Silenced: Chapter 27: Less Than Masculine

A thought has occurred to me as I near the ending of the book, guys.  I’ll get to it in a few minutes, and it will become clearer as The Big Event draws nigh.

In the meantime, Jae arrives in Paris and spends an entire page putzing around the hotel room.  Paul, who is “busy” with the SWAT dudes and dudettes getting ready to nab Styr Magnor, has left Jae instructions to watch the TV news.  The bores the crap out of poor Jae, so she decides to nose around in Paul’s computer instead.

She shouldn’t be snooping, Jae decided, but on the other hand she was here on the NPO’s nickel, and that was what they expected of her.  That was, plainly, rationalization…

A distant memory made her wonder if Paul had ever changed his password.  He had once used her first name, followed by the last digit in the year of each of their births—his, hers, Brie’s, and Connor’s.  She tapped it in.  Bingo.

Paul is the most incompetent super-spy in the history of incompetence.  I mean, seriously?  He keeps his password the same for this many years, and it’s something that anyone, let alone his wife, could crack in three minutes?

So of course, Jae happens upon Paul’s drafts of the Christian manifesto.

She could come to no other conclusion than he had flipped.

OH, YOU THINK???

Jae moved in and out of the various rooms in Paul’s suite, banging the walls, pulling her hair, grunting in frustration.  Why couldn’t he be here?  Why did he have to be gone?  Why could she not know where he was?

God, women are so whiny all the time.  Good thing Jae has a Christian husband’s strong hand to guide her.

Of one thing she was certain, there would be no more cat-and-mouse games between them.  As soon as he walked through that door, she would put it to him.  She wanted to know.  He had to tell her.

I find it hilarious that Paul continually congratulates himself, and Jae is continually grateful, for Paul’s changed-man-edness, yet this is the first time Jae determines that they should have an actual direct conversation.

***

Speaking of manliness and womanliness, Paul is planning things out with the “major general of the International Government of Peace, in charge of special weapons and tactics.”  He’s an Indian man named Garuda “Gary” Vibishana, and has the following strange take on the site of the meet-up with Styr Magnor:

“…I cannot be [inside the pub] unless there are customarily people of color in that establishment.  I’m guessing there are not, and thus I would stand out.”

“I’m afraid that would be an understatement,” Paul said.  “A blue-collar pub would likely be a holdout against political correctness and diversity.”

Bwah?

Okay, first of all, is Paul saying that political correctness and diversity are good things?  Because he might have to turn in his RTC card now.

And isn’t it just like those silly blue collar workers, eh?  So unenlightened.  It’s not that I’m surprised that Paul is this classist, given his covetousness and near-worship of the rich, but this is pretty blatant.

(The above link reminds me that I like to picture Berlitz Decenti being played by Martin Freeman.

And finally, why wouldn’t this working-class pub in London have patrons who are people of color?  Especially Indians, who are the largest group of people of color in the city.  Remember, Atheistopia is a liberal paradise, with stupendous medical advances and an end to homelessness.  The world is united—one government, one currency.  And Paul and Gary still think it impossible that a dark-skinned man would patronize a pub?

Sigh.  Whatever.

Oh, and not only are blue-collar workers insular and bigoted—they also smell bad!

Because Paul’s stinky clothes make a comeback:

Paul dug through he stuff and pulled out the bag containing what he called his drinking outfit.

“Perfect,” Vibishana said.  “It even smells.”

“That’s from wearing it during half a dozen workouts and never washing it.”

That is so gross.  How has Jae ever shared a bed with this man?

Also, these two men think that an Indian would be less accepted at a pub than a white man who smells like a hockey bag?

But race relations and foul clothing aren’t the only things Gary Vibishana discusses:

“My best camouflage is a slight limp,” the Indian said, “making me look less than masculine.  Harmless.”

Wow.  Dude.

Because disabilities make you look, what, womany?

Okay, fine, I’ll play along.  But first, check this out:

(Approximately 298,000 times manlier than Vibishana and Paul combined.)

(See all those people frozen in place, Vibishana/Paul/Jenkins?
That man in the wheelchair did that.)

But who cares about stereotyping the disabled when there’s more clothes drama???  The SWAT team assembles and is comprised of both Manly Men and members of the weaker, womany-er, child-bearing-er sex.

…the personnel—men and women—immediately stripped to their underwear where they sat and changed into their getups.

So Atheistopia is basically Battlestar Galactica.

Frakking brilliant.

Paul was intrigued by where they found to hide their firepower.

Oh, was he?  I’ll just bet he was, eh?  Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, say no more.

