dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you've seen on the news, the place where Milborough is was the part of the province of Ontario that went without power longest after the huge ice-storm we had on the 22nd. While it's true that in its wake, we had a lot of desperate, angry and frightened people facing a black Christmas, it's also true that one of the loudest wails of privation would probably have come from the person who's gone on record as whining about how materialistic and soft her mother Mira is. As I said on the Foobiverse, Deanna was fine with being a simple-lifer when she had nothing much to lose but now that she's got responsibilities, she probably makes her mother look like the poster girl for being a Good Socialist. Hell, at this point, Elly herself is wondering why Mike married someone so obsessed with mere things.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
You might just have noticed a bit of an assymetry in how dealing with imbecile husbands who don't get that treating their wives like a maid, nanny and cook makes them look like lazy, self-absorbed shitwads is handled. What we're seeing right now is John being made into the bad guy because he thinks that the sovereign cure for the stress Elly's crazy woman hormones is causing is to quit that silly pretend job she doesn't 'need' because he's an evil, selfish conflict-causing MAN who refuses to understand that women need identities of their own too. If the strip had continued, Elly would have eventually prevailed upon Deanna to quit that stressful job that was keeping her from her family because she knows better than anyone else. The reason, of course, is that just as Lynn hated the idea of people questioning her need to isolate herself from her family and churn out Foob, she also really hated the idea that Rod had an identity that wasn't based on serving her needs. While she really, really hated the idea that she had to share him with women who simply had to be predatory lest she have to face the idea of actually being a jealous idiot who lives to get her bowels in an uproar over nothing, what really angered her is that he didn't see the need to put her needs first. This would have been the real reason WHY Deanna's job would be soooooo unfulfilling and haaaaaard that she haaaaad to quit. Would it have mattered to Lynn if by some odd chance, she actually heard people complain about Deanna's jettisoning everything about herself that isn't dedicated to slaving away for an idiot husband who sees her as an appliance with reproductive organs? Probably not. Neither would any complaints about how she was using John as a means of nagging him about his silly need to care about her changing her mind about quitting. More on that next.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I said at the very end of yesterday's entry, I really don't like Deanna's chances of getting through to Mike that he should be more than some asshole forted up in the attic churning out bullshit novels that get made into horseshit television movies by the sort of sleazy asshole producers that populate Rick Mercer's "The Industry." Part of the reason why is that Lynn needs to pander to a demographic that wants to think that men are simply incapable of doing anything domestic. They might mean well but their pathetic flailings about simply makes more work for busy women.

The second part of why Deanna and Elly are harried mothers who have no help and no time to themselves is that they willingly married idiot momma's boys who think that at best, a girl can hope maybe to have an intelligence quotient in the low to mid eighties and the bizarre and irrational impulse that she has to assume that she can decide things on her very own should be indulged in the same manner that a belief in the Easter Bunny is. The reason that John and Michael continue to think along these lines is that, well, the only way that their wives can get through to them is to weep piteously about how hard their lives are.

Hmmmm. Given that the real reason that Mira is an evil, domineering monster is her inconvenient and evil habit of telling Deanna the horrible lie that Mike is a clingy oaf who doesn't respect her and thinks of her as his mommy, I should think that the reason why we never saw any of Elly's friends from Vancouver is that they said the same damned thing about that asshole John. What this tells me is that just as she told Deanna to rush back to work because Meredith would sense her resentment, Elly's sage advice for the stress of dealing with an asshole husband who doesn't appreciate her is to quit her job, open up a sewing school and make herself totally dependent on a callous shithead for her survival while at the same time devoting all her time to servicing the entitled goober. The reason for this is that Lynn would still need to nag Rod about his refusal to play ball. More on that tomorrow.
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As I indicated in yesterday's post, I think that Deanna and Georgia have a lot in common in that they married artistic types who clearly need a certain amount of weaning away from their mothers. Granted, Georgia had an easier time of it because while Marian doted on Phil to a rather off-putting extent, she at least made sure that he could live on his own so that she didn't have to put up with an over-grown teenager cramping her style. Not for her and Jim the dreadful prospect of her adult children camping out for extended periods because they couldn't cope with life on their own.

