The Great Penny-Hate Debate

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The Great Penny-Hate Debate

Postby sun tzu » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:01 pm

OK, not a debate so much as an analysis, but I wanted to organize my thoughts on some of the characters' hatred for the young Miss Levac.

Karen: Sith-like "To become the master, you must kill the master" mentality.
Karen, in certain ways, is a social darwinist. She's asserted that "pretty people get what they want" – with resignation before her makeover, gloatingly after. She has a piss-poor understanding of ethics, morals, and friendship – she expected (Word of God) Penny to drop Sara as soon as the rumors hit, she thought Kathy-Anne had been kicked out of the Alphas because she had "outlived her usefulness", she very much has a "might makes right" attitude.
Penny came in, gave her her makeover, gave her power – but that essentially made her Penny's subordinate for a while. Then she took lessons from Aggie, started dating Marshall, got confident, and decided to ditch both her helpers – because she figured she would never be more than number 2 if she stayed around them. Gratitude? What is this gratitude you speak of?
So. She's pretty, she's popular, she has the hottest boyfriend in town. That should be enough, right? Well, yeah...
...except that it's not hers. Not really. Penny made her this way – and in her mind, that means she is for now an inferior Penny clone, and her "creator" could one day come back and take it all away. Ah, but if she destroyed Penny – if she proved herself superior to the one who made her – THEN everything she's accomplished would truly be her own! She wouldn't be the loser that Penny elevated – she'd be the winner who brought Penny low, and her loser past would stop mattering!
So, she begins working. She invites herself to Penny's house-party to fire the first salvo and learn the secrets of party-throwing, then launches her own party, inviting people from Penny's school. This allows her to bring her foe in for a public fight, and find allies she can use.
The fight itself is a draw when Penny proves more resourceful than expected...but the recruitment part of the plan works, and she figures that with the Injustice Gang, she can utterly destroy Penny – and then, no-one will have power over her anymore!
So, to sum up: Karen believes that she needs to destroy Penny to truly come into her own. In other words: She's a crazy bitch.


Marshall: Of the people on this list, Marshall is easily the least hateful. For all his dislike of Penny, he'd never initiate a fight between them. Nevertheless, he DOES strongly dislike her – and for someone like him, that's atypical.
Thing is, Marshall's actually had very little contact with Penny. He mostly knows her through Karen's stories, and as we've seen, Karen's version makes Penny out to have been a total bitch who tried to "upgrade" Karen for the purpose of turning her into a minion. Now, Marshall is a bit of a social recluse, and he loves Karen...He does not have the finess or information to see through her lies. To him, Penny's the bitch Karen's described. So when Penny shows up at Karen's party, he sees the whole thing through a filter – to him, this was Penny trying to stake her claim on his poor, harassed girlfriend.
As for his relationship to the rest of the Injustice Gang...Marshall doesn't socialize much. Odds are, even if the party is sleazy and his girlfriend's entourage rubs him the wrong way, he can't actually recognize how bad things truly are – especially since he wants to show indulgence where his beloved Karen is concerned.
To sum up: Propaganda victim with no access to a counterpoint.


Daphne: We don't know that much about Daphne, really, but her attitude toward Penny may have given us the clues to figure out what her issue is:
Daphne, simply put, doesn't know Penny. Barring some big revelatory flashback yet to come, they don't have a long History of interaction.
But Daphne sees the image of Penny as a highly popular ice-queen who games the system. And in just about every work of fiction an American teenager these days will find such a girl, she'll be the manipulative, shallow bitch who makes life hell for the "cool losers".
Daphne isn't exactly in the mainstream, even if she's not a "weirdo" like Aggie and Lisa. Being a "cool loser" is probably the self-image she's most comfortable with. How tempting, then, is it to see Penny herself as the steretotype she looks like – the "Libby"? The Evil Popularity Queen? It's not like Daphne needs to falsify what she knows to believe that – no, she just needs to "fill in the blanks". And once you've decided to hate someone...confirmation bias sets in. Everything they do or say will be interpreted in whichever way justifies your hatred of them. There's no need to know Penny as a person, because she's not a person – she's The Evil Cliché Popular Bitch. "It's what you stand for", really, is "It's the stereotype I've decided to fit you into".
To a lesser degree, this probably applies to a lot of people other than Daphne – up to and including Aggie.
To sum up: Hates her "image of Penny" rather than the actual Penny.


