Thursday, February 11, 2010

Already? No, not really.

Already?

Well no. In today’s reprint of For Better or For Worse, Michael and Lawrence show remorse when Elly announces Lawrence is going home tomorrow. This strip was originally printed on February 25, 1981 and it took until March 2, 1981 for Lawrence to finally leave. So, don’t worry boys. You have plenty more time.

The part I find most amusing about the strip is what happens to Lizzie.

In Panel 1, she is between Michael and Lawrence.
In Panel 2, she has disappeared.
In Panel 3, she is being carried off by Elly, who put her hands on Michael’s shoulder to break up the fight.

The way it looks to me, either Michael or Lawrence is standing on Lizzie in Panel 2, and Elly had to come in for a rescue.

The second part I find interesting is Elly’s method of intervention. My son had a friend of his dropped on us for a week last Spring, which eventually wore down my son’s ability to play host to his friend. I can tell you that when boys start yelling loudly at each other, it not a good idea to walk in the room, say a few words, and leave. Boys oftentimes go from a verbal altercation to a physical one. Certainly, Lawrence and Michael have been shown to be violent with each other.

I can’t see a responsible mom leaving them alone. I would recommend separating them until they calm down. However, we have seen Elly deal with fighting boys before, and she seems to favour the idea that she can just say a few words to the boys and leave, without anything else happening.

Of course, I don’t know that Elly would care if Lawrence and Michael got into a physical battle. In this strip, Connie and Elly just casually stood there talking, while Michael and Lawrence got into a public fight. Naturally, this is in stark contrast to Anne Nichols, who is immediately after her son when she sees he has hit Michael.

Finally for the best part of the strip, i.e. the source of the argument in today’s strip:

Lawrence says, “Nerd.” – Lawrence indicates to Michael that he is a nerd and not cool. This is not a terribly bad insult. In fact it is an odd insult for someone to say while angry. I envision “Nerd” as more of an insult when you are trying to start a fight, but not while you are in the middle of one.

Michael says, “Creep.” – Michael indicates to Lawrence that he is not a nice fellow or he is some kind of pervert. Either could apply depending on what they are fighting about, which comes up next.

Lawrence says, “I hate your house.” - Lawrence indicates to Michael his dissatisfaction with Michael’s house. Usually, when I have seen boys fight, the house does not come up as a topic of conversation. In fact, I would say that never have I seen boys fight and mention the house.

Michael says, “Then go home.” - Michael indicates to Lawrence that if he is dissatisfied with his house, he should go to his own house.

Lawrence says, “I can’t wait.” - Lawrence indicates that he would like to do just that.

What we have then is that Lawrence is mad at Michael doing something nerdy which affects his opinion of his house. Michael is mad at Lawrence for doing something creepy. Considering the events of last June, it’s not too difficult to guess what that is and why he couldn’t wait to get back to his own house. If I had to hold it for a week, I would be cranky too.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some parents have the notion that letting children (even freakishly dainty deformed dollboy children like new-run Mike) "fight it out" will ultimately lead to a release of tension, resulting in less fights.

I have to disagree. From what I've seen, letting kids fight it out just leads to escalation.

I vividly recall one miserable year I spent in JHS. school...I ended up having to get surgery because the teacher believed boys should "fight it out" without much adult supervision beyond mild adult reprimands.

I was so glad when my family moved away.

Perhaps Elly shares this philosophy?

10:21 PM  
Blogger forworse said...

Poor Lawrence: I thought the same thing about the nonsensical strips from last June and how Connie was prepared just to dump him at Elly's, bags already packed, without any apparent thought for the consequences. I know there are those who will argue that, off-panel, Connie left Elly the keys to her house and also that Lawrence has recovered miraculously, but the June strips, in keeping with all the other newruns, have done nothing more but to make the original storylines even less coherent and introduced further questions which will be left unanswered unless Lynn announces in Early Spring that she is going to newnewruns to fill in the blanks about Lawrence's shy bladder, Deanna's move and return, and Farley. Lots and lots more about Farley. Like why he keeps changing size.

11:02 PM  
Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said...

It's not as if Elly understands how people behave so I can totally see her thinking that she can, in fact, let the kids fight it out; it's probably something Marian said that she's too dumb to question.

2:32 AM  
Blogger howard said...

Anonymous,

I have to disagree. From what I've seen, letting kids fight it out just leads to escalation.

I vividly recall one miserable year I spent in JHS. school...I ended up having to get surgery because the teacher believed boys should "fight it out" without much adult supervision beyond mild adult reprimands.


Ouch, Anonymous. I’m sorry that happened to you. I had a similar situation and got hit a lot in my school days too, but nothing leading to surgery. The schools my kids go to these days are hyperalert when it comes to fighting and bullying. That doesn’t means it still doesn’t happen, but there is much less tolerance for such things than there was in my day.

Perhaps Elly shares this philosophy?

It’s possible. There were a few stories of Patterson kids fighting (aside from Lawrence): Brad Luggsworth, Kortney Krelbutz, and Jeremy Jones. In almost all of those cases, the Patterson parents failed to intervene and responded with lectures and advice only. However, in the case of the Jeremy Jones story, April gave back to Jeremy Jones as much as he gave to her and Lynn did write a story of escalation. Jeremy got more and more violent, and in the final story where he is chasing down April on her bicycle and he gets hit by a vehicle, there is no doubt that had he not been hit, April would have been severely beaten.

5:27 AM  
Blogger howard said...

forworse,

…the June strips, in keeping with all the other newruns, have done nothing more but to make the original storylines even less coherent and introduced further questions which will be left unanswered unless Lynn announces in Early Spring that she is going to newnewruns to fill in the blanks…

Even if she does, I doubt it would help. Lynn’s filling in the blanks on Deanna’s move, for example, contained less information than we already knew. Sometimes the gap between the story in Lynn’s head and the story in print is too substantial for her to cover.

5:27 AM  
Blogger howard said...

DreadedCandiru2,

It's not as if Elly understands how people behave so I can totally see her thinking that she can, in fact, let the kids fight it out; it's probably something Marian said that she's too dumb to question.

Marian? Maybe. Some strips have indicated Grandpa Jim was the disciplinarian of the Richards family.

5:28 AM  

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