dreadedcandiru2: (Default)

The irritating thing about watching John trying to get his kids to do chores is having to remember a rather nasty little Declining Years Sunday strip in which he moaned that it had taken twenty-nine years for Mike to happily do yard work. One is reminded of the dumb-ass fucking moron parents from Greg Evans’s Luann who don’t give a shit about who she is or how she feels as long as she tidies her room and doesn’t embarrass them in public because John impresses me as being less that concerned with who  the people around him are and more concerned with the roles he’s assigned them.

What this means is that as far as John allows himself to see, Mike is there to rake lawns and that’s all he’s meant to be: someone who does chores without complaint so that Daddy can not strain his sore back. Wanting to be more that doesn’t mean that John is a short-sighted ignoramus who has a sadistic and mechanistic view of who other people are, it means that he has a bad attitude and is ungrateful and defiant….according to John, that is. According to those not monsters of selfishness and entitlement, John’s a God-damned  assole with his head wedged so far up his ass, he could bill himself as The Amazing Human Pretzel.

dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
You will no doubt have noticed that I've fixated on that very early strip in which everyone's in a bad mood because that boorish infant John has to hunt to find a screwdriver. The reason why is that there's a perfectly good reason no one does the right thing and gut-punch the four-eyed four flusher and tell him to quit whining about his toys....there's no one with enough "power" to come along and tell him where to shove his attitude and how far he can do so. This is because our boy is still a surly nine year old playing King Of The Hill and he's decided that Elly and the kids don't have the right to contradict him. This is why he never listens to Elly when she tells him that he makes her feel useless and foolish and trapped. This is why he never listens to his kids when they tell him he comes across as the bully he is. This is why the kids end up with the horrible belief that rights are for those who can defend themselves.

This is also why the men and women of good will in Milborough probably wish that John and Elly had died about the same time that April fooled everyone so that there was a chance that their children would be raised by decent, respectable people who know right from wrong and were able to transmit that knowledge. The most they can hope for now is that the youngest generation won't be too badly warped by the worthless presence of that fool in the conductor's outfit and his insane wife.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I said yesterday, John's major malfunction is the fact that he doesn't want to do much to earn his big cookie and that he confuses monotony and the avoidance of anything like an inconvenience even for a good cause as being the sovereign goods. This and his lack of any sort of inclination to find out who the people around him really are and what they actually want and need because that's too damned much like work and might require genuine sacrifice on his part is why his life is a mess.

What I would like to stress all over again is the fact that Elly is transfixed by the notion that no one loves her or ever has or ever will and that they expect her to work and strive and suffer and never allow her the slightest hint that what she does is actually appreciated. She's enabled in this disastrous belief by a moron husband who actually does think that this should be the case because it's hormones that make her think she deserves more out of life that thankless toil because the alternative is his actually giving a shit about anything. Since doing that means that the contents of his skull have gone rancid, he's going to keep on asking what she does all day and never notice how much that hurts because he wants to live his life numb to the suffering of his family because empathy is too much like work. Since he's an influence in his children's lives, they too are blinded to her need for love and her hope that she gets more than Mike idly wondering if maybe his mother didn't exactly like her life and possibly deserved more fifteen years after she dies.

The problem is that you can't have a horrible obsession like this without a psychic cost. I should think that John's blank-minded insensitivity warps her perception of events and deprives her of the ability to remember that children don't freeze in place when she isn't thinking about them. It's bad enough that she ends up thinking every little disagreement is proof that she's expected to meekly struggle through life without any sort of recognition or approval without having to remember what it does to her and those around her. Simply put, if John weren't a stupid son of a whore idiot rat bastard who wants to drift through life without doing anything while expecting deference because he's larger, Farleygate would never have happened. Martian Picky-Face Princesses don't kill heroic dogs.....TRAIN MEN DO!!!
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, all of my talk about Elly and how she'll spend the rest of her life not realizing that she ruined the children would have taken a lot less time to say if I'd just reminded you that she's a distillation of three of Lynn's personality traits: her ambivalence about family life, her mommy issues and her warped body image. What John seems to be is a combination of three other traits: her love of juvenile wordplay, her love of unopposed cruelty to the defenseless and finally her daddy issues.

