Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Cry of the Persecuted Hegemon

Okay so I lied. I was going to title this post "The Persecuted Hegemon" but "The Cry of the Persecuted Hegemon" just sounded better. So sue me.

I know at least one reader has put forth the theory that the reason they aren't allowed to discuss the Rapture at Nicholae High is because Nicholae High is now an eeevil global community school. I would be inclined to agree with said reader were it not for the fact that there hasn't been a turnover in staff--everyone still has their jobs--and they keep acting like this is an old rule, part of a long tradition. As said before, Ellanjay knows nothing about public schools. But then again, you can make a long list of things Ellanjay knows nothing about.

This chapter begins with a brief interlude with Vicki's friend, Shelly. Shelly immediately has my sympathies because she's acting like someone who's been traumatized, which makes sense when you hear what she's been through. The whole world should be acting like Shelly but again, Ellanjay don't know anything about suffering.

Basically, a girl named Joyce explains what happened to Shelly.

"She was babysitting for the Fischers. You knew them."
Vicki nodded, moving towards the girls' locker room.
"One of the kids starts crying just when the parents get home. Shelly goes in to check in on her, and the kid's really wailing. She picks her up, and that gets the little guy crying, so she picks him up too. Now she's got two squalling kids in her arms as the Fischers come in the door. She's about to explain that they just then woke up when both kids disappear and the parents too. Mom and Dad, poof, clothes in a pile right where they stood. The babies, gone with their pj's draped over Shelly's arms."

It's hard not to feel real sympathy for Shelly, the only character who acts like someone who's genuinely lost her grip on the world, which makes sense. She has lost her grip on the world; the world has been turned upside down and inside out for her. The rules of reality that she's always known have been ripped to shreds. Yet everyone seems shocked that she's shocked. :eyeroll:

Anyway, meanwhile Judd is in psychology class with Mr. Shellenberger. The psychology part should be enough of a clue that according to Ellanjay, Mr. Shellenberger is one of those eeevil intellectuals who value reason over Christ. But the chief problem with Ellanjay's works is that the eeeevil intellectuals end up making a better case for their beliefs than Ellanjay's protagonists.

Anyway, here's Shellenberger's talk with Judd. Note that he doesn't actually tear Judd's beliefs to shreds, just says that if it brings you comfort, more power to you.

"It's not surprising that you find comfort in ascribing these losses to something divine. It has to make you feel better that your family is in heaven with God."
"I wouldn't denigrate that. You will outgrow it, but I'm sure it is of great comfort to you now. It may be years before you will be able to differentiate between the very real confidance you feel from the defense mechanism your mind has provided."

Shellenberger subscribes to Nicholae's electromagnetism theory. Since Fred has already pointed out all that's wrong with that theory, I'll spare lecturing you about the sheer amount of wrong packed in it.

Anyway, meanwhile Vicki has to face down the eevil Mrs. Waltonen, who we can tell is eevil because she has short hair and teaches in a public school.

But for obvious reasons, no one can focus on gym so they have a discussion on what happened and while Vicki rolls her eyes at all the non-God explanations, I have to say the explanations they're offering make about as much sense as hers. The students bring up a scientific experiment gone wrong, aliens, and a few even venture that maybe the disappeared aren't gone for good, again which makes sense considering what happened. If they were disappeared so quickly without reason, who's to say they're not going to return someday.

Well separation of church and state is brought up and Vicki gets up on her high horse.

"That's what I thought," Vicki said, knowing that she had heard something about this, maybe from her dad, whom she had ignored. "So when did it get turned around to protect the government from religion?"

Once again, Ellanjay's ignorance and their pride in said ignorance is showing. Because protecting the government from religion is entirely what the Constitution intended. Why do you think there's a clause saying that there will be no religious test required to be elected? The government and religion don't belong together and bringing them together only brings misery. It's like mixing horse manure and ice cream: it doesn't do a thing for the manure but it really ruins the ice cream.

But then again, this whole thing is so Ellanjay can rack up street cred by claiming that their protags are modern day martyrs, persecuted for the faith. Except they're not.


Firedrake said...

I don't see any way one can claim, as is implied here, that separation of church and state was ever intended to protect religion from government. The First Amendment, perhaps, but mostly to protect religions from other religions which might buy congress...

Evil Paul said...

