Sunday, April 30, 2017

We Fart We Fart Right in der Rayford's Face (Chapter 30, Part II)

Hello and welcome! We're still in Chapter 30. Whether I'll finish it off this week or if this will be a three-part snark remains to be seen. But let's focus on the important stuff, which is talking about how dumb Rayford is. While neither he nor Buck come anywhere close to the magnitude of awful that is Shitstain Stepola, let us never forget that they are still pretty damn awful. Kirk Cameron may be the only actor who can portray both of those characters, because they really are both about the same and Cameron's innate smugness means he doesn't have to do much work to pull off the part, a descriptor which seems to accurately describe his career as an actor. It's one of the reasons why Movie!Rayford, as played by Brad Johnson, is much more bearable than his book counterpart. He's doing basic, workmanlike acting, but Johnson is still trying to flesh out the character he was given and in doing so, actually makes the character kind of sympathetic.

Don't know how Nicholas Cage did as Rayford. I may be morbidly curious, but I'm not sure if I'm that morbidly curious. From what I heard, Cage pretty much sleepwalks through the film, which is disappointing. C'mon Cage, if you're going to take on all these terrible movies because you're a spendthrift with nearly every expensive hobby under the sun (Cage's Likes: comic book memorabilia, getting married, and having bigass houses. Cage's Dislikes: Paying his Taxes) at least commit and be the gonzo insanity we saw in Wicker Man and the Ghost Rider movies.

For the record, that clip I posted from Ghost Rider 2, I don't think anything Nicolas Cage was doing or saying in that scene was in the script and I don't think the actors in that scene, the thug or the lady, were acting. It's kind of hard to fake that level of genuine terror. Hence why Ridley Scott, for the infamous chestburster scene in Alien, while William Hurt knew what would happen in that scene, Scott kept it from all the other actors. So when it happens the actors in that scene weren't acting; they were genuinely freaked out.

Though while Ghost Rider 2 is a terrible movie, like I keep telling people, that scene with the excavator...For that brief moment, Ghost-Rider 2 is the best Marvel movie ever!

All right, we'll get to talking about how dumb Rayford is, so dumb that all the dumb blondes of the world deserve an apology. However dumb they may be, they're still smarter than Rayford.

Many of my commenters keep trying to sell me on the theory that Jerry Jenkins is some kind of Poe, that while he's basically being Tim LaHaye's stenographer, he's lacing his story with subtle attacks on the very subculture and philosophy he was hired to promote. I, myself, remain unconvinced; I've seen no indications that Jerry Jenkins is capable of that level of awareness. When I do, I might be more open to it, but until then...all answers point to No.

Though I'll admit paragraphs like these almost makes me wonder.

For some reason, despite how long Rayford had lived in this new world, it still surprised him to emerge from the heavily curtained mobile hotel to a moon brighter than the sun had once been. But with a wide-brimmed hat and dark wraparound sunglasses, he could pretend. And an hour’s amble at midnight often cleared his head.

Again, even the RTC characters are like, "Y'know I miss the moon and stars. And the increased rate of cataracts and melanomas due to the intense amount of UV radiation, is also really irritating." Again, a disturbing lack of imagination. For as long as humans have been on this earth, the stars had served as a source of spiritual comfort, but Ellanjay are like, "Nah, what's really comforting is having a giant stadium light blasting at your eyes all the time."
You'd think the stars would be even more amazing in Heaven, because light pollution would no longer be a thing, yet here we are.

For the record, as Rayford is going for his midnight stroll, I'm totally picturing him in Bermuda shorts and wearing socks with sandals, along with the wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. I have no difficulty believing that Rayford has the worst fashion sense ever.

This night, however, after whispering his intentions to Irene, Rayford found the night wasn’t much cooler than the day had been. He rolled up his sleeves as he moseyed along, trying to pray, trying to imagine the future, and, yes— despite the interest and challenge and novelty of the Millennium, longing for heaven. Such complications as the clearly bogus charges against Kenny would not invade such a paradise.