The last of these seem most damaging because of the sort of warped, incestuous father-daughter relationship that was idealized during the Settlepocalypse. We're not just dealing with a jackass father who only wants to be a parent when it's easy and fun and people gladly do what he says who turns into a surly, whiny prick grousing about disobedience and anarchy and attitudes needing adjusting and problem hair when he's required to feel something similar to the dreaded empathy that makes people weak and feminine. We're dealing with someone who's the focus of his daughter's not-well-hidden desire to couple with her daddy and it's turning him on, baby, because he likes them pliable and needy.

What he doesn't like is a son who doesn't respond well to constant threats and angry, bitter snarling about how weak and pathetic he is for not helping out like he did because of his allergy to the horrible context and nuance people use to make him look like the appalling petty tyrant whose presence is an unwelcome affront to an unhappy world he actually is. It means nothing that his own parents gave him easy chores an idiot could do no problem while saving actual work for the capable. He needed Mike to do a grown man's job and since his seven year old body couldn't do that, his son is a selfish, malingering weakling trying to coast through life because the cruel and hateful alternative is that he's a malignant jackass looking for a reason to condemn his son.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
To continue merrily on with my return to the theme that the Pattersons look very different when viewed through other people's eyes, let's take a look at how John's patients would have to see him. It seems to me that we can safely divide them into two categories based on age. If you're twenty, you're going to be dealing with Oblivious Oaf Doctor Patterson. This version of him spends most of his free time blathering to his assistants about his whiny refusal to understand that his wife's feeling as if her house is a maximum security prison isn't due to weird woman hormones making her want an independence she shouldn't want because it would inconvenience a boorish clod with stupid goggles on his smug, stupid face. It annoys you that you might as well be an engine block this hamster is working on for all he cares about your feelings.

That being said, you should be glad you're an adult; this is because your misery would be multiplied by a factor of ten when you're a child in the presence of the mighty John. We have twenty-nine years of evidence that John has no curiosity as to why children do what they do, no patience for anything other than instant and unquestioning obedience, empathy for children inconvenienced by his stupidity or tolerance for children who think for themselves and he isn't going to change simply because someone is paying him to tolerate their sons and daughters. Much as fellow child-incompatible asshole Phil uses the adjective 'treacherous' to describe children who, through factors he feels no need to take into consideration, do not focus all their mental capital on obeying the whims of a highly-strung perfectionist, John looks at an anxious child terrified of having some maniac jam things into her mouth and sees a pointlessly recalcitrant brat because the alternative is that her dentist is an unfeeling lump of shit.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Now to get back to the Patterson family, we're about to be reminded of an annoying problem Tuesday. Said problem is John wanting very much to slap Mike down for what he says as his ungrateful and defiant son's wanton act of total disrespect and what people who don't have an I-beam shoved up their arses see as Mike making the observation that a pumpkin has the same general shape as his head. This irritates me because John stands around whining about how humorless his family is because they don't feel like absorbing verbal and emotional abuse from a malicious infant while the least bit of laughter at his expense turns John into a rage-filled pain in the ass screaming about how no one respects him.

Even more irritating is that just as the Mike who treats Liz like something he dug out of his ear and expects her to agree that she deserves it can turn around and be disgusted by someone else being the same kind of raasclat he is, John is perfectly capable of looking at someone else acting the way he does and condemning him because he also lacks self-awareness and morals. It would take a freaking miracle to make John "CHEE! I didn't know that we raised a PRINCESS" Patterson to realize that people's feelings are real and that people are right to see him as unfeeling, unfair and unkind. Since miracles don't usually happen, the course of action that would have to apply in the real world would have to be to marvel that the Hater is dead when he gets his head turned into a maraca by a giant fiberglass rooster, point at his devastated remains and yell IN YOUR FACE!!

