Saturday, April 2, 2016

Not Enough Trigger Warnings in the World for all this!

Hey, everybody!

Well, I must confess that really the only accurate commentary for this week's snark and for any subsequent ones, would be if I just screamed variations on the F-bomb in all caps until I became so enraged I eventually lose the ability to communicate in any coherent fashion whatsoever. If we could somehow convert ragedumps into some kind of power source, not only would we finally have a never-ending renewable resource that would forever end our dependency on fossil fuels and institute a new era of peace and prosperity across the globe, then Ellanjay's writings would actually serve a purpose. Because were it not for the fact that there is ample evidence that yes, they really do believe their own BS and they really are that callous, I'd wonder if Ellanjay didn't write this series as a subversive measure. Demonstrate just how incoherent and callous the PMD belief system is, demonstrate with every page how it cannot nor will not ever happen, in hopes of discrediting it forever.

Because sometimes I enjoy indulging in comforting conspiracy theories. Like I want to believe that Donald Trump is secretly a deep-cover liberal, who is amping up the crazy and flat-out saying with the Republicans believe, in hopes of forever discrediting the Conservative movement and in doing so, bring down the party from within. Only to Trump's dismay, it turns out there is nothing he can do that would cost him voters. He could advocate and actually devour a live baby in front of its terrified mother and his campaign would still be going strong, with his supporters saying, "Hey, babies are a well-known source of protein, which he'll need to solve all of America's problems forever."

Of course, I also had a theory that George W. Bush was secretly paying off the GOP candidates, getting them to act as crazy as possible. Because Dubya is well aware of the jaundiced view people have about his administration. He could salvage his reputation by devoting the rest of his life to charity and becoming a secular saint ala Jimmy Carter, but that requires a lot of work/self-sacrifice on his part. So he went with Option B: make himself look good by comparison. Because when you've managed to make George W. Bush look like a statesmen, that says a lot.

Don't worry: as comforting as my conspiracy theories are, I know they're BS. Because this reality is the worst, most poorly written one ever. It is like the Choose Your Own Adventure books: important plot points come way the hell out of nowhere, nothing is resolved in a satisfying fashion, and no matter what happens, you're always screwed in the end. Even zany and wild fictional universes have laws and structure they have to follow, but this one feels free to toss aside everything all willy-nilly. In doing so, it somehow manages to be both boring and nonsensical at the same time and that doesn't even make any sense!

:deep breath:

But as satisfying as it would be to just type countless profane words in all caps until my post devolves into gibberish, I thought I owed it to everyone to at least try. Though I might start googling some foreign swears to liven things up a little. Plus hey, it'd be nice to know when someone from [Insert Whatever Country of Choice Here] is cursing you out.

Some people try to warm up before bringing the pain, but Ellanjay are considerate enough to just come right out of the gate with it. I wonder if they take this approach to everything in life, like begin all conversations by kicking someone in the crotch. But that still sounds like more effort/better work ethic than Ellanjay's willing to put forth, so maybe I should debate this for a bit. Either way, here's the first paragraph:

LIONEL couldn’t believe it when the Unity Army moved forward and unleashed everything they had on the unarmed men, women, and children. Soldiers at the front aimed guns and fired, while troops behind launched missiles, rockets, and mortars. The noise was deafening and the flash of fire was blinding, but every time a missile or rocket hit, even in the midst of the people, no one was hurt.

OMG! The Evil Satanic NWO is attacking unarmed civilians for the crime of believing something different from what they do! Which we all know is completely abhorrent to RTCs everywhere and...Y'know what I'll post YouTube clip that demonstrates my reaction and post this link as a reminder that they feel that 1.6 billion humans (i.e. men, women, and children), a population that spans nearly every continent (except Antarctica) or 23% of the total human population on Earth, deserve to die for believing slightly different things about God and Jesus. And now I'll go outside and scream for a while. Though seriously, if you want a text form of my reaction, well, like I said, I'm trying to break away from all the F-bombs and liven things up a little. Try to keep my posts interesting. So I've been using Google Translate to convert my ragedumps into other languages. Seeing as I only speak English and know only a handful of words from other languages, can't vouch for the accuracy of the translations. If it turns out that someone on this board actually speaks the language in question and said translation is wrong, I'll apologize and edit as you see fit.

Te fără valoare nenorociții ! Dacă se dovedește că am greșit și ai dreptate , voi swan fericit se arunca cu capul în iad pur și simplu , așa că nu trebuie să fie în jurul valorii de tine pentru eternitate!

