Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Laziness of Evil

Sorry guys. All I can say was that life was kicking my ass, enough that I wished I could start kicking back. Anyway, I'm here now. If it's any consolation, I'm giving you guys a two chapter snark.

You'll be happy to know that Ellanjay begin this chapter with such a massive error right out the front gate so bad that I'm like, "Okay, I know Ellanjay believe that editing your work is for hacks, but do they also feel that reading what you typed before is as well?" Because the error in question isn't a "he said the healing herbs were pink, but now he says they're blue" error; this is a gaping abyss from which no one is sure where the bottom is and no life can escape its pull.

But for you all to understand what I'm ranting and raving about, I need to refer to a passage from the previous chapter. I admit that I left it out of the snark, because there was just so much else that needed to be talked about, filing it away in the back of my head so I may use it as needed. Well, now it's needed.

Anyway, here's Kat and Kenny talking about King David's upcoming visit:

“Oh, and Kenny? This visit from David is different from all the others. We’re not to tell anyone.”

“You weren’t even supposed to tell me?”

“Well, you’re on staff. But no kids, no parents, no friends. We’ve all been sworn to secrecy. That priest friend of your father’s supposedly told him that if even one outsider shows up, the visit is off.”

Okay, so that is what last week said about David's visit. But here's how the next chapter begins.

WHEN DAVID, the king of Jerusalem and Jesus’ prince, strode onto COT property, Cameron buzzed Chloe and they rolled into action. Word spread quickly throughout the staff that it was time to round up all the kids and get them in place.



Yeah, I know everything related to Ellanjay and to Donald Trump and to the modern GOP in general, can all be summed up as They Just Do Not Care!, but merely saying that is not enough to illustrate how deeply They Do Not Care! For all Ellanjay's talk about how they wanted to reach people for Christ via the Left Behind books, stuff like this makes it abundantly clear that this series is their equivalent of the Spanish Requirement. According to their rules, if they didn't make some token efforts to rack up converts, they would burn in hell along with the heathens. But if they make an effort to convert and the heathen just laughs and walks away, the heathen will burn in hell, but Ellanjay are off the hook because they gave those horrible brutes a chance to save themselves, but they didn't take it. Like our dear Fred Clark has said before, Ellanjay are Jonah, grudgingly preaching the gospel so God will let them off the hook and they can enjoy the firework show when He punts the heathens into Hell.

And I know some of you keep trying to convince me that Jerry Jenkins is playing the part of a Stephen Colbert-esque Poe, writing Bible-based fanfiction on behalf of Tim LaHaye, but lacing said fanfiction with subtle jabs at the entire effed up belief system, but I don't think that's very likely. Occam's Razor says that the simplest explanation is often the correct one and in this case, the simplest explanation is They Just Do Not Care! You have to remember that this is the RTC subculture we're talking about, a subculture that generally isn't known for possessing much by way of self-awareness or critical thinking; in fact, those traits are generally frowned upon. Yet both traits are needed in order to be a good satirist or parodist. So while I can believe that Jerry Jenkins is unintentionally undermining his own case due to deficits in aforementioned traits, I have a difficult time believing that any of this is intentional.

Because again, They Just Do Not Care! As far as Ellanjay are concerned, they've done their part, said The Prayer with the precise amount of sincerity demanded, and they read the requirement to those brutes. Following the dictates of their toxic belief system, they are off the hook. Whatever happens next, doesn't matter. They'll get bamfed into Heaven and they'll get front row seats to point and laugh at the heathens as they burn. Hence why They Do Not Care! They value saving their own skins above anything else. Once that has been done, they no longer have any reason to care.

