Tags: lynn versus her family

Snarky Candiru2

Thrums and touchdowns.

Over the years, I've talked about why Mira Sobinski is depicted as being some sort of domineering troll woman who wants to win all the time and enslave the poor, innocent Pattersons with her family politics. The reason is that she doesn't see the absolute and complete necessity of a) meekly letting her husband decide what her opinion should be to placate her vapid dimwit daughter with the Electra complex, b) happily allowing her grotesque pansy son-in-law to treat said failed experiment daughter like a superior servant and c) disappearing forever so that said whimpering, fruity failure's horrible mother doesn't have to risk bruising her fragile ego with scary and wrong opposition to her hip, cool gospel of treating children like communist mutants from Mars who worship CHAOS!!!!, hate parents and NEED to have the EVIL desire for attention scourged from them so they can be the passive blob-children who sit where they're plopped down so that she doesn't have to waste her precious time thinking about children and thus having her alleged brain atrophy.

What I tend to lose sight of when the Pattersons all race around and whine that Mira is a domineering monster mother because she criminally and treasonously tells Elly to put on her big girl panties and admit that she ain't no special snowflake, Deanna that Elly is full of shit when it comes to thinking about kids and Mike to get off his lazy God-damned ass and get a real job like a man is that Wilf is also thought of as being a cave troll in his own right. The reason: he wanted to bond with Michael instead of letting our poor hero commune with the muses in a bullshit creative trance. We got a strong hint as to why Wilf is as 'bad' as Mira last week when Lynn whined piteously about her eeeeeeeeeeevil mother-in-law trying to get her involved in her interests instead of sitting on the couch in a trance state waiting for those gods that only grace a select, lucky few with their precious gift of the inspiration that the great unwashed can never hope to access. Simply put, Mike is that part of Lynn that thinks that she can only be interested in the vast, empty spaces inside her skull and not useless things like bird's nests and playground gossip that aren't about her.
Snarky Candiru2

On the moving of the goalposts......

Of course, the annoying thing about this arc is that we're about to launch into yet another irritating example of Lynn using the strip as a means to nag her family about how they're displeasing her. The victim that's up next is, of course, her son Aaron and the crime he's been tried and convicted of is not being sufficiently grateful to Lynn for providing for him. We start things off with Mike barging into the library despite having been told that he is NOT ALLOWED to INVADE her place of employment, follow that by his not being willing to help with the chores, continue on with not being willing to spend money on the mother who does soooooooooo much for him because it'll only occur to him that she worked hard to make his life better twenty years after she dies and ends with his not wanting to do the right thing because the opinion of scruffy little boys is more important that the actual human being called MAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

While it is true that Lynn can pay lip-service to the idea that money isn't everything, the real problem Aaron seemed to me to have had was that nothing he could possibly have got Lynn could satisfy her. Just as that poor waitress in the Jan Wong interview tried her best only to get abused because Lynn kept moving the goalposts of acceptable treatment, it looks to me as if he and Katie were the victim of her pious inability to be satisfied with what they did for her.
Snarky Candiru2

The Ryan Perplex.

As I suspected, the reason Lynn isn't as excited about her new grandchild is that he is a boy. Lynn doesn't really like boys much and tends to lump them in with dogs as being lumpish and stupid producers of filth, noise and chaos who are at war with the need busy mothers with no help and no time to themselves to impose order on the world.

This, I should think, can be explained by her odd need to dress Lizzie up like the bestest walking doll in the history of ever. You see, there are any number of occasions in which Lynn confessed that she looks back on the past and regrets that growing up, she never had a close girlfriend with which she could play dress-up and have tea parties and all of the other girly-girl things that she was supposed to have done. She looked around her and it seemed as if the only children who would come out and play were stinky old BOYS who tried to get her to get lost.

