dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
You'll have noticed over the last decade or so that I'm rather fond of pointing out that April has gone out of her way to misread her frienemy Becky because she looks at a lucky one-hit wonder who wonders why her pal hates her and sees a big celebrity monster trying to crush her and the other idiots in that damned garage band with her star power so she can laugh at their carcasses. This is because the Martian is what TV Tropes refers to as being 'wrong genre savvy'. She and her creator think of themselves as being the protagonists in some sort of Karate Kid kind of thing wherein the plucky underdog has to fight back against a bully who wins all the time when it's just two dumb teenyboppers engaging in a tiresome rivalry because they can't admit that they're functionally the same person. (This, it should be noted, is the same narrative engine that drives the Dork Diaries series.)

The reason that I mention this is that it's really terribly obvious that April sees Mira not as she is (which is to say "a fatter, louder version of her mother") but as a soap opera monster plotting the family's destruction because Elly let television raise her. We know that the Pattersons go out of their way to try to shut the woman out because we know that Elly doesn't want to admit that she and Mira are the same person. We also know that Elly loves how Deanna seems to hang off of her every word and is willing to do anything for her. We know that because of this, Elly wants to live in a world wherein Mira grovels pathetically and agrees that she was wrong to ever want anything from the Pattersons and to go away and not interfere with Deanna because that's wrong. We also know that April is too dense to question this because she sees the loud voice insisting on standing up for itself and sees the family as being under attack by a monster who wants to do to them what they do to other people.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Before I get to other characters who speak to Lynn only to say things that she doesn't want to hear, I'd like to talk about stories that she never really told. As we all remember, she made big promises for the new-runs that she never delivered on such as telling the real story of the Sobinski's move to Burlington. We can well imagine the horrible wailing about wanting to make herself happy and the horrible snarkertrolls who hate her and want to hurt her because that's what she thinks when she's told that she can't be awarded top marks for incomplete work that contradicts itself when she was told that she not only moved Deanna away in the stupidest manner possible, she'd done it too early.

Now, if someone competent who had enough pride to do it properly were to have handled the story, they would have made it quite clear that Mira is a different sort of sordid joke character: the domineering twit social climber who let her absurd chase for status and respectability break her relationship with her older daughter and bend it with the younger. The woman of the here and now probably looks back on her past with the same regret Lovey Saltzmann does owing to her prodding and pushing having no more results that children who don't trust her and peace of mind and happiness sacrificed on the heathen altar of social standing.

Said better, more patient author would also make it quite clear that Deanna is still too busy being mad at having to jump through hoops because of her mother's very real fear of being laughed at and referred to by any of the English language's fine ethnic slurs directed at Eastern Europeans to see her mother not as a monster trying to devour everything in sight but as fleeing a larger predator. This testy withholding of empathy would probably color how she explained her past to her children and how her finally forgiving Mike for letting the Guys influence his behavior was delayed fifteen years because her mother stepped all over a relationship being a big shot and ruining her health and everyone else's lives chasing an evil distracting star that kept her from the good life of being the happy wife of a humble tradesman.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, any sort of honest biography of Deanna would probably point out something Deedoormat is at pains to ignore. Said unwelcome thought that she doesn't want to cross her mind is that Mira and Elly vary in degree and not in kind. Elly wants to do much the same things as Mira does and is only stopped by an absence of what the British call 'moral fibre' and what I call force of will. We have the same general need to think of her children as still reliant on her guidance, the same prickly refusal to listen to the terrible, character-building phrase "Oh, shut up, Mom!" and the same general disdain for the idea that she's being a pain in the ass.

What this means is that instead of thinking that heroic Elly suffering from the depredations of pushy ethnic monster Mira, most people assume that the only reason Elly and Mira aren't friends is that Mira doesn't give Elly what she wants (total domination of the conversation) when she wants it but instead subjects Elly to being pushed around for a change. While the more reflective will point out that neither woman is quite capable of realizing this and will learn nothing from it, it is nice to see Elly getting a steaming-hot plate of karma in her lap. The odd thing that will be commented on is the fact that even if they weren't in-laws, the two of them are too similar to co-exist for very long. At some point, heads are going to butt.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One of the more amusing elements of the Settlepocalypse is that the sole contribution Elly made to the wedding itself was to predict glorious happiness because Anthony's step-mother defers to her at every turning and allows her her proper place as the dominant person in Liz and Anthony's lives. Clarice Caine isn't going to be some pushy ethnic wanting to enslave anyone in her family politics and show up where she should know she isn't wanted and question anything a Patterson might do. She also isn't going to lose her temper and be a monster of wounded pride when someone dares to speak to her in a way in which she isn't accustomed and make a horrible, hateful comment about how she's a meddling old hen who should finally shut up and quit making everything about herself.