The same expression easily applies to Donald Trump. Several people have said that there is no deeper meaning to Donald Trump, that there is absolutely nothing below the surface when it comes to him. Based on what I've seen, I don't have any trouble believing it. Donald Trump exists solely to make money and line his own pockets; he has no other deeper desires or hopes and dreams or anything like that. To the extent he cares about his wives and children, it's only as to how they reflect on him. He'd have no problem jettisoning them to save his own skin, because again, Donald Trump only loves and cares about Donald Trump. If he runs this country into the ground, he'll likely escape like all the other times he has before, flee to another country with his ill-gotten gains and start another con, while everyone else is left behind to clean up his mess. It's what he's been doing his entire life.

And of course, said expression applies to the GOP as well. Regardless of whatever misgivings they may feel about Trump, the GOP sold their souls for money and power decades ago and really don't care. They've decided they like power and the money it brings, so they'll happily put aside whatever scruples, if any, they may have to gain access to Donald Trump and stay in power. And again, like Trump, they know deep down that if things go south, there is a way out for them. Money buys many things, including escape hatches.

I know, I know, I'm getting all political, but again, I honestly think that "They Just Do Not Care!" is the simplest and best reason for the Christian Right and the modern GOP in general. No matter what happens, things will work out for them, so why should they care? People keep trying desperately to find a deeper motivation for both groups. I understand why. Our entertainment is made up mostly of Grand Guignol Machiavellian Genius Villains, so we try to apply said standards to real-world villains. We want badly to believe that we are a meritocracy and only the cream rises to the top, no matter how many times that's proven wrong. We want to believe that the system is foolproof and impossible to beat and if someone managed to pull it off, they are a supergenius the likes of which the world has never seen before, not overgrown toddlers whose main tactics are kicking and screaming until they get what they want.

:sighs: Like I tell people, Reality is the most poorly written form of entertainment ever, paying no heed to basic rules of plotting and characterization. About the only form of fiction that adequately comes close to depicting Reality are those shitty Choose-Your-Own Adventure books: important plot points come way the heck out of nowhere, nothing is resolved in a satisfying fashion, and no matter what you choose, you're screwed in the end.

Fine, I'll get back to work. :puts away soapbox:

As you probably guessed, David's bit is just him walking through the time he fought Goliath, with the kids oohing and awing at various intervals. For my own benefit, I'll assume that the TOL has spirited away all the real children and replaced them with mannequins that have tape-recorders attached to them. Though they could just be cardboard cutouts with tape-recorders attached to them. They did all this to save the kids from becoming the RTC version of Hitler's Youth, plus, like I keep saying, do you really think that the Millies would be able to tell the difference. They've proven again and again that awareness is something they generally suck at.

There really isn't a lot to take apart though I did snicker at David calling Jonathan his best friend. :cue Beavis and Butthead laughter:

Okay, I know someone out there is going to protest, say I am reading entirely too much into things and that I should consider the societal mores of the time, but c'mon, in the very least, David and Jonathan had an epic bromance going.

I'll cite the beginning of 1 Samuel 18 and move on.

18 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. 2 And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father's house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul. 4 And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, and his armor, and even his sword and his bow and his belt.

I will also cite 2 Samuel Chapter One, the ending verses, David's lament after hearing of Jonathan's death.

25 “How the mighty have fallen in battle!
Jonathan lies slain on your heights.
26 I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother;
you were very dear to me.
Your love for me was wonderful,
more wonderful than that of women.

27 “How the mighty have fallen!
The weapons of war have perished!”

David neatly sidesteps the whole affair regarding Bathsheba, y'know, where he slept with a married woman, impregnated her, then sent her husband off to die in order to cover the whole thing up. Also doesn't mention the whole bit with Absalom. You really wish there was a Smart Aleck Sunday School kid there to be like, "Okay, what does it say about you as a parent when one of your sons raped his half sister and was, in turn, killed by her brother?" It always seemed messed up how Absalom wound up being cast as the villain in all this and not, say, Amnon aka the guy who raped Absalom's sister. WTF, David?!

