strip for 28 January 2007. As we all know, we were dealing with the first stage of the Housening and Elly did not like it one bit. Granted, there was a lot not to like. First off, Mike was sitting on his ass turning down apartment after apartment because he thought that the fire was a sign that leaving home was a horrible mistake while feeding Deanna pure-D bullshit about how none of them were as affordable or as nice as Lovey's Death-Trap of Delight. Meanwhile, Deanna was agreeing with him because she realized that taking over the Pattermanse and turfing John, Elly and possibly April would drive her mother bonkers. Third, Lizardbreath was holed up on her deathbed in the fetal position because she'd been mauled by an evil outside world that was scary and wrong because she actually had to deal with the real-life consequences of acting like a sitcom idiot. Finally, everyone was treating April as if she were a piece of furniture no one knew what to do with because treating her like a human being would mean that their behavior left a lot to be desired.

Sadly, Elly didn't give a fart in a high wind for any of that. Instead of being pissed off at watching the chickens coming home to roost and gasp in horror because their model train layout was being threatened, Elly wanted what she always wanted: to do stupid, short-sighted and self-aggrandizing things that sane people would tell her would backfire on her in the most horrible way possible and not have to deal with the inevitable results. John made the foolish decision to interrupt her furious grumbling about how children she raised to share her own utter lack of concern with the needs of others as if she were one of the others whose right must be trampled on by offering a remedy that doesn't involve Elly having her cake and eating it too only to bear witness to her standing there in her driveway bellowing "NO!!!!!!" like a spoiled toddler being told she can't just take things just because she waaaaaaannnnnnnnts them. The thing is that she's not just saying no to the immediate suggestion that she should take John's car. Elly is also saying no to thinking ahead, dealing realistically with the consequences of her actions, learning from her mistakes, admitting that she isn't the axis around which the world rotates and so on and so forth.

This, I should think, is because Elly became a jaded idiot at an early age because she confused being a bitter fool who rejected the world out of fear that it would hurt or disappoint her with being wise. I should think that this sort of thinking first started taking hold when she was in her middle teens and she needed a way to explain why her crush on a boy who saw her as a clingy irritant collapsed. Since it hurt too much to admit that she didn't know who the fellow really was and should maybe figure out what people are in to before committing herself, she came to the idiotic conclusion that people who told her things she didn't want to hear were bad people and those whose needs conflicted with her own were part of a vast conspiracy to ruin her and expose her to a very public humiliation. She might think that being "realistic" makes her smart but her idea of reality is really not that realistic.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As I type this, I'm doing to in the realization that we're all hip-deep in Lynn's latest Heav-EE Message about how evil, conflict-causing and loving MEN are corrupting our babies with the horrible idea that war is a great big game. As I said the last time I talked about this, Lynn's attempts to make Michael look like an innocent child unaware of the horrors of war ended up making him look like a God-damned ghoul having a carnage-induced hormone attack owing to her sloppy execution and inability to write from anyone's perspective but her own.

Given that Elly had kittens because one of her relatives once sent Mike a toy gun, what we're probably dealing with is the main character being a stand-in for what I should think is Lynn's belief that if we could explain war to children in the right way, all the violence in the world would suddenly vanish and busy mothers with no help and no time to themselves would at least not have to cope with children wanting to clobber one another out of boredom and frustration. A pleasant thought to be sure but one that collides with the reality that Elly and John themselves are the primary source of violent ideation in the house. It seems to serve no useful good to screen what children see on television or what toys they get to play with if Elly still threatens to knock Mike into next week for trying to siphon away her essence by asking if she loves him.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
I realize that I might get myself in a boatload of trouble for saying this but I think that taking Lizzie to the airport was an amazingly foolhardy and stupid thing for Elly to have done. While she clearly seems to have thought that it would be like waiting for Mike to get off of a school bus of an autumn afternoon, a normal person of average intelligence could have readily foreseen that Lizzie would have a hard time keeping up with Elly or hearing anything. A normal person would also have made sure to do what Elly never seems to be willing to do and pay attention to her surroundings. What we got instead is Elly mindlessly running her stupid mouth like always, proceeding to get separated because she's too big and important to know what's going on around her or look at the world through a child's eyes and ending up relying on other people to watch out for her children.