If this sounds like something I've said before, it's not really a surprise. That's because Elly is also a vain halfwit who likes getting her own way all the time, doesn't react well to the insinuation that she's a meddling old bat who's only doing things to further her own agenda and damn the cost to everyone else and also likes to cry piteously about how no one listens to her advice that isn't totally freaking worthless. Putting two old women of bad character who have an overweening need to shout and whine everyone into compliance is just asking for trouble and trouble is what's got. The situation that it most reminds me of is something that will be made clear in the current reload of the Archie mythos. We're about to be reminded that the reason why it is Daddy's Little Fixer hates the budding Macchivel with the burger addiction like fire is that they see in one another a powerful rival that might hinder a long-term plan. More on that and the rest of the new-old Riverdale gang in the next few days.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
What people sometimes forget when they remember the long-term campaign to tell Mira that her help is unwelcome because only Elly gets to hand Mike and Deanna things on a tray because she's the best person ever and Mira is simply a pushy ethnic who forgets her place (which, of course, is joining Deanna in heaping uncritical praise on the Delicate Genius and admitting that it's a miracle Deanna turned out so well because she's a bad person who did everything wrong because she did not slavishly emulate Saint Elly) is that at one point, Deanna simpered about the fact that Mira's mind was starting to go on her because of her having pretty much the same piss-poor eating habits as the Patterswine.

It seems to me that if Lynn had bothered pursuing the issue instead of simply using at as yet another reminder why Mira should be publicly horsewhipped for 'castrating' Wilf and disrespecting her not at all useless dick of a son in law who should never be thought of as being as useful as teats on a bull, we could have had Doctor Elly come along and tell April a whole bunch of ill-informed bullshit about Alzheimer's Syndrome. The end result would be that Mike and Deanna would be enjoying being the centerpieces of a Canadian content version of the long-term mess in Crankshaft where the main character's son-in-law Jeff became a sort of lightning rod for hatred because his wrinkled-up old prune of a mother resisted being reminded that she simply was too old to function on her own any longer. What would happen is that Deanna would propose, Mike would dispose and Mira would suppose that the monster her poor child married is trying to put her out to pasture because he thinks he's better than she is. Also, no one who isn't an ignorant Martian who doesn't know how the world works would question Deanna's need to use her sucker husband as her meat shield.

The reason that I mention this is that while it seems as clear as Hell that Katie and Lane seem to be equal partners in what looks like a campaign to protect Lynn from herself, Lane seems to be the person Lynn blames for what she sees as an attempt to stick her on a damned ice floe because she doesn't see herself as needing help either.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you might have guessed, I think that one of the telling moments in the lead-up to the Settlepocalypse was when Elly told Connie that her primary reason for preferring Clarice Caine to Mira Sobinski is that unlike a certain domineering monster who wants to enslave the Pattersons with her family politics, Anthony's mother has the decency to be cowed by the Sainted Martyr Flapandhonk.

What this tells me is that when Elly and the others make their asinine comments about family politics, it's obvious as anything that Elly is still burning with resentment because Mira behaved as if she were somehow or other able to tell them all what to do. This is a no-no when interacting with Patterswine because they hate the idea of not being given final say over how does what, cultural norms be damned. It doesn't matter to Elly that the mother of the bride is generally recognized as being the ones calling the shots because she can't take being told what to do by anyone. It's a reminder that she doesn't have a clue what to do and she hates the reminder that she's a dithering imbecile.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
When I read the real last strip of the annoying Elly versus the Evil Arcade Arc, I ended up getting reminded of something Deanna said in her "please, PLEASE, PLEASE fear and hate my mother" letter:

I had to dress perfectly, act perfectly, have the "right" friends, and go to the "right" things. I took ballet and figure skating because mom wanted me to. They were "right" and beautiful and she wanted to tell people her daughter was a figure skater, or studying dance. It sounded good on her resume. I went to a different high school than my friends did, because mom wanted me to meet the right people. I remember bringing a girl home from the neighborhood we lived in and mom wouldn't let her in the house because she was from a poor family. From my point of view, she was clean, friendly, well mannered and fun to be with. Her family lived in the basement of a house two blocks down from us in a neighborhood a little older than ours, but not much different.

The reason that I'm reminded of this tendency Mira had to micromanage her children's lives for what she believed to be their own good is that she's depicted as being pure evil in those awful, awful bright colours pushy Ethnics like her like to wear because she's better at doing what Elly tried to do. Well, there's that and her evilly working towards a goal instead of passively waiting for miracles to drop things in her lap. You and I might think that her clear belief that she's got to work twice as hard to be thought of half as good as lazy, entitled idiots like that crazy dentist and his shrill nitwit of a wife who don't have the decency to acknowledge how doors just happen to open for them because they're WASPs makes her more tolerable company than the boring zombies we're expected to cheer on but that makes us evil too.

