Saturday, February 22, 2014

RTCs are Cowards

Okay since there's no solid consensus on posting times and Fred's moving to Tuesday anyway, I guess I'll just keep posting on Saturdays unless someone objects.

Once again, I apologize for the general weakness of my snark, especially when Vicki's involved, because once again we've got another collection of action verbs. Occasionally they try to generate a little suspense, but given the rules of the LB-verse in that no one can do anything to change anything and the villains aren't the least bit competent, it's about as successful as trying to start a fire with wet wood. In fact, I'll just spoil the Vicki-Darrion-Charlie plot and get it out of the way, so I don't have to recite all these action verbs: they get make it to the hideout because the GC are less intelligent than the villains on Power Rangers.

Now that I've spoiled the Vicki plot, we can focus on Judd aka mini-Rayford. Judd is walking around and strikes up a conversation with a GC peacekeeper named Roy Donaldson. Roy is all gung-ho about this mark business and Judd, being the brave RTC that he is, testifies to him about the love of Christ and how if he takes the mark, he'll be damned for all eternity.


Judd, being the brave manly RTC that he is, says nothing.

Look, Judd, I know St. Francis of Assisi said, "Preach the gospel at all times. Use words if necessary." Let me break it to you, Judd: right now, words are necessary. The world has three-and-a-half years left and you're standing next to a perfectly nice guy who's going to suffer for all eternity unless you say something to him. See this Hieronymous Bosch painting? That'll be him unless you OPEN YOUR FUCKING MOUTH AND SAY SOMETHING!

Granted there's a chance Roy might reject what Judd tells him, but so what? Death's a win-win business for Judd; if he's martyred, he gets a one-way ticket to heaven and DOESN'T HAVE TO ENDURE THE HORRIFIC SUFFERING THAT IS TO FOLLOW!

They do try to explain Judd's tongue-tied nature, but it is pure weaksauce, believe me.

Judd waited for a chance to talk with Roy about the truth, but the more they talked, the more it became clear that Roy had chosen the wrong path. Unless something happened to lift Carpathia’s trance over him, the boy would take the mark and his eternal destiny would be sealed.

Once again, Judd demonstrates that he truly is a mini-Rayford. Rather than actually be a rebel for Christ, he'd rather smirk about how he's got it all figured out. All around him, people are drowning, while Judd can swim, and rather than do something to try to save them, he swims off, smirking at all those people who are drowning. So in addition to Ellanjay being the anti-Huck as Fred puts it, we can also call them the anti-Bodhisattva. Lesson learned from Ellanjay: the most important thing to save is your own skin. Screw everyone else! No wonder the Christian Right is so enamored with Ayn Rand, despite her atheism.

Sorry to keep reiterating the same point over and over again, but some things need to be said.

Judd meets up with C.W. and to no one's surprise, C.W. is Chang Wong. Woo...

Next chapter, Judd and Chang walk and talk. Judd tells his story (via summary) and Chang tells his. He and his sister Ming, whom I'm assuming is the infamous Ming Toy, are both believers but their parents are dyed-in-the-wool Carpathites.

Chang's story is that he converted after finding a hidden church. All of its members had disappeared, but they left behind an envelope with the words "If we disappear" written on it. Chang read the note and promptly became an RTC. I find it surprising that given the Chinese government's crackdown on home churches that all of them would embrace PMD theology which states that all those verses about enduring persecution was really about a single seven-year-period at some distant point in the future which has yet to come in our time. I mean, since China is a beacon of democracy where all religions can practice in peace, what use would they have for these verses which come from 2 Corinthians, chapter four. Honestly...:eyeroll:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.

Chang decides to take Judd home to meet his family for reasons...well they don't actually give any reason. But anyway, we get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Wong. Woo...

Well for those of you wondering, the Wongs are about as stereotypically Asian as you can imagine, with the quiet, submissive wife and the man of the house obsessed with achievement. Just take a look at this dialogue and tell me how many stereotypes you see there.

“I visit Personnel Department today. Show your grades, letters of recommendation, whole thing. They like it and say they will take your information straight to top. What do you think?”

:massages forehead: I suppose it could be worse, but I'm not quite seeing how.

Well that's it for this week. For those of you wondering, while Judd's chatting it up with Chang Wong's family, Vicki is safely at the new hideout, we get another mention of Ryan, and Lionel, for all I know, is floating in outer space because no one gave a single thought to what he was doing, even though he had misgivings about Judd meeting up with Chang in the first place. But then again, Lionel's black a minor character and like all minor characters in this series, he seems to know he's one, which is why he stays out of the way most of the time.


Firedrake said...

"Oh, I can't convert him, he's under Carpathia's trance." "Oh, I can't convert him, he's still of the world." "Oh, I can't convert him, his cufflinks don't match."

Judd's total conversion score is going to be one rat, from when he was bored some rainy afternoon in the safe house.

(This is particularly bad since there isn't even any reward for the RTC in lasting until the end — OK, they get to watch TurboJesus, but their second-class tickets to heaven have already been bought and paid for and they can't upgrade them. So they have no reason not to go all-out on getting the word out, except for physical cowardice)

Brin said...

This is particularly bad since there isn't even any reward for the RTC in lasting until the end — OK, they get to watch TurboJesus, but their second-class tickets to heaven have already been bought and paid for and they can't upgrade them. So they have no reason not to go all-out on getting the word out, except for physical cowardice

Exactly. Like, I completely understand considering the continuation of your conscious existence to be the most important thing, but they know better than to equate their conscious existence with their life. Their existence is not on the line here, and the pain they suffer for getting the word out is tiny compared to not only the pain of those who would otherwise go to Hell, but also their own emotional pain of knowing that there are people in Hell that they didn't even try to save. (Or rather, it would be if they had consciences.)

aunursa said...

This is particularly bad since there isn't even any reward for the RTC in lasting until the end

In fact, the martyrs receive greater rewards than the Tribulation survivors. And the martyrs get their new-and-improved spiritual bodies immediately, while the survivors must maintain their current bodies in decent shape, because they have to last for a thousand years.

Firedrake said...

Brin, I know I talk a lot about the infectious RTC meme, but just when one really would expect the believers to behave differently from non-believers — they don't.

aunursa, I thought the first-class tickets were only for pre-Rapture converts like Irene?

Mouse said...

So I'm correct in assuming there's no real reason for the characters to be so reticent except that they like smirking about how they've got it all figured out.

aunursa said...

Firedrake: Tsion, Chloe, and Buck all receive their perfect spiritual bodies. There's a passage in Book #16 Kingdom Come, that takes place near the end of the 1000 years. The four original Tribulation Force members -- Rayford, Bruce, Chloe, and Buck -- pose for a photograph...

"The instantly produced photograph stunned even Rayford. It depicted three robust young people frozen in the prime of their lives and a long, bony man with drooping jowls, liquid eyes, and no hair, weighing barely over a hundred pounds, veins prominent on the back of his hands, bundled in a sweater despite the desert heat."

Firedrake said...

Thanks, aunursa — which means they have even less incentive to do what they do. They really are just cowards who don't have the courage to follow the implications of their nominal beliefs.