Given her inability to read the situation, it seems to me that Ryan is going to spend his formative years paying the price for the over-caution of long dead Vancouverite parents. If what my gut is telling me is correct, it seems to me that sixty or so years ago, the collective will of the segment of The Greatest Generation that had little girls Lynn's age was that there was no way in Hell that they'd expose their innocent children to that destructive, defiant and shit-stupid hellion Merv and Ursula Ridgway called a daughter. Since some poor fish who died ages ago didn't want a real-life Little Iodine stirring up the shit, Ryan is going to be a non-entity in his granny's mind.
Snarky Candiru2

A little stranger named Laura.....

Remember how we used to talk about how Lynn might have been tempted to start things up again now that she's got access to children once more? It seems to me that the thing with her 'supervising' Laura as she ruins her counter-top making cookies tells us that this is a load of old bollocks. First off, we have to deal with Lynn being Lynn and thus being totally confused by the very idea that a child would not only take an active interest in what an adult is doing, she might also want to participate in the process. Since she tends to flee from small children lest they selfishly, traitorously and criminally try to destroy her ability to express herself and force her to worry about things that cannot matter, she tells herself that no person in the history of mankind could possibly expect to see something that you and I see as a commonplace. This is why we're expected to sympathize with John and Elly when they try to prevent grubby little hands from breaking their stuff and why Mike is a good father because he pathetically bleats to Deanna about the need to keep the little strangers whose motives he cannot legitimately be expected to either understand or sympathize with from oppressing them with their horrible presence.

The problem, as other, wiser minds see it, is that Lynn's obsessive need to be in complete control of the process and equal need to not want to understand the other person's point of view will mean that Laura will sooner or later realize that it's not a good idea to bug Grandma Lynn because she always gets snappy and grabby and preachy and especially screechy and makes wild accusations that don't make sense. Since the child will probably thus avoid the foul-tempered old fool, Lynn will be able to confirm to herself that yes, children don't actually want to do things with a loving, kind and tolerant person who only wants to make sure things are done properly. Since grandchildren are just as ungrateful and bad as children are, she won't want to chronicle Laura's adventures.
Snarky Candiru2

The phantom grandchild

Remember back a few years ago when Lynn made a great big deal about how Katie and Lane had presented her with a granddaughter of her own to ignore? At the time, we thought that we were dealing with just another egomaniac who thinks that the world owes her a living because it rotates around her. You would have thought from the way that she'd promoted the poor kid that she'd be just as pumped now that Katie and Lane (who seem to have moved into Ruth and Tom's place) have 'presented' her with another child. So far, though, we've gotten very little. This might be owing to three equally idiotic and revolting reasons.

The first such reason (and, as it turns out, the right one) is that said grandchild might just be a boy. As all the strips that have Mike yearn to be covered in filth, think of housework as being beneath him and play with scary guns because that's just what boys are into indicate, Lynn doesn't seem to be able to relate very well to anything male. As the strips that have Elly try to dress Lizzie up like a little doll-girl and those that have her smolder in rage because April resists said tendency indicate, what Lynn seems to want is a little girl who'll sit quietly as she expresses herself creatively owing to a perceived lack of a gal pal to do girl stuff with growing up. Boys don't afford her that opportunity so are stinky.

The second idiotic reason would have been why April is gross-buckets, why Lawrence is all wrong and why the Nichols family was foredoomed to fail: Katie and Lane decided to present her poor mother with another girl despite the fact that proper families have to have two children, one male and the other female and both at each others throats fighting for their parents' love like God intended. Any indication that Lynn's insistence that any sort of deviation from her past is not the worst thing ever is not on because we're dealing with a rigid thinker.

The third reason that comes to mind is that we're also dealing with someone who gets bored easily. If this is the case, we're dealing with her not saying a heck of a lot because the novelty has worn off and being a grandmother is just another disappointing chore that takes too long and is too much like work.
Snarky Candiru2

Fantasy bubbles and their discontents.....

As we know, we're about to launch into the post-Lynn Lake series of strips. The interesting thing about that little fact is that when most people talk about how good "For Better Or For Worse" used to be, they are talking about the era between now and, say, sixteen years from now when she started to use the thing to nag her family about how she wished their lives had taken directions she could approve of.