It's having to deal with idiocy like this that makes it seem to me that while Mike and Deanna fear and hate Mira because of the unspoken fear that she might after all be right, Elly hates her because she's better at making her children live the way she wanted them to. My guess is that Elly bitterly envies the way Mira was able to keep her children away from the 'wrong' sort. The problem is that where they part company is defining exactly what the wrong sort of person is. While it's fairly obvious that the porkier, more religious interfering idiot seems to have been oversold on the idea of equating "looks good on an application form" to "being morally good", Elly's criterion for unacceptability seems to relate directly to somehow 'ruining' her children's lives. Said 'ruin' seems to take the form of not seeing any real problem with profanity, bright colours, sex for something aside from outnumbering purposes, competitive sports and other things that terrify Elly because of the awful implication that this life is worth living. Instead of admitting that the people she looks down on know how to live, she whines about 'bad' influences and 'broken' homes.

Her whining about how Gordon was a bad influence because, as a child with poor grades, he HAD to come from a bad family seems thus to have been a trial run for stepping on Mike's on-again, off-again relationship with Martha because the girl threatened her by having the body and language she didn't. It didn't matter much to Ol'Flapandhonk that the little red-headed girl's folks were more opposed to her hooking up with Mike than vice versa, Martha was somehow a threat to Michael's future because she represented a life wherein sex was not thought of as a scary obligation that led to the heartache of raising ungrateful children.

Hmmmm. I just realized something else that might make Elly hate Mira. Remember how I said that Mira equates 'having a steady income' with 'being morally good'? Also, remember the arc in which she flat-out said that Deanna had stupidly married far beneath herself? Elly might remember this and be angered that a mere ethnic thinks of HER and her family as being white trash!!!!
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
It's not just keeping themselves safe from having to realize that April isn't a spoiled little child who doesn't know about the real world that keeps John and Elly at pains to keep her in the dark. They also have to keep themselves from having to realize that Mira Sobinski isn't some horrible monster who wants to enslave them with her family politics. What Mira is is someone a lot like Annie or Connie who simply doesn't feel the need to panic about the possibility that Elly Patterson doesn't like her.

This, I should think, is why her ambitions are bad while Gordon's ambitions are good; Mira's ambitions don't have as their basis a healthy respect for the opinions of others....or, as we say in English, the possibility that what she's doing might make a paunchy pea-brain with anger issues screech doesn't alarm her much. This is also why Ted, Becky and Thérèse are pure evil: they don't care if a screaming lunatic might be angered by what they do.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
One of the more interesting little plot lines that occurred before the stroke and the Housening and all that other idiocy was a rather unnerving little piece wherein everyone acted as if April was crazy, stupid, useless, naive and improvident because she didn't want to stand around going "Oh, BOY!! Mom and Dad are talking about where they're gonna be buried!! What a thrill!!" Let us mark time on how April happened to be fifteen years of age at the time. Elly might have had something of a point about being prepared but most people would tend to agree that fifteen is a touch too early.

The reason that I mentioned that is that in a retcon that was published a few months later, Deanna had a similar reaction to Mira and Wilf's super-scary conversation about how gets what and where they end up being laid to rest after they pass away; what really made Deanna's whining about being scared is not just because she's thirty but that she has power of attorney over her parents should things go wrong. This tells me that after watching their youngest daughter act like a small child confronting the boogey-man when they tried to get her to face up to a sad reality, either Wilf or Mira decided that their new retirement plan should be summarized by the phrase "Get the immature idiot Deanna to give the big, scary power of attorney to Andrea because she acts like an adult."

There are, of course, other reasons that aren't related to not letting an immature fool screw up their future because her reaction to the future is to stop up her ears and pretend to not listen to do this. The first reason would be to avoid watching their legacy get frittered away stupidly so that John and Elly might live comfortably at their expense. The second is to avoid becoming the same sort of jerks the Pattersons are. Mira might have a lot of bad qualities but one of them isn't any sort of desire to become known as one of those old fossils who made their kids their servants. It would seem to her to be a nasty trick to play on Deanna to raise her to become independent only to become her unwilling servant.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
It seems to me that Mira would probably see the way the Pattersons react to April's presence as a sort of indicator as to who they are as people. The Pattersons themselves do not realize this but then they don't do a lot of realizing period. As an example, Deanna has no idea that her tendency to condescend to April and to think of her as less a person with hopes, plans and dreams and more as someone that her beloved Elly gave birth to so that she could have a cook, maid, groundskeeper and nanny marks her as an arrogant twit who thinks that the world owes her a living. What would really irritate Mira is that her childish goofola son-in-law is actually a better person than her own child; he might do nothing to help her but he's the only one who sees that his 'clever' plan of running to his parents in his time of need has a side-effect he hadn't planned on. This puts him way ahead of Lizardbreath. Mira would have had to wait until the Settlepocalypse to get the whole story but sooner or later, she'd have gotten confirmation that the flighty nitwit Mike calls Sistwirp had no sympathy for anyone's concerns save her own. Liz's shrill, thoughtless 'picky-face' remark and her inability to even notice what was going on around her mark her as being the same insensitive, whiny, clueless dullard who took until 2008 to realize that Anthony has always had the hots for her. That being said, even if she did notice a problem, the dumbass would whine about how unreasonable April is for worrying about something that only affected her.

