Sunday, December 4, 2016

Nice Guys™ Should Finish Last

All right, I'm here.

This may come as a shock to the people who read my blog, but I have a passionate, obsessive enthusiasm for movies and TV shows. I know, it's really hard to believe.

Anyway, I see something I really enjoy, well, I'm one of those insane types who has to fight the urge to dress up and go door to door being all, "Have you heard of Heavenly Creatures? It was Kate Winslet's first film role and it convinced the studios that maybe Peter Jackson could do a damn good job directing the Lord of the Rings trilogy." Though for the record, most of the time when I want to evangelize, it's when said product is good, but few outside a small following, have heard of it. So you'll be happy to know I don't do that for the Marvel Cinematic Universe; it's clearly doing fine and doesn't need my evangelizing. The DCAU on the other hand...yeah, it is kind of sad how unless I'm in the presence of animation buffs, I can't talk about how Kevin Conroy is the best Batman and Heath Ledger may be a great Joker, but Mark Hamill blows him out of the water every time.

But anyway, my faithful blog readers have noticed how I have made repeated references to the Swing Kids rebellion of Nazi Germany. Well, I finally got around to seeing the movie about it called Swing Kids. It came out in 1993 and received generally negative reviews, but I thought it was pretty danged cool. It starts out as being almost like Footloose, what with those crazy kids and their love of dancing and that crazy new music, going up against the crusty old adults who just don't understand, but given that in this story, the crusty adults are freaking Nazis, things escalate fairly quickly from there.

As Wikipedia and I keep telling you, the Swing Kids experienced actual suffering for liking that crazy music; many wound up in concentration camps or were forcibly drafted into the military. I suppose what the Swing Kids experienced in no way compares to the sufferings of other rebellious movements like the Free France or the White Rose and it certainly doesn't come close to what the Jews experienced at the hands of the Nazis, but again, there are times in which you've got to cross your arms and say, "No." Regardless of how much societal pressure, it is always better to die on your feet, rather than live on your knees. And of course, when the Nazis are doing everything they can to stamp out degenerate art and music, it becomes even more important to hold onto said music.

Though again, like I keep saying, while we can point to plenty of examples of tyrannical governments based on a religious ideology, I can't really think of any based on hedonism. Can't think of any government that took over, then was immediately like, "You will have and enjoy sexual intercourse for purposes other than reproduction!" or "You will burn your collection of Pat Boone CDs and Christian Rock CDs, or be sent to a concentration camp!" As said before, hedonists don't really mind if you're not into the same things they are. Hedonists would be like, "Yeah, you can spend your days singing praises to Jesus, but I'm going out to have some real fun." They don't like the same things as fundamentalists or RTCs, but they don't try to outlaw, ban, or do anything to keep said fundamentalists from enjoying what they like.

The same cannot be said about fundamentalists or RTCs, who, like I've said before and will say again, for them, it's not enough to practice their faith in whatever manner they see fit and shut up about it. Their poisonous egos cause them to feel that they can't be properly holy, wear their ankle-length skirts and enjoy whatever entertainment their pastor deems worthy, so long as there are other people in the world flashing their sinful ankles and enjoying music that :gasp: actually acknowledges the reality of human emotions and isn't just, "Na-Na, Jesus is great."

Of course, there is hazards to a life of excessive pleasure, but there are hazards to any form of excess, including being so obsessed with being holy and following the rules that you lose sight of what said rules were meant to do in the first place and instead, spend your days scowling about all those heathens, how they're having fun now, but they'll eventually pay for it. I'm fairly certain Jesus spent a lot of time talking about the dangers of that form of excess; the gospels have him constantly laying into the Pharisees about the sin I've pointed out. I'm with Fred, who in one of my favorite LB posts said: "Sin boldly. Better to be a crack addict chasing a counterfeit of the pearl of great price than to be chasing nothing at all."

It's like me and my affection for Coulda Been Contenders. Even though they may have fallen short and failed to accomplish what they set out to do, I have more respect and affection for them, because they did actually try. They may have failed, but there's some nobility in how they tried.

Sorry, sorry. I swear I didn't plan to talk so damn much, but really there isn't a lot this week. There's usually not a lot every week, but this week...however much I criticize A Separate Peace for trying to stretch out a short story's worth of material into a novel, at least there I could entertain myself by shouting at the protagonists, "Will you two just fuck already?!"

The chapter begins with a few paragraphs with Yasmine and Abdullah talking to each other about Abdullah's plans to try to infiltrate the TOL. It gets revisited later on in the chapter when he visits Zeke and Zeke basically says, "I can't make you look like you're under one hundred." Yeah, it is really that dull. I could talk about how the TOL, with the exception of that one rapist dude, isn't really interfering at all with the day-to-day lives of RTCs and really, the RTCs are acting more tyrannical, trying to do everything they can to keep them from living their lives as they see fit, arresting them for have nightclubs where they dance and enjoy alcohol. I know I've already ranted about this, but I haven't really heard anything about the TOL sending spies to bring down the RTC movement from within.

