dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

As I said last time, the reason we never see Molly or Gayle again is that Lynn decided that at twelve years of age, Michael was finally old enough a character that she would be able to nag Aaron about dating girls who gave her the creeps. Wile it was her own choice to send her son unsubtle messages about predatory girls with dangerous body language, it would have been slightly more plausible if the alleged gold-digger Elly panicked about the most were herself not a thirteen-year old slip of a girl. 

There are, of course, two reasons for this moronic fiasco. The first is the idiotic age gap she can’t or won’t admit that she blundered into by not bothering to pay attention to her immediate surroundings. She’s probably convinced herself that she planned ll along to  make her characters three years younger but persuing the catalog and remembering her need to have the Patterson children do age-inappropraite things because she wanted to  rebuke Aaron and Katie right then and there make that a lie.

The second is that she always seems to have needed a male companion even when she was in her first decade of life. While her peers were fearing cooties and ickiness, Lindy Ridgway had it in her head that she wasn’t worth the effort of feeding if she didn’t have a man in her life all her life. This mental peculiarity led to her angrily over-reacting and banishing Deanna for a decade because someone told her something she didn’t want to hear about how normal people behave.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, Lynn has made vague comments about projects that never materialize owing to her being done telling the Pattersons' story and not being especially interested in anyone else doing so. The reason I mention this is that in a recent interview, Lynn announced that she'd vaguely sort of like to do a series of books about April's little garage band and its ups and downs. While she was predictably all over the map about what would happen, who would make it and (since most kids don't actually know who the Hell the Pattersons are) who it would be for, it seemed to her that it might be fun to somehow get today's headache-music loving kids interested in real books somehow. The problem is that I can foresee three perils she might not.

The first such peril relates to her insistence on freezing April in place as a high school student. We happen to know that if Lynn had her druthers, the youngest would be Aypo forever and we also happen to know that Lynn's fragility in relating to her children seemed to have reached its peak when they were in their teens. Factor in her self-satisfied ignorance of what goes on in today's world and need to look at children through the eyes of a reproving old lady filled with fear and hate and you'll realize that a potential reader might be attracted by how completely off the wall her look at what she thinks day to day life is like. It would be as if she were to try to pass off a Road Runner cartoon as a documentary about wildlife in the US Southwest.

The second and third perils are, so to speak, brother and sister and relate directly to her blinkered vision of what constitutes proper behaviour. First off, we'd have April's insane jealousy of Becky go pretty much unopposed by anything like reason, decency, integrity or anything bad that limits Lynn's need to meet anything like disagreement with maximum force. The sitting duck antagonist would be accused of any number of crazy evil things while such accusations would have no more solidity than Liz's claims that she wasn't a spoiled brat who slipped and fell on her arse because being told to behave with something approaching decorum made her too angry to look where she was going but the victim of evil career woman French person mind powers.

Now that we've made of Becky someone who's totally a monster because April's totally not jealous or insecure despite both such traits being betrayed by her choice of language, let's point out the third, crucial peril: sanctifying John and Elly's emotional and physical absence from the plot. I remember that in one of her retcons, Elly dismissed the attention Becky's parents were paying her as the same sort of family politics that inspire Mira to somehow intrude on Mike's life instead of letting the Pattersons' sacrifices pay off. This tells me that it's going to be seen as being good and noble of Elly to be a distant and disapproving presence that is as afraid of participating in her daughter's life as Lynn is of being an actual grandmother. At some point, Lynn would be made sad and angry when it's asked where John and Elly are when April needs them when it's clear to her that doing so would mean that they'd lose family politics and be their child's servants.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
Of course, we don't need the fact that Lynn had no real idea what to do with April after she stopped being able to write cute kid strips as a reminder that she really doesn't have any idea of what she's doing. The current arc serves that purpose just as well. If you'll allow me, I'd like to list the features common to both Lizzie's Mystery Fever Of Melodrama™ and the shabby way that the Pattersons treated the unfavorite third child.

The first common feature comes to us from the notes; that's because Lynn said that she had never actually had to send a child to hospital with an illness. Since she isn't really all that good at imagining what people do when she never did it, we end up with parents who sit home like uncaring idiots while their sick, frightened child wonders why she's been abandoned. This is like how April thought she was going to end up locked in a dungeon because Lynn couldn't imagine John and Elly actually talking to her. In both cases, Lynn never actually bothered sitting down and wondering what people would do and decided to have them do what she would. Since she doesn't seem to understand the social norms that apply, the result is rather off-putting.