This is because the miracle would involve his having to drive up to Manitoba to have his dad tell him the reason April wants to room up with someone in the Winnipeg area is that her daddy is the same smug, stupid asshole who wasted his teen-aged years chasing fat kids with towels because he delighted in the pain of others and who drove girls away with his blatant Nice Guyism. There's only so much emotional abuse from a solipistic dingdong who doesn't really value people someone is permitted to take so, no, he's not going to help his pompous dickhole son browbeat April into going home to more being ignored and mocked by a thin-skinned hypocrite. The end result of having the disconnect become so obvious that he can't deny it would deprive John of the will to live. Eventually, he'd ignore construction workers who tell him to look out because they're trying to remove a big chicken head from a building.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, there's another reason that John has raised the kids to believe in monsters: he needs to believe in monsters in order to protect himself from having to wonder if he's the bad guy. We know that up until she has the fear of being enslaved by Mira's family politics to distract her, Elly occasionally allowed herself to entertain the idea that she might be in the wrong but what the lack of focus on John makes less clear than it ought properly to be is that one of the surest ways to get on his bad side is to make any implication that he's the villain of the piece.

We sort of hit the ground running with this in the dawn era of the strip when he got all antsy about the terrible possibility of Elly 'destroying' the home by working outside it and not merely being content to be thought of as the adjunct to a man. Rather than admit that she has a point about his being a selfish idiot who won't let go of an advantage he didn't earn, he spent an inordinate amount of time blaming her existential crisis on woman hormones making a monster of her because the alternative is being an ogre.

Similarly, he seems to have wasted most of his adult life in a blind, rage-filled panic about how his children defy him at every turn and also seem to want to make him their slave when good kids would obey his every whim. I should think that his father's laughter when he reminded John that he too went through a surly, defiant phase was inspired by the fact that instead of a man knowing that this too shall pass, his son is still a spoiled and mean-spirited child throwing a tantrum when things aren't going his way. It sucks to be his kids because he knows damned well that they aren't going to get the benefit of wisdom that doesn't exist but at least he has a bit of fun knowing that John is always going to be an angry, stupid know-it-all that never learns from his mistakes.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, most of Elly's need to obsess about her looks is something of a self-imposed distraction. While it is true that she loves to complain about things while preaching about the need everyone but her has to keep things close to the vest in the name of social harmony, most of those complaints would go away were it not for her having made a meal ticket out of a particularly oafish and self-absorbed clod named John Patterson.

As I've said before, the cover image to Pushing Forty tells us everything we need to know about John. This is because we have to watch the ugly fool selfishly inconvenience his family so he can do something juvenile, undignified and silly and love every minute of it. It doesn't take a genius to realize that were John to be denied, the selfish idiot child would turn into a foul-tempered old man in a nanosecond. All it takes is watching his reaction to his being inconvenienced in the least degree. Elly's fears that Mike is turning into a bloodthirsty, gun-loving, death-worshiping nihilistic ghoul are so much junk to the idiot but his getting a little bit of his dignity taken away is obviously an affirmative defense for the indictable offense of assault and battery because, as I've said, John is what hospital staff call a particularly antagonistic patient: an SHPOS (short for sub-human piece of shit.) Other people are too young or too old to be sensitive about their looks because he cannot and will not feel their pain but his own pain is something he wields like a bludgeon.

