Soon: Chapter 30: Drinking and Ignorance

I’m rewatching Dollhouse.  My father hasn’t seen it, got hooked while watching a five-minute clip (which I was using to show him what Jamie Bamber’s accent sounds like), and now we’re watching the whole series, from the beginning, whenever we visit.

My father, a huge fan of the original Mission: Impossible, The Man from UNCLE, and other classic spy shows, loves the technology of Dollhouse.  He is fascinated by the different types of assignments the dolls have, how some are altruistic, some are for hire, some are just self-serving, etc.

But watching from the beginning, I find myself most fascinated by what people know, and when they know it.  We just saw some Big Reveals (which I won’t specify because if you haven’t seen the show, OMG WATCH IT), and the backlash of those reveals is what sucks me in: the relationships between people who think they are talking to a friend, or an enemy, but are actually…not.

Yeah, it’s awesome.  Dark and spooky and awesome.  Pic from Fevered Mutterings.

Anyway, it seems apropos to the section of the story I’ll hit today, wherein Paul finds out several things that I consider to be of great significance to the story and Atheistopia, but which Paul doesn’t even seem to notice.

Paul goes to see Harriet Johns for about two minutes.  The Big Reveal that I consider quite significant here is that she has NO IDEA that the Christian cell and Specs were unarmed when the army moved in.  In fact, she thinks that Specs was:

“…kind of a beach bum, apparently, but heavily armed.  They tried to bring him in, but he wouldn’t come without a fight.”

Paul and Harriet are the only two people in the room.  She is not using the “cover story” with him–this is what she really believes.

You might think that this would be an opportunity for Paul to clue in Harriet to what’s really going on–NPO agents and the army moving in on unarmed civilians in her jurisdiction.

You would be wrong.

Paul lets the evil atheist continue in her completely wrong facts, and instead asks after Tyrone and other infiltrators.  We find out more interesting things: that Tyrone wasn’t just “in it for the money,” he was “a street person, a junkie.” 

Um, didn’t we find out that Atheistopia all but wiped out homelessness back when Paul was in New York?  Must have been hard for them to find someone like Tyrone.

Harriet describes him as “collateral damage.”  That is pretty frakking cold, but she is an evil atheist, after all.

Paul, who didn’t object to Harriet’s “facts” about Specs and the others, has some things to say (well, to vaguely hint at) about the infiltrators:

“Everybody on the task force has to know who the infiltrators are.  We could kill them without knowing it.”

This is a sound argument. 

But then…

The very next sentence…

Paul’s true worry is revealed:

Paul dreaded the thought that he might already have been exposed to other infiltrators.

Ahhhh.  So now we see what’s really worrying you, eh, Paul?  Not the thought that NPO operatives might get caught in the crossfire, but the thought that you might be shown to be a double agent.

(This is a patently ridiculous worry, anyway.  If a NPO operative on the inside ever accused Paul of being disloyal to Atheistopia, Paul could easily explain away all of his kissing up to the Christians by saying that he is just using his Ph.D. knowledge of the Bible to gain their trust.)

***

That Big Reveal over, we head back to the Allendo mansion, where it is PARTY TIME, YEAH BABY.

Tiny has a sweeeeet game room, where he and Ranold and a couple of nameless movie execs are playing poker, drinking, and hanging with some young hotties.

So, it’s basically a miniature Sodom and Gomorrah in Tiny’s basement.

After all, the basement is that much closer to HELL.

Tiny invites Paul to join the game, and of course Paul declines.  After all, he may play chess for trophies, but playing poker for pennies is just plain SINFUL.

As is drinking, even in the company of friends, even when there is no chance you’ll be driving, because GOOD CHRISTIANS DON’T DRINK.

Ranold has been enjoying himself, and Paul notes that Ranold is talking “much too loudly and boozily.” 

Remember, a mere six months ago, Paul was drowning his sorrows in Scotch that was not his own.  This reads less like Paul being a good, sober Christian, and more like Paul being an obnoxious, hypocritical, condescending prick.

Who drinks other guys’ scotch.

(In the story in my head, Ranold’s excessive drinking here is not because he is an evil atheist, but because the raid brought back memories of the loss of his friends back in the war.  This would tie in nicely with the idea that Ranold is operating from his longstanding anger.)

But no, I guess Ranold is just a boozy heathen.  Figures.

But Ranold is a boozy heathen who knows what really went on during that raid.

Tiny, however, has no idea:

“Crackpot hacker–with guns.”

So, Tiny doesn’t know, Harriet doesn’t know.  It appears that the only people who do know that the Christians were unarmed were the soldiers who were actually on the inside.

