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We treat them as family, the characters we love.... - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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We treat them as family, the characters we love.... [Jan. 18th, 2007|09:28 am]
[Current Mood |geekygeeky]

Everyone in the world is doing it; I might as well join in: a little For Better or for Worse commentary.

I actually thought about writing this at the end of last week, but I decided to give Lynn Johnston a chance, see if she would actually push the envelope on Native issues. She didn't, so I will.

For those of you following only intermittently or not at all, daughter Liz was dating a police officer from northern Canada who was Native (my personal guess is that the mythical village of Mtigwaki is Inupiak, but I don't recall it ever being specified). Anyway, Liz spent a couple years teaching in the village and became very close to the locals and was dating policeman Paul, who was stationed south of the village. They had a long-distance relationship, and he put in for a transfer north, to a station close to the village.

Then Liz got homesick and decided that she was not staying in the village after all. Paul agreed to put in for a transfer to the south, close to her home town, but he was never particularly enthusiastic about it. On the eve of Liz's leaving, the new teacher in town, Susan, turned out to be an old acquaintance of Paul's (because in FOOB-ville, no one can ever hook up with someone they didn't know from childhood). The readers saw the writing on the wall, but Liz just got the message this week, when she showed up for a visit a day early and learned that Paul and Susan were an item.

The part that was of interest to me was readers' reactions to the fact that no one in Mtigwaki told Liz about Paul and Susan in time for her to rush up there and intervene. After all, they had this ceremony adopting her into the tribe - what kind of friends were they?

It may always remain unspoken, but I'll let you in on the secret: the people of Mtigwaki were rooting for Susan.

Now, they may all love Liz dearly, but the plain reality is that these native communities are losing their young people. Alcohol and drugs are a serious problem; unemployment very high. Upright, ambitious youths are drawn away to the city by the promise of a decent income. And here was Paul, a native man with a good job, good health, and a future.

And here's the woman who wants to lure him away from the village versus the woman who is teaching in the village and appears committed to staying.

Who do you think the locals are rooting for?

It isn't a matter of race, though race can play a part in it. It's a matter of culture - preserving culture. Her friends at Mtigwaki like Liz just fine, but they know now that, when all is said and done, she's a tourist. They want to build and preserve their community.

Damn straight they're keeping their mouths shut. None of them wanted Liz, with her super-human ability to captivate any man who looks upon her, returning in time to lure Paul away. Believe me, it had to be a conspiracy; small towns love to gossip, and if there wasn't a consensus on the matter, word would have reached Liz.

(And yeah, I'm meta-plotting this a bit; for Johnston it's more just a matter of "how do I eliminate all other men from Liz's life so she's stuck with Anthony." But there are valid reasons for what happened to have happened.)

(My take on Anthony will be in another post.)

[User Picture]From: infowidget
2007-01-18 02:48 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that I found two people with which I can ramble/rant about For Better or For Worse.

Er...must pack for Seattle now, though. :)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 02:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, Ferrett and I both are willing to go on and on....
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[User Picture]From: e_scapism101
2007-01-18 03:07 pm (UTC)
I'm quickly reaching a point where I read the comic and then say, "Why do you even bother trying to justify what you're doing?" She mentioned in her reasons for ending the strip this year that she's 'lost touch' with today's youth culture. Um...yeah. I know that if I had ended up married to my 'first love' I would probably be in prison for homicide - I had very bad taste in men at 14.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 03:21 pm (UTC)
Well apparently now she isn't actually ending it. She'd going to a "hybrid" format - some reruns, some new strips - but "no one is going to age."

Which, one of the reasons I loved the strip was that people grew up and aged? Hello?

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[User Picture]From: geli_tripping
2007-01-18 03:27 pm (UTC)
I agree with you, the townspeople purposely kept their mouths shut! Good for them!

I look forward to your comments on Anthony. I've always seen him as the "nice guy" friend who never gets any. In real life he would stay that way, Liz would never get with him.
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[User Picture]From: ba1126
2007-01-18 03:39 pm (UTC)
I agree. Anthony is a nice enough guy, but BORING. Why would Liz settle for him when she is head and shoulders above him in almost every way?
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[User Picture]From: ls56
2007-01-18 03:52 pm (UTC)
I don't know what draws me to that comic.

Thank you I'll be here all week!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 04:01 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: preitas
2007-01-18 04:52 pm (UTC)
Honestly, Anthony is a complete dweeb. Anyone but Anthony! But I know in the end she will end up with him. How completely boring :P

I was pissed at Paul though. What a jerk to let her spend money on plane tickets when he could have just told her, "Look, I'm not moving down & I'm cheating on you" Then at least he could have saved her some damn money!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 05:00 pm (UTC)
Paul was presented in an appalling light - today made it even worse. That makes me sad.
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[User Picture]From: thejunebug
2007-01-18 04:58 pm (UTC)
I just love love LOVE how much everyone talks about this. It's the subject of discussion at the place where I work, too.

Personally I agree with everything you've said here. And I hate Anthony with a passion. UGH. I think it was your hubby who linked to an LJ entry about "Why I Hate Anthony Caine", yes?