Deanna, on the other hand, had a much more difficult time dealing with Mike owing to the fact that he acts like a character from a sixties sitcom preaching Strict-But-Fair Parenting By Bad Example. If the Pattersons' world were a television program, Deanna herself would be the kid protagonist learning that the "free" kid whose ability to come and go as he pleases and do pretty much ever he wants craves the structure lovingly imposed on him from Sainted Mira and Wilf; instead, his father is more a growth oozing out of a chair and his mother a negligent idiot Who Should Probably Not Have Had Kids. It's quite obvious that Michael cannot cope on his own and needs to be dependent on a kindly adult to save him from himself. Deanna's job is to make sure that that adult is Elly.

Good thing for Elly that all Deanna can do is rebel against her mother; that way, she can have Mike to be her BABY forever and always while allowing Phil to be one of the kindly adults who parents her children for her.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Remember how we all made a big deal of Lynn's self-serving and stupid comment about how Katie presented her long-suffering mother with a grand-child to spoil? Well, talking about how most of the Pattersons never thought to get Lawrence to get April on board the Housening train reminded me that not all of them thought that being under twenty made talking to her useless. One of them seems to have realized that April wasn't simply causing drama because that's just what children do. Too bad that said person ALSO thought that her thoughtful in-laws brought April into the world for the express purpose of being her servant. Oh, Deanna is really good at making it seem as if she respects April's right to live how she wants but it's quite obvious that she sees the Martian's lot in life to do her yardwork and sit for her children. As I type this, the blithering idiot is making a bunch of imperious noise about how unfair it is that April waste her days on useless things while she has to fend off children who want to do things children just plain shouldn't like speak and act and think as if they can do so without adult permission. This odd belief that she's not some domineering idiot who thinks that the world rotates around her stems from the fact that there are certain truths about herself that Deanna simply does not wish to face. Said truths are as follows:

  • "I am not an especially generous or forgiving person."

  • "I really don't like looking at things from other people's perspective because I believe that only my point of view matters."

  • "While I pay lip service to gender equality, I really wish to be dominated by a brutish thug."

  • "The reason that I hate my parents is that despite their occasional fights, they actually respect one another; since I idolize John because he's incapable of respect and admire Elly for being the broken-down wretch I wish to be, I can't admit that my parents are better people than the Pattersons."

  • "I think that my children are merely extensions of my will and the odd and unfair need they seem to have for stimulation and attention is an evil thing meant to complicate my life."

  • "I don't want to understand how incredibly damaged and unhappy Michael is because that would mean that the Pattersons are the sort of terrible people my parents say they are."

  • "I think that my made-up suffering entitles me to boss people around."

Since admitting any of those thoughts would tend to mean that the mother she sees as a stifling tyrant because she doesn't realize that she should be a slave to HER DADDY!!!!!!!! is right not only about the Pattersons being grasping scum but about Deanna herself being a freak with a monstrous Electra complex, none of them can be acknowledged without damaging her faith in the moral excellence of morons.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

