dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

John and Farleygate: Brevity is the soul of witlessness....

We've had a fair amount of fun over the last week comparing Elly to the dimwitted hero of the British scare-em-straight flick Apaches. The problem with blaming just her for the horrifying series of near-misses that plague the strip's history is that she has a lot of help being stupid. That help wears glasses and thinks that the people around him have no sense of humor because they want to be treated with the same dignity he aggressively insists on. The reason for John's turning a blind eye to his wife's imbecile recklessness is that he tends to rely overly much on Elly's interpretation of events when it comes to the children.

The example that best demonstrates this tendency is the infamous "I-quit-motherhood" incident. Like any interaction with her children, it can be broken down into distinct phases:

  • Phase One: Elly makes a self-serving and silly request that reminds us that she has no idea who her children are or what they want out life. Given that she has the belief that finding out means that they win and she gets humiliated, anyone with foresight would realize that she won't even come close to getting the results she wants.
  • Phase Two: Elly has a temper fit like the idiot she is the instant she doesn't get the result she wants.
  • Phase Three: She shares her warped interpretation of events with John.
  • Phase Four: John's simplistic moral viewpoint and hatred of nuance translates "mild disagreement" into "hateful act of defiance that must be quashed lest Civilization itself die".
  • Phase Five: John makes an ugly and vicious fool of himself because he's too stupid and stubborn to ask himself the question "Is Elly making a mountain out of a molehill again?"

As we've seen, he cannot ask himself this question because when adults and children tell two different stories about the same event, he will not ever believe the child. Children, it would seem, owe their parents absolute obedience. If this means that they have to say what they know to not be true, that is the price John says they have to pay. Let's examine how this affected the whole Farleygate thing.

It doesn't take a genius to realize that Elly thought that she had fixed the problem by telling April to ask a nebulous 'someone' if she could leave the property and told John so. What this means is that instead of realizing that Elly didn't do a damned thing to prevent this, the conclusion he first came to was that April had disobeyed Elly. After Elly had started talking about toppling and how nothing at all could have been done to prevent anything, that became what he believed. Nowhere in the process did it ever occur to him that merely because Elly had given birth to three children, it didn't automatically make her a competent parent. Most people would look at Elly, channel Guru Larry and make profane commentary about her hapless stupidity; rigid idiot John believes in a maternal instinct that doesn't exist and makes an ass of himself.
Tags: john versus reality, john: little tin god or petty tyrant?

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