This, as I've said before, is owing to John and Eva representing that part of Lynn's psyche that resents being told to think about other people. Not only does she assume that she's being told to never think of herself, the question baffles and angers her because of the child-like inability to understand that people don't see the world the way she does. This means that not only does John think that April was a jerk to not fall in line when they let Mike actually freeload, he's completely in the dark as to why. He might say that he finally understands that April has needs that differ from his own but he can't really make himself believe it.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
One thing I've noticed is that John and Elly are fairly stingy when it comes to praising their children. None of us can remember a situation in which anything like an expression of gratitude didn't have some sort of ironic comment accompanying it which leaves us wondering what's wrong with them. What's wrong with Elly is sort of obvious given her need to make everything into a catastrophe that dooms her to doomy doomness. What seems to be happening with her is that she's telling herself "They say that if I praise the children too much, they'll come to expect it for everything and be spoiled monsters I can't love. Best to err on the side of caution and never let them ever know that they're making me proud....which they already should know anyway because everyone sees the world exactly the way I do!!" Any hint that no, the children have no idea that anything that they do pleases her is not going to be received well because it exposes her to the horrible possibility that people shouldn't be expected to read her mind. This would be as intolerable as the suggestion that her life isn't a catastrophe in which she's the victim of all victims exceeding all others.

Were that not bad enough, she's married to an oafish clod who plays a nasty game I've mentioned in the past. The website Tvtropes.org calls it 'moving the goalposts'; I call it being a filthy sadist who's too damned petty to let people win. What's going on with John can be best summarized by the following self-serving non-thought process:

  1. I've told Michael to do something or other because I think he needs to learn how to work.
  2. Michael has done the task I've set for him.
  3. Despite doing exactly what I said to do and doing it how I wanted it done, I'm still not happy.
  4. Therefore, what he's done is obviously not good enough and he must work even harder!!!


This is because John cannot and will not entertain the possibility that the problem is on his end. At no point does it ever occur to our boy that "I am a peevish, petty imbecile who won't let himself be happy with what I have because I can't let anyone else win" because that would mean that the only reason the kids have never done anything worthy of praise is because he's an ungrateful rat bastard idiot son-of-a-bitch who wants to be the only person who can do anything right.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, being useless when it comes to helping with homework and subconsciously setting out to ruin what little enjoyment Michael might actually have had for the trumpet is not the only times in which John and Elly's need for the kids to be quiet and stay out of their way helped turn the Patterson children into gullible dummies who can't cope with the scary outside world. As we're about to see this winter, Elly's visible hatred of having to be a hockey mother because of her stupid belief that helping her child explore something that interests him actually means that she's become his slave is going to be quite noticeable. The end result of her constant beefing about how useless sports are because she can't spend time on the higher purpose of sweeping porches and cooking indigestible, foul-tasting casseroles but instead must waste such precious time catering to her selfish little parasite who wants more time than he deserves has the end result of Mike wondering what kind of crazy woman his mother is if she does a crap-load of things she hates just to look good.

That being said, Elly being a whiny jerk about having to do things for the kids instead of what she wants would be bad enough had she not married her own kind. Her companion in telling her children to have their childhoods where she doesn't have to be oppressed by having to know about them is stupid jackass John with his non-stop need for perfect silence. As we see here, his need to be in a coma when he gets home from work collides messily with his children's need to have any sort of life that isn't sitting on folded hands so Daddy can sleep like a God-damned zombie.

It would be bad enough knowing that John and Elly believe that anything that requires them to have to interact with their children is bad because along with work and work and paying for their retirement, the children owe the two of them being quiet and out of the way because of the sacrifices they don't make were it not for the fact that they cannot and will not connect the fact that they pour cold water on any ambition the children have with the fact that the kids seem to drift through life. Then again, they never do connect their behaviour with what their kids do so that's nothing new.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all of us know, John and Elly never did seem to want to be around their children much. There are any number of strips that have as their premise "Go find something to do that takes you out of both sight and mind so that you don't oppress us by your horrible freeloading presence." The problem is that the both of them want their children to see them as what John called 'real, basic human beings' because the mush-mouthed clod failed to say 'sympathetic people who have their kids' best interests at heart.'