I think that it’s safe to say that Deanna is much like Elly in that she wants to not have to admit that children do not have the same level of impulse control or understanding of the world as she does. Most of the time, she stands there horrified, disappointed and angered by the fact that Meredith and Robin do not understand that she doesn’t want to deal with them until she’s had a chance to unwind from work. The reason, of course, is quite simple. If she has to admit to herself that children need attention and will move around even when it’s not convenient for her, that would mean that her mother is right to tell her that she cannot and should not expect them to sit quietly staring off into space like the mindless dummies she wishes they were. This differentiates her from Elly who seems incapable of understanding why they want her attention in the first place. In Elly’s case, she is simply unable to see what they could possibly want from her; all she does know is that she doesn’t have it to spare and even if she did, that would mean that she’d be nothing more than a worthless housewife mindlessly tending children and baking cookies when she knows that she can be more. Deanna, on the other hand, doesn’t want to admit that the mother she blames everything bad in her life on because she talked back to HER DADDY!!!!! could be right about anything so anyone who suggests that she might be is a bad person.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we all know, Beth and Lynn love talking about how cruel, heartless and manipulative the parents of the Pattersaints' friends are. From Deanna's maunderings about Mira being a social climber who values image over substance, Anthony belly-aching that his father was a heartless monster and Weed moaning about how his dad just doesn't get him or his need to create, we're supposed to shudder in angered disgust at the thought of any parent who isn't John or Elly. The facts, sadly, do not support the notion that they need sympathy. Let's review them on a case-by-case basis.

  • Deanna: As you know, I've spent a lot of time talking about how I think that Deanna is a shallow little ditz making a lot of noise about how her evil, uncool, obsolete, pushy mother who wouldn't give HER DADDY!!! the slavish respect that Daddy's Little DeeDoormat believed he had coming to him was and is way out of line for trying to set limits on her behavior, worrying about her and wanting to keep her from making ridiculous, self-destructive decisions like marrying a pasty-faced wannabe who churns out abuse porn for Lifetime. Lynn wants us to see a smart young woman who knows what she wants trying to keep from being enmeshed in her monster mommy's family politics. The reality is that we have a member of Robert Ringer's Diaper Corps ranting because her parent is parenting.
  • Anthony: As we know, Nostache's Liography was supposed to make him a figure of sympathy by painting his father as the sort of anachronistic Victorian-era heavy father that, for some incomprehensible reason, populates the Foobiverse. The problem is that it didn't work out that way because they'd depicted Gavin's need to not be reminded of the painful collapse of his first marriage in the same light as his asking Anthony to actually pay some of the money for his first car. Worse still was his assuming that Anthony would naturally want to go into the family business and make a name for himself instead of following his own path. Oh, my. A father wanting to guarantee a better future for his son instead of letting him waste his life as a bookkeeper for a grease monkey. The vile brute needs a boot to the head.
  • Weed: The same need to vilify parents for wanting their children to become part of a family business informs the background of Jo Weeder. What we get in his Liography is an incoherent exhortation to lambaste Weeder Senior for wanting his entitled, naive, bonehead son to quit spouting psychobabble and buckle down like an adult. Also, his inability to believe that something that doesn't actually pay off will is also held as a sign of his being pure evil.

It's not hard to see that either Lynn or Beth have issues with the idea of living the life parents would have liked them to. What look to us like people who want the best for sullen idiots who insist on doing whatever they want in the hope that some miracle will occur and thus free them from having to put in hours that they don't have the stamina for look to them like evil, bonehead dorks who've let EEEEEEEEvil ambition blind them to faith and fate.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Of course, the Pattersons are not the only dolts in the strip who have an inaccurate self-image that most of the people in Milborough don't share. Let's remind ourselves of what they think of themselves and what others think of them:

  • Elly: Elly thinks of herself as a clear-headed, responsible, intelligent, hard-working and long-suffering tower of strength; everyone outside the charmed circle of Pattersainthood thinks of her as being a peevish, nitwitted, flighty, lazy doughhead squealing about nothing.
  • Mike: He thinks of himself as being a wonderful guy who's loaded with talent and, since he deals with the irrationally jealous with aplomb, loaded with the patience of a saint; the casual observer sees him as the whiny, vindictive, sullen, thin-skinned and cowardly brat he is.
  • Liz: It's difficult to listen to the passive drip bloviate about how she's large and in charge without either laughing derisively or weeping in despair. The only time she makes anything like a decision is when she has no choice.
  • John: Given that his definition of decisiveness means making snap judgments that he can't admit are wrong and how most of what frightens him does so because it forces him to face the scary prospect that what he believes to be common knowledge isn't and since he reacts to anything that threatens his fragile self-concept with panicky rage, it should come as no real shock that he's regarded as a self-serving, crotchety old fossil loaded with fatuous bullcrap.

