Sunday, April 23, 2017

This Song and Everything Else Is All About Rayford! (Chapter 30, Part I)

Happy Sunday, everybody!

I should learn to watch what I say, not just because I swear too much or make too many juvenile "Character X is Gay" or "That's what she said" jokes. A mere couple of weeks ago, I said this:

Thing is, we haven't actually seen much of Buck or Rayford in this book. Yeah, we've gotten some cameos here and there, but most of the time, if Kenny-Boy isn't the POV character, Creepy Raymie is. So this makes me wonder if I need to rethink the great chain of being in the LB-verse. Do Rayford and Buck lose their standing once TurboJesus kills everyone? Though it could be since Kenny-boy has the blood of both Buck and Rayford flowing through his veins that makes him a veritable LB-verse Voltron, where the combo makes him even more powerful than Rayford and Buck are individually.

I know it's very unlikely that Ellanjay wrote this book with me in mind, but I wonder if they somehow anticipated my complaints. Because this week, it's nothing but Rayford Steele. :whimpers:

I freely admit that I need to cut back on my swearing, but I also believe in using the simplest, most concise word to describe something, and the simplest, most concise word that describes Rayford, is Asshole. He is just such a goddanged insufferable Asshole, so much so that I have to believe that he shapes the very reality he inhabits, simply because if he didn't, well, even his own mother would punch him in the face every time he smugly strolled towards her. In fact, while I try not to overuse words, the word "smugly" should be placed in front of every verb if the sentence is about Rayford. Something like, "Rayford smugly walked down the street, smugly thinking about how hard it is to be humble, when he's perfect in every way," or "Rayford smugly sat on the toilet and smugly took a crap." I'm exaggerating because that's how I roll, but it just so aptly describes Rayford.

As I've said before, you can have asshole characters in entertainment. In Seinfeld, pretty much all the characters are assholes, but it worked because the people involved, both on the writing and acting side, knew that these characters were assholes. Or you could have a character who is an asshole, yet is so over-the-top and audacious in his/her assholery that in doing so, they achieve a certain grandeur. Think of Black Hat Guy from xkcd or Mike from Shortpacked!.

Or for those wanting a character who isn't from a webcomic, think Doctor Doom. Comic Book! Doctor Doom is so theatrical, so over-the-top and operatic when it comes to the scale of his plans that there will probably never be a movie version that would capture him in all his glory. Doctor Doom isn't content to merely go to eleven; Doctor Doom goes to twelve!

Whereas Rayford, like so far every film adaptation* of Doctor Doom, is a lazy, whiny pissant who never comes close to justifying the worship/awe everyone seems to have towards him.

Now that I've lectured everyone's ears off, let's get to the actual book. I won't deny that at points, the sheer amount of fractal wrongness in this chapter causes me to stroke out for a bit. So if I place a quote with little, if any, commentary attached, understand that I know it's wrong, but there's so much wrong I don't know where I'm supposed to begin dealing with it.

Anyway, here's the opening:

THE UNIQUE ministry the Lord had assigned Rayford Steele and his team in Osaze had gone more swimmingly than any project Rayford could recall, but that very fact niggled at him every spare moment. Had he erred in believing that this period, this millennial kingdom with Jesus on the throne of the world, would be a time of unmitigated peace?

So things are going well, but that bothers Rayford because it's a confirmation that this era is indeed, one of peace and prosperity? At least it is, so long as you don't dissent from the party line, but we already knew that.

I know Ellanjay and by extension, their Mary Sues, consider peace to be inherently evil, but I thought they were like Hank Hill, all "It's Jesus-Peace, not Hippie-Peace."

People everywhere are lining up to hear the words of St. Rayford Steele and convert in droves, but that bothers him for some reason. Because I'm that kind of person, I'll assume what bothers him, is that because they convert, they won't wind up in Hell, and Rayford won't be able to think about all those sinful sinners burning forever as he masturbates. Yeah, plenty of other people will wind up in Hell, but the mass conversions mean that there won't be as many agonizing screams of the damned for Rayford to get off on.

I suppose I should apologize for having written the above remarks, but I won't.

On a similar joke, I'll let you guys guess how long I laughed juvenilely at the next line I'll quote.

For if the Lord Himself was in charge, why did Rayford and his little band need a rear guard? From whom were they being protected?

No matter how old I get, part of me always has the same juvenile sense of humor as a thirteen-year-old boy. Though in my defense, the previous line had a clause in there about how "that angelic visit from Anis had both inspired and rattled Rayford." And given how much Anis sounds like Anus...:several minutes of Beavis and Butthead laughter:

Okay, to be fair, Anis is an actual Arabic name, but it's just one of those things where that phrase followed so soon, by a sentence asking if Rayford and his little band need a rear guard? :more B&B laughter: Hey I already admitted I have the sense of humor of a thirteen-year-old boy. It's like a panel cited by Superdickery, where as if the character being named The Gay Desperado isn't snicker-worthy enough, they follow it up with the line, "He's coming through the back door."

Next paragraph has a line about how "Everyone had been affected by the drought and famine that had resulted from Egypt's disobedience." I spend several minutes, not making juvenile sex jokes, but rolling my eyes and going, "Yeah, I'm fairly certain that an area having literally no food and water, would be affected somehow by all of it." And by affected, I mean, people would die in droves. Though as said before, since the boundaries of countries are determined more by political maneuverings and not by there literally being massive alligator-infested moats on said boundaries, again, why have the Egyptians stayed? Again, it sucks being a refugee, but dying of thirst or starvation sucks even more. If it comes down to A) Stay and Die or B) Flee and Possibly Live, most would choose option B.

It soon became apparent to Rayford, however, that those with natural bodies— himself, Chaim, and Mac— had way less stamina than the glorifieds. Without consulting anyone else, Rayford began planning a long break after what he expected to be a huge meeting in Siwa the next evening. The naturals needed it, and perhaps some respite from the work would calm his troubled mind.

Successful as it was, the work was not easy, partly because Rayford and the others remained committed to living in the motor home. They could afford to stay elsewhere, but crowded as it was, it seemed the most prudent use of their resources.

Yeah, I really believe Rayford is planning a long break despite all the work that needs to be done, because he has less stamina and is genuinely tired. We all know what a modal of good work ethic he's been throughout the series.

Though never let it be said that St. Rayford and the others aren't being martyred for their faith. They have to stay in a motor home with all the comforts and amenities of home! The Egyptians have it easy, living in a desert environment where every drop of water has to be rationed, because Zod took away all the water, and there's so little food that...I'm thinking the situation in Egypt is basically like conditions in Leningrad during the Nazi Siege, only on a wider scale with much less ice involved. For those of you who don't know just how freakin' bad the Siege of Leningrad was, let's just say when the authorities find themselves classifying Cannibalism into two categories, one being Corpse-Eating and the other being People-Eating, you know shit has gotten unbelievably, appallingly real.

Continuing with the general trend that the MK is a more amped-up version of all the annoying nuances of Earth, of course, they can't check into a hotel room because they have to conserve their resources. Ellanjay are probably giving themselves big thumbs up for having Rayford and Co. stay in an RV, but I'd bet that a hotel room would be a heckuva lot more efficient, providing much more comfort and sapping fewer natural resources than the camper. RVs, after all, are about the size of the Lincoln Memorial and have pretty much the same fuel efficiency of the Lincoln memorial.

Also, the batteries need to be hooked up and recharged, unless the characters plan on living without AC or electric stoves or any comforts of modern life. Some have a shower and a sink, but the water for those isn't magicked up out of the ether; they do have to be periodically refilled and with Rayford, Chaim, and Mac alone (ignoring the various glorifieds with them), they would probably burn through their water pretty fast. In a country where there's no water, that would kind of be a bad thing. And most RV toilets are chemical ones which have to periodically be cleaned out. I'll be charitable and say that maybe the Glorified have transcended the need to poop and pee, but Rayford, Mac, and Chaim haven't.

I looked it up and apparently in addition to the three characters mentioned, we've got Irene Steele, Token Jew, and Mr. and Mrs. Barnes along for this trip. I've seen some bigass RVs, but housing seven people under one? It is possible, but I can't help but think that the amount of fighting, over who hogged the bed sheets or who took too long in the shower and used up the water, or who ate the last of what...Let's just say the WWE wishes it could be this raw.

I suppose someone will point out that Hotels are considerably bigger than RVs, but I still stand by my statement that if you crunched the numbers, taking into account the amount of space along with the number of bodies it can hold, it would still be more efficient than an RV. If not, it would definitely be much more comfortable.

Chaim talks about the upcoming meeting in Siwa and how there will be protestors. I roll my eyes, because we all know Ellanjay would, in true Rightwing fashion, either shout over their opponents and refuse to let them say anything (we've already seen Token Jew do that in an earlier chapter), cut their mikes, bar them any kind of entry, or cancel the meeting entirely because of some bullshit safety concerns.

For the record as a citizen of a state that's pretty much the buckle of the Bible Belt, governed pretty much by the Good Ol' Boy Network, where one of our representatives is this fuckwit, I know what I'm talking about. Again, for people who so loudly champion Free Speech, they always seem to turn tail and run as soon as anyone says, "You're being a fuckwit." For all their railings against Safe Spaces and SJWs, the Right is made up of the most whiny, hypersensitive bunch of crybabies ever.

