Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Step Above Jack Chick

Vicki tries to call Natalie, but someone else answers when she picks up the phone and claims not to know who she is talking about. Now for those of you with faint hope that the GC might be doing what I suggested they could be doing, pretending to be Natalie in order to trap Vicki, I've gotta extinguish that hope. Because we can't have competent enemies for our heroes to battle. That would be hard!

:sighs: Is it a characteristic of RTC literature that the bad guys be utterly laughable or is this an Ellanjay trope?

Mark and the other YTF are discussing Token Jew's missive, talking about the mark of the beast. There is a brief shot against conspiracy nuts in here. But like their shots against international financiers (or Jews, as Fred puts it), it feels pathetic. Especially since Ellanjay don't realize that they're engaging in their own conspiracy thinking.

“I used to know a guy who thought his social security number was the mark of the beast,” Conrad said. “Guess he was wrong.”

After they discuss all this, Janie demonstrates a display of conscience, a rarity in these novels.

Janie put a hand to her face and shook her head. “If Dr. Ben-Judah is right, and I believe he is, the people in that school are going to take Carpathia’s mark and they’ll suffer.” Janie turned and wiped away a tear. “I don’t want to be caught by the GC, and I sure don’t want them to chop my head off. But we ought to tell these people the truth rather than run away from them.”

The YTF hold a vote and decide to go back and preach to the people waiting in line at the school.

Meanwhile, Vicki and Darrion are bravely watching the news.

Religious experts said the world had never seen such a widely exposed miracle. “This godlike display of power can only be compared to the mythical accounts of the Bible,” one expert said. “In those stories, the miracles were only viewed by a few people. This one was seen all over the world at the same time.”
“That’s not true,” Darrion said. “Lots of people saw the miracles in the Bible, didn’t they?”

And I'm playing the part of the Wikipedian Protester. Given that the Bible was written during a time in which to suggest the Earth was round would likely get you ridiculed and that no one even knew about the other continents on other side of the world, I'm going to call BS on "Everyone, including people in the Amazon rainforest, knew about the miracles in the Bible" theory. Unless, Ellanjay believe as the Mormons do that Jesus came and witnessed to the peoples of North America, but let's not even go the Mormon route. I don't know Mormon theology well enough to get into a long debate about it, so it's better to just leave it alone.

Vicki finally talks with Natalie. The reason she couldn't get a hold of her earlier was because she'd been transferred to a new department. Now in a well-written double agent story, the double agent would be wondering if her employers were onto her and transferred her to either test her or keep a better eye on her, but we all know Ellanjay haven't even considered that.

Basically the conversation goes like this with Natalie saying, "I've got a plan to get Charlie, the Shairtons, and Zeke out." Vicki's like "I'm in" and that's it.

Mark is back at the school walking through the line. He decides to gauge the views of the people in the school by talking to this guy and his son, who is named Quin. But Mark gives up before he can get a single, "Jesus Died for Your Sins!" out. Again, St. Stephen aka first Christian martyr, is ashamed.

But Janie had better luck. A woman with her baby is all "Tell me more." Brace yourselves, people, we've got another "God loves you which is why he is trying to kill you horribly" scene coming up, complete with dialogue that belongs in a Jack Chick tract.

“The Bible talks about this? I thought it just listed the things you shouldn’t do.”
Mark opened his computer and showed Terry verses that predicted what they had experienced the past three years. Terry read each word and seemed eager to hear more.

Okay, I'll give them a little credit: it's a step above Jack Chick. In Chick-land, the woman would go, "The bible? What's that?" and the Chick surrogate would say, "It's the inspired work of God," and the woman would go "Baptize me now!" But you gotta admit, this is still pretty lousy dialogue, especially since Terry isn't like, "Wait...first you jump to Daniel then to Revelation then to Matthew. How is this a straightforward reading of the Bible?"

And Terry, I'll admit, doesn't immediately go "Baptize me now!" after Mark reads to her. Instead the chapter ends with her saying, "I'll think about it."

Sorry but I'm afraid this week will have to be a one-chapter snark. I thought about making it two, but this snark is long enough.


Ruby said...

“I used to know a guy who thought his social security number was the mark of the beast,” Conrad said. “Guess he was wrong.”

Which might be funny, except that the obvious implication of this is, "Guess those nutty conspiracy theorists were wrong, but WE WERE RIGHT about a mark of evil being put on people who follow the incarnated Satan in a world where True Believers were whisked away to heaven, naked."

Also, I was listening to Christian Talk Radio some months ago, and the host was going on about the new electronic bracelets that Disney parks may be using in the future.

To get an idea of just how levelheaded the discussion was, just Google "Disney mark of the beast." ;)

aunursa said...

A search for Disney + "Mark of the Beast" produces 103,000 hits.

For what it's worth, a search for "Reagan is the Antichrist" produces 41,000 hits. ("Reagan WAS the Antichrist" produces 144,000 hits.)

rikalous said...

Is it a characteristic of RTC literature that the bad guys be utterly laughable or is this an Ellanjay trope?

Could just be a symptom of terrible writing in general. I'm reminded of this one Harry Potter fanfiction where cartoonishly-evil Dumbledore was easily convinced that Colonel Sanders was a Dark Lord. Despite the fact that he was supposed to be a master manipulator with all of Wizarding Britain in the palm of his hand.

Firedrake said...

Given that I've just been catching up with Silenced, I'd say that at least it's a Jenkins trope. It does make it easier to write your heroes as outwitting the Evil Bad Guys if said bad guys are really dim.

No, no, don't listen to those other conspiracy nuts, listen to our conspiracy nuttery!

I want one of these conversion victims to say "The Bible? Yeah, I've got one of those, next to my human-skin Necronomicon. But the spells don't work."