Monthly Archives: May 2016

TEC: Chapter 30: Rio de Conspiracy

With a clear plan to confirm Murphy’s wild conspiracy speculations, we now check in with The Seven (TSAN!) during their planning meeting.

This time, they’ve opted to meet in Rio, which is cool.  What’s not cool is the way the story manages to contradict itself immediately:

John Bartholomew thinks that Rio is a great city to meet in because it’s “one of the most crowded cities in the world.”

Then he thinks how nice it was of Señor Mendez to book them a huge villa at Copacabana Beach, “a secluded spot where they would be alone.”

kknqvcr1j5ktm

Then he thinks how funny it is that they’ll be planning to “destroy Christianity, the rule of law, and set the stage for the Anti-Christ in the shadow of Corcovado Mountain with the giant Christ the Redeemer Statue on top.”

Okay, admittedly, that is fairly bad-ass.

cxt7tyo54yhem

Or it would be, if they were actually DOING something instead of once again hitting the planning phase of the…plan.  Man, three books in, and they’re still going over hard-copy (REALLY???) to-do lists of their nefarious schemes.

Admittedly, it is hilarious the way they talk about their plans.  I kinda like these planning stages, just for the way they phrase things:

“We have begun to plant the suggestion into the minds of key UN leaders to consider moving the United Nations organization from the United States to Babylon in Iraq. … Rebuilding Babylon will bring back Arab pride and give them all something to focus their energy on. … The United States would still have to support the UN or be accused of being Arab-phobic.”

I wonder if LaPhillips are speaking from experience with this whole weird accusations-of-being-“Arab-phobic” thing.

BECAUSE MAYBE THERE WERE MORE ARABS!

(I’ll never get tired of that line.)

Then they talk about their plans for wars and rumors of wars:

“We have begun a plan to create a crisis between India and Pakistan. … We have already started stirring up the North Koreans over the nuclear issue.”

I’d love to know how they’re actually accomplishing this.  I have a feeling they’re just taking credit for what’s already happening.

Then they talk about trade and it’s just as boring as talking about trade always is.

Then they get to the smallpox and anthrax attacks they’re planning, which also sound like a bad-ass way to spread panic, but once again, we’re given no details.

Then on to the stock market.  Zzzzzzzz…

Okay, now the fun stuff:

“We will infuse money into the Americans’ next presidential election.  Our plan is to support those candidates who are more liberal and socialistic in their thinking.”

Because we all know that those eeeevil libruls are but a step from the Anti-Christ himself!

Oh, and then they have this bizarre sub-plan to set a bunch of fires.  Yes, actual fires.  So that…firefighters will be kept busy, or something:

“The plan is to cause erosion problems, which will lead to increased runoff, mudslides, and flooding.  Hopefully this will damage crops, structures, and transportation.”

Everyone nodded in agreement.  The plan sounded wonderful to them.

If you say so, man.

On to the religion plans!

“We will begin funding various religious leaders and also begin to call for all faiths to unite.”

“We’ll fund individuals and also work to bring everyone together equally!  This is sure to work!”

“We will push for the universal brotherhood of man.”

zsgcwdz70qqee

“We will support and encourage the homosexual community.”

gkgfl9dnkxrcg

“Those who oppose them will be ridiculed, threatened, punished.  We can do this by instituting legislation that will take away critical tax advantages for churches and religious organizations.”

It’s hilarious that this would qualify as threatening or punishing.  Still, the tax idea?  Nice.  I approve.

5oopvzjvex6za

“Any who oppose our plan can be accused of hate speech and jailed for nonconformity.”

Jailed for nonconformity?  Are they for real?  This is what LaPhillips think American secularists are into?  Jailing people for nonconformity?

nw2przafwbnxg

Man, American Christians have it so tough, don’t they?  In a novel written by two RTCs, fictional villains talk about the possibility of jailing people…for nonconforming thoughts on gay rights.  No wonder preachers are constantly prepping their flocks for persecution.

Oh, and The Seven (TSAN!) end the meeting saying it will all come together if Talon does his job.  Which I wouldn’t bank on, given how he still hasn’t even managed to kill Murphy, a man who takes zero precautions whatsoever with his own safety and security.

Damn, looks like the atheist-theosophical-UN-librul-LGBT-Catholic-feminist-socialist-Arab-forest-fighting worldwide conspiracy is screwed.

TEC: Chapter 29: Theosopedia

Well, Michael had his chance to read aloud, and now it’s Isis’s turn.  She claims her readings are from “some of these other folders” but she can’t fool me–she’s just been checking Wikipedia on her iPhone.

Seriously, there is nothing Isis says about Helena Blavatsky that you can’t get from Wiki.  Birth and death dates!  Her imaginary friend (basically), an Indian man who would visit her dreams!  The symbol of the Theosophical Society!

Oh, and she wrote The Secret Doctrine.

“I’ve heard of that book,” Murphy said, excited.  “Adolf Hitler kept a well-marked copy of it beside his bed.”

Really, Murph?  Thoughts of Hitler get you excited, do they?

Sorry, my mind goes right to the gutter.  Guess I’m just not as up on Nazi occultism as Murphy.  I don’t have the History Channel, after all.

Actually, I’m not seeing a lot on this claim at all.  Granted, I’m not all that interested, but a did search a bit, and found repetitions of the claim at…well, let’s say questionable websites (like, say, this one).  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as amused by worldwide conspiracy theories as the next atheist, but it does seem like the Theosophists have put up a pretty good defense to this charge.

Anyway, Our Hero is still tickled pink by the whole thing, cracking that:

“[Blavatsky] sounds like Shirley MacLaine,” Murphy grinned.

