dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Another odd factor that must be reconsidered is the sibling complex that Mike and Liz both have. It was pointed out a long time ago that Deanna and Liz bore an astonishing physical resemblance; while it staggered Mike for a second, he recovered almost as quickly because, well, a 'safe' version of his kid sister seems to have been what he was looking for all along. Just as he always seems to have wanted to live in his parents' house forever, there's something in him that wants to keep sex within the family as well. Since he can't actually do that, the next best thing is to marry someone as submissive, stupid and needy as Liz; the advantage with Deanna is that he not only doesn't get called an ugly brother because Deanna doesn't object to being treated like dirt as long as he's the douche doing it, he also gets to defy parents without antagonizing John and Elly. The same damned thing is happening with Liz; Anthony is not only as repulsive, self-absorbed, and entitled as the passive-aggressive dickchoad that is Mike, he's a safe version of the same asshole. He even provides her the benefit of being able to look down on her betters....just like mommy and daddy do.

That being said, there's something else they all have in common: the need to be irritated by the unwelcome presence of a picky-faced princess from a planet known to be hostile to the needs, hopes and dreams of the master race of vermin Lynn wants us to venerate. It's third from its sun and its inhabitants call it "Earth." Simply put, they all hate April because she's the closest thing to a normal human being that Lynn has ever created.
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In a recent post he made on the Foobiverse Journal, [livejournal.com profile] chucique reminded us why it would be futile for anyone to tell the Pattersons off; since she has enough class to not want to make an unnecessary scene and enough brains to realize what futility is, Mira probably would have simply joined the chorus of the unimpressed and let the assembled vermin go right on thinking that the Settlepocalypse wasn't both a tragedy and a travesty. When she got back home, she'd make vague allusions as to how awful the Pattersons are and, well, how self-satisfied they are in their repulsiveness, folly and sin. That, you see, is the galling thing about life with Foobs; what we're dealing with is a grotesque rogue's gallery who are not only slithering filth, they're proud of it and have convinced themselves that they should be envied. You all already know exactly why I think that these people should have been hanged, drawn and quartered two years ago; knowing that they're going to get a nasty shock on the day of the judging of the nations when God tells them all that they're the wrong sort for Paradise is, while satisfying to a point, not enough. Man seeks to see justice done in this life so their being derided behind their backs by people who matter is not torment enough to satisfy the urge towards vigilantism in all of us. 
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As [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck reminds us, Rod's charitable impulses and good works for his community never seem to have been important enough to Lynn to rate commemoration in the strip. His love of the outdoors was transferred to Paul, his love of flying to Warren and his hobbies to John but not his being the flying dentist, his trips overseas to provide care for the disadvantaged or his volunteerism. The closest we came was Deanna and Connie's trying to work all those nasty adventurous impulses out of their system and thus growing up to be steady, regular women. It almost seems to me that Lynn doesn't understand charity because she cannot understand giving without getting something in return. This might explain why it was that Dee and Mike feared Mira's gifts to them and preferred Elly's acting like a Mafia loanshark; it was a given to Lynn and thus to them that Mira would want something for her trouble and since she wouldn't say what it was, it was probably bad.

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As I've said before, there's a cost to the Pattersons' refusal to pay any constructive attention to their children. Since he desperately yearns for the contact he's supposed to have and his idiot parents begrudge him the things they must do to keep him alive, the natural tendency all children have to believe that everyone in their immediate vicinity was placed on this Earth to entertain them is amplified and mutated into something negative and self-destructive: the need to impress people who want to get a rise out of him so they can laugh at him for being a gullible sap. Now that he's six again, we see that he'll do whatever stupid thing Lawrence suggests so he'll fit in and people will like him. As the years burn away, he does more stupid stuff to impress more creeps and gets more lectures from idiot parents who won't see that their "We gave birth to you and still you want more? You selfish monster, what do you want from us?" attitude is why he acts up and out.

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One of the oldest, most irritating and less life-affirming parts of life in Milborough is the poor way in which the characters handle being upset. As I've said before, you can't go a week without seeing someone standing around bellowing in rage because of a trivial reverse. Why is it that we've spent thirty years of our lives wincing as the characters piss away their dignity screaming at non-events? What inner need of Lynn's is served by trying to convince her readers that the proper way to handle minor embarrassments is to throw a tantrum like a spoiled child? It seems to me that it's the flipside of her need to distance herself from the real world by assigning demeaning, trivializing names to things that scare her; the realities she wants to avoid insist on trying to pull her out of her fantasy capsule and it enrages her. This disproportionate rage leaks onto the page and alienates those who pay attention, remember the past and know how Elly's nonstop pointless fury deformed her children's personalities.

