Right, out of the gate, Ellanjay mention something that makes me headdesk.
JUDD was proud of Vicki for having the idea of finding their new friend Ehud and releasing him. They crept through the narrow street, avoiding the surviving Unity Army soldiers, and found several dozen Jewish believers chained together in a basement of a two-story building.
I headdesk because I'm like, "When did Vicki mention anything about this Ehud guy like at all?" I even skimmed over last week's chapter to be sure and found nothing. Ran "Ehud" through the "search inside this book" feature and found mentions of him before, but didn't find any conversations where Vicki's like, "Let's go rescue Ehud." If anyone had any doubts that Tyndale just immediately started binding and printing the manuscript with little if any editing whatsoever...Yeah, just as Calculon believes that only amateurs do second takes, Ellanjay or whatever sad ghostwriter involved, believe that only amateurs reread and rewrite.
Anyway, Judd and Vicki bust out the prisoners with no trouble whatsoever and none of this matters in any way, except that the word count is expanded.
Conrad and Shelly helped Enoch move his furniture from the basement to the first floor of his house. Enoch said there would be no more hiding now that the Lord had returned. Shelly called for them from upstairs, where they found Nicolae Carpathia and Leon Fortunato on television, surrounded by advisors, generals, and a swarm of reporters.
Yeah, because when the literal actual Jesus has returned to battle Satan for the dominion of Earth in a great cosmic all-out Battle Royale, most peoples' thoughts would be, "Y'know I should really move that ping pong table."
Though, okay, I suppose after so many Acts of God, the RTCs would be kind of jaded by it all. At first, it's mildly amusing, watching nonbelievers explode and die in screaming agony, after which they go to Hell to be tortured forever, but it just gets irritating after a while. If they must scream so loudly, can't they at least be in key? That and do they have to keep getting blood and gore all over Vicki's Jimmy Choos? Show some basic compassion, people! Those unbelievers are so inconsiderate.
Yeah, pretty much all the protagonists in the LB-verse are the narrator in Weird Al's "Why Does This Always Happen to Me?" except with less work ethic. While an LB-verse protagonist would totally complain about the knife getting stuck in their boss's face after they stabbed him and how now they won't be able to use it again, because the boss's bones bent the tip, at the same time, stabbing someone in the face is a way more active role than an LB-verse protagonist would take. It reeks of doing stuff which we all know is a violation of the Tribbles' ethos. No matter what, according to Ellanjay, you must not do stuff. Because they've so embraced Martin Luther's ethos that now they go to the other extreme and are generally opposed to good works, because doing good works distracts you from the all-important mission of saving your own ass from Hell. I mean, it's not like James, the brother of Jesus, said anything about Faith without Works being dead? Oh wait.
And of course, no matter how Ellanjay try to frame it, they can't change the fact that Nicky is the hero in this scenario. Fighting to save the world from forces trying to destroy it, makes you the hero. That's how this works.
Carpathia waved his arms and barked orders at troops. Conrad turned up the volume in time to hear Nicolae say, “This city shall become my throne. The temple will be flattened and the way made for my palace, the most magnificent structure ever erected. We have captured half the enemy here, and we will dispose of the other half in due time.
“The final stage of our conquest is nearly ready to be executed, and we will soon be rid of this nuisance from above.”
Okay, Nicky's speech is pretty colorless, though it was probably too much to expect something like the President's speech in Independence Day, which cliché though it may be, it's actually pretty affective. It's cornball and cheesy but it is so in a way that actually works. Though I don't have high hopes for the sequel they're making. They didn't get Will Smith for it and if you're not going to have Will Smith punches out aliens and say, "Welcome to Earth," why are you even making an Independence Day movie?
We cut to Lionel. TurboJesus is hovering over everybody. Since I'm a dirty-minded pervert (I used to write fanfiction and I've been on the Internet for years; the outcome was sadly inevitable), I find myself wondering if TurboJesus is wearing underwear or if he's going into all this commando-style? I know, I know, shouldn't be thinking those kinds of things, but gotta keep myself awake, because, y'know, nothing happens. TurboJesus walks around killing everyone and clothing his villainy in odd old ends stol'n out of holy writ;
And seem a saint, when most I play the devil.
Though now that I think about it, it does seem unfair to compare TurboJesus to Richard III. Richard III is one of the juiciest parts in Shakespeare's canon and while I have yet to read the entire play, from what I can tell, he had some charisma and cunning. Whereas, TurboJesus...yeah, I don't need to say anymore.
Anyway, Vicki, Judd, and Lionel are all reunited, even though I thought Lionel was at Petra and Vicki and Judd were in Jerusalem, which is 162 km away. But okay, I'm splitting far too many hairs already. Besides, previous chapters revealed that among the many superpowers RTCs possess, including a complete lack of empathy, apparently they are also the Flash. Sadly, none of their superpowers are anywhere near as cool as any of Mr. T's many powers, but it may be too much to expect anyone to be as cool as Mr. T.