This would be bad enough were it not for the fact that dimwitted Elly blamed Lizzie for her own ineptitude. It wasn't that an irresponsible dullard made a very bad decision because she didn't know what she was doing or where she was. It was that Lizzie ran away from Mommy to scare her and embarrass her and make all the other grown-ups think that Mommy was a reckless imbecile who was too lazy and dumb and messed-up to leave her child with a sitter like a person with a functioning fricking brain.

Worse still, Elly also doesn't do anything unfair and cruel like learn from her mistakes because she's too blasted stupid to realize and remember what mistakes she's made. As we know, this damned near killed April stone dead. As it was at the airport, Elly was too damned busy running her mouth and avoiding doing the thing evil, conflict-causing, chaos-loving, fulfillment-devouring strangers who clearly don't want her to have any time to herself ever because they hate her call "paying attention to what's going on around her." As it was at the airport, a small child got herself into trouble because she was unsupervised and thought as a four-year old. Also, the child is totally to blame because her mother is an imbecile who thinks that foreseeing disaster is futile and also a means of depriving her of her freedom.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
For all of my talking about how stupid John and Elly are for not exploring the option of sending Mike down to the Boys' and Girls' Club for the summer and saving themselves a crap-load of money, it seems to me that it might be a good thing that they did no such thing. That's because I lost sight of two very important things. The first is that Lynn never did this and since she can't write about anything she never experienced, suggesting that she do so would lead to a baffling mess that demonstrates how little she knows of the world and how much she relies on television to teach her. As by way of example, we have to contend with the fact that the summer camp arc seems to have been ripped directly from old sitcoms and bad TV movies so it's very likely that sending Mike down to one of these would be a kiddy-grade version of the Elly-does-macramé arc in which he "accidentally" creates things designed specifically to outrage and horrify Elly because CHAOS!!!!

The second fact I should have kept in mind is that even when Lynn has experienced something, she draws all the wrong conclusions. The same person who thinks that people who claim to get ahead because they're willing to buckle down and do things that they hate must be cheating and must envy her for her doing a lot of crappy work she's too lazy to review would probably have invited us to take part in another war on straw. This means that not only would nine year old Michael deliberately outrage Elly because he hates her and wants her to be chained to the stove and whatever the Hell lies she tells herself to protect herself from seeing that he has to live in Milborough too, we'd also see a poorly-researched ad hominem attack on modern thinking about children and the arts. Perhaps the horrible woman who didn't realize that the point of totally-not-forcing a only-reluctant-because-she-wanted-to-ruin-Elly's-image Lizzie to participate in an Easter parade she would have gladly took part in if she didn't live to make Elly look bad is to make Elly look competent would be the go-to person encouraging Mike to think of new ways to ruin Elly's reputation.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
You will no doubt have latched right on to something I find to be truly absurd about this whole blasted thing: the belief Elly has that Mike can force her to quit work in the first place. As we saw right before John came up with his brilliant way of reminding Michael that his presence is optional so he should keep his opinions to himself, Elly clearly believes that Michael can somehow or other make her give up the job she needs to feel like she matters in this world. For reasons that I'm about to get into in a little while, this makes a certain amount of sense because Elly has things mixed up in her head. Take, as a for instance, her deciding to wear shorts on a hot day; she isn't harming anyone, she has every right to wear what she wants and if a beady-eyed, sullen dullard teenager doesn't like the look of their mother wearing them, Michael can God-damned well burn in Hell because it isn't any of his business and he ain't got any freaking right to make it his business. Instead of standing her ground and telling her lumpish oaf to stick his mockery up where the plot to Stone Season came from, Elly gives way when she doesn't damned well need to. Just as she should have told him that her keeping her part-time job was strictly non-negotiable and finding a solution that didn't involve his being home alone or stuck with the Nichols or telling him flat-out that she isn't going to let the old town hall get leveled just because other scruffy little idiot children are teasing him about something they too are too God-damned stupid, oblvious and ignorant to understand, she should have told him that he ain't the one that feels like he's melting in his own fat so should shut his fat trap.

What Elly needed to learn is that no one can make her feel guilty enough to give up on something she loves without her express permission. There's room for accommodating a child's needs, desires and opinions and then there's the very stupid thing Elly does and letting her need to not feel guilty make her act like an imbecile. Too bad that that would mean trying to figure out who these people she happens to find herself living with are, what they want and how best to give them what they need. Better to treat them like all the other scary strangers in the world who are out to get her because that's the deal with people she doesn't know; it saves time.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
One of the things that I do like about the strip is that it presents us with real world phenomena that most people can identify with. The example that comes most readily to mind is the fact that Elly tends towards being camera-shy. Like a lot of people, she doesn't really like to have her picture taken.