I know, y'all are probably thinking "Mouse, aren't you being a little extreme?" First of all, welcome to the blog. Second of all, maybe I am, but this book just keeps provoking so many incoherent Moe Szyslak-style rants from me. Trust me when I say that nearly every passage makes you wish you could shove a sausage down Ellanjay's throat and stick starving dogs up their butts.

Lionel looked to his Savior. Over the roar of the battle, Jesus’ voice could be heard clearly. “Come hear and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words. For the Lord is enraged against the nations. His fury is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, bringing about their slaughter.”

As soon as Jesus spoke, soldiers and horses exploded. Lionel grabbed a pair of binoculars and looked closer. He focused on a soldier firing his weapon toward the remnant. The man’s eyes grew wide, and he lowered his gun. Then his face bloated and turned red, as if his blood were boiling. The next second, the man’s body blew into a million pieces, as did those around him.

If you can come up with a response to that kind of passage that isn't a Moe Szyslak rant that doesn't contain numerous profane words, then congratulations for a being a stronger person than I am.

I think it's safe to assume that when TurboJesus uses the words "His fury is against all their armies" and blah-blah-blah, his definition of armies includes EVERYONE WHO HASN'T SAID THE PRAYER, WHETHER THEY'RE ACTUALLY ON THE FIELD SHOOTING GUNS OR IS JUST A HAPLESS ACCOUNTANT TRYING TO FEED THEIR FAMILY AT THE END OF THE WORLD! If pressed Ellanjay would probably quibble and say that TurboJesus would spare children under the "You Must Be This Tall to Be Damned" line, ala the Mountain Meadows Massacre kind of thinking, but it's probably not too much of a stretch to assume that they believe (and by extension, TurboJesus believes) that nits make lice.

For the record, I searched for TurboJesus's first quote. Turns out that it, as well as many of his other quotes, comes from Isaiah 34.

Lionel again focused on the nearest soldiers. They threw down their weapons and dropped to their knees. Some shoved fists in the air at Christ, cursing him before they died. Instead of exploding, these were sliced in two, and their insides poured onto the desert floor. When those behind them saw, they turned to run, but the same thing happened to them. They were cut in two where they stood, and their blood gushed.

“When my sword has finished its work in the heavens, then watch,” Jesus said. “It will fall upon Edom, the nation I have completely destroyed. The sword of the Lord is drenched with blood. It is covered with fat as though it had been used for killing lambs and goats and rams for sacrifice. Yes, the Lord will offer a great sacrifice in the rich city of Bozrah. He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom. The land will be soaked with blood and the soil enriched with fat.”

Now the army fell like red sticks. Lionel couldn’t tell whether Christ’s judgment was coming from the air or from the earth as men and women who had pledged their lives to Carpathia were cut down.


The Christian Right has thrown so many hissy fits over so many things (hint hint, none of them involve poverty or war) that I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if you'd forgotten the hissy fit they threw over the SNL Sketch Djesus Uncrossed. But as Fred Clark points out, their outrage over the SNL Jesus feels, at best, disingenuous when compared with the TurboJesus depicted at the glorious appearing. As he so wisely puts it:

It’s understandable if someone thinks the SNL skit goes too far — that’s what it’s trying to do. But the premise of the sketch is far more reverent than the premise of Tim LaHaye’s scene of mass-slaughter.

LaHaye revels in gushing entrails and melting eyeballs, his blood-smeared face breaking out into a pious grin as he cheers. “This,” he says, “this is what Jesus Christ is really like! This is the real, true Jesus!”

The SNL skit, by contrast, presents itself as offering the most over-the-top, ludicrous idea it could conceive. “Nothing,” it says, “nothing could be more absurd than to imagine Jesus like this.”

So now you wonder what would happen if any attempts to translate the LB books into film were actually successful enough to make it to the end, where TurboJesus explodes his enemies ala Dr. Manhattan. Really the only directors who would be able to do The Glorious Appearing, as depicted by Ellanjay, justice, would probably be Francis Ford Coppola (Apocalypse Now-era Coppola, not Jack-era, obviously), or David Cronenberg or Quentin Tarantino. Y'all can name other candidates if you want.

