Sunday, July 8, 2012

I know, kids. I'm scared too.

[Krusty the Clown] Hey Hey! [/Krusty the Clown]

Before we begin, I like to get the bad news out of the way, because that's the kind of person I am. Giving bad news is like ripping off a bandaid: twere well it were done quickly. Anyway, here's the bad news: Tomorrow I will be on Residency until Thursday of the following week so there will be no new posts for a bit. This one will have to tide you over. If you get bored, you can write fanfiction where the YTF actually does stuff or (and this is my preference) more about the adventures of Taylor and Hasina as they travel the world doing battle with the forces of the GC and Zod.

So Samuel doesn't call the next day and naturally Judd suspects something's up. In well-written, well thought-out post-apocalyptic YA fiction, it wouldn't be too unusual not to hear from someone for a while and to spend hours wondering if they're okay because all these disasters would have reduced the infrastructure to shreds, but since this is Ellanjay...Yeah, I don't need to say any more, do I?

Lionel and Judd discuss whether they should look for them, wondering if it's a trap, when Nada volunteers to go searching for him. Judd's all "Your dad won't go for this," but Nada's like "We don't have to tell him," and while I know the band of plucky young kids disobeying their elders is a standard trope in YA lit, I'm rather surprised it shows up here. Aren't RTCs always getting in a snit about how Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Harry Potter series are always disobeying the rules, but are rarely if ever punished? And yet it shows up here. My guess is this is the ghostwriter's contribution and for that I salute him. It can't be easy working for such lunkheads like Ellanjay and having to write book after book about a group of Elsie Dinsmore clones.

Nada says she's ready to go wherever Zod wants her and laughs at rumors that she and Judd are an item. Now to Vicki.

Now I know there's so very much wrong with the Left Behind Universe that if us heathen snarkers were to set aside jobs, families, free time, etc. to making a comprehensive wiki complete with examples of why nothing would happen the way Ellanjay says it would, we'd pretty much be sentenced to a Wandering Jew-like existence similar to that of our dear Fred Clark at Slacktivist, but very occasionally, they actually do something right and in an attempt to be a little less negative, I'll point them out. Besides, the moments where Ellanjay are right are like Halley's Comet: it won't come again for a long time, so you better appreciate them while they're here so you'll have something to tell the grandkids.

Basically, the stars dimming disaster is actually affecting stuff and Ellanjay actually talks about the stuff being affected. I know, I'm shocked too and more than just a little bit scared. I feel like Homer at the end of the episode "Bart's Comet."

Vicki had planned to keep up a Bible study but right now with it being so cold out, she's focused on keeping the people at the school alive. According to the news, the Midwest looks like Alaska in the dead of winter, all the animals at the Chicago area zoos have died except for the penguins and the polar bears, the homeless in the major metropolitan cities have frozen to death, and resorts along the beach have closed. I could point out that all this massive death and suffering should have happened before the dimming (Wormwood alone would have taken out everyone) but dammit! It's so unbelievably refreshing to see them finally acknowledging a massive death toll!

Frankly I couldn't help but wonder if the ghostwriter wrote most of this passage because I can't picture this level of basic craftsmenship coming from Jenkins or LaHaye. Ever since finding out that a ghostwriter worked on the series, I've wondering how the relationship between Ellanjay and ghostwriter played out. I would say Ellanjay gave him the checklist and said, "Knock yourself out," then just put their name to it afterwards, but there are too many of the trademark problems often seen in Ellanjay's works for that to be the case. I picture the three of them crowded around the keyboard, constantly pushing and shoving each other out of the way and this passage only happened because the ghostwriter slipped something in Ellanjay's drinks long enough to type this passage out before they regained consciousness and since Ellanjay doesn't believe in rereading what you've written, he was able to get away with it. All I can say is,"Bravo, brave ghostwriter." Your actions gave us the only decent passage in this entire series.