I know Rayford's whispered intentions were probably what was said in last week's selection where he's going to weasel out of work For Reasons! but because I'm a dirty-minded pervert, I've already come up with some other ideas in my head. Though given that Saintly Irene sounds about as fun as the Church Lady, Phyllis Schlafly , and...okay I haven't thought of a third name yet. Just that it sure is a shame that Rayford doesn't have another wife he could seek out, one who might be just a little less preachy and more willing to experiment, but I think Amanda White was carried off by attack pterodactyls or something, because she hasn't been seen or heard since the beginning, even though there's no reason she can't live under the same roof with Saintly Irene and Rayford.

The Amanda option also ignores again, how Rayford and Buck show more of an attraction to each other than they ever do towards any of their designated love interests.

The part of this paragraph that makes me laugh the hardest, is usage of the word "moseyed." Were it not for the fact, he died five years before this book came out, I'd say Waylon Jennings may be the best reader for the audio version of this book.

As you probably guessed, that Rayford Steele's about to get into a whole heap of trouble. But before we get to that, I'm going to provide one last paragraph for my readers to laugh at until they dry-heave.

Rayford had learned much about the Lord and about the future, yet still he did not understand God. Why was it that some days He seemed closer than even His throne in Israel, answering Rayford before his prayers were voiced, and other days— like now— He seemed distant and silent? Perhaps heaven would provide those answers.


I know, I know, disturbingly unimaginative and Rayford is dumber than many kinds of dirt, so dumb that all the paint-chip eaters of the world point and laugh at him, but it still felt satisfying to do that ragedump.

Anyway, now to the trouble.

What happens is while moseying about, a car pulls up beside him and is like, "Hey, can you help us out? Some believers are being persecuted." And Rayford gets into the car, despite seeing dark green blankets covering lumpy mounds in the backseat. Like I said last week, Rayford would probably climb right into a windowless van with the words "Free Candy" written on the side, no matter how old he is. Though maybe that's his strength. Given how dumb he is, maybe even the most depraved of serial killers would hesitate when it comes to Rayford; a newborn baby presents more of a challenge to them. Then again, his innate smugness probably cancels that out and would probably make anyone, not just serial killers, be like, "Eff it!" and go to town on him. Maybe it'd play out like Ken McElroy* where there may have been 30-46 witnesses to his death, all of whom mysteriously went deaf, dumb, and blind when the crime was committed and clearly suffered from serious deficits in their memories when questioned about it later.

Anyway, some guys appear out of the blankets and stick a gun against the back of Rayford's neck, being all, "Hands behind your head." Rayford is all smug, but much as it pains me to admit it, I think he's kind of right to be. :shudders: I feel so dirty for saying it, though. He's like, “You could shoot me through the brain or I could leap from this car and still God would spare me.”

The driver, Ishmael, is like, Well do it, then," and while it sickens me to keep being on the side of Rayford Steele, have to admit he does have a point. We're some 93 years into the MK or something like that, so you'd think Ishmael would have noticed by now that RTCs are basically Deadpool, minus the potty mouth and the sense of humor or anything that makes Deadpool worth watching.

Though I'm not entirely sure about this. I still suffer hemorrhages trying to work out the rules of all this. Initially, I thought in the MK, pain and death weren't a thing, unless you didn't say The Prayer before your 100th birthday. But then Cam-Cam talked about how if Cendrillion had died in an accident, it would be easier to understand, so apparently fatal accidents are still a thing. Though maybe fatal accidents can only happen to anyone under 100, meaning Rayford is safe, like he said. But if 100 is the Age of Accountability in the MK, meaning that if you die before reaching 100, you can't be held accountable and get a free pass into Heaven, does that mean if Cendrillion's parents had killed her at any point before her 100th birthday, Cendrillion would get a free pass into Heaven and all the Jospins have to do, is ask God for forgiveness and they'll be in the clear as well.

But I'm one of those weirdoes who believes that if you have to resort to weaselly logic like the Age of Accountability to soften the blows of your horrible theology, maybe you should ask why you have said horrible theology.

