Saturday, September 5, 2015

It's Hard to Be Jewish in RTCLand, Yo!

Hello and happy Saturday everybody!

I suppose now that I am on the last volume of this entirely too long series, I need to start thinking as to what to do once TurboJesus has slaughtered everyone and all the Tribbles get to spend their lives romping around in the golden bliss of heaven, where there's no sex and all you get to eat, are steaming piles of produce.

I was intrigued by one of the links Spiritplumber put in his or her comments last week. Apparently there will be a movie adaptation of the For Kids! version of Left Behind. I looked and it is listed on IMDB, so that entry wasn't just some punk with a juvenile mindset screwing around. Though the fact that said film is referred to as "this penis adaptation" in the wiki shows that the Left Behind wiki does have a few people with the mindsets of third-graders. But I can't judge, because I have the mindset of a third-grader, too. :giggles incessantly over the phrase "penis adaptation" for a bit:

I'm wondering if this is going to be a theatrical release or a Direct-to-DVD one. Because part of me is considering, after TurboJesus slaughters everyone, taking a break and resting on my laurels for a bit, then tearing the movie a new one. Because the movie probably will suck; it's guaranteed. I'm sure some of my fellow obsessive geeks could point to mediums where someone took shitty source material and made a decent story out of it, but that seldom happens. Shitty source material usually leads to a shitty movie. Usually in those rare instances where it didn't lead to crap, it was because someone involved recognized how much the material sucked and jettisoned much of it and did their own thing. But that's probably not going to happen here.

Trailer actually looks better than the Nicolas Cage version. I was so disappointed when I heard that Nicolas Cage pretty much sleep-walks through Left Behind. C'mon, Nick! If you're going to commit to so many shitty movies because of all the expensive hobbies you have (buying big-ass houses, collecting comic book memorabilia, getting married, and not paying your taxes)at least, commit and be the awesomely insane Nicholas Cage we've all come to love from Wicker Man. Those of you who have just seen clips from Wicker Man, let me assure you: those clips are just as hilarious in context as they are out of it.

But it looks like a modicum of effort has been put forth. Trailer does look a lot like so many other Young Adult adaptations coming out, though right until the car crash, it's similar in tone to those other teen movies where the cute and quirky girl meets a cute and quirky boy who changes her life. Thing is, while the movie probably will still suck, it will still be better than the books. Because as many will point out, books and films are different mediums with different requirements, which will force them to change some of the plot points to make the source material work. I'm thinking of the Left Behind movie with Kirk Cameron*. Yeah, the movie sucked (because Kirk Cameron couldn't act like he was falling off a cliff if you physically shoved him off of a cliff) but the fact that movies are mediums of sight and sound, which forces them to have to show us instead of just telling us what was happening, made it much more bearable than the book.

Plus, much as I hate to admit it, the trailer does actually manage to tell a decent micro-story. Some good visuals of the chaos and from the looks of things, the titular kids, rather than spending God-only-knows-how-many hours dicking around making a "subversive newspaper," do the sensible thing in the wake of the massive disaster: GTFO to the country,set up a homestead, and start gathering whatever supplies you can before God poisons all the water, killing all plants and animals. So bonus points to the film there.

It might actually be like the original version of Red Dawn. Yeah, that movie was pretty damn stupid and was made by the same kind of people who don't realize that the Team America theme is supposed to be satirical, but the rawness and crudity of that movie did give it some emotional power. You did believe that the kids were cold and hungry and scared, which is how kids would be in that kind of situation. It's stupid, but at the same time, it blows the remake out of the water. Because the people involved with the first Red Dawn, they may have been insane paranoid nutjobs, but they did genuinely believe in the message of their film. Whereas the remake is a soulless, by-the-numbers, "Hey let's cash in on 80s nostalgia" product that I'm sorry to say that not even Chris Hemsworth could save. :sigh: Maybe if he'd been shirtless the entire time, it would have worked. But he wasn't, so it didn't.**

My only objection to subjecting myself to the upcoming For Kids! version of Left Behind is...well, do I really want to put more money into Ellanjay's pockets? Normally as a writer I am totally opposed to piracy (except when it comes to the RIAA***, whom you can feel free to screw all you like), but in this case, do I really want to put more money into the pockets of sociopathic charlatans like Ellanjay? I wonder if I should start a poll discussing this.

