So like I said last week, Judd and Westin are stranded in New Babylon, because their plane exploded. It has absolutely nothing to do with padding, none whatsoever. Yeah...I really probably shouldn't have created that "So Much Padding" tag, because of course, it'd be overused.
So Judd and Westin, along with Rainer, who I'm basically picturing him looking and sounding like Rainier Wolfcastle, because I am desperate for some form of entertainment here. Thought I should probably warn you: the bulk of this chapter is taken up with Rainer explaining how he came to love Big Brother. So forgive me if my snark isn't that great, because yeah, it is damn near impossible to snark something that's been done so many damn times. :whimpers:
Anyway, Rainer believes that they were meant to be in New Babylon based on a prophecy written in Revelation 18. Because a key thing to remember, regarding Ellanjay's beliefs: all the prophets of the Bible, they weren't actually writing about their specific time or their people, many of whom were undergoing horrific suffering at the hands of mighty empires. Ellanjay believes it was all written for RTCs at some indeterminate point in the future.
Ellanjay don't quote the entire chapter of Revelation 18, though they do quote the bulk of it, but as I read it, I don't claim to have Slacktivist's education in scripture, but beneath all the florid imagery, it sure sounds an awful lot like John (or whoever wrote it) was talking about Rome. Y'know, that empire that was persecuting the Christians at the time John wrote his letter, the same empire with a long history of brutal subjugation, the same empire where the majority toiled, gave their lives and their bodies, while an elite lived quite comfortably. I mean, it's not like most of the stuff listed in the 11-13 verses were luxury goods, thus implying that the wealthy elite partied and lived comfortably, while its citizens lived in absolute squalor. Oh wait.
Anyway, Westin is all, "So why do you guys want to hang around a city that's going to be destroyed by God?" Rainer gives this response.
Rainer smiled. “When it says, ‘Come away from her, my people,’ we believe that means there will be true followers of God right in New Babylon. We couldn’t imagine who they would be, and then God placed a desire on our hearts to come here and either join this band of brave fighters or become a part of the biblical history.”
"And of course, when it says, 'Come away from her, my people,' Revelation certainly isn't saying, 'Walk away from a system built on a brutal hierarchy that takes the resources, the sweat and the labor, and even the lives of the people at the bottom, and sends it to a wealthy elite.' That's communism! Next you'll be saying that we should actually feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and visit those in prison as opposed to just reading verses about it. We're followers of Christ, not of some hippie-dippie Islamo-commie-fascism that dictates that everyone be treated with basic decency whether they have one dollar or one billion dollars."
Anyway, Westin raises some eyebrows at all this, though I don't really know why. From what I can tell, either Rainer's group actually believes in doing stuff (violating the sacred Tribbles ethos of doing nothing) or they have an interpretation that is slightly different from Token Jew's, which means it's wrong, regardless of whether they believe every word of the PMD timeline and even if they don't do anything. Because a cursory study of history shows that the cause of so many wars can be summed up as, "They believe slightly different things about our Invisible Sky Daddy! Let's kill them!" or "Let's kill these innocents to show that we will not tolerate the slaughter of innocents!"
:sighs: Increasingly I think that George Santayana's quote-"Those who do not learn from the past, are condemned to repeat it"--needs a corollary: Yet those who do learn from the past, are condemned to watch helplessly while everyone else repeats it.
Anyway, here's what Westin says:
“Those verses beg some questions,” Westin said. “If God’s people are supposed to come out, how are they supposed to do it, and where do they go?”
Rainer nodded. “I have been thinking about that. It’s clear God has had enough of the lies and killing of New Babylon, so he’s going to destroy this evil city. But there must be something coming that will signal that it’s time for us to leave. That’s what we’ve been waiting for.”
And of course, the part of Revelation 18 that they'd get hung up on, is travel logistics. But then again, if they focused on the rest of it, which talks about the destruction of an empire built on human misery, an empire that lived quite opulently, enjoying their luxury goods, while the majority of the populace suffered...yeah, readers might start thinking bad things about Our Buck and St. Rayford, both of whom live quite lavishly and never lift a finger to alleviate the sufferings of others. Though they do occasionally cast disdainful looks at Nicky and isn't that what really matters? Thinking nice thoughts in the general direction of the suffering masses, as opposed to doing anything that would actually help them.
Plus as to the "how are they supposed to come out of the city?" I know Westin is probably hung up on the destruction of the plane, but he is well aware that there are other means of leaving a city that don't involve using big, noisy, gas-guzzling vehicles that have many ways they could break down, especially since the roads are probably ripped to shreds by now, and here's a hint: cars, planes...those kind of vehicles don't tend to do that well when it comes to off-road transportation. They require a special infrastructure in order to get necessary fuel and parts to keep going.
But I guess it'll be a cold day in hell, before Ellanjay lets their beloved characters do something as gauche as use a bicycle or any means of fleeing the city that involves them using their own two feet, rather than just shifting into gear or something.
Rainer mentions their leader, Otto Weser. Yeah, he doesn't appear onscreen in this chapter, but I'll let you pick which of the Nazis from Hogan's Heroes that you think Otto will look and sound like, when he inevitably appears onscreen. Because Ellanjay could put forth effort to create memorable characters, but like I said in a comment last week, the secret to being an incredibly productive writer, is to not give a shit.
Anyway, Rainer says they haven't had contact with Otto for a while, Judd thinks that something's up, and we cut to Vicki.
I hadn't planned on snarking Vicki's section, because so little happens, but there are a few choice bits. Plus, there's a hint, however faint, that maybe something will happen on her end, even as I know she'll just do something girly like wring her hands and pray for Judd.
