Saturday, August 15, 2015

Facing the Idiot Hydra

Like I said for those of you who enjoy all those scenes where an RTC patronizingly explains to a Jewish character how they've apparently been misinterpreting their own scriptures for centuries, you're in luck this week. And of course, said lectures also come with a dollop of "The GC are the real anti-Semites, because they want to kill Jews, whereas RTCs merely want them to abandon the faith that has sustained them through countless millennia, surrender their identities, and become good RTCs, which is totally different!"

So Judd and Gunther basically just walk in and what follows results in me headdesking a lot. Because I'm fairly certain you'd have a more difficult time shoplifting a pack of gum from the mini-mall than these characters have in busting out the prisoners.

Basically all they do is walk up to this one chick, wave around a paper that claims contains orders from Nicky (I won't use the word "Potentate." I have a few principles but I stand by them) demanding that the prisoners be let go. And while I know New Babylon is under the effects of this whole Blindness plague (except for our brave heroes), I'm still like "Seriously?" Because you'd think that given Nicky's top-notch communications network, someone would have radioed in something like, "Yeah, we've been struck blind," and from there, order all their employees to stay where they are and continue to do their jobs until things get worked out.

But that's one of the many things that bugs me about this series: not only are the heroes consistently caught off guard by the latest Act of God, but so are the villains. Even though Nicky is possessed by Satan and there have been countless works written by PMDs listing when all this horrible stuff will go down. I thought Nicky's shtick was that he knew exactly what was going to happen somehow believed that everything was going to work out, so long as he follows everything to the letter. Granted, it makes no sense because if he knows what's going to happen, then he knows that he gets punted to Hell in the end.

Initially, when I started this series, I just assumed that Nicky was basically a puppet for Zod to carry out his work, that he had no will of his own. Granted that's pretty sick--the idea that Zod created Nicky to be the anti-Christ, yet when all this is said and done, he gets punted for being the anti-Christ even though he lacked the free will needed to change his fate--but at least it was somewhat consistent.

Anyway, my long-winded point is, why is Nicky completely caught off guard by all this? Why isn't he like, "Okay this plague will last X number of hours. Until then, stay where you are and don't let anyone go until it lifts?"

But again, if this series had villains that actually posed a threat...yeah there'd be no way we'd have gotten to 40 kids books and 16 adult ones. Because I have an easier time listing villains who were less effective than Nicky than I do trying to think of more effective ones. There are toddlers playing with chemicals found under the sink that are more of a threat to the world than Nicky! Zygotes are more of a threat to the world than Nicky! Probably even Aquaman from the Superfriends is more intimidating than Nicky!

And yes, I know, Aquaman in the comics is a lot cooler, but y'know I love any excuse to indulge in my love of crappy Saturday Morning Cartoons put out by people the Superfriends' case, I think it's safe to assume that everyone involved, was on massive amounts of drugs. Probably even the kids who originally watched that series. I'm not sure how, but it's the only logical conclusion for the sheer amount of WTFery that is the Superfriends.

So anyway, Judd and Gunther find the seven, but three of them have Marks, so they're going to let them hang. Though I could ask why exactly they'd be in prison. They did what Nicky wanted, surrendered their identities and accepted the Mark that means they will burn for all eternity. I suppose they could be like Dr. Rose (who isn't dead, dammit!) in that they accepted the Mark, but have since fallen out of love of Nicky, but you know how Ellanjay feel about nuance. They believe in the Gospel According to George W. Bush: you're either with us or you're with the enemy. The idea that people could object to God and Nicky...something tells me if we were to try to explain that to them, what would result is an eruption that makes Pompeii look like a piker in comparison. That is, if they don't just start reciting their talking points over and over again until you say, "Screw it," and walk away. Because if your opponent realizes you can't be reasoned with, gives up, and walks away, you've won the argument.

So Gunther decides to RTCsplain to one of the Jewish prisoners. And if you guessed that we get an example of how RTCs simultaneously believe that all non-RTCs are mind-blowingly ignorant of Jesus yet at the same time, are well-versed in the bizarre lingo of the RTC culture but pretend otherwise...again, congratulations. Wish I could say you could redeem any of the points you get for acquiring this knowledge for anything useful, but I'm afraid not.

Here's the conversation:

“How do we know you’re not the GC with more of your tricks?” Longhair said.

“We come in the name of the Prince of Peace, the King of kings, the one who was called the Light of the World.”

“Who is this light?” a bearded man said. “And when can he come down here?”

