Saturday, March 16, 2013

Taken Literally. Except when you shouldn't

First of all, thank you, thank you to Magpie for giving me a copy of the next book in the series. You are awesome!

So like I said, last week left off with Buck's brother, Jeff introducing himself. Jeff talks about how things have been tough and he and dad have been struggling to keep the trucking business going and I could do a long rant about how with all the disasters, they shouldn't still have a business, but I think I'll spare you. I'm trying to be a little less redundant but I can make no guarantees; it's not like Ellanjay aren't known for their redundancies.

Jeff tells his story about how Sharon and his kids were slaughtered disappeared and naturally, Vicki tries to convert him, but Jeff refuses to bite, giving me a chance to dust off my "Strawman always has a point" tag.

In Israel, Judd and the others discuss what to do about Jamal and his family. According to Sam, last time he saw Kasim, he had a bloody lip. I only point that out to further show Ellanjay's rule that bad things only happen to minor characters. He figures that the GC found them because of Kasim's phone call to Kweesa. Sam says that they have to pray that his dad accepts the truth, but Judd says there might be another way and the section ends there.

Next section, Mark calls and apparently the GC are restarting schools. :groans: Why exactly are they doing schools given that the Earth only has a few years left to live and therefore there isn't going to be a future? But then again, they are repeatedly unclear as to whether Nicky Tuxtla is aware of the prophecies and is intentionally following them or if he is, like all the characters in the story, a puppet of the almighty Zod.

Basically they're requiring everyone under twenty to go through continuing education complete with Morale Monitors. Y'all have already pointed out the numerous problems with the Morale Monitors in a previous post so no need to rehash that. It goes without saying that the press anouncement mentions that the schools will teach the most eeevil of all virtues, tolerance, and that young people refusing to attend said schools will be rounded up. I find myself wondering if this isn't Ellanjay projecting that this is what the eeevil NWO will someday do to brave RTCs who homeschool their children.

Based on this announcement, Vicki decides to curtail their travels and return to the school and she and Mark start to wonder what to do in case the GC checks into their unorthodox living arrangements.

The newly converted RTCs start to worry that if the GC force them to attend one of their schools, they could be brainwashed and lose the Zod-mark. But Vicki has this to say:

“You don’t have to worry about losing the mark.” Vicki explained that the kids who believe in Jesus are held not by their own power, but by God’s. “Each of you has to make up your own mind. By going you might be able to reach some people who don’t know about God. But it might be too much for you to listen to the GC’s blather.”

This is consistent with earlier how Lionel didn't lose his Saved status even when he had laser-guided amnesia, but it does raise some questions. Like if you can't lose your salvation, then why so much hatred against those who convert then change their minds later? Or is this another case of "the Word of Zod is sooo amazing that you either instantly accept its truth or you're willfully disingenuous?"

Vicki tries once again to get Jeff to convert but he says he needs more time. The chapter ends with Vicki finding out that Omer has been killed. Honestly, I mourn because he was the only character showing any kind of initiative, but you know that Ellanjay don't like characters who do things besides lie back and think of Zod.

The chapter ends with this headslapper of a statement:

“The worst part is that the GC were getting ready to release Omer’s mom. Carl said if they had waited a few more days, everything would have been all right.”

Once again, let me just say: Worst Dictatorship ever! They have a group of traitors to the cause and they don't torture the hell out of them or kill them?! Like I've said before, a shorter list would be of villains who were less effective than Nicky.

Also, note how information about Omer's death is given secondhand, robbing it of any impact. I officially take back my remarks about how they handled the deaths of the Power Couple of Awesomeness; at least that had some wrenching potential as we got to hear Hasina and Taylor profess their love for one another before being killed.

Next chapter, Ellanjay, or more likely the ghostwriter, ease off the narrative gas as we admit that these constant deaths have had an impact on Vicki.

With each day, Vicki grew numb. She didn’t want to. She wanted to feel alive. With each person who prayed and asked God for forgiveness, she felt a spark in her soul. Then something else would happen, like the news of Omer, and she would become preoccupied again.

This numbness makes sense as they are experiencing constant casualties but if you were expecting to really delve into what that does to a psyche, you're reading the wrong books. This isn't George RR Martin we're dealing with here.