What they think of one another is somewhat more complex and will be covered later; suffice to say for now, the picture that they have of one another is as off-base as their self-concept.

That being said, I'd like to remind you that I think that the only sort of person that could live in that house for any great length of time is someone with an equally distorted self-concept: this is why Deanna is such a great fit. When she convinced the Pattersons that shaking her mother down based on a false pretense was a good and necessary thing, I started to wonder where her honesty and decency were located. When she insisted on defending every stupid move her vain, whiny, lazy idiot husband made no matter how much it made her life suck, I wondered where her alleged self-respect was parked. When she stood there making complaint after complaint about Mike only to get into a big crying jag about something trivial, I questioned the maturity she so lovingly awarded herself. When she got into a blind panic because Mira might have actually resolved her problems with the Kelpfroths, it got me to wondering where the courage she boasts about was. Finally, when I realized that her idea of responsible parenting consisted of telling her children what they couldn't do (i.e. move around and speak), I wondered where her supposed caring was. I have no doubt in my mind that Dee looks in the mirror and sees a wonderful person; I also don't doubt that most of the people in Milborough regard her as a delusional piece of white trash who needs to have a visit from CPS. I also know that the idiots regard her almost as highly as they do the ineffable Mister Caine.
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As you might have heard by now, Lynn hedged her bets back when she had Mira go into hysterics because she'd discovered that Lawrence is gay. That's because the backlash from his being outed scared the crap out of her and, since she didn't want to have to deal with its like again, gave papers the alternative of running a series of strips in which Mira got in Lawrence's face because the floral arrangements she'd paid for were not to her liking. The upshot is that the subscribers to those papers got to look at Deanna simper and moan not because Mira was a bigot but because, well, her tastes were mired in the sixties. Since Mira's being a homophobe came straight out of the blue, contradicted the semi-positive spin she'd been given in Lives Behind The Lines and never appeared again, what makes the most sense is for the banal, pointless argument that occurred in the alternate strips to be what really happened. What this meant is that Mira started getting into a scrap with everyone's favorite two-for-one token about a non-issue that Deanna misinterpreted as being a slam against him for being gay; now that it's been almost ten years since she'd been suckered into all of this, Mira is still trying to figure out what happened. Were I a fly on her wall, I might well hear her ask Wilfred "Hey, hon! Remember back when I got into a bit of a tiff with Mike and Dee's best man because he tried to palm off a bunch a wilted flowers on us? Is it just me or did Deanna think I was channeling Anita Bryant?"
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
It should also be noted that by now, Mike and Deanna have started to emulate John and Elly by taking child-free vacations in the South. One would like to think that he would have learned better but since, owing to a combination of being "reminded" that he was happier up North with whoever Elly got to sit for him and his being an entitled jerk, he grew up thinking that this sort of thing was normal and good. Granted, they aren't going to do the exact same things John and Elly did; from what we saw of their honeymoon, I should think that there are some cosmetic differences that must be considered. First off, Deanna is a much better shopper than Elly is; I remember how appalled I was when I reminded myself that most of the bags she brought with her on her honeymoon were for what she intended buying. Secondly, Mike, while doing his fair share of ogling, will probably use the opportunity to do 'research' for his next thick damned book; we could well see Rudy the bartender's life story mutilated in order to produce a tawdry, implausible weepy fit only to be broadcast on Lifetime. Third and finally, we won't see them point out that Meredith would have liked to see this or Robin would have loved to go there; my guess is that the kids are the last things on their minds. Other than that, of course, we can expect a fine old Patterson tradition to take hold; as his parents did and as Sistwirp will when she and Anthony jet away South when the burden of parenthood becomes too hard to bear, Mike will not as such be on vacation with Deanna as such; it would be closer to the truth to say that he and she will happen to share a hotel room. That's the problem I have with their winging away overseas; the strange atomization I've noticed that makes the Pattersons look less like a family and more like a group of housemates with nothing in common but their surnames persists wherever they go.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As you will recall, Elly is not the only creature from the world of chick lit that strides around living in a fantasy capsule and leaching off the men in her life. Deanna is also a plausible heroine for one of the insane, misogynistic socio-political horror shows. Her specimen delusion is that she, herself, has to be soooooo pooooooooor because she was made aware that others do without. Since she left the reasoning part of her brain in a ditch somewhere, this does not mean living a frugal life or being an advocate for simplicity; this means being a fearful sponge who importunes for handouts from those around her. When I think of Dee, I don't think of a strong, capable woman; I think of a helpless child-bride pathetically shoving the children who she selfishly forces to live on less in the faces of gullible saps that she mulcts. It's also why she quit being a pharmacist to open a sewing school; that way, she could be behind the eight ball twenty-four/seven. Anything to avoid growing up and stop whining about the mean old parents who she relies on to keep her alive.
dreadedcandiru2: (Calm Candiru)

