Silenced: Chapter 8, Part 1: Not Allowed to Be Happy or Smart

Having been encouraged by telling Straight how totally repulsed he is by bars and tattoo parlors, Paul now feels manly enough to talk to his horrible wife.

Paul is disappointed to find Jae in a state of…happiness.

And if there’s one thing Paul can’t stand, it’s for his wife to feel happy and fulfilled.

Jae tells him that she’s made her decision: she’s taking the job with Ranold.

Paul closed his eyes.  That’s all he needed.

“Paul?  Are you there?”

“I’m here.”

“You don’t sound happy.”

“Can’t say that I am.”

And if I’m not happy, YOU CAN’T BE EITHER, LITTLE WOMAN.

“Oh, Paul, I need this.  It’ll be something to do all day, and it’ll be in my area of expertise.  Mom will help with the kids, and I’ll be able to get to know Aryana better—you know, Berlitz’s wife.”

I love that Jae thinks she needs to remind Paul of Aryana’s name—Paul only has FOUR in-laws whose names he needs to know.

But Jae is certainly right in that Paul’s thoughts are—as always—only for himself.

While Jae had—to his knowledge—never been trained in espionage, he couldn’t know for certain that she herself wasn’t already onto him.  He didn’t want to be paranoid, but he had to keep an edge, maintain his equilibrium.  Her plan to work not just in Washington but also with the NPO and with Ranold could be part of an elaborate scheme for them to set him up.

Well, I guess it’s time for me to come right out with it: Paul is (sigh) mostly right.  He should be paranoid and he is being set up.  Not by Jae, mind you, who suspects nothing, but by Ranold, who most certainly does.

Gorammit, I hate when Paul is right.  Or, I suppose, when Jenkins makes him right for no good reason.

(I should add that Ball Dangler and NPO International suspect nothing.  This is purely an internal job on Ranold’s part.  I love Ranold.)

Time for the money quote!

Again, the tightrope.  If he tried to forbid Jae, she would defy him, no question.  Plus he would look terrible.

Ah, honesty from Paul.  FINALLY.  He would forbid Jae, but, just like a flighty, impetuous woman, she would defy him.  By the way, who is Paul to forbid Jae from doing anything?  And how is Jae defying him?  He is not the boss of her.

I know, I know.  As a newly-minted RTC, any thoughts of equality in a marriage, if Paul ever had them (which he didn’t), are out the window.  For it is said in the Holy Word of Gawd that the man shall be the boss over the lady-folk.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Ephesians 5: 22-24

Stupid Jae, thinking she has a say in her life and the lives of her children.  Oh, and wanna know the fun part?  That “submit to your husband” quote comes from the epistle to the people of Ephesus, which was allegedly written by Paul.  The Biblical asshat Paul, not the asshat Paul from this book we’re reading.

“I so want you to be happy for me and proud of me.” [said Jae]

Paul couldn’t bring himself to say either.

Well, geepers, Paul, why not?  No doubt doing so would make you look good.

But he doesn’t.  So I guess that is how they end that, with Jae still planning to defy the wishes of her head-husband.

The brazen atheist.  She shall soon learn.

When Straight called later in the day, suggesting she volunteer at PSL Hospital with him, she believed Paul had put him up to it in a last-ditch effort to thwart her plan.

Jae’s no dummy.

Straight was even more dead set against her going, telling her he had a very bad feeling about it.

You’d think Jae would pay more attention to Straight’s Magical Negro “feelings,” but nooooo…

To make herself feel better, Jae does what any atheist does when things aren’t going so well.

She reads the Bible.

This is an idea Jae came up with to have something she could talk about with Paul (since this is apparently a problem), though I’m a bit surprised that she’s starting now, after he shot down her idea.

If you’d like to read along with Jae, she’s starting with Acts (Paul took the Gospels with him to Europe).  She’s thrown immediately by the first phrase:

Dear friend who loves God:

So right away, we can narrow down the version of the Bible that Jae has.  For example, neither my New International nor my New Revised Standard start with that salutation.  (Yes, I have multiple Bibles.  They do so come in handy at times like these.)  Jae might be reading from the Living Bible.