The second commonality proceeds logically from the first; this is because we have Lynn not really understanding what it looks like when Elly acts as if doing the bare minimum to qualify as a decent human being is some sort of heroic sacrifice. It's as annoying to think that Lynn wants us to praise Elly for being a hero for sitting in the waiting room while Lizzie still cries for Mommy as it will be when she declares that Elly "understands' April when she tells her that she's not upset about what she's upset about.

Finally, we have to contend with the fact that Lynn has a strong aversion to having to care about people in genuine need. Whenever the conversation veers towards the subject of sick relatives, Lynn tends to lavish praise on people who don't ask her to feel bad for them. There are two reasons for this appalling tendency of hers. The first is that her own fear or being weak and dependent tends to make her think that people who are weak have somehow committed a crime and thus aren't worthy of her attention. The second is that said awful people are trying to impose on her and make her weaker than they are when they have no right to do so. This means that Lynn has criminalized compassion and empathy because she wants all the sympathy for herself.

The end result of all of this is that she never reused this sort of storyline because she did not get the results she both expected and wanted. Instead of getting letters lavishing sympathy on John and Elly for having to take care of some stupid kid who went and got herself sick, she ended up with a lot of letters that angered and confused her about how sad they were for Lizzie and how angry they were that John and Elly weren't doing enough.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)
I wish it hadn't happened the way it did but the "Mike gets locked out" arc ended the way I'd expected it would. Instead of Elly reassuring Michael that no one intended for him to end up getting locked out or admitting that maybe he should have a key or something, John made a comment about Mike's nose being out of joint that Lizzie overheard and thought meant that Mike's nose was somehow askew. It thus ended not with a bang or a whimper but with another in a long list of cheap, stupid and juvenile sight-gags foisted on us by the adult child in charge of the strip. This, I think, is why she wanted to have a new child in the strip so badly back in the early nineties. It would seem that even her gushiest fans allowed as how Liz was too old for stuff like that; thus came April and her arrested development and thus came Meredith and Robin. Had the strip continued, we could have looked forward to James Allen taking things far too literally for his own good in the service of a questionable joke.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru)

As you may or may not know, Lynn made a very interesting admission in a recent Lynnsight. Said admission is that there is no one she knew of corresponding to the Deanna Sobinski Mike had a crush on in grade school. The Deanna he didn't want to sit next to while having egg breath is, as one could probably expect from a mildly rigorous analysis of Lynn's methodology, a sitcom character shoved into the strip so as to give Mike conflict.

The problem is that most of Aaron's peers didn't understand that there was no "real" Deanna any more than they understood that Liz's inability to pick up on the signals Anthony was sending her was a recap of Lynn's courting Rod and had nothing to do with Kate. This sort of thing led to them having, as she put it, "problems." Since Lynn really doesn't seem to overly concern herself with any down side to her work owing to her lovely tendency to bleat that it's just a comic strip when she's called out for screwing up people's lives, it's safe to assume that her children joined Rod in being told to suck it up already.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Part of the reason that Lynn didn't quite understand why people questioned how heroic Anthony was supposed to have been is that she doesn't seem to spend a lot of time thinking about the broader implications of what she does. Unlike Rumiko Takahashi and her response of "I don't think about such things and neither should you" when confronted with the horrifying implications of some of the things she's written, Lynn isn't actually so frightened of having to work out how her gags would play out in the real world that she wills herself to not follow the logic to its disturbing conclusion. She actually isn't seeing a problem with what she does because thirty seconds after she steps away from her drawing board, her short-term memory goes blank.

This inability to remember the past marches hand in hand with the assumption that everyone else has a memory like a sieve. Lynn's suppressed anger at having things she's said in the past brought up is combined with confusion because, well, she's upset that people seem to remember things. This sort of not really thinking and not really remembering is thus another factor that makes the notes an exercise in confusion. Not only do we have to deal with things that only make sense to her, we have to contend with her inability to remember why she did things.

