Sunday, May 7, 2017

Rayford Endures the Mildly Uncomfortable TOL Inquisition (Chapter 30, Part III)

Well, I celebrated a birthday a few days ago. :grumbles: They made being an adult sound like a step below being a superhero and I fell for it. That and people always talk about growing up as a conscious choice, that one day you decide, "It is time for me to become a responsible adult and do adult things like-" okay, I'm not entirely sure what adults do, besides hold jobs and have kids. Thing is, what they don't tell you is that you don't conscientiously decide to put aside childish things. Just that as you get older, all the toys and stuff start to interest you less and less, until one day, you realize you haven't played with or done X in ages. Growing up just seems to be a background thing, where it mostly goes on without you realizing it and when you do, you realize at some point you crossed a line and there's no way of going back.

It's one of the many many reasons Inside Out may be the best damn Pixar film ever. Yeah, in growing up, you gain things, but at the same time, you're also losing stuff you'll never get back and it always hurts to lose things, even if you know it has to happen.

As long as we're talking about Pixar, while I haven't decided whether or not to have kids (still have mixed feelings about it), I have decided that they will not see the Toy Story films until they are in college, because if they see them before, I won't ever be able to throw out any of their toys because they'll be like, "But then they'll think I don't love them anymore!" The same goes for that insidious Velveteen Rabbit book.

Oh, all right, I'll try to see if I can finally finish chapter 30 this week.

Last week, I was grudgingly forced to somewhat be on Rayford's side, something that I still feel disgusted and dirty about. Well, this week, I don't have to worry, because with every single line...I'm trying to picture what Rayford looks like. I've already decided he has terrible fashion choices, but he must also have the smuggest, most punchable face ever. Were it not for the fact that he is more powerful than God in the LB-verse, people would be punching him in the face constantly. Even his own mother wouldn't be able to stop punching him.

Our dear Fred Clark has this bit of delightful fanart and while I totes picture Chloe looking like that, being all Lindsay Weir from Freaks and Geeks, I'm not sure if I can approve of comparing any LB-verse character to Zapp Brannigan from Futurama. Zapp may be an overconfident buffoon, a description that fits most of the characters in the LB-verse, but he had kind of an oily charm and some good words of wisdom. Pro Tip: the way to a girl's heart really is through her parents. Have sex with them and you're in.

Rayford, on the other hand, is as charming as Herpes. At least when you open Pandora's box, you get some hope to go with all the misery; with Rayford, you only get misery and a never-ending burning sensation.

Rayford has been picked up by the Keystone Kidnappers. They call themselves, The Only Light, but trust me, when I say they deserve to be called the Keystone Kidnappers. Henceforth that shall be their name from here on out. Anyone who disagrees shall be punished by catapult.

Rayford is like, "You guys have been born in the MK and have actually seen TurboJesus and Zod walking around plain as day."

And we get this exchange between him and the Keystone Kidnappers (KK). I'm with Firedrake. These guys are the chaff, used by the TOL resistance to keep the Millies distracted while the competent people get shit done.

“We don’t, and we will prove it, as we also are advertising. We have publicized that our god will keep you from appearing in Siwa, proving once and for all that you claim to represent a God who is capricious, unjust, and nonexistent.”

“He does not exist and yet He is capricious and unjust? Detaining me will prove nothing. God will do what He chooses.”

This is something we've seen again and again with Ellanjay. They operate like the LB-verse is like ours, where God and the like are mostly taken on faith or as Paul would define it, "the assurance of things hoped for, evidence of things not yet seen." The problem is the LB-verse has numerous, incontrovertible proof of God, the kind of proof that would make even Richard Dawkins pause. God is a full-fledged character in this series, so again, the problem the heathens would have isn't that there isn't proof of his existence; it's the nature of the deity in question. Most people would consider the guy who sends people to a place of eternal misery and torture, without taking into account any extenuating circumstances or allowing such legal niceties such as a trial where the defendant can either represent themselves or :gasp: have legal representation provided for them, to be a bad guy.

Yeah, I know even if they had trials and such, the very concept of Hell is nothing but problematic. No matter what horrible tortures Hitler or some other genocidal a-hole puts a person through, there is a natural end to it. Even they can only do so much to a person for so long, before the poor schmoe finally dies. The idea of someone torturing a person without end, is so monstrous as to be beyond thought whatsoever.

