Tags: mythologizing mike

Snarky Candiru2

The child is father to the Goldensprog.

For all of John's smug, aggravating churlishness, it may be said that he had one virtue, if one may call it that, that Mike lacked: tenacity. He worked as hard at being a jerk as he did at his paying job. The hints at domesticity we see in later years are brought on either by fear of Elly's rage or slacking off on being a nincompoop. Michael, on the other hand, spent (as aprilp_katje reminded me) his life avoiding effort of any sort. From being too lazy to learn to accept defeat to too slothful to adapt to the presence of a younger sister, most of his nastiness has as it root cause his refusal to budge from his comfort zone. People, as I was reminded, are always genuinely surprised when he lives up to a commitment or does anything thoughtful. They can usually expect him, you see, to sit on his rear end complaining about the cruelty of having to move.
Royally Peeved Candiru

Mike the pacifist: egomania trumps patriotism.

As cookie_77 reminded me, the Mike of old had a decent prespect for veterans and was grateful for the sacrifices they made on his behalf. Not only that, he thought that war was a necessary evil and just maybe, to his mother's chagrin, a little bit cool. The Mike we see today has, shall we say, rethought things. Not only does he believe that the whole notion of war is a pointless waste of human lives but that it inevitably sullies those it touches. He can't even contemplate the subject without a slightly smug shiver of disgusted horror. The reason is, of course, amazingly simple. The older he got, the more he valued his own skin. The old woman he is now wouldn't dream of sacrificing his hide for any reason and thinks those who do are dreadful suckers. Sadly enough, the veterans he scorns value his smug, unenlightened contempt because they fought for his freedom to be a jerk. As Kipling said "Take up the White Man's burden and reap ye his reward: the blame of those ye better, the hate of those ye guard."
Calm Candiru

A modest proposal for a Delicate Genius.

It occurs to me that Michael might disagree with Liz's portrayal of their youth as the turbulent mess it was. Every one of his retcons and all the reminiscences we've seen so far in the hybrid would leave you with the impression that he fell out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Objective evidence yields a portrait of a sullen, rebellious, antagonistic young man with deep-seated trust issues. The man himself looks at the past through the distorting lens of nostalgia and sentiment, thus converting a troubled childhood into a dreamlike landscape of wonders. This is his response to the catastrophe that wrecked his family: the near-death by drowning of his sister April. The Howard Bunt incident I mentioned yesterday reinforced and redoubled Liz's need to blame herself for someone else's mistakes. That nasty, self-defeating trend of falling on her sword started at a river-bank twelve years ago while she was standing over a dog's corpse. John and Elly both shifted the blame for this onto their child when, in fact, it was their lookout. Mike, on the other hand, refuses to ask himself the question 'Who's to blame, really?' because he thinks that he can buy peace at the expense of truth. In his mind, it was just an unlucky break, not the result of the megligent parenting that blighted his childhood. If he did write an honest account, he'd slay a dragon that's been stalking him all his life. This dragon wears her hair in a bun and eats muffins. Instead of the shiny, happy lies he's telling his children, we'd hear the sordid little story of a stubborn, resentful fool who witlessly pitted her children against one another and nearly killed one outright because she thought that shouting was an adequate substitue for proper vigliance as well as the emotionally distant idiot who thought that dealing with children was beneath him. Once Mike pulled those skeletons out of his closet, he'd probably make a ham-fisted attempt to make up for being a lousy older brother and engage in some really half-assed over-parenting. He'd still be a goof only he'd be a lot more likeable.
Snarky Candiru2

Michael and remorse: Two far-from-perfect strangers.

Today's exercise in stupidity calls to mind another reason why making the Noble Scribe Official Keeper of the Records such a wrong-headed idea: he's incapable of remorse. Not only does he not tell Meredith not to engage in the same bad behavior he did, he shows her how to be a better spoiled, sullen and destructive little hellion. After all, he doesn't have to clean up the mess so it doesn't matter to him what she does. That's what mothers are for. He seemed to show remorse after the crash that brought Deanna back into his life but that wasn't about her, no way. He was feeling sorry for himself because his parents were yelling at him because he was acting like a ghoul. Odds are, he still wishes that his story had made the paper. As for his relationship with Liz? The only reason he regrets any of it is that he got punished for trying to make things 'right'. By that, of course, he meant before Liz started taking away all of his attention. This mess, standing around like a shivering pillar of shit and moaning because he has to be there when parenting stops being fun is what Lynn calls a GOOD father? I wonder if she sees the same colors as we do?
Indignant Candiru

Mike versus Therese: A Mystery Solved.