One of the things that she seems to have failed to remember is (as [livejournal.com profile] forworse implies) that she even had a character named Janice to play with in the first place. By the time she got done hammering the kids over the head with the fact that they should be grateful that John and Elly feed, clothe and house them and us over the head with the fact that John is an insensitive brute, the concept "tomboyish foil" seems to have vanished from her brain. This, along with an antipathy to tomboys I'll discuss later, is why the next time a girl named Janice appeared, she was more of a real girl.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

As we’ve seen before, Lynn loves to retell the same annoying non-joke in which she contrasts the enthusiasms of a child with how poor, down-trodden Elly cannot be allowed to enjoy anything but instead is expected to work and work and work without any hope of assistance, gratitude or recognition. Time and again we are forced to watch Mike, Lizzie or April boast about how great it is to have a holiday in which they do not have to work when in the presence of a long-suffering mother who is not permitted to do so and who isn’t really being thought of as working at all. This irritating exercise in whining about how Elly’s ungrateful, selfish, cruel and oblivious family will finally start to realize how hard her life was and how much she did for them when they’re noting that it’s been twenty years after she died would be bad enough if Elly were only groaning under the weight of one onerous task. What generally happens is that we see her doing a different back-breaking job in each and every panel. This need to hammer home how hard Elly’s life is and how she seems all but invisible to her family has a high cost in that it makes her children look as if they take forever to complete a sentence. After all, what we see is an offspring coming up to Elly, saying something about how great it is to be on vacation and immediately forgetting what he was going to say only to remember the rest of it a longish while later. 

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Here's an interesting little experiment that the people on the Foobiverse suggested the other day: take a typical daily supplement of Foobery and chop off the fourth panel. What generally happens is that John and Elly's IQ rises about fifty points and they no longer look like idiotic, bipolar lunatics who scream verbal abuse at the baffling, malevolent little strangers who appeared from parts unknown and seem to exist to confuse, defy and mock them. Without that fourth panel, they turn into the normal suburban family that Lynn and Kool-Aid Nation falsely believe them to be.

This is because Lynn does something that we see entirely too much of: imitating something that pleases her without understanding what she's doing while thinking that what's really just an option is an iron-clad law. Just as she draws hovercars because she thinks that there's no other way to show that a car is in motion, she ends her strips with her characters yelling like idiots because Sparky did it. What she doesn't understand is that there's a huge difference between Charlie Brown bellowing because Lucy made a sap of him and Elly hollering in blind rage because Mike wonders how long a lecture is going to last. In the first instance, we have a messed-up, gloomy eight year old thinking that the world is going to end because another screwed-up eight year old thinks it's funny and cute to be a malicious little shit. On the other, we have a tetchy bully hollering because someone she's dominating isn't cravenly grateful to be told what a disappointment he is and doesn't immediately agree that he owes her every penny she ever spent on him (as well as a rate of interest that would stagger a Mafia loan shark) because his need for attention and love was far too intolerate a burden for a thin-skinned narcissistic bitch like her to bear.

The problem, of course, is that Lynn believes that the joke is that two entitled, thin-skinned sourballs are embittered by the fact that other people insist on defying them which causes them to bellow at weak, powerless people for wanting to live on their own terms. It takes a special kind of angry, childish and clueless maniac to think that breathing fire at sitting ducks for not knuckling under quickly or cravenly enough to monstrously selfish people is at all humorous and it would seem that Lynn is that maniac.
dreadedcandiru2: (Fugly Elly)
As you know, Elly is not exactly easy on the eyes. Given that what we see is a plain face with the large nose crowned by a decade-appropriate ugly hair-do perched on a mildly pudgy, slouching torso clad in dowdy clothing with an expression of either defeat or rage plastered on said plain face, we can't exactly call Elly attractive.

This vision of Lynn's severe, crippling insecurity about her looks made flesh is something that even her fans comment on critically. One of the Lynnsights talks about her being bluntly asked why it is that Elly has to look like a dried-up turd on a country road all the damned time. Her response is to hide behind her craft. She thus explains to her fans that her characters must be easily identified and, for good or ill, the potato-nosed specter that bellows in rage at the inconsequential is what people expect to see when they think of her main character.

This is an example of her being right for a reason that she cannot admit to honestly. She could, of course, draw Elly to be less homely and ungainly looking despite her assurances otherwise. She just doesn't want to because when she looks at herself in a mirror, she sees the horror-freak that looks like John in drag.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we've remarked upon in the past, Lynn appears to have the habit of confusing a technique that appeals to her with a hard and fast rule that must be obeyed. It's why she never uses an eraser and it's why she draws hovercars; in the first instance, she more than likely misunderstood what a pro who was pretty much on autopilot's advice that when she got good, she wouldn't have to erase things all that often to mean "Never erase" and in the latter, she confused "Having a car seemingly float is a good way to indicate motion" with the command "Always draw hovercars."