Rayford, in a rare show of intelligence, actually considers doing this.

Rayford considered it. What a message that would send! He could envision himself tumbling and rolling in the dirt, then jogging unharmed back to the others. But the Lord suddenly spoke quietly to his heart. “Comply. I am in this.”

And by the Lord, the text means "the Writers" because clearly this little plot cul-de-sac is only there for padding. But then again, this entire book is just padding. However bad the other LB books were (and I'm not saying they weren't), at least there was some fragile hope for a conflict or something happening! If nothing else, it was easier to disappear into my League of Awesome headcanons, and the Tribbles were legitimately being persecuted for their faith. Granted it happened mostly off-screen and mostly to NPCs, but still.

Anyway, here's the kidnappers eeeevil incoherent plan regarding Rayford.

Ishmael shushed her with a raised hand. “Do not speak to the hostage,” he said.

“I’m a hostage now? And who do you think will pay a ransom for me?”

“We have no need of ransom,” Ishmael said. “We require only you.”

Okay, if you're not going to try to get money out of this or make demands like, say, ask for your incarcerated buddies to be released, why exactly are you taking him as a hostage? When you take someone hostage, you're going to all this trouble to get something out of it.

One of the Keystone Kidnappers realizes that the cuffs are hurting Rayford's hands, undoes them, then puts them back on him. Ishmael chews her out (of course, it'd be a her.) for this.

For those of you biting your nails raw wondering what exactly they intend to do with Rayford, here's their foul, sinister, intricately-plotted plan:

“What am I here for?” Rayford said. Ishmael kept his eyes on the road, now moving at more than a hundred miles an hour.

“You are here so you will not be there.”

There? “And where is that?”


“You intend to hold me the entire weekend?”

“Perhaps longer.”

The Siwa thing is a reference to last week. Rayford and Co. are supposed to go to Siwa, but Chaim had warned them that there might be protesters and for some reason, they aren't using any of the traditional Rightwing strategies for dealing with protesters such as, shout at them and make sure they can't get a word in edgewise (because your argument is so strong, it doesn't need to stand up to inquiry), cutting their mics, allowing them to protest but only while safely shut away in Free Speech Zones, and if all else fails, resorting to the Occupy Oakland or the Standing Rock strategies.** Remember, tear gas and nightsticks are okay, but never waste ammo, however tempting it may be. All other forms of brutality are okay, a mere cakewalk, but shooting someone is a bridge too far!

But for some reason, Rayford and Co., despite being Brownshirts for Theocratic Dictatorship, despite having arrested people who haven't committed crimes before, can't do any of these strategies.

Anyway, back to the lamest, most nonsensical kidnapping scheme ever.

“And may I ask for what purpose?”

“To prove our god is greater than yours.”

Rayford couldn’t stifle a laugh. “Good luck.”

“So far, it’s working.”

“How will keeping me from Siwa accomplish anything?”

“You made the mistake of advertising.”

Again, Rayford keeps actually making a point. Oh, Sideshow Bob, I understand exactly how you must feel. I might join you in some rake-stomping when this is all over.

Because if these guys really want to keep Rayford and Co. from going to Siwa and racking up converts, couldn't they shove a bomb under the RV or :gasp: kidnap all of them, rather than just Rayford? We all know that said kidnapping would go about as well as the one in The Ransom of Red Chief, but still.

Oh yeah, they singled out Rayford because he is the single, greatest force in the LB-verse, outranking even Zod, and his dick knowledge of God is so persuasive that if he was at Siwa, who knows how many banal praise choruses and altar calls they may have.

Rayford says, “All of our visits are advertised. We want the people to know we’re coming so they can prepare their hearts and minds, not to mention mustering teams of volunteers to help us improve their cities.”