So yeah, the problem here isn't that the TOL doesn't believe in God; the problem is, according to Rayford and co., is that they refuse to worship someone who tortures their family and friends in Hell for all eternity and will eventually punt them into Hell for refusing to worship him. And we also must not forget, that God in the MK has a loyal army of Brownshirts who arrest and harass people who haven't committed any crime. Because, and we must never forget this about the Right, Christian or otherwise, they have no problem with oppression, so long as it's done by the right people for the right reasons. Nicky Appalachians was eeeevil, but that was because he tortured people and stamped out dissent in the name of EBOWF or Carpathianism. It would be perfectly all right if Nicky had done his monstrous deeds in the name of the RTC subculture, but he didn't, which makes his actions wrong.

Anyway, the KK talk about how keeping Rayford from the meeting will help them sway people towards who they worship, who is (Reader with Heart Conditions should have their medication close by so they can handle the shocking reveal) Lucifer.

The KK talk about how Lucifer will release himself from the pit and lead them to victory against Zod.

“He will lead us to overcome all who oppose him. Even now, centuries before he is released, massive preparations are under way.”

“Released by whom?”

“We believe he will release himself.”

“From confinement by whom?”

“He incarcerated himself to prove a point.”

Rayford laughed aloud. “If he did that, he’s proved my point!”

“Your point?”

“That you’re idiots. Now who’s capricious? You really believe your all-powerful leader locked himself away for a thousand years and will eventually emerge to prove he’s in charge?”

Ishmael shook his head. “When you see what is happening in his name, you will not be so cavalier.”

Within the next paragraph, you will see the horrors being committed in Lucifer's name. Once again, if any of my readers have heart conditions or something that would make swoon like a 19th century Southern Belle if they read or hear anything shocking, I ask that they brace themselves. I don't want to be responsible for any hospital stays.

Ishmael finally slowed about a half mile from a lonely intersection, then turned right onto a road lined on either side by black-uniformed, armed soldiers. They stood at attention and saluted as the sedan passed. Ishmael waved and waved. The route led to an underground entrance wide enough for the car, and Rayford was intrigued by the quick plunge into utter darkness and a coolness he had not experienced for years.

When even the RTC characters are like, "Y'know I miss darkness," only one word can summon up this Utopia: FAIL!

Gotta commend the TOL for managing to get organized so quickly, enough that everyone has uniforms and arms, despite Zod constantly zapping their soldiers when they reach 100. Granted as a rebel group, they would work much better without uniforms. Rebel groups usually lack in funds, weapons, and numbers. What binds them together isn't a look, it's an ideology. Because as the Evil Overlord List points out, having your mooks wear distinctive uniforms or have a specific tattoo, makes it hard to do covert operations. Rebels are therefore better off wearing whatever clothes a mission dictates. So long as they have an ideology that each member is willing to fight and die for, they can keep going indefinitely.

[Long historical Lecture about Strategy that Only Tangentially Ties Into the Book]
Or in other words, think of Vietnam, where technically the US won every battle fought there, but ultimately failed to win the war. They failed because the Vietnamese, while lacking in tech, they had an ideology that united them, that they would bleed and die for. This was their home, their lands, and their people they were fighting for, whereas for the US, this is some muddy backwater thousand of miles away from the people and places they care about. As such, all the Vietnamese had to do, was keep the fight going until the US lost the will. The war was never winnable, because for every soldier we killed, we wound up making more, because it turns out the way to winning someone's heart and mind, isn't through dropping bombs on their village and killing just about everyone they care about.

Apologists for the Vietnam War will do things like point out how the infamous Tet offensive was quickly routed and the North didn't hold onto the bases for very long, but like I've said before, the Vietnamese strategy wasn't to conquer territories, but to wear their opponents down. The Tet Offensive wasn't meant to be a lasting victory; it was meant to prove something to the civilians back in the states. For weeks, average Joe Blow American was being told by military and government officials that the enemy was losing its will to fight and the war was drawing to a close, but the Tet Offensive proved that all to be a lie. The enemy still had plenty of will to keep going and most Joe Blows realized what the military stubbornly refused to: that while the Tet Offensive had been quickly routed, all the Vietnamese had to do, was lay low for a while then try again, then repeat.

Though for those of you wanting an example that doesn't involve Southeast Asia, let's talk about the good ol' American Civil War. First of all, it was about Slavery. Every state that seceded published a document announcing their reasons for doing so and they all cited their belief in slavery and the North's encroachment on it, along with their failure to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act*. To use the wise words of Jon Stewart, saying the Civil War was about slavery isn't politically correct history; it's correct correct history.

