Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cursing is Acceptable, If You Don’t Know What You’re Saying

Today’s strip marked the first appearance of Gerald’s mother, to my knowledge. I suppose it is no surprise, the artist went to the blond girl template list and picked out the Becky McGuire / Meredith Patterson and added glasses. The humour was along the same lines as what occurs almost every time 4 Evah (and Eva) had an original song, which is to say, “The grown-ups don’t like it and that validates the song in the eyes of the teenagers. Elly and John have been poo-pooing April’s original music for as long as she has been playing. So the only real difference here is that we see Gerald’s mom and Gerald’s mom has a foul mouth, but then again, so does almost everyone in 4 Evah and Eva.

Once again, another demonstration that Lynn is completely separated from today’s generation. “The ‘dults are squaresville, man. They are not hip.” In these days, where Mick Jagger still performs at 63 and has been Knighted, it would be difficult to get rock and roll music that would not have some degree of acceptance by a large range of generations. The type of music that would really upset today’s parents with lyrics on abusing women, or glorifying death, or shooting policeman would never make it into the 4 Evah and Eva repertoire. So we resort to loud, a complaint stemming from the 1960s.

In any case, the use of the “@* gave me an excellent means for snarking the whole day long. I also decided that while Becky, Howard, Marjee and Jeremy were in Winnipeg, I would do some Winnipeg Patterson snark, using today’s strip and John’s monthly letters as fuel for the fire. aprilp_katje, I presume, did some writing as Brian Enjo, which allowed me to snark the Enjos, once again by monthly letter. As I pointed out in the post, Elizabeth has not mentioned any Enjo since July, 2005, but July, 2006, Mike mentioned both the Enjo son and daughter. No monthly letter has mentioned the Enjos parents in any of the on-line monthly letters. So, it was a day for obscure snarking.

Tomorrow’s strip is going to put a kink into qnjones’ retcon of Gerald’s mom to be Aunt Lavinia, as the strip takes the joke of her not liking Gerald’s music for another day. 2 days in a row does not bode well. Does this mean “adults hate teen music” for the rest of the week? I hope not.


Blogger Mary Worth said...

I enjoyed your snark all day long today. Sorry I did not love on it in the love thread. I have been feeling a little out of sorts. But all your stuff was hilarious, from your lengthy Paul posts right down to the little Aldo Kelrast drive bys at Mary Worth's blog. I adored the Jeremy Jones post that retconned John's monthly letter. It makes SO MUCH MORE SENSE that John was just trying to make himself look good, than that Danny--a real farmer--would screw something like that up so badly. "Oh, you know, I'm too cool for that hick town--but boy do they wish they could have kept me around! They need me as a voice of wisdom, just like everyone else!" Loser.

11:59 PM  
Blogger howard said...

Thanks for the love. My snark of John started when I tried to figure out how they could possibly do 1500 bales of hay a day, with all the things that John described had to be done just to put up one bale of hay. Then I took a look at the on-line material safety data sheets and it had the explosive warning in big bolded letters, just like I did in the Jeremy post. I thought that there was no way this would be ignored by an experienced farmer. And of course, the whole business with pigs in the last set of monthly letters screamed, "I have no experience with pigs." The snark was pretty easy after that.

6:32 AM  
Blogger Mary Worth said...

Living in Iowa, I hear stories about truly incompetent farmers all the time. There are plenty of them out there who are unsafe with the hazardous chemicals they work with. At one point, one of our state lawmakers, a farmer, said on the floor of the legislature that he knew X fertilizer wasn't really carcinogenic because he used to stir the buckets of it with his arm. :O

That said, he was known for being stupid. And I don't think Lynn has ever portrayed Danny as being stupid before. Whereas there is ample evidence that John likes to make himself sound more knowledgeable than he is.

Genius. :)

9:07 AM  
Blogger howard said...

Just for fun, I decided to look up John’s old farm experience, he references in this passage:

Just thinking about her being out at the farm reminds me of many days out there. Late in August on hot humid days, I remember loading hay bales, and stacking them up in the barn. Whooo, one day we put up 1500 bales.

Now excerpts from the same story from the monthly letters:

John's Letter, August 2004

I got to go back to my roots and help with the haying at the end of the trip at my sister Bev and her husband Dan's farm. We put up 1500 bales in two days of 85 degree heat.