I think it's safe to say that the Deanna of the Early and Middle years was far less tolerant of Mike's antics and didn't sabotage herself to enable his self-absorbed, destructive stupidity. What she was was a rather average little girl with a soft-palate lisp who reacted to Mike's typical little boy behavior in the manner one would expect a typical little girl to. This differs from her motivation in the New-Ruins; from what I can piece together, she seems outraged that he stayed home on doctor's orders on the day of her going-away party and seems to have vowed revenge. Turning her into a little sociopath who believes that he hates her and must be punished because his mother kept him from infecting her and the other students is as wrong-headed as turning him into the Littlest Stalker With a Crush. I liked it better when he didn't actually know what he thought of her half the time and put more weight in not getting razzed by the guys for getting all lovey-dovey than he did trying to figure out what was going on inside her head. The example that comes most readily to mind was the Halloween dance of 1985. To begin with, Deanna was not speaking to him because he had made crude remarks about her appearance because it was more or less expected of him by his pals; try as he might to explain the fact of life that if he was visibly nice to any girl, the guys would never let him hear the end of it, she simply didn't want to hear it. What she did do was stride off with her nose in the air because she confused a hostile refusal to listen to reason with firmness of character. When the dance itself occurred, they tied for best costume and she didn't want to dance with him at first but did anyway; heck, she even kissed the little sap. After that, of course, she sort of vanished from the strip, seemingly never to return. Had they not met the way they did back in the middle 1990s, her place in the novel of Mike's life would have simply been a bit of color that reminds us that our hero's origins were normal as could be. If she hadn't had the car accident, she'd vaguely remember the dentist's goofball son, the boring stunts he pulled and wonder if he ever outgrew being a tool. She did, however, have the car accident and her behavior ever since has not been in her best interests; as I've said before, I'm convinced that she's either suffering from PTSD or mild brain damage. A woman in the possession of her faculties would not, for instance, have told Mike he should have waited until she managed to break her engagement before making any big plans. We can also ascribe her belief that she should make her overbearing-but-essentially-well-meaning mother think that she's willing to live together without benefit of marriage when nothing could be further from the truth to her missing key brain cells. We can even peg her opening the sewing school to her marbles still being in a ditch next to the 401.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

