October 17th, 2015

Snarky Candiru2

When all else fails, blame April.

As I said yesterday, there seems to be a set pattern in how Elly deals with situations when it's obvious that she's in the wrong. Simply put, she blames the victim of her stupidity, irrationality, inflexibility and obliviousness for the end result of her terrible, arbitrary and ridiculously destructive decisions. This is why Mike was bad because he wanted to give on his future because he didn't know that when Elly did everything in her power to make him hate playing the trumpet, she thought that she was lovingly giving him the impetus to succeed despite hating her mother for doing that to her because that was magically different. It's why Liz was bad for not supporting her mother and wanting to run around with her friends because Mommy thought that having a teenager meant having a free babysitter. That being said, the victim that gets blamed the most is April. The generalized template seems to be as follows:

  1. April is placed in jeopardy owing to Elly's negligence, stupidity and refusal to understand the world around her.
  2. Elly can't admit that she's the person to blame for the problem because that would mean that she's not loving, fair, firm, kind, wise, aware or anything else that a mother is supposed to be.
  3. This means that April somehow asked for the trouble she's in and Elly is not responsible for the mess and has no duty to humiliate herself by apologizing to a lesser life-form.

There are any number of situations like this that can be plugged into the template. Off the top of my head, I remember the following plot threads:

  • "Elly knows how April was able to open the gate and has an affirmative duty to take useful corrective steps but doesn't because the steps she does take presuppose that April is a tiny adult instead of a three year old. When the predictable disaster occurs, Elly blames fate and the failure of her child to follow orders."
  • "Jeremy Jones wanted to pulverize April because his daddy ran off to play the harmonica and he thought that April was taunting him because he's stupid and angry and thinks that people only enjoy nice things to be deliberately cruel to him like the vandal he is. Elly's response is to try to force April to forgive him."
  • "April doesn't want to waste her teenaged years dressing all dowdy because Mommy is a vindictive, slut-shaming monstrosity of a woman who wants to punish the popular girls of 1965 because no one wanted to date a scowling, defensive, haughty, pig-ignorant dullard who lived to misinterpret things. Elly's response is to throw her hands up in the air and talk about how moody April is for no reason."
  • "Mom takes Kortney's side when it's obvious to everyone else that she has to be let go because Flapandhonk loves flattery and hates being told she's wrong. Elly's response is to more or less imply that April was asking for it because she dresses loose."
  • "During the Housening, Elly was too transfixed by the inconvenience to herself and the dreadful possibility of being uprooted to do anything about the shabby way John is treating April."

that were all made worse by Elly's idiocy and incompetence. What's worse, we're dealing with a potato-nosed fright who doesn't understand that April can't know that she's loved IF SHE'S NOT ACTUALLY LOVED!! Oh, Elly thinks that she loves her daughter and is there for her but the facts speak for themselves. Said facts say that we're going to be spending quite a lot of time watching Elly wring her hands about how distant April is because she doesn't see the problem: herself.
Snarky Candiru2

The end is the beginning is the end: Stone Soup.

As you know, there's been something of a trend for artists to go to a Sundays only format. Bill Amend did it years ago, Lynn Johnston should have done it, Garry Trudeau did it and as of today, Jan Eliot has done it. While the characters of Doonesbury have their lives going on in the background sort of, the Foxes and the Stones have pretty much been frozen in place at the point where their creators left off. We thus have Roger always being sort of pathetic with computers, Andi still trying to be a good mother, Peter being a crappy athlete, Paige being a dumbass and Jason still being a skeevy little weirdo. This balances out with Val still being something of a hypocrite when it comes to dealing with her oldest daughter.

The reason that I mention this is that the last daily has Val confidently predict wonderful things for all the young people in the family save Holly. Her favoured child will have a wonderful career as an oceanographer, Max will race cars, Luci will keep fighting for equality and Holly might eventually come around and be the loudspeaker for a progressive cause she should be right now only she insists on having a childhood like a selfish monster. We end with Holly having another freak-out about an unreasonable teacher who hates her and the promise of her being ignored and lectured to. We thus end the strip much as we began. While it's true that Phil is part of the family and Evie is off to live her life, the core situation has not changed appreciably because Val is still kind of dropping the ball with Holly.

What we're dealing with here is, of course, someone whose desire to help her child avoid falling into the same traps that she fell into as a child running head-long into the fact that such a thing is best described as being absofrakkinglutely impossible. Even with the best will in the world, a teenager is going to assume that since this, that and the other thing is happening to her for the first time, it's the first time that said things have happened. With the best will in the world, Holly is going to assume something that looks trivial to someone who's on the other side of what looks insoluble to her is the end of the world because the ability to apply adult judgment doesn't as such exist yet. The best Val can do is to stop taking her failure to do the impossible as a personal affront. But she won't because she's trying to make up for "wasting" her youth by petulantly trying to deprive Holly of hers. The end game of this is, of course, sixty year old Valerie having to reconcile with Holly and play catch up as they compare notes on children.