Saturday, July 26, 2014

Once again, Strawman has a point

So Vicki has dragged the black-haired girl into the hideout and now they're questioning her. In a rare show of competent writing, Ellanjay (or most likely, the Ghostwriter) give a description of this girl.

The girl was a little over five feet tall, with jet-black hair that hung down in clumps. She wore a dark, leather jacket and black jeans. Everything was dark about her except her skin, which was quite pale. She had a thin, cute face and brown eyes. Vicki couldn’t help thinking the girl looked like she could use a good meal.

Not bad but I've got to object to the height description. Unless they're at a gas station in front of one of those height measurers by the door, they shouldn't know she's a little over five feet tall. People don't tend to notice someone's height unless they're either really short or really tall and it doesn't sound like this girl's either.

The girl introduces herself as Tanya and talks about her and her father's beliefs.

“The dragon,” Tanya whispered. “This Carpathia dude is the head dragon of Revelation.”
“You read the Bible?”
“My dad does. He believes the prophecies are coming true. That’s why we went underground. The terrorists, or the dragon, were taking over, and it wouldn’t be until Armageddon that we could come out again.”

Uh, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't that exactly what the Tribbles believe? That Nicky is the Dragon of Revelation and the only way to survive is to hole up somewhere? Given that Tanya later reveals that her dad's the head of some organization called the Mountain Militia, I'm assuming this is Ellanjay taking potshots at the Christian Survivalists. It doesn't really work though because there's little difference between Ellanjay theology and that of the Christian Survivalists. Both have a cruel God that even the Old Testament Jehovah would blanche at and both have an obsession with fancy toys.

In short, I'm wondering, like Vicki, why Tanya doesn't have the Zod-Mark.

In fact, right now I really wish I could follow Tanya's group because they're actually doing stuff and suffering the consequences unlike the Tribbles who don't have a bruise to show for three and a half years worth of suffering.

Nothing really happens on Judd's end. He talks to Chang and receives some recording of Nicky's rantings. Since they won't talk about what's on the recording until next chapter, I'm fast-forwarding.

Vicki, after hearing all of Tanya's complaints about how it sucks to live underground, sees an opening and decides to start talking to her about God.

Vicki scooted to the edge of her seat. “What do you think about God?”
“I don’t know,” Tanya said. “I don’t really think that much about him these days. Everything seems like it’s determined ahead. Who lives, who dies. What do you think?”
“Just like I think there’s an evil person in the world, I believe God is working out a plan for good to those who believe in him.”

Tanya rolled her eyes. “You call what’s happening in the world good? From what my dad tells me, there’s been a lot of people losing their lives. Now the oceans have turned to blood. Doesn’t sound like God’s doing a very good job.”
“In the Bible, God said he would send his Son to set the captives free. God’s doing that right now for millions of people around the world. He did it for me, and he can do it for you too.”

Raise your hand if right now you're totally on Tanya's side right now? Wow all two of my readers agree with me: Tanya's the one making more cogent points. I don't need to delve to deeply into this debate seeing as it's one we've had before. I'll just remind you that in the LB-verse, God loves his people so much that he's willing to kill them all so that no one will perish.

The chapter ends with Colin reporting that someone is headed their way.

Turns out that someone is Tanya's brother, Ty. Yeah, I'm wondering if this Mountain Militia group comes from the Duggar School of Naming Your Kids. Basically Ty's like, "You're coming with me," and drags Tanya off. Vicki gets in a last minute, "Jesus loves you!" leaving out the part where TurboJesus is also the one trying to kill you horribly.

Well, now we finally get to hear Nicky rant and really it's impossible to snark. I'm sorry but Nicky is just so over-the-top ridiculous that even though we're supposed to see this as a scene of horror, no one, I repeat no one, could possibly take this seriously. All the great villains in literature are shaking their heads in dismay. But because you probably don't believe me and because I believe in spreading suffering around, I'll give you a selection. You may picture Nicky using whatever silly voice you like to get through this.

“Maintain your loyalty mark application sites and make use of the enforcement facilitators. But, effective immediately, do not execute Jews discovered without the mark. I want them imprisoned and suffering. Use existing facilities now but build new centers as soon as possible. They need not be fancy or have any amenities. Just make them secure. Be creative, and share with each other your ideas. Ideally, these people should either long to change their minds or long to die. Do not allow that luxury.
“They will find few remaining Judah-ites to sympathize with them. They will be alone and as lonely as they have ever been, even though their cell mates will be fellow Jews. There are no limits on the degradation I am asking, requiring, you to inflict. No clothes, no heat, no cooling, no medicine. Just enough food to keep them alive for another day of suffering.
“I want reports, gentlemen. Pictures, accounts, descriptions, recordings. These people will wish they had opted for the guillotine. We will televise your best, most inventive ideas. From time immemorial these dogs have claimed the title to ‘God’s chosen people.’ Well, they have met their god now. I have chosen them, all right. And they will not find even death a place they can hide.

Like I said, this speech is mostly this: Nicky ranting about Jews to such an extent that even the most vitriol-filled Neo-Nazi would be like, "Dude, turn it down a notch."

Vicki's group meanwhile is praying for Tanya and her group. Oh and we get this statement which should make everyone headdesk.

Vicki told him. “It sounds like he’s into some weird theology. From what she said, her dad uses the Bible like some kind of code-book. He has them all believing everything’s going to be okay as soon as the final battle ends.”

Just as you can't claim that God loves us when he's doing his damnedest to prove otherwise, you can't criticize a character for using the Bible like a codebook when that's all your good characters do. Remember all that stuff Jesus said about turning the other cheek and sharing the wealth only applies to when he establishes his kingdom on Earth. Also, the seven letter to the seven churches that begins the Book of Revelation...that actually doesn't refer to actual churches around during John's time but to seven ages. I could go on and on about this point but I think I've made it clear.

I thought about throwing in a third chapter but for once, I think this snark is long enough with just two. I never thought I'd stop doing three-chapter-snarks yet here we are.


Firedrake said...

Oh, but decoding the Bible with weird techniques is totally different from finding the plain, honest truth that you get from reading verses 4-6, verses 11-12 from a different book, and verses 8-9 but NEVER VERSE 7.

Actually I have to say that this section with Tanya does at least imply some honest intent. If the LaHayeVerse Writing Collective were just out to sell as many books as possible, they'd be trying to appeal to the Christian Survivalists and the Bible-Coders too; it wouldn't be so hard to pander to them while retaining the core audience. But no, those other groups almost indistinguishable from ours are WRONG!

As with that classic Emo Phillips joke.

Anonymous said...

More than two readers, Mouse; some of us don't want to reply every time with "great stuff, we admire you for slogging through these books beyond the call of duty, keep it up" :-)

Only Stardust said...

-raises hand-

I really can't tell those different groups apart. Maybe if I squint.

And I suspect that bit about Neo-nazi's is wishful thinking.

Ghost of 503 said...

Would it be too much of a stretch to claim that this is Ellenjay taking a shot at the Omega Code crowd? History did a special on the idea that you can take Biblical passages and find hidden codes in it if you analyze it almost like a word search.

Firedrake said...

Ghost of 503, I'm sure that that's exactly what the Collective is doing. It's just that, from way out here in non-apocalypse land, it's kind of hard to see the clear water between the Omega/Bible Coders and the Pre-Trib Dispensationalists that they both claim is there.