Like said people, Elly is also a very reluctant, uncomfortable public speaker. Back when she was trying to save the world from evil athletes and their evil plan to visit genocide on the arts community and totally not witlessly sabotage an effort to revitalize the economy out of ignorant, pea-brained malice, she was so ill-at-ease with speaking out loud to people she couldn't intimidate,  she sounded very much like the ill-informed, poorly-educated and not very intelligent woman she actually is.

This, I think, is why it is that Elly tends to avoid cameras; she has a certain image of who she is and tells herself that cameras always lie. Instead of the poor, put-upon figure whose strivings towards excellence are being frustrated by her unappreciative family she sees herself as, the camera shows her a shrill nitwit who would have trouble passing Grade Three math and who yells her fool head off about nothing.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Elly's not really understanding what is going on around her, why it happens and what the people involved really think not only affected her life when she started working at the library; it also affected how she reacted to being downsized. We know that Monique and Susan didn't like that they were given no choice but to let her go because they knew how much she had invested in her job. This is because the librarians regard Elly as a sort of pet whom they have to throw a bone because she hasn't got much else going for her. Nineteen years after the fact, the two of them still feel awful at having to disappoint this eager, desperate housewife who's so happy to be needed. Not, of course, that Elly understands this in the least. This is a woman who still doesn't understand that Mrs Walsh couldn't actually pay her anything so trying to get her to understand that it wasn't personal just isn't going to fly. All she knew is that for some reason, the people at the library said "So long and don't let the doorknob hit you on the arse on your way out, HOUSEWIFE!!"

This is another occasion in which Elly's stupidity, oblviousness and paranoia made her life worse. As Connie tried to explain to her, she probably should have seen the cuts coming because that was the way things were trending. This was a very foolish thing to do because Elly simply cannot see what's in front of her nor can she anticipate things. What Elly took away from all of this is that she was fired from a job she needed without any warning whatsoever despite it being somewhat clear that the Harris Tories were making people do more with less everywhere else. Since the "phonies" at the library didn't warn her of the bleeding obvious and since they didn't do enough to make sure that she had her little job, Elly never bothered going to the library again because that's where bad people who pretend to like her laugh at her suffering. It would be instructive to see what would happen if she were to encounter Susan in the here and now. My guess is that just as stupid Elly stupidly told Annie that the reason that she shunned her like a leper is that she was stupid and useless enough to think that Annie forgave Steve, stupid Elly would finally get it through her thick skull that Sue and Monique would have gladly recommended her to Mrs Petrucci because they know how much she hates being a wife and mother.  
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Now that I've reminded you all that Lynn likes to use special occasions as a means of telling her family how much they've angered and disappointed her, let's get back to why Elly seems to never understand what is really happening in any given situation. I've already rehashed my earlier article about how she tends to not understand what people are doing as well as my blog entry about why she can't seem to understand why people do what they do. This comes into play next week when she doesn't understand that it's not that Mike objects to her working in and of itself but how he ends up the loser in the situation. If she could have found him something to do to pass the time that he liked, he wouldn't object so much to the problem. Sadly, all she hears (and all she wants to hear) is that he doesn't like it when she goes to work. Just as Lizzie's Mystery Illness iis actually about how hard Elly has it, Mike's fear that he'll lose status is really his being a selfish monster who wants his poor mother to dust mittens, bake armchairs and knit cookies because children are evil monsters.

Simply put, just as Elly never really seems to understand what's really happening around her or what's going on in the lives of the people she knows, she is usually way off base as to what people are actually thinking. As by way of example, let's look at this rather depressing blast from the past. As we see here, the poor fool's need to be reassured that Elly actually likes having him around runs right into her need to be angry that he won't give her time to herself. Given that her reaction is one of existential horror, what clearly seems to be happening is that she goes from thinking"Rassen-frassen KID doesn't want to give me time to myself!! MARGO BOXCAR SATURN!!" to "Rassen-frassen KID wants to make me feel guilty about wanting time to myself!!" At no point is the idea that Michael isn't trying to destroy her and chain her to a stove because he's evil and loves CHAOS!!!! considered because she simply can't imagine why an insecure child would want attention unless it's a way to make her own life worse and deprive her of any independent identity.

