Tags: lynn versus being taught

Snarky Candiru2

On not being stupid enough to blow the wad and travel: Lynn versus thrift.

It would appear that once again, we had to deal with Lynn assigning someone values he did not value the other day to remind him to do something out of his comfort zone when she had Jim delight that now that he no longer had to support the children because they were established, he could selfishly burn through their inheritence on himself and Marian like so much Clark Griswold at the craps table. The reason that I mention this is that one of the things that confused and angered Lynn is that instead of being a good mother and going on a mindless spree with the money she sent her, Mrs Ridgway behaved like the cautious person she would have been even if she hadn't been a Depression kid and cruelly and heartlessly saved the money because of a baffling, heartbreaking and rage-inducing need to prepare for a future where the money might come in handy.

The reason for this seems to be tangled up in Lynn's juvenile boasting that other people have to protect her from burning through her money like a dumb child. You might no doubt have become familiar with my asinine comments about how Lynn's idea of financial planning consists of desperate bleating about how cruel people are to keep her from spending money seconds after earning it owing to her being something of a child really. The same glorified four year old who won't admit that she had to be told what she was doing wrong in order to get better at things because she emphasized the temporary pain of criticism now over the elation of accomplishment later doesn't seem to understand that the delight of wasting money on shiny trash in the short term can't make up for the desperation of privation later. The closest she came to understanding this seems to have been when she thought Rod stole her money because he didn't take her allowance out of her bank account for her.
Snarky Candiru2

More dated references, more problems.

Of course, the trouble with trying to get Lynn to kick-start her career that doesn't have to do with her lack of any real interest in revisiting the Patterson family is that she tends to be somewhat averse to admitting that what she finds funny is not what others might. Well, that and admitting that you can't really mix cartoonish antics with a realistic family and not displease people. Take, as an example, last Mpnday's reprint in which Mike depleted the ozone layer AND the contents of a can of spray deodorant merely to kill one mosquito. This sort of thing is fine if he's a cartoon boy living in a cartoon world but since he's supposed to be real, questions like "Since they haven't sold spray-on deodorant in years, when is this set?" and "Isn't it dangerous doing this?" tend to take a funny cartoon gag and make it a scary thing.

The problem is that Lynn would rather not admit that you can't have it both ways and, given her tendency to confuse criticism with hatred and jealousy, assumes that she's being run off of the page by hating haters who can't laugh because we're bad. Since she's somewhat touchy, it'd be difficult to get her to expose herself to more criticism and envy and badness and so on and so forth.
Snarky Candiru2

On convenience and other evils.

As you might have learned by now, the introduction to the fourth treasury looks like Lynn simply being yet another person out there who makes a fetish of books. She goes on and on about how she loves the feel of hard-cover books, the weight of them in her hands, the ability to mark her place with a book mark, loves to curl up and pretty much hide behind them and so on and so forth. To her, the traditional book is the only real sort of book there can be because an e-reader just isn't the same. She doesn't like the glowing screen that can be anything and is also so slim, so portable, so light-weight and, worst of all, so convenient. As the strip shows us, Lynn seems to hate things that make her life too easy. The example that comes readiest to mind is the recurring 'joke' in which John takes an unacceptable shortcut (it helps to imagine Elly screaming like Earl Lemongrab) by either taking the kids out to eat, ordering in or using 'cheats' like TV dinners instead of letting Elly express her creative side by cooking her good stuff. To Elly, the convenience and ease of letting someone else do the cooking is a very bad and cruel thing because she's got herself half convinced that she has to do things the hard way in order to be thought of as a good mother. Anything that really saves labor is a horrible thing because without her being exhausted and frazzled doing stuff she never really had to, she doesn't see herself as being a real mother. This is because we're dealing with a kid who thinks that adult life is nothing but work, work and more work and taking things easy and doing anything the simple, easy way is dead wrong. Since an e-reader holds a crap-load of books in the palm of her hand, Lynn and Elly want nothing to do with them because their ease of use is such that the Imaginary Free-Lance Shame Squad that only existed in Hatlo's They'll Do It Every Time will materialize and take away her license to be a grown-up.
Snarky Candiru2

The Brain (but not Dawn) of tokenism.

