WHY FORD STOPPED STANLEY FROM BURNING THE JOURNALS (AKA, Proof that Ford loves his brother)
Special thanks to @stanfordpines-phd for helping solidify this theory and idea. Note: There are slight journal 3 black-light spoilers here, but they are in code, and are not necessary for this theory.
Bill was a monster.
Ford had hardly slept in weeks, and was constantly under threat of painful and injurious possession, the world was at risk of Armageddon, and it was all his fault.
He was hell bent on destroying Bill’s presence in his mind, body and in the world.
So why not allow Stanley to burn the journals?
After all, he had no problem telling Stanley to leave, to take the journals to the ends of the earth, far from Bill and his home.
So why not destroy them?
One might suggest that it was out of sentimentality — for the last year that journal had been his lifeline, his outlet through all the painful and insane trials he’s overcome (Brief semi-related Journal 3 Blacklight Spoilers: Kh hyhq vdbv zkhq kh fuhdwhv wkh lqylvleoh lqn wkdw kh zrxog jr edfn dqg uhdg wkurxjk wkh sdjhv kh kdg douhdgb zulwwhq, wr khos jurxqg klp dqg pdlqwdlq klv vdqlwb.)
But there’s a more concrete evidence beyond that in the journal.
Let’s think about what Ford says as he prepares to hand his journal off to Stan.
“If I am ever to continue my work, then my enemy must be confronted and defeated forever! I must begin a several-day journey to the accursed caves that brought him into my life. If there is a way to destroy him, I will find it there.
But before I can begin this odyssey, I need to dispose of my journals. They’re too valuable to destroy, but the information contained inside is too dangerous, and I shudder to think what might happen if they were to fall into the wrong hands.”
Ford was about to venture into the caves, in the dead of winter (there’s more detail on the time-sensitivity of the changing weather on the next page), in search of a way to destroy Bill. Fair enough.
So, wait, why not destroy the journal?
I mean, he obviously wants to “dispose of them” and get them far away from dangerous hands. He admits that Stanley is well-traveled and would be able to hide the journals far from prying eyes, and he is able to trust his brother to keep it safe. How do I know that?
Well, let’s first think about that opening line: “If I am ever to continue my work…”
Ford was not trying to get rid of the journals permanently, he just needed them safe until a way to stop Bill was discovered. Then he would be able to get his journal back, and continue his life as a scientist in Gravity Falls.
So how does this come back to Stanley?
Well if the journals’ information is valuable as Ford’s life work, and as a way to scrounge success after his awful experiences in Gravity Falls, then he would need them back later on, right?
And if he trusts Stanley to take the journal away, then that means… he would have needed to ask Stanley to come back.
So no. He was not sending away his brother for good after 10+ years of radio silence. He was initiating contact again. He was extending a lifeline to the one person he could trust in the world, knowing that the separation would be temporary.
He even says that this would be Stan’s redeeming moment in Ford’s eyes — after years of what he thought to be an intentional sabotage on his brother’s part, Ford was ready to extend this lifeline again.
I know what you’re thinking: In that case, why not clear that up for Stan? Why not emphasize that he was not sending him away for good? Why all the vagueness and awful wording?
Well, for one thing, Ford was running on fumes, with no sleep at all. He was exhausted and stressed and half-insane. So, we can give some leeway.
Secondly, Ford fails to grasp a lot of social interactions, and his tendency to botch them would definitely be in the spotlight here.
Third of all (minor black light spoilers here, again: Eloo kdv vkrzq wkdw kh frxog olwhudoob pdqlsxodwh Irug'v yrfdexodub, olnh zkhq kh hudvhv wkh zrug “exughq” — vr zh fdq'w uxoh rxw Eloo pdqlsxodwlqj wklv frqyhuvdwlrq hlwkhu.)
TLDR: Ford was going to ask Stanley to return with the journal after he found a way to destroy Bill, and after Stan had earned his trust in a time when Ford could trust no one else. Taking the journal “to the ends of the earth” was to be a temporary solution until Bill was gone, and afterwards, they would reconnect.
Bonus angst: Imagine Stanley reading this in journal 3, and realizing the misunderstanding…. :(
You can talk about black pain but you gotta remember that you can only talk about as much pain that you have, that they can take it and assume that they could have. If you’ve got more pain then they can have you can’t talk about it.
Frank Wilderson paraphrasing James Baldwin- New Day Jazz KDVS 90.3 Interview (July 2014)
Black political life in North America is important not because I’m “U.S. centrist” as some have accused me of, it’s because anywhere you go in the world where Black people have been struggling, the most literature in their arsenal has been the literature of Black American revolutionaries. And so if an analysis of the beast is not coming from Black people in the U.S., that is about the U.S. in particular, what you’re going to find is that around the world all these analyses of the beast of their locations are going to be wanting, provisional, and ultimately stop-gap measures.