Not only did she not love God, but she had also been taught—and had always accepted—that there was no God.  She had expected this experience to be strange, but she had not anticipated this.  So these people, the writer, and apparently whoever was reading this letter, believed in God.  And loved Him.

It’s kinda hilarious that Jae is thrown by this very simple turn of phrase.  I get that she was raised an atheist, in Atheistopia to boot, but was she really never told that people who were religious, back on Earth That Was, believed in and loved their god(s)?  Okay, so why does she think the world outlawed religion?

This is a pattern for Jenkins: assuming that if you were not raised Exactly RTC, you literally have no knowledge of very simply religious concepts.

See, for another example, Rayford Steele, a regular churchgoer (just not the right church) being thrown by the simple phrase, “The grace of the Lord be with you all.  Amen.”  (I’d link to the Slacktivist dissection of this passage, but Patheos isn’t playing nice.)

Jae then hits a reference to the Holy Spirit, and here I understand her confusion.

Tom Servo (as Jimmy):  Sir, I just don’t understand the Holy Spirit.  Is it a bird?

-MST3K, I Accuse My Parents

The only thing she can relate it to is A Christmas Carol, and I get that she makes that particular connection.  The thing I don’t get is why Jae has read A Christmas Carol: shouldn’t such a work be banned in Atheistopia?  Or maybe not.  I mean, it’s not a religious text, is more about the spirit of giving than the importance of going to church, and the word “Jesus” doesn’t even appear in it, but it is about Christmas and the change that the goodwill of the season can cause in a person.  It’s certainly a debatable point, but it is also one more instance of Jenkins not thinking through this whole “religion is banned” thing.

Then Jae hits a reference to Heaven, and is reminded of It’s a Wonderful Life, an even more overtly religious work than A Christmas Carol, and even more confusion reigns.  Seriously, is religion outlawed or not, here?

Jae turns off the disc player out of frustration, but…

Strangely, the words kept working on her.  She shuddered.  So peculiar.  Why should ancient texts bother her so?  Jae turned the machine back on.

Awww, Jae has Jesus on her heart.  Or the hounds of Heaven following her.  Or whatever.

THAT IS SO FRAKKING CREEPY IT IS LIKE SHE IS BEING MIND-CONTROLLED

Jae makes it through the whole first chapter, and it turns out that she is well on her way to RTC Stepfordization:

Maybe she would listen to a little more as she worked, just to see if the story got better or there was some kind of character development.

Farewell, Jae.  We all knew this would happen.

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Posted on October 10, 2013, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Holy shit, Paul is a creepy control freak. So Jenkins gives us insight into Paul’s thoughts about how he mistrusts his wife for no reason,wants her to do nothing that might concievably inconvenience him and can’t even bother to pretend to be happy for her. And yet Jenkins claims that off-screen Paul has been totally a loving and supportive husband to her. No, just no.

    She had expected this experience to be strange, but she had not anticipated this. So these people, the writer, and apparently whoever was reading this letter, believed in God.
    Come on Jenkins! For once you could write non-RTCs as clueless as you always do about the specifics of Christianity and have it makes sense since Christianity has been underground for decades. But you go and make the ignorance go so far overboard that it’s still as ridiculous as before. The people who followed a religion believed in a God? Wow, who could have anticipated that? This would be stupid even if Jae hadn’t been around when the zealots released the manifesto that professed their belief in god before they wiped out LA.

    just to see if the story got better or there was some kind of character development.
    Heh, that’s actually kind of funny. Well, the plot is gonna stay full of holes. As far as character development goes… well, god’s character development is the opposite of Paul’s: His attitude and outlook changes considerably as the story goes on, even though the authors insist god is internal and never changes his mind at all.

    • Ehm, that should be “god is eternal” of course.

      My defense is that I’m still too shocked by the vast gulf between Paul’s supposed and actual behavior. He explicitly lets us know that he doesn’t trust or respect his wife, and that he refuses to even try to pretend that he does (some “top, crack agent” he is). Yet Jae is just sooooo impressed with the kind, attentive man her husband has become.

  2. “Gee, I’m feeling kind of confused about my life. I know, I’ll read this banned book which I’ve always been taught is propaganda that preys on vulnerable people who are confused about their lives.”