As we all know, we're about half of a year away from Lynn's attempt to integrate the emotions her family felt when they were uprooted into the strip. What looks to the untrained eye to be Connie doing something drastic for a baffling and silly reason is actually Lynn making a clumsy attempt to try to figure out how everyone in her immediate family is actually reacting to the move to Corbeil. The interesting thing about this is that not only do we have an extended series of strips in which Lawrence's absence is a metaphor for how life will never be the same, we also have to contend with the arrival of the Enjo family in Connie's old house in order to remind us that the Johnstons had to meet new people and so on and so forth.

While it's true that three-quarters of them were just folks who happened to be able to hit the reader over the head with stories about Whitey keeping Asians down because that's what Whitey does every so often, their hip, cool gospel about how people are essentially the same was subverted by Brian being a sort of personification of positive discrimination. The interesting thing about this is not that he was the focus of jokes about how the normal kids forgave him for being a straight-A student or that he was on the short list to be the token gay character whose purpose was to show how tolerant the Pattersons are. The interesting thing is that he was the focus of angry letters about how stereotypes are stereotypes, "positive" or not. Sadly, Lynn used the example of Asians realizing that talking to a condescending idiot is futile as a means of saying that they didn't mind so why should we?
Snarky Candiru2

On problems with authority and the treasuries.

As we all know, Lynn has a lot of issues with authority figures. Someone who takes as much pride in tormenting people for telling her an EVIL LIE about how she has to do stuff that bores her and another EVIL LIE about how she doesn't actually know what's best for her and yet a third EVIL LIE about how while other people have to follow the rules without exception, she isn't special enough to do what she wants when she wants to is clearly someone sick with the fear that everyone she meets has the same need to lash out and crush everything in his or her path as she does. She thus consoles herself with her own evil lie and tells herself that she's not an angry twit pulverizing people trying to do her a good turn because she's a stubborn, malicious dope. She's really defending herself from being attacked by people who want to crush her spirit and take away her voice.

This is not only why the plushie is a failed project, it's why the treasuries are garbage. Someone without her need to meddle in things because she conflates a bit of loss of control with complete surrender would have let a more competent publishing company (like Fantagraphics or IDW) do a proper job of it. Since she wanted a crap-load of money and far too much input, the publishers took a big hit and were forced to scale back on what could have been a money-earner if she'd have laid off. The end result is a semi-hardcover remix of collections people already have covered in new-ruin artwork and given a stupid title when we should have had something akin to The Complete Peanuts.
Snarky Candiru2

Further notes on disruptive students.

My recent discovery of some puff piece Lynn wrote for a high school reunion led to someone reminding us of an old problem. Said old problem is that Lynn loves to have disruptive little idiots like Michael, Dylan and Jesse race around messing up the learning process for everyone else. It matters not that the other children do not want to be passed over because a dream teacher like Lizardbreath has made a pet of a smart-alecky annoyance who thinks that people only exist as extras in a sitcom starring him. It matters even less that evil authority figures dare to question Liz's need to lionize a pain in the ass at the expense of the rest of her charges. What matters is that an irritating little jerk who doesn't actually want to learn anything gets to ruin things for everyone else and get away with it.

The reason that people are supposed to comment on how unreasonable it is that wasting time on a boorish little goon who takes a perverse sort of pride in not learning a damned thing is regarded as a bad thing is that we're dealing with the same sort of wish fulfillment that had Becky apologize for being too good for her own good. We know for a fact that Lynn loved to fight with teachers and make their lives a seething Hell because she clearly seems to believe that admitting that she wasn't born knowing everything she was ever going to need to know was a humiliation from which she could never recover. To say that she needs help with something or has to spend time getting good at something is awful because bad people have dictated to her.

As for the people in the way of her need to be a defiant jerk who thinks that she's too freaking good to follow the same rules as everyone else, her chirpy Lynnsight about how much she resented people who got better grades than she did says it all:

The kids who were eager to show their report cards, always had good ones — no F, D, or C appeared on their neatly prepared sheets. I always tried to avoid these too-good-to-be-true types. Instead, I gravitated towards the mixed-bag students who had As in the stuff they liked and a "pass" in everything else!

Simply put, she not only thought of people as being extras in a movie starring her, she resented them for doing better because she'd convinced herself that they did it just to get her into trouble with her parents. The idea that her classmates didn't actually care about feeding her monstrous ego is not one that can come to a woman who thinks that people in Mexico staged a political protest for the sole purpose of ruining her vacation.