Getting a back-story on the youngest Patterson from her 'parents' would, however, be the real eye-opener. Having to listen to that mindless ape John rant witlessly about princesses and getting all pouty and angry when being told that maybe he should try to actually know who and want he's babbling on about would be all the proof one would need that John is a pontificating dunderhead who never met a stereotype he didn't like. Elly's witless hand-wringing and whining about fake apocalypses would make it obvious where Mike's misdirected sense of right and wrong came from. What it wouldn't explain is why Mike, Liz and Deanna are as mature as Peter "I don't even have life insurance" Parker.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
As I type this, it has been exactly six years since Mike, Deanna and their children took root in the Pattermanse and began their campaign to dislodge its original occupants. Everyone whose opinion can be said to be matter (by which I mean anyone who isn't a picky-faced Princess Martian creature whose expiration date needs to be checked by Eva Freaking Warzone) thinks of it as Destiny Unfolding As It Should. To John, Elly and Deanna, it only makes sense that Mike should inherit the house he grew up in so that the family can keep going. To sane people, it looks less obvious. I realize that I've probably covered this topic before but six years of history might have given an outsider a perspective that would cast a harsher light on the happy ending.

It thus seems clear that the Mira who spent the first half of 2007 wondering why it was that Michael turned down a very generous offer to relocate somewhere closer to Burlington on the baffling pretext of wanting to be independent would have a clearer idea of what they thought was happening owing to being part of the Settlepocalypse. Listening to them mindlessly parrot Deanna's witless comments about family politics would have quickly taught her that the paranoid idiots thought she expected to be paid back at some point. The only thing more obvious would be that Mike was so frightened of what happened that he wanted to hole up in his childhood home where it was safe.

What might still give her pause is the collective refusal to see April as anything other than a threat despite said "threat" being nothing more than wanting to not be thought of as the animate adjunct of all the spare furniture Mike and Deanna brought with them when it seemed obvious that the best way to make the kid feel included was to force Liz, who could and should have lived on her own, out. It probably still makes little sense for them to indulge a stupid, flighty imbecile's need to play the grieving widow because she brainlessly stumbled into a disaster of her own making when someone with a real person was left hanging out to dry. This is where the annoying slang phrase 'family politics' might actually make sense; it might not sit well but figuring out that April has been made a scapegoat whose threat to everyone's plans dare not be questioned makes the Housening make sense. By now, Mira's friends are still laughing derisively as she jabs a finger into the air and rants about how April's wanting to be treated like a person means that she actually wants to laugh as two people who could easily afford their own home die in the gutter.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)

The odd thing about yesterday’s little example of speculative fiction is that I’d almost decided to let Mira tell Liz point-blank that she suspected that at some point before the Big Fat Sham Wedding, Mike, Deanna and a couple of witnesses showed up at a Justice of the Peace’s offices and had their own private I-do while plotting to mollify everyone else with a fancy ceremony that didn’t ‘mean’ anything. I ultimately decided against it because as a normal person, Mira would have foreseen one of two eventualities. First off, she might have thought that Liz was in on the deception as well thereby making any such reminder redundant. Secondly, she might have realized that Liz still didn’t know what had happened and would react poorly to being ‘made a fool of all those years’ and ‘been left out of the family’s plans like she’d be a hindrance’. As it is, Mira would probably have simply been satisfied to simply tell Deanna that she wanted to stick around long enough to watch her foam at the mouth when Meredith even thought of doing to her what she did with Mike.

It probably does still bother Mira that Deanna thought so little of everyone else’s feelings that she did all of that just because she didn’t want to have to remember that for a lot of women, staging a big-ass wedding is the only acceptable occasion in which they can show off. While it’s pretty obvious that she’ll see no problem with overriding everything Meredith might do or want because her silly daughter doesn’t know that it’s actually Mommy’s wedding, the same blasted self-absorption and lack of any real empathy blind her to the feeling of loss Mira clearly felt every time her wanting to be the center of attention was dismissed as an act of family politics. Well, that and realizing that she’d somehow managed to raise a child who thinks that inclusion shouldn’t be wasted on other people.

Besides, she might actually start to think of Michael and Liz as figures of pity by now anyway. Instead of being adults living their own lives, they’ve been reduced to overgrown children fawning over their parents and making pathetic comments about how they did after all owe said awful people for the air they breathe.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
It seems to me that John and Liz's annoying habit of substituting stereotypes for thought and Mike and Elly's irritating tendency to think that being persecuted prevents them from doing the right thing would have to come to a head sooner or later. If you'll allow me, I'd like to show you how that might come into play by quoting from an observer's diary. Bear with me through the carnage.


