I’m way too angry to do this point form, so we’re breaking out the old panel by panel analysis!

Panel One: I know I’ve been saying it out loud for about a week or so now, but I’m still amazed she just out and said it’s about Sal making them look like bad parents. Because you two sure had nothing to do with your own bargain basement bin low quality parenting, did you, Linda? Charles also doesn’t really seem all that concerned where she was or what she was doing, so I’m giving that a point too. I won’t give him one for being concerned she’s smoking though. That’s reasonable. Fuck you, Walkerton Parents Count: 3

Panel Two: And we all know what she means by that too. I wonder if Marcie would be a ‘bad influence’ if she were middle class and her parents were documented immigrants? Actually, nah, I think Linda’d still have ‘a bad feeling’ anyways. Regardless, I’m giving that a count because fuck off, Marcie’s stable and came out of her childhood, so far as we’ve seen, with considerably fewer issues than Sal has. Fuck you count: 4.

Panel 3: I love Sal. So much. Calling out her mom on her hypocrisy (yeah, I know, she SHOULD be worried her preteen/young teen is smoking so young, but she hasn’t said shit about her age, just that she smokes, so I’m calling hypocrite) and pointing out where that influence came from. I’m also appreciating that piece of info that Marcie did not in fact smoke yet. Interesting. I wonder when she took that up? Fuck you count: 5 for hypocrisy.

Panel 4: Fuck off. Marcie hasn’t done anything wrong so far as we can tell and Linda has no good reason to ban her from seeing Marcie except Marcie is poor and brown and Sal’s finally having enough of her mother’s bullshit so Linda’s blaming her friend. Count: 8 because all three of those reasons piss me off.

And you go, baby Sal for defending your friend.

Panel 5: Linda, this might shock you, but even if Marcie’s parents ARE shit, she cannot help that. She doesn’t get to decide where they live either because she is 12-13. And yeah, she probably hangs around with kids who live in her low income area, so clearly she’s co-signing everything they say and do even though we know she objects when her friends do things that make her uncomfortable or upset or she thinks are wrong.

And frankly? I’m not convinced her parents are shit. Bare minimum, they took her side when she was being bullied (even though they couldn’t help her much). More than you did, you fucking hellbeast. Better parents than YOU is the dictionary definition of damning with faint praise though, so I won’t waste too much time insulting the Diazes, you piece of shit.

Also, even if the kids in her neighbourhood ARE awful, Marcie pretty clearly prefers Sal. So I dunno what Linda’s Wannabe Perfect Upper Middle Class Suburban Americana ass is whining about. Fuck you count: 13.

Panel 6: Again, I’m so so proud of Sal here. She deserved better parents. Yeah, I see you there not saying anything about the bullshit your wife’s spewing, Charles, so I’m giving you a count too. Fuck you count: 14.

Panel 7: And yeah, totally dismissing Sal’s concerns about how she’s treated and belittling/ignoring her. Who wants to bet she’s done this before? Fuck you count: 15.

Holy fucking shit, I hate these two and I really wish Sal had better fucking parents.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


I’m gonna go back and say, “It fits the pattern of abusive homes” here, Walky is clearly playing the combination “Good child” and “Mascot”. Sal is clearly the “bad child” (not really bad, just how her role worked out). Linda is abusive, folks. she’s infantilized her son and alienated her daughter. I could almost suspect there’s alcohol or affairs involved here, but it’s also clear in something else;

Sal is the responsible one. (actually, come to think on it, she was in “It’s Walky!!” too). David…david has been shielded from consequences from day one, while also being prevented from taking risks or encountering them on his own.

thus, his emotional development is STUNTED, as is his other developments. Sure, he’s got high native intelligence (both the Walkerton kids do) but his parents clearly didn’t provide him the mental and emotional tools to actually USE IT, and worse, they’ve blocked him from the natural process of trial-and-error, channelling him into a perpetual man-child who will, most certainly, need a ‘safe space’ if he ever stops being (Deliberately) oblivous.

In a way, it’s actually an inversion of the usual relationship-the Brother is the passive one, the one who seeks attention and praise, while the Daughter is the assertive one who’s toughened up enough to be functionally an adult (early, even) and accepting of consequences.

It’s like Linda didn’t bother to tell Walky ‘don’t touch, it’s hot’ because Sally already grabbed it and burned her hands.

My step-niece was in a similar position when my sister married her current husband. The result has been that said step-niece doesn’t contact her family (except her step-sister-and then, only rarely) and is a fully-functioning adult, while my ‘blood’ niece is 26 with a kid living in my sister’s basement with her husband rent-free.

Sal may be a bit of an ass, but she’s FUNCTIONAL-she has sense, she measures risks rationally, she knows how to survive. Walky DOESN’T, here’s my prediction, if this followed “Rule of Natural Consequences”;

Sally will graduate from college, if she wants the degree, and move into a career. Walky…will go home to his parent’s house, and live there until they die, working an occasional part-time, low-demand, low-skill job until he’s too old to successfully temp, at which point, she might take him in when mom and dad kick the bucket.


because he’s still using the coping skills of an infantilized child, while Sal has a full suite of functional judgement, including the understanding that actions DO have consequences.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler


I grew up with fraternal triplets as cousins. There is one they consider the “baby”, and there’s one who’s widely treated as the oldest, even though they were born literally less than two full minutes apart (emergency C-section). I also had two friends who were identical twins, and another two who were fraternal twins. Neither set of twins had an “older” kid except as a joke when we were little. When they were 8, the girl of the set of fraternal twins developed T1 diabetes. After that, her brother started calling himself her “big bro” and taking on more of a caretaker role.

From my experience, it seems to depend a lot on whether the parents treat one kid as younger or otherwise baby one kid over the others, and also on whether one kid has a health issue. In both cases where a “baby” developed, the “baby” had a health issue (CP and spina bifida in one case, diabetes in the other), but also, in the fraternal twins, the kid with CP and spina bifida wasn’t the only kid with health issues, just the one who got babied for it. If the parents treat one kid as younger, the kids will pick up on it and respond accordingly (which seems to be what Walky is taking advantage of here), even if they don’t register it consciously.

Side note: In every family that plays favorites that I’ve encountered, the kid(s) who’s not the favorite always knows who the favorite is. The kid who is the favorite almost always thinks they’re treated fairly. If that aint a great metaphor for privilege dynamics in society, I don’t know what is.

Dumbing of Age

Maintained Matthew Leffler