There is a weird mention in the bit about the homeless dying about how the shelters hadn't been staffed since Zod slaughtered raptured the Christians who ran them. I point this out because while I know a lot of the homeless shelters are run by Christian organizations, I find it strange that Ellanjay would mention this kind of thing. Aren't RTCs the type who believe in Social Darwinism (i.e. Poor people are poor because they're naturally inferior to rich people and therefore deserve to die in the gutter like God intended) and for the most part don't they consider any kind of charity that doesn't involve Gideon Bibles, handing out tracts, voting Republican, forwarding online applications to stop the War on Christmas, or giving money so [Insert Televangelist here] can have another yacht to better  "witness" to the poor heathens in [insert heathen country of choice here], a waste of time? After all, TurboJesus is going to come soon so why bother trying to clean up the environment or make the world a less painful place to live since TurboJesus will fix everything.

The news broadcast ends with Nicky Andes denouncing Token Jew and his followers and announcing that he's going to visit the Gruesome Twosome even though you'd think, since he controls the worldwide media, that he could just order the media to stop broadcasting their rantings, but that's crazy talk. :eyeroll:  Now back to Israel.

Judd's sneaking around, driving Nada to where she needs to go, while worrying about how her daddy, Jamal, will be pissed when he finds out. Since I already pointed out the whole "disobeying your elders" thing, I won't go into it again. But that's all that happens in Israel. :Yawn: Back to Vicki who currently has the only remotely compelling plotline going on.

Basically running the generator is using up more gasoline than they thought it would so Conrad suggests they only run it at night and burn wood to stay warm during the day. Naturally everyone, by which I mean Vicki, Conrad, and Mark (naturally none of the heathens were allowed to listen and decide), decide it's a good idea so they are :gasp: :choke: forced to use battery power on their laptop in order to see Nicky's visit the Gruesome Twosome at the Western Wall. But just as the visit begins, the laptop battery craps out, so Our Brave Heroes are unable to Bravely Watch the news. :gasps: The Apocalypse is worse than I could ever imagine! But it does turn out that the gas line froze almost immediately after they turned off the generator, so now the YTF can't even use it at night. I suppose some obsessive nerd* will point out how generators don't work that way while doing their best Morbo impersonation, but frankly, I'll allow it just so the Heroes Who Don't Do Anything will actually have to experience some discomfort as a result of the Apocalypse.

Now in Israel, Lionel is covering for Judd and Nada while he watches Nicky Bale visit with the Gruesome Twosome (GT) and as you guessed, Nicky comes across as sympathetic, while the GT sound like they have some kind of religion-related Tourette's Syndrome**. Basically, Nicky pleads with them, asking for help as men who claim to speak for God, begging to help him come to an agreement or compromise. Naturally, I suppose we're supposed to see this as proof of Nicky's duplicitousness, especially since he used the second most eeevil of all words, compromise, but like I said, he's the one who sounds sympathetic. As I've said before, he was created by Zod to be the anti-Christ and though he is essentially a robot unable to do anything except what he was programmed to do by Zod, he will still be punted straight to Hell where he'll suffer for all eternity for doing exactly what he was supposed to do.

Moist and Ellie aka Moishe and Eli basically say, "Your quarrel isn't with us," over and over again, ignoring and interrupting Nicky as he tries to talk to them. Rules of debate for RTCs: Apparently all it takes in order to crush your opponents in a debate is to make sure they can't get a word in edgewise. Heathens will claim that's proof of the weakness of your argument, but hey, they'll realize how right you were when the shit hits the fan and your sipping wine non-alcoholic grape juice with Jesus in Heaven, while they're burning in Hell.

Moist and Ellie accuse him of denying the one true God, which they refer to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I guess Ellanjay put that line in there, so they can pat themselves on the back for realizing that Jewish people hold Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in high esteem, but since I can't help but be contrary, I find myself wondering if by that requirement (in other words, worshipping the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), does that mean by Ellanjay's own admission that those inscrutable Jews and Islamo-commie-fascist Muslims will get into Heaven? After all, I'm fairly certain the Jews and the Muslims both worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Nicky's response to the God of Abraham bit is to sputter something about tolerance, thus proving how eeevil he is, because if compromise is the second most eeevil word, tolerance is the number one most eeevil word. But Moist is onto him and responds by saying that, "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." Once again, I find myself wondering if this means that the Muslims will get in because they believe in Jesus, right? Not in the same way that the RTCs do, but they'd probably have no problem with describing Jesus as a mediator between man and God.

