Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Underground

Where we last left our poor, persecuted RTCs they were working on an underground newspaper titled simply, "The Underground."

Well anyway Judd is finishing up work on it when disaster strikes! The YTF have a fight over who gets credit, who does the work, what the design should be, and a bunch of other boring etc. that MMEGO (Makes My Eyes Glaze Over). You also have to wonder about the fact that they're worrying about this penny-ante stuff when the world has less than seven years to live, but I'm willing to allow this chapter because it shows the protags as acting like more than Elsie Dinsmores in training. Kids fight, often over stupid stuff.

Vicki and Ryan decide to go for a walk and discuss what a jerk Judd's being and they find themselves looking at empty playgrounds and discussing who they've lost. Again, I'll allow this passage because for a brief moment, the characters are being human. It hasn't been that long since their parents were alive; they should still be broken-up about them.

"Do you ever stop missing them?" Ryan asked.
"My family? I think about them all the time. On Saturdays my little sister used to ask me to play that memory game. You know, where you flip the cards over and try to get matches."
"I had one of those. It was animals. You had to match the mothers with their babies. Kinda boring."
"That's what I said. I told her to leave me alone. She'd go into our room and play by herself or with Mom. I wish I had the chance--"
"I dreamed about my mom and dad the other night," Ryan said. "They were looking for me. I kept yelling at them, telling them where I was, but they couldn't hear me."

Ryan has also apparently forgotten that his parents are roasting on a spit in Hell for all eternity, but again, I let this passage slide because finally, a human response from these characters.

But anyway, the YTF kiss and make up, okay, they don't really kiss but they do make up and get back to work when disaster strikes! The Blue Screen of Death has deleted their work in its entirety since Judd's an idiot who didn't think to back it up.

And you know who's to blame for all this? Could it be Satan? Lionel thinks so.

"Know what I think?" Lionel said. "It's got something to do with the devil."
Vicki laughed. "That's crazy. What are we going to do, ask Bruce to come over and cast demons out of the computer?"
"Think about it," Lionel said. "We're putting together an underground newspaper that hundreds of kids are going to read. Hundreds of kids who aren't Christians. Now if you were the devil, would you like that? Would you want all these people reading stuff about the Bible right when they're looking for answers?"

That sound you hear is me busting a gut from laughing. The silence that follows is me realizing they're serious. They seriously believe in that Demonbuster theology. There is so much wrong in that, that I don't even know where to begin tackling it save to remind them that the Bible says it rains on the just and unjust alike.

Am I the only one reminded of Becky Fisher from Jesus Camp praying and speaking in tongues to drive the demons out of her powerpoint presentation?

But Vicki has a more sensible view.

"Yeah," Vicki said, "but don't pin everything on Satan. Maybe God din't want that to be our first edition. Maybe he made the computer crash."

So you're saying the almighty creator of the universe who's currently busy giving mankind the middle finger by orchestrating a massive amount of suffering, still finds time to personally interfere with a bunch of kids' homemade newspaper?

Anyway we have a talk with Buck about Pope Calvin Zwingli. Apparently Ol' Calvin read the Book of Romans and came to agree with Martin Luther. Because Catholics apparently go their whole lives without encountering that book in the Bible. I wish I knew Catholic traditions well enough to snark on it, but just say that LaHaye is virulently anti-Catholic--has published several anti-Catholic tracts. He believes he's being humane in making a concession by having one Catholic raptured, but what he's really saying is that Catholics can only be raptured if they renounce all ties to their church.

Catholics and RTCs such as themselves have kind of an uneasy alliance. In the past, they hated each other with fervent passion; now, they support each other because they both fetishize fetuses and hate women, but every now and then, their true opinion comes shining forth.

Anyway they go to school and prepare to do battle with the evil force in this world by dropping off their newspaper. And I'll leave you to wait with bated breath for the response they get.


Firedrake said...

