Seriously, so much of this chapter, well if I was really honest, my snark would be just me typing "Fuck you, Ellanjay!" over and over again. Because the boredom...it's actually punishingly bad in its boringness. The kids' books were like rice cakes in their boringness, bland and unadorned. This kind of boring is the equivalent of getting hit in the face with a board over and over again. It just wears on you. But I feel I should try to give a more substantial snark.
Anyway, Ellanjay get going right with the first sentence.
“I’M NOT gloating, Rayford,” Tsion said. “I am just smiling.”
Ugh...guys, this is one of those moments where if you have to specify that you're not doing something, you are totally doing something. If you have to say, "You're not gloating," you are totally gloating. It's one of my rules of life: if you have to explain how something technically isn't something, it's totally something. So if you have to use the phrase "Technically it's not pedophilia" or "Technically it's not prostitution," you need a punch in the face and to take a good hard look at what you've just said.
It kind of goes with that rule I have about countries: any country that has to advertise how great it is in its name, is a country you want to stay far, far away from. I cite as examples the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Peoples' Republic of China, and perhaps the uber example, the Democratic Peoples' Republic of North Korea. America may be on the verge of electing a guy* who has the some of the same ideas as Hitler, only minus the work ethic, but we're still just calling ourselves the United States of America and letting that speak for itself, rather than putting something in our name about how democratic and free we are.
Anyway, Ray-Ray and Token Jew talk.
“So you like that we Gentiles are low on the totem pole now, huh?”
“It amuses me. But it is simply another fulfillment of prophecy. The government now starts with the Christ and extends through His prince and king of Israel, David; the apostles, who are now judges over the twelve tribes; their princes; local judges under them; counselors; and finally you foreigners. Oh, don’t look that way, friend. You know we will not make you suffer. Think of how different is this society, this whole world, compared to what we came from.”
Try and tell me this passage wasn't put in as an Authors' Saving Throw, Ellanjay trying desperately to convince us that they are totally not Anti-Semitic, even though their deepest, most fondest desire for the Jewish people is that they cease to exist or burn forever.
And of course, all this talk about who oversees who...like I said in my previous post, Ellanjay remain horribly stunted in their imaginations, unable to imagine a world without hierarchies, no matter how much they may talk about us all being brothers and sisters in Christ.
Though that part where Token Jew says "You know we will not make you suffer..." I feel a need to refer back to my previous rant. Because if someone has to go out of their way to say "We will not make you suffer," that's code for "Brace yourselves for some water-boarding, mothereffers!"
Rayford could only shake his head. He always found Tsion engaging and interesting, but now he could barely take his eyes from the beauty of the new creation. The landscaping that lined the causeway was breathtaking.
Tsion must have noticed. “You rightly admire this handiwork,” he said, “because this road— if I may be so pedestrian as to call it that— is yet another reflection of the sinless beginning to the kingdom. I dare say it will be many years before we suffer the blights of war, abortion, murder, robbery, drugs, pornography— you name it.”
STOP IT! JUST STOP IT! SAYING SOMETHING IS SOMETHING DOESN'T MAGICALLY MAKE IT WHAT YOU SAID IT IS!
Now that I did my rage therapy, let's talk about the stuff Token Jew lists as sins: war, abortion, murder, robbery, drugs, pornography. We'll start backwards and work our way in.
Pornography...of course, Token Jew would consider seeing a woman's dirty pillows to be a great sin. I freely admit that I find pornography to be a grotesque parody of sex and I shake my head whenever a porn starlet describes her work as a form of feminism. It just seems a strange form of feminism, turning yourself into an object for the pleasure of men. It's sort of like locking yourself in a cage and bragging about how free you are. Don't get me wrong, if everyone involved is of legal age and totally consents, I'm okay with it. I can see why someone might decide to take off their clothes to entertain strangers for cash; it's probably less degrading and more lucrative than working retail. It's just a strange argument to make, calling it feminism. You don't hear male porn stars calling their work a feminist statement.
