Sunday, February 13, 2011

God the Holy Abortionist

Okay, so the boys find some way of sneaking their paper into the school paper as a means of distributing it. Yawn. Snore. Let's go to the real interesting story: Shelly.

Shelly's in the hospital and Vicki is visiting her. At first I have to commend Vicki for behaving like a friend, nay a human being, for visiting Shelly and actually expressing concern over her, but as it becomes clear, Vicki is only doing this because she sees her chance to chalk up another on her fuselage. That sound you hear is my faint feeling of hope, dying a slow death. Pray for it.

Shelly repeats the story that the other girl had told Vicki about babysitting for the Fischers and watching all the Fischers, disappear, including the babies she was holding in her arms. Again, my heart breaks for Shelly especially when at the end, she demonstrates that she, unlike Vicki, knows that the kids have been slaughtered by God and are never coming back.

"Why did God have to take those kids, Vicki? They didn't do anything wrong."

Vicki responds with "God took them to heaven," but that doesn't reassure Shelly and right now, I'm wishing this whole novel was about her. Her story is so much more compelling than any of the Elsie Dinsmores that make up the YTF, and she knows something Vicki refuses to admit: The Fischers are dead and they aren't coming back, and neither are the other children, God slaughtered. Gone is gone and it doesn't matter if they were wisked away to heaven like Elijah or killed in a car accident. It doesn't change the fact they're not coming back. Ever.

Vicki immediately begins her spiel about sin and about how Jesus paid the price for our sins, but Shelly refuses to bite. Right now, I'm cheering because maybe she'll escape this novel the way Tom Fogarty did, but I've read ahead to the end of the next chapter and from there, it looks increasingly less likely. Let us all weep for Shelly.

Well, the YTF minus Vicki gets called to the office about the papers. But before the eeevil administration can get any information about the paper out of our brave heroes, Vicki hits the fire alarm and they escape. For Now. But the forces of darkness are colluding against our heroes and who knows how long they'll escape expulsion. But John and Mark, the newest members of the YTF, mention something interesting. Their Bibles, which were compensated by an eeevil teacher, have turned up in their lockers with verses highlighted. So gang, a mystery's afoot.

Meanwhile, you know him, and if you're anything like me or Fred, you love to hate him: It's Bruce Barnes. Finally I can dust off my "Bruce Barnes is Useless" tag.

Basically Bruce found out about their little newspaper and Bruce is peeved. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's because the YTF are proving how absolutely useless he is; they're actually trying to do something to help people, while he knows who the antichrist is yet sits on this information and refuses to share it because he deems them unworthy of the knowledge and deserving of immense suffering. :deep breath: Did I mention I really hate Bruce Barnes? I know it's hard to miss, given how subtle I am, but I do.

Thankfully Judd tears Bruce a new one and never have I wanted so badly to cheer.

"You keep saying we don't know how much time we have left, that people need Jesus before it's too late. So we do something about it and you criticize us for taking risks!"
"Now, Judd--"
"I know you're our pastor, but you're not our father. I don't know what everybody else thinks, but I'm prepared to risk this and a lot more. If it means the difference between people going to heaven or hell, I don't care what happens to me."

This may be the closest thing we get to a Huck moment in these books. Enjoy it while it lasts.

But Bruce says there's another underground believer at Nicholae High who believes they are all in grave danger. But right now, the whole world is in grave danger due to an evil (note I said evil and not eeevil) dictator coming into power, so needless to say I'm not all that shakened by Bruce's words. Bruce doesn't tell us who this person is in an attempt to create some suspense.

Judd says what I was thinking that they're endanger of being expelled which isn't exactly what anyone would call grave danger. But Bruce continues.

"Expulsion would endanger the whole group and your setup," Bruce said. "But this is worse than expulsion. Because of the high profile of the school, Global Communtiy forces want to make this a test case. They're talking about assigning GC monitors to the school, people with authority to make arrests."