Stan: The need for a scapegoat.
Stan is a paradox. On one hand, he's a scummy used cars salseman-in-training who's willing to resort to any amount of lies, manipulations, and cheap tricks to get what he wants. On the other hand, he seems to feel he has to abide by a certain code – which, as far as I can tell, only applies to how he behaves with the people he considers his friends.
But most notably, Stan admires – worships – Rich. He considers him a "titan", something more than himself or Jack. This presumably has to do with Rich's immense self-confidence and strength of personality.
Enters Penny. She's from a higher social circle than Stan and his friends, both in and out of high-school. That makes her unlikeable, but no big deal – in a private school, most people are going to be from a higher social circle than them anyway. She's dating Rich, which makes it much worse – to a small extent, it feels like she is stealing him from Stan. Then she makes him put on a helmet, and that even WORSE – now she's "emasculating" the "titan" Stan worships.
So she and Rich break up over it. All right, crisis averted, the Titan has reasserted himself against the crazy emasculating bitch. Let's move on.
Then Rich gets stabbed. That's a shock for Stan, and not just because his close friend is in a coma at the hospital; what's truly destabilizing is that the Titan – the guy who was "something more" – was brought low by a loser with a knife.
That's unacceptable. Something, someone must have weakened him – no way he'd normally be brought low by so little! Wait – that's it! It's all Penny's fault! She made Rich careless and weak! That bitch!
Then Rich recovers (well duh! He's the Titan!), gets back with Penny (it can't last...it can't last...it can't last...), and leaves town with her.
Wait, what?
His Titan has left him. That's...well, it's typical of Rich, but that's still a bitter pill to swallow. Even more so that he left with Penny. He's his best friend, and he went instead with the Emasculating Bitch (tm)?!
Then she comes back. And obviously, everything is her fault. Rich must have realized she was emasculating him again, and left her...or maybe she wasn't capable of keeping up, and betrayed him. Whatever. Anyway, Rich is now gone forever, and it can all be blamed on her, since every bad thing that happens with Rich is completely her fault.
She ruined Rich. She took Rich away, then dropped him like yesterday's newspaper. She must be punished, and the Injustice Gang offers the perfect opportunity to do it without getting directly involved. No personal risk, and he can destroy the person who dared soil the Titan!
In other words: Scummy weasel who uses Penny as a scapegoat.


At least, these are my personal interpretations.
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Postby JerrBear » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:04 pm

Don't forget how Penny tried to stake her claim at Karen's birthday party, which Marshall fully witnessed.
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Postby Freemage » Fri Aug 22, 2008 3:07 pm

Bravissimo! I think Daphne's the biggest enigma, overall--why does she even hate her stereotyped image of Penny so very, very much? But yeah, you hit them all on the head.
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Postby featherhats » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:41 pm

Good points, all!

We might learn more about Daphne, though, since she was voted one of the most underexposed on the poll thing. I think T also implied the curtain will be pulled back...?
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Postby sun tzu » Fri Aug 22, 2008 6:18 pm

JerrBear wrote:Don't forget how Penny tried to stake her claim at Karen's birthday party, which Marshall fully witnessed.

Er, I did mention it. :?
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Postby dianekikiula » Fri Aug 22, 2008 8:45 pm

Dang, that's good analysis. A lot of people would fit into the "image of Penny" area - Sam for the racial thing, Charlotte for not living up to Charlotte's standards.

One question, though. Do Sith feel guilt? We've seen that Karen can feel guilty.
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Postby blunderbuss » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:31 pm

I agree with pretty much everything - except the part calling Karen a crazy bitch. She's not, IMHO. Someone who is very warped and full to the brim with issues, but not crazy.

Not that I'm saying that's any better. :/
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Postby IS_Wolf » Fri Aug 22, 2008 9:58 pm

dianekikiula wrote:Do Sith feel guilt?


Vader/Anakin did, example: not acting on his sense of unease with regards to his mother, the whole Amidala thing. Later on the pain he caused his son (although granted, he was dying at that point).

Sith Code
Peace is a lie. There is only... passion.
Through passion, I gain... strength.
Through strength, I gain... power.
Through power, I gain... victory.
Through victory... my chains are broken.

Jedi Code
There is no emotion...
There is peace.

There is no ignorance...
There is knowledge.

There is no passion...
There is serenity.

There is no chaos...
There is harmony.

There is no death...
There is the force.

:P
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Postby dianekikiula » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:25 pm

IS_Wolf wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:Do Sith feel guilt?


Vader/Anakin did, example: not acting on his sense of unease with regards to his mother, the whole Amidala thing. Later on the pain he caused his son (although granted, he was dying at that point).


Was he really Sith though?
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Postby Azrael44 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:29 pm

dianekikiula wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:Do Sith feel guilt?


Vader/Anakin did, example: not acting on his sense of unease with regards to his mother, the whole Amidala thing. Later on the pain he caused his son (although granted, he was dying at that point).


Was he really Sith though?



He spent 18+ years as the "Apprentice" half of the Sith pair so he was as Sith as anyone else I would think.
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Postby dianekikiula » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:41 pm

Azrael44 wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:Do Sith feel guilt?