It's not just Michael's inability to pay attention to things that don't involve him and his need to cut himself all the breaks that makes appointing him the Official Keeper of the Patterson Family History such a stupid idea. His grotesque self-love is accompanied by contempt for everyone who stands between him and what he wants. Deep down, he's the same obnoxious, whiny, sullen, needy resentful little turd we met twenty-eight years ago. His insatiable appetite for affection and attention always has and always will drive him to shove Elizabeth out of the way of her rightful share of the spotlight. What's more, he's never gonna see himself as being in the wrong. Showing the least bit of sensitivity to her feelings is something he will never allow himself. This sort of makes his complicity with his parents' plan to unite her with Anthony hard to figure, given their belief that it will make her happy and loved. After all, we've seen that he doesn't mythologize Anthony to the extent John and Elly do at all. He can barely remember young Mister Caine exists half the time, let alone that his chief virtue is the fact that he will never, ever leave Milborough. You'd think he'd want Liz to stay up North so that Elly can fret about her refusal to live within a half-mile radius of her loving parents as she wanders around her old house, ignoring her grandchildren. There is, however, one thing that's guaranteed to antagonize our boy: someone else picking on Liz. Demeaning her, making her feel bad about herself? That's his thing and he will not tolerate competition. Simple as paper, he hates Therese because she's muscling in on his racket.
Indignant Candiru

Mike: The worst Keeper of the History EVAH!!

Finding out what happened in Lynn's private life makes me feel sorry for her as a human being. It also destroys whatever respect I had for her husband, given my dread that he'll be a total dick in the divorce proceedings and claim a wildly inappropriate amount (as in any percentage greater than zero) of the rights. That being said, I can divorce my feelings for her as a wronged woman about to be painted as a shrew by a divorce lawyer hack working for a jackass from my dislike for her as a creator churning out glurge for simpletons.

On that note, let me continue to explain why I think making Michael Official Keeper of the Patterson Family History is such a stupid idea. To be blunt, if a story isn't about him, he can't be bothered paying attention. He can fake it, but his mind is light-years away. As I said yesterday, his parents could well have told him the real story of how they met only to have half the story actually register and that only in the broadest strokes. His mind, of course, has to complete the story by filling in the blanks so that it makes sense to him. Here's where another nasty habit of his comes into play: he's full of shit. Remember all his retcons about what a great childhood he had being a Canuck take on Opie Taylor having all that fun in the great outdoors? All lies! The closest he came to the outdoor life he thinks he had as a child is watching it on TV. Not only did Elly need to use a crowbar to pry him away from the idiot lantern, whenever he actually got out into the fresh air he stood there sulking in a determined effort not to enjoy himself. Since he can't even get his own past right, he has no chance in hell of doing the same for his parents. With him telling the story, his audience is guaranteed never to hear the truth about anything.
Calm Candiru

Three scenarios that are even worse than Stalker John and Passive Victim Elly.

You're probably thinking that there couldn't be anything worse than the saga of the Pattersons being the end result of predatory sexuality. Sadly, I, along with babsbybend and regnad_kcin, can imagine two scenarios that are far worse than JSTF getting happy with the nitrous and then blackmailing SheetShaver into submission. Both come into play exactly twenty-five years ago. We see them as a reasonably content young married couple putting their children to bed. They have debts to pay and some tension about the wife's desire to help shoulder the burden but nothing they can't work out. They start to wax nostalgic about how they first met. Here's where the awful part comes in. Awful, terrible concept number one is that they've been so busy living their lives, they don't quite remember how exactly they found one another and, worse yet, stay in the dark. Simple as anything, they just sort of drifted into each others arms and they themselves will never quite recall how. Realizing the what you thought was a grand romance is the result of inertia is pretty bad. It would be even worse if, of course, Elly said something like "What party did YOU go to? I wasn't there, green isn't my color anyway and I never wore skirts that short in my life." only to have John mutter "Oh, my." while wondering if she got him confused with some guy named Johnston he knew. After all, he and this 'Rod' character could almost be twins to the inattentive. Having your marriage based on mistaken identity is slightly worse than either not knowing how or one partner being bullshitted, right? The worst scenario of all is that they have to spend their declining years having to disprove the hash their son made of the real story. Let's assume that the backstory given in Lives behind the Lines is the real one. Telling Michael in the hopes that he would be able to repeat it faithfully after they're gone is more than a little misguided because if something isn't about him, he can't be bothered paying attention. Not only did he ignore key details, he played fill-in-the-blanks in such a manner as to make his parents look worse than they were. The sad thing is that they expected him to be their Official Keeper of the Stories because he's a big time author. Imagine their horror when they have to listen to the garbled mess he made of their early years. Spending their retirement being told his steaming mound of poo is exactly what they told him is a sadly fitting punishment for their years of being crappy parents of female children.
Snarky Candiru2

The reason for my disaffection....