You'd like to think that if they did make a film adaptation of The Glorious Appearing, the Christian Right would be shocked and appalled by its depiction of TurboJesus, but in all likelihood, given that they were taking their kids to see Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, they wouldn't have any objections to having their kids see ultraviolence and gore, so long as it's committed by Jesus, not some fictional character. And of course, if no boobies are shown, it's okay. Though yeah, this Simpsons bit is a lot less funny since subsequent years have revealed that Mel Gibson would totally have a Mr. Smith Goes to Washington remake end that way, only it would have been directed in some ancient language long out of use and involve a lot more anti-Semitism to go with the ultraviolence.

TurboJesus's lines again come from Isaiah 34 and what I find amusing, aside from making innuendo about Jesus's sword because I'm juvenile that way, is all the mentions of Edom and Bozrah. These are places that actually did exist at the time Isaiah was writing his letter and probably had very specific meanings to the audience Isaiah was writing. Edom was eventually destroyed by the Babylonians and its capital, Bozrah exists as an archeological site, in the modern day country of Jordan. Maybe I'm being all nitpicky and anal-retentive, but I'm doing this to point out that in all likelihood, Isaiah wrote these words for a specific audience and that specific audience probably didn't include citizens of the middle part of the North American landmass. So even he would be raising an eyebrow and be like, "Seriously?!" at Ellanjay's interpretation.

And I didn't even get into the whole thing about how scholars believe that the Book of Isaiah was written by three different people over a span of centuries. So yeah, Ellanjay failed and failed hard! Having Jesus use names like Bozrah would make as much sense as if he came back and started talking about how he's bringing judgment against Tenochtitlan.

There's a back and forth between TurboJesus and the angels where they quote Isaiah 63 then we cut to Vicki and Judd.

For those of you who have forgotten, Vicki and Judd were captured yet again by the GC and yet again, the GC is taking them to a prison. Though why they're doing so makes even less sense because, as I have ranted many times, IT IS LITERALLY THE ELEVENTH HOUR! TURBOJESUS IS WALKING AROUND, DOING STUFF THAT MAKES YOU WISH DESPERATELY FOR RIPLEY TO SHOW UP WITH A POWER LOADER! YOU HAVE NO MORE TIME FOR THIS SHIT!

For the record, as far as I'm concerned, Aliens 3 and 4 didn't happen for much of the same reasons why I've decided there weren't any Terminator films after Terminator 2. In my fantasy world (which is a lot better written than this one), the creative teams decided, "Y'know what, we've told a damn good story and we shouldn't drive it into the ground by creating sequels as cynical cash grabs that undermine the original good films."

Anyway, not much really with Vicki and Judd, just them debating about what's going to happen, while I'm wishing there was a way I could reach through the screen, grab fictional characters by the hair, and slam their heads against something until it stops feeling right. And it will never stop feeling right.

Though I did find this exchange between GC soldiers interesting:

“They’re wrong!” the officer shouted, his face turning red with rage. “And don’t count our southern troops out yet.”

“—and you know how long it’s been since we’ve been paid.”

“A Unity Army soldier doesn’t perform this work for the pay. We serve in the interests of peace, and that is our payment. We ultimately serve the risen Lord Carpathia.”

“Yes, of course, sir. Still, you can understand why they’re upset. And now, with having to take prisoners …”

The two men looked at the holding area.

If any of you still had doubts that the GC are the unintentional heroes of this series, that passage should put them to rest. Because what could be more noble than these soldiers, willing to serve without pay and endure all kinds of hardships, in the vain hope of protecting the defenseless from Omnicidal Cosmic Horrors. Like both me and Fred have said, no matter how much Ellanjay try to obfuscate it, Nicky believes that there will be a future, a better one, and is fighting to save it. Fighting to save the world from forces trying to destroy it, generally makes you the hero. Like Fred said, "That's how it works." In fact, I'm starting to wish I had started a tag, to go with my Power Couple of Awesomeness bit, based around the MST3K quote I keep coming back to: "Our Hero is this guy. I think it's time we accepted that." Though maybe I should have just called my tag "Villain Always Has a Point" rather than "Strawman Always Has a Point," but it's too late to create new tags.

I'm basically picturing the GC troops as being like Dan Turpin and his police officers, willing to make a stand and do what they can to save whoever they can, despite the hideous overwhelming odds/powers facing them. I know I've posted that clip on this blog many times, but it never loses its emotional power, especially the line said by Superman at the end, where he goes, "In the end, the world didn't need a Superman, just a brave one." It gives me a heart clench every damn time just thinking about it, never mind watching it.