I think the idea that God or the Devil (I'll just call them Them hereafter) must be responsible for the computer foulup is a combination of blame-dodging and self-importance. The first: if They wanted your work to be lost, They would have found some way to do it even if you had been really careful - so there's no point in being careful, since whatever you try to do what will happen is what They want. (I don't want RTCs working with heavy machinery of any sort, now.)

On the other side, They are taking a personal interest in you! You're significant in the world, not just a Normal Person! The psychology there is obvious...

OK, I'm not really sure what they're getting at with the Romans thing - Romans is certainly part of the Catholic reading cycle. What is the Clear, Unambiguous Message that our beloved authors are finding here? My guess would be that the RTCs are down on the hierarchy, idolatry and ritual, because they have their own hierarchy, idolatry and ritual and don't like the competition...

detroitmechworks said...

Oy... why does my head hurt every time these kids open thier mouths. Of course, the whole, God or the Devil, OR BOTH are messing with me assumes that people will want to read this piece of drivel.
I mean seriously, if it's anything like the crap that Rev Barney Fife spews out, all that's gonna happen is fewer people are gonna need to spend money on toilet paper.
Ya know, I am starting to wonder something... if EllanJay consider the age of accountability to be Twelve, does that mean that they also believe that the drinking and age of consent should be lowered to the same age? They've got seven years, so if you go with the christian commandment to go forth and multiply (Which they already have said they endorse wholeheartedly) these kids should be... well, at least MARRIED in about a hundred pages or so....

Mouse said...

If you're wondering about that whole book of Romans thing...Ellanjay constantly champion salvation by grace as opposed to works. Their belief about the Catholic Church is that the Church believes that if you're baptized, attend church regularly, and are a good person, you'll get into heaven. Meanwhile, my eyes are rolling all the way into the back of my head.

Ruby said...

Boy, Jenkins never misses an opportunity to make Lionel look like an arrogant jerk, does he? And I never know for sure whether Jenkins means this to be youthful, "new believer" hubris on Lionel's part, or whether he actually thinks this incredible self-righteousness and self-involvement is the right and good way to be.

Firedrake said...

Ruby, I have to assume it's the latter because we see the same thing in so many L&J-empire books: get converted, become an insufferable a-hole.

Mouse, ah yes of course. The Catholics mostly don't talk about methods of salvation in the same way, but it's fairly clear that you do actually have to do something rather than just receive the sacraments. (Of course the salvation-by-grace folks don't take it to its logical conclusion - say the magic words, then go off on a rape and murder spree - while they're quite happy to claim that a Catholic will have his spree, then confess and be instantly forgiven.)

Mouse said...

I'd wonder if there was some deep meaning in making Lionel, the only person of colour in the YTF, an asshole but as Firedrake puts it, conversion pretty much turns you into an asshole in Ellanjayland.

I am kind of glad that so far there's been no flames for my comments on how RTCs and Catholics both fetishize fetuses and hate women. I was afraid that might happen, but I'm ready for any flame-war that might take place.

:sigh: I'm fascinated by Catholic history and I like some of their saints (Francis of Assisi is awesome), but I can never be a part of a church that disenfranchises half its members. I'm not saying I agree with everything the Methodist church, my church, does, but at least they grant women a say in what gets laid down as church law.

Mink said...

Because / in a world where the RTCs are already saying you're going to hell and burn for eternity if you don't come to their way of thinking... one unimaginatively titled newsletter is going to make a whit of difference.

This newspaper thing makes me wonder which of The Kids the co-authors see as their self-inserts. So which of them had the childhood sweetheart whom they're trying to vicariously 'save' in this tropey tripe?

Plus... oh, of course. It's the end of the world as we know it (And I... no, too easy) and The Kids are arguing about credit and bylines. Writer's strike, next! Maybe God really did blast their computer, because they're being douchebags and idiots. Sigh... still, they're kids, and kids do stupid things now and then. But they're old enough to burn in hell, apparently.

Evil Paul said...