Basically, all Vicki does, is watch a squirrel and think about how sad it is that God's destroying the world, while talking about how ugly the scenario is after numerous back-to-back Acts of God. There's this head-slapper of a quote:
Vicki recalled the verse about God knowing even when a sparrow fell from the sky. But did God know every squirrel, raccoon, and deer that died in the heat plague? Did he see the death and devastation and hear the cries of believers who had been killed? Already the Global Community News Network reported arrests and beheadings.
Uh, Vicki, the question isn't so much, "Does God know?" as it is, "Does God care?" And the answer clearly is, No, flat-out, fucking NO! :goes outside to scream:
Like I said, H.P. Lovecraft may have been so racist that probably the only reason he didn't join the Klan, was that it would require more interaction with people than an awkward weirdo such as himself would enjoy, but even he knew that the Elder Gods DIDN'T DO ANY OF THIS SHIT BECAUSE THEY LOVED PITIFUL WEAK HUMANS!
Anyway, Vicki hears someone coming up the hill. Now back to Judd.
Judd goes to sit with Rainer, who is staring at some painting. Judd starts talking to him and now we're finally going to get into Rainer's conversion speech. :whimpers: Stay tuned kids, because we've got some really good toy commercials coming up, I swear.
Rainer had been an actor/aspiring playwright before the shit hit the fan. He quotes a line from one of his plays and apologizes for it being terrible, but given that Ellanjay fail in every aspect of the craft...yeah...To satisfy your amusement/morbid curiosity, I'll post the line.
With his eyes still closed, Rainer spoke. “When light and dark collide and ignorance takes up the sword against understanding, what is left for weary men to do?” He paused, opened his eyes. “We, the weary, pick up pieces from the battlefield and live.”
I suppose Ellanjay are going for film student-style pretension with this line, and this may be the only time they've succeeded at anything in this chapter. Then again, that isn't much to brag about.
Anyway, Rainer starts self-flagellating about how before the Rapture, he thought he was all that, and that he should have listened to his RTC aunt, but didn't until it was too late. His parents died unsaved during the Wrath of God quake, while crusing down the Rhine (because we mustn't forget that he's German), and yes, he doesn't give a single thought to the fact that they're currently being roasted on a spit. Just like a true RTC.
I did, out of morbid curiosity, google the Rhine and apparently you can take cruises down it, so for once, Ellanjay were right. Though I am a little disappointed, because I was hoping that this would be another astounding error in geography that came about because they don't care, like how apparently the Jordan River, far from being a muddy trickle like many Israeli citizens like Gershom Gorenberg mistakenly believe, it is actually full of boats to ferry tourists up and down its length.
Anyway, Rainer eventually went to Token Jew's website and converted. But in one of the raids with Otto, Rainer lost his wife. Judging by this quote, plus the fact I peeked ahead at the next chapter, I think the group's divergence from sacred Tribbles' teachings is that not only do they want to do stuff, but Rainer has no problem with dying and being reunited with his wife in the undying bliss of Heaven. What a weirdo...
Rainer looked at Judd with tears in his eyes. “Sometimes I wonder if I’m here in New Babylon because it’s God’s will for me, or if I’m on a mission of death. One mistake and I’d be reunited with my wife forever.”
Anyway, there is a brief interruption of the Judd and Rainer conversation. For those of you wondering if the Vicki thing was going to go anywhere, like, at all, wonder no more. Turns out nothing happens. The person coming up the hill, was Lionel, and that's really only the notable thing about that part. Me, I wonder if Lionel is basically like the ads in that one episode of The Simpsons or something where he ceases to exist, unless someone is looking at him.
Lionel tries to comfort Vicki, who is all broken up about Judd. Me, being the drooling pervert who looks for any excuse for Ho Yay (because RTCs are the best unintentional creators of Ho Yay around), I'm going to read pervy intentions, regarding the conversation between Lionel and Vicki.
Vicki asked Lionel to sit. “I was up here thinking. I like this place. I’m going to miss it when I go to Petra.”
Lionel bit his lower lip. “Vicki, I’ve always appreciated what a friend you’ve been, and I couldn’t be happier for you and Judd …”
Lionel shook his head. “I don’t know. Maybe God’s trying to tell you something. Maybe you shouldn’t go to Petra. Maybe Judd shouldn’t have gone to New Babylon.” Vicki slipped an arm around Lionel, and the young man hung his head. “He’s the best friend I’ve ever had. I just wish he would be more careful.”
Try and tell me in this conversation that Lionel isn't basically playing Iago. Inwardly, he seethes with jealousy, because Vicki is able to have Judd, whereas Lionel cannot, because RTCs support the verses that allow Christians to eat bacon, but apparently the one against the Gays must stand for all time. Since Lionel can never have Judd, he does his part to taint Vicki's happiness. Because if Lionel can't have him; she shouldn't be allowed to either.
Yeah, I suppose I'm a drooling pervert, who reads entirely too much into these verses, but let me have this! Anything I come up with, however insane, is considerably more interesting than what's on the page!
Vicki decides to ask Token Jew about how this whole marriage thing will work out in Heaven. Gotta give you advance warning, regarding this weekend's snark: we get the fun and thrill of reading long passages of Token Jew's sermons. Yeah, sarcastic clapping is definitely in order.
And in the interest of providing a service to my poor, suffering readers, I'm going to post a song, one that's probably closer to how John intended for his Revelation to be read: Do You Hear the People Sing
Have fun until Saturday or Sunday!