January 24th, 2015

Snarky Candiru2

Connections: Elly and Michael.

The interesting thing about the five characters that I've mentioned is that while Connie only ever seems to interact with Elly so that she can try to do something futile and get her to see how great her life is, the others seem to interact by arguing at cross-purposes with each other. Since he seems to serve as more of a foil to Elly than John does, let's examine how it is that Michael and his mother end up not relating to one another all that well.

What rapidly becomes obvious is the reason why this is: they're too damned alike to coexist in harmony. The strip that makes this quite clear takes place three years or so from now. You see, Phil is telling Mike that when Elly was in her late teens, she used to be a rather earnest folkie hitting the coffeehouses of Vancouver singing songs about how war is unhealthy for children and other living things. Mike's insane and stupid reaction is all about how she set out to do solely to embarrass him in front of other scruffy and short-sighted imbecile children. The fact that Elly had no idea that she'd have a son to embarrass or that there was an oaf dentist in her future has no hold on the Delicate Genius's alleged mind; all that matters is the potential teasing he'd get and how his mother decided "I know what I'll do! I'll go on stage and humiliate a purely hypothetical son in front of equally hypothetical friends."

The reason that I mention this example of pants-on-head stupidity is that it's the same sort of unreasonable reasoning that led Elly to assume that Mike wanted to dress up as Adam Ant because nuclear war made him so angry, he turned his back on kindness and happiness. They don't along well at all because deep down, Elly views Mike as someone who spends his days plotting new ways to humiliate her in front of everyone who could ever matter while at the same time not noticing that he sees her in exactly the same ruinous and imbecilic light. What's more, the nasty little thing we call confirmation bias keeps them from noticing any sort of evidence that contradicts this comforting confirmation that yes, they are so super amazing that there actually is a conspiracy consisting of every jealous nobody who couldn't compete with them in a fair race to hobble them.

The only thing that I see as somehow snapping one of them back to something approximating objective reality is Michael achieving the success fate somehow manages to deny Elly. What will happen then is that something she never has to worry about will take hold of him: the impostor syndrome. Once he starts seeing himself as a fraud who's tricking people into thinking he matters, he'll start looking back at his past and seeing a jerk being a jerk to the people who saw clean through him.