July 28th, 2007

Hells Yes!

(no subject)

Stephanie,

I’m sorry the parody strips offended you. The adult way to deal with it would be to close the web browser, count to ten, tell yourself it’s about the strip and the character, not you, and then go find something to do to take your mind off the parody strips. The childish way to deal with it, which you chose, would be to run crying to an adult about how Mary Jean wrote something mean and it hurt you. Congratulations on acting like a seven-year-old. Now, grow up and act like a woman instead of a whinging child.

The parody was not of you. It was a parody of fictional characters in a fictional world. Critique of Shannon is not critique of you. That Shannon is your comic alter ego does not change that. It was critique of fictional characters in a fictional world. If you can’t handle Shannon being criticized, pack up and go home. When you’re in the spotlight, expect to hear some ‘boo’s. If you don’t want to hear them, you shouldn’t be there.

I'll tell you the same thing I tell every single whinging author who doesn't like the fact I didn't praise her story to the skies when I reviewed it online: grow up, grow a thicker skin, and learn not to take it personally. Crit of the story is NOT crit of you as a person. If you can't stand the heat, get the heck out of the kitchen.

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Dear Stephanie,

It's not that people who don't like the way Shannon Lake is depicted don't like the real you as a person, or are insensitive to the problems of the disabled. I used to work at Special Olympics International, and I deal with a physical disability myself. I have, quite literally, been there, done that, and got more than one t-shirt, plus a bunch of pins.

In fact, it's the opposite of what you probably think. A lot of people don't like the way Shannon is used in the strip because we don't think the stories she's put in are fair to her. Is April really Shannon's friend? Really? Then where was Shannon at April's last birthday party? How come you never see Shannon at April's house, ever, or the other way around?

Shannon isn't anything like a real person, with or without special needs; she's too perfect. My bad back and leg don't make me perfect. My husband's cancer didn't make him perfect. People with developmental delays don't get to be automatically perfect either -- that's the opposite of treating someone just like everybody else!

I wish the character were being used in a way that showed more realistically what a special-needs student's life was like. Not everyone with special needs is nice, and not every "normal" student bullies those classes.

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Dear Stephanie,

Until yesterday I never gave you any thought. I've got one of those minds that can distinguish fiction from reality, despite my share of hours as a student in a SE classroom.

Privately you may be a wonderful person. Publicly, you come off like a prickly twat.

Go bite your pillow and cry some more. Then grow up.

No love,

Me

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Stephanie, your Aunt Lynn should have explained that you are not Shannon and Shannon is not you. You are not "Stephanie, otherwise known as Shannon Lake," as you say in your radio spot with Aunt Lynn. You are not "Stephanie, aka Shannon Lake" as your web links in the official FBoFW section identify you.

You are a real-life person, and Shannon Lake is a character inspired by you. Shannon is a teenager and you are a woman in her twenties who has already been through all of these high-school experiences. Similarly, your Aunt Lynn is not Elly Patterson, your Uncle Rod is not John Patterson, and your cousins Aaron and Kate are not Michael and Elizabeth. And on and on. Remember what Aunt Lynn always says about her characters. They are fictional and they come out of her imagination.

As others have already said, if people are criticizing the way Shannon Lake is portrayed in the strip they are NOT criticizing YOU. They don't even KNOW you, Stephanie.

Sincerely,

aprilp_katje

(no subject)

And Thank gods it's Sunday! It's been a fun week and you were a great audience but oh man it's been draining. Cookie, I don't know how you've done it for so long but I can see why you needed the break.

Panel one: Awww, geeze it's a train strip! Wow, he's got them all over the yard too. You'd think after being vandalized once he'd be more careful but I guess not. I also really wish someone would tell him how dopey he looks in the train outfit. A grown man dressing up to play conductor is not cute it's creepy.

Panel two: I don't see a point to this panel. Is his head itchy? Really they could have saved the space.

Panel three: Does John honestly belive April is going to be intersted in his trains? Has she shown any interest before? However, I like the video game she's playing. It looks like a Japanese puzzle game of some sort. It's also nice to see her playing a video game that isn't a mindlessly violent cliche.
It looks as if someone has been paying attention to the game market.

Panel four: John, FYI if she doesn't care to see the layout she certainly isn't going to care about how your workshop is laid out. I like how April looks in the panel, she looks like old 15 year old April. She looks cute, not quite childish but definatly not an adult yet either. I miss this April.

Panel five: Oh good lord, you're asking Mike? Mr. I'm too busy to parent my own kids much less spend time with my wife?

Panel six: "And the cat's in the cradle and the silve spoon, little boy blue and the man on the moon." Though if Elly were the one asking, Mike would over here faster the LJ lawyers on a paraody strip.

Panel seven: Now he's asking Steve? He's really desprate. We havn't seen Steve since Connie and Ellys 50th birthday bash.

Panel 8: More rejection. Looks like he's been flipping though that address book for quite a while. Who is Dave, btw? have we ever seen him?

Panal nine: Elly's looking really dumpy here, but not in a bad way. She actually looks normal for a middle aged person. John, you're acting like a four year old.

Panel ten: And the payoff! Awww poor little Jonny has no one to play with!
Geeze, Elly and John are looking like identical twins these days. Someone get make a character sheet or a template or something!

Over all I don't hate the strip. Maybe a week of tele-thon and acid eighties Becky has numbed me. I like how April isn't made out to be the dumb teenager like in the garage sale strip or completely whiny and fugly like in the strip where teacher Liz tries to show her how to break down her homework. But I never, personally understood the need for people to share their hobbies with people who really don't enjoy said hobby. Maybe I'm just too introverted but If i were John I'd just enjoy spending the time playing with the trains and making up little stories to go with them. I also hate how he doesn't even think to ask the one person who seems to have some time free, Elly! Back in the "olden days" when the strip was decent, Elly and John actually liked spending time together. Sometimes one might get the impression they were actually friends as well as spouses. Ahh, well. I'm signing off. Good luck to whoever is following me.