1500 bales in two days. You can see the exaggeration. Of course, he is saying that he and Dan did it by themselves, so the number is still not possible. It would mean that in a 24-hour period, Dan and John put a bale up every 2 minutes. Just to let you know, 85 degrees C is 185 degrees F. I hope John got his centigrade mixed up with his Fahrenheit, but given the way he was exaggerating, he may not have.

Considering John and April’s pig story, this next part is pretty amusing:

The one thing that is making Beth and Dan's lives easier is that they no longer have the pigs (they had 400 at one time) and they got our just before this mad cow disaster, so the timing was inadvertently good. They got out because they couldn't get a good hired hand, and it was too much for Dan on his own. They were quite disappointed at the time, but good old hindsight has made them very thankful they were forced out when they were. They would have been taking some big losses if they had stayed in pigs. So with all the livestock gone, their yard is a lot quieter. A few ponies and some chickens are much more civilized than 400 pigs!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Mary Worth said...

He doesn't specify Fahrenheit or Celsius. It's a bit of a mistake to assume that just because Canada is officially on the metric system that nobody uses the older measurement systems in everyday conversation. The Canadians I know talk about being 5 feet 8 inches tall and 150 pounds, for example, and definitely use the Fahrenheit scale in everyday conversation. Especially older Canadians.

John's August 2004 letter really reminded me how different the letters are from the strip. In the strip, John does not ever think or talk about his family. In the letters, he visits every once in awhile. In the strip, John is now a spineless, neutered wimp cowed by his wife. In his letters, he is the same pompous, chauvanist windbag of old.

I usually choose to think of the activities described in the letters as LIES, ALL LIES! (You didn't really go see your parents! You aren't really visiting Paul! You do not ever come out of the attic!) But the attitudes and thoughts? Those I accept with fewer qualms.

Thanks for this look into John's idiot psyche. :)

1:08 PM  
Blogger howard said...

I view the letters as one of 4 things:
1. A recapitulation of what happened in the strip, except with more detail, or in the case of the Howard rape story, an ending of sorts.
2. A prediction of something that is going to happen or may happen in the strip, even though it may take months for it to actually occur.
3. A story that touches base with characters that are seldom seen in the strip, like John’s parents, or the Enjos, for example.
4. A story so completely off-base from strip reality, it has to be considered as having no association with strip canon. A perfect example of this would be John’s temporary obsession with toolkits as a Christmas gift, which I still think is one of the funniest monthly letters I have read.

John’s story about visiting his parents falls into category 3. However, his story about doing 1500 bales of hay in 1 day with just 2 people is a definite category 4. That story is so outrageously false, it cannot be taken seriously.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Mary Worth said...

I finally wrote another Mary Worth post.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Mary Worth said...

Yeah, it's aspects of 1 and 3 I have a problem with. It's just bullshit to say "Oh, Liz DID call the police!" in the monthly letters. 99% of readers will never see that. They just see Liz cowering from taking action, over and over again. To my mind, the actions have to happen in the strip to count. If John is never seen visiting his family, he's a deadbeat son, no matter how often he's going to Manitoba in his letters. When the monthly letters describe actions that are radically at odds with what we see in the strip, I call them LIES.

I have less of an issue with the stuff in the monthlies where we keep up with minor characters like Brian Enjo. We never see them in the strip, and probably never will, and they don't really matter as characters anyhow. So it doesn't matter if Mike supposedly keeps in contact with him off-strip. Doing so doesn't say much of anything different about Mike's character.

BUT--how John treats his parents is a serious issue, particularly since we see Elly's dad and Iris all the freaking time! A person who ignores their relatives (without good reason) is a jerk. Dealing with them in the letters is cheating because it's a radical departure from Strip John on an important issue.

I think the #4 stuff is either annoying or funny. And I actually like that the letters do #2. It's fun to be able to speculate.

3:10 PM  
Blogger howard said...

I get bothered by the secondary place that John and Elly’s relatives get on the “Meet the Pattersons” part of the website, which doesn’t even take strip space. Aside from the Winnipeg crowd, Elly’s brother Phil and his wife haven’t been in the strip in over 3 years and in fact, they are not even mentioned in the letters. This is more unusual to me. The focus of the strip is really Elly, and I can’t say I am surprised we don’t see actual strips with John visiting his family, since he is almost completely unimportant in the strip. But for Elly to ignore her brother, when he used to be one of the majour players in the strip, seems a little unusual.

Of course the way the Howard story was played is the biggest example of how not to end a story. I know a lot of Lynn’s stories are throwbacks to a style of story-telling that was popular decades ago, but I would think someone in her staff would clue her in.

4:46 PM  

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