Monday, June 25, 2012

Are they being sarcastic? 'Cause I can't tell anymore

Sorry, sorry...I really need to get on a more regular posting schedule, especially since for the most part, all my school-related issues have been resolved. There will be another brief hiatus in July because of a ten-day residency but for the most part, things have been settled.

Truthfully the reason I haven't been posting is not only due to general laziness, but also, with Jenkins's most unintentionally awesome characters (I have no doubt that he or the ghostwriter drafted into writing this series, never intended for Hasina and Taylor to attract so much sympathy and admiration), Hasina and Taylor aka the Power Couple of Awesomeness, dead, I've been a little depressed. I like to tell myself that at least they went out in a suitably awesome fashion, thumbing their noses at Zod and the GC, or that they faked the whole thing and while the story is focused on Heroes Who Don't Do Anything, Hasina and Taylor are out recruiting others like them and waging guerilla warfare against both the GC and God, but it still hurts knowing that I have God-Only-Knows-How-Many Books to spend with such weaksauce protags as the Tribbles. If anyone out there wants to write fanfiction involving Hasina and Taylor doing battle with the GC and Zod, I would really appreciate it.

Not much happening really at the beginning though I did learn something: apparently all Jews, even once they've stopped being so inscrutable and Jewish, do not use contractions. I know I've commented on this before, but I like to drive the point home and it really comes across as strange that even an American Jew like Mitchell Stein, behaves as stereotypically Jewish as the Israeli Jews. Things Learned from Ellanjay: Jews share a hive mind. Why do you think there are no denominations like Hasidic or Reform or Orthodox or anything like that with Jews? Because it's obvious they are a monolithic group who follow in lockstep unity the advice laid out by their Rabbis who in turn, obey the Grand Poobah (almost said Pope because they obviously think that Jews have one) of Jews. But remember, just because all RTCs follow the word of God's Own Prophet (the acronym is intentional), Tim LaHaye, in no way conveys that they too, do nothing but parrot the words they've read and heard over and over again from their parents and pastors; they just happen to see the truth. It's okay to be a Hive Mind so long as everyone believes the truth.

Also, back at the school, Janie is still being all hardened and full of sin and evil by refusing to pull her weight. Vicki says she's considered withholding meals in order to get her to cooperate, but Janie says the food is terrible and she doesn't want to eat it anyway. So yet another thing learned from Ellanjay: When non-RTCs withhold basic necessities like food from people in order to force them to convert to their way of thinking, it's torture, but when RTCs do it, they're demonstrating the love and compassion of Jesus who forgave his enemies, even as they drove nails into his hands.

They further discuss what to do about Janie, Vick going so far as to suggest locking her in the tunnel beneath the school in order to force her to convert and I really wish I could tell if he was being sarcastic or not, but Conrad says, "That would be an effective evangelism tactic: convert or starve." I have read and reread the passage and I can't tell if the ghostwriter is making an anonymous potshot at the beliefs of the RTCs he's writing about or if Conrad is honestly agreeing with Vicki that they need to force Janie to convert. It's really hard to tell given the way it's written. Naturally I'm going with the sarcastic interpretation simply because the other theory is too horrific for words.

In Israel, there's a brief sense of poignancy rarely seen in these books as Judd, Mr. Stein, and Lionel wander the old part of Jerusalem in search of Hat Dude and Judd notes how quiet the streets are and how there should be children outside playing. Naturally this poignancy last about as long as a single raindrop in the desert, but I note this because these moments, where they reflect on what's been lost, are so few and far between. Anyway, they find Hat Dude and they pray together.

Next they read Token Jew's website and basically realize that the next judgement, in which the stars and sun are dimmed, is coming up and for the first time, Our Brave Heroes actually think of the ramifications of the judgement about how they're going to survive the freeze and how all these people are going to die. Granted just about everyone should be dead by now since Wormwood poisoned the water, but given how rarely the massive death toll of any events in Ellanjay's works is acknowledged, I'm going to allow this. As a connoissuer of Post-Apocalyptic fiction, one of the most interesting elements of the genre is the parts where the heroes try to deal with what has happened by trying to guess how long their rations will hold out and what they can do to deal with the aftermath of the disaster, so I actually thought the part where they're discussing how they're going to deal with a massive freeze was interesting. The only problem is that Ellanjay is going to stop at step one and not take it any further from there: all the sufferings, if they're seen at all, will be born out by anonymous heathens and none of the heroes will have to miss meals or deal with being hungry and cold at all. Even Cozy Catastrophes make some attempt to have their heroes suffer some minor discomfort, but Ellanjay won't even allow that because they know their followers would give up the ghost if they had to suffer even that, so I think we need to invent a new trope to describe this kind of catastrophe in which the heroes don't suffer at all and smugly look down on those who do.

