Tags: mythologizing mike

Royally Peeved Candiru

"You hurt MY feelings too....": Mike's memories and how they affect his behaviour

Of course, the really interesting thing about the current arc is trying to figure out how the Pattersons of 2013 remember as having happened. Since Michael is the one that made the biggest stink about this for the longest time, it seems fitting that I examine how the thirty-seven year old imbecile churning out abuse porn must think he behaved back when he was a nine-year old imbecile whining about real moms. As we know, there are four personality traits that block a Patterson from remembering the past accurately.

The first of these factors is their horrible selfishness and sense of entitlement. While it's true that Jean got to lecture John about how selfish a pig he was being, no one on Earth managed to force Mike to see that he was being a churlish little twerp about the whole thing; every time they tried, he just laid another freaking guilt trip because he simply couldn't be asked to see things from another person's point of view.

The reason for that is that is the insane belief Pattersons have that by doing so, he'll have to knuckle under to someone else's family politics and never be allowed to be right again. In his mind, having to accept the fact that his life has to change means that he loses and people will laugh at him and kick him in the face when he tries to get up off his knees. (Another example of this oh-so-Foobish belief that his is a life of brutal gladitorial combat is the way he treats Lizzie. As Mike sees it, she isn't a helpless child defending herself against pointless malice; in his mind, she spends her whole day plotting his ruin; this is why when questioned about his idiocy, the dumb bastard whines that she hurt his feelings. The sad thing is that Michael honestly believes this because the fact that any sort of objective look at the past would tend to indicate that the only way that she did so is by not taking abuse like she was supposed to.

This leads to the next annoying thing that keeps a Patterson from remembering things the way they actually happened: their inability to accept that their own behaviour could ever be inspired by malice, jealousy, spite and envy. While Mike is pretty good at noticing when other people are being jerks, he spends a lot of time and mental capital trying to avoid seeing that he too can be a royal pain in the arse as well as a greedy jerk and monster of vanity.

Finally, we have to contend with the fact that as a general rule, the Pattersons have no idea what's really going on around them owing to having their heads wedged up their arses. I can readily see a scenario in which Elly tried to explain to Michael that she didn't hate him but simply wanted to be treated like a person instead of a servant only to have Mike tune out because Mom was lecturing him about something stoopid. After all, most of why Mike's life sucks is because he's too dumb to know what's going on around him and too lazy to learn so his lack of brains and curiosity has to be most of why he got all bitchy.

What this means is that just as he shies away from admitting that he was a jealous little tool who treated his sister like shit because he was a sulking little globule of pus with an attitude that needed adjusting, he's not going to see himself as having been a sullen creepola who thought that Elly wanted to take away the childhood his real parent Network Television promised him. Either he's going to remember her as having spent even more time ranting about what she could have done with her life if she hadn't been burdened with selfish, greedy, ungrateful, chaos-loving children who hate her or he's going to remember himself as having been more supportive than he actually was. What he isn't going to see for a hill of beans is the fact that his life would have been a lot easier if he didn't think that people were trying to destroy him and laugh as they kicked him in the face.
Snarky Candiru2

Mike as seen by his contemporaries: portrait of the artist as a walking punchline.

As I continue on with my more in-depth look at how other people see Mike, I think that it's pretty safe to say that between John's willful blindness and Elly's blank-witted stupidity that he and Lizzie never really had a chance of growing up into human beings that could function in society. One of the symptoms of their inability to cope with the real world without retreating into a sort of us-versus-them mentality is their reaction to the discovery of how they're perceived.

Since Mike has done more damage to society by running a magazine into the ground and writing horrible novels that help reinforce limiting stereotypes, it behooves us to begin our look at how others see the Patterson children who haven't escaped with him. What we must take into consideration is that since he combines John's fatuous blindness to the consequences of his actions and need to lash out at perceived enemies and Elly's physical ineptitude and inability to read the room, he doesn't have the least idea how the people around him think and cannot do anything without making a laughable mess.

The first hint that he's regarded as being not all that impressive comes from the parent-teacher conferences John and Elly went to in the Early Years. The child that his teachers described was a disruptive little nuisance who seemed to crave attention due to a lack of it at home and who only seemed to do well in courses that came easily to him. If he could settle down, stop making an ass of himself and do things that required effort, he could make something of himself. His reaction to finding out that he was regarded not as the victim of persecution but as just another anonymous pain in the neck who needed follow the same rules as everyone else was hostility and disbelief.