So, they’ll all hang at the pub (I guess Vibishana is the only person of color on the team of thirty) and Paul will knock over a glass when he sees Magnor sit down.  I don’t care.

***

Back in the hotel room, Jae muses:

Was this how God revealed Himself to her?  By discovering that her husband was a secret believer?  And what did that prove?  Because Paul had turned, did that make it true?  Did that make God real?

Oh, I’m sure it does, Jae.  After all, it’s important for you to submit to the headship of your husband, so whatever he believes must be true.

And this brings up my thought from the top of this post:

As far as Paul knows, Jae is still an atheist, albeit one who is listening to the New Testament.  And the clock is ticking on God’s judgment on the firstborns of nonbelievers.  So why isn’t Paul terrified for the fate of his son, Connor?  (Indeed, he hasn’t spared a thought for the boy in…well, longer than I can remember.)  Connor, after all, is 50% the child of a nonbeliever.  Shouldn’t Paul be just a tad concerned at this point?

He’s not, and I have my suspicions why, but I’m looking forward to seeing your reactions as the judgment goes down, and some males (but not others) go down with it.

 

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Posted on April 6, 2014, in Books, Silenced. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Yeah, Jae’s had it. Correct reaction to realisation that your husband is an enemy agent: “Hey, Ranold, call up that SWAT commander NOW and tell him he’s got a traitor on his team!”

    Ah, fetishisation of the Real Honest American Sweaty Smelly Working Class (as opposed to those non-white folks who just, y’know, work). I wondered where you’d gone.

    And of course gender segregation in changing rooms is DIVINELY ORDAINED.

    Connor will only be half dead. That’s not even mostly dead.

  2. Nice to know that my worst passwords are more secure than super-spy Paul’s 7-character one. Would have been more amusing if Jae had figured out he’d changed it to “street123”.

  3. Don’t be silly, everyone knows that children belong to their fathers, not their mothers! They just provide the soil in which a child grows, while the man provides the seed! So clearly, children whose father has converted and whose mother has not will be just fine, no need to worry about what’shisname, y’know, his kid. And since God is so loving and merciful, he might – [i]might[/i] – even go out of his way not to horribly murder children whose mothers have converted but whose dads remain stinky atheists. It’s a bit of a freebie, but God’s cool like that.

    • *nods slowly*

      Yup. As far as I can see, it’s the only explanation. I feel bad that it never occurred to me before this week, given that I have heard and read the book several times.

    • I agree with you. Of course, as was mentioned earlier with the “we think Jesus’ blood has the whole protection scheme taken care off”, it’s strange that they don’t ever seem the slightest bit concerned about it. This is only the second time in history that the “kill all firstborn” plague is rolled out, and things like Jesus’ blood having been spilled and children having only one parent who’s part of god’s chosen people are entirely new. They should have no real way of knowing exactly how the plague will work in these new circumstances, yet there’s never any doubt it’ll work out well for them.

      The only explanation is that Jenkins broke the fourth wall and personally assured the characters that the miracle would work out perfectly well for them.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        Ruby Tea, your timing is interesting. Covering a “God kills all the Heathen’s firstborn” a la Exodus when today is the First Day of Passover.

        What an Easter Week!

  4. Disabilities don’t make you look womany, they just make you look less Paul-like. Paul is of course the most masculine person on the planet, so much so that even God has to take notice. Atheistopia has existed for some time now. Meaning that, for several decades at least, God has chosen not to smite any atheists, despite the believers (presumably) praying for help. But as soon as Paul converts, God is willing to reverse his hands off policy.

    This isn’t a story about the hero submitting to the will of God, this is a story about God submitting to the will of the hero. Which is very weird considering the book is intended for religious audiences.

    Paul is not terrified for the fate of his son, because being terrified would be less than masculine. What actually interests me more is why the other believers are not terrified. No-one points out that they will be praying for the death of their own siblings, or nephews and nieces. And the rules about who is to be spared seem quite vague. For all they know, some of the believers might even be praying for their own death, if they are firstborn and their parents are not believers. Yet they all think the plan is brilliant. Further proof that, for all intents and purposes, Paul is God of this book’s universe.

    • [zoom out to the snow-globe]

      This book is intended, I think, to prop up the worldview of RTC audiences. “You will be persecuted – for realsies! You will have the chance to stand up for what you believe against a hostile world! You won’t have to do any of that tiresome “being nice to the poor” stuff!”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Didn’t the original Apostle-spelled-straight Paul have some sort of chronic illness or problem (the “thorn in his flesh”) which never went away? Guess he wasn’t the Always Victorious most masculine man on the planet, was he?