But…does Ranold even know?  After all, he was not inside during the raid, and now, back in Tiny’s home, so drunk that he’s loud and slurring, says this:

“…we weren’t going to stand there and be cut down.”

So Ranold is either Just That Good at keeping up the story, or…

He doesn’t know, either.

Weird.

 

 

 

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Posted on February 1, 2012, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. My reasoning for Ranold’s drinking: if you had to hang around someone as insufferable and obnoxious as Paul, you’d wanna get snookered as long and often as possible.

    BTW, does Paul Stepola ever get around to preaching or writing letters or doing anything the biblical Paul did?

    • I’d comment that it isn’t very smart to witness while inside the Atheistapo HQ, but it’s not like the things that do come out of his mouth shouldn’t have been enough for Ranold to put him against the wall already. And hey, Paul could actually pass of as foolishly brave instead of foolishly foolish for once.

  2. Yay! I’ve finally caught up after going through the entire archive for this deconstruction. It really is a master work 😀 I’d love to live in Athiestopia, especially since as an atheist I wouldn’t suffer from its minor flaw of the occasional brutal death squad. (Evidently very occasional.)

    I love how Jenkins himself frames the majority of the good Christian martyrs being killed by the evil Atheist stormtroopers (who are also presumably gay) as situations that are somehow in doubt, or which happen because of somebody flying off the handle instead of orders from the top.

    Either by titanic laziness or intentional sabotage, Jenkins is still portraying the Atheists as the more realistic, human, likable side in this struggle.

    • Welcome to the Peloton Jonathan.

      You are right that in this Atheistopia, you and me would be perfectly fine. I’ve found that one of the worst pieces of failure of imagination and world building in this book actually. This is a theocracy of atheism that’s feverishly hunting and stomping out all traces of religion. A careless exclamation like “Oh my god that was a long line” should be grounds for arrest and questioning, even for atheists. We should all be living in the dual fear of Christians and being mistaken them. But that never seems to happen in this horrible book. For all Jenkins’ efforts to make an Atheist distopia, he’s made the world far better than I would if I was writing. I blame the fact that Jenkins and his ilk are so caught up in their persecution fantasies that they can’t imagine anyone but them would suffer in an atheist dictature, nor do they think anyone should care. Maybe 95% of the U.S.S.A is living a great life now, but the few leftover christians aren’t happy, and that’s all that matters. Of course a government that brutalizes a small minority is not a good government as long as the mayority is happy, but the beneficial effects are so great here it should at least deserve a passing mention.

  3. Clearly Tyrone was from one of the RTC communities where people are still allowed to starve on the street the way God intended.

    Paul once again shows of his principal skill: Making It All About Paul.

    You know, the preponderance of evidence at this point is in favour of the RTCs having guns. What’s the actual evidence we have that they weren’t armed? Tyrone, a junkie on major pain medication, claimed it while drifting in and out of consciousness. Straight claims it when doing so will give him psychological leverage on Paul (and how would Straight know?). I’m not convinced.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I’m surprised Ruby Tea doesn’t need “major pain medication” after having to read and review all this. I know I would.

  4. This reminds me of a science fiction book I read many years ago, whose title escapes me, in which the Good Guys had created a largely self-contained arcology which the Bad Guys were trying to destroy. There were also some naive college students who opposed the arcology, so the Bad Guys persuaded some of them to sneak in and plant a fake bomb, and gave them various ways to keep arcology security from realizing that the bomb was in fact fake. So the arcology security guys one night found themselves looking at some unknown people sneaking in, disabling the cameras, carrying something that appeared to be a powerful bomb, and their only options were (a) try to arrest them, and hope they don’t set off the bomb early, or (b) kill them ASAP and send in the bomb squad.

    This plot would make a lot more sense if the RTCs had been hanging out high-fiving each other over having totally fooled the Atheistopian government into thinking they were heavily armed and dangerous.

  5. Here to say, hooray for Dollhouse. It wasn’t perfect, but it did what it did well, it didn’t shy from exploring the dark ‘n’ disturbing consequences of its premise, and it had some great guest appearances by Patton Oswalt.

    • And Enver Gjokaj gets to show us how very good he is at playing characters the way their actors do. He’s great at mimicking all the subtle little mannerisms.

      • @rikalous–He’s so talented in that area. One of the (many) reasons that it is sad the show lasted only two seasons is that we never got to see him play Paul or Adelle or Boyd or…

        @Vermic–Man on the Street is my favorite Season One episode, in part because Patton Oswalt is so good.