Sigh. And with the strip ending for the most part in September, DOOM in the form of Anthony/Elizabeth must be coming just around the corner.
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[User Picture]From: scarfman
2007-01-18 05:42 pm (UTC)

The essay on Anthony was shaenon's.

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[User Picture]From: forestfire
2007-01-18 05:44 pm (UTC)
You have compleyely derailed my work day with this distraction. I had forgotten this comic strip even existed. My only question is, where can I find Lynn Johnston's (apparantly incomplete) commentary on the strip.

I also agree compleyely with your analysis. I even saw some of that insight (regarding Paul's originins and attachment to the North country) when I read the comic from the last weeek or so.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 06:14 pm (UTC)
There was a hint of it on Monday. I was hoping she'd follow up, but instead she went all cozy visiting. Hence, I wrote.

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[User Picture]From: trillian42
2007-01-18 05:46 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 06:15 pm (UTC)
Only intermittently. I feel lost in a crowd there.
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[User Picture]From: hookncrook
2007-01-18 06:52 pm (UTC)

On anthony and liz

I find Liz completely believable as a cofused girl---The whole attempted rape and following trial was such a stupid plot device to push Anthony and Liz back together--nearly as stupid as the falling down at New years and injuring her knee so Anthony had to save her.

The Paul--well, I totally agree. There was Liz ready to commit--and she left the cold North for better climes at the last minute...that entire village wanted the native son to stay...and the native teacher to stay as well. I think that some of it--the total bevey of males buzzing around Liz just had to be swatted away---and Anthony gets to keep her because he is a stable dull 'nice guy' with a kid even...

It just gets me annoyed...cause I want the helicopter piolet...he's all hot and has a sexy job!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 07:13 pm (UTC)

Re: On anthony and liz

Yes, but you won't get him! Because he was not a childhood sweetheart!!!! Mwahahahaha!

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[User Picture]From: donkey_hokey
2007-01-18 07:01 pm (UTC)
I haven't followed the series since all the now-adults in this soap opera were kids. (Yeah, it's been that long.)

I was wondering, after reading all the various commentaries, if Lynn Johnston has a problem with the idea of a woman doing fine all by herself, without a man, and even *gasp* enjoying it? I know, I'm just a hopeless feminist. :) Am I missing something? Do I need to go back and read 15+ years of the strip to see?
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 07:15 pm (UTC)
No, you have it about right. People get married to their highschool sweethearts, or it Goes Badly.
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From: brendancalling
2007-01-18 09:06 pm (UTC)

great perspective!

Your perspective is so much different from mine, but so valid. I hadn't even considered that whole side of things (ie, why no one told Lizzie), but you are correct about the social and economic problems First Nations people face.

What a great post. I just did a piece of LJ's racism, but I'm going to add a link to this.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 09:27 pm (UTC)

Re: great perspective!

Cool - thanks!
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-01-18 10:40 pm (UTC)


my personal guess is that the mythical village of Mtigwaki is Inupiak, but I don't recall it ever being specified

Nitpick here: the village is Ojibway; we saw another teacher giving lessons in Ojibway language and culture in October-November, 2004, we saw Ojibway religion and dancing at the powwow in September-October, 2005. Also Paul's mother is Ojibway and his father is Irish. The location of fictional Mtigwaki is even shown on a map at www.fborfw.com, about 100 miles north of Thunder Bay, way too far south to be Inupiat.

I think you're probably on target re the villagers' motivations, at any rate.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 11:40 pm (UTC)

Re: ojibway

Thanks. I didn't have time to look it up; I figured that someone would know!
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[User Picture]From: amandathegreat
2007-01-18 10:53 pm (UTC)
...Everyone's complaining about how boring Anthony is, but why isn't anyone bothered by how creepy and self-absorbed he is?? Immediately after Howard assaulted Liz, shaking her and hollering "Wait for me"? Whining about how his wife didn't love the child he guilted her into having?

Anthony is not only a boring dude with an ugly moustache. He's also a needy, creepy bastard with a martyr complex. And all this is supposed to be somehow "sweet."

So yeah, I'm voting for Warren too, but it won't happen.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-18 11:42 pm (UTC)
Anthony has been gutted as a person; I can't imagine a real life woman who wasn't a drama whore getting within miles of him.

But the story that should have been, that's why I wanted her to be with Anthony.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-01-19 01:51 pm (UTC)

Liz Likes to Be Manipulated and Other Twisted Stuff

Did you see today's tripe (Jan. 19, 2007)?

It appears that omnipotent narrator LJ has identified Warren as "The One (TM)" for Liz, just as she did with Paul before him (remember Mr. Right/Wright?).

As I posted on my Yahoo! blog (360.yahoo.com/jtoc72) - "Foob Me One, Shame on You; Foob Me Twice..." I am not buying this bullshit. Even if Liz does end up with someone other than Granthony, the thought that it might be with a guy who manipulated her into "catching" Paul cheating just so he could *immediately* catch her on the rebound is just - sick.



In other words, exactly what I have come to expect for LJ lately.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2007-01-19 02:46 pm (UTC)

Re: Liz Likes to Be Manipulated and Other Twisted Stuff

Liz as continual victim.

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