That being said, it's clear that her habit of not paying close attention to what her instructors were saying and turning a tip into a decree comes into play when it comes time to draw objects. Instead of spending time and energy she doesn't know that she can spend on actually drawing real objects, she's collected a series of trinkets over the years to use as models for vehicles and animals. Not only does that explain why her cars are all misshapen, we get a clue as to why the pets look as if Milborough was built on top of a nuclear waste dump; since the toy cats and rabbits aren't very accurate, Shimsaa and Butterscotch look like mutants.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As you will recall, I think of Cousin Laura as being a very reluctant baby-sitter to what she's been told are uncontrollable monsters and what she knows to be dull-witted, placid buffoons that her hysterical aunt cannot coexist with at all well. What is really interesting is that her age, as [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck reminds us, has shifted over time. When she was first introduced in the early eighties, she was clearly either Michael's age or slightly older but, as time progressed, ended up becoming a year younger than Elizabeth.

It's not just Lynn's inability to do elementary research that causes this bizarre reversal of what Stephen King calls "the kid trick" and what others call Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome; we must also remind ourselves that unlike her avatar, Beth has three daughters; the oldest seems to be roughly Aaron's age and the youngest is more or less the same age as Katie. Since Laura is a composite of three real-world people, Lynn seems to be doing the same thing with her that she did with Milborough by combining traits as she needs them.
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In her latest incoherent ranting about her technique or lack there-of, Lynn spent a good deal of time talking about how she was entering into some sort of dream realm. This seemed familiar to most of the people in the Foobiverse community so I checked and noticed that whenever she does talk about her writing, she not only admits to the ludicrous process of always working backwards from a punchline, she says that when she's in the mythical Zone that only people touched by the Gods Themselves can enter, she's in a fantasy capsule or dream state or some such nonsense in which she can indulge her screwball belief that only the Elect Few can dare think of creating new things.

Given that when a person does record the contents of his or her dreams, the imagery is bizarre, the characters fantastical and their deeds nonsensical, it seemed to a group of those assembled to try to decipher the decrees of this discount Delphic oracle that she was being honest because, well, the adventures of the Pattersons make no sense if you insist on being an evil, unfair, picky-faced hater who wants to abolish laughter and try to make real-world sense of what you're seeing. If you look at them as the dream of a crazy, stupid, immature, out-of-touch woman who doesn't understand the world around her but thinks that she does, they start to look more understandable.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

The second video letter from Lynn to her fans explaining her alleged creative process had her draw Farley while snickering that her meal-ticket was, like all dogs, a smelly, stupid, slobbering, foul-smelling, dirty source of chaos because that’s all dogs are to her. Leaving aside the internalized hatred of dogs she got from her mother, the shaking hands that she claimed as an excuse for not being able to do any more new material were not in evidence. What was in evidence in this and from her talk at the Schulz museum is that she is no longer able to draw the human characters the way that she used to back in the early eighties. What we saw was a sort of horrific amalgamation of the real Elly of the past and the potato-nosed horror freak of the Declining Years; in short, the character I once called RevElly.

What this tells me is that she should have kept something else in her files aside from a template for the panels; that something is a model sheet for her characters so she can see how they’re supposed to look instead of doing the stupid thing she does do and flip through an old collection and do a half-assed job on the characters. Were she to do that, we wouldn’t have to look at a supposedly thirty year old Elly who had a nose en route to becoming a trunk and we certainly wouldn’t have Dainty Doll-boy Michael.

dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As you may or may not know, Lynn has decided to share with her devoted fans her creative secrets. As expected, she spouts her silly nonsense about hard work and how creativity is something special that only a select handful of people who have a divine gift of getting into some sort of mythical Zone of Creativity can even dare attempt. She says that not only because her fans believe it, she does as well. What I found interesting is where she went into her Zone: her living room couch; since her interviewer knew better than to challenge a steady customer, he didn't laugh out loud when she gushed about the slipshod process by which she crafted the weekly strips nor did he point out that comic strips are a visual and not verbal medium. Her over-reliance on what the characters might say and the unpleasant habit she had of absorbing sitcom-style puns by osmosis go a long way to explaining why it is that the adventures of the Pattersons read like a badly-conceived sitcom peopled with ill-formed stereotypes.