We also find ourselves coming away with the distinct impression that his peers saw him as being rather on the outside looking in socially. He was always up to do something stupid if he was dared to, never got that he was being lied to when the guys said he'd be their friend, tended to blunder his way into confrontations with another scruffy social outcast and could be counted on to generally make a mess of things and a fool of himself. When his contemporaries made it quite clear that they saw a flat-footed, dough-headed, entitled jerk with too high an opinion of himself, his reaction was either anger or petulant whining about how people were mean.

The same sort of pathetic wailing about the inhumanity of others came into play when the love interests he'd driven away owing to his tendency to take them for granted and treat them like crap alluded as to how he wasn't exactly the easiest person to be in love with. His need to not listen to his conscience kept him from seeing the ridiculous boor that we saw wailing about his heart being caught in a machine because he was too stupid to figure out what really happened.

This mess went on to inflict his self-pity, entitlement and hapless incapacity to do anything right on downstairs neighbors, in-laws, landladies and sundry people in the publishing industry. I'll handle them tomorrow. Right now, I need to not think of an inept buffoons who wails about how cruel it is that he has to play by the same rules as everyone else.
Snarky Candiru2

On Bullying In The Pattersphere.

Remember about a year ago when Mike was all weepy about being teased and about how his feelings were hurt? As you will recall, most of the commentary related to his inability to turn around and realize that just as his being called a nerdhead or dustball was a humiliating, painful experience, his casually bullying of Elizabeth and smug use of words like ‘Sistwirp’ or ‘Lizardbreath’ was hurtful to her and needed to be stopped. This is because he doesn’t see himself as being a bully. No, he sees himself as being provoked, as being forced act badly by someone who started things and wouldn’t play fair. The realization that Brad Luggsworth would probably be able to say the same thing about him would also not serve to make him see that he’s a creep. This, it would seem, is the result of his being a facet of Lynn’s personality.

That’s because Mike is supposed to represent her rage that someone who isn’t her is receiving ‘special’ treatment that she ‘deserves’. Given that her Lynnsights are all about how angry she was at people for not letting her do what she wanted when she wanted to and how people needed to get over themselves when she was having fun terrorizing them, it’s not hard to see why it is that Elly never really made much headway in controlling Mike’s less charming behavior. When he told Deanna that Liz deserved all the abuse he heaped on her and how she shouldn’t expect any sort of decent treatment because she was in his way, this was meant to be a conversation stopper. Deanna was supposed to agree with him, you see. He’s not a bully or abusive jackass or phobic nitwit who lashes out in a mindless, gutless rage because he’s too squishy inside to deal with any sort of hindrance to his insatiable desires, he’s a victim of oppression….just like his author.

Snarky Candiru2

"How could you do this to me?": Mike's initial reaction to April.

One thing that we lose sight of when remembering the lead-up to April's birth is how Mike reacted to the whole thing. Granted, it is hard to miss when Elly's bleating that her life was ruined forever, John's awkwardness when confronted with non-traditional ideas and their intermittent, half-hearted and insincere attempts to address Liz's (legitimate) fear of being overshadowed are more noticeable but he does have a strong opinion and it should be explored.

That opinion is based on the nauseating self-pity, rock-ribbed Neanderthal sexism, revolting refusal to sympathize with others and blank-eyed stupidity that define Michael T Patterson, Purveyor of Overwrought Abuse Porn and can best be summarized by his wailing about how his parents could be so horribly cruel as to subject him, Michael Patterson, to the mildest bit of ridicule. As it was when Mike pissed and moaned that Elly was embarrassing him by protesting the possible demolition of the old town hall, his need to do the teasing and not be teased himself takes priority over all other concerns.

As an example, he can't possibly be troubled wondering why Elly is so ambivalent about the whole thing. After all, the idiot would have thought that women existed to fall down at his feet and serve his worthless, lazy ass even if John had actively discouraged such thinking so we can't expect him to change because his mother is pregnant any more than we can expect the toxic waste dump in the chinos to relate to Liz's fear that she'll be ignored because there's a new baby in town.