25 December 2012:
Dear Diary:
It's Christmas Day today and aside from the unpleasantness at Michael's house, it was a fairly good one. First, of course, was the Midnight Mass at St Patrick's and then heading to Toronto to be with the Pattersons. It always used to bother me that the idea of him coming here was seen as a defeat instead of good manners but then I overheard Elly Patterson make a waspish comment about 'family politics' or some such nonsense when my offer to help Michael and Deanna find a new house nearer to us and farther away from his parents' ranting about how much he and his siblings owe them came up. You'd think that I woke up every morning wondering how I could disrupt their lives and humiliate them to hear them talk. No. Better to go there than to make their paranoia worse.

As usual, we arrived and felt as if the ambient temperature inside Michael's house was chillier than the outdoors. Deanna, you see, was having a difficult time keeping up with Meredith and Robin and that vain idiot Elizabeth was having the devil's own time with her children. Also as usual, the Patterson (and Caine) men were little if any help. This, of course, translated into a general tendency to begrudge poor little April any sort of social life. I do not know where I went wrong with Deanna but I do know that she simply does not want to see the poor young thing as anything that isn't "Someone who was put on this Earth for the express purpose of raising my children for me" and that oblivious nitwit Liz takes her cue from someone who looks as if she knows what she's talking about.

Things would have simmered along as normal had it not been for Deanna's repeating the same mistake she's made the last four times she didn't realize that Hyacinth Bucket is a villain protagonist and exiled April to the kiddie table that 'everyone' is supposed to have. I've offered to take April's place each time but been rebuffed so that I might not 'wind the children up' or (worse) 'treat the children as if they're people instead of monsters who hate Mommy and love chaos'. It also always used to bother me that people who want to give the children neither rant about 'gifts, not time' every time I appear but then I remember their bleating about my family politics. We are not dealing with trusting, generous people.

The proof of that had to do with the two place settings that have been absent the last two years. As we all know, Elly's father and his second wife passed on within months of one another back in 2010. This would ordinarily have caused Wilf to make a nasty remark about two fewer people being upset that my saying grace meant that they'd have to actually eat their food at a proper temperature for once but decorum forbids. There we were listening to stupid, stupid Elizabeth defame her stoop-shouldered, whining idiot husband's first wife again when Meredith actually did what a Patterson expects children to do by touching off chaos. It started innocently enough, just a comment about how April was all sad but, well, given who the Pattersons are, suffice to say that it didn't end well.

This is because April looks at Christmas like most adults do; instead of focusing on what she's getting, she mourns the absence of those who aren't around to share in the festivities any longer. Not, of course, that she is allowed to do that in Patterson-land!! The reaction to her 'hogging all the mourning' (as whining idiot Elly put it) was interesting in that it reminded me of just who the awful people my daughter hangs out with are.

First, we had cement-head John harrumphing witlessly about how Christmas should be for family and fun and not 'pointless' drama. April's trying to tell the clod that Jim's loss wasn't pointless made things worse because he didn't want to be contradicted; he'd made his mind up that she was really mad at her friends and being told that he was off-base made him freak out. He was seconded in being an idiot delinquent non-parent by his jackass wife who witlessly compared missing a loved one to owning a sweater in that it can't be shared.

Next came Michael and his attempt to console her by saying that since Jim was allegedly a half-wit when he died, his passing didn't mean as much. Since Deanna thinks that she's winning her childhood by agreeing with every stupid thing her husband does and says, she simpered something along those lines and whined about the children she's too squishy inside to deal with. Hmmmph. No wonder she looks up to that horrible Elly. Both of them want the attention that comes from being parents but they don't want the hard work that comes with it.

The worst reaming, though, came from that imbecile Liz. It doesn't take a genius to realize that someone who can blithely say "Sure, I knew that while he was engaged to this awful career woman, Anthony was totally in love with me but why is she so irrationally jealous of me despite a campaign to remind her that she's just his first wife?" is not going to see the injustice of having everyone creep on someone for having a genuine emotion. MISSUS ELIZABETH FREAKING CAINE lived down to my expectations by ranting about her faking the whole thing just to make everyone feel bad. Unfortunately, this made me commit something of a faux-pas. It isn't really my business to tell those horrible people off because we're not close and have our own lives but something about being told that feeling empathy is selfish and mean just bothered me.

Oh, my. I know that I'm going to pay for this for years to come and should have held my peace for the sake of the children but it felt so right at the time to compare Elizabeth to someone who insists on shoving her hand into an open flame and whines about pulling back a burned hand because she didn't intend to get hurt. The gall of that naive idiot running her mouth about how she might have to feel bad for someone who isn't her for once just got to me. Well, that and my own flesh and blood simpering about how awful it was that the children she doesn't have time for might have been exposed to scary stimulation and want things of her.