It is true that the North wasn't entirely united in the fight against the South. They did have border states who did practice slavery and had to deal with uprisings in Missouri and the NY Draft Riots of 1863. But those divisions were fairly isolated and eventually resolved.

But the South suffered from deep-rooted divisions from the very beginning, ones that only continued to grow and grow as the war went on. First of all, the South's combined population was 9 million people, 4 million of which were slaves. Since their ideology couldn't dare let the slaves fight alongside the Confederates, that meant so many of the troops had to be used to keep a major chunk of the population under control, keep them from taking advantage of the chaos to GTFO. As a result, this didn't endear the cause to many of the poor Southern Whites who (correctly) were like, "You're sending us to die for some rich a-hole's slaves." The South was an aristocracy where the one percent made all the decisions, while the majority had little, if any, say in how things were run.

As a result, it may have ultimately been ideology that did the South in. Yeah, the South had a lot of disadvantages when it came to men and arms, but they did have some advantages. If they had had a consistent ideology to unite them, they might have been able to pull off what the Vietnamese did, draw out the fight until their opponents lost the will to keep going. But there were deep fissures in their ideology from the get-go. The Civil War wasn't a United North against a United South; it was a mostly United North against a bitterly divided South. General Sherman's army, on his infamous March to the Sea, actually grew in numbers with not only many escaped slaves running off to join in the fight, but plenty of poor southerners and Confederate soldiers deserting to join in as well. [/Long Historical Lecture]

Again, were it not for the fact that Ellanjay have stacked the deck, the TOL probably could win, if they have an ideology that unites them. Because as spiritplumber points out, when the Big-Ass Totally Final Battle for All Time comes, the TOL vastly outnumber the Millies. Because I am a pervert, my theory as to why, is pretty much Sex, lots and lots of headboard-banging, mind-blowing Sex. Because while Naturals like Kenny and Kat still seem to have the desires of the flesh, the vast majority of RTCs brag about how they know longer desire anything, content to have mutual admiration societies. So by default, the RTC population is going to have a precipitous drop.

Okay, back to the book. Rayford is taken underground and oh Lordy...I have posted this link many times to make fun of the "torture" Chloe endures at the hands of the GC. Again, though he runs a Satanic NWO and wants to crush all who dissent against him, Nicky is awfully respectful of the rights of others, going so far as to allow a group advocating his overthrow, to have a big massive, televised meeting so they can acquire more fighters for the cause. Granted they don't do any actual fighting, but still.

The point is, for all the wargle-bargle, the enemy really sucks at torture and oppression. Just look at the horrors Rayford has to deal with.

“When did you last eat?” Ishmael said.

“About six hours ago.”

“Good. Let him wait another eighteen for just enough food to keep him functioning. And take his shirt, shoes, and socks. Chilly, Mr. Steele?”

“Of course.”

“Your slacks and undershirt should be enough. A little chill will keep you alert.”

Rayford was led to a cavernous opening that proved incongruous, as it sported walls bearing huge flat-screen TV monitors and high-tech desks and workstations but was ringed by dirt-floored cells enclosed by prison bars. Each cell bore a prisoner— a man, a woman, or a young person, all sitting on steel mesh beds. Each wore an expression of fear and resignation. And each had one armed guard posted outside his or her cell.

Anyone whose heard of Abu Ghraib, never mind was imprisoned or worked there, is laughing and laughing bitterly. Because these are the horrors Rayford Steele is enduring: missing a few meals, being forced to stay in conditions that are sparse, rather than the luxuries of the Ritz-Carlton, and not being able to wear a shirt, shoes, and socks in a place that while a little chilly, is not likely to be so uncomfortable that he's risking frostbite. Me, I like being barefoot and mostly wear shoes because society says I have to. Though maybe I'm underestimating the KK; maybe they've scattered Legos all over the floor of their dimly-lit underground prison. That would truly be horrible!

Though if the imprisoned RTCs have expressions of fear and resignation, I have to wonder how strong their beliefs are. Again, they have incontrovertible proof as to the rightness of their beliefs. Shouldn't they be all joyous and confidant, singing hymns because they know that nothing the TOL does will hurt them ESPECIALLY SINCE THIS IS HEAVEN AKA A WORLD WITH NO PAIN AND DEATH IF YOU SAY THE PRAYER BEFORE AGE 100!