The problem with this need to be seen as all-wise, all-knowing, all-loving parents who really do know best is that they can't resist the overweening temptation to be candid as regards their strong desire to not have to be part of their childrens' lives. It's painful watching John wonder as to why Mike thinks that he's being packed off to the farm just out of sheer, stupid malice for an arbitrary and stupid reason by a thin-skinned arsewipe father who can't take the shit he pulled on his own dad when he freaking told Mike that it was for all those reasons and a dollar more besides. The reason for this is that John is incapable of really being honest with himself about why he does things because most of those things are treacherous, deceitful, mean-spirited and self-serving. He doesn't have the guts or gear to see the monster he really is so he whines piteously about how his horrible children always misunderstood him when it's clear that they understand him too God-damned well.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As we all know, John and Elly would have been catastrophically inept parents of small children even without television making a bad situation worse. Given how she can't handle conflict at all well because Marian never let her win an argument and how he can't tolerate differences of opinion because Carrie never let him lose one, we're dealing with two people who either simmer or explode in rage when disagreed with at the best of times. Having a machine in the living room that confirms their need to see their children as monsters hell-bent on their ruin just makes things worse.

This is, of course, owing to the fact that John believes that he deserves a pat on the head and a cookie for doing what television tells him to do: roar angrily at the children when the parent who's supposed to spend all her time with them and leave him to cower in his alcove cannot hack it. Usually, I use the example of his about to want to beat the Hell out of April for whatever unknown but obviously evil thing she did to make Elly scream that she was done with motherhood but I'd like to switch to an earlier example of why Mike and the others would have been better off being raised by Hannibal Lector: the arc in which Mike bums John's ego-gratification toy sports car of reminding his family that they're a bunch of parasites keeping him from the good life. As we know, the well-meaning goof proceeded to get lost because he was an inexperienced driver behind the wheel of an overpowered car driving at night; he did his best to drive straight home but being a dumb kid meant that he got in over his fool head. Faster than you can say "Well, that escalated quickly," he wound up miles from home justifiably terrified out of his mind of how the angry loudmouth who only gets his fat arse out of his chair when he wants to either threaten someone WITH violence or just plain hit them would react. The reason is blood-simple: a pathetic slob who valued a mechanical contrivance that made him feel like the man he can never be more than flesh and blood people who are bad because they get in his way imagined that Mike was starring in some sort of bad Canadian teen farce. Rather than admit that he was dealing with a freaked-out kid who bit off more than he could chew, Dumb-ass still thinks that his joywagon was the centerpiece of Ferris Patterswine's Night Off.

The irritating thing about John is that when you read his letters, it's pretty much Mike's fault that he sees nothing of himself in his son. Given how he was a non-factor who left Mike to model himself on the only parent he spent any substantive time with, he doesn't actually deserve to.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
The very odd thing about the whole arc is that much like Elly, John totally missed out on an excellent opportunity to teach Mike. What did end up happening is that once again, a Patterson parent came away with the misapprehension that his child doesn't know what work is because he asks questions, needs guidance and isn't instantly an expert. You would assume that as adults, John and Elly would know that this is a ridiculous thing to believe and a horrible way to behave but it seems to me that their flawed logic has a sort of reason behind it.

That reason has a lot to do with why they never seem to be able to realize that they have to teach children in the first place: no one seems to have taken the effort to teach them that in the first place. Given that John seems to have been a lonely social outcast who had a rather bleak and barren social life in his teens and since Elly seems to have been fairly firmly policed by a traumatized mother who saw every sign of initiative on Elly's part as a horrible sign that she would once again deal with a monstrous and vindictive tyrant, it seems to me that unlike their own children, they never actually babysat or learned how to deal with children as anything other than rivals for attention. Since they never picked up on the fact that children aren't trying to bust their asses when they ask questions or mess up, they're too busy feeling hurt and wounded to realize that they're the ones that dropped the ball.