The only reassuring part of the arc in which Deanna's return is explained to us is the sure knowledge that Mike will be a stumbling fool who makes one stupid, humiliating mistake after the next which lead to Deanna treating him like something she scraped off the soles of her shoes. Although it's not normal for six-year olds to act like this, it is normal for a boy with a crush to embarrass himself at every turn in this sort of story line. Too bad for Lynn that it doesn't distract us from the stupid and amazingly implausible reason she gave for the Sobinski's return. While it is true that sometimes one cannot unload one's old house, that isn't going to present a real stumbling block to a transfer; after all, they could easily have rented the place out. Even if the transfer itself fell through and they were forced to return to Milborough, Wilf couldn't simply get his old job back as it had been filled in his absence. Since Lynn has no idea how things work in the real world, it should have been obvious that their return would be inexplicable to those of us who live here. We can look forward to the story sinking to new depths of irrationality and lunacy as the weeks go on.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

I was going to remind myself of why it is that Mike and Liz were, to put it kindly, indifferent students today but something happened to delay that: Deanna returned and it wasn't simply hand-waved away. We had every right to expect that just as Lynn back-pedalled on the size of Annie's family and whether Mike was attending prescool, she'd simply plop Dee on the landscape without explanation. If people were to point this out, her fans would exhort them to not think about what they read and enjoy their bullcrap sandwich. The fact that Lynn has decided to call attention to her return tells me that she's decided to fill the gap she punched in the timeline by introducing Farley prematurely by having all the characters whine about how Evil Mira wanted to evilly ruin everyone's happiness with her evil ambitions; the Twoo Wuv that Mike and Dee share was only saved because Wilf managed to save his family from his evil wife's evilly wanting to win all the time and provide them with social, cultural and monetary advantages that were not being provided by being Touched By Pattersons. Unless they build their cities with the blessings of the Foobs, they buildeth in vain.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Even though we're probably a year away from the strips in which 6-year-old Deanna is reintroduced into the lives of the Pattersons, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out her and Michael's relationship followed the path set by another author: Lucy Maud Montgomery. This is not, of course, to suggest that Lynn lifted Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley clean, though. The relationship dynamic I noticed is far too common. In both cases, we start off with a goofy little boy doing irritating things to get the attention of a touchy little girl he likes. He fails to achieve the desired result because the object of his attention is quite frankly too full of herself and too damned easily offended to see past the annoying bullcrap and see the friend her ludicrous vanity turns into a monster. We then have a decade or so of wasted time because the authors love convoluted story arcs, dei-ex-machina and cardboard villains so as to create needless obstacles to Twoo Wuv. This brings us to the point in which the female lead finally gets up the courage to declare herself for the male and they get married. The end results are even the same; the irritating little boy grows up into a stuffed shirt and the touchy, easily-offended bookworm transmutes into a Stepford robot who had her personality removed during her honeymoon. If you think I'm kidding about that, read Rilla of Ingleside: Anne manifests herself as an absence when she's in her forties as if she weren't there at all.
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Now that Lynn has reintroduced Farley, it seems that she'll have to come up with some other plot point that needs to be fleshed out for us. One of her favorite things that she feels the need to explore in depth is the 'tragic' separation of Mike from his Twoo Wuv, Deanna. This does have a useful purpose from our perspective; even though she wasn't an important part of the Pattersons' lives yet, she eventually became a key player in the strip. Fleshing out her backstory in the thirty-second universe would help the loyal reader understand who the woman in the awful bowl cut is and why she lets her in-laws treat her mom like an out-law. It also lets Lynn indulge in her least lovely character trait: self-flagellation. She seems to be fairly conflicted about being a high-powered woman in "Man's" world so women who achieve their ambitions for themselves are almost always depicted in a negative light. This, of course, means that Mira, who only existed as a vague shape on the horizon back in the 1980s, will loom like a stormcloud in the new-run era.
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Over the years, we've seen that Elly really never quite got a handle on how children behaved. The instant that a child either did something she didn't like or understand, she got upset and started yelling "No! No! No!" We've also noticed Deanna's slavish imitation of her failed example inspired by a rebellion against Mira's evil method of trying to understand and interact with kids. This tells me that we'd never see Deanna do something Elly used to do from time to time: realize that her way may not actually be all that effective. Every year or so, you see, we'd see Elly take stock of herself and admit that her kids deserved better than to be hollered at all the time. The resolved to do better didn't take but at least the impulse is there. I'd say that there is no such impulse in Deanna; she's too sure her mother is wrong to give in and admit she's the error in the system in her family.
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It seems clear to this observer that a dynamic has been established in the newly-minted friendship that Dee and Liz have. The older woman has identified the younger as something of a lightweight in need of guidance. She, as a woman of slightly more experience, has thus taken it upon herself to guide her through things and give her stern but gentle counsel when she does and things things she approves of. In short, she's appointed herself Liz's Own Deliverer of Smackdowns. This is sort of to be expected since Liz can no longer be friends with Candace. She needs an Eva to make her feel like crap for sticking up for herself. Deanna has two excellent motives for doing this. First, she must reinforce the Pattersonian hatred of pleasure so that Liz stay on the path of working hard at something she loathes. Her second reason, of course, is (as qnjones said) to maintain her position in the pecking order. She has to keep Liz subordinate so that she and Anthony do not outshine her. It's obvious that the characters live in constant anxiety about their social status as if they were high school students. Deanna rightfully fears that Liz's husband and children might somehow be more favored than her own given Anthony's greater devotion to life in Milborough. If she makes Liz feel foolish, she can remind her who's the Chosen Child: Michael. She and April must live with the Son in their eyes forever.
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The strip for June the fifteenth, 2008 marks what I believe to be a milestone in the annals of Patterson family history. For the first time ever, Deanna and Liz had a conversation without anyone else being present. There are two reasons for this, one being internal to the strip and one external. In the first case, it simply happened that this is pretty much the first time the two women even managed to meet without either Mike or Elly as an interlocutor. The external reason is that Lynn thinks that single and married women shouldn't socialize. Now that Liz is about to join the married women, it's permissible for Deanna to speak to her so as to offer her words of wifely wisdom. There's only one problem with relying on Deanna as a mentor: she's as pompous an ignoramus as the goof she married. Not only is she going to spout the "Happiness, BAD!! Martyrdom, GOOD!!" mantra of the Pattersons, she brings her own inability to anticipate how children will react in a given situation to the table. Add that into Liz's regurgitating Elly's hatred for the small people that trapped her in domestic bliss and you have a recipe for a group of children having a crappy childhood because their suggestible, wavering nitwit of a mother listened to bad advice from dumb people.
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I have mentioned three things in the past that make Deanna fail as a parent.