For those who clicked on the link, Cracked really isn't exaggerating Markwayne Mullins's awful by much and I say that as someone represented by him. Also, while I know Cracked isn't the bestest, most scholarly news source around, I do feel that they should get more credit than what they are given, because they've taken on some pretty serious shit that most media sources wouldn't touch with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole, like this article on pedophilia and how our unwillingness to even talk about it, beyond a superficial "It's Evil!" makes the problem even worse. To quote the opening paragraph to the article, which can be applied to a lot of issues:

Before we get started, can we all agree that there's a difference between trying to understand something and condoning it? There's nothing on Earth so awful that we should avoid talking about it completely. If anything, the more scared you are of a thing, the more you should try to understand it. Talking about a subject like pedophilia isn't going to make it worse. But refusing to talk about it -- or accusing those who do of glorifying it or normalizing it -- definitely will. No problem has ever been solved with ignorance.

But as they're hanging out, the awful news about Kenny-boy arrives via, and I shit you not, fax machine. I suppose I could go to madness trying to work out how a fax machine on an RV would work, but I'm more like, "Uh, I'm fairly certain email was a thing when this book was published." :goes to Google: According to Google, it was released on April 3, 2007, so hell yeah, email was a thing! But for some reason the news couldn't be sent via a mass email; it had to be done via tech that only a handful of people use anymore.

The general failure to anticipate basic advances in technology, is nothing knew when it comes to Ellanjay. As I've said before, no one writing a story set in the future or the not-so distant future, manages to bat a thousand when it comes to technology, but Ellanjay fail at so many things that I'm sure as heck not going to give them any slack about this.

After everyone reads the document, probably with plenty of "Oh mys" and pearl-clutching, Rayford says this bit of dialogue, which is so clunky, I pretty much have no choice but to post it.

When the others had read the document and Rayford had told them what Chloe had said, he added, “There is no question Irene and my daughter and I are biased, so I would ask that we simply accede to my grandson’s request that we covenant together in prayer and seek the Lord over this.”

And by covenant together in prayer (whatever that means), Rayford means "Everyone clap your hands if you believe in fairies!"

Okay, that's probably unfair to both Peter Pan and J.M. Barrie. They both have a more coherent theology.

Though of course, we can't have something like this.

Rayford: Hey God, is any of this BS about my grandson true?!

God: NO!

And from there have them resume their ritual self-flagellating over how hard it is to be humble, when they're perfect in every way.

Instead, we get this:

And so it was that Rayford and Irene and Chaim and Tsion and Mac and the Barneses knelt and prayed. Tsion began, and then Chaim, and soon all were praying at the same time. Several minutes later they prayed in succession again, but Rayford noticed a change. Whereas they had begun haltingly, seeking God’s wisdom, asking Him to shed light on the truth, now they seemed to be praying for Kenny, for strength, for endurance. One by one, those with glorified minds and bodies— those who had been in heaven— expressed in their prayers that the charges against Kenny did not resonate with them.

I'm assuming Ellanjay mean for this to a grand "I am Spartacus!" moment, but it doesn't work. Spartacus and those standing up for him, were legitimately underdogs, as in they were slaves being brutally oppressed by a massive empire risking their lives with their defiance, not underdogs as in the Mighty Ducks sense. Since the RTCs are pretty much running everything and occupy all the places of power, serving as Brownshirts for the Theocratic Regime, this wargle-bargle about how they are just sooo persecuted at the hands of others, what with their demands for the rights afforded to them as citizens, comes across much like a playground bully who, even as his undersized victim lies on the ground, spitting up blood, whines about how much it hurt their fists to wail on said victim. Or to put it in song by Weird Al form, Why does this always happen to me?!

Again, when a show geared towards sugar-high eight-year-olds, understands and pulls off the "I am Spartacus!" moment better than you, you need to hang your heads in shame.

Bruce Barnes's Still Nameless Wife actually speaks, using actual dialogue, not just narrative summary, leading them all in prayer on behalf of Kenny-boy. Ellanjay still can't be bothered to give her a name or make any mention of what happened to Bruce "Useless" Barnes's kids (as I recall, the wife and kids were raptured), but hey.

:looks ahead: Given how I've managed to type this much about just a few pages and we have many, many more to go, I think I'll just call it quits this week, even though we haven't finished the chapter. I try to keep my snarks at a readable length and this one...let me just repeat what I said earlier about how Rayford Steele is the smuggest smugger that ever smugged. Probably even his stream of urine is smug somehow.

Though for those of you quivering in Antici-Pation about what comes next, I'll provide a brief spoiler as to what you have to look forward to: apparently Rayford Steele is so dumb that you could write "Free Candy" on the side of your windowless van and he'd fall for it for all eternity, not just when he's a kid. He would die if you put scratch 'n' sniff stickers at the bottom of a swimming pool, whether it had water or not. He would sell both his kidneys on the Internet and be proud of the deal he just made. And he does all this without saying, "Hold my beer," to someone first.

*I've been wondering if there isn't some kind of curse on the Fantastic Four franchise, making it impossible to make a good movie out of those characters. Because when the shitty unreleased Roger Cormon version is considered to be the best film adaptation, you know a franchise has problems. I'd wonder if it's the Angry Spirit of Jack Kirby interfering, but they've managed to make good film adaptations of some of his other characters :cough: Captain America :cough: so maybe it's not that.

Though even if Jack Kirby had gotten all the credit/royalties due to him, I can't help but think that his spirit will still be angry. I'm totally on Team Give Jack Kirby Like All The Royalties! because nearly every character in Marvel's stable who wound up being worth a damn, was created at the hands of Jack Kirby. Jack Kirby was so damn influential in the comic world that the comic book era should be divided up into BK and AK or Before Kirby and After Kirby.

Guy was such a character-creating, artistic machine that I've wondered if he wasn't some kind of alien android or something sent to Earth to show what our world could be like, if we embraced Kirby and his ideals. But instead, we screwed him over, so the aliens are like, "Nope. We were going to give you cars that get hundreds of miles to the gallon, intergalactic spaceships capable of reaching the farthest limits of space within hours, robots that can pass the Turing Test, AND a cure for all forms of cancer, but clearly you're not worth of it. Enjoy your world of shitty reality TV shows and wars created as paybacks for problems that resulted from previous wars. Because throwing matches on a regional powderkeg will totally work this time!"

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Kenny's Gonna Go Out, He's Gonna Let Himself Get, Absolutely Soaking Wet!

Hello and happy Sunday everybody! I haven't gotten around to my annual viewing of The Last Temptation of Christ, but I will eventually. Again, the RTCs who got up in arms when that movie came out, clearly didn't see it, because Scorsese's film is a deeply reverent story. It has great respect for who Christ was and what he represented, and it may be the only movie Jesus, who didn't seem about as lively or charismatic as cardboard. Willem Dafoe is probably entirely too Aryan to play a Middle-Eastern Jew, but you understand why people would want to follow his Jesus. Too often, media adaptations of Jesus have him as lively as cold gravy, woodenly reciting lines copied and pasted from the Bible.

Okay, now that I've sung the praises of some good art, now I'll talk about some bad. And yes, for all those wondering, I did interpret the first few lines of this chapter in a dirty way. I thought by now you knew I was a dirty-minded perv who loves adding more Yaoi to the LB-verse!

CAMERON WILLIAMS sat steely eyed and somber in Kenny’s living room as Chloe wept. He didn’t know what to think.

I freely admit I may be reaching here, but c'mon! I can't be the only one thinking that all these tears and strum und drang is because Kenny had just come out as Gay. At least that's my head canon, because again, I love adding Yaoi to the LB-verse. Though it's entirely too easy to add Yaoi to the LB-verse. No matter what they may say, Rayford and Cam-Cam show considerably more chemistry with each other than they ever do with their designated love interests. As said before and will be said again, writers of Christian Fiction™ are the best creators of unintentional Ho Yay around.

Okay, the next few lines means the Kenny's "I'm Gay" scene exists only in my head, but there's a reason they call it head canon. Hence all the stuff about the League of Awesome.

His son was denying everything, which he would do whether innocent or guilty. Admittedly, the document that Qasim Marid claimed he had retrieved off Ignace Jospin’s desk in Paris had so many glaring incriminations in it that it could easily have been a setup. But who would do such a thing, and who would know enough details to pull it off?

Between this paragraph and subsequent ones, where Kenny is "That's not true!" and Chloe's like "I'm all weak and womanly, but I believe him" then Cam-Cam says, "Of course you do, and I want to, too,” I'm forced to have sympathy for Kenny simply because of how quickly his friends and family are to immediately believe the worst about him. I know said sympathy will last about as long as a drop of rain in the Mojave desert, but still.

For the record, my exaggeration of Chloe's line, is barely an exaggeration at all.

Heck, even Kenny calls Cam-Cam out on all this.

“You want to, Dad? My word is not good enough for you? You always taught me to live in such a way that if someone brought a charge against me, no one would believe it. What have I done, how have I lived, that makes no one but my mother believe me?”

It is admittedly a satisfying line, but you know Kenny's going to face consequences for this, as he just questioned the word of Cam-Cam, aka his father, aka one of the most powerful beings around which this universe revolves.

Because seriously, Cam-Cam, can you point to anything that might raise questions about your son's faith? Did you find some dirty magazines of girls without clothes on, hidden underneath his mattress? Or worse, dirty magazines of boys without clothes on? Did you find some bottles that prove Kenny's been drinking something much stronger than grape juice? Did you find copies of Richard Dawkins's oeuvre, Christopher Hitchens' oeuvre, The Origin of Species, along with fiction that acknowledges the very real suffering that comes with being alive, stories where sometimes people do bad things not just because they're Baddy McEvilpants, but because humans are flawed creatures who do not always behave well under times of physical or emotional stress or both? Or did you find a box of condoms and proof that Kenny has committed the greatest sin of all, having sex with a willing participant and :gasp: Enjoying it, even though wearing a rubber greatly reduces the likelihood of children being produced from the sinful act of coitus.