I remember back in Gloucester High School (GHS! Gator Power!) we had an "unofficial" student newspaper that attracted some attention for a while, but that was mainly because it was a crude, satire newspaper (a lot like the Onion, except high school low brow humour). It was called "The Horse's Behind" and it's main draw was that it was rude and silly and the teachers all disapproved of it (Tagline: "Come see what's in 'The Horse's Behind!'"). I think they got something like three issues out before being shut down.
As for the official student newspaper, the only controversy I can remember about it was a rabid anti-porn screed that actually made a bunch of the feminists I knew cringe, and one of those word jumbles where the hidden phrase was actually a crude sexual insult aimed at one of the teachers.
I got to agree, at least the junior TF at least seems to have an interest in doing something. Too bad Satan (God?) has other plans.
Re: Anti-Catholic stereotypes. Is the trope that Catholics don't read the Bible a common one? I don't think I ever came across it until I started reading Fred's blog.

Firedrake said...

I think that may be a relative thing; as a Catholic in the UK, I found that Bible readings were a "bit extra" - not something the typical member of the congregation would do, but something you might do while preparing for Confirmation or if you otherwise wanted to be in particularly good spiritual odour. In other words nobody would worry if you didn't know about any more of the Bible than was in the readings each week - it's meant to be a catholic, universal and accepting, church, after all. (But you certainly weren't discouraged from reading...)

Mouse said...


That's one of the things that have been bothering me. Since they are considered old enough to be tried as adults in Ellanjayland, why don't Vicki and Judd have a quickie marriage than get to screwing. It's not like they have all the time in the world anymore or that they have to save it for school; they've got seven years, tops. They might as well enjoy it before the Lord comes and takes sex away for everyone. :grins:

detroitmechworks said...

Yeah... that's right! There's no sex in heaven! Oh wait, in Ellanjayland there is in the millenium kingdom, but I guess nobody enjoys it.
I mean seriously, I personally cannot see any art, cultural striving or pretty much anything going on (At least from the male point of view) if you can't get at least laid for all your hard work!
I mean, I always pictured heaven as being more like the Star Trek Holodeck anyway... (Bring on the Six Gal Orgies!)
This scrupulous avoidance of anything good makes me think of only 2 possibilities for EllanJay:
1. They really are THAT boring.
2. They are REALLY REALLY REALLY freaky. I'm talking urethra insertions and stuff man...

Firedrake said...

"There's sex [...] but nobody enjoys it". Lawdy, lawdy, the snark just writes itself...

Rhoadan said...

Well, I actually find the bickering over petty crap somewhat plausible, but that's because as an EMT, I've had patients freak out about having their clothes cut off while we're trying to make sure they haven't broken a bone and aren't about to bleed out through a major blood vessel. It's another case of people obsessing over petty stuff when major fecal material has impacted the rotating ventilator.

I suspect that what's happening is that since the kids have no control over the seven year timetable, they're arguing over stuff they can control. And not only is people wanting to be in control of their situations perfectly normal, controlling asshattery seems to be characteristic of RTCs.

Mink said...

"Just lie back and think of Jesus?"

Mouse said...

Maybe their argument is when God said to be fruitful and multiply, he didn't mean to enjoy it.

Skyknight said...

The usual explanation I've heard is that the joy and bliss that comes from directly basking in the glory of God sharply, SHARPLY eclipses anything sexual ecstasy is capable of. No, I don't think they're trying to classify the divine presence as a gigas-level orgasm (no matter what some of the antitheists afflicting FSTDT might suggest), but merely something that outpaces it, and every other sort of joy and delight the physical world knows, into ineffable territory.

And yet, just because a dish is utterly sublime, does not mean there was no place in it for parsley or deer liver. Indeed, perhaps such humble ingredients (LITERALLY humble in the deer liver's case; humble pie was originally just a meat pie made primarily from deer organs) were essential to getting the final sublimity. I would sooner expect the Heavens to not even try to interdict consensual sex involving a married couple (so long as they do it in private, anyway).

What's more, Beauseigneur, in the ending of his Christ Clone trilogy, actually said that he saw no reason to believe that marital/erotic love would be abolished in the Milennium or Heaven! Only that arranged marriage & Co. would be forever dispelled. (There was a footnote to that effect.)