That being said, it isn't just her need to make villains out of people that keeps her from understanding what other people are really after. The same woman who can make a big, ugly fool of herself looking down Evil Career Woman's nose because she thinks that her choice to do something practical with her baby shower means that she wants to turn THAT CHILD into merchandise or some such nonsense trusts a lot of people that she shouldn't because she has no idea what they're thinking. To this day, she still can't quite make herself understand that Kortney is a lying thief who only pretended to respect her, can't see what an awful human being Greg Thomas is and has no idea what a disgusting pile of crap the Nice Guy™ she maneuvered Lizzie into marrying is. A smarter, more aware person would be able to tell shit from Shinola but that's more than Elly can do. Since she tends to assume that what she thinks they're thinking is what people are actually thinking, she condemns the relatively innocent while fawning over the repulsive in smug self-righteousness. 
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Now as I said yesterday, Connie does not want Elly to be too close to Anne Nichols for fear that Elly will realize that she has more in common with the fatter know-nothing know-it-all than she has with her. Since that would lead to Connie no longer being Elly's bestest best friend, she had to find some way to convince Flapandhonk that Anne was the wrong sort and she did it by playing to her prejudices and fears. Of course, she had an advantage in that Elly is dumber than a bag of hammers. This stupidity of hers tends to make her life worse because it's accompanied by raging paranoia. As by way of example, let's talk about the time when Mrs Walsh tried sugar-coating the statement "I'd like to pay you for your column but I just don't have the money." Elly was too blasted dumb to understand this and move forward with her life. Time and again, Elly makes things worse because she's too dim to know what's happening around her and substitutes the concept "Whatever the kids are doing, it has to be a bad thing aimed at ruining my life!!" for actual awareness.

Of course, being an imbecile propelled by the belief that everyone wants to destroy her because they hate her is not the only thing Connie can exploit. Elly's love for stupid solutions also comes into play. As by way of example, let's remind ourselves of what happened when Elly finally figured out how April was able to defeat the latch to that back gate. Simply put, Tweedle-Dee The Wonder Dummy forgot that April was three and didn't tell her "Ask Mommy or Daddy or Mommy's Friend Girl Skeletor if you can leave the yard." Anyone with two clues to rub together would see that that would be a problem.

Sadly, Elly hasn't got two clues and can't see warning signs that are glaringly obvious. She can be told time and again that there's something that she needs to pay attention to but since she's a lazy woman and since that would get in the way of doing what she wants to do, simply blows off said unfair advice until it's too damned late. Worse still, she doesn't see the obvious when it's staring her in the face and when the worse happens, comes to a ridiculous conclusion.

This tells me that it was easy peasy for Connie to allude to the fact that Annie just plain forgave Steve because Elly's stupid enough to believe it, paranoid enough for that to fit her preconceptions that everyone is trying to keep women down, lazy enough not to check and crazy enough to draw an irrational conclusion from the unvarnished truth. All she needed to do was made an imbecile think that she's smart.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
I'd like to direct your attention to something else just for a second so that I can use it to point out another reason why Michael is doomed to fail. Remember how the Pattersons took Farley to obedience school? Remember how they clearly blew off the instructor's advice that they needed to keep on reinforcing what he taught them instead of acting like total idiots and assuming that since he passed, they could go back to ignoring him because that's the perfect way for him to slide back into his bad habits? Since we didn't even see the person say this, it seems fairly obvious that the poor creature is thought of as being unteachable because his owners are morons who cannot understand that mastering something doesn't mean that you can quit doing it. Mastering something means that you have to keep on practicing so your skills do not atrophy.

Not, of course, that skills maintenance is the only reason to keep in practice. As an example, the need to become a better trumpet player that spurs Phil on to keep tootling away and making poor Elly's life miserable. Unlike his stupid, lazy older sister and her belief that once she learns something, she doesn't need to improve herself, Phil is in competition with the man he was yesterday and he doesn't want to lose to that guy. He's got way too much pride in himself to ever let that happen. Since Elly doesn't and can't understand that because she has no pride in herself and simply wants to throw her hands up in despair and yell about unfairness when the going gets rough, she ascribes his need to succeed to wanting to torment her.