    Being fair to Jenkins, this is probably a pretty good description of what it feels like to have your personality overwritten piece by piece. Except without the screaming.

  3. I get that she was raised an atheist, in Atheistopia to boot, but was she really never told that people who were religious, back on Earth That Was, believed in and loved their god(s)?

    I don’t find that theory too far-fetched, although it’s possible the authors did a poor job of establishing it. Religion caused World War III, somehow, and has been stamped out and vilified in the decades since. I can see where by now, Atheistopians by might imagine all religions as strange and creepy things, violent death-cults which people followed only through fear and force and ignorance. (After all, there are millions of real people today who think that Islam is 100% about beheading infidels and getting virgins in heaven.) For someone with these preconceptions to read an actual religious text, and immediately find references to love and friendship, I can well believe that would be something of a mindblower.

    But then, it must also be said that there are many passages in the Bible which, had Jae opened to them instead, would have reinforced her every prejudice, so I guess it’s a lucky thing for Paul that she started with Acts and not, say, Joshua 6:21.

  4. So, is Jae just going over Paul’s book on tape copy of the New Testament, then? I have to say, I find it really odd that Paul doesn’t even seem *interested* in reading any of the OT – after all, he’s supposed to be a relatively new believer, and should be really excited to find out more about his new religion. But of course Paul can’t be interested in reading any of the Bible that Jerry Jenkins hasn’t read himself.

    It’s even more of a shame in Jae’s case, since you’d think as an atheist who presumably doesn’t know anything about the Bible, she’d presumably want to read it from the beginning – and there’s all sorts of crazy stuff going on in Genesis alone that would probably turn anyone who hasn’t been exposed to any of this stuff from childhood off of religion forever – to say nothing of what happens *after that,* where it pretty much just keeps on going downhill from there – not in terms of scale (how do you top drowning all but eight of the world’s people, after all?) but in terms of bloodiness.

    • It would have been way more fun if she started with Joshua or something.
      “Hmm, yes, these people believed in a god that commanded them to kill everyone they say. It’s just like they taught us in atheist-school.”

    • Yeah, Paul only requested the New Testament, way back in Soon. Whether he had read the entire Old Testament in graduate school is a question for the ages.

      But the idea that you best become a Christian by reading the Bible in The Correct Way is not new for Jenkins. In The Mark, Hannah Palemoon says that she started reading the Bible “wrong,” meaning that she started with Genesis. Tsion ben JewishGuy actually had a “guide,” and she was supposed to start with John, then go to Romans, then back to Matthew.

      Stay tuned. Paul has issues with the way Jae reads the Bible, too.

      • {wonders where in the Proper Order ™ Obadiah, Micah, the Apocalypse of St. John–seeing how it’s not among the first three–Proverbs, Jonah, and 1 and 2 Paralipomenon go}

    • Ah, so the actual text of the bible (KJV, natch), is 100% accurate, dictated and proofread by god himself. But god didn’t pay attention to the actual order.

      Now, you could say the bible books were put in chronological order. But A: That isn’t true for Jenkins, since he states that parts from all across the bible are really about the next few years (and when the rapture doesn’t happen in the next few years, it’ll be about the next few years after that). And B: Most RTCs consider that the primary function of the bible is to be a manual for how not to go to hell. So if it’s easier to get saved if you read them in a different order, god should’ve used that order in the first place.

      I guess this does explain where the PMD’s cut-and-paste approach to the bible comes from. To them, that’s just how you’re always supposed to read it: Jump from verse to verse, from book to book, untill you get the message you want.

      • Now that I think about it, Herbert Anderson (as in the founder of the Worldwide Church of God) claimed in “Mystery of the Ages”–it was even part of the subtitle–that the Bible wasn’t MEANT to be completely understood until our time. I know I was immediately thinking “That’s not exactly fair to the respective authors’ contemporaries”. So perhaps LaHaye et al. are at least thinking that until the Apocalypse was written, God had felt it wasn’t yet time to reveal to humanity to full and true nature of his plans. Dispensations and all that.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, October 12th 2013 | The Slacktiverse

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