Saturday, May 4, 2013

Seeing Shades of Grey

Okay so Mark's big idea is to steal the GC truck as a means of getting out of there. The others react with horror to this idea, though I don't see why: they regularly break the law by being RTCs and browsing Token Jew's website, so what's wrong with a little grand theft auto?

But in addition to using the truck to get back to their hideyhole, Mark wants to use the equipment inside to hack the feed for the school so they can get their message out. On one hand, this is a better idea than their stupid newspaper (which I still say was probably balled up and thrown away rather than read) but how exactly would having a GC truck enable them to do some hacking?

But Vicki isn't cool with this. She says if God wants them to do this, he'll provide a way. Mark's response is essentially mine: What if this is God providing a way? Mark points out that Our Buck and Token Jew break the law on a daily basis and I have to sa I'm a bit disappointed with this argument, mostly because it should have come up a lot sooner in this series. Remember it's against the law to be an RTC, so shouldn't they have been dealing with moral conundrums sooner? Like is it all right to lie to the GC if they ask you, point blank, if you're an RTC?

Oh and almost as though they read my previous snark where I pointed out that Lionel's virtually disappeared from this series, next section focuses on Lionel in Israel. He finds himself reflecting on the past three years (apparently that's how much time has passed in this series) and even though I've made my distaste for this character known, I almost feel sorry for him. Lionel spends his section thinking about his slaughtered missing family and castigating himself for not treating them better. I suppose this kind of survivor's guilt is common, but to me it felt like the writers heaping guilt on a kid simply for being a kid and y'know, occasionally picking on his older sister and being a brat to his younger siblings. I wanna hug him, but quickly this rare introspective moment ends as Lionel approaches the Gruesome Twosome (GT).

Nothing happens in the next Vicki section except that Mark changes the flat tire and they all, minus Mark because there wasn't enough room in the car for him, speed away from the scene.

So Lionel approaches the GT and we finally get description as to what Moist and Ellie look like.

They still wore sackcloth robes and looked like the picture of John the Baptist in Lionel’s first Bible. They had dark, leathery skin, and their feet were dirty. Their bony hands stuck out of their clothes like sticks, and their long gray hair and beards floated in the breeze.

So yeah, in addition to sounding like crazy hobos, they also look like them. I'll admit eccentric appearances/behaviors is par the course for biblical prophets but since when has looking and sounding like a crazed hobo attracted an audience of dazzled followers? Then again as Fred has already pointed out, as soon as the GT started attracting a crowd, the authorities would have diagnosed them with Jerusalem Syndrome and had them hospitalized.

Lionel asks them when they will die. The answer, if you're wondering, is after 1260 days. The section ends with him looking up the day and gasping.

Mark calls Carl and finally arrives in the truck. Naturally Vicki is pissed, but according to Mark, the GC listed this vehicle as having been destroyed in the attack. Because when there's some mysterious attack and people are dropping like flies, a person's first instinct is to update the vehicle registry. But it also turns out that the Morale Monitor inside the truck, is actually alive, not dead as previously assumed.

Next chapter, Vicki is pissed at Mark for bringing the Morale Monitor, whose name is Marjorie Amherst, to the schoolhouse and putting them all in danger, a justifiable reason to be pissed if you ask me. Mark apologizes, saying if he had known, he wouldn't have taken the truck. Anyway, while they debate about what to do about the unconscious Marjorie, who apparently was infamous for wrecking the curve back when she was in school, which leads to Charlie asking how someone so smart could have been misled by Nicky. Vicki says that you'll never find God through human wisdom. Charlie asks if that means you can't be smart and believe in God. Ellanjay are smart enough not to give an emphatic Yes! to this question; Vicki just responds by quoting several verses about God choosing the things that are foolish in order to shame the wise. I really wish I had Fred's background in theology so I can properly dissect these verses, but oh well.

Mark's idea regarding Marjorie, is to blindfold her and he'll drive her away in the truck. But Melinda objects.

“Wait,” Melinda said. “Is that all we’re going to do with her, just ship her back? You didn’t do that with me. You guys were straight with me from the start.”

Surprisingly Vicki agrees with Melinda saying that they'll be honest with Marjorie and if she's okay with them, they'll leave her be; if not, they'll ship her back. Me, I can think of several flaws in this genius scheme and so can the readers of my blog. Remember when they say they'll be honest with Marjorie, by that they mean they'll admit to being members of a religion that's been declared illegal and punishable by gulag according to the dictates of the GC. This could form an interesting moral dilemma if Ellanjay were willing to look at, let alone tackle, shades of grey. Like would it be wrong if the YTF killed Marjorie in order to protect themselves and other RTCs? Or maybe they could just load Marjorie into the truck WHILE she's still unconscious and not have to face a potential dilemma on their hands.

In Israel, Lionel runs to meet up with Judd and the others. Apparently the GT have three months to live and will die during Nicky's big blowout, which I don't remember being mentioned before now.

Sam is horrified about them dying, but the RTCs, being well-versed in the Tribbles' philosophy of doing nothing scripture, are calm, saying that all things serve God and that God will raise the GT to life anyway.

Lionel motions for Kasim and his family and delivers a message given to him by the GT. The message is basically God hears the cries of the distressed and delivers them. Kasim thanks Lionel for his words but still no word on whether he's given up on his plan to kill Nicky.

Vicki and the others monitor Marjorie's condition, but the chapter ends with her regaining consciousness, grabbing her (empty) gun and saying, "Come inside and close the door, Judah-ite!"


Firedrake said...

Hacking needs tech. The truck has tech. QED.

"The Lord will provide" - like the old joke here.

Of course you can be smart and believe in RTC!God. You just need lots and lots of slogans and casuistry so that you can avoid thinking about it.

So it's OK to stand by and guffaw while people are being killed by demon locusts or whatever it is this month, but actually getting your own hands dirty...

aunursa said...

Vicki just responds by quoting several verses about God choosing the things that are foolish in order to shame the wise. I really wish I had Fred's background in theology so I can properly dissect these verses, but oh well.

The entire Book of Proverbs refutes that false teaching. Here are a few verses...

The proverbs of Solomon: A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.
Proverbs 10:1

The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.
Proverbs 10:14

A fool finds pleasure in wicked schemes, but a person of understanding delights in wisdom.
Proverbs 10:23

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.
Proverbs 14:7

Also: It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.
Ecclesiastes 7:5

aunursa said...

Like is it all right to lie to the GC if they ask you, point blank, if you're an RTC?

This turns to the ludicrous in the later books of the main series, as the Tribbles try to tell themselves that they're not really lying...

Figueroa: Are you a male?
Chang: Yes
Figueroa: Do you work for the Global Community?
Chang: I am employed by them, yes.
Figueroa: Are you loyal to the supreme potentate?

Chang closed his eyes and reminded himself that Jesus Christ was the only person who fit that definition. "Yes," he said.
Figueroa: Can His Excellency Nicolae Carpathia personally count on your continuing loyalty for as long as you serve as an employee of the Global Community?
Chang: Well, Mr. Figueroa, I can certainly say in all sincerity that I will continue to show the same level of loyalty to the Global Community leader that I have shown him since the beginning.
Figueroa: So that's a "yes"?
Chang: It merely is what it is.

From Book 9: Desecration