But the idea that pornography and drugs would be a problem in the MK, speaks to how stunted Ellanjay's imaginations are. Because this is supposed to be Heaven on Earth, as in a place where there is no pain or disease, no death until you are a hundred years old. Given that, like I said, wouldn't sneaking a peek at Playboy or buying a six-pack with a fake ID, be kind of quaint? Heck, a few chapters ago, the hills are flowing with wine, so why would characters drink to excess since they no longer have to worry about Alcohol Poisoning or Liver Disease or even hangovers for that matter? Now that you can enjoy all the perks of drugs, with none of the consequences, go nuts!
Same probably goes for sex. If you really like someone and they really like you, and everyone involved wants it, why not just get it on? Again, there aren't any STDs to worry about anymore. As I recall, while sex has been completely taken off the table for the Tribbles, it's still an option for the COT. But I don't know if pregnancy is still in the cards or not. Ellanjay have been kind of vague and unclear on that.
But if you get pregnant in the MK, it'll probably be a whole lot easier than in the real world. No worries about complications (because pregnancy takes a physical toll even under the best of circumstances) leading to death in childbirth and you don't have to figure out how to feed the kid, and balance work and family, because there's no need to work. You have infinite resources so you don't have to face the financial crunch that comes with having a baby.
Either way, with plenty of free love and drugs and everyone looking attractive as hell, you'd think that the idea of, again, sneaking a peek at Playboy (I use this example to point out how bad a job Ellanjay did at predicting the future, because they didn't foresee the rise of internet porn)...well, I keep trying to think of metaphors or similes, but they all involve food and that feels kind of tacky, saying things like "It would be like going to a massive banquet and choosing to nibble on a saltine" or "Having a dab of frosting when there's a several-layer cake inches away." I apologize and will let my readers come up with better comparisons.
Since there's everything you could ever want or need in the MK, why would burglary still be a thing? Because in the real world, a good percentage of theft is born out of economic desperation, like they desperately need money to pay the rent or to support a drug habit. Granted we could talk about how if economic circumstances/desperation lead you steal one guy's car, you'll likely face more severe consequences, than a wealthy CEO who loots a whole lot of peoples' 401Ks and life savings, leaving them broke, but still.
Since the MK is supposed to be literally Heaven on Earth and no one can die before their 100th birthday, HOW THE FROCK CAN MURDER ACTUALLY HAPPEN IN THE MK!
Though I suppose a more pertinent question, if murder is still a thing, what happens to the victim? Is there still a question as to whether they go to Heaven or Hell? If so, what are the parameters? If someone's over the "You Must Be This Short to Escape Burning Forever" line, but the murder happens before they turn one hundred, do they still go to Hell?
And abortion...oh boy...There's so much wrong here, if we were to try to take this on, we'd be here all night, and I'd use the F-Bomb so much, the word would lose all meaning. Just know that Ellanjay feel that abortion is always wrong, even for a nine-year-old rape victim** who'd likely die from pregnancy or if it's nonviable ectopic pregnancy that will kill the mother or, at best, render her sterile the longer you delay in performing an abortion. It's also wrong even if the baby has no hope of surviving and carrying it to term, would only lead to a few more months of pain, followed by an agonizing death, possibly for the mother as well. But hey, that whore should have thought of it before she had her fun, right?
Okay...I'm done now, dumping depressing links. Just that we do have confirmation that sex and pregnancy is a thing in the MK. I will say though, since in the MK, there wouldn't be any of physical dangers or financial drawbacks of having a kid, you do kind of wonder why Abortion would still be a thing? When Zod rewrote everyone's personalities, wouldn't he have made it so that all women, regardless of how they felt about children on Earth, would be all about babies in the MK? Even if he hadn't, if a girl wasn't ready to be a mom, well, it's the MK; couldn't she turn over her baby to one of the Tribbles to raise? Chloe and Cam-Cam are already raising two hundred, so they could manage one more.