Even Chloe, the perfect Stepford Wife, is like, "What the hell, Buck?!" But fear not, Cam-Cam continues to be an asshole.

Cameron sighed. “Maybe I know something you don’t, Chloe.”

“Oh, great!” Kenny said. “There’s more?”

“I got an anguished call from Abdullah this afternoon. He saw you at TOL headquarters in Amman today, Kenny.”

I suppose Cam-Cam had to step up to the plate. His son is being all willful, trying to defend himself against unjust charges, rather than just meekly apologize to Daddy, even though he hasn't done anything. And Chloe is forgetting her job is to be an obedient Stepford Wife and a convenient beard, by defending Kenny. But Chloe's judgment is probably considered suspect, what with those pairs of X chromosomes warping his brain.

Kenny is like, "Hello! I was infiltrating!"

But Cam-Cam points out that a nameless techie (your call whether it's Chang Wong or Donny Moore) discovered that the eeeevil email from the previous chapter, was sent from Kenny's computer, thus proving that Kenny is even more eeeevil that Adolf Q. Stalin-Pot. Whether he out-evils the Greatest Eeeevil of all in Kingdom Come, aka Qasim, remains to be seen.

Kenny continues to have my sympathy, by defending himself and pointing out quite obviously that "You know we don't keep our doors locked around here." Also, again, this is a computer, not Fort Freakin' Knox they're talking about. I doubt Kenny has even the most basic of protections on his computer, like a password or a PIN that has to be entered. If he does, they're probably idiot ones like "password" or "1234."

Kenny is all, "Is this a case I can take before a judge?" I, like everyone else, is like, "This could be solved in all of five seconds!" All Kenny has to do, is something like this.

Kenny: Hey God or Jesus, am I a traitor?

God or Jesus: No!

Kenny: [turns around] See, I told you.

Most Idiot Plots could be solved in five minutes by having the characters talk to each other. Given how very little time it would take to solve this one, Idiot Plot feels entirely too meager a descriptor. We may have to invent an entirely new word in order to fully capture the overwhelming amount of Stupid.

Chloe and Cam-Cam tell Kenny that they are putting him on a suspension until all this is worked out. Kenny continues to defend himself and :gasp: Have a Point!

They sat in silence a long time. Finally Kenny spoke. “It seems that with all the people you know, all the people you’ve worked with, we have access to spiritual power few others have. If everybody who’s worked with you and believed in you and supported you in the past would cooperate in prayer, I don’t believe Jesus would let this injustice stand. Do you?”

Cameron and Chloe looked at each other. Then Cameron addressed his son. “They would all have to know everything, Kenny. They would have to see all the evidence.”

"Which neither would have any problem doing, since they are Omniscient beings capable of seeing everything that goes on in the world."

That's what my version of Kenny says anyway. Of course, my version of Kenny by now would have just given his parents the finger and left to meet up with his boyfriend, Carl, to go watch Black Sabbath perform.

Before anyone says anything, I'm terminally unhip, so I don't know what rock band the RTCs are all up in arms about. When I was in high school, it was Marilyn Manson and Eminem who were warping and corrupting the youth of today, turning us all into sociopathic mass murderers. But I don't know who it is now. So I chose Black Sabbath, because of how they made so many RTCs lose their collective shit over them. Since this is Heaven, they are all aged down, so Ozzy is still the Prince of Darkness, rather than some barely coherent former reality TV star.

Oh fine, because I'm endlessly self-referential, he's actually going to see Z-Van. Haven't worked out how Z-Van escaped being punted into Hell, but I don't really care, so long as everyone remembers that he looks like Madonna Dahmer. I respect everyone's right to choose their own head canon, except where that's concerned

As for the name of Kenny's boyfriend? Just gave him the first guy name that came into my head. I thought about pairing him with Qasim, but given how shitty Kenny and everyone else has been towards him, Qasim could do so much better. Then again, maybe some of this stems from the deep loathing Kenny has towards his own sexuality. Once he gets away from Cam-Cam and Chloe, gets some decent counseling, he'll come to terms with his homosexuality. Then he'll seek out Qasim to apologize and...

Oh fine, I'll stop with the Yaoi head canons. At least for now, anyway.

Kenny ends his conversation by saying this.

“Dad, I’ve got nothing to hide. What have I got to lose? I believe Jesus is here and on His throne and that lies will be exposed. I’m open to anything.”

:shakes head: As said before, all Kenny has to do is shout, "Hey God, are any of those rumors about me true? And by rumors, I'm not referring to the ones about my love for Liza Minnelli, leather, and musical theatre."

Then God would shout, "No!"

And Kenny would turn around and be like, "See?"

Then God would say, "But you do look damn good in leather, though."

Yep, my vow to stop with all the Yaoi head canons didn't even last the section. I should probably be ashamed of myself, but I'm not. I just hope I'm not stoned to death by the QUILTBAG crowd for all the stereotyping/cheap jokes. Though at least if I am, I should take comfort in knowing that they will be some fa-abulous-looking stones.

Kenny goes back to his room and writes two emails, one to the other Millies and one for Kat. Then, and I kid you not, Ellanjay basically copy-and-paste 1 Corinthians 13, aka the love chapter, aka probably the best part of Paul's writings, the one where he comes the closest to conveying the life-changing magic and love of Christ. They somehow got paid for doing this, even though your average drug dealer demonstrates better work ethic. Yet for some reason, the drug dealer is the one who goes to prison. A massive Bible quote won't make your writing seem even more deep by comparison!

:runs outside to scream for a while:

Well, now that's done, let's see what else we have to deal with. Well, there really isn't much more. There are a few bits and pieces with Abdullah and I have a feeling we'll eventually revisit his Asshole-for-Christ campaign. Other than that, there is a short section with Kenny, where I make juvenile jokes until he gets to the part where he compares himself to Jesus, then I'm like "Seriously?!" As a fun activity, I'll provide the paragraph in question. Think of it as being like one of those paper placemats some restaurants have to entertain the kids, while they wait for their food, only instead of a wordsearch or a maze, this one is called "Mark the spots where Mouse made juvenile remarks and snickered like Beavis & Butthead."

Though I am not kidding about how Kenny-boy compares himself to Jesus.

Kenny arose not refreshed but with an interesting new outlook. It was as if the Lord had spoken to his heart even as he slept. It was the strangest feeling— something that those like him were unlikely to grasp without an ordeal such as the one he was enduring. He was getting a taste— albeit a very small and entirely less violent one— of what it must have been like for Jesus to be betrayed and abandoned by His friends. Of course, Jesus was mocked and spit upon and struck, had a crown of thorns thrust into His scalp, had His side riven by a sword, and was eventually put to death.

Well, I'm going wind up in Hell. Do I at least get to trick out the handbasket I'll be traveling in? I've thought about putting flame decals on mine as a joke, but it may be one of those things that's so on the nose, it'll make the demons poke me harder with their pitchforks.

If you're wondering, the original title I had in mind for this post was "RTC-Man Has A Point" in reference to all my usages of "Strawman Has A Point." But then I kept making all those Gay jokes and well, :points at post title: that's where I wound up. So I'll give my readers an informal poll. You can say it's another activity for Mouse's Fun Activity Book for Dirty-Minded Pervs and Already-Corrupted Youths.

Question is, should I have gone with the original post title instead of diving headfirst into Gay jokes? One last one for the road from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Fractally Wrong... So Very Fractally Wrong

Well, it's Sunday and I'm all out of bubblegum, so let's kick some ass.

Oh and Melvina? Last week you asked if this was going to be an Idiot Plot where everything could be resolved if the characters would JUST FUCKING TALK TO EACH OTHER! Congratulations, you're right. Feel free to collect your No-Prize at the door, but if you're not interested, it can be redeemed for No-Money! It really is nothing but that. This book is the equivalent of someone writing 300 pages about how someone :gasp: stuck File B in the slot for File C. There is seriously nothing going on! I referred to a previous chapter as the Millard Fillmore of chapters, but I'm just going to have to cut to the chase and say this book is just the Millard Fillmore of books in that not only is it bad, it's not even bad in a way that is memorable or interesting. Like Millard Fillmore, it's so punishingly dull that it makes you hate it even more than you think it is possible to hate it!

All right, I'll stop ranting about our 13th President. Don't know if anyone even knows or cares about the guy anyway. Let's just say between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, there were a lot of low cards in the presidency, with the possible exception of James K. Polk.

I'm well aware that many consider Andrew Jackson himself to be a low card and he does deserve to be forever shamed for the Indian Removal Act, but I'm hesitant to say too much. By all accounts, Andrew Jackson is probably the most terrifying man ever elected to the presidency. He's been in 13 duels that we know of, but suspected of having done a whole lot more, and well, when an assassin made an attempt on his life, it was the rare case where they had to save the assassin from the president, rather than the other way around. I highly suspect the reason the US Mint dragged their feet regarding the twenty, was that they were terrified as to what his angry, vengeful ghost would do to them. After all, he was plenty terrifying when he was of flesh and blood and capable of being killed. Though when he got to the White House, he did celebrate by kicking off a massive kegger and inviting everybody, rich or poor, politician or outsider, to come. And apparently people really liked massive wheels of cheese back then.

Oh fine, I'll stop talking about US presidents. For those of you wondering, I learned so much about the combat/fighting skills of dead presidents from this book. It's a bit depressing to say that the only ones I stand a chance against, are ones widely considered to be the worst.*

I don't really feel sorry for Kenny-boy, but given how quickly his friends and family are willing to assume the worst about him and how they do so without any hesitation...okay, I'll be honest: I do feel maybe a, uh what's the smallest measurement of weight in existence? Because that's how sorry I feel for Kenny.