[Slight Tangent] In the great Mr. T. vs. Chuck Norris Internet debate, gotta go with Mr. T. Got to love a guy who became famous simply by being himself and by being himself, I mean, being legally insane by any definition of the word. Plus, Mr. T's brand of crazy is more the loveable kind, rather than the rancid bigoted variety that Chuck Norris's is. [/Slight Tangent]
Lionel shows Vicki and Judd his new arm. I suppose I could make some crack, asking whether Lionel has had a chance to break it in, but y'all probably would appreciate it if I didn't make masturbation jokes about any of the Tribbles.
Nothing really notable about TurboJesus's quotes. I looked up the line “You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord your God will come, and all his holy ones with me," just to see what would come up. It's from Zechariah, chapter 14. You kind of understand why RTCs would love Zechariah, what with all the trippy imagery that they can abuse the living hell out of and warp to fit their beliefs. Again, there's a reason they tend to side-step the plain-spoken types like Amos; Amos flat-out says what he believes, making it very difficult for them to co-opt him.
Anyway, according to Wikipedia (yes, I know, but it's a good starting place), Zechariah was written during the reign of Darius I during the post-exilic period, during the years 520–518 BC. Cyrus the Great had allowed the Jews to return to their homeland, but they were dealing with the painful realization that, "Hey, turns out going home won't solve all of our problems forever."
So while Zechariah is fun for the RTCs to quotemine, there is a reason that when Zechariah is talking about evil leaders, the leader seems to bear a striking resemblance to Darius I. Plus, I looked up Azal on Wikipedia and long story short, scholars believe it was an actual place, but they aren't entirely sure where it actually was. So again, this whole thing about TurboJesus, again, makes about as much sense as if he proclaimed that he was bringing judgment on Tenochtitlan. It's almost as though Ellanjay spent most of their term searching inside the Bible for words to put in TurboJesus's mouth as he exterminates all the Brutes! and couldn't be arsed to have any of it make sense. But that can't be the case!
Well, okay, they do have TurboJesus say something that his biblical counterpart actually did say. If you guess that they have him say said words, without thinking through the contrast between said words and actions, like at all, you win a No-Prize!
Jesus had dismounted and stretched out his arms. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” the Lord cried, “the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now look, your house is left to you empty. And you will never see me again until you say, ‘Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Said verses are the last few ones of Matthew 23. It's probably a good thing that RTCs ignore pretty much all the rest of that chapter. Think of the chaos that would ensue if they actually did listen to their pastors and read their Bibles!
Again, were it not for the fact that Atlas Shrugged isn't in the public domain, I think I might have the basis for a great business venture if I printed up Bibles that look and feel like them, with the thin pages and leather covers and everything, only instead of the actual text, I'd put Atlas Shrugged in between. I mean, we all know they'd probably relate more to an atheist, pro-Choice, Russian woman than some dirty hippie who said they should sell all they possess and give it to the poor.
So maybe I should go with the other get-rich quick scheme I've been kicking around: a syrupy, inspiration poster that contains the prayer in red from Mark Twain's "The War Prayer." But the trouble is, while that's in the public domain, I don't think the RTCs would get the point and we'd wind up with a massive case of Misaimed Fandom.
Though I do have to quibble with the last part where TurboJesus says "And you will never see me again until you say, 'Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'" I'm like, "Uh, they're seeing you right now, TurboJesus."
Anyway, the chapter ends with both Judd and Vicki receiving their blessings. And of course, we get plenty of the obsequious bowing-and-scraping, going all "We're not worthy!" that we've come to expect from the Tribbles.
Judd kept moving, wanting to run into the arms of Jesus like a child, but he couldn’t stop thinking about his sin. He had been so selfish and felt dirty, as if Jesus might reject him.
But the Lord reached out with his scarred hands. “Come,” he said softly.
Judd looked into Jesus’ eyes—burning like fire and so loving. He ran into the arms of Christ and was gathered in.
“Judd, Judd, how I have looked forward to and longed for this day. I knew your name before the foundation of the world. I have prepared a place for you, and if it were not so, I would have told you.”
Judd tried to speak but couldn’t.
Jesus gently pushed Judd back and looked him full in the face. Judd was only inches away from the King of kings. “I was there when you were born. I was there the night at the youth group when you decided you would go your own way.”
“Forgive me …,” Judd choked.
Insert obligatory joke about how everyone's tears are gin-scented.
Though again, yeah, Judd was a real hell-raiser before he found TurboJesus. Would do things like be unenthusiastic in church and grumble about his parents' rules and restrictions, which is so unlike any teenager ever. One time, he trampled Mr. Wilson's flower bed! That was a two-part episode!