Even in spite of all that, how exactly would you go about getting an abortion in the MK? Do you really think that Ellanjay would let Planned Parenthood make it to Heaven? I could point out that most abortions are performed not at Planned Parenthood, by other practices, but I doubt Ellanjay would care. So if there are eeeevil COT who want to abort the babies, they'd have to...GODDANG IT! I SWORE I WOULD STOP WITH ALL THE DEPRESSING LINK-DUMPS! Now I have to fight the urge to link to the Wikipedia thing on coat hanger abortions. Though at the same time, since no one can die in the MK until they're a hundred, a coat hanger abortion wouldn't end as badly there as...y'know what, I'm going to stop and start tricking out my handbasket. Because I am certainly going to go to Hell for all this. Out of curiosity, can I put flame decals on my handbasket or would that be too apropos and make the demons poke me harder with their pitchforks?
Oh and Token Jew lists war as a sin. Even though we've gotten book after book of Ellanjay basically saying, "Peace is sick and wrong and those who long for it, are in league with Satan!" Or is this one of those things where if I bring it up, they'd do a variation on Hank Hill's "It's Jesus-peace, not hippie-peace."
Then Token Jew quotes Isaiah 35, specifically verses seven to the end, which is somehow supposed to explain how this causeway that Ray-Ray is gawking at, reflects the beginning of the kingdom, but REALLY IT DOESN'T EXPLAIN A DAMN THING AND WOULD YOU BELIEVE I'VE DONE THIS MUCH RANTING JUST ABOUT THE FIRST PAGE OF THE CHAPTER ALONE!
Yeah, I'm wondering if I have done something horrible to deserve this, or will do something horrible in the future to warrant this punishment. Thankfully though, the next section with Cam-Cam is much more enjoyable, especially if you're a dirty-minded pervert like me.
The next morning, as Cameron Williams lay on his back in his bedchamber, hands behind his head, he eagerly anticipated another day of service to his King. Beyond the heavy draperies that had been fashioned to keep out the glare of the sunlike moon through the night, not to mention the irrepressible morning sun, lay a delightful day to serve the Lord.
You have no idea how long and hard I laughed at this paragraph. Because the writers of Christian Fiction™ are, like I keep saying, the best unintentional creators of Ho Yay around. Though I wonder if this can be called Ho Yay, given that Cam-Cam is servicing (and yes I used that word on purpose) a god. But while Ellanjay will say that all those references to God as Father are totally metaphorical and it doesn't necessarily mean that God has a actual penis, for some reason, if we suggest we refer to God as Mother out of respect for female believers, even though God doesn't have an actual vagina, they'll collectively lose their shit. With that in mind and because we all know Ellanjay can't envision a God who doesn't look like them, which means He definitely has a penis, so I'm going to assume TurboJesus and Zod have penises and totally count this as Ho Yay.
Though Ellanjay are kind of asking for all the Ho Yay jokes, what with mentioning Cam-Cam as lying on his back with his hands behind his head (we should be grateful that some editor stepped in and said, "You might want to edit out that part with him smoking a cigarette while lying in bed.")combined with the mentions of "serve the Lord." Yeah, I know I'm a dirty-minded pervert, but I'm trying to think of a way that passage can't be twisted and interpreted in a sick way.
Cam-Cam showers and dresses and joins his wife and child on the Highway to Holiness. Apparently, the big event is a celebration in honor of the wedding of the lamb. I scream, "Haven't we already done this part?" and tear out chunks of my hair while crying in anguish. Pro Tip to My Readers: If any of you all have been planning on embarking on years of hair shirt wearing-penance for whatever you may have done (don't worry; I'm in no position to judge any of you), you can get the same psychological effects merely by reading this chapter and you don't have to invest in a hair shirt.
As for who is the bride to TurboJesus's bridegroom? Don't worry; Ellanjay make it as clear as mud for you.
Millions were on their way as part of the bride of Christ. The rest were companions of the bride or friends of the Bridegroom. The bride, of course, consisted of all born-again believers from the time of Pentecost until the Rapture. Tsion had explained that John the Baptist, for instance, was not part of the bride, for he died before the church was founded.