Kenny's going home with a skip and a hop, probably thinking about how he's finally going to get laid, but to his surprise, Kat isn't around and her parents seem kind of cheesed off at him.

Imagine his surprise when her parents greeted him with less than enthusiasm. They appeared grim, preoccupied. Kenny remained upbeat, exulting over the change in his schedule that allowed this. “Is something wrong?”

“Well, we don’t know,” Mrs. Risto said. “Ekaterina sounded rather upset, said Mr. Steele had called an emergency meeting of some little group of yours and asked her to be there.”

Kenny almost blurted the name of the Millennium Force, but he was surprised enough that Raymie would have invited Ekaterina. What in the world was up, and why hadn’t he heard directly from Raymie? Raymie knew that Kat knew about the Force, because Kenny had told him himself.

Of course, Kenny would remain upbeat. Like any good LB protagonist, he only cares about the feelings of others if their feelings inconvenience his.

Though this whole bit about the secrecy of the Millies...I can understand why they would keep it from the TOL, but why do they have to keep it from the Millies? It's probably just Alpha-Male posturing. If others knew about their Sooper Sekrit He-Man Woman-Haters Club, they would want to join and it would no longer be all secret and special. Okay, y'all know my love of creating head canons, so any of you want to help me out, come up with something similar to the earlier LB books, where we had Loretta the Off-Screen Badass?

Again, theory is that Loretta has organized the rest of the congregation to get stuff done, but keeps the Tribbles out of the loop, because they would only slow her down. She let's them hang out and posture about how they are the Tribulation Force, because Rayford and Buck need to feel like the biggest, most important people around, while she and the rest of the congregation are getting stuff done. Oh and that earthquake? She and Verna took advantage of it to fake their deaths and get away, so they can get even more stuff done. #League of Awesome headcanon.

But given that the Tribbles were supposed to be rebels and do come closer to matching the definition of a resistance group than the Millies, who are again, God's Brownshirts, it's probably not going to work.

I am really fighting the urge to post this entire chapter, because it is so chockfull of stupid that there will never be enough time for me to take apart everything. Ellanjay are wrong at the fractal level. In fact, Ellanjay are a Fractal Wrongness Hydra where if you cut off one head, two more equally fractal wrongness heads only spring up to take its place. I am trying to hold back though, because my snarks get hella long as is.

I may decide to, a few times, just post quotes with little, if any, commentary, because Fractal Wrongness has a tendency to be paralyzing. I'd say it's like a Zen Koan in that it robs the mind of conscious thought, but Zen Koans help you to find the way to enlightenment. The same most definitely cannot be said about Fractal Wrongness, where trying to take it on, only leaves you stupider than when you started. Again, not really much you can do about the Willfully Ignorant. Until something shatters the Ignorance Dome that surrounds them, they aren't going to change. Maybe you'll be the one who shatters it, but odds are you won't. So try not to waste too much time on them, says the snarker who gets into long-drawn out debates on the Internet. Ugh...me telling people to stop debating idiots is like Boris Yeltsin saying "You know you should really cut back on all the drinking. I think you have a problem."

So anyway, first of Fractal Wrongness Quotes. If any of you want to comment and try to take them on, feel free:

The Ristos shook their heads. “We don’t appreciate this, you know,” Ekaterina’s father said. “This whole period is supposed to be a time of peace and tranquility. I don’t know what this little group is all about, but it can’t be positive if it has to have emergency meetings that its members— specifically you— know nothing about, and that an outsider— specifically Kat— is asked to attend, and which upset her so. She’s enough on edge because you were gone. Now what is all this?”

Kenny-boy tries calling everybody, but doesn't have any luck until he reaches his mom. I must warn all my readers to brace themselves for the shock of the impact to follow.

“Oh, Kenny! Where are you?”

He told her. “What’s going on, Mom?”

“I wish I knew. It’s like our office has been vandalized.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, those silly things like the phony personnel report on Kat and the ridiculous note about you could have come from anywhere within the interoffice mail system. But someone walked off with our employee list, and now we’ve gotten another crazy report.”

So the list Kenny had seen in Paris had not been the result of a computer hacking; someone had provided the actual printout. He didn’t even want his mother to know that yet.

Oh, there is just so much stupid...I freely admit that I do not know anything about hacking. The extent of my computer problem-solving abilities is 90% Turn It On-Turn It Off and 10% Panic When That Doesn't Work and Start Wondering What Sacrifices I Need to Make to Appease the Angry Internet Spirits.

But I'm fairly certain if the TOL got the list via hacking, it is much more worrisome. Hacking means they have access to your computer and can gather information about your search history, your passwords, etc. For the record, it's very difficult to destroy a hard drive so badly that law enforcement can't get some information out of it. And you know the RTCs would have all kinds of disturbing stuff in their search histories. Remember, like I said before, it's always Sex that dethrones someone on the Christian Right. The TOL could probably do some real damage simply by printing up search histories along with names and addresses. I'll let you speculate on how disturbing the porn in their histories is.

Because even if that directory is the only one in existence, about the only way to keep anyone from getting access to it, is for it to basically be like the Nuclear Football and be forever kept cuffed to Chloe's wrist. Because you guys have an insane amount of kids and people going in and out of that building and you mean to tell me that no one gets curious, picks it up, and is like "Oh what is this?" I suppose I could do my rant about how the COT daycare is probably more poorly-run than a Communist Romanian Orphanage, leaving no one capable of keeping any eye on the kids, but I'll spare you.

Or here's the obvious: maybe when Biblical Character X is wowing everyone with his copy-and-paste, a TOL slipped inside the office and took it. Or better yet, they could basically be Robert Hanssen, take the directory, make a bunch of photocopies on the Xerox (don't tell me Ellanjay would have the characters use something more modern), leave the original behind, and walk out with the copies. Ellanjay really need a five-year-old advisor to help them.

Also chances are the employees have their own versions of said documents and while maybe they're all loyal RTCs (with the exception of Qasim, the greatest eeeevil the MK has ever known), couldn't they leave it lying around and somebody grabs it when they're not looking or a TOL goes into the house either by breaking and entering or via deception (false repairman, etc.)

Though maybe this all-important directory is written in code making it so that it cannot be read without the special ring or...I'm not buying it. Especially since Ellanjay's idea of an unbreakable code would be something along the lines of Loe-Chay Eele-Stay Ife-Way of Uck-Bay Illiams-Way

Chloe talks about how she has received another report and how it is so upsetting that her delicate heart can barely take it and she apparently can't talk about it over the phone, it's that bad.

Kenny tries to get her to talk about it, but fails. He leaves his stuff in his room, when he notices something truly unspeakable.

Kenny dropped his stuff in his room and noticed something strange. The chair before his computer was out, away from the desk. He tended to be fastidious about stuff like that. He always pushed the chair back in and left the mouse in the same position. It looked skewed too.

Great; now I’m imagining things.


Seeing as I am anal-retentive on a level that can only be accurately described with "As Hell" attached to the end, I suppose I probably shouldn't judge. But I think I will anyway. Because unless Kenny-boy basically possesses Rain Man-like level recall...okay, I'm just going to call BS. Since Kenny-Boy is as inobservant as any good RTC, I don't think he would notice if his computer chair had turned into boa constrictor and started strangling him, never mind someone leaving it in a different place. Though it does amuse me a little, imagining Kenny as Charles F. Urschel. I'm with Cracked: the F in that guy's name clearly stands for "Fuck Anyone Who Tries to Kidnap Me!"

Kenny tries calling everyone, but to his surprise...I'll just post the damn quote.

He tried calling everybody again. What were the odds they had all turned their phones off without it being on purpose? They didn’t want to hear from him! Why? They couldn’t have known he was going to be home earlier, or he would have been invited to the meeting. Wouldn’t he?

I've said it before and I certainly will say it again that Rayford and Buck are the single-most powerful, important entities in the LB-verse, outranking even Zod and TurboJesus. There is ample proof to back that statement.

Thing is, we haven't actually seen much of Buck or Rayford in this book. Yeah, we've gotten some cameos here and there, but most of the time, if Kenny-Boy isn't the POV character, Creepy Raymie is. So this makes me wonder if I need to rethink the great chain of being in the LB-verse. Do Rayford and Buck lose their standing once TurboJesus kills everyone? Though it could be since Kenny-boy has the blood of both Buck and Rayford flowing through his veins that makes him a veritable LB-verse Voltron, where the combo makes him even more powerful than Rayford and Buck are individually. The only hope Buck and Rayford have of overpowering Kenny's influence is if they, Chloe, and Token Jew, let their powers combine.

I should apologize for the 90s earworm you'll have until you die, but I don't think I will.

Kenny finally finds the Millies.

Kenny arrived to find them in the back room with, of all people, Qasim Marid. In an instant, Kenny knew something was terribly wrong. Raymie was pale and appeared grim. Zaki looked shell-shocked, as did Bahira. Qasim appeared stunned to see Kenny, but of course Kenny was most curious about Ekaterina. Her face was red, her eyes puffy. As soon as she saw him, she gathered up a sheaf of papers that appeared to be the same as everyone else’s and bolted from the restaurant.

Wait, I thought Qasim had been kicked out of your Sooper Sekrit Club for the crime of liking a girl Kenny was interested in (though he never gave any indication to her or Qasim), reacting in an immature manner when said girl dumped him for no real reason, and trying to help the cause however he can, including :gasp: trying to recruit others he felt might be able to help them.