I'm supposing you're all wondering why I turned against the strip I used to, if not love, at least accept as a pleasant part of my day. Is it the fact that Liz said 'WAIT!!' after April dropped the bomb about Anthony and Therse getting a divorce? Not quite. Could it be his 'Wait for me because I have no HOOOOOOOOOME' whingefest after she damn near got raped? Close. Is it the insane success of Michael Patterson? Getting warm. Is it the fact that Meredith looks like a love object for every pedophile in the Northermn Hemisphere? Plausible, but not quite it. The reason I turned against the strip is right on the Foob homepage: the bios of the characters. Seeing Liz bleat that she's a get-it-done, take charge personality when she forcefully stands around like a lump waiting for people to live her life for her got me to thinking that at least Lynn would be in on the joke. No such joy in Candiruville, though, people. Her self-description is a symphony in the key of delusion. It's not just her, though. Save for perhaps April, her whole family is loaded to the gunwhales with 100% homegrown Canadian bullshit. Not thing one in their biographies match what we know about the characters. I'd like to believe that Lynn is in on the joke and she too sees the gaping chasm between their glowing description and depressing reality but it seems she honestly sees her characters as being what she describes them as.
Snarky Candiru2

Location, location, location.....

As we continue our jarring journey into the hybridized format, we can point out two logical absurdities in the staging device. The first is, of course, obvious to everyone who isn't looking for an excuse to jam it to the storyteller. Namely, a small child is naturally going to think that the people that she's met have always been the same age that they are right now. If you were to show Merrie a series of photos of Jim taken at ten year intervals, she'd assume that she was looking at six or seven different people. The second absurdity is far less obvious. Not only does Merrie think that people have always been and always going to be the same age, they've always lived and always will live in the same place. This is, of course, because a preschooler thinks the universe is essentially static and change unnatural and wrong. When you add in the fact that said child doesn't really believe that there are places that she has never been, we're in for a confusing round of nostalgia. This attatchment to place is not only going to confound a five-year-old, it can also, as I've said before, explain some of the deeper resentments in the strip. To start with, Mike had to move at a very young age. As far as he knew, his world was being turned upside down without his prior approval to accomodate his baby sister. He may have forgotten the trauma of having to move but he never got over resenting Liz for 'making' him. He can safely be said to marrying his own kind depending on which back story of the Sobinski family Lynn has decreed official. If it's the one where Wilf and Mira fled Cold War Poland, Deanna sometimes wishes they'd've stuck around waiting for the Iron Curtain to come down. That way, she'd have been spared the trauma of being the child of weird foreigners.
Snarky Candiru2

The End is the Beginning is the End.....

As we lurch uneasily into the time freeze, we do so in the sure knowledge that we're about to see how things reached their current pitch of Pattersonian horror. By that, I, of course, mean we're about to see exactly how Elly got stuck with John. She's managed to convince herself that she came out ahead but my gut tells me otherwise. Thirty years of bullshitting herself aside, she was in the position of a woman facing a banquet turning around in her chair and sustaining herself by catching and eating flies. To do something wholly unwarranted and be fair to the train-obsessed douchebag, no one thinks of himself as the villain in his or her life story. If you were to ask him, he'd tell you that he 'rescued' her from things that were bad for her such as childlessness and a career. The fact that he's the main beneficiary of his philanthropy while she wanders around feeling like her gut is right when it says she wasted her life is just the way the cookie crumbled. People who point out that he's rationalizing away being a selfish dick just don't get it, as far as he can see. We're about to repeat that sad little pattern when we see the unholy union of two of the most passive-aggressive narcissistic dimwits ever to mar the comics page: Liz and Anthony. I'm sure that in Lynn's mind, this is a life-affirming celebration of continuity. I can't help but feel we're about to bear witness to the repetition of something that should never have occured in the first place. Why do something again when it wasn't worth doing the first time?