Oh all right, I'll get to the damn book. It's just that I really felt I should share that stuff about the movie with y'all, plus this week's selection is really boring. Like I said, it's mostly just Judd RTCsplanning to some Jewishy Jews about how they've misinterpreted their own scriptures for god-only-knows-how-many millennia. Thank goodness, they have a good RTC like Judd around to explain everything so those Cute but Wrong Jews don't have suffer the physical and psychological equivalent of Dachau everyday for all eternity after they die. Because the GC are the real anti-Semites, not RTCs.

Given how patronizing Ellanjay's view of Judaism and the Jewish people is, I've often wondered if they learned what they know about the Jewish faith by watching a few minutes of Fiddler on the Roof late at night while half-asleep. Then again, they would probably have a more nuanced view if they had. This forces me to conclude the extent of their knowledge can be summed up by this clip. I know, there was no real reason to post that clip. I did it because I wanted to and because I like throwing a bone to my suffering readers every now and then.

Anyway, the chapter begins with Judd and the YTF leaving to go help those poor silly Jews on The Island. They do strike a terrible blow to the GC before they leave: the YTF rip out all their phone wires! Even though the GC could easily go next door and use their phones or borrow someone's cell or something. I know the YTF took their cell phones, but still...

Chang calls and tells Judd to wrap this up because Captain Steele is on his way. Because of course, everyone refers to Ray-Ray as Captain Steele. In fact, part of me wonders if he was this insistent on titles even as a kid. Like when he was in Boy Scouts, did he make everyone refer to him as [Boy Scout Rank] Steele, even if he was just a Cub Scout, not an Eagle? Though I'd have a hard time believing that Rayford could make it all the way to Eagle Scout. Because part of earning that rank involves a community project and can you really picture St. Rayford doing something that could benefit everyone in the community as a whole? Though I'll amuse myself by picturing Child!Rayford forcing everyone to refer to him as Mouseketeer Steele for my own amusement.

Anyway, they drive to the camp and basically get in the same way as before: by just telling the blind guards that we're totally GC, guys, we're just wearing special goggles that enable us to see! Because a Satanic NWO has never heard of lying, just as Nicky apparently hasn't heard of picking up whatever working communications' devices you have and sending out a message to all GC personnel saying, "Stay where you are and don't let anyone in or out until said plague lifts!" Because as I recall, Nicky knows exactly what's going to happen, so chances are he knows said plague will eventually lift. So you think he'd have some kind of contingency plan to work around it. But then again, Nicky also believes that he will somehow win by following a plan exactly to the letter, EVEN THOUGH SAID PLAN ENDS WITH HIM GETTING PUNTED INTO HELLFIRE FOR ALL ETERNITY!

Ellanjay, again reminding us that the GC are the real anti-Semites, give us a description of the camp.

Through thick Plexiglas, Judd spotted the common area. There were no chairs or benches, basketball hoops, or anything he would have normally thought of as being in a prison yard. It was simply an area filled with dirt. Men stood leaning against the building, some lying down. He noticed some scratching and moaning in pain.

An area filled with dirt? Truly there can be no greater form of suffering! Some lesser prison camps worked prisoners to death or sent them to gas chambers and crematoriums, some prisons keep people in solitary confinement until their minds snap, but the GC's version is so much worse!

But Ellanjay probably consider staying at a place without air-conditioning to be roughing it. And of course, the obvious, if the showed how truly awful it would be to be Left Behind, their readers might start asking uncomfortable questions and we can't have that!

We get a brief interlude with Vicki. Basically her built-in Prayer Sense (that all RTCs have) starts tingling, compelling her to pray for Chloe. Spoiler alert: the bulk of the next chapter's content involves Vicki watching a newscast that announces Chloe's arrest.