Gotta feel sorry for John the Baptist. He doesn't get counted as part of all this, even though unlike most RTCs, he actually suffered and died for his faith. I'll giggle a little more at the idea of TurboJesus being married off to a bunch of dudes. But maybe if he doesn't cuddle afterwards, it doesn't qualify as Gay.
Though another paragraph, yeah, I'm really feeling sorry for John the Baptist.
Jesus Himself had said, speaking of His forerunner, “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Finally that confusing verse made sense to Cameron. For the Kingdom of Heaven was finally at hand, and even the least here was a member of the bride of Christ, while John the Baptist himself was merely invited to the celebratory supper as a friend of the Bridegroom.
Because the fact John the Baptist literally lost his head because of his faith, doesn't matter to TurboJesus. Nor the fact that John the Baptist was his cousin. What the Hell, TurboJesus?! Do I even want to know how you treat your brother, James? Now, I'm creating yet another elaborate head-canon where John the Baptist gives TurboJesus the finger, meets up with Jael (because y'know Ellanjay would have a dim view of Jael), and they meet up with the League of Awesome and work on a plan to rescue the hostages in the MK. Yeah, there are probably loads of plot-holes with this head canon, but admit it, it would be damn cool and there are probably fewer holes in my head-canon than there are in the actual canon.
Anyway, the No Meat Rule has been lifted for this feast. Why? Because otherwise Ellanjay wouldn't be able to copy-paste Isaiah 25:6 otherwise.
And for those of you who still think I'm reading too many perverted overtones where there are none, here's the ending sentence to Cam-Cam's section.
Cameron ate his fill and closed his eyes, knowing that even without seeing he was always aware of the ever-present Savior, the Bridegroom, who had wooed him to Himself and loved him with an everlasting love.
And now you know why I may never stop doing a Beavis and Butthead laugh.
Then we cut back to Ray-Ray. Don't worry; there won't be a long list of depressing link dumps.
Already friends and acquaintances expert in the knowledge of technology had begun trying to find the resources necessary to rebuild infrastructures. And from all over the world came reports that citizens were determined to rebuild mass communications methods, airplanes, and computers, restoring all the modern conveniences.
As for Rayford, he wondered how he was to build his own dwelling. Was he to hew newly created trees? It seemed a desecration. But when the day dawned that he felt compelled to begin his work, everything he needed was there, including the strength and knowledge to work with dispatch. Within days, toiling with dozens of like-minded men and women, he helped create lodging for hundreds of thousands of people in their lush valley alone, assembling the beautiful dwellings from raw materials.
Yeah, I'm going to have to look up synonyms for "Depressingly Unimaginative" because I have a feeling I'm going to have to keep using that phrase, a lot. But it is true. Because the thing I keep coming back to, is that this is supposed to be Heaven, as in eternal bliss and paradise and all that. Surely in Heaven, you wouldn't need such things as infrastructure? Like if you wanted to go somewhere, you could just close your eyes and teleport yourselves there, without going through any of the headaches associated with traveling by any form of transportation. And if you wanted to talk to someone about something and they weren't in the room, wouldn't there be some kind of telepathic network where you just think of a person and they connect you? Heck, given that the curse of Babel probably is removed in Heaven, think of what a boon in communication this would all be. Not only could you understand any language currently in use on Earth, but you could read and decipher ancient manuscripts that modern-day anthropologists still haven't figured out. And if Rayford wanted to create a dwelling place, couldn't he just bend the trees to his will, make the completed palace emerge from the Earth like Elsa's Ice Palace in Frozen?
I could go on and on about this point, and I'll probably end up rehashing it, over and over, but Ellanjay's imaginations are disturbingly stunted. I'd say this is comparable to Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty using his God powers to give his girlfriend bigger tits and win back his anchor job, but probably even he was more imaginative than Ellanjay ever were. But I suppose it's one of those things where if you live in a subculture that outright forbids free-thinking and asking questions, then of course you're going to come out of it with a stunted, blighted imagination.