Next chapter, Vicki wakes up and the judgement has hit because it's freezing cold out. Once again, we get a little discussion as to how they're going to deal with it--they decide to start the generator and to move downstairs because it'd be too difficult to heat up the upstairs--but as usual only Janie aka the hardened reprobate, makes any complaints about the cold. The YTF, minus Janie of course, snigger at the GC explaination--a supernova created a magnetar or a supermagnetized star causing elements in its core to rise and become extremely magnetic--and I find myself wondering if I should track down the Bad Astronomer and have him hash apart this bullshit in an extremely funny yet informative way, because I have a feeling it's B.S. but due to my amateur understanding of astronomy and physics, I lack the knowledge needed to rip into this and explain how nobody would buy it. Besides it still wouldn't change the fact that the suffering that will be concentrated mostly on the lower class because being poor means that you have little if any margin of error and that they'll likely die without hearing the Good News which will lead to them burning in Hell for all eternity because they had the nerve not to be rich. As so many have pointed out, while many RTCs refuse to accept the Theory of Evolution even though it's been proven time and time again, they have no problem accepting Social Darwinism as God's Truth.

Again, the rest of this chapter, with both groups of the YTF, the one at the school and the one in Israel, trying to deal with the aftermath of the judgement is really well-written. It almost is an accurate portrayal of what would really happen with everyone trying to keep warm by bundling themselves in blankets and everyone being glued to the television sets in hopes of figuring out what's going to happen next. I say almost because there is still the trademark Ellanjay elements which makes the heathen snarker* aka me and the rest of the people following this blog go, "Come on!" and throw the book against the wall, but I'm trying to be a little less relentlessly negative by pointing out the tiny lotus buds struggling to rise out of the muck, so bear with me.

Naturally on TV, the GC has formed a group to study this phenomenon and give their findings and if you guessed one of the members of said group was Jewy McJew aka Chaim Rosenzweig, even though he's a frigging botanist and not someone who'd have any idea about stuff related to astronomy or physics or meterology, you win a No-Prize. I hope you feel proud of yourself. We could be reading Shakespeare right now instead of this.

The YTF are appalled that some members of this group are writers or entertainers as opposed to scientists. The hypocrisy is rich considering that YTF practically worship actors like Ronald Reagan or Kirk Cameron even though they demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge when it comes to any academic field.

Anyway, everyone expects Jewy McJew to parrot the GC party line but instead he says something along the lines of, "Token Jew has predicted everything that was going to happen and that he feels like a fool and is going to check out the website so he'll know what happens next." He dares the cameramen to pull the plug on him, but they don't because non-RTCs are basically like characters in a Jack Chick strip: they'll either react with total astonishment and stand silent because they're stunned by said RTC's wisdom and sagacity or beg to be baptized on the spot or they'll react with anger in which case the brave RTC will get a sweet taste of martyrdom with all the rewards that entails while the non-RTC is punted straight to Hell.

The chapter ends with summary because Ellanjay are strong believers in "Tell, don't even think of showing." There's really nothing worthy of note except that apparently Judd and Nada are spending more time together and forming a bond (which of course is told but we never actually see any of this) and Lionel basically asks Judd if it's really such a good idea to be getting close to someone at a time like this. Admittedly this is a sensible statement for a character to make--in a world which has less than seven years to live, you probably don't want to risk bringing anymore children into it--but I can't help but wonder if Lionel's statement was less about practicality and more related to RTCs' numerous hangups about love and sex in general. Judd basically says, "We're just friends," to which Lionel rolls his eyes.

The chapter ends with Samuel calling and talking about how he told his dad he's an RTC now. Naturally Daddy is pissed and Judd tells Samuel if his daddy throws him out, he can stay with them, even though chances are...well think about it...Inviting a guy whose Daddy has ties to the GC to stay with many different ways can that go wrong? It's not like Daddy can attach a tracking device or arrange to have people follow his son thus leading them right into a den full of RTCs. But even if that happened, we need not fear the GC torturing and making the YTF "disappear"; after all, it's been proven you'll just rot in jail for awhile before being busted out, none the worse for wear.

Not to mention because I'm a heathen pervert and because it's been proven so many times that the RTCs, who have the most hangups about sex more specifically gay sex, usually have the most to hide**, I can't help but read unintentional subtext into Samuel talking about coming out to his dad as an RTC and dad reacting with anger. Also, given that the readers of my blog are also heathen perverts***, you can probably guess what I'm going at with this unintentional subtext thing. :wink: :wink: Just remember that subtext can be rearranged to spell buttsex and you'll know just what I mean.

*Yes, I know I'm a Methodist, but given that I don't believe in the word of God as laid out by God's Own Prophet, Tim LaHaye, that probably makes me a heathen. That and the whole being liberal, believing in the social gospel, and being female and insisting on the ability to make my own decisions regarding my life and reproduction.

**One of my rules of life, one that's been proven true so many times it's probably woven into the fabric of the universe along with E=mc squared is, "He or she who screams the loudest about sin, usually has the most to hide." Just look at all the "family values" candidates who get caught shtupping the sexy intern or soliciting sex in an airport men's room.

***Don't worry that whole heathen pervert thing wasn't intended as a slam against you all. I love all my readers even if some of you probably have some embarrassing things in your search history. Then again, who doesn't.