      And after coming from Spiritual Sounding Board, if Paul Apostle-spelled-sideways is The Most Masculine Manly Man on the Planet, why isn’t he at an MMA cage fight screaming “KILL! KILL! KILL!” like those Fight Club churches in Seattle?

  5. Yes Jae, it is pretty big news to find out that your hubby is a Christian. I’m sure that requires some thinking about. But don’t you think that right now the more pressing issue is that your husband also authored a deaththreat to every firstborn on the planet? Y’know, just like the one in L.A., for which he was probably responsible too?

    I find it depressing/funny that Jae’s take-charge attitude consists of waiting for Paul in a secluded hotel room and planning to confront him, a trained killer, with all she’s found out about him being a traitor and terrorist who threatens with mass-murder. You’d think she’d be at least a little concerned about her personal safety.

    • Yeah, this JaeBot is the sort of person who’d obey the note in an old story: “meet me at the old well at midnight, don’t tell anyone where you’re going, and be sure to tie a thirty-pound rock round your neck”.

    • First time around God hardened the pharaoh’s heart so that the plagues could go forward. I guess this time God is going to soften Jae’s heart for the same reason.

      “Honey, are you a Christian?”
      “Yes, dear, and I’m planning the worst mass murder in history.”
      “Well, you’ve been such an attentive husband lately, so I’m sure you know what’s best. I just have one question: Did Jesus die for the sins of animals as well?”
      “Huh?”
      “I read the relevant Bible passage and it says that the plague killed not only the firstborns of the Egyptians, but also the firstborns of their cattle. You know how much Connor loves that puppy of his, he’d be devastated if something were to happen to it. Will Jesus’ blood protect Rover too?”
      “I’m sure God wouldn’t kill a puppy. He’s a loving God after all.”

      What happens to the cattle is actually my favourite part of the biblical plagues. The cattle is first killed in the fifth plague, given boils in the sixth, cut down by hail in the seventh and then killed again in the tenth. And after all that the Egyptians still manage to get a cavalry together to give chase. Riding their twice-dead, boil-infected horses no doubt. Which are then drowned in the sea. The miseries inflicted on these poor animals pass beyond any moral outrage and into a Wile E. Coyote realm of absurdity.

  6. Oh, and look, Paul calling for another plague that will reveal secret believers within the afflicted populace – those who have children anyway. If this “only” kills the firstborn of Atheistopian government officials, that’s every RTC parent in the hierarchy revealed. If it’s worldwide? Every RTC parent on the planet.

    I’d start taking bets on whether this ever resulted in secret believers getting caught and punished because their firstborn conveniently didn’t die, but this is Jenkins and anything potentially harming his precious perfect mass-murdering blood-magician protagonist is right out.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Oh, and look, Paul calling for another plague that will reveal secret believers within the afflicted populace – those who have children anyway.

      Funny… I don’t remember anything like that in the story of St Paul Apostle-spelled-straight chronicled in the Book of Acts and the various Epistles.

      Once more the GCAAT starts with a legit premise (retelling the Book of Acts in a near-future setting) and gang-rapes it into a Christianese persecution-porn fantasy. (“See How Clever I Am?”)

  7. “A blue-collar pub would likely be a holdout against political correctness and diversity.”

    Are we absolutely sure that Paul intends this as criticism? Like Ruby said, political correctness and diversity are usually berserk-buttons for RTCs. My first guess when I saw that line was that Paul used an ambiguous wording that suggested that he disapproves of such a holdout, while he secretly admires their racism. Paul is an ass either way, but I’m not really sure whether his prejudice is towards the non-rich or non-white here.

    • Ivan, that’s what I meant above by “fetishisation of the Real Honest American Sweaty Smelly Working Class”: Real Men who get their hands dirty and say what they think, as opposed to those effete coastal liberal types who sometimes try not to offend people.

  8. Headless Unicorn Guy

    A thought has occurred to me as I near the ending of the book, guys. I’ll get to it in a few minutes, and it will become clearer as The Big Event draws nigh.

    So this train wreck is finally drawing to an end?

    Judging from Soon‘s ending Big Event, I have a very bad feeling about whatever the Big Event will be that ends this one. Fear not, it will have all the “See How Clever I Am!” and fanservice masturbation we have come to expect from the Greatest Christian Author of All Time (GCAAT).

    Disclaimer: I am currently editing and polishing a spy thriller from another writer. A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic spy thriller set at a fashion show. And it’s better than any of GCAAT’s Christianese Best Sellers. (Granted, that’s not hard to do.)

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for April 11th, 2014 | The Slacktiverse

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