This, of course, is not the only thing that's wrong with the way she does things. I've already covered how she assumes that we know facts that she keeps to herself but what I failed to mention is her unpleasant habit of failing to have asked herself if her experiences in Lynn Lake made sense in the suburb of Ontario in which the Pattersons live. Take, as an example, Mike's struggle with his Halloween costume. As [livejournal.com profile] forworse said, Aaron's attending a Halloween party in a church hall instead of trick-or-treating would go a long way to explaining why the wings had to fit through a door. Since Lynn tried to combine her real-life experience with the Pattersons' lives in a manner that made no sense, she ends up failing. A lot of the more baffling plotlines are probably the result of her doing that.

Looking back, I realize that I already said that when I speculated on the subject of how many strips that have John and Mike not getting along as well as they should would make a damned sight more sense if John were Mike's stepfather. That's the thing about Lynn's bad writing, though; just as she repeats herself, we ourselves are forced to as well.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As I said yesterday, Lynn clearly seems to believe that Liz only ever managed to finally disentangle herself from Warren when he screamed in horror at the Token That Said She Was Taken. In the strip in her head, it was obvious to see that while she was building a life with Anthonty and Gee-what's-that-little-girl's-name-again-I-forgot-tee-hee-hee!!, she was also keeping her options open in case Anthony did something crazy like find another woman to make her jealous enough to fight for him like he did with the Wrong-girl-stop-asking-me-her-name-because-it's-just-a-comic-strip; the problem is that, as I said, it looked as if she'd broken things off with him when he didn't come running just because she said so.

The reason that long-term readers of the strip might think that she was trying very hard to discourage someone she no longer had time for merely because he expected her to come a-running is that we had a similar situation in a flashback; you see, Elly had her cap set on some paperboy who'd thought of her as an adhesive, dowdy nuisance and told her as such. Her reaction to his not wanting to contend with a clingy, screeching, pig-ignorant, literal-minded and pessimistic imbecile and laughing at her clumsy advances was much the same as Liz's reaction to being told point blank that people simply can't drop everything just because she's feeling lonely. Since Elly signified being over Colin Winch via Bronx cheer, most readers would be forgiven for assuming the same thing happened with Liz and Warren.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As you've no doubt heard me say before, Lynn seems to be blissfully unaware of the fact that the strip her readers see is not the one she does. Not only does this come into play when she has to defend Anthony against his critics and when she explains that April is really the villain of the piece during the Housening because she doesn't trust people who are shown to NOT have her best interests at heart, she also fails to show us what she thinks was going on when Liz was dating Paul and Warren. In a recent podcast, she referred to them as "the two guys Liz was dating" before she fell for the right surrogate for Johnman; this, as [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck said, made it clear that Lynn thought that she was dating both men at the same time; the problem is that she made it look and sound as if Elizabeth was a one-man woman who went from a failed relationship with Warren to a doomed one with Paul before finding her esoteric happy ending with Anthony.

Where we part company with Lynn is that we let our perception of events color things and believe that when Anthony was stampeded into proposing, it was because Warren was trying to break up the monogamous pairing he and Liz had. Like Adam Savage, Lynn rejects our reality and substitutes her own. The rule as [livejournal.com profile] howtheduck formulated it is as follows:

Relationships only end when one of the partners is caught cheating on the other. If there is no cheating, the relationship is still on. The exception is if one of the partners is a Patterson. Pattersons do not cheat, but are allowed to date multiple people at the same time. For all non-Pattersons, dating someone else is cheating.

This means that since Warren was not caught cheating on Elizabeth and since she, as a Patterson, is allowed to date multiple partners, that she and Warren were still dating up until she got the token that said that she was taken. Where things fall apart is that even Inman would agree with our premise based on what he saw. Good thing for his need to worship Lynn that he uses her press clippings as canon.

Given that Lynn is so inattentive that she forgets the names of important characters like "Wrong" Girl Thérèse and that she thinks that this failure is a charming and funny thing instead of an indictment, she'd laugh off the baffling to her statement that what even her fans saw as Liz going from one bad boyfriend to another before finding safety with a plausible cipher with a perky exhortation to not overthink things.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As a long-term follower of the strip, Lynn's plans to go back to painting after she allegedly retired intrigued me; I had, at the time, thought that a change in medium and subject matter would do her a world of good by reminding her of why she became an artist in the first place. It turns out, of course, that my enthusiasm was misguided owing to her changing her mind. In a recent video letter to her fans, she'd started out by talking about how she'd originally planned to paint portraits of the flowers in her garden but decided against it because she claims to need to have a reason to do something.

