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.


aunursa said...

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.

No doubt later in the series, readers will learn that a new character had accepted Jesus after finding and reading one of the crumpled, discarded tracts.

aunursa said...

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.

Presumably the only ones who are immune to the mind-control are RTCs. The political spinoff series includes characters from the main LB series and was promoted on the LB website, so it is considered canon. In the series a White House official, a recent RTC convert, had watched a live video of the meeting in which Nicky murdered his benefactors. Just like in the meeting, the RTC was the only viewer who realized what had really happened; the other White House officials had succumbed to Nicky's mind control hypnosis.

Ruby said...

I would like to think that somewhere in TribulationLand, there is a (no doubt evil) unbeliever who dissects Lionel's tracts, much like Enter the Jabberwock does.

Firedrake said...

Just how does the mind-whammy work? However the plot needs it to at the time.

(Is it overlaid on sound/vision, in which case it works if you watch the video later? Or is it a Mysterious Energy Field, in which case you probably don't need to watch the thing at all? Or is it a MEF combined with subliminals that can be transmitted in the video?)

In the films, the division into ten regions happens during the scene at the UN (towards the end of book, and film, number one). Though they never actually show the regions, which I thought was a shame -- I love doing virtual cartography.

If the Rapture isn't going to happen until we have practical man-portable laser weapons, I can relax a bit.

Mouse said...

Another sign you can relax, Firedrake: Israel has yet to make peace with its neighbors via wealth.