We also have to remember another annoying fact about the two of them: they're both facets of the personality of an extremely troubled, angry, jealous and not very smart person. This is why John can spout that every day is Kids' Day and not see the blatant hypocrisy entailed by his using that lie as an excuse to award himself ego-gratifying toys in compensation for the alleged disadvantage he suffers under. People with functioning brains know that being an adult is freaking awesome compared to being a child but dumb-ass John can't see the perks that come from having control over his life. All he can see is the piddly crap that goes with it and bitterly envies Mike and the kids their alleged freedom they have because he's not just a glass half-full type, he's a "Who the [BOXCAR] drank my water?! I'll KILL them!!!!" type.

The end result is that John does actually end up teaching Mike something after all. He's teaching him that authority figures are lying sack of shit bastard idiots who all want to jam it to him out of pea-brained malice. This is why he thinks that Gluttson is a sociopath, Mira wants to eat his penis and why Divala had to go down for making fun of him. Every person falsely accused of wanting Mike to fail and be miserable so they could laugh at him for daring to want to be happy to owes this to John being a lying, hypocritical, self-pitying dickchoad who's too squishy inside to take crap like everyone else.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I type this, I do so in the knowledge that it has been roughly six years since John has done one of the stupidest, cruelest and ugliest things he has ever done. We all know that when the petulant ding-dong he married reacted like the shrill and stupid buffoon she is when faced with the mildest resistance to her insistent refusal to listen to what her child was trying to tell her and had a stupid shit fit, John's reaction was to storm up to April's room and demand that she take back whatever horrible thing she said or else. At the time, it seemed as if two terrible things had happened. Either John got his back up because April simply had to have said something bad because that's just what teenagers do, they defy loving parents out of sheer malice because sheer malice makes teenagers defy loving parents or he believed Elly's self-serving distortion of events and wouldn't listen to April's version because Elly has no reason to lie and April has every reason to lie because teenagers are monsters because the stereotypes in his brain say so.

It occurs to me that something far more sinister and repulsive might have actually happened: John knew damned well that April had done nothing wrong but landed on her with both feet anyway because he just plain doesn't want Elly to stop being a crazy bitch. Any sort of real confrontation would expose Elly to the terrible realization that her problems are of her own devising and thus force her to examine what's wrong in her life. Since John is terrified that her first, last and only answer would have to be "I stupidly got married far too early to a shiftless, unreflective moron who wanted a maid, nanny and cook instead of an equal", he is willing perhaps to tolerate her lousy cooking, substandard housekeeping, inability to coexist with her children without shrieking about how they're draining her of her substance and constant beefing about a life she doesn't really want just to make sure that she keeps the greaseburgers coming. If that means throwing April under the bus, well, she'll get over it. It isn't as if a life of constant pressure is going to warp the kids' characters for life or anything, right?
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As I said the other day, I believe that owing to innate flaws in their character, Jim's generation allowed themselves to leave a horrible legacy behind them: a generation of soft, weak, smug and fatuously arrogant dimwits who expect to be taken care of like infants as well as expecting not to be questioned ever. In Elly's case, this fear of being questioned seems to stem from a horrible fear that she maybe should be questioned. The idea that she doesn't really have the answers floats at the back of her brain like a floating thing and trying to keep her kids from realizing that she's as confused and lost as they are is messing her the Hell up. This, I should think, comes from her having a mother who never let her win an argument if she could at all avoid it so that her own credibility might be preserved at the expense of everyone else on the planet.