David talks about how God promised his throne would be established forever and I'm like, "Until everything falls apart with Josiah." Though Ellanjay are probably playing on the whole "Jesus is a descendant of David" bit. Though given that David had many many wives and God-Only-Knows how many concubines, it seems very unlikely that he would produce only one direct descendant and Jesus would be the only one who could be traced to his line. Heck, I did just mention the whole mess with Absalom, aka proof that David didn't just sire Solomon.

The chapter ends with David disappearing after leading the children in The Prayer. Since my ravings and rantings were longer than the actual chapter, I'll throw in a second one.

Kenny is, as you guessed, still being all Secret Agent Man, doing clandestine work like visiting major Parisian landmarks that had been rebuilt after the Glorious Appearing. Though said landmarks aren't :gasp: quite as beautiful as the originals.

On the other hand, despite the anxiety over working undercover, Kenny had found Paris interesting. None of the historical landmarks remained, of course, but attempts had been made to reproduce some of the more familiar— like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and even some of the great cathedrals.

I am pointing and laughing because it's widely known that the Parisians hate the Eiffel Tower, consider it an eyesore and pretty much the only reason it's still standing, is because the tourists love it. So I doubt they'd be clamoring to rebuild it. That and given the RTC's love of megachurches, I have a really hard time believing that they would know anything about European Cathedrals, let alone appreciate them. Wait until we tell them that said cathedrals were :gasp: built during a time in which the Catholic Church was pretty much the only game in town, Christianity-wise, and as such, the buildings were designed to serve as Catholic Churches. I wonder how well they'd be able to handle the news, given the long tradition of virulent anti-Catholicism in the RTC subculture.

I don't know how many times I'm going to say this, but with a few exceptions, most of the truly great Christian art was produced during a time when the Church was the only game in town for Starving Artists.

But after spending an indeterminate amount of time in Paris, the most effete and European of Effete European cities, Kenny-boy is now being dragged onward to Amman, aka that place where Abdullah hangs out, harassing Mudawar and Sarsour.

Though never say Kenny is not suffering for his faith. As he travels via plane (because again, though this is freaking Heaven, the only speedy means of travel is still a sky bus), he gets negative looks from RTCs.

On the plane with Ignace, Lothair, and Nicolette, Kenny for the first time became aware of the stares and glares of people— mostly naturals, some glorifieds— who must have recognized the alternative clothing of the TOLers for what it was.

Okay, I'll let my commenters decide what Ellanjay mean by alternative clothing, which subculture they represent. Are the TOLers Goths? Or are they more ravers or Club Kids? Maybe they are into Gothic Lolita or something like that. Though I'm hoping for Steampunk, simply because I like the visual aesthetic.

Though before anyone says that maybe alternative clothing means Kenny and the TOL are walking around in their birthday suits, as delightful an image as that may be, given what prudes the RTCs' are, they probably won't even let the bad guys be very comfortable with their bodies.

Though this paragraph and the subsequent one...maybe my "Jerry Jenkins is a Poe" theorists have a point. Both passages basically say "RTCs are judgmental scolds."

Kenny had known so little negativity in his life— of course, he barely remembered much of the Tribulation, as it ended with the Glorious Appearing when he was still about four months shy of his fifth birthday— that it had been his practice to catch people’s eyes, even strangers’, and smile. That would not do now. His pretend compatriots were rebels, misfits, outcasts. They kept to themselves, looking serious, or if they did meet someone’s gaze, they proffered a hateful scowl. Kenny found that nearly impossible, so he just kept his eyes focused on the floor most of the time.

Yeah, the tribulation may have had people getting killed right and left from poisoned water, repeated meteor strikes, nuclear winter, and lion-headed snake-tailed flying people killers, but there certainly wasn't any negativity. People in those days had the common courtesy to die quietly and bury themselves, rather than hurt the delicate RTCs' ears with all the screams of agony.

