Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Girl Who Went Away

Okay, I admit, I'm not entirely looking forward to going another round with Ellanjay, but at the same time, I do want to kind of see this to the bitter end. I'm not sure what this says about me from a psychological standpoint, but hey.

So when we last left off, God Burninated UR peasants and Vicki found out that Cheryl has taken her baby, Ryan Victor, and disappeared.

Like I've said before, right now, I'm totally on Cheryl's side in this argument. Vicki basically made the whole arrangement to have the Fogartys adopt and raise her child, while Cheryl was pregnant, and all this was done with very little input from the baby's mother. So yeah, while I know eventually Cheryl (thanks to reading the wiki and knowledge of Ellanjay tropes) will eventually be shamed into accepting that the Main Character knows best and she should just give over her child without complaint, I'm again on Cheryl's side. Because as many Pro-Choicers will tell you, adoption isn't the magical cure-all the Anti-Choice crowd makes it out to be.

Seriously, why exactly does Ellanjay and others of their ilk find the idea of consent so hard to grasp? But you know, Ellanjay just long for the era depicted in The Girls Who Went Away where a pregnant teenager was sent away from her family to a church-run home where she'd spend months being shamed for the horrific crime of having sex and effectively be forced to by the crippling mores of society and her parents, give up her child, after which she'd be returned home and expected to spend the rest of her life pretending that those nine months didn't happen. Did I mention that during this era, birth control was all but impossible to get even for married couples (nevermind horny teenagers) and at the same time, most of these teenage parents were so ignorant of sex that it wasn't uncommon for them to go into the delivery room not knowing where the baby was going to come out? Also, while the teenage girl's life was effectively over as she knew it, the boy who impregnated her got away scot-free and faced no consequences whatsoever. [/long feminist rant]

Okay, for those of you who have issues with feminism, first of all, what are you doing in the Slacktiverse, and second of all, gotta warn you that I'm not afraid to dish out the feminist diatribes if needed. I will swear, however, that I'll try to keep them to a minimum because I want my snarks to be funny, not an endless series of harangues.

That aside, on with the story.

There really isn't much to snark in the first section. It's told from Vicki's perspective as she and the others are like, "Oh noes! Ryan Victor and to a lesser extent, Cheryl, is gone!"

For some reason, the next section cuts to Judd. Don't ask me why. Given that Vicki right now has the dramatically compelling story, while Judd's section consists of him dicking around and watching the news, I wonder that as well. Do they think their readers suffer from some form of severe memory loss and that they'll forget about Judd if they're not reminded of his existence? That would make some sense, given Judd's status as a mini-Rayford, but at the same time, I do wonder if sexism is involved as well. [feminist rant] After all, one of the things anyone who writes children and young adult lit finds out is that while girls can and will read books featuring protagonists of either gender, thanks to social conditioning, boys are conditioned to see books featuring female characters or written by female authors as girl books and won't read them. Even if said book clearly is about a male protagonist, frequently a female author has to choose a male or otherwise gender-neutral pen name if they want their books to sell well. That's why the Harry Potter series was published under the name J.K. Rowling as opposed to the author's actual name, which is Joanne. [/feminist rant]

Though in all honesty, it might not just be sexism. After all, Lionel has virtually disappeared as well. For all I know, he could have just landed on Mars since he hasn't been seen or mentioned in God-knows-how-many chapters.

Anyway, while I know Judd is nowhere near as loathsome a character as St. Rayford or Our Buck, nor does he come close to matching the apocalyptic-level awfulness of Paul Stepola (seriously, I admire your courage, RubyTea), I do feel a need to post a quote, just in case some of my readers question my hatred of Judd.

On a gentle slope nearby, a student lay in the shade holding a book, his head propped up on a backpack. He sat up when the water boiled. Suddenly, as trees caught fire and smoke rose, the boy grabbed his backpack and stood.
“Get out of there,” Judd whispered to himself.
The boy ran but made the mistake of rushing toward the sunlight. Like a vampire caught in daylight, the boy turned, shielded his face from the hot rays, and fell. First his backpack, then the boy’s clothes caught on fire. Finally, he became part of the burning landscape, with trees, bushes, and even the grass igniting.
Judd clicked to one of his favorite sites, which showed famous beaches. The only cameras operating were those where the sun hadn’t yet risen, but reports stated the blood was boiling in rivers around the globe. Everywhere the sun reached, people, animals, plant life, buildings, cars, bridges, and homes were affected. The world had become the wick of a candle that was quickly burning up, and Judd wondered how many could survive another year before the Glorious Appearing of Jesus Christ.