Gunther chuckled. “I will tell you about this light. In the beginning the Word already existed. He was with God, and he was God. He was in the beginning with God. He created everything there is. Nothing exists that he didn’t make. Life itself was in him, and this life gives light to everyone. The light shines through the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”


Because apparently the Jewish people are so ignorant that they haven't heard of the first few verses of the Gospel of John or that apparently Christians worship some guy whom they also call The Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, and the Light of the World. They somehow have never heard of this. They never went to school or read a book or watched a movie or a television show. Because, like it or not, Christianity has had a major impact on the world and as a result, even if a form of entertainment doesn't explicitly say, "This is totally about Jesus," Christian motifs still show up. In order to understand what people are talking about when they say Superman is a Christ figure, you have to have a basic knowledge of who Jesus Christ is and what people believe about the guy, even if you don't agree one hundred percent. Of course, in Superman's case, the idea that so many call the character a Christ figure, is somewhat amusing, given that his creators were both Jewish. But I think I've made my point.

Though I suppose that passage could have been so much worse. Ellanjay could have decided that all Jewish people speak in backwards talk like Yoda or that they all began all their sentences with, "You want?" Like the guy could have been like, "You want that this guy can come down here?" or something like that.

Because like I keep saying, I freely admit that I like to exaggerate for comedic effect, but in Ellanjay's case, I don't think I'm really exaggerating much. Whenever one of their characters identifies another character as Jewish, I always assume it's because said Jewish character is wearing a kippah, eating a bagel, sporting sidelocks and a beard (even if they're female), and shouting, "Oy Vey!" at various intervals. That or in this not-so-distant future, the Jewish people wear special codpieces that accentuate their circumcised penises. Again, even if they're female.* Because that's what Ellanjay believe regarding the Jewish people: that they're basically a collective like the Borg, only with more beards and fewer electronic components.

Anyway, Unnamed Longhaired Guy is like, "Yeah, I'll take my chances" and is shuffled off-screen. But fear not: a younger guy is curious, thus giving Judd an opening so he can rack up another Christ-killer convert for God.

Of course, the dude has an incredibly Jewish name, Zvi Zeidman, but I'll be damned if I'm going to waste time learning it, especially since I don't know if we'll ever see him again, so I'll just call him ZZ Top. There's probably more dignity in being named ZZ Top. Plus the girls go crazy for a sharp-dressed man.

I know, I should stop indulging in my love of eighties cheese, especially since the eighties also gave us Ronald Reagan, aka the guy who responsible for a lot of the idiot rightwing ideas that we're still trying to get out from underneath of. :(

But before we get into the RTCsplainning, Judd shows off his awesome super-vision, by reading an email.

Regarding the latest Jewish camp on the Island, I wish to relate good news. The transport you sent arrived fine with only two dead prisoners. We have experienced great success in keeping the inmates alive and, at the same time, miserable. The camp doctor has come up with a concoction that we have to feed only once a day, and it sustains the prisoners for twenty-four hours.

Truly the GC's capacity for cruelty knows no bounds! Can anyone think of anything more evil than giving a prisoner one meal a day that satisfies their daily calorie requirement?! I mean, sure the GC could be giving them nothing, thus condemning the prisoners to a slow, horrible death from starvation, or they could feed them very little, while working them to death building weapons and other projects on behalf of the GC, again, condemning them to die slowly and horribly from starvation. But clearly the GC's method of giving them one meal that sustains them for a day, is so much worse!

Judd reads a little more about something called The Island, which apparently is located on the Tigris and is bad, somehow. I'll assume this is something that they talk about in the Adult books, but given that I have enough worthless knowledge clogging up valuable neuron space, I'm not going to bother to hold onto this, not even on the off-chance that it'll come into play later on.

Ellanjay continue to present their "The GC are the real anti-Semites, not us!" defense by having ZZ Top talk about how the GC are so much worse than the Nazis:

“It’s worse than the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The GC torture their prisoners to the point of death but don’t allow them the decency of dying. I’ve even heard they take videos of the beatings and torture and send them to Carpathia.”

I can't be the only one fighting the urge to point out that the majority of the Nazis identified as Christian. If you talked to their friends and neighbors, they would be the kind of people that they would speak well of. They attended church every week, paid the bills on time, and were kind to their wives and kids. Yet at the same time they were doing horrible things to innocent people.

Because like Alexander Solzhenitsyn said, in The Gulag Archipelago, "If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"

Because what Ellanjay stubbornly refuses to accept is that all the horrible people of history, your Hitlers and Stalins and whatnot, weren't supernatural beings that inexplicably bamfed onto Earth and decided to do horrible things for shits and giggles; they, along with all the many people who carried out their orders, were people, ordinary, horrible people.

Yeah, I'm going to put in another quote, this one by Hannah Arendt from her infamous Eichmann in Jerusalem book. I suppose it would help if Ellanjay read the entire book from cover to cover, but really just this one quote would probably help:

The trouble with Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together, for it implied — as had been said at Nuremberg over and over again by the defendants and their counsels — that this new type of criminal, who is in actual fact hostis generis humani, commits his crimes under circumstances that make it well-nigh impossible for him to know or to feel that he is doing wrong.

Judd is all "You don't have to stay in the dark." and ZZ Top is like "So you're going to preach now?" And Judd lays it out for the poor befuddled Jew, who, well I'd say he was raised by wolves which is why he has never heard any of Judd's standard boilerplate theology before and acts like all this is new, but I'm fairly certain even if ZZ Top had been raised by wolves, he wouldn't be this clueless.