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One thing you cannot help but notice is that Lynn seems to have an active hatred of acting in a classy, dignified manner. This is why she calls food 'grub', potatoes 'spuds', dogs 'mutts' and children 'small ones'; she doesn't want to look what she calls all high and mighty and what regular people who like the person they see in the mirror call having self-respect. This self-loathing is one of the oldest features of the strip; the same impulse that led Anthony to chicken out and chase the unicorn instead of be a man, stay with Therese and move upward in the world is the one that has Elly scream because the last doughnut had been eaten. In both cases, we have to bear witness to goofolas who loathe who they are surrender their dignity so people would pity them and not hold them to the minimum acceptable standards for adult behavior. In the strip, they're rewarded for being whiny, destructive, immature mooches; in reality, the people they torment would tell them to shut up and quit waiting for the Easter Bunny to show up.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

As you might have guessed by now, Lynn seems to want to grab onto the demographic that thinks that "Marley and Me" is the funniest thing they've ever seen. In both it and Foob, we have a couple that is unprepared for the presence of a destructive and fairly dim-brained but affectionate dog in their lives. There's a difference that's telling though; the authors of Marley tried their best to train their dog and, despite all the havoc he wreaked, they knew that he simply couldn't control himself. They also loved him very much. None of those things hold true for the Pattersons. Elly simply couldn't be bothered to train Farley. Doing something to make her life easier would, you see, mean that John and the kids would 'win' and make her do things. As for making sure that he ate properly and was healthy, that's another thing the Marley people had over her; Elly can't be bothered to do that because it would mean that she cared enough to do so. She also screams and hollers whenever he does something she doesn't like. This happens a lot because she was too lazy to train him and is too stupid to see that her hasty, incompetent actions merely confuse him and sabotage whatever efforts John made to have him trained. What's more, none of the Pattersons especially seemed to have had much use for Farley when he was alive; the closest they came was their habit of smiling when they referred to him in a contemptuous tone of voice. The only time they felt anything other than annoyance is when he died for their sins.

dreadedcandiru2: (Royally Peeved Candiru)

One of the most annoying things about Elly is that she thinks that the simple act of being a parent is indescribably traumatic. As I said before, she thinks that she must control every single aspect of her childrens' adult lives in order to balance the scales because it took so much out of her. What makes Elly's belief unbelievable is knowing how easy her life really was. Mike, Liz and April were not the uncontrollable monsters of her angst-ridden recollections, after all. They were, as we all know, ordinary, reasonably well-behaved kids who lived amazingly conventional lives. All they needed was a bit more attention and a little less screaming about how they could do some minor thing that Elly inflated into an atrocity to their poor, long-suffering mother and they'd have been fine. She never had to deal with any real problems with them until April showed up; that's because she stopped paying attention all together by then. Another annoying thing about her is that she treated the simple, easy-peasy parts of motherhood as overwhelming, soul-crushing burdens. She actually meant it when she wrote those idiotic poems that described getting kids ready for school as being a grueling ordeal. Watching Elly make mountain ranges out of the mole-hills of her life as a means of explaining why she must dominate those of her children is as enjoyable as it is smart or palatable.