And because Rayford, like all good RTCs, believes strongly in Free Speech, even for those with whom he disagrees, these advertisements are also done to demonstrate to any protesters that they are open to honest debate. Like the great evangelist, Paul, the RTCs aren't afraid to address the arguments of others, because they have immersed themselves in the protesters culture, listening to and reading the works written by writers they hold dear, and therefore, know how to address their arguments. :hate laugh:

As always, remember that it is a great stroke of bravery and courage for a rightwing politician to wuss out and refuse to face protesters, because they've said mean things about them, but if Anita Sarkeesian*** cancels public appearances because people have doxed her name and address and made numerous threats to rape and kill her (and not necessarily in that order) or show up to said appearances with freaking guns, then she should really toughen up because it's just the Internet, so it doesn't mean anything, and they were just kidding; God, why do you have to be so sensitive about everything?

For those of you wondering whether gin-scented tears are rolling down my cheeks, don't worry; we've reached the point where Rayford stops making some semi-decent points and I, like everyone else, will resume hating him.

First up, well, do I need to point out how the Strawman has a point, here?

“You have done nothing more than frighten the people into believing God will strike them dead if they don’t comply with His wishes.”

Rayford shook his head. “It seems God Himself may have persuaded them of that. So you are with the Other Light.”

Again, the heathens are stating an actual fact here. Though the paragraph that begins with "Rayford shook his head" Because I am a pervert and someone who believes in spreading pain around, I'll assume that when they refer to Rayford's head, they don't mean the one on his shoulders, but the one located further south. Because I can't imagine Rayford being able to get off on anything except the sufferings of others. Maybe that was why, before he became an RTC, he strung along Hattie and emotionally abused her. Since he wasn't an RTC like Irene, he couldn't get off on the thought of all those sinful sinners burning in Hell, but he needs some form of suffering to get off on. I suppose he could just use news footage from recent disasters talking about how there were thirty thousand crushed to death and even more were buried alive, but maybe that's too abstract for him. Whereas he has an easier time picturing Hattie's suffering. Thanks to Dante, John Milton, and pop culture, Rayford can picture Hell, so it provides the necessary visuals and imaginable physical and emotional suffering needed so he can beat off to it.

:shudders: Okay, for once, I will apologize for writing the stuff I just wrote. I think I'll go in battery acid and wipe myself off with some steel wool if it's okay with the rest of you.

Anyway, Ishmael is of the TOL, just not what you think.

“We don’t call ourselves that.”

“You don’t? You’re not TOL? I was unaware there were other rebel factions.”

“Oh, we are TOL, but our O does not stand for other. It stands for only. Consider us the enforcers, the hard-liners. We aver that we are not fighting your God. We treat Him as if He doesn’t exist.”

“So you’re pretty much idiots.”

Before I get to the teardown, I will admit that Rayford is somewhat right. Seeing as they get nothing but conclusive proof that God exists, they are being idiots.

But Rayford is an idiot because again, these rebels are clearly doing the "I believe in you. I'm just not afraid of you." strategy from Rise of the Guardians

:sighs: That clip remains so cool no matter how many times I've seen it. DreamWorks's oeuvre is pallid when compared with Pixar, but Rise of the Guardians has that mix of magic, wonder, and darkness that makes for many a great kids' movie. Still like how ultimately the key to defeating Pitch, aka the source of all darkness and misery in the world, was by turning him into a goddanged joke, by doing stuff like hitting him with snowballs in the middle of his villainous monologue, showing how pathetic he is, despite all his posturing and shows of strength. There's a clear moral here, but you know the Right will never get it. Sometimes the best way to defeat Hate Groups isn't by getting in their faces and yelling, it's trolling the living hell out of them, revealing the cartoonish, pathetic, insecure buffoon beneath that mask of strength.

And while I don't object to this rebel group's strategy, I must object to the name. You guys realize with you calling yourselves, The Only Light, while there's another rebel group calling themselves, The Other Light, and using the same initials, it's only going to lead to confusion. Though hopefully both of you realize you share a common enemy and proceed to unite to do battle.

Though because I'm that kind of person, I'm having flashbacks to the Peoples' Front of Judea vs. the Judean Peoples' Front bit from Monty Python.