In John's case, we have to contend with the fact that I've touched on before: he's a momma's boy who was never seriously corrected and always allowed to get away with being a rat bastard idiot because boys will be boys. Aside from the torment of school and the horrible habit his horrible teachers had of asking him why he thought what he thought when everyone supposedly knew what was what, John was never allowed to lose an argument or be challenged by anyone 'weaker' than he was. Letting someone stupid enough to think that he wasn't supposed to lose arguments loose on the public and expecting him not to act like the sort of douchenozzle who loses his shit and spanks the holy Hell out of a son for daring to call his blustering, self-serving non-thought into question is akin to putting cream and sugar into what comes out of a blast furnace and calling it ice cream. Even unto the latest days of the strip, John blows his stack and threatens violence to people who dare challenge an order whose eternity only exists in the lump of iron ice cream that he laughingly calls a brain. Of course, if you really want to piss him off, point him at something blindingly obvious that he refuses to see and ask him why he's too dumb to notice it. Failing to notice what's right in front of him and getting angry when reality collides with what everyone knows is why I refer to him as a personification of the manic phase of being a boomer moron.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, Elly isn't the only person who has stupid traditions that make Christmas stink on ice. John also contributes to the problem by being an imbecile in his own right. It would be bad enough that he's a clueless, arrogant oaf who sees Elly as being a maid without his also being an obnoxious skinflint who's not as good a financial manager as he believes he is.

What this all means is that John's holiday tradition is to sit at the kitchen table obsessing over how much spending money on other people costs and how much that hurts him as a person. You see, it's one thing for John to burn through his pile buying toys for himself to make up for that ludicrous feeling of deprivation the ungrateful prick suffers. It's quite another thing for the poor tragic victim of fake hardship to piss his money away on presents people clearly don't deserve because they all already have enough as it is. Simply put, John's insatiable hunger for possessions in order to compensate for the horror of other people also having things when he clearly believes that he is allowed to own or control everything makes Christmas an exercise in mental agony.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As the John-breaks-his-foot arc reminds us, the grinning gargoyle with the lantern jaw of stuffy, self-absorbed, self-righteous stupidity has a very low tolerance for having to take the crap he delights in dishing out. The worst example I can think of is this passage:

Liz is just finishing up with Howard's assault trial, but there hasn't been a verdict yet. Boy, as a dentist who works in 10 minute segments, it's incredibly frustrating to see how slow and wasteful the court system is. There seems to be absolutely no accountability for the time they take or the gross inefficiencies they have, and further, they don't care that Liz has to take oodles of time off. Every time there's a slight bump or concern, the whole thing is delayed and put off. Liz then has to take more time off!

Obviously it is organized by those who never have been good at efficiency or accountability. It seems they just want it to be drawn out and take way longer than it should. I should take a week to do a root canal and charge by the hour!


from one of his retcons. As [livejournal.com profile] josephusrex said, the whole thing boils down to John whining "They're not railroading Howard Bunt fast enough!! Railroad him FASTER!!"

When I discussed this before, I simply wrote John off as being just another unreflective mushhead who didn't understand that the mills of justice HAVE to grind slowly so that the innocent aren't jailed or hanged to placate a fractious, unreflective, remorse-, empathy- and compassion-free nitwit who spouts off about princesses while playing with model trains like the biggest, meanest, dumbest, brattiest and most selfish child ever. Sadly, things get worse the closer you look at our boy. Simply put, Howard Erk HAD to be railroaded for being a Canadian-content take on Dan Backslide because he scared and embarrassed John. While it is true that Liz does have every right to feel cheapened, humiliated and embarrassed by being sexually harrassed by a dolt, her traumatization seems to loom less large in John's eyes than the damage done to himself. He sees himself as being lessened as a man by his inability to swoop down and kill to restore his honor and his reliance on a court system that does not allow him appropriate vengeance. In his world, it's as right that Howard Bunt be hanged, drawn and quartered for making John look less virile as it was for John to smash an innocent caterpillar to death for surprising him.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
As you know, I've made something of a meal pointing out one of the stupider ideas that Elly has when dealing with her children. The stupid idea I happen to have in mind is when she comes to the stupid conclusion that when she plops one of the kids down someplace, the child will not move, act, speak or think. You'd have to be stupid to think that a child would sit inertly like a doll or something just because it would be convenient and you'd have to be even stupider to get angry with the kid for doing something you really should have anticipated he or she would do. As any number of strips attest, Elly is exactly stupid enough to think that a child will happily sit still for Mommy and stupid enough to think that since the kid did move, he or she hates Mommy and wants to make a fool of her.