Meanwhile Rayford believed that one day his abilities as a leader and organizer would again be employed. For now he was to aid Chloe and Cameron in their ministry to children. At first this took the form of more building, constructing huge recreation and teaching centers to accommodate the hundreds upon hundreds that began showing up every day. There was no telling how large this number would swell to, as it seemed word of mouth brought more each day, and there appeared to be no competition. Rayford was delighted with the endless sea of young faces of all colors.
They clearly loved Chloe and Cameron, and naturally Rayford had never seen his daughter and son-in-law happier. Daily, it seemed, children on the older end of the age range— around seven— were putting their faith in Christ. Irene shared Rayford’s wonder at how any child born during the Tribulation or the kingdom could make any other choice.
Passages like that, will continue to cause me to laugh and laugh bitterly. Because my cousins have started having kids, making it so that now we have some little ones at family get-togethers. The youngest will soon be three in October and let me tell you, it usually doesn't take more than a few hours with her before I want to slam my head in a car door to make it all stop. Every time I'm around small children, I'm like "How did we ever get to the top of the food chain, given how stupid, helpless, and irritating we are when we start out?" For a baby giraffe, childbirth involves surviving a six foot drop, yet they're walking around hours afterwards. A giraffe isn't considered an adult until it is four years old, but I imagine at one year old, it has some survival instincts, knows to be careful at the waterhole and stay away from a herd of lions.
Humans take a year to figure out how to walk and even after they do, they're still ignorant and helpless, would probably stick their little heads in a lion's mouth if someone wasn't around to stop them. I don't really start to find kids tolerable until they're around fiveish or so. At five, they're more or less toilet-trained and they can speak coherently, which is a plus. Maybe it's proof that I'm a sinful harlot (despite never having sex), but I find it difficult to impossible to understand most small children when they talk. I mostly just smile and nod. Also, babies just look like babies to me. Never got all these people who talk about how they look so much like their mom or dad or something. That and they're cuter once they get around six months of age and they're at the cooing baby stage. Newborns, with the perpetual raw meat color and W.C. Fields expression on their faces, just aren't that visually appealing. Though it does amuse me that a newborn is either asleep and when it is awake, has a perpetual "WTF?!" look on their face. That I understand completely; I'm thirty-one and I still am like, "WTF?!" all the time.
Anyway, the point I'm trying to make with this long ramble (that will probably convince my readers to never have me babysit their children) is children are a lot of hard, unpleasant work. All this energy and noise, not a lick of sense to go with it. Especially since, like I've said before, the age range of Chloe and Cam-Cam's bunch is from 0-7 years. We all know that one small child has the destructive power of a tank commanded by the IQ of a Labrador. That's a given.
But I find myself thinking of the kids on the older end of the scale. Because years matter a lot more when you're a kid, than they do as an adult. Seven years may not mean much when one person is forty-seven and the other is forty; there isn't really an appreciable difference in functioning between the two. But when someone is a newborn and the other is seven, yeah, there's a helluva difference in functioning. One may be able to read and write a little, do basic math, while the other hasn't mastered bladder control and communicates mostly by screaming. So I find myself thinking that the older kids would probably be all irritated by the younger ones, who can't sit still, won't be quiet, scream at the slightest provocation, and can't stop soiling themselves. Yeah, we know that's par the course for small children, but here's a real shocker, kids are often immature and maybe a seven-year-old might not have the life experience/patience to understand all this.
So as far as I'm concerned, the noise level at Cam-Cam and Chloe's can only be described as supersonic and the household has quickly devolved into a mixture of Thunderdome, Lord of the Flies***, and Springfield Elementary as run by Ned Flanders. Your call what the kids have decided is the conch and who dies first, one of the kids, Chloe, Cam-Cam, or Ray-Ray. Though in all likelihood, my response would be, "You kids ever see The Shining? Then this will all be new to you." No points for guessing who'd be Scatman Cothers in this scenario.