1) She does not understand children at all well and greets conventional inconveniences with a look of primal horror.

2) She feels herself to be harshly judged by people who don't actually care about her one way or another.


3) She will do anything to not lay down the law and be like her evil, domineering mother.

The thing all these have in common is Deanna's dread of confronting people. She'll endure any horror as long as she doesn't have to risk alienating people by sticking to her guns.

This leads directly to the fourth form of failure: instead of dealing with a crying child and thus have the (indifferent) community-at-large shrug and go about its businesslook down on a bad mother, she resorts to some form of subterfuge to get what she wants. Just as it never occured to her that a sleeping child doesn't go all limp like a machine that got shut off, it never occured to her that people might feel sorry for her if Robin had a temper fit. Instead of getting some free sympathy, she did something time-consuming and risky: cutting his hair while he was asleep. If she's going to keep on doing this to avoid necessary confrontations, he's going to be an immature and dependant spoiled brat all his life. It's almost as bad as her fifth form of failure: maneuvering her children into not complaining about things that concern them. This will backfire on her because, as I've said, one fine day a teacher will encounter one of these kids after they get hurt. Their evasive refusal to go into specifics is, as we know, associated with victims of physical abuse. As I've also said, Deanna's dread of confrontation will end up getting her into a spot of bother with Children's Services.


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