Well, okay, the no pain part is somewhat debatable. Since Ellanjay suck at World-building, I still haven't worked out whether pain and death still happens before age 100. Sometimes I think, "Okay, it does," but because consistency is for godless heathens, then they'll have something that contradicts it. But I still stand by the previous ragedump because like I said, they have incontrovertible proof as to the rightness of their beliefs. They know without a single doubt that God and Jesus exist and will free them from bondage and punish their captors. So again, FAIL!

Rayford decides to put the moves on Rehema. For those of you curious, she's all weak and female and was the one who undid his cuffs in the previous chapter, because she was concerned about him being in pain. I suppose I should apologize for using the phrasing "put the moves on Rehema" but were it not for Ellanjay's deep-rooted and creepy disgust towards the desires of the flesh, I would totally assume a porno was about to take place, based on the dialogue.

Rayford found himself grateful beyond measure that his guard was Rehema. “You know what your name means, do you not?” he said as she gently guided him inside, removed his handcuffs, and pulled the cell door shut.

“Do tell,” she whispered, her face a mask of boredom but her eyes dancing.

“ ’ Compassionate.’ And you have already proven to be that.”

She shrugged and sat with her back to the bars, her weapon tucked between her knees. Rayford sat on his metal frame, already beginning to shiver, and talked loudly enough so only she could hear. He asked her to tell him about herself, but she demurred.

I can't be the only one starting to hear bow-chicka-wow-wow music playing. Please tell me I'm not. Though I know, no sex in the MK, unless you're a godless heathen (hence their greater numbers). Sex with Rayford or any Millie would probably be unpleasant and leave you feeling dirty afterwards anyways, because every interaction in the RTC subculture is always about power. Therefore, a couple doesn't decide to have sex, because they love each other enough to surrender themselves completely to another person; they grudgingly have sex because pastor says they have to in order to produce babies.

It may be one of the reasons why they're so opposed to Gay sex. Not only can no babies result from it, but when two guys or two girls get it on with each other, it's two people roughly of the same standing in the hierarchy making love to another of the same standing, rather than a higher-up (aka a big, strong manly man) dominating having sex with someone further down the hierarchy (aka a lesser, weaker female.)

I keep saying, "It's always about Sex," when it comes to the RTCs, because whenever there's a scandal in that subculture, so long as Sex isn't involved, RTC celeb might have a shot at surviving it, so long as they play their hand carefully. They won't have the same cachet as before, but they'll be able to survive. But really it could probably more accurately be called, "It's always about Power," rather than "It's always about Sex." Because their creepy obsession with power and hierarchy invariably gives birth to their creepy views of sex which leads to said scandals. Maybe they don't wear the fancy robes and funny hats like Catholics, but the RTCs do invariably believe in an elaborate hierarchy, the same as they do. They may talk about how we're all equal before God, but it's always with the silent Orwellian corollary, "But some are more equal than others."

Though some props to Rayford. While I know most Baby Name websites cannot be trusted when it comes to the meaning and history of names, according Behind The Name.com, Rehema is of East African origin and means "mercy" in Swahili. So he is kind of right there, though I'm still going to call BS. I will accept Rayford knowing the meanings behind common, white snowy white names like John or Anne, but Rehema is fairly uncommon and do you really think Rayford has the intellectual curiosity needed to read through an issue of TV Guide, never mind a book listing Baby Names.

Anyway Rayford tries to put the moves on convert Rehema. I fight the urge to go, "Convert her all night long," and laugh like Statler and Waldorf from The Muppets.

Apparently the RV has some kind of cloaking device because Rehema talks about how even though she saw Rayford leave it, neither she nor the other KK-ers could ever find it.

Rehema talks about how monitoring and tracking are done at this underground base and they have munitions plants all over the world, manufacturing stuff in anticipation of the Big-Ass Totally Final Battle for All-Time. :sighs: I should really think of a new name for this battle, because I sure as heck am going to get tired of typing all that out, yet I don't know if using the acronym BATFBAT would be memorable enough. I made up the name to mock how Ellanjay have so many crucial final battles and TurboJesus coming back so many times, all the while asserting that this will be the final one. They're worse than the Rolling Stones when it comes to these things.