Okay, so we're getting some real possible danger here, but I still have some questions. First of all, since when is a school in some distant Chicago suburb far away from the seat of the evil empire (referring to New Babylon, not Russia) a "high profile" school? Also if Nicholae is so all-consuming powerful that he's able to have monitors in every school, even a one-room school in some distant part of Africa, then why doesn't he already have them set up? Of course, doing so would probably lead to New Babylon being flooded with worthless tips ("That kid shouted 'Jesus Christ!' when he dropped his books on his foot. He must be a secret Christian.!") and so many other problems that any reader can probably point out the numerous obstacles to Nicky Cardamon's evil plan.

But fear not, the YTF have a plan! They're going to stash Bibles in Judd's garage. I'm dead serious. That's their plan. To horde Bibles to give to people who want to read them. As opposed to doing something useful like providing shelter to people who lost their homes because of the disaster (though to be fair, they could just camp out in one of the RTCs' empty houses) or stockpiling food and water so they'll survive the plagues. I am dead serious here people. I am only quoting what's in the book.

Next, Vicki goes to visit Shelly who tells her, her secret. Basically, before God came and slaughtered all the children, born and unborn, Shelly's mom was pregnant. But Shelly wasn't thrilled about the prospect of another sibling and told her Dad which led to a massive fight. Vicki's like "Uh your dad would have found out eventually." And Shelly says, "Not if she got an abortion." Then she ends this story with this.

"To be honest, I was kinda excited to have a little brother or sister. I thought that maybe I could take care of it, that it would make things better. I thought Mom might get some help, might sober up. But that night, when the Fischers and their babies vanished, God took my mom's baby too. He punished me for what I did."

It's strange how RTCs are anti-abortion, when their God gleefully slaughters all the children, born and unborn, therefore unintentionally acting like the RTC stereotype of abortionists.


Firedrake said...

In Atheistopia, abortion will be compulsory for every pregnancy!

I do find it very interesting how carefully every tiny showing of independent thought is stamped on by the TF hierarchy (which includes Judd, of course, when he's doing his Bruce imitation and ordering the others about).

As for the GC monitors, that just shows a basic lack of administrative understanding. "In 2001 there were 26,407 public high schools and 10,693 private schools in the US" [Wikipedia] - give them one monitor each and add some tail to go with the teeth, and you're probably recruiting fifty thousand people all at once. That's around the size of the TSA. People noticed when that was set up, and talked about it...

GDwarf said...

...What's the point of monitoring schools?

I mean, yes, if you want a fanatically devoted populous then taking over the education of the next generation is key, but Niki knows that there will be no next generation, and high schoolers aren't really known for their ability to oppose most city councils, never mind global governments.

So why?

The only thing I can think of is this: At this point in time opposition to Mr. Mountain would be a radical position. Children are easier to recruit to radical positions than adults. Ergo, any resistance movement will try and recruit high schoolers; so if an eye is kept on every teenager in the world they might lead to resistance cells.

But this doesn't even make sense. I mean, if they're recruiting teenagers then they're looking to the future, which means that they don't know what's really up, which means that they're almost certainly not much of a threat, and relying on uniformed security officials to try and infiltrate extremist cells is beyond even Nicky's levels of nonsense.

I just don't get it.

Mouse said...

I can't believe I didn't even consider that, GDwarf. Oh and kudos to Firedrake for pointing out the sheer impossibility involved.

Firedrake said...

I think that if you are going to build a 50,000-person monitoring organisation there are probably more worthy targets to point it at. Putting myself in Carpathia's hand-tooled European leather shoes, I'd set up some false-flagged minor terrorist acts that could easily be traced back to churches - ones that hadn't previously been radical. Then, more in sorrow than in anger, I'd say "look, the Christians seem to have gone collectively a bit loopy since the Event; I'm really sorry about this, but I think we need to keep an eye on them for their own good".