That would require him to do something he fears and hates because of his baffling belief that empathy means enslavement: being any sort of emotional support to Sistwirp. Instead of bonding, he all but told her that it was God's way of balancing the scales for hurting him by not being a kid brother he could play with instead of a gross, useless girl.

What makes this all the more ridiculous is when he was busy ignoring April during his occupation of the Pattermanse and crying crocodile tears while his imbecile parents were running around in circles squealing about how she wanted him and his family to die in the gutter so she could sit in her room, look up scary information and listen to headache music, the sordid chunk of flotsam dared call her his little buddy. He went into life feeling like the only reason she came into the world was to spoil his day and now that she's away from the fetid stain on the map that is Milborough for good, he howls with confusion as to why.
Snarky Candiru2

Mike, Divala and reality: how things should have gone.

As you might have guessed, I'm not a fan of the way the inept dimwit Mike wound up getting handed a job for which he was manifestly unsuited and which he abandoned in the most ridiculously gutless manner possible for the very stupid reason that people might resent him for actually making a decision. The very stupid way is that the man who fired him in the first place got caught up in a Stalinist-style purge of people who supported the target of Mike's big fat load of libelous slander.

As I've said before, the whole thing is ridiculous in the first place because despite what he believed, he was never meant to do a serious article about Divala; what he was meant to do was observe her and notice some quirky little rituals she went through to add a bit of a human touch to the press release her handlers handed him. What happened instead is that he got his shorts in a wad because a busy woman who had a lot more on her plate than the anonymous, pasty-faced drone that Mike really is ever could had no time for the barrage of pointless questions coming from some jerk white kid pretending to be Jimmy Olsen.

As I said the last time I covered this subject, he would still get fired from his job but the Stalinist purge would not take place; what I think should really have happened instead is that Divala would not have had to contend with vengeful nitwits sick with the tall poppy syndrome but instead been the heroine of the piece. That's right: Mike would be the moron who had to answer for his sins as a creative artist. My reasoning is that there's a lot more wrong with him than there is with someone whose only crime is designing while beige; the jerkass in me, you see, assumes that most of the people lining up to talk about her supposed crimes are best described as "not-racist-but".

Watching him squirm his way through life having to answer for being a whiny little bitch because the EMTs were too busy saving Deanna's life and not taking the time to deal with some buzzard-like paparazzo whose contribution was being a self-absorbed hindrance would be, at the very least, wonderful fun in and of itself as would watching him have to contend with all of the people whose life stories he'd turned into fodder for one of his humanity-free human interest stories. The capper, as I implied, would be him trying to deny the charge of being a bigot; by the time the media got done with him and his pathetic flailings-about, his reputation would be in tatters and his name a byword for bigotry. All in all, it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.
Snarky Candiru2

Anne, Mike and Leah's Extra Fingers....

As I said yesterday, the most we know about Leah Nichols was that she was born with six fingers on each hand. The reaction of two of the characters to this interesting little bit of trivia tells us things about them that Lynn is possibly not aware of. As we all know, Steve and the boys didn't much care one way or another but Anne was nearly hysterical about the horrible imperfection that she felt sure was a sign that she'd done something wrong to blight her child's life. Her reaction to this was to have the child's fingers lopped off at the age of two months so that she could at least look perfect; it says a lot of awful things about her that the risk to her child seemed to weigh less on her mind than the need to conform to some ideal that no one else cares about. I'm not saying that she shouldn't have had the surgery but I am saying that she should have waited until it was safer to remove them.

Another character also used Leah's extra fingers to make a jerk of himself; that's because Mike overheard an off-hand comment someone made about a mistake made on Leah and stated that God made one with Lizzie. Said mistake was her being a girl that, since she was a girl, he couldn't get along with instead of the brother he probably would have bullied anyway but convinced himself he'd have gotten along with.
Snarky Candiru2

Down on the farm

As I’ve told you before, John and Elly seem to have it fixed into their tiny, self-serving brains that forcing their children to spend time on a farm is somehow magically supposed to cure whatever perceived imperfection that most bothers them. They, of course, vary in what imperfection needs to be addressed: Elly wants to cure her children of liking people that threaten her and John needs obedience from his children to silence the dying voice in his head that tells him that he’s an insensitive, selfish, dishonest, entitled worm who never did a God-damned thing to earn the respect that he demands.