As for Mike, I think he got off easy even if he doesn't think so; being told to unwedge his head from his derriere before he makes any grand statements was mild compared to what I had to say to his parents. Being told to hop off her damned cross and be a parent instead of a child is going to rankle Elly for the longest time and I don't much like my chances of being welcome after I told that bloated ass John to either get the Hell out of his workshop and find out who his child is or have himself bricked in there to [deleted] die if he isn't going to be any help.

Ah, well. At least I didn't tell that whining simp Liz that when she thought she was Deanna's maid of honor, she was probably attending one of those hokey, stupid, fake second weddings they have on television. That would have totally ruined my chances of being a part of my grandchildren's lives. The only 'victory' I could actually count on was when April admitted that yes, since she'd reached the age of majority, she did have the option of not being around people like her family if she didn't want to.

Well, that and the fact that Wilf's sole contribution to the conversation was "What she said. Double!!" Ah, well; at least I gave them a blow-up at a Christmas party just like on TV. That's something. Anyway, now that we're back in civilization, I'm going to be spending the next few weeks trying to figure out how to do damage control.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

Now, I’d say it was pretty safe to say that Deanna clearly sees herself as being a better mother to Meredith and Robin than Mira ever was to her. Strip after endless strip is, after all, predicated on the notion that Deanna has to defend the new, better way of being a mother from the evil criticism of the domineering monster mother who used her evil family politics to dominate HER DADDY!!!!!! and make Deanna’s life a misery. There is a problem, however, with the time-not-presents orthodoxy that The Sainted Elly preaches: it doesn’t work out so good because neither she nor Deanna seem to be willing to spend any time with their children. What generally happens is that the two dimwits stand there scared out of their tiny, tiny minds because children evilly refuse to do what they’re supposed to: sit quietly where ever it is that Mommy plops them down and not do anything or think anything or want any sort of mental stimulation. I can readily see Deanna shrieking that she cannot be asked to give her children attention either. Simply put, Deanna is a worse parent to her children than Mira was to her. All Mira wanted was a tacky wedding without that gay guy angering God by stinking up the joint and a son-in-law who isn’t a sponge-headed man-child. What Deanna clearly wants is to have the evil, scary, baffling tendency of children to move around, speak and think on their own initiative to go away so that they can become mindless drones who only move when she wills it.

This desire, this longing to abolish the free will of her children seems to be why she idolizes another pair of failures who think themselves superior to their better antecedents. Granted, Jim and Marian did do something wrong by giving the world a petty, manipulative and tyrannical imbecile woman and her yawping man-child of a kid brother and somehow, Will and Carrie messed up big-time by blighting the world with a grinning gargoyle with a train fetish but they’re clearly better parents and people than their children. April, as a for instance, pretty much owes her life to Jim’s presence in it and it shows. One could say that Jim saw her as a way of raising Elly properly. It’s kind of too bad that the old boy popped his clogs before he could crow about how his way is better but you can’t have everything, right? 


One of the things he wasn't allowed to have was a daughter who actually believed that he and Marian did a good job. Oh, they tried their best but they were hampered by a double standard and thus made her life a misery. This means that Elly sees herself as trying to raise her children the way Marian could have raised her had she not been brainwashed by the patriarchy. She thus differs from Deanna who wants to raise her children the way Mira should have raised her had she not been sick with the impulse to interfere.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
The real message of that strip that I discussed yesterday is that we are meant to sympathize with Elly because all of her hard work was wasted because her child was ungrateful. The notes clearly indicate that Lynn regards Elly as being the injured party because she put so much work in making Lizzie look like a perfect little doll child only to have the ungrateful little brat balk for no clear reason Elly could possibly trouble herself to acknowledge. This, I should think, is owing to a very strong need Elly has to want to show off. While part of the process seems to be to convincing herself that coercing a small child to dress up like a frilly little doll baby is for her own good and thereby habituating said little girl to more or less define herself by her physical appearance, most of why Elly does so is so that she may be praised.

The grimly humorous part of all of this is that the same Lynn that snarls when someone criticizes her for doing someone wags a reproving finger at someone else for doing the same bloody thing. While Sainted Elly is to be pitied when Lizzie balks at Easter parades, we were all supposed to hate Mira for doing the same blasted thing to Deanna. This tells me that if the strip had been allowed to continue, we would be forced to endure a rather disagreeable story arc in which Mira was demonized for wanting to enter a reluctant Meredith in a Little Miss Milboring pageant and the baffled outrage that that inspired amongst the ranks of the Patterswine. 

