dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

John and his damned faint praise....

As I've probably said before, Elly does seem to have something approaching a solid case for assuming that John and the kids will only ever be grateful for all the hard work she does around the house after she's no longer alive to hear it. This is because the children learn from what they see and what they see is a man who has distinct trouble with the concept of praising people for worthy accomplishments. He, you see, seems the type to explain himself by saying that he doesn't want those around him to get swelled heads so he has to downplay the accomplishments of those around them for their own good. Any residual bad feelings they might display are either the result of woman hormones making them act all weird or being young and defiant and ungrateful and not, I repeat, not the result of their feeling as if he thinks they're worthless. Nothing is ever John's fault, you see.

The problem with that logic is that the people around him need to feel as if what they do isn't an absurd waste of time so the praise that he thinks is a bad thing is what they need to get through the day. Explaining it to him very carefully collides with his need to never admit that he's in the wrong about any issue and yields the following result: a momentary blank stare derived from his belief that your logic is mistaken because you've said that he's in the wrong, a greasy and indulgent smile coming from his need to help you see common sense and a reiteration of his original belief that giving people who look as if they want to be praised for something they're supposed to do anyway so should never get it is clearly a mistake and that any resultant bad feelings are hormonally induced.

Where obliviousness to the suffering his non-thought meets up with unconscious hypocrisy is his need to have his own ego stroked for total non-accomplishments. He, for instance, would be quite angered by anything that implies that he's supposed to feed, clothe and house his children because he brought them into the world in the first place; angry enough, as Mike learned, to resort to violence while fulminating about unfair questions.

What this, of course, does is lead his family to go looking outside the home for praise; Mike ends up with Deanna praising him for his capacity to outrage Mira, Elly has Connie to fawn over her every questionable decision and Liz has Anthony to praise her for bearing the strain of having an unreasonable kid sister. About the only person who doesn't have a source of flattery is the Martian and she doesn't count because her horses are unownable.
Tags: john - grinning weirdo

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