Next part is a discussion between Kenny-boy and Kat. This thread in the chapter is admittedly more interesting, because I can dust off all my rants and links about Nice Guys™. Because Kenny is such a Nice Guy™. Just look at this conversation between him and Kat after she tells him that she's going on a date with Qasim.

“See you? As in go out with you?”

She nodded. “And I agreed.”

“What? Tell me you didn’t!”

“Kenny! What’s the matter? I didn’t want to be rude. He just wants to take me to dinner Friday night. What can be the harm? You know him better than I. Is there some reason I should not accept an invitation from a brother?”

A brother? Kenny wasn’t so sure. Raymie was suspicious of Qasim, and his personality grated on Kenny. But that wasn’t enough to make him bad-mouth the guy to Ekaterina. Kenny knew full well why he had a problem with Qasim’s interest in Kat. He had merely beaten Kenny to the punch.

“Well?” she said. “No warnings? No dire stories?”

Kenny shook his head. He wanted to blurt out that he cared for her and would rather date her himself, but it was too late. He had missed his window of opportunity. He would look jealous and desperate. Would he have to compete with Qasim to see her at all now?

Yeah, Kenny may not be using the exact same lingo as Nice Guys™, but he definitely shares the same mindset and aggrieved tone of one. Because apparently Kat is supposed to instinctively recognize that he wants to get in her pants without him saying so, and give him what he wants, because he's spent all this time pretending to listen to her and care about her thoughts and feelings. Because everyone knows that women are machines and if you put enough niceness coins in them, sex is supposed to come out.

Kenny is shocked, shocked that for all the time he devoted to emotional manipulation, Kat has the nerve to go out with someone who actually asked her out and displayed open, honest interest in her. All right, I'll post one last webcomic link and move on. No points for guessing which character Kenny is in the comic.

Chloe and Cam-Cam are about to sit down to a dinner of fresh fruit. Once again, I roll my eyes, because good lord, they didn't even try to make the all vegetarian diet sound attractive, at all. Even though, I'm fairly certain that while meat is off the table, there are still such things as spices around. Heck, even the Raw Foodists can slap together some appetizing-sounding recipes. I have no intention of starting an all Raw Food diet, but still, I think I've made my point and again, Ellanjay keep undermining their own case.

Because I'm going to provide you with side-by-side lists in order to compare the RTCs and TOL.

The RTCs' Activities in Heaven

Eating steaming piles of fresh produce

Spending their days working a slightly different version of the 9-5 rat race of our world.

No sex whatsoever.

As for leisure activities, they consist of singing hymns (and you know they're the banal praise choruses of modern Christian music, rather than Handel or Bach or anybody good) and dourly looking down on anyone different from them. That and of course, smiling with glee when Zod chooses to Exterminate All the Brutes.

TOL's Activities in Heaven

Rocking out to music with an actual beat

Enjoying alcohol and other intoxicating substances without any of the hazards of our world.

Going to nightclubs to dance to said music and partake of said intoxicants

Having all kinds of sex because they do not have to worry about STDs in Heaven

Leisure activities include generally enjoying Heaven, leaving the RTCs alone, and :gasp: saying things like a tyrannical deity who tortures people horribly for believing slightly different things and a Christian Taliban-like organization, may actually be horrible.

So yeah, it's not too surprising whose side is making a better case.

Anyway, Yerik, that priest guy from before, shows up to talk to Cam-Cam and Chloe. And he says that Noah has expressed his willingness to talk to the kids at their poorly-run daycare. I think it's safe to assume that the Noah in question is the flood guy, not the one mentioned in Numbers 27. Like I keep saying, it pays to know some of the more obscure parts of the Bible. .

Yerik tells Cam-Cam and Chloe, Noah's stipulations for this appearance:

“Just so you’re aware, he’ll be here alone. He will require nothing. No food, no drink, no introduction. And while there may be no way to preclude this, neither is he comfortable with praise. No doubt the children will want to cheer him, but there’s no need to encourage it. And as for drawing a large crowd, allow me to ask you, sir: have you already thought of whom you might inform as soon as I leave?”

:grins wickedly: If Noah isn't comfortable with praise, would he be comfortable with bringing up Genesis, chapter nine, verses twenty to the end? I could also bring up how that passage was used to justify Slavery and Jim Crow, even though isn't it really more Noah's fault for getting drunk and passing out naked? But because one of his kids saw his daddy's pecker, that means millions of people who never met or knew him, have to suffer horribly for his offense. Because that was how they justified it: Black people were the descendants of Ham, so they must forever serve White People.