The other interesting thing is that between her using her great big career as a means of bludgeoning those around her into submitting to her every vain, insane, self-serving and petty demand and her realization that her 'perfect' family was going off the rails, she was pretty much a non-factor in her family's life. The reason, of course, is her foolish belief in communing with the muses so that isolation might give her the ideas she simply could not formulate were she to be engaged in her family's daily existence.

This leaves us with a rather unsettling conclusion. Simply put, the more isolated Lynn is from her family, the better her strip is. If she has to become part of things, her pettiness, her paranoia, her self-pity, her willful ignorance of the world, her denial of any facts that require her to change her mind about things and her refusal to see things from any perspective that is not her own always taint the proceedings with an untoward level of childish malice.
Snarky Candiru2

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Aesop....

As you know, tomorrow will be Veterans' Day in the United States and Remembrance Day up here. While it's true that most comic strips don't really seem to mark the occasion, I would much rather have the general "Oh, well....I keep my feelings to myself about THAT subject" vibe I get off most syndicated cartoonists than what I get from Lynn.

While she does have a nice banner that asks us to remember those who remembered us, Lynn tends to pay lip service to society's demands that she honor the sacrifices made by our veterans. The one good thing Batiuk did was have Crankshaft ignore a bunch of kids wading in the Reflecting Pool near the White House because he and his comrades in arms fought for their right to do that. What Lynn does instead is what I'm doing right now and using the day as a club to beat people she doesn't like over the head.

As we see in the sequence I linked to, it would appear that Lynn decided sight unseen that Aaron was not sufficiently respectful. For some ungodly reason, she likes the idea of making him into being some sort of imbecilic God-damned ghoul who makes a point of not understanding what other people find repulsive and she likes using this time of year to remind us of that fact. Heh. Maybe he should have worn the damned Sherlock Holmes costume after all; that way, he wouldn't have been depicted as an ungrateful, rage-filled nihilist. Who knows? Maybe she'll stop telling the story about how he wanted the people looking at the weather forecast on the evening news to see the lovely shot of the girl who'd hanged herself in the park!
Snarky Candiru2

The other real reason for the costume arc.

As you will recall, one of the most terrible hardships Lizardbreath had to endure during her sojourn up North was having to talk to people when she went shopping. While you or I would see having to strike up a conversation with someone you knew when at the grocery store as just part of the small town experience, dimwit Liz seemed to be horrified and confused by this owing to her being dumb enough to think that people would just float on past her like they do at the Eastgate Mall.

The reason for all of this is that Lynn moved to the North Bay area for the specific reason of having access to shopping malls without having to deal with the scary, evil and weird big city. This way, she could have the best of both worlds. She could avoid all the horrors of big city life and still not have to talk to or be talked to when at the store. The reason that I mentioned this is that it seems to howtheduck that when she moved to Corbeil that she'd noticed something that alarmed, confused and angered her.

The clue as to what bothered her is when Michael humiliated John and demonstrated his ungrateful, spiteful and chaotic nature by keeping track of the candy John swiped from him instead of being a good child and not noticing when an adult was screwing him over. What this tells me is that it never occurred to her that her children would want to go mall shopping and take advantage of the same expanded level of choices she wanted for herself. It doesn't take much mental effort to realize that Lynn did not react well to the baffling-only-to-her discovery that her children actually realized that they didn't have to keep on doing what they were doing in Lynn Lake that well.

This, I should think, she saw not as a normal, foreseeable consequence of their changing surroundings. Given that the Lynnsight about the costume Elly made for Mike was all about how Aaron's rejecting her costume must have come from a horrible, inexplicable need to cruelly reject everything about her, we're dealing with the same sort of whimpering no-think that makes Elly feel as if they hate her and reject her and so on and so forth because she poured her big heart into making indigestible food. If they loved her at all, they'd gladly burn holes in their duodena to prove it. Elly is no more able to separate criticism of what she does from criticism of who she is than she was back in first grade. As it was then, the least bit of disagreement with her behaviour had to mean that the critic hates her and wants her to suffer.