And the RTCs may spend all their time loudly proclaiming certain groups of people, usually ones who aren't White, Christian, Male, and Straight, to be subhuman mongrels unworthy of the basic rights afforded to them as citizens and human beings, and they scream in the faces of women going into Planned Parenthood for checkups and mammograms, going so far as to blow up clinics and shoot doctors to protect the sanctity of life, and they loudly demand the genocide of some 1.6 billion men, women, and children, and pant with desire to commit war crimes against people guilty of being born in the wrong part of the world, but they most certainly aren't negative. I don't know why people keep insisting that they are.

Just as I don't know why a minority group that faces constant harassment from the authorities for exercising their right to assembly, right to free speech, and right to practice their faith as they see fit, might get a little surly and bitter towards the majority group running roughshod over all their rights.

If only they could be as saintly as Martin Luther King, who just placidly said, "If it's not too much trouble, can we have the rights due to us as American citizens?" and in no way, did anything to upset White People. And he certainly never said anything except that one quote and wasn't assassinated by a racist White dillhole despite practicing nonviolent resistance and wearing a suit and tie to his protests. That would imply that all their quibbles about the words protesters use and the clothing they wear, are attempts to weasel out of the very real issues the protesters are bringing up and we all know RTCs would never weasel out of addressing their opponents' arguments. :bitter laughter:

Ignace is like "We're going to the Theological Training Institute and we want you to give your pep talk, so we can recruit others." Kenny is mentally going "Oh Noes!" at the prospect of lying, so apparently that's a sin again. Though Kenny infiltrating the group and trying to bring them down from within, isn't a form of lying and therefore, isn't a sin, just as escorting Nicky around the world to commit atrocities or serving as Nicky's personal propagandist, isn't a sin.

Chloe and Cam-Cam are going through records being all "Oh Noes!" as they realized that Qasim has skipped out on all the Biblical Figure Meetings. Given that again, he is being bullied horribly by the RTCs and nothing David, Joshua, Caleb, or Noah said, is anything that can't be found in the Bible, I remain totally on Team Qasim.

They become even more horrified when they realize that a directory listing the names, addresses, and salaries of workers at the daycare have gone missing. :dramatic Prairie Dog: Those monsters! Next you'll tell me that someone copied Saintly Irene's recipe for Steaming Piles of Fresh Produce and are claiming it as they're own!

Again, like I've said before, I really think we could benefit if we used our tax dollars to give RTCs one-way tickets to China, Saudi Arabia, or any country where Christians experience actual persecution for their faith and not just the "Happy Holidays" variety. If they manage to escape and make their way out of a third-world hellhole, maybe they would have much-needed perspective, now that they've experienced actual persecution and they may be more sensitive to the plight of refugees, since they had been one. If nothing else, they'll be trapped in third-world hellholes, so we can finally get stuff done without them throwing hissies every time we try to expand rights to include those people or have the government do anything except kill brown people and fellate the rich.

“You know I don’t go into the files, Chlo’. You’ve got it backed up on disk, right?”

“Of course, but no one else is supposed to have access to the hard copy. Oh, Cam, we’re not going to have start putting locks on the doors, are we? Not after almost a hundred years with no mischief.”

Such are the depravities the TOL is capable of, gaining access to widespread information by finding a directory someone left out in the middle of nowhere or :gasp: a printout left on the Xerox. Even Josef Stalin shudders at the depths of their cruelty!

Abdullah is all chuckling with amusement because Mudawar and Sarsour cleaned up their office and got dressed in their best clothes to meet their guests. Though they are still short, oily, and, as the chapter later reveals, fat, which means their arguments have no merit. Like Conservapedia, Ellanjay believe the key to winning arguments is to go, "Yeah, well you're fat and ugly!" then run away laughing. Because fat or ugly or fat and ugly people never have anything wise or insightful to say.