This, of course, would be more wonderful dumb fun to snark than the Housening and Settlepocalypse put together. This is because Mira's need to dress Meredith up like a frilly little doll would not be the result of the "honest" motive Elly had. Instead of simply wanting her creativity to be recognized like a parent is supposed to but to sacrifice friends and fun on the evil altar of ambition. Evil Mira would be depicted as evilly forcing an unwilling child to participate in an atrocity because she wanted to turn fun into a career. Add in Elly moaning about being enmeshed in family politics and going out of her way to not notice how similar she and Mira are and the hypocrisy all but craps itself onto the page.
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You'll have noticed one thing that links the last two people I'd mentioned in my looking-forwards in horror at the upcoming Liographies: both Rhetta and Martha dared challenge Mike's authority to do whatever he wanted to whenever he wanted to. The reason that no one in the strip ever told Mike to shut his stupid face and quit whining because women had minds of their own is that it's created by an idiot who really doesn't like the idea of being independent. In her and Mike's mind, a woman's lot is to have the illusion of independence while really being under the authority of a skeevy, boorish, self-absorbed, entitled, lazy-ass boor like John, Mike or Assthony. This would mean that any sort of Liography for Mira would have to be viewed through the prism of her being the ultimate challenge to Mike's unalienable right to act like one of the crass, fruity, sneering and laddishly vulgar abominations that passed for male leads in sixties sitcoms.

Let us thus review what we are allowed to know about her. Given that what we are allowed to know seems to consist mainly of ad hominem attacks directed at her by the vindictive and weak-willed, let's contrast the calumny with the truth:

  1. "She's a domineering battle-ax of a wife": What this translates to in plain English is that she's not content to simply whine about assholish behavior and then fold; what alarms, confuses and disgusts the walking, talking Electra complex with the Carol Brady flip-do called "Deanna" is that instead of rolling over for HER DADDY!!!!!! like she's "supposed to", Mira does things and makes them stick.
  2. "She's a control freak who never let Deanna have a real childhood": I think that we can all safely agree that one of the worst things about Elly is that she spent most of her life completely unaware of what her children were up to and totally freaking hated the idea of being an active part of their lives. The same Deanna who admires Elly her cravenness in the face of John's assclownery is revolted by the memory of Mira's taking an active interest in her life and trying to become part of it.
  3. "She's a hateful social climber": Since Deanna impresses me as being Daddy's little idiot girl, she doesn't quite get that Mira's work-to-win philosophy and need to get ahead in the world comes from the knowledge that despite what certain mushheaded children who never wanted for anything believe, there's nothing especially ennobling about poverty.
  4. "She's a closed-minded religious zealot." Unlike Deanna or the sainted Pattersons, Mira has well-defined religious beliefs that shape her life; we can disagree with them but, unlike the Foobs, we shouldn't dismiss them because they complicate sham weddings or hinder Pattersnarfing.
  5. "She wants to run Mike's life and enmesh him in her family politics": She's gone on record as not believing in the writer's trance and thinks that the Pattersonian belief in drifting through life waiting for the miracle of the misery of others to benefit them is a ludicrous way to treat her beloved but errant youngest daughter. What's more, she says so.
  6. "She wants to overrule Deanna as a parent": She wants to play with the children and have them do things. Since Deanna wants the awful urge they have for stimulation to go away so they can be perfect little zombie children, this is terrible.
  7. "She has to win all the time.": She's not content to simply let the Pattersons dictate to her like Clarice Caine will. 


This tells me that her ludicrous tale won't even have the hope for a Patterfuture that the other horrible women who tried to emasculate (Lynnglish for “civilize” or “turn a whiny, self-absorbed little puke into something recognizable as being human”) Mike got. She'll simply die a witless shell of a woman babbling incoherently about how no one listens to her. This, of course, after a life of learning the wrong lessons, dominating Wilf, trying to become Deanna's brain and hoping for the terrible day in which the Pattersons would be enslaved by her family politics.
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As we all know, the in-strip reason that Deanna didn't picture herself living together with Mike before they got married is that, as a character in the comic strip For Better or For Worse, she had mapped her whole life out ahead of her when she was twelve or so. The reason that she supplied Mike, on the other hand, was that she was trying in her own stupid way to at least try to consider Mira's feelings.

Since Mike is a sociopathic arsebucket who is genetically incapable of understanding that the feelings of other people should influence his behavior in the slightest and who regards being asked to do so as a hateful burden by evil tormentors, this was an unnecessary and ridiculous obstacle to his need to have a maid and bedmate in his life right that second. Rather than risk her figuring out what kind of monster she was marrying, he had to find some way to shut her up. It was thus that he hit on the plan of having a private wedding ceremony so that Deanna could tell herself that she wasn't actually living in sin. Since she's not really all that bright and she doesn't like confrontation much, it would probably never have occurred to her to ask if the "minister" was legally allowed to marry anyone.