Again, I'll assume that Rehema and the KK are chaff like Firedrake and spiritplumber proposed because really you kidnap and imprison an enemy and your first move is to show them all your secret tech and the locations of your munitions factories? At least Bond Villains have style to go with all the stupidity, thus making it so we get some awesome stunts.

For the next material I'm about to post, well, I must provide a warning, not just to readers with heart conditions, but really just readers in general, because this is likely to make you laugh until you injure yourself. So you might as well come up with a good story to tell the ER ahead of time, before reading onwards.

Rehema hunched her shoulders as she seemed to throttle a laugh again. “I know how it sounds,” she said. “But the battle is against the believers in the God who is not there.”

“But we believe so deeply that we have obeyed His edict against weapons of war. You and yours would attack an unarmed people?”

...

So far, I have been remarkably restrained in my use of YouTube links for this post. But in the wake of all this, I think I'll break down and provide a few.

We'll start with Roger Rabbit than dip our toe into some Monty Python.

Because we all know how committed Rayford and the other RTCs have been to the cause of peace. They believe so strongly in that they do what they can to help work towards a more peaceful world and lend their support to the politicians who work for peace, rather than a perpetual, never-ending war with [Insert Whatever Country We've Always Been At War With]. So strongly do they believe in peace that they resisted Nicky's violent oppression by...well, not by nonviolent resistance because that would be wrong, but by doing nothing, which in no way, lends tacit support to Nicky's regime.

RTCs have always been on the side of peace and justice. Hence why they were some of Martin Luther King's strongest supporters, why they were the most horrified by Vietnam War-era atrocities such as My Lai and Kent State.

Okay, I think I've been brutally sarcastic long enough. It's again, an example of how the Right isn't opposed to oppression so long as it's done by the right people for the right reasons. In the scenario proposed, the TOL would be massacring innocent people in the name of their poorly-defined ideology; if they were doing it in the name of RTC-ianity, it would be okay, but they're not.

Of course, this is all beside the point as in the final battle...you want to know what happens? Lucifer gets let out of Hell, the TOL assembles, and with a wave of his hand and no effort on the Millies or God's part, they get punted into hell to burninate forever. It's really said when even Breaking Dawn aka a novel from the Twilight series, has a better final battle and their final battle is a cocktease as well.

Rayford asks her age and Rehema talks about how she is 90 and I fight the urge to have Rayford breathe a sigh of relief, because at least, she's not statutory. OW! Okay, I'll stop.

Anyway, he points out that you've seen people older than you get punted.

“It does tell you something, doesn’t it? How do your fearless leaders explain that one? The God you claim does not exist— and yet whom you oppose— somehow curses those who reject Him for a hundred years, and no one gets the picture?”

She shook her head slowly. “No wonder you call us idiots.”

Not only can Rayford not be punched enough, he can not have the words, "Fuck you, Rayford!" yelled in his direction enough. But don't worry: Rayford is suffering from some terrible, mild discomfort at the hands of his captors.

Again she was quiet for several minutes. Rayford knew he shouldn’t be hungry until morning, but just knowing he would not be given any food until dinnertime the next night gave him pangs. And he was shuddering. He rubbed his arms and brought his knees up to his chest, wrapping them in his forearms.

Never has anyone experienced so much mild suffering. We must hold a candlelit vigil and pray on Rayford's behalf.

Then we face discussion.

“We’re not all atheists, you know,” Rehema said.

“Of course I know. How could you be?”

“I couldn’t. You’re right. I’ve seen friends and relatives die, right on schedule. Only a fool denies that.”

“So you believe in God.”

“I believe He exists. I just don’t like Him much.”

And if you guessed that Rayford will never at any point address Rehema's valid points, congratulations, you've won a No-Prize, redeemable for either No-Money or No-Points that you may use however you see fit.

But first we get what can only be described as Sandwich porn. Someone comes by and drops off Rehema's lunch. But Rehema, feeling that Rayford has suffered enough mild discomfort, gives her sandwich to him.

But Rayford had underestimated the power of her simple sandwich. He smelled it as if it lay under his nose, and he imagined every bite. He looked away, tried to think of something else, and concentrated on his recitation of history— especially his own. He talked of his life, his family, the Rapture, being left behind. And while Rehema appeared interested and even at times enthralled, she furtively passed the last few bites of her sandwich through the bars to him.

...

So many jokes...so very many jokes.