In fact, merely by running Qasim's name through the search bar on my own blog, here's some quotes that were in the actual book, which I used in my snark.

Here's one from Creepy Raymie:

“Kenny, please. I’ve got half a mind to disband the whole thing. It’s getting out of control. Qasim is not even part of us, and I couldn’t have made that any clearer, yet here he is telling the Jospins that you’re some double agent, then telling a virtual stranger— at least to him— all about us and not even getting it right.”

And the other member of his Mutual Admiration Relationship, Bahira.

“Well,” she said, “frankly I think dealing with Qasim is overdue. Not that Raymie didn’t try to stifle Qasim long ago. This is Zaki’s creation, a fiasco he could have fixed early. So do you get the impression that Qasim finally understands he’s not associated with us in any way?”

Quotes were taken from this post.

And here are two more quotes from another snark, both by Creepy Raymie:

Raymie, whom Kenny had always found both wise and decisive, did not disappoint. “I don’t know what Qasim is telling anyone else, but I have totally distanced myself and the Millennium Force from him. I told him he has no standing with us, and that regardless what he chooses to do in relation to the Other Light, we don’t want so much as a report from him, not even a secondhand report through Zaki.”

“Of course not. He was angry, which showed me his true colors. And Zaki is not happy either. I had to tell him that he would be next if he couldn’t see the wisdom of our totally parting ways with Qasim. I feared offending Bahira if I did that, but she has never trusted Qasim, and I suppose you know we have a sort of mutual admiration society.”

For those of you wondering, those quotes were from this post and both the posts mentioned, were on the first page of the search results so in short...I'm totally Bill Paxton in Aliens right now.

Kat is all "I don't want to see you again, Kenny!" and Kenny is like "Why? What's going on?" and Bahira is like "You've been found out."

Creepy Raymie is like "We've got the printout of an email you sent." And since, like I said, even though they are his friends and family, they have no problem instantly believing the absolute worst about Kenny, though he has been nothing but a good RTC. As for that email, consider it another Fractal Wrongness Quote dump. Even Snidely Whiplash is saying, "Aren't you being a little too over-the-top in terms of cartoonish villainy?"

To: Ignace Jospin, Executive Director

The Other Light International

Paris, France

From: Operative 88288, Kenneth Bruce Williams

Israel

Re: Progress

First, Ignace, it was great to reunite with you and your brother despite the sad occasion of your cousin’s death. It had been too long, and communicating like this is never as good as in person, especially when we share such a bond.

I very much look forward to seeing you and Lothair in Paris and thank you in advance for making available to me the lovely Nicolette again. The nights can otherwise be lonely in a strange city, even one as beautiful as your capital.

You’ll be pleased to know that my parents remain wholly in the dark. It’s nice that they are so naïve. I don’t doubt their sincerity, but the blind devotion believing parents have in their offspring makes duping them so easy. My dull-witted mother remains convinced that I share her beliefs and points to the night she claims to have “led” me to Jesus. Well, Mom, you have to mean it if you pray that prayer.

I trust you got the personnel printout. My mother is making noises about putting locks on the doors; my access to her office won’t cross her mind this Millennium.

My uncle Raymie suspects nothing. I’m sure he was brought in on the Risto personnel matter, plus the later defaming note about yours truly. Imagine if they even dreamed I planted both those myself.

Rest assured your fears over the new girlfriend are unfounded. She’s no Nicolette, but she’s cute enough and more naïve than my mother. Her parents are homely, swarthy little people who worship the ground I walk on. Her father was apparently a spectacularly unremarkable tradesman, and her mother is basically a nondescript homebody. They will not be an issue. I may even go through with marrying this girl, which will only make my work for you at COT that much easier. She is in another department, which merely broadens my reach.

I’ll provide a virtual core dump of other vital information when I arrive. Keep Nicolette warm until I get there. I’ll see you soon.

Loyal to the Other Light forever,

KBW


You know that 80s Anti-Drug PSA? That's basically my brain right now. There is just so much wrong that I'm fighting the urge to go fetal. Though you know the parts that the Millies object to most, probably isn't the treason, but all this stuff suggesting that Kenny-boy may be enjoying S-E-X with an attractive, willing female partner. The only way it could be worse is if it was an attractive, willing MALE partner. Though given the last line of the first paragraph where it says Kenny, Ignace, and Lothair share such a bond...I'll let my loyal readership of dirty-minded pervs go from there. Rest assured, I am not judging any of you; If you've read most of my other posts, you'd know I am in no position to judge any of you.

Of course, rather than use some basic intelligence to point out the obvious BS, Kenny does this:

Kenny was nauseated. Where did one begin to try to defend himself against such a detailed, devastating document? He scooped up the pages and stood, woozy and feeling utterly alone. His parents would visit that evening. That loomed as an oasis. Surely they wouldn’t believe a word of this.

But who wrote this, and where did they get their information? The nuances, the detail, made it so much worse. And yet it was so dead-on that Kenny was surprised someone didn’t see through it. What were the odds that almost every line would incriminate him?

Naturally Kenny had never faced a crisis like this, but in the past when he had what now appeared minor, petty issues, he’d turned first to his mother, then maybe to Raymie or his dad. Who could he turn to now? For all they knew, he was what the document purported: a turncoat. Hardly anyone had been spared.

And like the brave persecuted pastor of that great RTC film, Persecuted, Kenny doesn't bother to do the basic act of defending himself, instead opting to slink away without a word, because that, in no way, will make him seem even more guilty.

As he's slinking away, being all glum, that Nicolette, aka Hattie Durham II, shows up.

And what was that vehicle that had crossed at the corner ahead of him? It looked like the van that had delivered him back to Israel. When it stopped, turned around, and came toward him, he stopped and stared. The window was lowered and Nicolette leaned out.

Kenny wanted to run, to warn her to stay away from him, but he couldn’t jeopardize his cover with TOL, regardless of whether they were behind trying to ruin him.

She jumped out and approached. “We missed our turn,” she said. “Ignace wants to fly out of Tel Aviv.”

“Back the way you came,” Kenny said, still reeling and desperate to cover. “That’ll take you to the main route toward Tel Aviv and the airport.”

“You’re a peach,” Nicolette said, leaning close to kiss him on the cheek.

“Yeah, yeah, see ya,” Kenny said, only realizing as she pulled away from him that Lothair had been hanging out the window and had shot a picture of the kiss.

Since any brain-damaged five-year-old can see what's coming next, I'll let you all speculate on what Kenny is doing to punish himself for his sinful thoughts. Sex is the greatest sin of all, remember. I suppose you could make the classic cold shower joke, but given how disturbing the RTC subculture is, I'll assume ritual flogging is in order, though probably all that would do, is cause him to develop a weird association regarding sex and pain and...you know, what I'm done. I'm going to go take several, several showers now.

*Don't bring up FDR. I've put him in a special class, because no matter how that fight with him goes, I don't come out looking good. If I win, I beat up a man in a wheelchair with polio and people are like, "I hope you're proud of yourself, you monster!" If I lose, I get to go to the Pearly Gates and explain to Saint Peter how I got pwned by a polio-stricken man in a wheelchair.

I suppose you could say similar things regarding Woodrow Wilson, because he was so debilitated by health problems that by his second term, his wife, Edith, was pretty much running the country, making historians wonder if she should be considered the first female president, because she was president in all but name. But Woodrow Wilson was really racist, like even more so than some of our actual slave-owning presidents, so maybe I can pound on him with less guilt.

But FDR was one of the best presidents this country ever had, so I don't know how to justify whaling on him. Yeah, he did the Japanese Internment thing and he deserves to be shamed, but he did a whole lot of good. His establishment of Welfare and Social Security and the positive effects both continue to have on society, probably cancels out a lot.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Laziness of Evil

Sorry guys. All I can say was that life was kicking my ass, enough that I wished I could start kicking back. Anyway, I'm here now. If it's any consolation, I'm giving you guys a two chapter snark.

You'll be happy to know that Ellanjay begin this chapter with such a massive error right out the front gate so bad that I'm like, "Okay, I know Ellanjay believe that editing your work is for hacks, but do they also feel that reading what you typed before is as well?" Because the error in question isn't a "he said the healing herbs were pink, but now he says they're blue" error; this is a gaping abyss from which no one is sure where the bottom is and no life can escape its pull.

But for you all to understand what I'm ranting and raving about, I need to refer to a passage from the previous chapter. I admit that I left it out of the snark, because there was just so much else that needed to be talked about, filing it away in the back of my head so I may use it as needed. Well, now it's needed.

Anyway, here's Kat and Kenny talking about King David's upcoming visit:

“Oh, and Kenny? This visit from David is different from all the others. We’re not to tell anyone.”

“You weren’t even supposed to tell me?”

“Well, you’re on staff. But no kids, no parents, no friends. We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. That priest friend of your father’s supposedly told him that if even one outsider shows up, the visit is off.”

Okay, so that is what last week said about David's visit. But here's how the next chapter begins.

WHEN DAVID, the king of Jerusalem and Jesus’ prince, strode onto COT property, Cameron buzzed Chloe and they rolled into action. Word spread quickly throughout the staff that it was time to round up all the kids and get them in place.

...

..