This means that not only was this an arc about hectoring her children to shut up and let Mommy decide what they should wear and that they should be afraid of the same things she's afraid of, it was also dedicated to the proposition that just because they have access to mall shopping, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's right or fair to her that they should actually do so. To be fair to her, they had to keep on doing what they were doing back in Manitoba while she was allowed to adapt to her surroundings. This is where being a selfish, arrogant old cow runs into being a boomer numb-nuts.
Snarky Candiru2

Facial hair and other things.

As we've seen over the years, Lynn's ethos appears to be "If I can't enjoy a certain thing, I'm gonna make damned sure no one else can enjoy it either so I don't have to feel like I'm missing out." There have been so many strips in which Elly whines about the horrible necessity of having to tell people that enjoying things that she doesn't makes them extra-bad and selfish people to not lead us to that rather horrible conclusion.

As an example of this, it would seem that facial hair is a bit of a turn off for our little Lynnie. While not able to really indulge her need to thunder on relentlessly about how only bums, beatniks and other inferior, degenerate people wear mustaches in the Early Years owing to Alan having sufficient fortitude to tell her to keep her stupid opinions to herself, she was relieved and delighted when Aaron decided that he needed to display his indiviuality by growing his hair out and wearing a beard. The idea was not that he was an adult doing something harmless. The idea was that he was doing so to be a malicious jerk to POOOOOOR ELLY and ruin his life and keep her from owning his horses and so on and so forth. While her target demographic fall in line in believing that children only do anything to torment their parents out of malice, people who do a really stupid thing called "thinking about what they see" tend to see things differently. What we see is a stupid, intolerant old hen screaming about nothing just like always because she thinks she's the axis around which the World rotates. The reminder that she doesn't really matter as such always manages to enrage her.

This tendency to interpret the enjoyment by other people of thinks that she doesn't like as an assault, an affront and a humiliation doesn't end with Phil and Mike's not seeing that facial hair is evil. We also see her screaming with rage about video games, chewing gum, computers, any music made after 1950, any music that she can't sing along to and thus avoid the humiliation of individualism and so on and so forth. Not, of course, that she wants to admit that she's just a bitter old wet blanket who deliberately played her hand atrociously so as to feel right about being frustrated and martyred. There has to be a veneer of concern hiding the need to deprive people of something. I'll get to that when I explain that she wants Phil to have a long life of listening to her rant about how she knows best.
Snarky Candiru2

Mother's Day is for martyrdom and Father's Day is for nagging.

It would seem that in my haste to reiterate the sad fact that Elly has only rarely understood what was going on around her, I'd skipped over discussing how the Pattersons celebrate Mother's and Father's Day. While both occasions are an occasion by which Lynn can use her strip to nag people, it's rather easy to see that what they're being nagged about differs. You see, the Mother's Day strips that aren't about how reluctant the family is to appreciate all that Elly does for them tell us that the best gift they can give her is a day of me time.

Father's Day, on the other hand, is a bit more complex. When it's celebrated at all, we either get John forting himself up in his workshop and not serving Elly's needs or Mike needing to be isolated from his evil, chaos loving children who don't understand that their presence in his life is unwelcome. The former is Lynn nagging Rod about having a private life while the latter is Lynn nagging her adult children about horrible they were to expect to be part of her super-important life.

The most interesting part is that most of the time, Father's Day isn't celebrated at all. This is because Lynn was mad at Rod because he didn't want to give up his dream job as a dentist like he was supposed to. The way she saw things, he was a super-bad person for wanting to keep his harem of women who wanted to destroy her marriage (because that's what pretty people DO) and force her to deal with the scary, evil outside world filled with scary, scary strangers who expect her to act like a useless nobody.

Hmmmm.....This must be why Liz says that she made Paul Wright up. He wouldn't move South because she said so and she can't face the idea that she's a manipulative idiot who wants a barrier between herself and a scary reality.