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One of the most annoying things about the new interpretation of the first encounters between Deanna and Mike is that she acts far too mature for her age. This is, of course, because Lynn wants her and Mike's behavior to make sense to her. If that means that they act like no first grader who ever lived, that's just how it's gotta be as far as she's concerned. A child that tiny given a contemporary bedroom eyes is bad enough; what makes it worse is the suggestion that she'd like to see him rough people up to prove how manly he is. This, sadly, is a trait that a another female character demonstrated, I'm talking, of course, about Elizabeth. Watching Anthony give Howard the purple nurple impressed Liz so much, she didn't call him out on all the crap he pulled afterward. This is an alarming trait as far as I'm concerned; it may look all cute to see someone demurely titter while idiots beat the holy Hell out of each other over her but in real life that's kind of not all the charming. It suggests, at least to me, a fairly-well developed love of aggression that has no moral component to keep it in check.
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It can be said with some certainty that John and Elly never really respected Therese's marriage to Anthony. As far as they were concerned, she had no claim on him that they had to take seriously. Comparing how upset they were when someone they didn't like, Eric, treated Liz the way the beloved Anthony treated his wife, we remind ourselves that the Pattersons' sense of morals leave something to be desired. Both parents see Anthony as a solution to a problem only they have: making sure that Liz will bow to their will for the rest of her life. The dreary idiot looks to me as being best suited to make sure that Liz lives a life of frustration so it seems obvious that he is their idea of a good choice. Just as Paul and Warren are mocked, patronized and secretly feared because they might rescue Liz from co-dependence, Therese is seen as an obstacle because she took Anthony out of the equation. Not that they can see themselves as having done wrong. Their psychopathology is based on the futile desire to be in absolute control of their environment; anyone who might come in and upset their plans is a trouble-maker.
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I know I've said this before but it's too good a point to not repeat. For the last twenty-eight and a half years, we have been subjected to an extended plea for sympathy from most of the female characters in the strip. Everything they say or do can be boiled down to the phrase "Behold me, the wronged, and pity me." You cannot spend too much time before you encounter some idiot who whines about how hard her lot is, how helpless she is to change it and how nobody understands or offers her sympathy or help. Let's exmaine how stupid that is. First off, they got themselves into the bad situation of their own free stupid will. Nobody forced Elly to marry John. Second, it's not a matter of the Ignoble Sufferer being trapped in a bad situation. If they wanted to, they could leave in a minute. They do not want to, though. The will to self-aggrandizement by showing how much crap they can endure keeps them fixed in place. Second, they actively refuse to be helped because they'd rather be pitied. What compounds the awfulness is that if they do not have misfortune in their lives, they'll inflate something trivial into a crisis. This trafficking in mostly undeserved sympathy has a nasty side effect; it blinds them to concerns of those in genuine need. There are people with real problems like Therese and April who get shoved aside because Liz and Elly want to be patted on the head for nothing.
dreadedcandiru2: (Royally Peeved Candiru)
One of the things you can always depend on in any Christmas special is an exhortation to keep the holiday spirit alive through the rest of the year, to not just save giving, kindness and goodwill for a specific time and behave like a jackass the rest. If we were to judge the Pattersons by what we saw this week, we'd see that they do have the same spirit they do on the 25th of December all year long. That's the problem. We saw the following things that we see all time and don't like:

- Deanna exiling the children from the main table into the kitchen because she wanted to be praised for having little ones but didn't want to be bothered looking at them.

- Deanna expecting April to watch over them because she thinks that's what teenaged girls are designed for.

- Deanna keeping her mother from watching over them because they might expect to be played with afterward and she's too good to do that.

- The family treating Mira as if she were an obstruction because she questions the way they do things.

- Anthony and Liz dancing the sick little dance they do without really caring about all the people that might get hurt along the way. People like his daughter, Fran├žoise.

- John declaring it a perfect holiday evening because he got to gorge himself and not be questioned.

- Elly declaring it perfect because she didn't have to do much.

- Jim not getting to spend the night in the Pattermanse or driven home by a Patterson.

- Jim feeling like he's going to die never being able to tell his family he loves them.