Yeah, I know everything related to Ellanjay and to Donald Trump and to the modern GOP in general, can all be summed up as They Just Do Not Care!, but merely saying that is not enough to illustrate how deeply They Do Not Care! For all Ellanjay's talk about how they wanted to reach people for Christ via the Left Behind books, stuff like this makes it abundantly clear that this series is their equivalent of the Spanish Requirement. According to their rules, if they didn't make some token efforts to rack up converts, they would burn in hell along with the heathens. But if they make an effort to convert and the heathen just laughs and walks away, the heathen will burn in hell, but Ellanjay are off the hook because they gave those horrible brutes a chance to save themselves, but they didn't take it. Like our dear Fred Clark has said before, Ellanjay are Jonah, grudgingly preaching the gospel so God will let them off the hook and they can enjoy the firework show when He punts the heathens into Hell.

And I know some of you keep trying to convince me that Jerry Jenkins is playing the part of a Stephen Colbert-esque Poe, writing Bible-based fanfiction on behalf of Tim LaHaye, but lacing said fanfiction with subtle jabs at the entire effed up belief system, but I don't think that's very likely. Occam's Razor says that the simplest explanation is often the correct one and in this case, the simplest explanation is They Just Do Not Care! You have to remember that this is the RTC subculture we're talking about, a subculture that generally isn't known for possessing much by way of self-awareness or critical thinking; in fact, those traits are generally frowned upon. Yet both traits are needed in order to be a good satirist or parodist. So while I can believe that Jerry Jenkins is unintentionally undermining his own case due to deficits in aforementioned traits, I have a difficult time believing that any of this is intentional.

Because again, They Just Do Not Care! As far as Ellanjay are concerned, they've done their part, said The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded, and they read the requirement to those brutes. Following the dictates of their toxic belief system, they are off the hook. Whatever happens next, doesn't matter. They'll get bamfed into Heaven and they'll get front row seats to point and laugh at the heathens as they burn. Hence why They Do Not Care! They value saving their own skins above anything else. Once that has been done, they no longer have any reason to care.

The same expression easily applies to Donald Trump. Several people have said that there is no deeper meaning to Donald Trump, that there is absolutely nothing below the surface when it comes to him. Based on what I've seen, I don't have any trouble believing it. Donald Trump exists solely to make money and line his own pockets; he has no other deeper desires or hopes and dreams or anything like that. To the extent he cares about his wives and children, it's only as to how they reflect on him. He'd have no problem jettisoning them to save his own skin, because again, Donald Trump only loves and cares about Donald Trump. If he runs this country into the ground, he'll likely escape like all the other times he has before, flee to another country with his ill-gotten gains and start another con, while everyone else is left behind to clean up his mess. It's what he's been doing his entire life.

And of course, said expression applies to the GOP as well. Regardless of whatever misgivings they may feel about Trump, the GOP sold their souls for money and power decades ago and really don't care. They've decided they like power and the money it brings, so they'll happily put aside whatever scruples, if any, they may have to gain access to Donald Trump and stay in power. And again, like Trump, they know deep down that if things go south, there is a way out for them. Money buys many things, including escape hatches.

I know, I know, I'm getting all political, but again, I honestly think that "They Just Do Not Care!" is the simplest and best reason for the Christian Right and the modern GOP in general. No matter what happens, things will work out for them, so why should they care? People keep trying desperately to find a deeper motivation for both groups. I understand why. Our entertainment is made up mostly of Grand Guignol Machiavellian Genius Villains, so we try to apply said standards to real-world villains. We want badly to believe that we are a meritocracy and only the cream rises to the top, no matter how many times that's proven wrong. We want to believe that the system is foolproof and impossible to beat and if someone managed to pull it off, they are a supergenius the likes of which the world has never seen before, not overgrown toddlers whose main tactics are kicking and screaming until they get what they want.

:sighs: Like I tell people, Reality is the most poorly written form of entertainment ever, paying no heed to basic rules of plotting and characterization. About the only form of fiction that adequately comes close to depicting Reality are those shitty Choose-Your-Own Adventure books: important plot points come way the heck out of nowhere, nothing is resolved in a satisfying fashion, and no matter what you choose, you're screwed in the end.

Fine, I'll get back to work. :puts away soapbox:

As you probably guessed, David's bit is just him walking through the time he fought Goliath, with the kids oohing and awing at various intervals. For my own benefit, I'll assume that the TOL has spirited away all the real children and replaced them with mannequins that have tape-recorders attached to them. Though they could just be cardboard cutouts with tape-recorders attached to them. They did all this to save the kids from becoming the RTC version of Hitler's Youth, plus, like I keep saying, do you really think that the Millies would be able to tell the difference. They've proven again and again that awareness is something they generally suck at.

There really isn't a lot to take apart though I did snicker at David calling Jonathan his best friend. :cue Beavis and Butthead laughter:

Okay, I know someone out there is going to protest, say I am reading entirely too much into things and that I should consider the societal mores of the time, but c'mon, in the very least, David and Jonathan had an epic bromance going.

I'll cite the beginning of 1 Samuel 18 and move on.

18 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

I will also cite 2 Samuel Chapter One, the ending verses, David's lament after hearing of Jonathan's death.

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.


27 “How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”

David neatly sidesteps the whole affair regarding Bathsheba, y'know, where he slept with a married woman, impregnated her, then sent her husband off to die in order to cover the whole thing up. Also doesn't mention the whole bit with Absalom. You really wish there was a Smart Aleck Sunday School kid there to be like, "Okay, what does it say about you as a parent when one of your sons raped his half sister and was, in turn, killed by her brother?" It always seemed messed up how Absalom wound up being cast as the villain in all this and not, say, Amnon aka the guy who raped Absalom's sister. WTF, David?!

David talks about how God promised his throne would be established forever and I'm like, "Until everything falls apart with Josiah." Though Ellanjay are probably playing on the whole "Jesus is a descendant of David" bit. Though given that David had many many wives and God-Only-Knows how many concubines, it seems very unlikely that he would produce only one direct descendant and Jesus would be the only one who could be traced to his line. Heck, I did just mention the whole mess with Absalom, aka proof that David didn't just sire Solomon.

The chapter ends with David disappearing after leading the children in The Prayer. Since my ravings and rantings were longer than the actual chapter, I'll throw in a second one.

Kenny is, as you guessed, still being all Secret Agent Man, doing clandestine work like visiting major Parisian landmarks that had been rebuilt after the Glorious Appearing. Though said landmarks aren't :gasp: quite as beautiful as the originals.

On the other hand, despite the anxiety over working undercover, Kenny had found Paris interesting. None of the historical landmarks remained, of course, but attempts had been made to reproduce some of the more familiar— like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and even some of the great cathedrals.

I am pointing and laughing because it's widely known that the Parisians hate the Eiffel Tower, consider it an eyesore and pretty much the only reason it's still standing, is because the tourists love it. So I doubt they'd be clamoring to rebuild it. That and given the RTC's love of megachurches, I have a really hard time believing that they would know anything about European Cathedrals, let alone appreciate them. Wait until we tell them that said cathedrals were :gasp: built during a time in which the Catholic Church was pretty much the only game in town, Christianity-wise, and as such, the buildings were designed to serve as Catholic Churches. I wonder how well they'd be able to handle the news, given the long tradition of virulent anti-Catholicism in the RTC subculture.

I don't know how many times I'm going to say this, but with a few exceptions, most of the truly great Christian art was produced during a time when the Church was the only game in town for Starving Artists.

But after spending an indeterminate amount of time in Paris, the most effete and European of Effete European cities, Kenny-boy is now being dragged onward to Amman, aka that place where Abdullah hangs out, harassing Mudawar and Sarsour.

Though never say Kenny is not suffering for his faith. As he travels via plane (because again, though this is freaking Heaven, the only speedy means of travel is still a sky bus), he gets negative looks from RTCs.

On the plane with Ignace, Lothair, and Nicolette, Kenny for the first time became aware of the stares and glares of people— mostly naturals, some glorifieds— who must have recognized the alternative clothing of the TOLers for what it was.

Okay, I'll let my commenters decide what Ellanjay mean by alternative clothing, which subculture they represent. Are the TOLers Goths? Or are they more ravers or Club Kids? Maybe they are into Gothic Lolita or something like that. Though I'm hoping for Steampunk, simply because I like the visual aesthetic.

Though before anyone says that maybe alternative clothing means Kenny and the TOL are walking around in their birthday suits, as delightful an image as that may be, given what prudes the RTCs' are, they probably won't even let the bad guys be very comfortable with their bodies.

Though this paragraph and the subsequent one...maybe my "Jerry Jenkins is a Poe" theorists have a point. Both passages basically say "RTCs are judgmental scolds."

Kenny had known so little negativity in his life— of course, he barely remembered much of the Tribulation, as it ended with the Glorious Appearing when he was still about four months shy of his fifth birthday— that it had been his practice to catch people’s eyes, even strangers’, and smile. That would not do now. His pretend compatriots were rebels, misfits, outcasts. They kept to themselves, looking serious, or if they did meet someone’s gaze, they proffered a hateful scowl. Kenny found that nearly impossible, so he just kept his eyes focused on the floor most of the time.

Yeah, the tribulation may have had people getting killed right and left from poisoned water, repeated meteor strikes, nuclear winter, and lion-headed snake-tailed flying people killers, but there certainly wasn't any negativity. People in those days had the common courtesy to die quietly and bury themselves, rather than hurt the delicate RTCs' ears with all the screams of agony.

And the RTCs may spend all their time loudly proclaiming certain groups of people, usually ones who aren't White, Christian, Male, and Straight, to be subhuman mongrels unworthy of the basic rights afforded to them as citizens and human beings, and they scream in the faces of women going into Planned Parenthood for checkups and mammograms, going so far as to blow up clinics and shoot doctors to protect the sanctity of life, and they loudly demand the genocide of some 1.6 billion men, women, and children, and pant with desire to commit war crimes against people guilty of being born in the wrong part of the world, but they most certainly aren't negative. I don't know why people keep insisting that they are.