You know, I sometimes think that maybe L&J just led really sheltered lives, and that this is the reason why they can't seem to envision something truly scary or horrifying (like when I was a little kid and I thought the worse thing that could happen would be if someone stole my bike). But then you get something like Shelly's story and...well...that's ghastly. Seriously, to have a crying baby vanish from your arms is a horrible possibility.
I mean, I know a paramedic (teaching my first aid class) who once had to save a choking baby. He managed to save the baby, but even now years later he got choked up telling us about those few seconds when he realized the baby in his hands was not breathing...
So the scene here is got all kinds of potential. the fuck do you not see the horror of the situation. Even if it's second hand account, this should be a really chilling moment in the books. Me, I get nervous just holding a baby; I always keep thinking I'm going to drop him/her. Even in EllenJay's sheltered world they must have at least held a baby. Right? How can they not see this?

Firedrake said...

Evil Paul, I think the answer is that all human feeling is superseded by What You Ought To Feel. This sort of religion has an answer for all questions, that being a significant part of its appeal, and the answer to how an RTC is supposed to feel about this situation - about any traumatic situation involving a non-RTC - is "this is an opportunity to win a soul for God". That aspect simply takes over, leaving human sympathy behind.

Firedrake said...

...which, as I think about it, makes things even more horrible for real people trying to live their lives by the examples given in these books. Because of course a real person does feel horror and sympathy - and such feelings are turned directly into guilt, because "if you were a good enough RTC you would be thinking only about winning souls".

Mouse said...

I think because they see themselves among the raptured, they can't possibly imagine how horrifying it would be to those not fortunate enough to be slaughtered by God.

Mink said...

Hmm, okay, so not an eeeevil conspiracy, just a bunch of easilly duped people...

I'm pretty sure that LeHaye simply cannot grok other peoples emotions. He's of the ilk who have turned 'empathy' into a bad word, and so 'empathy' is not to be felt. It's all about his personal relationship with the TurboJesus. Considering what Christianists such as himself and his wife preach about gender roles, that points to not only the control issues that their faith promulgates, but also the relationship issues. TurboJesus Is ALL, and we mortals with feet of clay and ashen brows should just find someone we can tolerate/submit to; if female, pump out babies as quickly and for as long as possible before we get 'taken to him,' i.e. die from complications arising from childbearing; and if male, marry someone else and do the same goddamn thing all over again.

Sorry; even more than the Dominionist and Oathkeeper jerks, the Quiverfull movement really pushes my buttons hard.

Firedrake said...

Mink, yes, absolutely; I was brought up Catholic, and they have a lot of similar ideas to the Quiverfull mob. They just have the sense not to try to push that doctrine in first-world countries where they aren't in control of people's lives any more. I think it does need an emotional dominance to get people to do things that are so clearly not in their own interests.

detroitmechworks said...

Ya know, if I Facepalmed everytime Ellanjay got something wrong, I'd look like a boxer who had just gone fifteen rounds with Muhammed Ali in his prime...

To be honest, I find it funny that the LB Kids are upset because they can't "Witness" at school. Just do what all the assholes for christ did during my high school days. Claim yer throwing a party, call it "Young Life" and then have everybody listen to a sermon from the youth pastor, all the while saying how you're "Hip".

Heck, they live ALONE... it wouldn't be too hard to convince the other horrible unsaved kids that no parents means every day's a nonstop party. (Although how they pay the electric bills, trash disposal bills, water bills, property taxes... ooops, brought logic into this... SORRY!!)

Mouse said...

Yeah, it was never the Christian kids who were ostracized and picked on when I was in school unless you were extremely fervent and by fervent, I mean Carrie's mom fervent. In fact if separation of church and state meant no religion in schools, period, it's news to all those flagpool meeting groups and Bible study groups and Federation of Christian Athletes groups, and I think I've made my point.

I suppose since this is supposed to be set in the not-to-distant future, this could be Ellanjay trying to make a point about how trends will turn out in the future, but again their world-building is atrocious. First of all, they show no idea of any advances in technology, save for Jewy McJew's magical fertilizer and again they do no explanations whatsoever, just expect the reader to know it's in the not-to-distant future.

amylynn1022 said...

Playing catch-up so yeah a bit late for a comment. While I can't say I'm shocked that Ellenjay don't seem to have a clue about psychology I am kind of surprised that Judd's parents would let him take a psych course, even if it wasn't taught by Ellenjay's strawman psychology teacher. And I certainly couldn't see him signing up for one voluntarily after he said the magic words. Maybe they think it's the sort of think that would be required at a OWG High School? Or maybe Mouse it right--none of them can really concentrate on school and they realize it's not going to matter anyway when the world ends so they just sign-up for the bunniest of bunny courses and Judd figures that psychology must be a bunny course.

Von Krieger said...

So while terribly, terribly late to this whole thing, I'm starting from the beginning and reading my way through.

I find myself wishing that there were links to the bits that Fred has discussed that you're alluding to.

Because it's going to be a bit of a chore to find them.

But then again after I'm done here I'm probably going to go on another archive crawl of Fred's review of the Worst Books in the World.