We see this sort of petty, nasty, hateful behavior every day so, yes, the Pattersons keep their squick-inducingly selfish Christmas spirit alive all year long.
dreadedcandiru2: (Angry Candiru)
The Pattersons are, by their own admission, a decidedly secular family. As such, they attend Christmas and Easter services not because of any great religious belief but out of social pressure. That is their right as citizens of a free public. A right they do not have is to secretly mock and deride the sincerely devout for their beliefs as we see them do in the Christmas 2007 strip. Hypocrites, of course, are fair game but the rank-and-file army of decent people who actually believe are not. Why the attack on organized religion? There are two reasons that immediately come to mind. The first is that they really don't get that not everyone is like them or wants to be. Since they aren't especially religious, they assume that anyone who says different is faking it. The second, deeper, reason is that they have a problem with the Christian ethos itself. They, as I've said before, view their needs as all-important. Sating an appetite is good because it makes them feel good and if other people don't like it, that's their problem. Being asked to feel bad about something that makes them feel better is just plain stupid as far as they're concerned. The God they hear about in Church wants to make them feel bad about what they do, feel sorry for the people that get in the way of their desires. He's no fun so they aren't going to listen to him. They believe in a groovy God who wants them to be fat and happy and reassures them that other people are just jealous. The fact that this 'deity' bears a strong resemblance to Satan is just a coincidence that haters point out.
dreadedcandiru2: (Lady Candiru 2)
You can't fail to notice that the standard reaction of the characters to almost anything is a mortified, frozen-faced glare which is sometimes accompanied by a slack-jawed gasp. This display of panic is referred to by the slang expression 'gobsmacked'. Why this panic at non-events? I have the feeling that it has a lot to do with their refusal to accept criticism. When people come to realize that a person will get all defensive and hostile when you say anything that might ruffle a feather or two, they avoid talking to that person. That means that the Pattersons haven;t had a real conversation with their neighbors in years. Since they don't hear criticism from outsiders and don't accept it from themselves, it would seem that they thing everything is all right and the universe unfolding as it should. Their inner critics, however, cannot be denied. Somewhere behind their vapid smiles are powerful voices telling them that everything they believe is bullshit and they're one mistake away from public humiliation. Their reaction to the slightest misstep is, therefore, one of blind panic lest it be the occasion where it all falls apart. Like liberty, the price of narcissism is eternal vigilance.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
If you took a look at the Wikiquote entry for Lynn, you get this little gem: "Complaining is good for you as long as you're not complaining to the person you're complaining about." This sounds all cute and whimsical but it's not. What it is is a honeyed-up way of a valid target of criticism going 'La-La-La, I can't hear you' when his or her victim calls him or her on acting like a jackass. That's because, as we've noticed, the Pattersons are among the thinnest-skinned people on the planet, not to mention the most besotted by vanity. Their pleasant, vapid grins are, as we all know, a thin veneer of gentility hiding a burning ball of rage. Their imbecile vanity and default hostility lead them to believe the slightest murmur of disagreement with their inflated self-image comes from the same hatred that really animates them. How else do we explain the Stupid Train Fuck's walloping April over the head with sufficient force to loosen hair-clips and eyeglasses, let alone the angry look on his face? The reason they're like this is that their creator thinks that people don't have to accept criticism either. This is sort of why there's no negative responses to the hybrid: her handlers know enough about their boss to realize she doesn't have it in her to take criticism. Dish it out, yes! Take it? Never.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
You wanna know what's a funny thing? Here's a funny thing: the Pattersons seem to want a whole lotta respect without really doing anything to earn it. It's not just the low, low expectations they have of themselves that cause those around them not to give them the obeisance they crave. It's, as I've stated before, their refusal to respect the people around them. They seem to feel they're good to treat other people the same way they want to be. We, as a matter of fact, are celebrating the sixth anniversary of a particularly nasty example of disrespecting others: the sham wedding. Deanna spelled out as plain as day when she said the first, private ceremony was the real deal and the public one all for show. They didn't respect anyone around them enough to let them know that they shared the same values, no. They were content to let them go on thinking that they were defying a convention. By a series of coincidences, Michael's side of the family learned the truth and decided to 'go along with the gag' (or, as decent human beings call it, 'join his and Deanna's conspiracy') but hers did not. Simple as paper, they felt so little for their fellow man, they engaged in a hateful fraud to extort gifts out of decent people. She justifies it by calling it payback for years of being told what to do, despite her not listening. Him, he wants to defend against loss of his masculine authority. They both want respect but they, like the rest of their family, aren't willing to do anything to earn it.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
It's safe to say that Therese was far more sinned against than sinning. First off, the only reason Anthony started dating her was that he'd heard Liz was unavailable. Sure, he laid on the sweet talk in her presence but still loved Liz. He was a fool to think she wouldn't either find this out or piece it together on her own. Imagine trying to make a marriage work living in the shadow of some slobby, graceless, charmless, talentless, witless, immature little twinkie who has a sick hold on the man you fell hard for. Further, you're more or less told you're not good enough because you're not willing to become the domesticated drone she was born to be. I have more respect for Therese for getting the fuck outta Dodge with as little fuss as she did than I have for her bratty imbecile accuser. That being said, just because we all know Liz has no right to condemn Therese doesn't mean she can see that. The Pattersons never acknowledge that their victims have positive traits. They've made a life and living benefitting from the misfortunes of others. Remember how Liz got her teaching gig down South? Her predecessor's marriage had gone bust and she cried all the way back to Mother England. Doesn't matter to Liz that the woman's dreams fell to bits. She didn't have the right stuff so it was okay for Liz to profit from her misery. I also remember how Mike became senior editor of Portrait: his nemesis 'Divalea' got her keister stuck in a crack and there was a big witch-hunt in the industry wherein her supporters, like the guy how told Mike to take a hike, found themselves suddenly unemployed. Doesn't matter to Mike that his old boss can't get arrested in the publishing game, does it? Even April is tainted by this ugliness, this pettiness. Whenever Becky suffers, April feels beter about herself. None of them can possibly acknowledge that the people they presume to hate have as much right to happiness as they do. If they started thinking that, they might not like what they see in the mirror any more.
