*Adults aren't stupid* Yet the most grammar and word obbessed women falls for a disguised name Captain SHAM. While failing to recognize this being a habit of a friend she knew for countless years,
i mean, for one thing, i said the story isn’t always about adults being “stupid.” i’m not denying that many of the adults make poor and seemingly oblivious decisions– they do, and aunt josephine is obviously no exception
but here’s the thing– the narrative does not frame this as something shameful on the adults’ parts. the fact that people who have either not seen olaf in years or have never met them don’t immediately see his through disguise is never supposed to be the frustrating part of the books. the part that they are supposed to be condemned for is always, always, always either not listening to the children, willfully seeing only what they want to see, or throwing up their hands and saying, “i’m sorry, this is the way it is, nothing i can do,” when the children demand better treatment.
i feel like the book is about willful ignorance more than just “stupidity,” and that many of the adults probably suspected something was up but denied it because it was easier to, because they didn’t want to rock the boat, or something similar. josephine, for example, pretty obviously was kindhearted, but was also obviously selfish and desperate by the way her death was framed in the books– betraying the children to save her skin– so was it really that “stupid” for her to simply see what she wanted to see and ignore the cues that should have tipped her off? no, not really, she was being flattered and courted. it wasn’t stupidity, i don’t think, it was selfishness, desperation, and willful ignorance
of course it’s ridiculous that olaf’s disguises always work, but i think that says more about how adults confronted with child abuse will tend to excuse or dismiss it, than the interpretation that all the adults are actually completely certain that nothing is wrong. it is so much easier to believe that traumatized children are being paranoid and seeing bad guys everywhere, and to see just what you want to see, than to actually step up and look the bad guy in his shiny, shiny eyes