Every joke I think of, branches off and spawns even more jokes, thus making it so that if somehow you can convert my perverted thoughts into something that can be used as fuel...well, congratulations, we've just discovered a never-ending renewable resource that leaves us no longer hopeless dependent upon Middle Eastern oil and may usher in a new era of peace and prosperity. If it was possible, thanks to me, the Indians would no longer have to protest pipelines cutting through land they consider sacred.


But since there's not enough time to type all these jokes, I'll just make one: Rehema's sandwich must go really well with Kelis's Milkshake.

Rayford expresses some concern that Rehema might get into trouble for giving him her sandwich :snickers:. It's kind of sad how I feel like throwing a parade whenever an RTC expresses concern about the welfare of others, though it is dampened by the fact that if Rehema gets in trouble, there won't be anyone to bring him sandwiches so Rayford would :gasp: have to go a few hours without food, and again, he's only doing this to rack up another convert.

Rehema is like "Whatevs. They won't mind. They still need me and hey, I'll be dead in ten years anyway."

The chapter ends with this conversation where Brave Sir Rayford bravely avoids addressing any of the points Rehema was actually making, like any true RTC.

When Rayford began telling her of his own salvation and all his experiences during the Tribulation, Rehema finally turned to face him. He surprised himself by how much Scripture he had committed to memory over the years, and as he held forth, he quoted passage after passage of prophecy that had come true just as the foretellers had predicted.

Finally Rehema said, “How could anyone doubt God after all that?”

“They couldn’t,” Rayford said. “To oppose Him they had to acknowledge that He existed but that they simply wanted to go their own way. Like you.”

With that Rehema stood and turned her back, pacing before his cell.

If Ellanjay really intended to use this series to rack up converts, you think they would show the actual conversation between Rayford and Rehema, citing the actual scriptures. Granted, an atheist probably wouldn't read this far into the series, period, but as if we didn't have enough proof that Ellanjay are doing the RTC equivalent of The Requirement, there's this.

Though oy vey, the old "Atheists Hate God!" canard. Because we all know that someone who doesn't even believe in the existence of a thing, spends all their time sitting around and hating that thing. Hence why RTCs spend all their time hating leprechauns, unicorns, fairies, dragons, and any other mythical creature. I thought about listing Hindu deities or the Norse and Greek Pantheon, but from what I can tell, they devote an awful lot of time, trying to prove non-Christian faiths wrong. You'd think if they were that certain the Christian God existed, they wouldn't feel the need to repeatedly proclaim that God's Not Dead and they're not ashamed, but it's the old repeat of the Alpha wolf thing I talked about in another post.

Despite the reputation/image has people have on an alpha wolf as the strutting bully, actual studies of actual wolves in the wild, have proven...well, I'm just going to quote from an article because they say it better:

“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre told me as we were watching gray wolves, “is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.”

The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be. “Think of an emotionally secure man or a great champion. Whatever he needed to prove is already proven,” he said.

The obvious parallel is that if the RTCs were really certain that they were right, that their God is the realest, most manliest, awesomest around, they wouldn't need to loudly proclaim it and constantly us the worst vitriol to assert their beliefs. If they were really secure in their beliefs, again, they would be like Paul who, as a Roman citizen and a Jew, he knew the beliefs of said cultures and wasn't afraid to face and address them. He was secure in his knowledge of those cultures and secure in his belief that not only was Jesus the long-proclaimed Messiah, he also believed that Jesus died to save everyone, not just the Jews. That belief was the foundation of Paul's ministry, which helped him endure all kinds of horrible punishments which culminated in him literally losing his head over the Christian Faith. Paul has his faults and I, as a liberal Christian, do feel they need to be pointed out and addressed, but at the same time, he had his virtues as well and his beliefs, while not completely in line with 21st Century Values, were much more nuanced than RTCs would have you believe.

A part of that article about wolves that I really liked, was how it talked about 21, an alpha wolf they came to refer to as "super wolf" by the researchers who observed his life. 21 never lost a fight with a rival pack and was fierce in his defense of family, but his favorite activity, according to a researcher, was to wrestle and act goofy with the little pups.

Real alpha wolves lead by example and know that the most important part of being a leader, is taking care of your people. Hence why even though they may play a key role in bringing down game, often, afterwards, they'll step back and let the rest of the pack eat first before having his share. In fact, the researcher in the article says that in his twenty years of study, he has very rarely seen an alpha male act aggressively towards his fellow pack members. Packs tend to be family groups, made up of the Alpha, his mate, their offspring, and a sibling or two, and generally, families that tear each other apart don't do to well.