Just as I don't know why a minority group that faces constant harassment from the authorities for exercising their right to assembly, right to free speech, and right to practice their faith as they see fit, might get a little surly and bitter towards the majority group running roughshod over all their rights.

If only they could be as saintly as Martin Luther King, who just placidly said, "If it's not too much trouble, can we have the rights due to us as American citizens?" and in no way, did anything to upset White People. And he certainly never said anything except that one quote and wasn't assassinated by a racist White dillhole despite practicing nonviolent resistance and wearing a suit and tie to his protests. That would imply that all their quibbles about the words protesters use and the clothing they wear, are attempts to weasel out of the very real issues the protesters are bringing up and we all know RTCs would never weasel out of addressing their opponents' arguments. :bitter laughter:

Ignace is like "We're going to the Theological Training Institute and we want you to give your pep talk, so we can recruit others." Kenny is mentally going "Oh Noes!" at the prospect of lying, so apparently that's a sin again. Though Kenny infiltrating the group and trying to bring them down from within, isn't a form of lying and therefore, isn't a sin, just as escorting Nicky around the world to commit atrocities or serving as Nicky's personal propagandist, isn't a sin.

Chloe and Cam-Cam are going through records being all "Oh Noes!" as they realized that Qasim has skipped out on all the Biblical Figure Meetings. Given that again, he is being bullied horribly by the RTCs and nothing David, Joshua, Caleb, or Noah said, is anything that can't be found in the Bible, I remain totally on Team Qasim.

They become even more horrified when they realize that a directory listing the names, addresses, and salaries of workers at the daycare have gone missing. :dramatic Prairie Dog: Those monsters! Next you'll tell me that someone copied Saintly Irene's recipe for Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce and are claiming it as they're own!

Again, like I've said before, I really think we could benefit if we used our tax dollars to give RTCs one-way tickets to China, Saudi Arabia, or any country where Christians experience actual persecution for their faith and not just the "Happy Holidays" variety. If they manage to escape and make their way out of a third-world hellhole, maybe they would have much-needed perspective, now that they've experienced actual persecution and they may be more sensitive to the plight of refugees, since they had been one. If nothing else, they'll be trapped in third-world hellholes, so we can finally get stuff done without them throwing hissies every time we try to expand rights to include those people or have the government do anything except kill brown people and fellate the rich.

“You know I don’t go into the files, Chlo’. You’ve got it backed up on disk, right?”

“Of course, but no one else is supposed to have access to the hard copy. Oh, Cam, we’re not going to have start putting locks on the doors, are we? Not after almost a hundred years with no mischief.”

Such are the depravities the TOL is capable of, gaining access to widespread information by finding a directory someone left out in the middle of nowhere or :gasp: a printout left on the Xerox. Even Josef Stalin shudders at the depths of their cruelty!

Abdullah is all chuckling with amusement because Mudawar and Sarsour cleaned up their office and got dressed in their best clothes to meet their guests. Though they are still short, oily, and, as the chapter later reveals, fat, which means their arguments have no merit. Like Conservapedia, Ellanjay believe the key to winning arguments is to go, "Yeah, well you're fat and ugly!" then run away laughing. Because fat or ugly or fat and ugly people never have anything wise or insightful to say.

For those of you wondering how Abdullah will bravely withstand the mild criticisms of the TOL, fear not. Abdullah sees Kenny-boy with them and in a true display of courage, bravely turns his tail and ran, going to his wife, Yasmine, and being like, "Oh Noes! What should I tell Cam-Cam and Chloe?" Just as the bit with the message box before, apparently RTCs have no difficulty automatically believing anything they see. Hence why even though Kenny has been nothing but a good RTC and a member of the Millies, aka a group that has talked about infiltrating the TOL and bringing them down from within, Abdullah has no difficulty assuming that Kenny is hanging out with the TOL because he is a hardened eeeevil TOLer now.

Again, keep wondering if Nicky could have defeated the mighty RTCs by writing "Want to keep an idiot busy for hours? Turn to the other side for answers." on both sides of a dollar bill or putting scratch and sniff stickers at the bottom of swimming pools.

Then again, I'm still disappointed that Barack Obama never used the GOP's "Oppose whatever he supports and support whatever he opposes" logic to his advantage. C'mon, when you're enemy has that glaringly obvious a weakness, you'd be a fool not to use it. You could have given an impassioned speech as to why sitting in your garage with the engine running is a dumb idea or you shouldn't swim while wearing cement booties on your feet or that all the stuff mentioned in "Dumb Ways to Die" really are dumb ways to die. Instead you spent eight years being Luke Skywalker shooting at every part of the Death Star, except for the exhaust port.

Obama, along with pretty much every member of the Democratic Party, could stand to learn that as nice as ideals like Bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle are, said ideals only work if both sides are made up of adults who, despite differing beliefs, genuinely want to do their jobs and get stuff done. It doesn't work when one side is made up of adults and the other side is made up of demon toddler children determined to burn everything down out of spite (because if they can't have it, no one can) and believes that the other side is made up of Satanic Demon Child-Eaters. The fact that the Democratic Party keeps falling into the same traps again and again, makes we wonder if they are ridiculously naïve, dumb, or both.

The chapter ends with Kenny angsting as he is forced to lie to the TOL.

And we're done for this week. Sorry about all the political rants, but this whole "Just Don't Care" thing we run into with the Right, just irritates the living hell out of me. Richard Nixon may have been a moral sewer of a human being and you're glad he was eventually stopped, but at the same time, the amount of time and planning he put into his villainous schemes, forces you to have some grudging respect for the guy. He didn't just kick and scream until he got what he wanted. Though I still laugh about how he planned, though never carried out, to kill a reporter by coating his steering wheel with LSD. You didn't get the hippies like at all, did you Nixon?

The last GOP president who didn't leave his country in worse shape than it was when he took office, was Dwight Eisenhower. I don't know when or if I will ever stop saying this. Though I don't know how well Eisenhower would do in the modern GOP. His two terms were a nightmarish era of peace and prosperity from which this country has never recovered. He saw that we were in a military quagmire in Korea and decided, "Y'know what maybe we should get out of it," rather than "Do the same strategy as before, only harder." His era also had a 90% tax rate, enabling us to build the interstate and much of our infrastructure, which helped us beat the Russians to the moon in the sixties. And nearly every job was unionized, thus making it so that everyone, even entry-level slobs, could afford a middle-class standard of living.

But perhaps the most eeeevil of all of Eisenhower's actions, was that he overrode Arkansas's States' Rights and sent the National Guard to protect the Little Rock Nine and force Central High to integrate. And that line those liberal hippie America-hating peaceniks like to quote about the Military-Industrial Complex? That was from Eisenhower's farewell address where he said:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

All this makes you wonder: Why did Dwight Eisenhower hate America so much?

Final Cool Fact about Eisenhower before closing: his last name, roughly translated means "Iron-Cutter" in German, so even his name is cool and badass. Iron-Cutter sounds like a name a Viking would use.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

#Heaven-World Problems

Hey Everybody!

Well this week is made up of the sad, pathetic desperation seen in videos by Pick-Up Artists. Don't worry the YouTube link doesn't actually take you to actual pick-up artists; I have too much self respect and too much respect for my readers to put either of us through that. Just that there's something so unbelievably pathetic about all of it, how for all their efforts to be like, "I am Manly and Powerful, dammit!"...well, the fact that one of them created a female persona to explain why he finds cunnilingus undesirable and another mentioned in the video describes sex as shoving a meat cylinder into a hole and delivering a genetic package, let's just say Dave Barry's bit about "I AM THRUSTING MY MASSIVE KNOCKWURST OF LOVE INTO YOUR PASSION PERSIMMON!" actually sounds more appealing and less creepy.

But yeah, that's because it's never about sex with pick-up artists, just about trying desperately to overcompensate for deep-rooted insecurities. Though congratulations, guys. You may have made an unintentional case for celibacy, because if the choice is between sex with you or no sex at all...well let's just say the Catholic Church finally has a way to deal with a shortage of priests, monks, and nuns.

In short, yes there will be Creepy Sex Stuff this week. I don't know whether you should or shouldn't thank me for this.

The cartoonish machismo starts from the very first line.

KENNY HAD cleared several days off so he could complete his clandestine mission to Paris, but almost as soon as he got there he heard from Ekaterina, asking whether he could return and postpone his trip.

Yes, Kenny's mission to Paris really is clandestine, seeing as it will take place under a cover of daylight via a commercial airline and he's already told all his friends and family where he's going and when he'll be back. Also, he is in no danger of dying whatsoever and in fact, doesn't really have to do anything because TurboJesus will pitch his enemies into hell for him. We should all dream of having Kenny's courage and fortitude in the face of unspeakable fear and suffering.

Yeah, I know, I'm laying it on pretty thick, but hey, it's what I do. I'd say this is the equivalent of a six-year-old boy pretending his cardboard box in his parents' backyard, is secretly a hut deep within the Amazon rainforest, but most six-year-olds have enough self-awareness to know that they are only pretending. And however irritating and immature a six-year-old may be, there is hope that they will eventually grow the fuck up and stop being so irritating.

For those of you wondering, Kat didn't ask Kenny to delay his trip, because she's all weak and female and feared for his safety in a First-World Nation that as all the amenities of modern life. Though France does :gasp: have a government-paid healthcare system (aka Universal Healthcare), making it so that everyone has their medical expenses covered by the government and can receive necessary treatments even if they are :pearlclutch: poor. With that in mind, you can understand why Kat might be concerned.