O the sufferings of Judd! Truly there can be no greater agony than the one suffered by someone who has to hear the agonized screams of the dying! I mean, at first it's a little amusing but after awhile, it gets terribly old. Is it so much to ask that they at least scream on key.

Anyway that little interruption out of the way, back to Vicki.

Vicki's and the others are getting stuff together, ready to go after Cheryl. Cheryl, in a rare show of intelligence, used Josey Fogarty's email account to send some emails claiming that Ryan Victor is sick and they're sending Cheryl with him to get help. Like I said, I know eventually Cheryl will be shamed for having the audacity to want to be a mother to her child, but right now, I'm totally on her side. I'd make up a "Team Cheryl" t-shirt but given the fate that probably awaits her, I'll probably eventually stop liking her. Besides, as always, Taylor and Hasina are way more awesome and I will insist to my dying day that they didn't die; they escaped into a better-written series.

Again, the book cuts back to Judd because Ellanjay were afraid that their male readers' penises might shrivel if they lingered to long on a female character. As though they read my thoughts and my criticism of how Lionel hasn't been mentioned, let alone appeared, for several chapters, they throw in a mention of him.

Sam goes to Judd and is like "So how's Lionel?" Judd says he's about as well as can be expected. If you're wondering though, given the briefness of this message, I'm starting to wonder if Lionel is basically Judd's Tyler Durden, though now that I think about it, Harvey might more accurately describe Lionel's character. Both he and his mother, Lucinda, serve a similar purpose: proving that their white protagonist is a Nice Guy who is totally enlightened and down with people, yo, because he has a Black friend.
I may be exaggerating for comedic effect, but something tells me I'm not too far off the mark.

Anyway, Judd and Sam talk about the latest Act of God. If you guessed they talk rather dispassionately about everyone being horribly horribly burned, congratulations on once again being familiar with Ellanjay tropes.

Judd, being the kind of guy he is, is more concerned about how this will effect his ability to get laid. And I have to fight the urge to repost a link to that website about "Nice Guys" because even though Judd is probably a textbook example of a "Nice Guy," I'm trying not to repeat myself too much.

Anyway, there is this weird little mention towards the end where Judd's like "Okay if everything's exploding because of the heat and whatnot, how are believers getting around?" Yeah, since I've beaten this joke thoroughly into the ground, I'm just going to say that there's a reason I will always picture Judd as Rhett Van Der Graaf from that one episode of King of the Hill.

According to Sam, somehow Zod knows which vehicles and whatnot belong to RTCs and which belong to Heathens. Don't believe me? Here's the quote from the eBook.

“I don’t know how God’s doing it, but it seems like the vehicles believers use are immune to the heat. Just like the clothes we wear and our shoes. The same with the hideouts of believers and the supplies.”

I suppose if I were to ask Ellanjay, point blank, how God can be certain of the religious status of the vehicle's owner, they'd respond with the whole "Because he's God. He's all-knowing and all-seeing" or something like that. But I admit, I was somewhat amused for a moment, wondering if you could escape having your car burninated simply by covering the back bumper with Jesus Fish or with those obnoxious bumper stickers that say "In Case of Rapture This Car will Be Unmanned." Personally, if I was God and somehow this whole Rapture thing had to go forward as planned, I would rapture everyone except anyone who has one of those bumper stickers on the back of their car, just to screw with them. Because if you're driving home and you see a car with one of those bumper stickers, you can safely assume you're sharing the road with an asshole until proven otherwise.

I also spent some time wondering if God figures out whether to burninate or not to burninate by looking at the registration in the glove box or not (because the driver could have helped themselves to their RTC neighbor's Porsche in the aftermath of the Rapture or any number of Acts of God) but I have a feeling that Ellanjay would just say, "Because God that's why!" if I was to bring this up.