Said reason is a passionate commitment to a deadline; this, translated into English, means that she views her art as a means to the end of making a living. There's nothing wrong with that, of course; I simply wish that she would stop spouting off about muses and behaving as if the ability to create was not doled out by gods instead of being part of being human. I also wish that she would stop chortling about filling empty spaces on her wall as if this is some sort of novel concept; this, of course, is akin to my hope that she'll someday learn that anyone can be a creator.

Another thing I wish that she would stop doing is complaining about how unfair it is that she's not instantly good at something. Most of the second minute was dedicated to passive-aggressive bitching that she had to practice her technique and get into the process; given that most people would look at that as being part of the fun, her complaining that there's no pill to take to be automatically good at coloring and her resentment of those who actually do show her up by working hard is an annoyance greater than watching her try to flap her arms and fly around her back yard.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
One of the sadder things about watching the birth of Richard Nichols is knowing that we really don't get to see all that much of his story; granted, we do get to see the first six or seven years of his life and form some opinion about what and who he is and might become but shortly after April is born, he and his whole family disappear from view because of Lynn's refusal to explore her divorce in any real depth.

I've already told you about how I think that Anthony is simply a stand-in for Christopher but what I haven't quite explained is what I think is the real injustice: the fact that the youngest of the three Nichols children has no real on-screen personality at all. About all we do know about her is that Anne's post-partum depression seems to have taken the form of converting a genetic anomaly into a sign that she herself was morally deficient, Richard was mildly jealous of her and that Leah herself was a bit noisy. Other than that, we cannot look to the strip to see what might have become of her.

For any clue as to her destiny, we have to resort to consulting Lynn and Beth's attempts at waxing literary to find out that she's a business major who helped her father get over the post-retirement blues by getting him into volunteering. When you consider that that's a far more compelling story than watching zits and vacuuming, Lynn's wonky focus is really grating.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
As we've seen before, Lynn has a rather odd habit that defines who she is as an artist; said habit is her paying just enough attention to something she likes to copy it and not enough attention to realize that the desired thing is not an ironclad rule. As by way of example, she only thinks that hovercars are the only way to show her readers that a car is in motion; she misread a quotation that said that it was a funny way of showing something in such a manner that she thought that a quirky style was the One True Path.

Something akin to that seems to explain the forced-looking punchlines and non-existent comic flow of a large number of strips. As other commentators have said, the only way a lot of the more baffling attempts at non-humor make any sense is that if you assume that Lynn starts with the punchline she wants first and works backwards; my guess is that she half-read this in a guide book long ago and turned a handy little trick into divine writ.

This would be a harmless enough quirk save for one thing: she lacks the creativity and imagination needed to do a proper job of working backwards; the end result is that the landscape of Pattersonian history is littered with the wreckage of collapsed jokes.
dreadedcandiru2: (Default)
Now it seems to me that the simple little column that Elly the intern has been assigned won't give her much of a chance to stretch her vocabulary; as we saw from the encrustations of ill-understood polysyllabic words in the stomach-wrenching excerpts from Stone Season, the only real difference between it and "Sum kids were lost an'then were found!" is that the latter example of Mike's having all the insight of a baked potato was his love of padding his blank-witted verse with big, big words. That being said, Elly was forced to have to stick to dull grey facts and use small words because the big meanie editor wanted to have room for the adventures of the local Bantam A hockey team.

She did better when submitting her awful poems about how small, frightened children who want their mother to comfort them should be pounded into silence so Mommy could sleep and how doing laundry because she's too stupid to teach her children to put their clothes away properly is an existential horror; that's because the editors thought that she was parodying the whole martyr mom meme instead of giving them a look at the greasy interior of the mind of a narcissistic jerkass.

The person who spent the most time cursing the evils of the blue-pencil tyrants is, of course, Mike; from bitching about how unfair it was that he didn't get most of his story about his vulture-like hanging about and getting in the EMTs' way when Deanna drove off the road published to snarling at his boss when he couldn't get his petty revenge against a busy woman who treated him like the nonentity he is printed, Mike bellows and screams at the cruelty of having to have his tosh, bad grammar, ludicrously inept punctuation, baffling misuse of words and misspellings turned into legible English.

In this, he is much like his creator. As we all know, the one thing that is guaranteed to turn the terrifyingly perky Lynn into a belligerent jerk is when someone corrects her piss-poor writing style. She insists that her glaring errors must stand because she knows what she's doing, little realizing that she's revealing herself to be a petulant child who won't follow the rules because it just isn't in her to do so.


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