dreadedcandiru2: (Angry Candiru)
Mike and Liz are further proof that being a bad person makes you stupid. Let's dispose of the Delicate Genius so we can get to the good stuff, shall we? Running into a burning building to get a laptop? Dumb move. Turning down house after house because you wanna crawl up your Mom's birth canal? Sheer idiocy! Saying buying a house is even worse than getting married when you're lookinng at your wife??? D-U-M, DUMB!! Thinking buying a home is an inhuman ordeal? Laziness and stupidity. Running away from your kids when things get tough so that you've set yourself up to fail when they REALLY need you? Not only is it hateful and selfish, it's act of complete dunderheadedness. Sadly, he shares a mental trait with his kid sister: a complete lack of self-knowledge. If you were to tell this idiot about someone named 'Fred Head' who pulled off all the dick moves he has over the last few years, he'd wanna kill the bastard. Point out that he's the same kind of douche, he'll angrily deny it. It's the same thing with Liz. She thinks she has a sense of humor when, in fact, laughter at her expense doesn't cause her to ruefully chuckle at a just-recoginzed folly but an outburst of blind rage at the person who dares puncture her inflated ego. She loves children when they make her feel good about herself but has no use for them otherwise. (Like brother, like sister.) She boasts about how good she is with money when her idea of financial planning is paying off her Visa with her MasterCard. She has the attention span of a hummingbird on crystal meth but blathers about her fidelity and ability to make long term commitments. I could go on but you get the point.
dreadedcandiru2: (Angry Candiru)
A whole lot of the problems in this strip stem from the fact that the Pattersons are not only inhumanly selfish and loaded down with sin, they're also knuckle-dragging cretins. Let's take Elly as our example for today because Iris's heartache is a direct by-product of her daughter-in-law's heartless idiocy. I have to agree with those who say that when she told the doctor she was good to go last October, she did so in the firm belief that her husband's family had her back. Sadly, things didn't work out that way. The sickening thing about Elly's justifications for her moral failure are their stupidity. To lead off with, she doesn't want to go through the same heartache she did when her mother died so she refuses to feel anything. Just write her father off, wait for the funeral and move on. Not only is that the most appalling display of sordid, hateful, gutless, narcissistic selfishness imaginable, it's based on almost complete ignorance of the situation. The doctor raises the possibility that Jim may not make a complete recovery and suddenly he's beyond human aid. The possibility that with enough effort she can bring her 'beloved' father back to pretty much himself has never occured to her because of her default mental state of imbecilic sloth. When you add in the fact that she takes Iris's insincere refusal of Pattersonian assistance at face value, you really wanna bitch-slap the callous muttonhead. I mean, REALLY!! She comes across a woman shouldering an inhuman burden on her own and is shocked to see that she's upset about it. Then again, pretty much all the problems in her life stem from her being stunned and not giving a shit about things, so.....
dreadedcandiru2: (Angry Candiru)
People are judged in this world by how they treat the very young and the very old. We've seen how wretched the Pattersons are with their children and this week we're being reminded of how awful they are at dealing with Jim. First off, they left him in the care of a stubborn incompetent. We've seen how when Iris asks Jim something, she misinterprets what he's tring to say to comform to her preconception of what he 'really' wants and his frustrated reaction. This reinforces her delusion that she's dealing with a recalcitrant infant; after all, she can't possibly be to blame. The reason she has delusions of adequacy is that she's surrounded by inept 'experts' like Christine. Jim's speech pathologist may have a pretty face but she doesn't have the skills or the tenacity required to help anyone. The grinning incompetent pats Iris on the head,tels her to stay the course and goes on the wreak more havoc on the elderly. Another not-so-nice thing about Iris is that she's too proud to ask for help when it's so obviously needed. The combination of her failure to fight for her husband, the ineptitude of his therapists and the veterinary medicine paradigm, which mandates that since Jim is gonna die soon anyway, getting him back to near-normality is a waste of resources, has caused Jim to be trapped in his body, unable to say anything other than Yes or No. A competent therapist and vigilant caregiver would certainly have him talking half-way coherently by now but it's far too late to help him now. Like a bone allowed to set at a disfiguring angle, Jim is set like this. It didn't have to be like this because he had a daughter living in an hour's drivew who couls have fought for him and helped him get over this. Why didn't she? Not only does she waste her time shaving sheets, encouraging Mike to churn out glurge, condemning April and championing losers like Anthony, she's terrified that Jim isn't a simpleton. Her worst nightmare is to in his shoes, having something to say but be helpless to say it. It's easier for her to write him off as an overgrown two-year-old and leave him to rot than face her fears. The best Jim gets is a token appearance every month to bring clothes he can't wear and food he can't eat to keep the neighbor's tonuge's from wagging. It saddens me that a man who put his life on the line for the future of his country has been selfishly let down by those he protected. We each of us owe a debt to the past and Elly is so far in default as to be bankrupt. The coin isn't dollars and cents, however: her bankruptcy is moral.


dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

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