dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,

"Why doesn't it mean as much?": the real source of Elly's fear of technology.

One of the more annoying things about being invited to gang up on Marian because of Lynn's mother issues is that we are asked to lose sight of how Jim warped Elly's personality for the worse. We know from watching him interact with his family that Old Chin-nuts is a prickly old coot who loves being the centre of attention, hates not getting his own way and seems to live to irritate his fellows. What we also have to remember is that he sees social and technological change as a scary, scary affront. It is as if we are dealing with an older, whiter version of the father in the comic strip Curtis who stomps around in a bad mood because hateful people are inventing things for the sole purpose of making him, Greg Wilkins, wrong. The idea that they are trying to make things better cannot occur to either bonehead because they are just that vain and negative.

The form this takes in the Foobiverise is that when Jim mentions anything high-tech, his letters show a sort of unfocused dread of the scary, new-fangled computational dooly-whacker and a fearful, WILLFUL ignorance of the modern world. The underlying belief that underpins all of his crotchety, Crankshaft-lite refusal to understand the new era seems to me to stem from a terror of having to adapt to something and thus be humiliated. The lowest point of this happens to be the punchline of the strip I derived the title of this entry from. As you will recall, Jim did a lot of petulant whining when his friend Ernie sent him a three-page long e-mail that has genuine feeling attached to it instead of a crappy, generic card that meant less than zero. Does it matter that the man tried to get in touch? No, because he didn't do it the 'right' way.

How this affects us is that despite paying lip service to being a member of the modern world, Elly tends to agree with her parents' assumptions about how the world works. Given that she feels a certain measure of regret for joining Marian in 'marginalizing' him by preferring broadcast television to the amateurish wailings of an old duffer in a garage band and given that she'd spent a lifetime listening to ranting about how the new-fangled gizmos just aren't as good as something someone like him can jerry-rig into functionality, it's not hard to see why she wishes Fisher Price or Hasbro would make a computer simple enough for her to be able to operate.
Tags: chinnuts

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