Well, okay, he did commit credit card fraud and sip champagne, but I just have issues with dumping on teenagers for being a teenager.
[Embarrassingly Self-Indulgent Rant About My Own Experiences] While I haven't decided whether or not I'll ever have kids--the prospect kind of terrifies me--I have already vowed that while I will make mistakes, that's a given, I will never ever say anything about "how these are the best years of your life." Because I spent my teenage years, depressed, angry, and bullied relentlessly, and believe it or not, having popular culture and the adults shriek about how these are the best years of your life, doesn't help. Being a teenager fucking sucks! However much it often sucks being an adult, at least, for the most part, people take your opinions and concerns seriously and don't just go "Whatevs, you're a kid. You're too young to know anything or to have experienced actual suffering."
That's one of the reasons I am so grateful to Young Adult Literature. Because YA literature listened, YA Lit was like, "You're right. This really does suck. The adults are full of shit when they say it doesn't. Here's how to cope."
So yeah, find it kind of quaint every time some new whiny editorial comes out, talking about how some YA books delve into some dark issues and the writer is all "Is YA too dark?" First of all, Young Adult is an age category and encompasses a wide variety of literary genres. About the only requirement of the genre is that the protagonist has to be around 11-18. Second of all, there still is light and frothy romances out there for those interested. And of course, my biggest quibble is that it's not like Misery has ever respected a "You Must Be This Tall to Experience This" line. Plenty of kids and teenagers find themselves dealing with some horrible shit before they're old enough to drive and I don't think banning fictionalized portrayals of it, makes it go away.
But yeah, I've seldom read any editorials on Young Adult lit that's worth reading. It's obvious that most of the research consisted of the editorialist taking a glance at the Young Adult section at Barnes & Noble, rather than reading anything published in the field in the last ten years, or talking to anybody currently reading or writing YA lit. They haven't got time for such petty issues as research or learning more about a subject; they've got bland generalities to churn out.
Just know that Young Adult fans can't win, no matter what. If they read stuff dealing with dark issues like rape or violence, the reviewer will whinge and wonder what it means for fans growing up with such a grim view of the world and why can't they publish more frothy romances like when I was a kid? If YA fans read frothy romances, that's proof of the genre's (and by extension, the fans)inherent shallowness. There's a reason YA fans have come up with bingos like these.
Just remember, when the editorialist was a teenager, he or she regularly buried themselves in unreadable classics like Moby Dick. They never went for this bizarre insistence on reading about characters and situations they can relate to. They also ate vegetables like Lay's Potato Chips, never looked at, never mind imbibed alcohol when they were underaged, and never once broke curfew. Yet somehow these saints among men, produced the whiny, entitled Millennials who will undo their great Shangri-La through their infernal simultaneous laziness/activism on behalf of the less fortunate.
Okay, sorry for all the rants. Just again, every time I see one of those whiny editorials about millennials, I'm like, "Baby Boomers dismantle the societal safety net put in place by those who came before them, wind up twice as conservative as their parents' generation, and proceed to look down on the next generation and be all, 'C'mon, why haven't you solved all our problems for us.'" There are times I honestly wonder if the reason the Baby Boomers refer to their parents as "The Greatest Generation" isn't so much because they took on Hitler while in their teens and twenties, but because that generation produced them and everyone knows the Baby Boomers are the greatest generation ever. Again, I keep making the vow: when my generation is in the corridors of power, I will not blame the next generation for all of my problems. Instead, I'll do the sensible thing and blame the previous generation, which makes more sense than blaming those who will bear the brunt of your mistakes.
TurboJesus blesses Vicki. Not much to report, though props for basic continuity in remembering the whole thing about Vicki's uncle raping her. Though again doesn't cancel out all the cons given because, like I said, Vicki's parents sucked.
Well I think I'll throw on Chapter 46, because I want to. Just know that I am making so many "That's what she said," jokes regarding the opening of said chapter. Because I'm a dirty-minded pervert, that's why.
IT HAD happened so quickly, Vicki thought. And for everyone—a million people had experienced a personal encounter with Jesus.
C'mon you have to be made of stone to resist interpreting those lines in a dirty manner.
Anyway, the demon frog people named Ashtaroth, Baal, and Cankerworm are brought before TurboJesus to be judged. I ran their names through the search engine on my blog and it turns out, they were mentioned a grand total of once in this series. I'll be charitable and say that maybe they did more in the adult books, but in the kids series, they did nothing. So again, yet another weird callback thrown in that means nothing to the readers of this series.
The demon frog people are all "Jesus is Lord!" but TurboJesus sets them on fire and kills them. Though given that they were demons, what exactly happens to them? Unbelieving Humans are tortured for all eternity in Hell, but demons are fallen angels who do the torturing. So what exactly do they think happens to them?
