Sunday, June 30, 2013

Nicky Fails Basic Villainy

I know, I know. I need to stop talking about how bored I am because it's not funny and because y'all are probably getting sick and tired of me mentioning it, but really it's hard to avoid not mentioning it. It's just that dull. I'll do my best to snark this, but cut me a little slack, willya.

All that happens at the beginning is Vicki and the rest of the American YTF (minus Charlie, who's hanging with Bo and Ginny) hide when the GC come around looking for them. But Charlie realizes that the GC will likely come back and they might be suspicious if he's not with Bo and Ginny so Mark gives him an ultimatum: Stay with them or go with us.

Judd and Lionel are arriving in Jerusalem. They lookover the stage. There's yet another sign of Ellanjay's inability to predict future trends as Judd decides to check on Kasim by calling on the car phone. Ah, car phones... Once again, I find myself wondering when these books were published. The first one was published in 1996, but we're over twenty books in so surely by now Ellanjay could have predicted cell phones becoming commonplace.

They talk to Jamal about Kasim but he doesn't know anything and says all they can do is pray. Also, they past by the Western Wall and run into the Gruesome Twosome again.

The GC had placed massive television lights over Eli and Moishe. Satellite dishes, cables, and cameras filled the space in front of the two witnesses.
“I wonder if they have this much giz at the stage we saw on TV,” Lionel said.

First of all, I had to study the sentence several times to understand what Lionel meant by "giz." But most importantly, why the Hell is Nicky setting up all this tech, the better to broadcast his enemy's message to the world? He owns the press and the police; surely he can tell his reporters to stay away and have the police put Moist and Ellie in a gulag.

Lionel and Judd go for a walk and we see how the holy city has degenerated into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

Judd and Lionel had walked this same route in the past, but they were surprised at all the new businesses. They passed bars, massage parlors, fortune tellers, and even pagan sanctuaries.

:eyeroll: How is this worse than what you can find in any reasonably-sized city? Ellanjay must get the vapors every time they step outside their house, especially since the wife of one of them works in Washington D.C., a city that's not exactly known for its low crime rate.

In the next few paragraphs, Ellanjay, in response to my eyeroll, try to convince me how degenerate the holy city has become.

“Can you believe this?” Lionel said. “Chicago had these kinds of places, but you had to go out of your way to find them. This junk is out in the open for everybody to see.”

Lionel was right. These weren’t run-down stores in the bad part of town. Gleaming storefronts advertised everything sinful. One busy shop run by a group of witches offered to cast spells. If you purchased one, the second was free. Many shoppers bought charms guaranteed to hurt the two witnesses. A block away, a bar played music so loud Judd couldn’t believe people could go inside without losing their hearing. The lyrics of the songs were so evil, Judd took a side street to escape the noise.

So the most horrible things Ellanjay can imagine are well-maintained thriving businesses with a bunch of people casting spells and a place that serves alcohol and has loud music. I cannot roll my eyes enough because you'd think that a truly degenerate city ruled by the anti-Christ would more resemble Rwanda circa 1994 complete with sex acts that aren't the missionary and aren't done solely for the purpose of reproduction. I feel let down by Ellanjay's lack of imagination, though to be fair, these books are meant for kids so they probably couldn't be too degenerate.

Judd and Lionel approach Kasim's place and hear someone inside screaming, "So that's the way you want it? You want us to kill you?"

Charlie decides to stay on the farm with Bo and Ginny.

Judd and Lionel wait until two burly guys leave Kasim's apartment. They find Kasim lying bloodied and bruised on the floor and the chapter ends with Lionel asking if Kasim's dead.

Next chapter, they're taking care of Kasim, who isn't dead. Apparently he tried to buy some weapons on the black market and got beaten up because he couldn't pay. Judd tries to get Kasim to hand over the weapon but he refuses. Kasim still wants to go through with his plan to kill Nicky.

Judd tries to scare him by saying that he talked to someone in the GC who said they'd kill Kasim if his plan is discovered. My response is, "Well duh, it makes sense that a worldwide dictatorship would frown on someone trying to assassinate their leader," but all Kasim can say is, "They're not going to--"

“If you don’t give me the rifle, I’m telling them myself.”
Kasim stared at Judd. “You’d do that to a fellow believer? Someone who wants to rid the world of that evil man?”
“You’re not thinking clearly,” Judd said. “And if you did get away with it, they’d trace the weapon to General Zimmerman and he’d be in trouble.”

Again, I fail to see the threat, because as said before killing Nicky doesn't do anything except make him SuperEvil, so why not let Kasim get in his shot? Also, given that General Jew is an RTC like all good characters in this series, and RTCism has been declared illegal, HE'S ALREADY IN DANGER REGARDLESS IF KASIM SHOOTS NICKY OR NOT! [/ragedump]

But Judd's incredible logic gets through to Kasim, who gives Judd the weapon. He returns it to General Jew's house and sleeps peacefully.

Vicki and Charlie talk about their times together. Charlie mentions that Judd really likes her and apparently that Conrad and Shelly have been holding hands a lot. This would actually be interesting dialogue if I cared about the characters and admitedly, it's nice that they're stepping off the narrative gas for a little gossipy moment, but the trouble is I don't really care about any of these characters.

They talked about the other kids in the Young Trib Force, and Charlie grew serious. “I’ve been reading as much as I can about what’s going to happen next. It’s going to get bad, isn’t it?” Vicki nodded. “We’re in a seven-year period of trouble. The first three and a half years have been awful. The last three and a half years will be worse.”

Forgive me for not being an expert on Ellanjay's incredibly convoluted prophecy, but I fail to see how the next three and a half years can be worse that the previous given that the previous involved all the children and RTCs being slaughtered, a worldwide quake, a rock the size of the Appalachians hitting the Earth, all the water becoming undrinkable, a massive freeze, and two appearances of lion-headed snake-tailed flying people-killers. I may have left out a few disasters because I can't remember them all, but I believe I've made my point.

Oh and we get two mentions of Ryan and one mention of Bruce.

Charlie asks if they'll get to meet all the great biblical figures in Heaven. It's notable for this part.

“I’d like to meet Ruth. Her story is so sad and then romantic. And Mary, the mother of Jesus.”

That sound you hear is me guffawing because for all their talk about how important the Bible is, they clearly haven't actually read the Book of Ruth, unless they consider a woman seducing a man and having :gasp: :choke: premarital sex to be romantic. I wonder if they're the types who use Ruth 1:16-17 at weddings, not realizing that it's :gasp: a woman saying it to another woman (Ruth to Naomi, if you're wondering).

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.”

After their conversation, Vicki and Charlie say goodbye, then Vicki and the rest of the YTF load up the Bo and Ginny's Suburban and head north.

Meanwhile in Israel, Mr. Stein makes this statement which once again, makes me headdesk about the GC's stupidity.

“The Global Community has just announced there will be no arrests or detainments during the Gala.”

Really, Nicky?! You should be like Beijing circa the 2008 Olympics where officials used the festivities as an excuse to step up their persecution lest the rabble act up and embarrass them on the world stage.

They talk about holding a tent meeting then General Jew asks Judd if he's seen a weapon missing from his collection. Judd tells him about Kasim and how he took a rifle but Judd admits to having returned it. But something is still missing from General Jew's collection: a high-intensity laser that can be used as a sword.

Nothing really happens at the end of the chapter. Vicki's traveling. There is a rare moment of introspection where they briefly think about all the people they've lost, but it's over pretty quick and that's it for this week.


Rubyfruit said...

Of course Nicky fails at basic villainy. He has to be threatening without being threatening. Also, he has to adhere super-strictly to the End Times Checklist, so "no arrests" adheres to the "Peacey McPeaceful" thing, I guess? Therefore, "Peace = Teh Evils".

Either that, or LaHaye and Jenkins fail so bad at writing good guys that it's expected that they can't write bad guys, either. I definitely vote this option.

Brin said...

“The Global Community has just announced there will be no arrests or detainments during the Gala.”

And there is absolutely no poison in the food provided. None. It's perfectly safe.

Firedrake said...

I think Rubyfruit's first point may be the key: the authors are so embedded in the worldview that nothing can ever trump God's Plan that their villains can never be shown to have any significant successes.

"Put them in a gulag", maybe not, what with the fire-breathing and all. "Build a gulag around them at a safe distance", maybe...

Psst, boys, the word is "detentions".

aunursa said...

But something is still missing from General Jew's collection: a high-intensity laser that can be used as a sword.

For his assassination plan, Rayford has purchased one of these weapons, called "Saber", from Albie, a devout Muslim and black marketeer. But it's implied that Albie had access to several of these weapons, so he wouldn't have stolen just one.

aunursa said...

Lionel and Judd go for a walk and we see how the holy city has degenerated into a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah.

From Book #6:
Nicolae: Personal, individual freedom has never been more celebrated. And may I say, there are more places in Jerusalem than anywhere to indulge yourselves. Revel in the Epicurean and physical pleasures that appeal to you. Show the rest of the Global Community that they are allowed to pamper the flesh even after times of hardship and chaos. Let us ring in the new world with a festival like no one has ever seen.

Firedrake said...

aunursa: yeah, I think you can probably learn quite a lot about a person from whether they shudder at that quote or say "hmm, good idea, how can we make it work".

Ghost of 503 said...

Ghalll Ellenjay can't even do hell-holes right. New Babylon should look like Hell Valley from Back To The Future 2. Wrecked cars & chalk outlines every ten feet. Law enforcement having to travel in convoys. Every house has barred windows. Normal people having to wear body armor just to get the newspaper ("Eat lead slackers!").

Then at the center there is a city-within-a-city, a "pleasure palace" where security is provided by a military force, where the rich and elite can have every pleasure imaginable indulged, and tanks and other vehicles keeps the starving masses away...

Mouse said...

That's a good point, Firedrake. I'd rather be under the thumb of an Epicurean rather than a Puritan. At least, Epicureans don't pass laws requiring you to live like they do.

Firedrake said...

I'm increasingly of the opinion that a belief of the form "doing/thinking/not-thinking this will send you to hell" must intrinsically be toxic. Because if you think that someone else really will be consciously tortured forever, you have to try to change their ways. And you have to keep trying. It's like seeing a friend doing hard drugs, only far more extreme...

Jon Garcia said...

Massage parlors! HOW EVIL

Firedrake said...

Good point, Jon Garcia! The meme that the LaJenkins Complex has unthinkingly used here is "massage parlour = front for prostitution = wicked", but in the New World Order it wouldn't be any more -- if you want to set up a brothel, you just set up a brothel, no need to call it anything else.