I told you that story to tell you about John's blind-spot. As we all know, John loves to think that he's the smartest person in the strip. According to him, he's far smarter than the woman he conned into thinking that he was completely helpless around the house and he's definitely smarter than the kids who eat his food, spend his money and live in his house without contributing anything in return. As far as he can see, said children are completely unaware of their surroundings. This is as it should be so that he, the man, can reign supreme as the only one with his head in the game.

The problem is that his children aren't the stupid, oblivious nitwits he needs them to be. Every so often, they make the mistake of reminding Daddy that no, they aren't little dummies he can get to believe crap without thinking about what it means. Instead of being grateful that his children can think for themselves, John is outraged. Having children who think is seen as an affront and a challenge to his masculinity. This sort of thing is why it's very hard to understand why he sees himself as a good father with bad kids. I tend to think that the adjectives need to be swapped around to fit the facts.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, Phil isn't the only man in the Foobiverse whose marriage seems to be inexplicable in a world where decency and probability exist. The fact that John isn't currently bunking with Ted arguing over which of the female castaways would be better in the sack and whining that the right girl never came along and left him a loooonely old bachelor who had to shift for himself and so on and so forth is rather hard to swallow because aside from his ability to provide, he hasn't got much to recommend him as a love interest.

First off, he shares Phil's love of playing head games with his love interests owing to a rather appalling need to make sure that the girl doesn't get any weird and crazy ideas about being an equal partner in things. Since both of them were brought up to believe that a girl is a silly, hormonal child who needs a man to guide her, this makes the two of them think that they're great guys living right.

Next, we have to contend with their shared belief that having to do things for others is a horrible and selfish imposition. I was as inclined to want to backhand John when he gasped in horror because his trains were threatened as I was Phil when he squealed about his housemates tossing hot dogs that sat in the fridge till they got covered in blue mold.

Next, we have to deal with their essential lack of a sense of humor. While ever ready to knock people down a peg to remind them that they don't rate, neither John nor Phil have anything like a sense of how absurd their own behaviour is. This is part of a general hypocrisy that allows them to not notice that they're doing the same damned things that they look down on other people for.

At least Phil was lazy enough to manage to avoid becoming a father. Five bucks says that if he did end up having kids, the son would be as big a jackass as the third man whose married status makes no sense at all: Michael.
dreadedcandiru2: (Snarky Candiru2)
Of course, it isn't just scary, unfair societal change that would lead to the cruel humiliation of having to ask himself what he believes, why he believes it and how much of his life was wasted doing so that makes John gasp in horror. As we saw when Deanna made an aside about how she was thinking of standing in the way of his ego-gratifying vandal-magnet eyesore of a model train layout out, another way to get John to actually have a facial expression that isn't a smug smirk inspired by a self-absorption so profound and hateful it hurts to even think about it is to threaten his ability to play with his toys.

The reason that he thinks that this is cruel and unfair is that if there is one thing that John loves more than anything else, it's witlessly playing with toys at his family's expense. Since he thinks of his own needs first and those of others a VERY distant second, he tends to see getting in the way of inconveniencing those around him as something of as profound and hateful a personal affront as having to watch his 'ungrateful' children play with toys that his parents couldn't afford when he was that age. While Elly might be aware on some level that most of why she and John rant about wretched excess, the two of them are letting the whiny little kids squealing about fairness that still live inside them have their say, John is not self-aware enough to see this as a possibility. He actually does believe that they're a bunch of ingrates trying to lord it over him because otherwise, he'd have to admit that he's a petty jackass whining for toys he can't have and that would be just plain wrong.

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