dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,
dreadedcandiru2
dreadedcandiru2

Body language not spoken here........

One thing that you can't help but notice is that the Pattersons seem to be poor at picking up on certain subtleties; the case that most readily comes to mind is how the publisher of the Valley Voice keeps trying to tell Elly that, although she'd love to do so, she simply doesn't have the money to pay Elly for her services without actually coming right out and saying it. What Mrs Walsh never quite realizes is that the over-eager young woman she has handling the library corner isn't like normal people and can't read between the lines; that's because she assumes something that just isn't true when she thinks that a Foob can put herself in the position of another person and see the world as he or she sees it. We see much the same limiting factor coming into play every Christmas; since John can't read body language any better than Elly can, he doesn't ever seem to realize that when she makes sweeping comments about how she doesn't want to be fussed over, how she'd rather have something practical, she's lying. The problem, of course, is that the two of them fill the void that the ability to read people normally occupies with fearful and destructive preconceptions; this is why John and Elly interpret any situation involving their children that isn't immediately obvious in the worst possible light. There are too many strips that have John see defiance where none exists to not make a case for his being unable to figure out what the child he's about to strong-arm wants and acting as if whatever that is has got to be bad. The reason for this is, as I've pointed out before, that the Pattersons have an astonishingly polarized view of the world; either a person is a friend or a threat. The idea of a middle ground, that the celestial whites and demonic blacks in which they paint the world should be replaced with shades of grey is not one that appeals to such child-like people. This even extends to their thinking that a child's expressing an opinion that varies from their own is a sign that she or he is a demonic rebel who wants to destroy society. It's also why Phil's such a poor fit for that crew; as I'm about to demonstrate, the void where his ability to read people should be is occupied by the belief that he's allowed to do whatever he wants.
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