Silenced: Chapter 20, Part 1: More Deeply Than Ever Before

Paul decides to call Jae (I think for the first time since he tried to convince her not to go to D.C., and this is all just a fascinating insight into his tiny mind:

Regardless of the international situation, he could not let anything keep her from being his first priority.

His first priority…to control what she sees and where she goes.

Besides loving her and caring more deeply for her and the kids than he ever had before…


Okay, first of all, that’s not saying much.  An improvement from constantly berating and serially cheating on his wife, and barely remembering his kids’ names to not serially cheating (because God is watching) and occasionally carrying the luggage.

“That’s not love.  In fact, I don’t think you even know what love is.

-Tom Servo, MST3K, Alien from L.A.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true.  Paul really does have no idea what love is.  Calling his wife once a week when he’s out of the country?  Sometimes feeling guilty because he doesn’t pray for her enough?  “Taking charge by serving her“?  He still barely notices the kids’ existence.  Still doesn’t trust his wife’s judgment…about anything.  Still enlists his best friend to keep tabs on her and assist in manipulating her.

Yeah—that’s not what love is.

Anyway, the rest of the sentence:

…Paul sensed that when the truth came out, if she didn’t run from him—which was, of course, entirely possible—she had the potential to be his greatest ally.

That’s awfully optimistic of Paul, considering the bridges he’s burnt in his decade of emotional abuse.

We go to D.C. to see the actual call.  After a brief line showing how terribly PC this Atheistopia is (the kids are going to a “Washington Native American football game” with Berlitz and Aryana the next day), we see that once again, Jerry Jenkins has forgotten that everyone has skull phones.

Because Paul calls the Decenti house’s landline.

This book was written in 2004.  I haven’t had a landline since 2003.  In a world of skull phones, would anyone still pay for a landline?  I can see maybe having one old-school cell around, in case of an emergency of some kind, but a landline?  Yeah, I think Jenkins just forgot again.

Of course, having a landline means we can have a “humorous” moment in which Ranold tries to listen in on the call.  (He is in the kitchen, while Jae is talking to Paul in her bedroom, so apparently the house has multiple landline phones.)  Brie calls out her grandpa, and the unhappy couple can have their conversation in private.  Or at least, as private as a call can be that is not a skull call.

For less than one page, Jae and Paul talk about how much they both wish she could come to Europe to be with him, though seeing as how Paul spends his days getting tours of cities and his nights praying with the underground Christians, I wonder how much time they imagine they could spend together.

Jae mentions absolutely nothing about Ranold and his (correct) suspicions, as she should, but she does passive-aggressively state that “I don’t like being a single parent.”

Though really, she should be used to it after all these years.

Hilariously, we are told that Jae and Paul finish their already-scintillating conversation with “incidentals and courtesies.”  Oh yeah, this is some kind of strong, loving, sexy marriage they have now!

Incidentals and courtesies.”  Makes it sound like a conversation with your insurance guy.

When the conversation ends, Jae doesn’t feel any immediate anger or suspicion, though she muses that…

 If she found any evidence that he was still fooling around behind her back, [she] had no doubt her forgiveness reserves would be spent.

“I mean, sure, I was willing to forgive the first thirty-seven times, but thirty-eight?  That is a BRIDGE TOO FAR!!”

On Paul’s end, he actually thinks a nice thought about Jae…

She had a quick mind, strong character.  She thought for herself.

Though this thought doesn’t seem quite so genuine when we remember that Paul was trying to manipulate that strong mind and change those thoughts, as he and his best friend conspired to keep Jae from doing what she wanted to do.

He also thinks that those “incidentals and courtesies” amounted to a “warm conversation.”

So yes, Servo, he really doesn’t know what love is.

Posted on February 12, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. inquisitiveraven

    I still have a landline, as does Housemate. I have mine purely for broadband access (because Comcast sucks). Housemate, OTOH, spends hours on hers talking to friends across the country. She also routinely forgets (or doesn’t bother) to take her cell phone with her when she leaves the house unless it’s for a sales event. I suspect that not being limited by battery life, and not being charged for incoming calls has a lot to do with her preference for the landline.

    I’d think that a skullphone would either use a long life lithium (or whatever improved tech is available) battery or be run off the user’s body somehow.

  2. She thought for herself.

    Translation: She was coming to the conclusions that RTCs were right all along. That’s what phrases like “thinking for yourself” or “opening your heart/mind” always mean in RTC land.
    Remember how happy Paul was when Jae thought for herself and concluded that he was cheating on her with Angela? Ah, but that time she was wrong, technically, so that was just Jae being a silly, emotional woman. This whole “thinking with an open mind” is much like Passionate Sincerity(tm) for RTCs. They can’t imagine someone who thinks for himself could possibly be wrong, i.e. not agree with them.

    To be fair, I understand that impulse. I am an atheist. I think that the arguments for atheism are stronger than for any other belief system. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t be an atheist after all, I’d adopt whichever belief system I felt had the stronger arguments going for it. And I admit that it is tempting to assume that people who don’t share my belief system just didn’t consider those oh-so-persuasive arguments, or refuse to consider them because they were raised to never doubt their parent’s religion.

    But that isn’t a temptation one should so gleefully give in to. It’s arrogant, offensive, and ignores the very real possibility that I could be wrong. And (at the risk of still sounding arrogant), one plus of atheism in my mind is that it encourages you to keep looking at the evidence. Sure, not every atheist, including myself, will live up to that ideal at all times. But it’s better than the RTC attitude that downright celebrates refusing to consider that your beliefs could be wrong.

    Or, if you must assume that thinking honestly will always lead people to agree with you, and you end up writing a book where that happens, at least show it happening. Don’t declare the clearly independent thoughts your character has as close-minded or jealousy-inspired slander, and all the evidently manipulated thoughts as independent thinking. (See also, Jae fearing always being Ranold’s little girl, while soon celebrating always being Paul’s little girl/wife.)

  3. Paul: “I had a polite conversation with my spouse, in which we both acted reasonably nice to each other and nobody screamed any obscenities! Clear evidence of love!”

    • “Hail, spousal unit. I shall now engage in inconsequential small talk for 37.2 seconds. Has your brain slug matured yet?”

  4. I have a landline. So do my parents. They have three phones (one is corded – the only kind that works when electricity goes out, and you can’t always count on cellphones, so it’s useful.). If one of them talked on the phone and the other one wanted to listen, all they’d hear would be “beep-beep-beep”. Cordless phones aren’t very good for eavesdropping.

    • In the UK, a landline is the best way to get an internet connection — and therefore the cable competitor also offers landline service as part of the package.

  5. Headless Unicorn Guy

    He also thinks that those “incidentals and courtesies” amounted to a “warm conversation.”

    So yes, Servo, he really doesn’t know what love is.

    Maybe to RTCs inside the Christianese Bubble “incidentals and courtesies” (in God-talk with a lot of “Jesus”es) DO amount to “a warm conversation”.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, February 15th, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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