This means that whoever it was that suggested that the first wedding was the one for show meant to placate a gullible woman and protect Mike's right to let himself be made a stooge for Elly and John's plan to own his horses could well be on to something. It would also make Evil Mira into another evil person whose evil evilness comes from her evil habit of evilly and accurately assessing the situation and even more evilly saying what she evilly thought.
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As we all know, it's been almost eleven years since Mike and Deanna had what she called "her wedding for heart" so that she and Michael could live together before the wedding for show to appease her "unreasonable" mother. The annoying thing about it is not only that it's what Lynn would have done were she in Deanna's shoes. If it were just Lynn's way of fixing history by avenging herself on her mother for telling her hateful, cruel lying lies of hateful cruelty about how she needed to have limits on her behavior, it would be bad enough. What makes it all the worse is that the device is completely unnecessary. After all, having Mira go berserk trying to provide her daughter with a fancy wedding in the hopes that it would make for a good marriage would be sufficient a source of drama to drive the plot forward without taunting the fanbase with some sort of super-crazy meltdown when she'd realized that she'd been tricked and not having a secret to keep wouldn't make the Pattersons look like stooges to a con job.

What should have happened is that Deanna, having told Michael that she couldn't be a good whatever and simply live together, would then move in with her aunt until the big day. Said unseen aunt would be able to provide us with a bit of insight into what was eating Mira that she was so caught up in the process that she'd missed the point; instead of April telling her that Dee and Mike were living in Toronto, not Sin, we'd have Mystery Aunt trying her damnedest to get Mira to meet her daughter halfway instead of messing up by trying to have the wedding she wanted by proxy.

We could also avoid making Mike look like a clueless dick who can't understand why anyone would take anyone else's feelings into consideration. After all, Deanna is at least trying on some level to make Mira happy and thinks that she's doing so. Lynn probably didn't intend it that way but she makes it clear that Mike cannot even begin to understand that anyone who isn't him deserves that consideration; if a thing conflicts with his needs, the idiotic sociopath thinks that he's being enslaved.
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Mira's inability to distinguish Jo Weeder from the rest of the anonymous horde of heterosexuals that her smug, arrogant, whiny, immature layabout of a son-in-law refers to as his friends is symptomatic of a wider problem: to wit, she doesn't seem to have any real idea that the Pattersons regard her as a domineering monster who has to win all the time and wants to freeze them out of THEIR-and-not-HER grandchildren's lives. We've seen that she doesn't get along with Mike because he simply doesn't have the drive to survive that would make him the Great Provider and it sickens her that her daughter makes excuses for her daydreaming slacker of a husband. What she doesn't realize is that the same family who fought her at every turning during the wedding planning because they seemed to identify with the daughter who clearly thought that she wasn't cool enough do so because they believe that she wakes up every morning asking "How can I make the Pattersons miserable today?"

Now, don't get me wrong; she's probably got the Pattersons fairly well sized up in every other respect. She clearly sees that John is a self-satisfied oaf, Elly a passive-aggressive jerkwad, Mike an entitled dumbass, Liz a photostat of her mother and April the family unfavorite. What she doesn't seem to have picked up on is that they regard her as being a manipulative tyrant who wants to use her family politics to control them and make them her slaves. All she seems to see is a clannish bunch of idiots who treat her shabbily because they're still sore about the wedding.

She's, of course, not alone in not having any idea that she's seen as a monster by the Patterson family; as I have said so many times before, Becky hasn't the blindest idea that April and her family live in fear of her because they're convinced that she'll use her star power to crush them into nothing and laugh doing it. She does see a former friend copping an attitude because she left her silly garage band but remains ignorant of the fact that she's regarded as a threat.

The exception that tests this rule of thumb is, of course, Thérèse; she does know that the Pattersons regard her as the second coming of Lucrezia Borgia and has a fair idea of why. The "why", of course, is that she happened to suffer the misfortune of falling hard for a man who came from a small town stocked with small-minded, clannish idiots who didn't like her because she represented not only an outside world they hated but the destruction of their dream of pairing her husband off with some pallid little nonentity who had nothing to contribute to the world aside from passive-aggressive shrieking. She simply sees the Pattersons as being the rabble most closely related to the screaming dunce who wanted to keep a man she thought had potential from achieving it.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
When we look back at the historical record, I think that we can safely agree that Josef Weeder is something of a cad; strip after strip depicts him not only as an irritating bohemian but as a man whose idea of gentlemanly conduct is trying to make fact that he mentally undresses every reasonably attractive woman he sees less obvious. Much like Ted, we're dealing with the social irritant known as the overgrown teenager.

As such, he has a class of human beings that he can safely call a mortal enemy: responsible adults who want him to grow the hell up and live in the real world. Rather than take up photography as a hobby and join his father in useful and productive toil, the spoiled child insists on not seeing that his father is looking out for his best interests and makes a bit of a prat of himself in the process.

It's also why he acts like a stoner Jiminy Cricket by encouraging Mike to treat his mother-in-law like an evil reptilian puppy-eating space alien; since Mira represents the adult world and adult rules that he fears, he's got to "save" his friend from acting like a man instead of a snotty puke whining about grade-school bullcrap. What makes him pathetic as well as ridiculous is that Mira has no real idea that he exists; to her, he's probably known as 'the Scooby-Doo kid in the dark glasses.'

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