That being said, the crippling self-hatred and fear of failure that makes her moan about how people expect too much of her is not the only reason that practice makes her feel persecuted. We also have to remember there's a defiant six year old kid inside her that resents being told what to do. When we combine a stubborn hatred of being told that she has to do things that are boring and hard like everyone else with a fear that she can never actually do so, we end up with a poor student who drifted through her life thinking that once she'd managed to do her evil teachers the favor of pretending that she cared about their boring mush, she could stop learning things. To her, Phil's incessant playing of bees and bops and encouraging Mike to follow his path means that learning just keeps goes on and on and that's just not faaaaaaaaaaaaair!!!! Fortunately for her, though, she growled and berated and threatened and demeaned her way into getting the scales to balance and now Michael has the right attitude: things that take effort to accomplish are worthless because one has to endure pain at some point in the process. Better to be happy and never do anything.

What this all means is that as I type this, she's probably howling in anger because the April of 2013 has the evil, selfish habit of not listening to sensible people like Eva Warzone and Uncle Hayseed McTurniptruck out at Exile Farm who tell the child what she needs to hear, she listens to awful people like Phil who tell her crazy things about how she should have enough pride in herself to not settle for mediocrity and suburban ennui.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
As we've seen, Elly only ever thinks that Phil is a good trumpet player when she doesn't have to hear it. To her way of thinking, trumpet playing is a vast waste of time that keeps Phil from doing what he's supposed to be doing to be respectable: being a miserable old grouch who plugs away at a job he both hates and sucks at and coming home to a tedious, depressing and awful home life that drains away the scary, evil feeling of actually accomplishing anything. She, of course, lacks the self-awareness to realize that she deliberately makes herself miserable because despite her non-stop ranting about wanting to be happy, real happiness secretly terrifies the Hell out of her.

This leads me directly to my point: her fear of admitting that people aren't doing things for the sole purpose of aggravating her because they hate her and love to see her suffer. Since Elly makes a point of not deriving the least bit of pleasure from her life lest she be seen as immature and foolish, she assumes that any bit of happiness that other people have is their way of sticking it to her. This means that if Michael were to do something he liked or grow to like something, he's doing it to torment her because he can't bear to see her happy.

We must also remember that she tends to regard any activity that doesn't somehow keep her from having to do housework or be a parent, force her to admit that Phil is more respected because he isn't a whiny defeatist or make her look like a big shot as being an evil that cannot be tolerated. If Mike doesn't want to spend his childhood being Lizzie's primary (if not sole) caregiver, he's a selfish, ungrateful brat who'd rather waste his time on some pointless, anti-mother irrelevance called "enjoying the only childhood he's ever going to have" than paying his poooor, put-upon parents back for not throwing him out into a snowbank. If Mike wants to play hockey, it's not because he likes it and wants to have friends, it's because he wants to torment Elly by forcing her to sit in a freezing cold rink. If Mike wants to play the trumpet, it's because he wants to become a bum instead of, you guessed it, wants to not pay his poor parents back for having to waste money feeding, clothing and housing him simply because they brought him into the world.

Finally, we have to remember that she's got it in her head that if a person isn't instantly good at anything, he's a failure who must quit at once. The idea of having to actually struggle to succeed horrifies her because it means that she can't wallow in self-pity and wonder why the world is unfair. Better to teach her offsprings to envy those with the will to dare and to do and call them selfish and arrogant than to admit that she's a bone-idle defeatist who wants to spite people by never even trying. Combine that with threatening to take what little privileges they have for not practicing and they'll grow to think of everything you hate as something awful and hard that they never want to do again.

The end result of all of this is that we have Michael spinning his wheels and thinking that he's fulfilling his own dreams and ambitions when he's actually more or less a ventriloquist's dummy having the literary career Elly lacked the courage and tenacity to have. The world was robbed of a man who could actually do something useful that he loved so that a gutless, selfish non-entity who could live her failed dreams through him as well as settle an old score with someone who won their childhood despite her being older and thus having more rights. In her eyes, this constitutes success because her own failings as a person and vindictive stupidity have been validated. It's like how constantly rubbing in the fact that she has better things to do than to protect Lizzie has created a passive, apathetic drone who'll marry who Mommy wants her to. Even better for Elly, Mike hates music and Liz wonders what she ever saw in figure skating.

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