I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that the Prayer Sense apparently works in relation to Chloe, but I am a little. Given that it doesn't seem to work for Bruce "Dead and Useless" Barnes or Loretta, who was squished in an earthquake, I'm surprised, given Ellanjay's regressive views of women, that it would work for Chloe. After all, Chloe is one of those girly girls with a set of X chromosomes. Granted she also runs a massive trading network that keeps the RTCs fed and supplied, but Our Buck publishes a blog with slightly disdainful comments regarding Nicky, which is so much more important!

But given the RTC love of hierarchy, I suppose it still works. Vicki, while a Main Character, still qualifies as lower on the chain of being than Chloe. As Firedrake has pointed out, the Prayer Sense only seems to work in reference to hierarchy. Characters only pray for those higher on the chain, not lower. You never see Our Buck or St. Rayford pray for any of the other tribbles, whereas the other tribbles recognize that they are pathetic worms in the eyes of Our Buck and St. Rayford, and spend their time praying for them.

Vicki ends her prayer by praying for Judd and that's the extent of her involvement in this chapter. That interlude was completely pointless and could have been copied and pasted onto the next chapter and it would have interrupted the narrative flow in this one less. I'd call it a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment except that it lacks the WTFery inherent in Big-Lipped Alligator Moments, plus it does have bearing on the plot later on.

Anyway, we cut back to Judd, who is filled with sorrow for all those poor unfortunate souls.

The men hobbled forward, some tripping over those on the ground. A few fell to the ground and crawled. Judd wondered how these men had kept from being burned during the heat wave. Most looked like walking skeletons, with hair falling out, and wearing ragged clothes.


:deep breath:

Yeah, compared with some of the other stuff I've been through, this chapter isn't too bad, but I'm a big believer in ragedumping. Because if I were to go to Ellanjay's houses and tap out lengthy Morse Code messages on their skulls with a tire iron, for some reason, I'd be the one who goes to prison!

So Judd launches into the RTCsplanning. I'm afraid there's not as much to snark as there was in the chapter where ZZ Top bowed before Zod. Frankly, I feel like commending Ellanjay for managing to resist the urge to have all his Jewish characters begin sentences with "You want..." I'm honestly wanting to applaud when they have a character say, "Haven't you tortured us enough?" rather than having him say "You want to torture us some more? Oy vey, again, with the torturing!"

Now I'll let you get a taste of Judd's wisdom and insight.

“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has caused this blackout,” Judd continued. “He foretold this day in his holy Word, warning people about the leader who would rise and come against his people, the Jews. That leader is Nicolae Carpathia, and he’s persecuting you because of your Jewish blood.

“God caused everything from the disappearances, to the earthquake, to the stinging locusts, and all the rest, including this plague. It’s one of his final acts to get you to repent of your sins and come to him through his Son, the Messiah.”

"So wait are you saying God is causing all this but we're supposed to worship him, why?!"

Yeah, keep holding your breath. You'll never hear honest criticism in these books. Because Ellanjay have shut themselves in a nice criticism-proof bubble for years, the extent of the criticism is those Christ-killing poor deluded fools just start going, "La-la-la! Can't hear you!"

But Judd's delicate sensibilities won't stop him from RTCsplanning.

“Listen to me,” Judd screamed. The men calmed as the hum of the electric fence shut off. “This may be your last chance. We are trying to get people to safety, but we won’t force you. If you want to hear more about the God who loves you and gave his life for you, please stay. We’ll provide you with food and shelter and safe passage to Petra when we can.”

He lives out the part where while he won't force them at gunpoint to renounce the beliefs that have sustained them through centuries of persecution, in a year from now, Judd and all the other RTCs will bring in TurboJesus on air support to slaughter every last one of them and pitch them into a Hell WHERE THEY'LL SUFFER FOREVER!

I'd call this a Hobson's Choice that Judd is proposing, given that it looks like a choice on the surface, but isn't really a choice, but Hobson's Choice feels entirely too mild, given the circumstances.

After Judd says this, a few of those bagel-munchers (because all Jews eat Bagels. It's the law handed down from their Pope on high) are like, "And what if we don't want to listen?" Judd shows admirable restraint in that he doesn't immediately start gloating. He begs them to reconsider, but a hundred or so of those money-grubbers are like "STFU!" shove him aside and make a break for it. I'd ask whether they deserve promotion to the League of Awesome, but I kind of like members of said league to have names.