And I'm afraid we still haven't finished this chapter. Since this snark is hella long as is, you have even more of Chapter 30 to look forward to next week. Take care until then.

*Seriously, that an idiot redneck hillbilly managed to be untouchable for so damn just boggles the mind. Though while I am generally opposed to vigilantes murdering people, with this guy, I can't shed too many tears over it. It's the age-old story: piss off enough people and eventually some of them will come looking for you.

**I've said this in other posts, but while I do think racism is a key factor in the treatment of some protesters versus others (think Ferguson protesters versus the Malheur Reserve idiots), I still wonder if the political nature accounts for it as well. Take over federal property in the name of some rightwing BS and make explicit threats to murder anyone who tries to stop you? The authorities are like, "It would be better if you'd stop, but in the mean time, I don't want you to feel too stressed out about it."

Whereas protest peacefully against the destruction of the environment or against economic inequalities, aka causes traditionally associated with the Left? Say hello to tanks and tear gas, mothereffers!

My theory is that as irritating as Rightwing protests like the kind done by the Bundyistas are, the potential violence or upheaval is mostly contained within the societal pyramid and pose little to no threat to traditional systems of power and control.

But Leftwing protests are explicitly directed towards the top of the pyramid, posing a threat to these systems, by calling them out. Hence why cops in military gear and swat vans come out to play. I admit I am paraphrasing my argument from this webpost, but while he talks about Sports Riots versus political protests, I think his general message can be applied in the great Rightwing versus Leftwing protest debate.

***I freely admit that I am not that into video games, so I don't follow her videos that closely. I will concede that maybe there are some valid critiques to be made of her (such as cribbing from Let's Plays), but the GamerGate shitstains have so poisoned the well that I am forced to side with Anita out of spite. Heck, she mentions several times in her videos that it's okay to enjoy a form of media, despite its problematic aspects; she just feels these aspects need to be acknowledged.

Though given that Anita Sarkeesian's feminism is the standard, boiler-plate kind that just about every feminist supports, you wonder how really freaked out the shitstains would get if we pointed them towards someone really radical like Andrea Dworkin or something.


spiritplumber said...

Jerry Jenkins totally missed an opportunity to sneak in a "Call me Ishmael" by way of introducing the freedom fighter cell leader here.

New headcanon: What follows in this and the next chapter is narrated by Ishmael. Long after the Salvation War, in which a vengeful God destroyed His own life in order to pursue revenge against people who actually had nothing against Him and just wanted to live their own life, the old cyborg tells to a young historian the story of the Legion of Light's uncertain (but certainly derpy) beginnings.

He's a bit of an unreliable narrator, but he starts the story with one of the antagonists, Rayford, pining for the night sky, as Rayford himself had to admit while in captivity during a rare moment of sincerity.

Old Ishmael and the young historian, as is customary when discussing these things, then take a moment to look up at the starry sky that Humanity has hard won for itself once more.

spiritplumber said...

Oh, and have some TOL acronyms.

The Other Light - The umbrella organization for all that follow. They handle most of the recruiting, and then shunt recruits with specialized skills towards the relevant sub-organization. Notably, any relief and relocation efforts are handled by The Other Light directly.

The Only Light - The military arm. Considered fanatics by pretty much everyone else. Their focus is on weapons production, since they haven't had a chance to fight a war just yet.

The Outer Light - The space program. Chronically underfunded but enthusiastic. They are also in charge of deploying and operating the unmanned canopy-boats that substitute for a satellite network, although The Only Light keeps trying to take over that function.

Tree Of Life - The biotech program. They work to come up with a biological solution for life extension past 100 years and have been attempting to back-breed carnivory into animals. Their botany efforts are towards reviving extinct spices, optimizing weed and opium varieties, and maintaining habitats for plant species that require particular climates that no longer exist in the Millennial Kingdom.

Thousand Oaks Library - Responsible for recovering and curating pre-Rapture literature and providing verbatim (non-ideological) translation of it into Standard Hebrew. They also act as a clearinghouse for peer review scientific and philosophical papers that are not accepted by official publications, and perform copy-on-demand services when they can.

Tunnel Of Love - A modern incarnation of the Underground Railroad, operating more or less in the same way and geared towards LGBT individuals who want to find somewhere safe to live, love, and work.

Transfer Online, Inc. - The IT arm of the organization. Their portfolio is keeping the data lines open no matter what. They also do most of the day to day numerical analysis for other sub-organizations. With the coming online of the Omega automatic logistics control system, they change their name to The Omega Legacy.

Thinking Out Loud - A sort of academic society that organizes lectures and debates on various topics including secularism, art and music appreciation, and the like. They are especially geared towards debating believers, if it can be done safely. Cynics note that they're basically a lightning-rod org.

Transport Operations Logistics - The truckers, sailors, and smugglers that make sure that resources are available where they are needed.

Teachers On Loan - Contrary to Thinking Out Loud, this sub-org focuses on making sure that TOL personnel receives career-long training. They also support disaster relief teams by providing educational services to areas subject to Divine blight.

Tourism and Outdoor Leadership - The closest thing TOL has to Boy and Girl Scouts. With the world flattened, there isn't much call for fieldcraft skills in normal situations... but kids growing up outside of believing areas are more than likely to encounter abnormal situations. The "tourism" part is used to promote youth travel that isn't tied to mission trips, although the world is a lot more uniform than it used to be, there is still something to learn through travel.

Transcranial Oblique Lateral - This sub-org takes its name from the first step practiced during non-emergency installation of Metabolic Extension Controllers: their job is simply to try to get controllers to those who need them, until a better solution is found. Sometimes also called "The Orange Lazarus" (MEC installation systems are usually painted safety orange).

Some actually come into common usage, and are used in the Kingdom Come roleplay manual in the slang file ( )

Since there is some interbranch rivalry, this allows TOL adherents to just say tee-oh-ell when they mean the umbrella organization in general, and leave it unspecified otherwise.

Firedrake said...

It doesn't matter that the extra-bright sun is uncomfortable: God said he would do it, and God did it, therefore it's a sign that God keeps his promises.

It's a good day.


Spoiler: Amanda shows up later in the book, properly reattached to her first husband (who got Raptured, of course). LaHayeian theology doesn't say what would have happened had she not been married before.


"Hey, God, the message light's blinking again."

"Oh, THOSE guys. They can wait. I'm putting Einstein and Newton and Emmy Noether in a room together to see what'll happen."


"But his paranoid schizophrenia suddenly spoke quietly to his heart"… fixed that misprint.


The radical feminists aren't perceived as a threat, because mostly people don't agree with them. The thing modern authoritarians fear most is their followers saying "hang on, the opposition is actually making some valid points".


Also "Those Other Losers" - every revolutionary organisation has people who are really fired up for its cause, but can't be trusted actually do do anything. Send them off as chaff to mask the real operations.

spiritplumber said...

I like that last one, mind if I use it?

In LBQ, it's basically what The Only Light's role ends up being, since as Mouse is about to show, they are absolutely horrid at doing their job.

I wonder if I should turn LBQ into a proper story.

Firedrake said...

Feel free!

Mouse said...

spiritplumber, I accept your headcanons about the various TOLs. I accept them so very much.

spiritplumber said... FOUND: TurboJesus' royal telephone.

Melvina said...

Maybe everything is so bright because Rayford is actually in hell and he just doesn't realize it. All that brightness is just hell fire. It's more logical than God deciding he suddenly doesn't like the stars he created.

spiritplumber said...

Melvina, you guessed the ending of Cendrillon's story ;-; it would be a cool plot twist... I think someone over at Slacktivist was writing that.

spiritplumber said...

A random thought (a year later).

The Only Light ideology is nonsense, and Ishmael knows it - he is just planting some fake intel since he knows that Rayford will likely get away sooner or later.

BTW, Left Beyond is now on tvtropes, so go there for the index :)