In fact, while nature at times is rough, usually altruism wins out. A species that spends all their time fighting each other, generally doesn't last too long. Hence why while animals may fight each other for mating/territorial battles, they mostly focus their aggression on other animals and when they focus their aggression on other animals, even the fiercest predator has a natural limit. You can parade the juiciest, most succulent sheep right in front of a tiger, but if he's eaten recently and is all nice and full, tiger would be like, "Nah, I'm good."

Well, we're done. Finally made it through Chapter 30, though I probably lectured everyone into submission with all my talk about the value of ideologies in War and all this talk about wolves. Take care until next week.

*The Fugitive Slave Act is one of the best examples as to something I've come to believe, that States' Rights are the last refuge of the legal scoundrel. It's the argument resorted to when bigots have no other leg to stand on. The Antebellum South had no problem overriding the States' Rights of abolitionist states like Pennsylvania by using the federal government to pass the Fugitive Slave Act making them have to return escaped slaves to their owners. Only when the tide was irrevocably turning against them, did the South suddenly be in favor of limited government power, meekly crying, "States' Rights."

Also went through this with the Civil Rights movements. They had no problem using the federal government to enforce segregation via decisions like Plessy v. Fergusson but as soon as the tide turns against them and the government says they have to let Black kids go to school with their kids, then they cry, "States' Rights."

Though a non-related race issue is when it came to Gay Marriage, for a while, the bigots were all "We don't need a law from the federal government. Let the states decide and work this out for themselves." But as soon as states like Massachusetts and Vermont vote in favor of letting Gay people get married, then they start championing for a ban on Gay Marriage at the federal level, even though doing so would override the popular will of states like Massachusetts and others who voted in favor of Gay Marriage.

6 comments:

Firedrake said...

Whoa, the TOLers have their own god? Theologically Obscure Literalists? Oh, right, the Lucifer thing. Ho hum.

(Though I have always felt that practical theology is an underappreciated science. For this experiment, create up a small test god in level 2 containment, and…)

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One guard per prisoner? Wow. They have a lot of spare people.

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It's Always About Sex, Which Itself Is Always About Power, maybe?

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BATFBAT: also known as "this time for sure!"

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Prophecy: if you can't make it vague, write it after the fact and claim it's old.

spiritplumber said...

Experimental theology becomes a necessary discipline in Tripocalypse (another bit of LB crackfic from me, in which the divergence point is right at the end of Glorious Appearing: TurboJesus appears from the cloud, uses the Word to remotely disembowel Carpathia's army... and is then promptly neutralized and imprisoned by Carpathia's telecom people, who the LB series implies are hypercompetent and had 7 years to prepare), where after Jesus ends up in jail, reality sort of glitches out in surprise. To fill in the void, among other things, Discworld style small gods start showing up...

http://emlia.org/pmwiki/pub/web/Tripocalypse.Tripocalypse.html Be sure to read the prologue if you want more LB snark.

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I figure that The Only Light borrow their look from Zevo Toys' security guards in "Toys", or the Brotherhood of Nod from the first two C&C games: very conspicuous uniforms, lots of black and red, lots of pointless medals for the officers, a la North Korea.

Interestingly, Rehema at 90 is still underage, so the statutory remark still applies: everyone under 100 is considered a child. Which would make it hard to participate in the economy, so the fairly high tech base that TOL has set up, has been built by kids and teenagers! Methinks that the Millennial Kingdom could be one of the past Ages in the Kids Next Door canon... The KND's modus operandi actually fit TOL pretty well. If you've never watched the series, stop what you're doing and do so, it's hilarious and heartwarming. (Do feel free to imagine Father as TurboJesus or Rayford, and the DCFDTL as the Millennium Force, and agents are decommissioned at 100/1000 instead at 13/100).

By the way, what happened to the Millennium Force? What did they DO? I try to give them a role in Left Beyond Quest, but... they haven't really been onscreen much have they? The Trib Force did little, but at least did so on camera.

Also, what do we not see? Rehema saying that she is fighting for her child and her children's children. Guess: This part of the story is told by Rayford after the fact, and like a lot of presuppositionalist apologists, all he hears when his debate opponents makes rebuttals is a faint buzzing - he's got a script and he's sticking to it, by gum!