For those of you wondering how Abdullah will bravely withstand the mild criticisms of the TOL, fear not. Abdullah sees Kenny-boy with them and in a true display of courage, bravely turns his tail and ran, going to his wife, Yasmine, and being like, "Oh Noes! What should I tell Cam-Cam and Chloe?" Just as the bit with the message box before, apparently RTCs have no difficulty automatically believing anything they see. Hence why even though Kenny has been nothing but a good RTC and a member of the Millies, aka a group that has talked about infiltrating the TOL and bringing them down from within, Abdullah has no difficulty assuming that Kenny is hanging out with the TOL because he is a hardened eeeevil TOLer now.

Again, keep wondering if Nicky could have defeated the mighty RTCs by writing "Want to keep an idiot busy for hours? Turn to the other side for answers." on both sides of a dollar bill or putting scratch and sniff stickers at the bottom of swimming pools.

Then again, I'm still disappointed that Barack Obama never used the GOP's "Oppose whatever he supports and support whatever he opposes" logic to his advantage. C'mon, when you're enemy has that glaringly obvious a weakness, you'd be a fool not to use it. You could have given an impassioned speech as to why sitting in your garage with the engine running is a dumb idea or you shouldn't swim while wearing cement booties on your feet or that all the stuff mentioned in "Dumb Ways to Die" really are dumb ways to die. Instead you spent eight years being Luke Skywalker shooting at every part of the Death Star, except for the exhaust port.

Obama, along with pretty much every member of the Democratic Party, could stand to learn that as nice as ideals like Bipartisanship and reaching across the aisle are, said ideals only work if both sides are made up of adults who, despite differing beliefs, genuinely want to do their jobs and get stuff done. It doesn't work when one side is made up of adults and the other side is made up of demon toddler children determined to burn everything down out of spite (because if they can't have it, no one can) and believes that the other side is made up of Satanic Demon Child-Eaters. The fact that the Democratic Party keeps falling into the same traps again and again, makes we wonder if they are ridiculously naïve, dumb, or both.

The chapter ends with Kenny angsting as he is forced to lie to the TOL.

And we're done for this week. Sorry about all the political rants, but this whole "Just Don't Care" thing we run into with the Right, just irritates the living hell out of me. Richard Nixon may have been a moral sewer of a human being and you're glad he was eventually stopped, but at the same time, the amount of time and planning he put into his villainous schemes, forces you to have some grudging respect for the guy. He didn't just kick and scream until he got what he wanted. Though I still laugh about how he planned, though never carried out, to kill a reporter by coating his steering wheel with LSD. You didn't get the hippies like at all, did you Nixon?

The last GOP president who didn't leave his country in worse shape than it was when he took office, was Dwight Eisenhower. I don't know when or if I will ever stop saying this. Though I don't know how well Eisenhower would do in the modern GOP. His two terms were a nightmarish era of peace and prosperity from which this country has never recovered. He saw that we were in a military quagmire in Korea and decided, "Y'know what maybe we should get out of it," rather than "Do the same strategy as before, only harder." His era also had a 90% tax rate, enabling us to build the interstate and much of our infrastructure, which helped us beat the Russians to the moon in the sixties. And nearly every job was unionized, thus making it so that everyone, even entry-level slobs, could afford a middle-class standard of living.

But perhaps the most eeeevil of all of Eisenhower's actions, was that he overrode Arkansas's States' Rights and sent the National Guard to protect the Little Rock Nine and force Central High to integrate. And that line those liberal hippie America-hating peaceniks like to quote about the Military-Industrial Complex? That was from Eisenhower's farewell address where he said:

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction...

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.

All this makes you wonder: Why did Dwight Eisenhower hate America so much?

Final Cool Fact about Eisenhower before closing: his last name, roughly translated means "Iron-Cutter" in German, so even his name is cool and badass. Iron-Cutter sounds like a name a Viking would use.


Melvina said...

Why do I smell a "Everything could be cleared up in an instant if two characters would only talk to each but because they don't there's going to be pages and pages of needless angst and drama between them" plot between Kenny and Abdullah? If that's what they're trying to do then I guess it's nice that they're trying to start a plot thread, but... Of course it'd be the most annoying one out there...

