June 21st, 2012

Indignant Candiru

Elly and Liz and Val and Holly and High School Hallways.

Before I get back to wondering why it is that Elly's belief that, aside from the hurtful comments of arse-scratching Neanderthals, farming was such a positive experience for her that her children's inability to enjoy it is proof that they're horrible monsters, I'd like to talk about another failure of the imagination she shares with a person from another strip. In today's entry, I'll take a brief side-trip to the Pacific Northwest so as to pay another visit to one Valerie Stone, hero of the strip "Stone Soup" by Jan Eliot.

Ms Eliot has in the past mentioned that Lynn is and has been a great influence on her. We see that when her characters make the same ridiculous palms-out pleading gesture as do the Pattersons and we especially see it when I come to what I want to talk about. Most of the strip's dramatic tension that isn't related to Val's battles with an oafish ex-frat boy who lives to maintain the glass ceiling comes from her constant battle to "cure" her teenaged daughter Holly of traits she finds less than desirable. The means by which this is to be accomplished is to have every adult in the strip gang up on the kid and blather about how horrible she is for not caring about things she cannot do a hell of a lot about while "wasting" her time worried about cute boys, the opinion of mean girls and other things that they don't see as anything to obsess about.

This makes of them so many clones of Eva Warzone. As in Milborough, the girl in suburban Seattle is the victim of a bunch of clods who are only too glad to tell her "Who cares if what you have to go through is a big deal? It doesn't affect us in the slightest so you're pure evil in a skirt for worrying about it!" Given their systematic refusal to see that her school life matters to her, they confidently misdiagnose every problem she has because they think of her as a person living in the real world instead of the denizen the government-run hellworld filled with cliquish horror freaks she really is. Since they refuse to see that the things she worries about are kind of a big deal no matter how sincere they are, they stand there and scratch their collective heads in confusion because she never talks to them.

This makes her a sister to teenaged Liz and present-day April; like them, she has parents who don't really understand what she's going through because they've willed themselves to not do so.