April 27th, 2015

Snarky Candiru2

Childhood-proofing

As we know, there doesn't seem to be a child in the strip that doesn't act like a crazy-making horror freak whenever the Pattersons are around. The explanation that Lynn, Elly, Deanna and pretty much every person in the strip gives that children are a sort of wild animal that seems to thrive on hampering its poor mother and never ever stopping to consider that Mom is a person with needs too. The bog-standard whine is that the horrible little person will only begin to understand this when he or she is forty-five and Mother is either dead or senile and cannot thus grant forgiveness.

The problem with this is that, as I've said before, they all ignore a key environmental factor that turns children who are well-behaved and considerate in other settings into pains in the arse at home: themselves. Even when they do stop to consider that they might be part of the problem, most of their imaginations are pretty much oriented around how they might feel. The horrible little poem coming our way about how Elly had to sublimate her need to belt her kids for daring to be colicky six-month olds because they clearly didn't want her to sleep by writing a poem that shames them for their obvious plot to eat her happiness hints broadly as to what's actually going on: they're each and every one of them the person Billy Joel is singing about in the song "Pressure."

He himself says that he's castigating himself for having writer's block but it more obviously applies to the people we all see. They might have passed Psych 1 and Psych 2 but what do they really know? Given Elly's tendency to insist that any form of normal childhood development that might inconvenience her to the least degree is part of that bullshit conspiracy comprised of everyone in the world to ruin her I keep bloviating about, it doesn't seem as if they know very much at all and what they do know is wrong. They especially don't seem to know that the kids pick up on how they act and react accordingly. You and I might be able to foresee that Mike isn't going to put in the effort for ungrateful jerks who never accept what he does but they sure don't. The immediate end result is that fragile people who can't take it dish out loads of crap in the name of saving him and the others from being normal people. The long-term result is that he's so damaged, their values have become his values and he backs his own fragile wife in her campaign to stifle the kids.