Nicky Himalayas's response actually seems justified given that he came to talk to these so-called men of God and all they've done is dick around with him. Word of advice to aspiring writers: if you want to write about prophets, read some of the great Biblical prophets or if you're allergic to the Old Testament, try reading Stephen's sermon before the Sanhedrin or the Book of James. Prophets should come across as wise, a little crazy (though not a lot crazy), and otherworldly, not like a bunch of mental patients who chewed through the leather straps and somehow wound up in front of one of the most revered religious monuments. Anyway, here's the Prince of Darkness's response:

"So, that is it, then? Before the eyes of the world, you refuse to talk? All I get is that my quarrel is not with you? With whom, then, is it? All right, fine!"
Am I the only one who feels actually sorry for Nicky Amaro? I mean, he's actually asking for answers yet the GT aren't going to even try to save his soul, even though he's currently killed fewer people than the God they claim to worship. Poor Nicky never even had a chance...I really feel sorry for him.

Nicky then announces that the death of the GC guard was not the responsibility of any of the witnesses at the meeting and goes on to say that anyone who follows the teachings of Token Jew is now considered a fugitive or an enemy of the GC, but everyone else is free to live their lives and travel as they see fit. I know, again, we're supposed to find Nicky eeevil for persecuting the good RTCs, but I think Ellanjay's only objection really is that he's persecuting the wrong people, not that he's persecuting, period. Do you think if Token Jew was in charge he'd allow all the heathens, which includes anyone who doesn't believe in the word of God as laid out by God's Own Prophet, to practice their faith and live in peace? Once again, I feel a need to remind those who aren't history buffs that while Spain was going through the Inquisition, persecuting Muslims, Jews, and anyone who disagreed with the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Ottoman Empire, run by Islamo-Commie-Fascists, allowed Jews to live and practice their faith in peace. Nicky then makes this statement:

"I do not know with whom I am or should be talking but I stand willing to do whatever it takes to end this plague of darkness."

Now in a well-written novel, this would be the kind of statement uttered by the hero as he prepares to do battle with the forces of evil threatening his people, but remember, Ellanjay thinks the oh-so-holy checklist and all the deaths that'll happen as a result of the checklist is a good thing. These good Christian men are salivating over the deaths of innocent people and think that anyone who tentatively says that all these deaths are a bad thing or tries to stop it, is on the side of Satan. If the Holy Checklist had called for planes to hit the World Trade Centers, they would have danced in the streets with the Palestinians on September 11th.

Nada goes up to Samuel's house, only for the door to open and someone to grab her and drag her inside. Now, naturally this sort of thing normally wouldn't play out well for a teenage girl in real life, but I have a feeling nothing will come of this because nothing ever comes of anything in these books. As you guessed, Judd just sits there all gormless as Nada is dragged into the house, not bothering to freak out or go after here or do anything. Our Hero, folks...

The chapter ends with Vicki and the other kids at the school huddling together to get warm. They pray before going to sleep with Melinda asking the question that's probably on everyone's mind: "Are we going to die?"

And that's it until after Residency. I feel a little guilty in that I only gave y'all one chapter to tide you over until then, but given how long this post is, I'm sure I've provided enough fodder for you to discuss until then. :grins: Now in the words of Edward Murrow, good night and good luck.

*Don't take the obsessive nerd remark as a slam against any of you all. I'm in no position to judge anyone for believing an obsessive nerd given that I'm still hacking my way through these terrible, terrible books.

**Just in case any Tourette's sufferers are out there, know that my remark was intended more as a slam against Ellanjay rather than a slam against any of y'all. I'm sure Tourette's is like any mental illness in that you have to deal with idiots thinking they're an expert because they saw that one movie and judging you as a result; in other words, it sucks. It really, really sucks.