“Basically, God loves you and wants you to be his child. He wants to adopt you into his family, but he won’t do that unless you want to be a part of it.”

“What do you mean?”

“God’s perfect. He can’t allow anything near him that’s imperfect. And you and I are both sinful. We’ve done bad things.”

“I’ve been taught since I was young that the path to God was through obeying his commands.”

“True, but you know as well as I do that you haven’t lived up to every command. And if you break even one, you’re out of the program. That’s why God had to provide a sacrifice, so we could be forgiven.”

"But by that logic, if I say The Prayer with the precise amount of passion and sincerity demanded, I can do whatever I want and still wind up in Heaven, so long as I ask for forgiveness afterwards for the horrible things I do, right?"

Oh how I wish ZZ Top would say that. Just like I wish he'd point out "Okay so God's perfect, which is why we can't be around him, because we're imperfect. Even though God created us to be imperfect in the first place. How does that make sense? And why exactly can't he just say, 'Sorry about that screw-up,' and wave his hand and make us perfect?"

But like I said, the Rapture probably will come and go before we see an honest skeptic asks a question that isn't pure weaksauce. Just like I'll wait in vain for a character who isn't defined solely by his/her ethnic identity or for a villain that isn't made of incompetence.

But there's more...

“Zvi, have you ever considered the possibility that you’ve been living in darkness your whole life? Do you know God’s peace, feel his forgiveness, his love?”

“You can’t know those things in this life.”

“Yes, you can. Again, I’m not trying to preach, and this is your decision, but God is real and he wants to come into your life right now and make a difference. He wants to show you mercy, but you have to accept it. I’ve met a lot of people in the past few years who’ve been raised exactly like you, and when they see the truth, they can’t believe they were blind to it for so long.”

:whimpers: For those of you, like me, cringing at all the illogic, I really hate to break it to you, but next week, it'll only get worse. That's the beauty of this series: every time you cringe and think, "Now there's no way they can come up with something worse than this scene," Ellanjay dig deep and find a way.

Or in other words, for all of you who enjoy my profanity-laced, all-caps ragedumps, you have much to look forward to next week.

Because I don't think you could sway a brain-damaged toddler with this logic yet in the next chapter...the only way I can describe it is, the way I describe a lot of things: through pop culture references. Basically the next know that scene in The Princess Bride where Wesley gets a year sucked off his life and all he can do is whimper afterwards? Yeah, I have whole new insight into how he must have felt?

Ellanjay, in yet another futile attempt at suspense, end the chapter by having the female guard come in and threaten them with a gun. I suppose it would be threatening if she could actually see to aim it and if you didn't know, even without having read the books or my posts, that it will all come to nothing, but they tried.

I could also point out that there's no logical reason why she suddenly is like "Hey, you're those bad guys I'm supposed to be executing by the hundreds!" when earlier, she barely bat an eye when they claimed to be GC. Because since the GC operate on the honor system, all Judd and Gunther have to do is say they're with the GC and it totally works. Because an evil Satanic worldwide government has never ever heard of lying.

But now that the plot needs some suspense, suddenly she's threatening them. :sighs: I'd say this entire series is an Idiot Plot, but that feels piddling and inadequate. This series is a Idiot Hydra: no matter how many idiot plots/characters you cut away, they just sprout more.

*I suppose I should apologize for that visual, but hey, Misery Loves Company. Brace yourselves for next week, though.


aunursa said...

“God’s perfect. He can’t allow anything near him that’s imperfect. And you and I are both sinful. We’ve done bad things.”

If God can't allow anything near Him that's imperfect, and if Jesus mingled with sinners, then Jesus can't be God.

Yawn. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.

(Bear in mind that nowhere in the Hebrew Bible does it suggest that God can't tolerate imperfection.)

Firedrake said...

You've seen the Watchmen reimagined as a Saturday morning cartoon, right?

A lot of post-war accommodation seemed to go along the lines of "those people were Terribly Evil, but we are not those people, so we won't do it again". But that's wrong: you will do it again if someone leads you into it a little at a time, and that's the key lesson that didn't quite get internalised. Saying "it was Those Bad People" lets you ignore all that.

"God doesn't want you near him because you're all icky. But he can make you into something he can bear to have near him. It's kind of like the way you can compress someone's cremated ashes into a synthetic gemstone."

Blank Ron said...

“It’s worse than the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The GC torture their prisoners to the point of death but don’t allow them the decency of dying. I’ve even heard they take videos of the beatings and torture and send them to Carpathia.” Zvi paused. "Actually, I've only heard that that happens. I've never seen it, and come to think of it, none of the other prisoners have either. They all just heard someone else say it, you know? I mean, they keep things clean and feed us really well, they even make sure we keep kosher."

"The monsters!" said Judd.