Vicki looks over Our Buck's paper The Truth which basically says that the schools are indoctrinating kids into GC propaganda, then decides to read Token Jew's latest missive. And I must wonder how is it that there's no mention that the GC are monitoring and jailing everyone who visits Token Jew's website? You'd think that'd be worth a mention, how the YTF work around that but shows what I know.

My text is from Revelation 9:15-21. “And the four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were turned loose to kill one-third of all the people on earth. They led an army of 200 million mounted troops—I heard an announcement of how many there were.
“And in my vision, I saw the horses and the riders sitting on them. The riders wore armor that was fiery red and sky blue and yellow. The horses’ heads were like the heads of lions, and fire and smoke and burning sulfur billowed from their mouths. One-third of all the people on earth were killed by these three plagues—by the fire and the smoke and burning sulfur that came from the mouths of the horses. Their power was in their mouths, but also in their tails. For their tails had heads like snakes, with the power to injure people. “But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to turn from their evil deeds. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that neither see nor hear nor walk! And they did not repent of their murders or their witchcraft or their immorality or their thefts.”

Okay, given that we've seen meteors in place of stars falling to earth and Wormwood was a comet made of rotting wood, I'm sure you are all waiting with bated breath to see how Token Jew interprets horses with heads like lions.

So here comes his analysis.

This passage has puzzled me for some time. For centuries scholars have looked at prophecy as symbolic. These symbols have been explained in different ways by different people. But why would God make it so difficult? I believe when the Scriptures say the writer saw something in a vision, it is symbolic of something else. But when the writer simply says that certain things happen, I take those literally.

Did you understand what the hell that meant? Neither did I. All I can parse from that passage is that the Bible can and should be taken literally except when it shouldn't, but don't you worry your pretty little head about if and when and just listen to me.

So far I have been proven right. This passage says John sees 200 million horsemen in a vision. I doubt these men and animals will be flesh and bone since John mentions a vision, but they will have a terrible impact on the world. They will indeed kill a third of the population. Friends, I don’t know how this will happen or even how long it will take. God could make it occur in an instant. It appears to me that it will take several weeks. I ask you to read the account in Revelation and ask God to make it clear to you.

Yeah, if I rolled my eyes any further back, I'm afraid they'd fall out of my head. Again, how is it that Ellanjay manage to argue that the Bible is both simultaneously easy enough that even the most uneducated can understand its mysteries, yet also so convoluted you need a flowchart and the help of prophecy "experts" in order to get it?

There's a brief chase scene as Vicki notices some cars tailing them, but they shake them pretty quickly and I'm bored to death with the whole thing. The chapter ends with Shelly saying she saw horses with lion-heads which means yet another disaster is about to happen.


THE Magpie said...

glad I could help, it was kind of selfish, I like your snarking. I need it to make it through another week of congressional political idiocy.

Firedrake said...

Yay Magpie from a fellow flappity beastie. (And I'm still annoyed that Amazon won't let me use the American site to give ebooks to an American account.)

Trucking. Hmm. Kinda depends on road maintenance, and fuel supply, and such like things.

The schools thing reminds me of Fred's recent comment on the big long-range policies of the GC/OWG (Ask Us About Eternal Damnation): if you're running the Legions of Evil, surely what you want is to (a) stop people becoming RTCs and (b) get them to fight for you at Megiddo? Shouldn't everything be focussed on that? And given how many people still believe in the idea of national mobilisation against a big scary foe, that would be the way to spin it - "we've all got to pull together", "new greatest generation", and so on.

If you can't lose your salvation, why have a TF at all? Just go into the GC Security Directorate undercover, converting people as you meet 'em...

aunursa said...

In LB Buck's father and brother are killed in a fire just about the same time that Nicky is assassinated. Buck learns of their deaths in Book #7.

aunursa said...

Actually they will be tortured and killed when they refuse to tell the GC where Buck is, and the fire is set to cover it up.

aunursa said...

The horses with lion heads corresponds to about a third of the way into Book #6 in the main series.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're continuing on with the series. Thanks for doing this! The adult books were bad enough - I can't imagine reading this series.