The reason Kat wants Kenny-boy to hold of on his trip is because King David is coming to one of their talks. :whimpers: For the record, his visit is in the next chapter, which I probably won't get to this week. More and more, I'm starting to think that maybe I should actually go through with an idea I've suggested before, where I cut and paste Kingdom Come into a new document, but remove the Mothereffin' Front Matter and all the stuff where Biblical Figure just copy and pastes from the Bible. I am really serious as to whether this book would be long enough to qualify as a novella, minus those materials. But we'll talk about this more later on. In the meantime, let's get back to tearing this chapter a new one.

Kenny-boy tries to reassure his terror-stricken female fearful lady love interest.

“But I prayed about this, sweetheart. I know this is where God wants me, and I have to think that if I make this sacrifice, He will somehow make it up to me.”

“How?”

“Who knows? Maybe by giving me an audience with David as He did my grandfather. I guess someday I’ll have all the time I want with all the biblical characters.”

“I know you’re right, Kenny. And you’ve taught me that God favors obedience even over sacrifice. That’s just hard for me right now, because I was hoping this news would be enough to bring you back to me.”

You have no idea how much I pointed and laughed at all this until tears were streaming down my cheeks. Again, he's going to France, aka a modern country which has both email and telephone which he could use to stay in contact with Kat. Also it has running water, paved roads, electricity, and has been in a state of relative peace since the end of WWII. Since then, their conflicts have been mostly overseas with little, if any, effects on the home front. You are not parachuting behind the Iron Curtain, where Khrushchev's men might make you "disappear" or force the US to exchange a prisoner in order to free you.

I could go on and on about all this about how Kenny's not going to the beaches of Normandy, circa June 6, 1944, or Iwo Jima, circa February 19, 1945, but I think I've pulverized this dead horse into glue.

I freely admit I chose examples from WWII because Ellanjay and their ilk consider that the most manly of wars or the Good War, as it is called. Though no one actually called WWII, the Good War, when it was actually being fought. Only when Vietnam went south, did anyone start calling it, the Good War. During WWII, the thoughts were generally more "Are we going to lose this fight?" and "Will our boys come home from this?" the same as in most wars.

Oh Kenny is really making a huge sacrifice, having to miss out on hearing David's copy-and-paste. Sure he could pick up his Bible and read it for himself, but that smacks too much of effort and he might stumble onto one of the "bad" passages. When it comes to suffering for the sins of humanity, Kenny's got Jesus beat.

OW! Okay, I may have gone a little too far with that. But I can't say I regret it too much. As much as it pains me to defend the Tribbles, at least, they were sort of experiencing actual suffering for their faith. Granted it only happened off-screen to NPCs, but Nicky had outlawed the practice of any faith save for the poorly defined EBOWF/Worship of him, so this "Durr...I'm a rebel!" pose made some sense.

:sighs: One last rant before I finally move on: how many problems could we solve by giving RTC farts one-way tickets to Saudi Arabia, China, or North Korea? If they manage to escape, maybe experiencing actual persecution for their faith, not just "Cashier saying 'Happy Holidays'" persecution, will have given them some much needed perspective. If nothing else, they'll be trapped in Third-World Hellholes and the rest of us can finally get stuff done, without having to deal with them throwing hissies over every advancement in human rights.

The section ends with a shocking announcement: Qasim has taken the week off and won't be there when King David shows up! :cue Dramatic Prairie Dog:

Abdullah's Asshole for Christ campaign continues. I'm having flashbacks to Nicky's regime where for all the wargle-bargle about how eeeevil he is, Nicky was surprisingly respectful of the rights of a group that continually calls for his overthrow and tries to undermine his government in whatever ways it can, allowing them to have a massive public gathering and broadcast their message all around the world.

You can see where I'm going with this. Mudawar and Sarsour have been ridiculously respectful towards someone who, at best, regards them as prospects and, at worse, sees them as dirty godless heathens deserving of nothing but hellfire and damnation for all eternity for the crimes of :gasp: enjoying music with an actual beat, enjoying alcohol, enjoying sex, and saying "Y'know a guy who kills people for disagreeing with him, isn't a good guy."

I am trying to picture the horrors of a TOL regime. Will banal praise choruses be outlawed in favor of music with a beat that addresses the reality of human feelings? Do armed guards show up and say to terrified men, "You will do cunnilingus, not the traditional missionary!" after which the man is like, "But that would be sex performed strictly as an act of love, without any possibility of reproduction!" and all he can do is sob, as the TOLstapo give him and his wife, contraceptives, vibrators, and lubricants.

For those of you wondering, "Mouse, aren't you exaggerating just a little too much?" First of all, why would you think that? and Second of all, I most definitely am not. Forget the League of Awesome, Mudawar and Sarsour should be nominated for sainthood for having resisted the urge to taser the living crap out of him. At least, Thor is pretty to look at, dammit!

Anyway, here are quotes from the section for your perusal. After I post them, I will move on. I just feel like spreading pain around and making sure everyone appreciates the Assholery of Abdullah. Fear not; not even context makes Abdullah's remarks seem less assholish.

“You heard me, Mudawar. I repeat my pledge from the first. I am here under assignment from almighty God. You may be under some illusion or delusion that you— in some moment of madness or genius— decided to allow me in. But the fact is, the Lord has ordained it.”

“Oh, I know you can. But you also know that I would then be stationed in front of your door with my little table and my Bible and my smile, and I will be greeting your honored guests every time they enter or leave. And we both know people are somehow drawn to me.”

“— but a word to the wise: If I were you, I would represent my presence in your offices as your idea, a stroke of brilliance, going against the grain, zigging when the rest of the world is zagging. If you can’t persuade your mentors there’s some benefit to the cause in this, that you have somehow convinced me that my time is better spent here than trying to persuade the same target audience, then perhaps you are not qualified for the role you have been given. Give it some thought.”

I'm just going to post a clip. You totally know why I'm posting this clip.

The next section, well, I hope my readers have their heart medication ready as they see the horrors Kenny faces. He has to stay in a hotel in Paris and the mass transit system makes it easy for him to meet up with Ignace and Lothair with no problem!

And if that isn't bad enough, he endures some minor questioning at their hands. Just listen to the horrible slurs they sling towards Kenny's general direction.

“Hey, guys,” Kenny said, pretending not to notice that they didn’t look happy.

“Just sit down,” Ignace said. “Who do you think you’re kidding anyway?”

“I don’t follow.”

“You don’t follow. You make noises at our cousin’s funeral like you might be one of us, you string us along by e-mail, we get absolute zilch from you— even though your buddy Qasim vouches for you with his life. And how hard do you think it was for us to figure out that your parents— your parents— started COT? And now you want us to believe you’re sympathetic to the Other Light?”

I think I'll retreat into my League of Awesome headcanon for a bit, before trying to take this on. A gal can only handle so much excitement.

On an entirely unrelated note, if I keep communicating in nothing but brutal sarcasm, will I reach the point where I will be unable to communicate in any other form? I wouldn't mind it so much, except that I keep getting dragged out of the house to talk to other people and they may find it somewhat off-putting. Though that problem may quickly resolve itself.

Luckily Kenny has Zod to provide his Saving Throw.

Busted. What could he say?

He breathed a silent prayer. “Lord, what now?”

“Take the offensive,” he heard in his soul.

“Believe what you want to believe,” Kenny said. “But you’d better not have wasted my time, dragging me all the way here just to tell me you don’t trust me. There are plenty of people in other TOL cells who do trust me. And as for where I’m embedded, where do you think you’d get better information?”

Ignace and Lothair respond by printing up a directory of COT employees, complete with addresses and information on salaries. In my headcanon, they laugh derisively as they do. Because even they are like, "You haven't given us any information we couldn't get elsewhere, so why the hell should we listen to you in the first place?" So much Signal from Fred...

But here's the TOL's Final Solution.

“Mexico,” she said. “Drugs, parties, alcohol. We spread the word quietly, and kids who feel oppressed by their parents or by society or by the church come in droves. We get ’em on our mailing lists and go after them with intellectual arguments.”

"They use their skill with the written word to express their opinions on something that matters to them, while enjoying intoxicants and celebrations. This makes Auschwitz seem like a summer vacation in comparison!"

Okay, I might have gone too far with the Auschwitz comparison. I apologize. Though of all the stuff listed, they probably consider "intellectual arguments" to be the most eeeevil and depraved of the TOL's activities.

Kenny, playing the part of infiltrator, offers them a better strategy. Because for some reason, RTCs are allowed to lie, even though they couldn't back when they were facing actual persecution.

“It shouldn’t be that hard. If you’re right, you’ll be convincing. And what you have going for you is the age of your audience. They’re our ages. If they haven’t become believers already, you know they’re searching, wondering, thinking, wanting to use their brainpower. They’re going to be vulnerable to a message that goes against all the rest of society. There’s glamour in being a revolutionary. Tap into that.”

And now I'm laughing until a I cry again. Whenever I find enough air to speak, I'm like, "Physician, heal thyself!"

Because tapping into the glamour and allure that comes with being a revolutionary, is pretty much exactly what the RTC subculture does. Though the TOL has a better claim at being revolutionaries, seeing as they are actually suffering for what they believe and again, not just "Happy Holidays" suffering. Again, the RTC subculture longs simultaneously to be the Roman Empire with great military and financial power, so they may crush those who stand against them, but they also want to cast themselves as the plucky Christian rebels bravely standing up in the face of Roman Oppression. It all results in a toxic, incoherent mess of a belief system.

And that's it for this week. Until then, I hope you light a candle for the suffering Kenny is facing.