Because as enthusiastic supporters of Team Hell, we know that Ellanjay would never subscribe to the view mentioned in Neil Gaiman's Sandman.
“Go back? I don’t know. I think hell’s something you carry around with you. Not somewhere you go. They’re doing the same things they always did. They’re doing it to themselves. That’s hell.”
― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 4: Season of Mists
Team Hell tends to believe that once you're sent to Hell, it goes on for all eternity, yet TurboJesus according to their mythos, is supposed to triumph over Satan and make him suffer in Hellfire for all eternity, so they probably don't subscribe to the doctrine of Annihilationism never mind universal reconciliation. So how exactly is TurboJesus punishing the demons by going, "For causing people on Earth to fall into eternal torment for your own pleasure, I am sending you to Hell where you may torment people for all eternity?"
Leon is dragged before TurboJesus and is all whiny and pleading. But apparently he committed the greatest sin of all, according to TurboJesus.
“I tell you the truth, woe to you for not making that discovery while there was yet time. Rather, you rejected me and my Father’s plan for the world. You pitted your will against mine and became the False Prophet, committing the greatest sin known under heaven: rejecting me as the only way to God the Father and spending seven years deceiving the world.”
Yes, how dare Leon try to use his knowledge and skills to communicate his ideas?! How dare he suggest that a brutal cosmic horror that loves to torture and kill people for no real reason, is completely unworthy of worship, and try to convince people to stand up to said Cosmic Horror! The monster! Even Adolf Hitler seems like Santa Claus in comparison!
Then of course, we come to Nicky.
As Nicolae lowered his head, Jesus said, “You became a willing tool of the devil himself. You were a rebel against the things of God and his kingdom. You caused more suffering than anyone in the history of the world. God bestowed upon you gifts of intelligence, beauty, wisdom, and personality, and you had the opportunity to make the most of these in the face of the most pivotal events in the annals of creation.
“Yet you used every gift for personal gain. You led millions to worship you and your father, Satan. You were the cunning destroyer of my followers and accomplished more to damn the souls of men and women than anyone else in your time.
“Ultimately your plans and your regime have failed. And now, who do you say that I am?” Silence. Then a weak voice said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, who died for the sins of the world and rose again the third day as the Scriptures predicted.”
“And what does that say about you and what you made of your life?”
“I confess that my life was a waste,” Nicolae whispered. “Worthless. A mistake. I rebelled against the God of the universe, whom I now know loved me.”
With sadness Jesus said, “You are responsible for the fate of billions. You and your False Prophet, with whom you shed the blood of the innocents—my followers, the prophets, and my servants who believed in me—shall be cast alive into the lake of fire.”
Yeah, I really believe that TurboJesus is saddened by the prospect of pitching Nicky into Hell, not secretly masturbating feverishly because he gets off on the suffering of others, given how much he lovingly inflicts upon his people! [Primal Scream]
That and I am all confused by this speech. Didn't the prequels show that Nicky was created by two gay dudes (because only gay guys are sufficiently evil enough to produce the anti-Christ) to carry out their eeevil and no doubt, Secret and Gay agenda. Wasn't he raised solely within the confines of people who taught him the evils of peace and love and helped him in his rise to power?! So in short, STOP ACTING LIKE NICKY EVER HAD A CONSCIOUS CHOICE IN ALL THIS AND AT EVERY POINT, HE CHOSE TO DO THE WRONG THING! HE DIDN'T!
[deep breath] I'm guessing the incoherence of his character is born out of Ellanjay want simultaneously to make Nicky akin to Tony Soprano in that opportunities for him to be a better person arise, yet at every interval, he rejects these opportunities. But they can't go too far with that kind of thinking, because the Black-and-White morality of their subculture cannot allow for the existence of Anti-Heroes. Even if everything ends badly for Nicky as a result of straying from what is right and true, someone would object because in showing Nicky doing bad things and bad things happening to him as a result, Ellanjay are clearly advocating doing bad things! Won't Somebody please think of the children?!
But TurboJesus's words rule out a Damian interpretation, that Nicky is a being of pure malice/evil and is capable of doing nothing but evil. Maybe they realized that some readers, like me, might be like "Okay, Nicky was created to be the Anti-Christ and is unable to do anything but be the Anti-Christ in this cockamamie story, yet at the end, he's punished for doing what he was programmed to do?"
So they try to combine both and this may come as a real shock to you, but it doesn't work.
The chapter consists of more verse quoting as TurboJesus judges Lucifer even though I thought Nicky was now fully inhabited by Lucifer and not just serving him, after the whole death and resurrection deal. But whatever, Lucifer is punted into hell, and can you believe we still have two more chapters to go through? Two more chapters even though the story is basically over and TurboJesus has done everything short of tea-bagging his enemies! [whimpers]
That's it for this week. See you until next week.