Vader/Anakin did, example: not acting on his sense of unease with regards to his mother, the whole Amidala thing. Later on the pain he caused his son (although granted, he was dying at that point).


Was he really Sith though?



He spent 18+ years as the "Apprentice" half of the Sith pair so he was as Sith as anyone else I would think.


Ahh. Thank you. I admit that I've never been sure on whether Sith was just a species, or if the Sith were those who embraced the Dark Side.
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Postby Azrael44 » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:46 pm

dianekikiula wrote:
Azrael44 wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:
IS_Wolf wrote:
dianekikiula wrote:Do Sith feel guilt?


Vader/Anakin did, example: not acting on his sense of unease with regards to his mother, the whole Amidala thing. Later on the pain he caused his son (although granted, he was dying at that point).


Was he really Sith though?



He spent 18+ years as the "Apprentice" half of the Sith pair so he was as Sith as anyone else I would think.


Ahh. Thank you. I admit that I've never been sure on whether Sith was just a species, or if the Sith were those who embraced the Dark Side.


The Sith at one point were a group much like the Jedi, just Darkside based. However they destroyed themselves in a power struggle and the last remaining Master decreed that from that time on there would be two only, Master and Apprentice, to prevent a repeat.
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Postby mccleverly » Fri Aug 22, 2008 11:56 pm

Freemage wrote:Bravissimo! I think Daphne's the biggest enigma, overall--why does she even hate her stereotyped image of Penny so very, very much? But yeah, you hit them all on the head.


I know that my years of High School have installed in me a personal hatred against "cool" girls, even if (like at my school) their "coolness" is really just a myth. For a young woman who is NOT confident with her self-image, or fears the retribution of others because of their self-image, a girl with a good (or at least a faux-good) self-image is very threatening.

For a straight girl, the "Pennies" get all the boys and all the friends. For the gay girls, the "Pennies" are the ones they want and can never have - the bitches who auto-reject them, and the girls who would make fun of or outcast them in a second. For bi girls, it's a little bit of both.

People hate what makes them feel inferior. It's very easy to feel inferior, even if you're a reasonably attractive female, because "reasonably" doesn't cut it. It's hard to be a 6-8 when your pond is occupied by a 10.

I know that I will auto-hate any girl who was a cheerleader, a "10," can command the attention in a room by flirting with all the boys in it, or any combination of the above. I have to try really hard and go against my high school programming and think to myself "these girls haven't done anything to you. They deserve a chance."

Like sun tzu said, it doesn't take a lot for people to "fill in the blanks" or believe what they want to about people they have a natural affinity against.

Though T's hinted that there's something more to Daphne that we don't know yet...

Anyway, awesome interpretation, s t : )
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Postby sun tzu » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:21 am

dianekikiula wrote:Dang, that's good analysis. A lot of people would fit into the "image of Penny" area - Sam for the racial thing, Charlotte for not living up to Charlotte's standards.

In Charlotte's case, I suspect plain envy plays an even stronger role than disapproval of the image...
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Postby chalcara » Sat Aug 23, 2008 3:43 am

mccleverly wrote:
Freemage wrote:Bravissimo! I think Daphne's the biggest enigma, overall--why does she even hate her stereotyped image of Penny so very, very much? But yeah, you hit them all on the head.


I know that my years of High School have installed in me a personal hatred against "cool" girls, even if (like at my school) their "coolness" is really just a myth. For a young woman who is NOT confident with her self-image, or fears the retribution of others because of their self-image, a girl with a good (or at least a faux-good) self-image is very threatening.

For a straight girl, the "Pennies" get all the boys and all the friends. For the gay girls, the "Pennies" are the ones they want and can never have - the bitches who auto-reject them, and the girls who would make fun of or outcast them in a second. For bi girls, it's a little bit of both.

People hate what makes them feel inferior. It's very easy to feel inferior, even if you're a reasonably attractive female, because "reasonably" doesn't cut it. It's hard to be a 6-8 when your pond is occupied by a 10.

I know that I will auto-hate any girl who was a cheerleader, a "10," can command the attention in a room by flirting with all the boys in it, or any combination of the above. I have to try really hard and go against my high school programming and think to myself "these girls haven't done anything to you. They deserve a chance."

Like sun tzu said, it doesn't take a lot for people to "fill in the blanks" or believe what they want to about people they have a natural affinity against.

Though T's hinted that there's something more to Daphne that we don't know yet...

Anyway, awesome interpretation, s t : )



Agreed.

But besides auto-hate, it's really easy for popular girls like penny to slip into small little cruelities, just out of carelessness or to maintain their social standing. They don't pay attention to those below them, who don't matter to their circle. Granted, the same is true for everyone, but the higher in the peck order you are, the more damage you can do.
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