As with all of their other great big schemes, this redemption-through-exposure-to-horses thing came a rather ridiculous cropper. Instead of the wise farmhands who’d guide their children on the path to righteousness television led them to expect, Mike and Liz found the sort of people John spent his youth plotting to get away from: abrasive loudmouths who exist to cut down tall poppies like train-obsessed dentists and the rocket-jawed wives they married. Not only that, there’s nothing to do and no one to do it, they can’t talk to their friends and any attempt they get to find a sympathetic ear is smirkingly rebuffed by their cousin-turned-babysitter.

The end result of this is to make them amplify and distort the hardships of country living. Were we to look at Dan and Bev’s place, we’d see a rather homey little spread that’s almost out of a postcard; Mike and Liz shudder in horror at the memory because they remember it as being the holdover from the late Victorian era depicted in Stone Season. If you’ve ever wondered why a farm in the early fifties was described in terms that made you think that Harvey Rood took Sheilaaarrrrrghhh back to the 1880s in his time machine, you’ve got John and Elly to thank for it.

Snarky Candiru2

Self-delusion: It's not just for parents....

The recent arc that had Mike and Gordo totally wuss out as backyard campers is not only a rather off-putting slice of irritating life in the Patterson's world, it's a reminder that Mike led a rather dreary childhood which was misspent lounging on the couch stuffing his craw while watching inane bullshit on television, being surly to his family and whinnying about how hard it was to have to deal with fancy mathematics like "2+4=6"; given that this mental pygmy ran circles around his ditzy mother and doofy father IQ-wise, it's not hard to see why they call him a genius. Given that spackle has more smarts than anyone in the Pattermanse who isn't going to get reamed out for being a hot shot Turk 182 because she knows where she's not wanted, any idiot can be called brilliant and any idiot is.

This is where that selective memory and the need to convert comforting bullshit stories into better truths than the unpleasant reality that Mike could have been declared furniture and sold at any time in his childhood that I've talked about so many times before comes into play. As I said the last time I talked about how Adult-in-name-only Mike declared his wasted youth as a wonderland of adventure, the Pattersonian love of self-deception will bear bitter fruit even until the next generation; that's because by the time EatDirt graduates from High School, his dumbass dad will look back on eighteen years of failure and whining for his wife and declare victory.
Snarky Candiru2

Meet the new crab, same as the old crab.....

You cannot read this strip for very long without coming to the conclusion that Lynn was extremely dissatisfied with motherhood. As trumanf pointed out, it's a litany of disappointments, of children who won't behave, of things that break down, of nothing ever going right and nobody showing Elly the least bit of real sympathy or gratitude. In short, the melodramatic yoo-hoo at the drawing board was in to turning molehills into mountains. For the longest time, we've have to view the Patterson family and the world around them through the eyes of a self-defeating basket-case who refuses to be grateful for what she has because it would mean to her that people are right not to take her as seriously as she takes herself. Now, things have changed. A new idiot hero has taken centre stage: Michael. His dysfunction is the insane need to be the corpse at every funeral, the child at every christening and the bride at every wedding. Not for him the pathetic whining about how nobody understands him; he parades around beaming with pride at shoving people out of the spotlight like the damb bully he is. The point of the hybrid, as I see it, is to re-examine the past and prove that Elly was wrong and Michael was right. Instead of endless variations on the theme "children-as-burden", we are told a story about a misunderstood genius and the hateful little girl who messed up his life.
Snarky Candiru2

The imperial self of Michael Patterson....

There is, of course, one thing that energizes our new hero, that breaks the hold of the inertia that gripped him in the nursery: the will towards self-aggrrandizement. If a deed can make him look good to himself and others, he'll spare no effort. This is why he toils away at his awful, awful books; the notion of Mike Patterson: Miracle Author drives him forward. It's also why he risked his neck to retrieve the lap-top; his book was an extension of him so it could not, of course, be allowed to be destroyed. It's why he did all that sub-standard carpentry and electrical work at the apartment, too. It made him feel all warm and fuzzy to be praised by someone whom he impressed, not to mention giving a huge middle finger to a man he despised. Having children he can boast about is one thing; he could do that all day. When it comes to a task which reminds him how nondescript he is, like raising them, he wants no part of it. That's also why he fled Portrait when it came time to fire people; he'd rather run off crying than look like a bad guy.