Anyway, I thought of throwing in another chapter this week, thus breaking the "One Chapter Snark" trend I've got going, because there was so little happening in this week's selection, but I previewed my post and it looks hella long. So sorry, but you'll just have to make do. At least this horrible month is drawing to an end. Don't know why March decided to be the month in which everything happens this year. Maybe March was jealous of the years-long hatred I've honed for February and decided it wanted a piece of the action. Or maybe I should stop assuming that social constructs, which months are, have actual feelings/personalities. Anyway, have fun taking apart my snark, fellow readers and see you next week!


Firedrake said...

As long as you enjoy it.

If you stop enjoying it, well, life's too short, surely?

Consent runs up against hierarchy (not forgetting the Greek roots of that word). If a higher and a lower disagree, the lower must be wrong; the higher always knows better. And these people seem to be wedded to the view that there is just one hierarchy for all purposes: if you know more about anything at all than your boss does, tough, he's still right.

Eh, I just picture these guys giggling while they pass around the "best" videos of people igniting in the Godshine.

What if a believer is a passenger in an unbeliever's vehicle? Or vice versa? Does an unattended Godly car suddenly go "foosh" the moment an unbeliever steals it?

aunursa said...

What if a believer is a passenger in an unbeliever's vehicle? Or vice versa? Does an unattended Godly car suddenly go "foosh" the moment an unbeliever steals it?

I was having similar questions. What if you have a busload of damned and one RTC? Is the entire bus protected or just the Christian?

aunursa said...

Next week being Passover, I would appreciate if you would include some unleavened snark. And maybe salt water, to represent your tears from dredging through the series.

Mouse said...

Well, aunursa, I can supply the tears, but I'm not sure about the rest. Does that mean you want me to post on Friday rather than Saturday or Sunday? Or am being completely humor-impaired in overlooking a joke? I understand: it happens.

So Firedrake, can I go out on a limb and assume that Ellanjay have never worked a shitty minimum wage job with an idiot boss, who thinks he knows his stuff but doesn't and when he tells you to do something, you can either do it the way he tells you (aka the wrong way) in which case you'll be blamed when things go south, or do it how it's supposed to be done and things go smoothly but don't expect any credit for your hard work. As you can tell, I speak from experience. I've worked my share of shitty minimum wage jobs where the bosses apparently believe that your lifelong ambition was to wear a nametag and take crap from people for poverty-level wages and therefore, you should bow and lick boat for the great privilege he (not to be sexist but it's usually a he) has bestowed upon you.

In my experience, the best bosses are the ones who know this is no one's idea of a dream job and know that dealing with the public can be irritating as hell. Though you'd think given the prevalence of shows like "Undercover Boss" that maybe people would get the idea that it does require skill to do minimum wage jobs and it is hard work and maybe the bosses should actually talk to the workers who have to carry out his policies while the CEO is on the golf course. Because the minimum wage slaves know which policies work and which don't.

Also, don't worry too much about me suffering while doing these snarks. Many times I exaggerate for comedic effect. Besides this week was kind of amusing, trying to work out the "Godshine doesn't affect Believers' Stuff" thing. I like taking silly stuff like that to its logical extreme and often wonder what Ellanjay would think of my questions about whether you can avoid the burninating by covering your bumper with Jesus fish or if God checks the registration in the glove box or whatever. I can get the believers being spared but my suspension of disbelief shatters when it comes to their stuff. But they'd probably answer, "Because God, that's why!"

aunursa said...

The joke passed over you.

Firedrake said...

The big corporate thing I see at the moment is de-skilling. We have much less work than people to do it (and this will only get more so), so it saves money to replace someone good with someone barely competent. The first step is to define the required skills for the job; the second step is to hire someone who can barely satisfy that requirement and is so desperate for any kind of work that they'll accept poor pay and conditions.

Of course this relies on the idea that there is a binary standard of job performance: good enough, or not. The new person in this situation will never go beyond the bare job description to do a good job.

Anyway, rant over. I'm sure that if we met in person we could come up straight away with five things each where one of us was better at it than the other. And that would be true for nearly any pair of people. But that chaos of non-authority is scary to an RTC; if two RTCs do the same thing they need to work out who's the big dog (male vs female, older vs younger, church status, etc.). To them there is a divinely ordained structure which should be used for all purposes. Which must be very reassuring, like living in a dictatorship: whatever goes wrong, it's nothing you can be blamed for.