Mouse said...

It's not like Ellanjay haven't done this before. See Book Two where Chloe spends several chapters in a snit, because she thinks Buck has another girl, rather than, y'know, talk to him!

spiritplumber said...

There are salaries, so, there's a cash economy. You never see this mentioned anywhere else in the book, pretty much. How does that stuff work, at all? So this is what I did.

(In TOL or Omega controlled territories, in Left Beyond Quest, people generally make a point of wearing synthetics. It gets a bit silly later on, especially in Misrayim).

Mouse said...

spiritplumber, the simplest explanation is that there's a cash economy because Ellanjay can't possibly imagine anything else. It's the same lack of imagination that leads them to make Heaven an even more ramped up version of a gated community. Hence why even though they are supposed to be in paradise and have an infinite amount of time, people still go into work and make remarks about how they're going to have to take some time off to do X.

spiritplumber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
spiritplumber said...

I agree with your assessment (mostly, see the "missionaries live in a gift economy" caveat in my writeup), if nothing else because the Millennial Kingdom has to be rightwing-shibboleth approved, so there are various currencies, all of which are gold-backed.

In LBQ, the Omega takes advantage of this by making a big deal of introducing electronic currencies during the peaceful takeover of Pacifica... and focusing the believers' attention on monetary policy, while the actual takeover happens over other issues. Then Angels descend to "liberate" the territory, and the Legion of Light learns why spider tanks are kinda pointless on a flattened Earth, and there is a reasonable amount of rocket punching, but that's besides the point :)

I think that L&J didn't want to make the Millennial Kingdom look too Communistic, even though this was written in 2007.

More possibly-snarky writing in the Millennial Kingdom: LBQ is still available here, of course. by me, stalled right now - I have the outline written but no idea how to flesh it out. by autumnrose, which is going somewhere interesting if you want to read about TOL being actually competent.

Melvina said...

Ugh, I remember that now... So not only is it the most annoying plot thread probably ever, but it's one they've reused. Then again it's Ellanjay so I really shouldn't be surprised. Oh... But now I'm picturing that this is going to end the same way Chloe and Buck's plot thread ended. That is to say, I'm imagining Kenny and Abdullah getting married! :) Yeah, I know... Kenny has Kat and Abdullah I'm pretty sure is already married, but...

Firedrake said...

Kenny in my head is now done up in full GothLoli. It's all your fault. (That's what the first TOLer he saw was wearing, so he assumed it was their uniform.)

"Want to keep an idiot busy for hours? The true secret of salvation is on the other side."

Mouse said...

Don't worry, Melvina, I totally understand. My head canon for this series is pretty much a big Yaoi fest. Since Buck and Rayford show considerably more interest in each other than their designated love interests, I've concluded that Buck married Chloe because, well apparently the rule about not eating bacon was overturned Because Jesus! but the one against homosexuality must stand for all eternity. So Buck marries Chloe because she serves as a handy beard and it makes it easier for him and Rayford to sneak around. The existence of a wife (and later, a child) can be used to disprove any rumors circulating about Buck's sexuality, since the RTC subculture believe that a Gay man doesn't produce semen and is completely unable to perform with a woman.

Chloe knows about this, but quietly accepts this, because having a husband increases her standing in the RTC subculture where single women are seen as either spinsters or hussies. With Buck, she gets the status that comes with being married, but without a husband demanding too much time with her. And of course, her ties to both Rayford and Buck, aka the most important people in the LB-verse, ranking even above God and Jesus, considerably increases her standing in the subculture, canceling out much of the deficits that being female gives her.

I know, I know, the only people Buck and Rayford could truly love, would be a clone of each other, but since Rayford and Buck are pretty much clones, it works out nice. And now I'll go take many long showers to deal with this feeling of sleaze I have about what I've just typed. I'm not sure whether I should say "Poor Chloe" or not.