  6. Okay, I’d have forgiven Paul for using the argument about safety to identify and get rid of the infiltrators in the zealots. That is sensible. But he utterly fails by worrying that he, personally, might have been exposed. Instead of, y’know, being worried that the infiltrators will get the other zealots killed in another terrible holocaust. The latter I can understand, the former makes him look sociopathic again. Plus, how could he already have been exposed? He didn’t talk to any RTCs in LA except Specs and he’s dead. Or is he woried about the handfull of people he met in the sanctuary, or Straight or Angela? Cause those aren’t from LA, so what’s the point in asking the LA agent if they are infiltrators? They might be, but she wouldn’t know.

    I really think this uncommented-on ignorance of the atheists that those men weren’t armed is part of the martyr complex Jenkins so loves. Mind you, the exact same happened with Paul’s raid in SF. He’d been send specifically there by the headquarters to deal with the situation. If there was a higher-up order to turn that house into a massacre, he’d have gotten it. But he didn’t. The SWAT team just went in and opened fire for no given reason. And Paul, much like Ranold here, just assumed they were armed (I don’t think Ranold personally shot down fleeing zealots on that blind assumption, without even looking to see if those particular ones were armed). Apparently, the grunts in Atheistopia all decide on their own they want to kill RTCs. For no real reason. Because that’s what us evil atheists all want to do. Jenkins doesn’t seem to feel the need to add any further explanation. In this case, we’ve established Bia as a cold-blooded murderess (again with no explanation why mind you, but okay). She might have organized the raid turning into a shooting frenzy. It’d be in character for her. But I don’t think we’re getting that. Apparently, soldiers just want to shoot Christians and say they were armed, and no one thinks to take a peek at the crime scene and see if there are actually any weapons lying around.

    Come to think of it, we didn’t either. I’m going along with what I know Jenkins’ message is, that there weren’t any guns and the atheists are lying or ignorant. But really, the only confirmation that they were unarmed thus far comes from Straight who’s in way deep with the RTCs, has a personal history with misleading Paul to get him to do what he wants (his hospital visits were a targeted recruitment drive after all) and wasn’t anywhere near LA during the shooting. How does he know for sure they weren’t armed, or how do we know he’s not lying to get Paul’s support? The only answer is ‘Jenkins wrote this book, and he makes all atheists murders and all RTCs sweet innocent lambs’, as far as I can tell, but based on just the text it seems more likely that Straight was lying or misinformend than both Ranold and Harriet.

  7. *shakes head*

    Others have said what I would say, so I’ll just note that Jenkins really should have thought about how Paul would come across to atheists or non-Christians. After all don’t people like Jenkins claim they’re trying to evangelize through books?

    Oh, he’s evangelizing all right. He’s evangelizing to the people who don’t need any more of it because they already got evangelized! (>_<)

    • I think what’s most worrying about all the books that LeHaye and Jenkins have been involved with is that they seem to genuinely want to portray their protagonists as *likable* and *role models.* Taken their stories even just on the basis of the protagonists’ characterization, why hasn’t anyone ever told these authors that their heroes are NOT? That all their manly men heroes are unlikable and about as far from Christlike as is philosophically possible? Even just that these characters are just plain tools? Have they ever even acknowledged such criticism? I guess not, but, still….

  8. It didn’t occur to me until I read the comments that the Christians might have been armed, and Straight and Tyrone lying or mistaken. My working hypothesis was that we were seeing some serious doublethink from Ranold, at least. It would be wrong for them to mow down unarmed criminals, even Christians. They moved down the Christians. Therefor, the Christians must have been armed.

    • Oh yes, Tyrone said so too, I forgot. Okay, I guess that does put slightly more credibility on the unarmed side of the argument. I only remembered Straight said it, and he’s not very credible but Tyrone didn’t have too much reason to lie to Paul. Before it was one biased and unreliable account on one side and two only moderately biased accounts (Ranold had reason to lie, but less so once he was drunk and Harriet actually had reasons to rat out the excessive violence if she knew it was excessive, what with being kept out of the loop and loosing an infiltrator. But with Tyrone included, I guess the evidence in the text does point slightly (but only just) to them being unarmed.

      Again, I don’t doubt that in the story the poor RTCs were completely unarmed. Your working hypothesis is a decent one. Even if Ranold didn’t go in himself, once it turned into a shoot-out, he could mark his operation down as a success by not questioning the reports that the zealots were armed, or as a failure by calling his subbordinates actions into question. But I do still feel that Jenkins is really banking on his audience going along with the narrative in his head that we blindly assume that the RTCs are right and the Atheistapo is wrong, to such a large extend that he doesn’t need to write down the proof.

  9. It’s beginning to sound like most of these raids are just Bia Balaam going in alone, quickly killing everyone, and then yelling “BLAM! BLAM! PEW PEW PEW!” out the window for ten minutes.

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