That and Ray-Ray has leadership and organizational skills? When has he ever demonstrated that? Heck, I'd say Chloe probably has him beat on both fronts, given that she was running the Magical Co-Op that supplied the RTCs with food, water, and everything they need to survive, while Bucky and Ray-Ray were bravely working for the anti-Christ, but it was okay, because occasionally they thought disdainful thoughts in the anti-Christ's general direction.
The chapter ends with Ray-Ray thinking about how he's been called to work on a project in Indonesia. Yes, Indonesia, as in land where Komodo Dragons can be found, and A COUNTRY THAT IS MADE UP OF A SERIES OF ISLANDS AND THEREFORE, SHOULD HAVE CEASED TO EXIST BECAUSE TURBOJESUS SANK ALL THE ISLANDS WHEN HE CAME BACK!
I also wonder how many head explosions would ensue if I were to point out that Indonesia, not any of those scary places in the Middle East, has the largest Muslim population on Earth. And yet, Indonesia doing fairly well for itself. It has its problems, I'm sure (I freely admit that I'm not an expert on the country), but on the whole, their problems they're dealing with are probably the same problems facing any first-world nation, population density, resource issues, etc. I'm pointing this out because if the problem really was Islam, like so many asshole bigots claim, then shouldn't whatever is going on in Indonesia make the Middle East look like Switzerland in comparison? Yet, like I said, the problems that Indonesia is dealing with, are probably nowhere near the scale as Syria or any part of the Middle East.
All right, I'm done. Don't know when the next post will be. Like I said, stuff just piled on me. Hence the lateness of this post. Next chapter has a 93 year time-jump, so brace yourselves.
*Normally I am totally on board with holding back on Hitler comparisons, but in Donald Trump's case...yeah, any time someone complains about making Hitler comparisons to Donald Trump, I'm like, "Donald Trump is only advocating that members of a specific ethnic or religious group, should have their rights taken from them, simply for being part of a specific ethnic or religious group. There's nothing remotely Hitler-ish about that at all." Though at the same time, comparing Trump to Hitler...Hitler had some work ethic. Hitler legitimately started on the low rung of society and worked his way up. Donald Trump started with a million-dollar loan from his rich daddy. And every time I think that, I have to go scour myself with battery acid and steel wool. Like I keep saying, modern conservatives have all the prejudices of their forefathers, but none of the work ethic, and if I'm going to live in a dystopian hellscape, can't it at least be a well-written one, with complex characters and with well-thought-out, carefully crafted villainous schemes? It really is like Cracked said, "Our parents were promised a sleek Star Trek future, but their kids are getting Battletruck."
**Whenever I bring up this article, people point out that the guy who excommunicated the girl's mother and the doctors and nurses who treated her, was eventually smacked down and reprimanded by other authorities within the church, but I'm still not entirely convinced. The guy who passed it, probably didn't get his ideas in a vacuum. He probably was genuinely shocked that people got so angry at him, for excommunicating the people who performed an abortion on a nine-year-old rape victim. That and of course, part of me wonders if others hadn't gotten so outraged and angry about it, would the church still have stepped in? Is this a case of "Okay, a lot of people are really mad about something one of our guys did, so in order to save face, we make a big show out of coming down hard on that one guy, offering him up as our sacrificial lamb."
Because it's not like this strategy is totally unprecedented within the history of the Catholic Church. Though to be fair, it shows up in really any church with an authoritarian mindset, not just the Catholics. The Anti-Choice crowd just stubbornly refuses to admit that life is often painful and complicated and sometimes, it comes down to the least-bad solution to a bad problem, rather than Right or Wrong.
***I'll admit that Lord of the Flies is one of the few Required Reading books that I didn't completely detest with every fiber of my being, but at the same time, the idea that people found William Golding's message about how children are every bit as capable of cruelty as adults are, to be shocking...I'm like, "Yeah, it's only shocking to anyone who wasn't a bully or a toady." To people like me, aka the pariah class, we had no great difficulty believing that if there weren't teachers around to provide the thinnest veneer of authority, things would turn even uglier than they already were.