Though what makes that two-parter so effective is that for the most part, Dan Turpin and the various other police officers demonstrate quite a bit of competence. Yeah, they struggle because they're ordinary human cops up against eldritch superbeings, but they step up to do what they can against Darkseid's forces and try to protect as many civilians as possible, unlike a lot of superhero adaptations which either have the cops be nonexistent or rock-stupid.

The chapter ends with Lionel and Sam running after TurboJesus, who continues to spit out random Bible quotes like an AI with an imperfect grasp on human behavior and nothing but Jack Chick tracts to read. Sam talks about how he won't see his father again, because pappy died unsaved. Both he and Lionel, of course, avoid mentioning the "Pappy is also getting flayed alive and will be for all eternity" bit, but it leads to Lionel talking about his Uncle Andre and how he died unsaved.

I'm guessing Ellanjay want us to assume that Uncle Andre has been on Lionel's thoughts a lot, but that's a little hard to believe, since his death was only mentioned in the last volume of this series (ably snarked by me) and ANDRE DIED AT SOME POINT IN BOOKS 1-4 AND WASN'T MENTIONED UNTIL OVER THIRTY BOOKS LATER!

So, to use the words of a language spoken by nearly a billion people: Suǒyǐ guānshàngle dìyù, nǐ qū chūmò tǎng zài lǘ de shītǐ! Nǐ shuō de měi yījù huà dōu shì piàn rén de, bāokuò “yǔ” hé “ ! ” Nǐ suǒ fúwù de wéiyī mùdì shì ràng nǐ de shēntǐ kěyǐ yòng lái wèi shíhuāng zhě hái shèng xià xiē shénme, zuòwéi féiliào de tǔrǎng.

I suppose I should do another chapter, but throw me a bone, people! I can only muster up the strength for so many frothing rants at once. Let me recover until next week.


Harrier said...

Sheesh, this series should be legally reclassified as a tragedy. The GC is objectively an authoritarian government organized around a literal cult of personality for Nicolae Carpathia, yet its low-rung members constantly come off as people with a core of decency and are more likable than the "heroes."

Only in the Left Behind universe is trying to stop mass death, the destruction of earth's ecosystems, and collapse of civilization the activity of Eeeevil people while passively watching these things happen and cheering the being that does them is the good guy's role.

Harrier said...

All right, I said I’d write a list of all the things Battlestar Galactica did better as a post-apocalyptic fiction than Left Behind, so here we go. I guess I can’t add comedy, since the show had precious little humor that wasn’t of the (tonally) black variety.
1. Showing us that maintaining a society under disaster conditions is HARD. – Ellenjay seem to have created the four-star hotel of apocalypses for their main characters to live in comfort despite the massive destruction and deprivation that should logically be occurring.

2. Maintaining drama in the presence of heavy religious elements – While not everyone liked BSG’s handling of religion and spirituality, overall the writers ramped overt divine elements up over time while keeping mysteries and uncertainty. The Trib Force can practically set their watches by the next event on the prophecy checklist.

3. Relationships – Give me the long, messy, powerful connections between Roslin and Adama, or Helo and Sharon over Judd and Vicki’s bloodless “romance”.

4. Action! – Really how much more can it be said? “Get up, solve crisis, survive another day,” is good drama, “Wait for angel/plague/plot convenience to resolve the problem” is not.

Everyone can feel free to add more to the list of general categories in which Left Behind fails.

aunursa said...

Both he and Lionel, of course, avoid mentioning the "Pappy is also getting flayed alive and will be for all eternity" bit

I think you mentioned sometime back about a character who did consider the reality that her loved one was suffering eternal torment. If that's the case, then that's another thing that the kid's series offered that the original LB series lacked.

Mouse said...

If you're talking about Ryan aka the deceased butt monkey of the LB: Kids series, he promptly forgot about it, once he said The Prayer. Though if you're thinking of the plotline with Joel and Aron, Aron was never shown saying The Prayer and both he and Joel have been shuffled off-screen, though there was explicit acknowledgment that Joel will burn in hell for taking the Mark, though he did so to keep his brother from starving and has regretted it ever since. Hence why I promoted Joel to the League of Awesome because he deserves so much better.

Firedrake said...

Yeah, I'm in your camp on those vicious rumours of Aliens and Terminator sequels. And Predator 2.

Jesus is clearly now in, ahem, god mode. I don't mind a bit of god mode now and then, but it's not the way the game is meant to be played.

Harrier said...

... "Darn it Jesus, we said you weren't allowed to enter the Konami Code!"

spiritplumber said... This one is for Harrier.