April 24th, 2014

Snarky Candiru2

False dichotomies, emotional blackmail and other wonderful parenting techniques.

As we all know, the reason that Elly and John love Eva Warzone and believe her to be a wonderful influence on their selfish, spoiled, rotten and ungrateful picky-face Martian creature princess daughter is that she loves to play the filthy trick called "appealing to shame." Always and ever, the need to not care about the problems April has is coached in terms that make the poor thing look and feel like a total jerk because she's too busy trying to defend herself to notice the ludicrous underlying assumption. Unlike the panicky chowderhead from Stone Soup who's too dim to notice that she's relying on a repulsively idiotic assumption to silence Holly, Eva knows damned well how churlish it is to say "Since you care about immediate concerns, it follows logically you cannot care about greater ones and are thus selfish" owing to the fact that that assumption is false and stupid.

The reason that I mention this is that it's a subset of a greater problem that the children face. Time and again, John and Elly tell a child a variant of the phrase "Either you do something very inconvenient that will do nothing to benefit you and for which you will never be given any credit for or you're a bad, ungrateful child who hates us and whom we cannot love" in order to get what they want by means of emotional blackmail. Since a small child as a general rule and the Patterson children in particular live in a constant state of anxiety as to if Mom and Dad love them and want them around and also since children want to prove that they're good kids who deserve to be loved, it's kind of obvious that this nasty, selfish and brutish tactic works. The problem is not just that there is no need for the child to sacrifice to prove their moral worth or that John and Elly have no need for what the children surrender. The problem is that no matter what the children do, it's never going to be good enough because their oafish clod parents think that their children live care-free lives and never have to worry about anything. The occasional reminder that Mike, Lizzie and April groaned under the burden of the too-high expectations of tyrant parents who are incapable of love or tolerance or acceptance was blown off as drama because they don't see themselves as what they are: monsters of greed, selfishness and hate.
Snarky Candiru2

On Lynn's failed attempts at making a soap opera.

If I had to guess, I would say that instead of "Peanuts" or "Family Circus", Lynn's real favorite strip is Sex Orga......Rex Morgan, MD. The reason is that she kept on trying to turn a subversion of the happy homemaker trope into a D-grade soap opera. While she did go on record as saying that she wanted Susan to be the go-to threat to Elly's marriage, it seems to me that Connie was probably meant to be the villain who laughed at Elly for daring to have happiness because plain girls were meant to sit there and whine about they could never be happy or have families and all that other high school bullshit that Lynn still believes. The reason is that Connie, as howtheduck said, is that Connie is a Frankenstein's monster made of stereotypes. First off, she was 'supposedly' an outspoken feminist written by a woman who feared and hated them because of her fear of never pleasing her mother. Second, she was the divorced single mother of a biracial child when that meant rebelling against polite society and what the Hell ever. Third, she was implied to be really evil and not only have sex but also enjoy it instead of being GOOD and fearing and hating the terrifying and evil feeling of release. Finally, she was way too complimentary of John. Add that up and you get a man-eater and husband-stealer who would never have apologized for enforcing the 'natural' order.

Thank God that Lynn is kind of a chicken because that would have destroyed the dynamic we have now. The people who like the strip want to be angry about a lot of little things about their husbands and children and their life in general because despite having a pretty good life, they're all filled with a free-floating rage directed at all those little things. It would mess things up if she went from validating (or, as she would put it, vindicating) women who feel angry about an ill-defined something that has its source in the question "Is this all there is?" to scaring them shitless with the idea that their lives could turn to shit in a heartbeat. Instead of marvelling at her creativity, her people would be angry at John for doing more than the leering they can tolerate, Connie for stealing a man, Elly for being a doormat and especially Lynn for making it happen.