My personal canon, regarding those hundred, is that immediately after escaping, they go to a bar and start drinking, while talking about of all the patronizing RTC lectures, that had to be the worst. Because when a five-year-old can poke holes in your logic, you need to hang your head in shame. So that's what they're doing, drinking until they can no longer distinguish between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordecai." Yeah, I know it's not Purim, but after being around Judd, I'd say "Screw it, I'm celebrating early" and get to drinking.

Forty or fifty of those sidelock-sporters hang around and here's the extent of Judd's evangelism. I suppose I should rag on the author's for being lazy and not showing any of this stuff, just summarizing, but given what I went through during ZZ Top's conversion chapter, I'm actually a little grateful. Because a kick in the gut is always better than a kick in the teeth.

Judd gave the same message he had heard from Tsion Ben-Judah and Bruce Barnes. It was the same one he had seen transform old and young alike. He spoke of the prophecies that foretold the coming of the Messiah and how Jesus had fulfilled these verses. His heart welled up as he looked at the gaunt faces of the men.

Ah, lazy you can't be bothered to use either "Cut and paste" or "Find and replace." Because that new yacht isn't going to launch itself.

The chapter ends with the no-longer Jewishy Jews forming a love chain with the YTF and leaving the prison. I had planned on throwing on another chapter because said snark felt skimpy, but it took me longer than I thought to talk about the movie. I'm sure you can live with that though.

*When both Nicolas Cage and Kirk Cameron were up for Worst Actor Razzies, I was hoping that they'd decide to settle this in some kind of no-holds barred steel-cage death match, so we could figure out, once and for all, who'd win. Would Kirk Cameron's Impenetrable Smugness withstand Nicolas Cage's ability to chew the scenery like no one else? The world needs to know the answer to that question. Though if we were in some kind of "Pick Your Poison" scenario and the choices were "Left Behind" with Nicolas Cage or "Saving Christmas" with Kirk Cameron, I sure as hell pick Nicholas Cage over Kirk. Because Kirk's big claim to fame was being on a shitty eighties' sitcom. Whereas, I'm told that Nicolas Cage was at some point a respected actor.

**Yeah, I know I should object to the cave scene in Avengers 2 because from a storytelling moment, it is a Big-Lipped Alligator Moment because it has nothing to do with anything that happens and is never mentioned again. But from a drooling pervert perspective, I can't call any scene that has Chris Hemsworth shirtless, pointless. Not at all...:drools: I have no idea how I enjoyed any form of entertainment before my hormones kicked in, either.

***Everything I've heard about the RIAA...I honestly wonder if their meetings don't go like this: "Okay it's clear that the public regards us as the moral equivalent to people who steal crutches from crippled war heroes and take candy from babies, but we are still being out-evilled by Neo-Nazis and Pedophiles. We can't let this stand!" Then they brainstorm for a bit, after which they devour a newborn baby before retiring into their crypts to escape the first rays of the morning sun. Because being that cartoonishly evil is exhausting.


Anonymous said...

Red Dawn, Growing Pains, while we're piling the 80's cheese, found one perfect for you to give you the fuel needed to finish the series, especially since the end is in sight.

Firedrake said...

I think you're being unfair to Kirk Cameron, and he could act like he was falling off a cliff if you physically shoved him off of a cliff. Clearly we must resolve this by experiment.

If they left the "subversive newspaper" in the film, the target audience would probably ask what a newspaper was.

In spite of all the MPAA can do, there will still be legal ways to get hold of the new film without enriching the makers. Buying the DVD second-hand, for example. Though it might take a while, and you'd need to find someone else who'd bought it, or a charity shop or equivalent.

I'm sure scout troops in mostly-Christian areas manage to find ways of defining fellow RTCs as "the community".

spiritplumber said... I'm still trying to figure out a way to fit the League of Awesome in here...

And yay for 80s cheese!

Anonymous said...

Just a little thought: if you took out all the padding and repetition, how much would there be left which is actually necessary to tell the story, however badly?

spiritplumber said...

Maybe there'd be enough for one or two novels.

I'm trying to condense the last one (Triumphant Return) here: