Monday, July 15, 2013

The GT are Dead!

Sorry sorry to be so late with the post. Combination of family get-together and migraines. That out of the way, let's get to work.

As predicted, Ellanjay can't even create a decent strawman for his characters to knock over. I know we're all supposed to tremble before Nicky and root for him to be slaughtered by TurboJesus, but the trouble is he doesn't come across as the least bit menacing. Nicky's essentially a stuffed shirt. It also really doesn't help that the book actually refers to him as "the meanest man on the face of the earth." I can't be the only one laughing derisively at that. It sounds like an insult someone in Elementary school would use. I suppose I should be grateful they didn't call him a "big meanie bo feanie."

Is there any explanation for why the Gruesome Twosome suddenly lose their fire-breathing mojo or is this another case of "because prophecy that's why!"

For those of you who are curious, Judd is witnessing this firsthand, as Vicki and the rest of the YTF watch on TV.

“You have plagued the world with your magic for too long,” Carpathia said to the witnesses. “You have boasted about the suffering you have caused.”
“That’s not true,” Conrad said.

Actually, Conrad, it is. I can point to several passages where the GT boast about this being the reward of those who don't fall on their knees and thank Zod for beating them into submission. I am totally on Team Nicky here simply because there are no better options.

But Nicky loses all the respect I've given him, by acting all petulant, rather than just shooting them and being done with it.

“I proclaimed this area off-limits to you two years ago! Why are you still here? You must leave or be arrested! In fact, did I not say that if you were seen in public anywhere after the meeting of the cultists that you would be executed?”

Uh, Nicky if you proclaimed this area off-limits two years ago, then why the hell did you not do anything? Like say drop a cruise missle on them as they preached. I wonder if their fire-breathing mojo would protect against that. In the very least, you could have gotten your world-wide media to stop broadcasting their rantings to the world.

Lionel bent beside Judd and whispered, “He knows.”
“What do you mean?” Judd said.
“I think Carpathia’s been studying. He knows the prophecy says he’s going to win this round.”

Again, if Nicky's been reading up on this convoluted prophecy, surely he realizes that he gets punted in the end. Of course then again, does Ellanjay ever answer whether Nicky even has free will or if he can only play the role Zod gave him, even though he'll be smited in the end for doing so.

But finally Nicky shoots the GT. And there is much rejoicing. I'm picturing it playing out like the ending to the 1973 version of Wicker Man.

But Judd is still worried about Kasim trying to assassinate Nicky for reasons I'm not quite sure. Why exactly can't Kasim have his crack at murdering Nicky given that it doesn't do anybody any good? The chapter ends with him going after him.

Second chapter, Vicki and the others are grieving the loss of the GT. But not for long; apparently the new hideout has a secret room stocked full of food and night vision goggles, so they get to work exploring, but worry not: they keep watching the news.

The only person who spoke about Peter was Carpathia himself. In an interview shortly after killing the two witnesses, Carpathia admitted that he was tired of the Enigma Babylon Faith and said it would not return. “Individual souls can find within themselves the deity necessary to conduct their lives as they wish. I esteem individual freedom over organized religion.”

So what purpose did the EBOWF plot serve? It went nowhere and did nothing and it was forgotten about pretty fast. Is there any reason why Nicky couldn't just set up worship of himself early on? Though you'd think they'd have Nicky value tolerance, the most eeevil of all virtues.

So the eeevil GC are celebrating the death of the GT by kicking the bodies and destroying effigies. Once again, I'm picturing the scene being like the ending to the Christopher Lee version of Wicker Man.

Lionel watches as two girls talk about snipping a piece of the GT's robes. But just as they are about to do so, the GT are raised.

A voice spoke so loud that people covered their ears. “COME UP HERE!”
Lionel noticed the music from a few blocks away had stopped. Everyone watched as Eli and Moishe slowly rose into the air. People fell on their knees and buried their faces. Others cried out in horror as the two disappeared into a cloud. The cloud moved higher and higher until it vanished.

Once again, we have irrefutable witness of an actual factual miracle. Now in a well-written book, this would cause world-wide soul-searching as people of all walks of faith debate the cause and nature of said event, but given what I've seen before, I have a feeling we're in for another "Freaky Event Occurs: Zod Not Involved" kind of response. I could also point out that if Zod can witness to people in a way that doesn't involve repeatedly killing them, then why not do so? Why not just make a worldwide announcement that "Tim LaHaye was totally right about everything and you should totally buy all his books."?

But shortly after the GT ascend into heaven, yet another earthquake breaks out. In a rare show of compassion among RTCs, Mr. Stein says, “We must help those who may be trapped.” But the book ends with Lionel wondering if Judd survived the quake.

And I'm afraid that's the end of my snarks for a bit. The next book is Unmasked but I still haven't found work, despite applying to just about every place imaginable, and I'm still utterly broke. I feel like an eBeggar.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Informed Attributes

First of all, a quick shoutout and thank you to Fred from Slacktivist, who managed to more concisely phrase why the Gruesome Twosome are bad at this prophet business than I ever could. Not to mention, he managed to be both funny and educational. Seriously, read his blog if you're not already doing so.

The chapter begins with Lionel and Sam passing out pamphlets, which were probably promptly balled up and thrown away or passed around and joked about, much in the way people do with Jack Chick tracts. He and Sam then go and see the Gruesome Twosome.

What follows is basically a long sermon comprised of quotes from the Bible, which makes it really hard to snark, except to say that they come across, like Fred said, as machines programmed by someone with a faulty knowledge of human behavior/conversation.

The GT preach one of my favorite passages, Matthew 23:37

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, You shall not see me from now on, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.

Allow me to point out that missing from this passage is the part where Jesus says "And if ye do not gather under my wings, I shall send thee to a place of ever-lasting punishment for all eternity."

The GT stop speaking. Lionel and Sam walk away with Lionel saying that they might have just heard the last words of the GT. Once again, it would be dramatic if I gave a shit but I don't. Not to mention, instead of rattling off Bible passages like poorly-programmed automatons, would they be more helpful as prophets if they said, "Hey first this disaster is going to happen then this, this, and this." Instead of just standing there saying "Woe to all you free-thinking abortionists sinners!"

Meanwhile, Vicki and the others make it to Wisconsin where they plan on crashing at Darrion's former summer home. But horrors of horrors, they can't watch the gala on the big screen TV because the solar batteries haven't charged up enough, forcing them to use the laptop! The apocalypse is truly horrible to behold.

Judd is worried about the missing weapon from General Jew's stash and goes off in search of Kasim. But he's unable to find him before the gala begins so he takes a position at the gala where he's able to watch both the stage and Kasim's apartment.

We get another appearance of Z-Van and the Four Horsemen. Those of you, like me, hoping to hear more about their music, prepare to be disappointed. The Four Horsemen are mentioned but are rushed off-screen pretty fast.

Nicky appears. Because Ellanjay realize that they've done a bad, bad job at showing Nicky's brilliance, decide to tell us instead in hopes that it will convince us through sheer repetition. Apparently his latest brilliant move is to divide up the world into ten nations. Each nation report back to him. Now I know the reason for the number has to do with "Because prophecy; that's why!" but why did he wait until now. Isn't it standard operating protocal for empires to have a series of governors all reporting back to the head of the empire?

Vicki and the others, in order to conserve the laptop's battery, are listening via radio as Nicky announces the deputy to the SuperPope, Francesca D'Angelo. We can tell this new religion is evil because it ordains women instead of shutting them in the kitchen like Zod intended.

Then there's an awkward cut to Judd watching as Nicky uses his mind-whammy powers on the two million people gathered. He wonders about other people, listening and watching the broadcast from far away and I'm wondering myself. Just how does this mind whammy work? Does it require you to both see and hear it or can you escape just by listening to it on the radio rather than watching it on TV? I have a feeling I'm not going to get answers to any of my questions.

Oh and Nicky's big announcement is that the SuperPope is dead. According to Nicky, he caught lead poisoning a highly contagious virus that warranted cremating. This again, would have impact if he'd ever appeared on screen in these books and we knew something about him. But after the announcement, Judd notices Kasim sneaking through the metal detectors and runs after him.

Next chapter, Judd catches up with Kasim. Basically all that happens is they argue, with Judd continuing to give weaksauce statements about how Kasim can't kill Nicky, and Kasim hands over the lightsaber laser sword.

Meanwhile, Vicki, following Ellanjay's lead in trying to mask what a weaksauce villain Nicky is, marvels at how he's able to speak for forty-five minutes straight and hold everyone's attention. Thankfully his speech is mostly summarized over until the end:

“Around this vast plaza you see these words on lampposts and walls and fences: ‘Today Is the First Day of the Rest of Utopia.’ I commit to you here tonight that I will do everything in my power to bring you Utopia. We will see perfection in society, in politics, and in everyday life.”
The crowd went into a frenzy and Carpathia again called for quiet. “Our goal over the last three and one half years has been to unite the world. We have done that with our currency. We have built a one-world communications system. We have even brought people of different faiths together under one banner of religious thought.
“Look behind me. ‘One World, One Truth: Individual Freedom for All’ is not just a slogan. We have made it a living, breathing reality.”

Again, given that Nicky's communications system and government manages to survive several acts of Zod back to back, he's gotta be doing something right. But then again, he's assisted by the fact that none of the main characters, not even Zod, can stop him until seven years are up.

He then ends with my favorite part of his speech.

“Regardless who is proclaiming this or warning that or taking credit for all manner of attacks on this city, this area, this state … I will personally put an end to the religious terrorism perpetrated by two murderous impostors. I, for one, am tired of superstitious oppression, tired of drought, tired of bloody water. I am tired of pompous so-called prophecies, of gloom and doom, and of pie in the sky by and by!”

Again, regardless of how much Ellanjay talk about how eeeevil the anti-christ is, it doesn't change the fact that it's Zod who's the one inflicting all this massive amounts of suffering. Again, the worst Nicky could do was nuke 9 cities and that barely effected anything. Zod on the other hand...Need I list his atrocities again?

Meanwhile, Vicki and the other YTF do the all-important email check. Someone should really do the math and figure out just how much of the series is telephone porn and how much is email porn. There's really not much to snark, except that they hear from Natalie, who says she'll join up with them soon.

Judd and Mr. Stein go to the wall to meet up with the GT. Mr. Stein and the witnesses sing hymns and recite verses together and I apologize for my inability to snark all this. But there is talk about how apparently no one's interested in going to the SuperPope's funeral, not even Francesca D'Angelo, to which all I can say is "Ouch!" I almost feel sorry for the SuperPope.

The chapter ends with them reflecting that in two hours the debate between the witnesses and the anti-christ will begin and that the witnesses will die. I would get hopeful at the thought of there being a debate, except that it's been proven that Ellanjay can't even set up decent strawman for their opponents to knock over, so no doubt, I'm going to be disappointed yet again.