Oh, and TOL has better tech than COT does. They have modern, large flat screen monitors. COT has a giant RV whose primary means of communication with headquarters is a FDMA or D-AMPS fax machine. 93 years is a long time, and it's fair to guess that TOL has closed the tech gap already... (Or if we go with "TOL are the Kids Next Door", they have at least worked out 2x4-technology).

Conversely, maybe KND is a samizdat-produced TOL propaganda tool. Hmm. There's got to be a good story there.

spiritplumber said...

Also, happy birthday, Mouse! Yeah the adult thing is a bit of a racket :P

https://www.watchcartoononline.io/anime/codename-kids-next-door Here's the whole series. Season 1 is all disconnected episodes, the story arcs start with season 2.

spiritplumber said...

Firedrake, in LBQ there's actually a TOL civil war at one point, Luciferians vs. Humanists. The believers mostly look on, although some do provide disaster relief after the fact. The Millennium Force takes advantage of the chaos to steal a prototype "spider tank" from the Humanist faction, drive it to Dallas, TX and then grow a clue and promptly decide that spider tanks aren't a particularly useful technology in a world with no mountains.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luciferianism Interestingly, from what little we know of TOL ideology, this is actually a decent fit!

Firedrake said...

The TOL I can take seriously is post-religious just as the RTCs are: they can all agree that there is a God and Its work is visible everywhere in the world. The point of disagreement is over whether this is a good thing.

Luciferianism is all very well but the same prophecy that's been followed so far includes its defeat. And even without that, it's part of the same ideology (see also: riding the pig). Dystheism/maltheism are closer to what I'm after.

spiritplumber said...

Maltheism does fit the "If it's true..." essay/pamphlet shown earlier, which is from The Other Light proper. Thus cementing the notion that The Only Light are the militant/crazy branch who are basically being told to play soldier and be distracting :)

Full text follows:

To the thinking members of the global society: Use your brains! You are capable of rational thought. We of the Other Light acknowledge that everyone who entered this period of history was a believer in God, either surviving the last seven years on earth as they knew it or returning from heaven with Him.

We do not deny that God was the Creator and that Jesus is His Son. We deny that He ever came to earth in the flesh or that He died and was resurrected. We aver that He unfairly treated one of His own creations, an angel, and summarily cast him out of His presence, forever besmirching his name and reputation.

Worse, He has left men and women no choice but to believe in Him and serve Him, denying our free will. We have no quarrel with those who believe and follow Him and consider themselves devout. We simply insist on the right to decide for ourselves.

And now we come to the crux of our manifesto: If it’s true that we, as His opponents, are not allowed to live past the age of one hundred, this merely proves our point: He will not countenance an alternate point of view. Critics and even some of our most loyal members have suggested that if it’s true, we should have abandoned our ill-fated cause when the first wave of deaths hit.

We, however, insist on our right to rebel, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. Because of the new world, the population is exploding as never before. Literally billions more souls will be born with every generation, and therein lies our hope. Even if it’s true, our progeny, properly informed and coached, will—by the end of the Millennium—amass an innumerable force. God’s own prophecies indicate this.

Even if it’s true that we will continue to die out every hundred years, if we remain committed to our cause against the vengeful, bloodthirsty God of the Old Testament, we have hope. If we can equip the eventual mega-army of dissidents to where they can actually emerge victorious in the end, perhaps the new ruler will resurrect us and allow us to reign with him.

The biggest mistake God makes will be to loose our leader for a season at the end of this Millennium, for that shall truly signal the end of His kingdom. Let us not be deterred by intermittent defeats. Watch our ranks grow with every generation, and we will in the end prove that God is anything but gracious and loving and forgiving.

Our hope and wish and instruction to the future torchbearers of the Other Light is that they continue to add to and refine this manifesto until—by the last generation—it becomes the most motivational and strategic call to arms the world has ever known.

And be encouraged. Even if it’s true that we die out every generation, it stands to reason that our progeny will become more numerous each time. And if that’s true, it should be exponentially encouraging to each new wave that carries on our message.

So, what if it’s true? Add to this document. Refine it. Improve it. Pass it on. And we’ll see you on the victory stand in the end.

The Other Light



A bit of WW1 history: A group of volunteers, led by a poet, performed a daring raid on Vienna, intending to not drop bombs, but leaflets exhorting the Viennese to secede from the Empire and stop waging war. The TOL leaflet reminds me a lot of it. It's my country's Doolittle Raid moment. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flight_over_Vienna (And tell me that the whole thing doesn't read like an anime OVA).