Mind you, that's an order of magnitude larger problem...

Mouse said...

I can't help but think that the solution to Nicky Caucacus's problems is simply to invest tons of money in education to insure that his views are taught in the schools, the way Mao and a lot of the great dictators did.

Anonymous said...

Because of the high profile of the school, Global Communtiy forces want to make this a test case. They're talking about assigning GC monitors to the school, people with authority to make arrests.

I can't believe how much wrong they've condensed into those two sentences. How long after the rapture is this supposed to be taking place? Parts of this story seem to imply that it's weeks, at best, later. But then we have the renamed high school, which implies a lot more time has passed. So that's a problem even before you get to the bzuh of this particular bit of bzuhness.

Why are we making any schools test cases? What are we arresting people for exactly? Did I miss where religion got outlawed? Because I'm pretty sure it hasn't been in the Left Behind universe, at least not so far as any of the sporkings have gotten. This entire bit with the underground newspaper and the religious oppression makes it seem like this is happening in the Soonverse, not the Left Behind verse.

Did somebody get their wires crossed?

Mouse said...

The Kids series is supposed to follow the adults. Books Five through eight are supposed to follow Trib Force.

I agree: some wires definitely got crossed.

Firedrake said...

Maybe someone noticed that the Tribulation Force isn't much of a force and isn't going through much tribulation, so the world was retconned to be much more threatening? (Though the effect of this is simply to make the original TF look even less effectual, if that were possible.)

Redwood said...

Their Bibles, which were compensated by an eeevil teacher

I think you meant "confiscated"...

Mrs Grimble said...

Why is Shelly in hospital? Sure, she's had a bad trauma. But millions of people have had the same - or worse - trauma and the psychiatric hospitals would be overwhelmed with people needing treatment. Only the most serious cases - unsuccessful suicides, dangerously psychotic - would be given intreatment; for the rest it would be "Take these pills, one a day - next!".
Which prompts me to wonder if these books ever have give us character who is a kind of female version of Bruce Barnes - a mother who believed that she was an RTC, until the day her kids vanished and she was left behind.
Somehow i doubt it. A good writer would leap at the chance to write such a character showing how she copes with her grief and the challenges to her faith in a just and merciful God. Whatever angle you came at it from - Christian, atheist, inbetween - it would make a compelling subplot.
Yeah, a good writer could do that. But we're not dealing with good writers here. Just look at how they write Bruce Barnes - in all the books, he appears to have had all memories of his family wiped.

GDwarf said...

On "When did religion get outlawed" I think it has to be this:

Ellenjay think that Christianity is, for all intents and purposes, currently outlawed. Or so they insist.

They're also quite clear that if/when they gain absolute religious dominion over the whole earth they'd outlaw all other faiths.

So here's the antichrist that's just converted everyone in the world to Enigma Babylon, so clearly Christianity must be even more outlawed than it is now!!!111

Or something. I'm...not entirely sure.

Evil Paul said...

Hmmm...even when Vicky's trying to prey upon the weak and vulnerable to convert them to RTC-anity, she's still a better person than Judd "my house, my religion!" Plus, she thought to pull the fire alarm and save the other Tribblets from the principal's office. I guess that's what they meant by "God will take care of us so we won't have to lie."

'Cause you know that wasn't Vicky's idea. God acted through her...

Bruce Barnes remains as useless as ever. It says something about a guy when he can get slapped down by a kid half his age, then go on being the same pompous twit he's always been without batting an eye...

So their plan for the apocalypse is to stockpile...Bibles? If the shit ever hits the fan, I am REALLY not going to hide out with the RTC families. I'd probably be better off wrapping myself in a blanket and hiding under my bed....

Firedrake said...

Have to say, my Apocalypse Plan would not include multiple copies of the Bible. Spam and beans, now, that would be a good plan.

detroitmechworks said...

Oh, why not multiple copies of the bible?

You need toilet paper after all...