Yeah, like I keep saying, I would get kicked out of that daycare so fast. Again, it pays to know some of the more obscure passages of the Bible.

Next section is about Rayford and his merry band doing stuff in Egypt. I'm going to post the entire passage, because I believe in spreading the pain around.

News of the new name of Egypt spread quickly through that nation, and as Rayford, Irene, Chaim, Tsion, Mac, Bruce, and his wife visited the various cities, the people would cry out, “Long live Osaze, ‘loved by God,’ and long live our King, the Lord Christ!”

But after one of the team preached and young people under one hundred streamed forward to commit their lives to Christ, someone was always bound to demand to know when God would lift His curse.

“That is up to you!” Bruce or Tsion would boom. “We believe the Lord is waiting to bless repentant hearts and minds and spirits.”

“But we have seen our sin and confessed!” the people would yell. “And ours was a sin of omission! We allowed others to sway us, but we did not choose to oppose the Lord!”

Rayford’s team never left an area without constructing, developing, advising, counseling, and even initiating technological advances. But even Rayford himself wondered how long it would be before God lifted His hand of discipline from the land.

Oy...I'm actually grateful that they told this in mostly summary. Yeah, it's lazy as heck, but just think of how much worse this passage would have been like, if they had put in more. Because you can just hear Rayford, in a whiny, aggrieved tone, being like, "Ugh...what is with these people, what with their constant demands for water? They just won't shut up about it. It's like they think it's one of the basic necessities of life that people won't survive long without. Why can't they spend a few more hours praising Jesus, instead of such frivolities as doing whatever you can to collect and treat whatever water there is to be found, running their urine through various filters to purify it, and dying horribly? And would it hurt for them to bathe or take a shower? They smell terrible. These people are so damn insensitive to the suffering of others."

Like I keep saying, I freely admit to exaggerating for comedic effect, but can you really say I'm too over-the-top here?

Though I will say again: why haven't the Egyptians just gotten the hell out? Because the borders of country are determined politics or natural features; it's not like those lines on maps represent alligator-filled moats. It would majorly suck, being a refugee, but when your options are A) stay where you are and die a horrible death or B) Undertake a dangerous journey and possibly survive, can you blame most people for choosing Option B?

Given that the Christian faith centers around a child raised by a couple of Palestinian Jews who traveled ninety miles from their homeland at the behest of their government, with one of them nine months pregnant while on this journey (artwork depicts Mary as riding a donkey, but in all likelihood, she would have walked like Joseph)*, and later, had to flee again to Egypt to escape a genocide, you'd think Ellanjay would be a bit more sensitive to the plight of refugees.

Anyway, there really isn't much more to this chapter. Creepy Raymie tells Kenny about how Noah is going to visit, Zeke tells Abdullah that he can't make him look younger, Cam-Cam and Chloe talk about nothing, and Kenny continues to give off Nice Guy™ vibes. Yeah, I think the most irritating aspect of that phenomenon is the aggrieved tone and the sense of entitlement. Apparently they feel they deserve a god-danged medal for doing the bare minimum needed to qualify as a decent human being.

For the record, I read the next chapter and yeah, no matter how they try to polish that turd, make Kenny's interactions with Kat seem all cute and emblematic of young love, it never stops being creepy or reeking of the Nice Guy™ phenomenon. Seriously, Qasim, just give these guys the middle finger and take off. Stop trying to kowtow to a bunch of bullies and make them like you. I've said it before and I'll keep saying it: the message that bullied kids should just completely reshape themselves, so as to get bullies to leave them alone and stop the emotional cruelty, is really sick. There is never a reason to bully someone, even if you wouldn't be surprised if that kid didn't have 666 tattooed on their scalp. You don't like someone, just leave them the hell alone, go out and live your life.

*And again, the journey...even if one of them wasn't pregnant, it would still be rough. Very few of the roads would be paved, forcing them to travel over some very rough terrain, and it wasn't like today where there's a gas station at every exit, so travelers would have to figure out how they are going to eat and sleep on this journey.


Firedrake said...

Kenny: "Oh, and did I mention my full name is Kenny Bruce Williams?"
Ekaterina: "What a shame we don't have pantsfeelings any more. I'm sure I'd be having them now. Honest."

(Mouse, are you still at the address? I sent you a link, but I don't think it's been used.)

Mouse said...

Yeah, I am still at Yahoo. If you're referring to that link you sent where I can watch Vanished, I have it. I just haven't gotten around to watching it yet. I've been working my way through Kingdom Come.

Mouse said...

Okay, I dug up the email and clicked on the link and got a 404 Page Not Found message. Did the Movie industry get onto you or something? Trying figure out if the problem is on my end or yours.

Firedrake said...

It got deleted automatically after two days - it's back now, I'll leave it there for a week or so.

spiritplumber said... Speaking of links Mouse, in case you missed this one, straight from the horse's mouth :)