dreadedcandiru2 (dreadedcandiru2) wrote,
dreadedcandiru2
dreadedcandiru2

On The Patterson Syndrome.

As we all know, one of the reasons we loved the strip during the Middle Years is that Lynn allowed the characters to be flawed and thus relatable. As by way of example, Elly was clearly identified as someone who could be talked into doing any number of things that were not in her own best interest because of her misguided belief that she had to do them, Lizzie was clearly depicted as being not terribly intelligent, John was clearly an insensitive, lazy goof and Mike clearly a gloomy, temperamental slacker who blamed other people for his own negligence. What we tend to lose sight of when we talk about how Lynn gave us a real family instead of a fake, sitcom one is that they all have a flaw that Lynn doesn't seem to see as being one. The best example of this is the incident in which Elly sent Lizzie to the store to buy a bag of milk. As we all know, the poor dimwitted child plain forgot how fragile the thing was because she ain't too bright; she didn't intend to do any harm but did so because she isn't very smart and doesn't think further ahead than the next five seconds. The reason that she wondered if she'd be sent away is because even she is smart enough to remember one thing about Elly.

That one very important thing that she and everyone else knows about our protagonist is that she has a favourite logical fallacy: "cum hoc ergo propter hoc." This translates to "with this, therefore because of this." It doesn't seem to matter what happens to Elly because she assumes that since something makes her feel a certain way, the only explanation that can make sense is that the person did that thing with the sole intent of making her feel that way. This means that since breaking the bag makes Elly's life harder, Lizzie must have asked herself what she could do to make Elly's life harder. Assuming otherwise makes no sense to Elly (or, for that matter, any Patterson) because it requires them to assume something else that doesn't make sense to people that vain and dumb. Since they can't even begin to act as if people don't see the world exactly as they do and know only what they know, the idea that people can make good faith mistakes is a logical impossibility.
Tags: one big oblivious family, the middle years
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