Man, I feel like that joke must have been old even in 2005.  And seriously, has Murphy forgotten) yanno, again, that a man died so they could have these Wiki articles?  Be serious, Murph!

Isis mentions that Blavatsky “led a wild life of wandering the world for about ten years,” which sounds pretty bad-ass for a 19th-centruy woman, but I suppose is just more damning evidence of how unfeminine a creature she was.

Isis goes on to talk about Blavatsky’s protégées, Annie Besant and Alice Bailey.

“Besant was an activist in the feminist movement; she was especially involved in birth control.”

That BITCH!!!

(It’s also kinda amusing that Isis–formerly single, independent, free-thinking Isis–presents these facts as criticisms against Besant.)

Seems she has well and truly turned to the RTC Dark Side.  Sad.

More Wiki info that you can just get by reading the pages I linked, if you’re interested.  Because so far, it all comes to nothing–Isis hasn’t actually uncovered why this information is important for The Case of the Murder of Dr. Anderson or, for that matter, the Writing on the Wall, which I could have sworn played some kind of role in this book.

No matter, though.  Murphy makes another crack about Lucifer Magazine being the stuff of “Saturday morning cartoon programs” the three women being “triple-threat charmers for sure,” and vaguely mentions the eeeeevil United Nations…

ilzaw15vmbv3q

…but we’re no closer to…well, anything than we were before.

 

 

TEC: Chapter 28: Strange!

Back with Murphy and Isis in the library, and in a five-page chapter, four of the pages are devoted to Murphy reading from Dr. Anderson’s notes, and the last page being Isis’s reaction to them.  And in all this, a certain word keeps being repeated again and again…

But first of all, Anderson has titled his own journal: “The Journal of Harley B. Anderson.”  Now, I haven’t had a diary since the age of 11, but is it really common for grown-ass men to title their professional daily journals as such?  I suspect Dr. Anderson’s diary has copious pictures of unicorns and kitties on the front cover.

But on to the science!

Today J.M. and I were contacted by three men from a group called the Friends of the New World Order.  They want us to artificially inseminate a girl for them.

So that’s how it works, huh?  Strangers just accost doctors who have never successfully managed to artificially inseminate anyone, and ask them to inseminate a random girl, with no reason given?  And you’re okay with that?

We met again with the Friends of the New World Order.  They promised to pay for a fully-equipped lab.

Wait…they came to you for help with this brand-new procedure, and you don’t already have a lab?

That will cost a great deal.

lndtxw3ztlhnc

They said that they had one stipulation–that we would have to keep the entire matter in absolute secrecy.  They are very strange.

STRANGE

J.M. and I met the young woman to be inseminated for the first time.  She seems nice but a little frightened.  Her name is Calinda Anhuis.  She is Romanian, and J.M. had to translate and explain the procedure to her.

Wow, agreeing to inseminate a stranger, sight unseen, and she’s scared.  Nope, no medical ethics problems here that I can see!

Today we received the sperm and egg provided by the Friends of the New World Order.  They would not tell us who the donors were.  Strange!

STRANGE

You know what else is strange?  That they found another unethical doctor to subcontract out the extraction of the egg.

But, nothing doing, they go ahead and implant Calinda, and all appears to proceed as normal (well, as normal as it can be, considering that this is the first time this procedure has actually worked, a fact that causes surprisingly little excitement in the offices of Docs Anderson and J.M.

[J.M.] has fears that we may be doing something illegal.

10uct1asft7qiy

We both do not care for the people we have met.  They seem evil.

Wow, and they seemed so nice at first!  With a happy name like Friends of the New World Order and dragging scared teenagers around to give them mysterious and untested medical procedures!

Despite being nervous about their possibly illegal actions and being warned by this mysterious group to keep things quiet, Anderson does some digging and traces the family tree of the new fetus.  Calendars parents are Carmine and Kala Matrinka Anguis.  Egg donor is Keres Mazikeen and her mother is Mariana Yakov and her mother is Zigana Averna.

WHO CARES???

Sperm donor is Alfred Meinrad, a scientist.  Huh.

The baby boy Antichrist is born on April Fools’ Day.  Six weeks later, J.M., who had expressed his fears for months, is killed in a car accident.  This is, according to Anderson, impossible, as it happened in the mountains, where J.M. didn’t like to go, and he “always [drove] under the speed limit.”  If you say so, dude.  I have no idea of my coworkers’ driving habits.

Anyway, cut to Isis and her reaction to all this:

“That does sound very strange, Michael,” Isis said thoughtfully.

STRANGE AGAIN OMG PHILLIPS THE THESAURUS IS FREE ONLINE

Murphy dials it up, confirming that not only is the situation STRANGE, but also EEEEEVIL:

“In my talk with Dr. Anderson before he was killed, he was convinced that they were evil people who had an evil plan of some kind.”

pztyyzjpyskbk

“He even suggested that he might have helped in the birth of the Anti-Christ.”

“You mean the Anti-Christ of the Bible that you’re always talking about?”

“No, the AntiChrist from Alvin and the Chipmunks—YES THE ANTICHRIST FROM THE BIBLE!”

“The same one,” Murphy said, soberly.

ozemxrreykwti

Y’know, these books would be a lot more fun if I was drunk right now.

So Isis sits there and thinks about her faith.  She reminisces for a whole second on Noah’s Ark, which, hell, I would think about for longer if I was her.  She decides she needs to be “open-minded” and think about making a decision about God.  Sometime in the vague nearish future.

As you would.

TEC: Chapter 27: Supplemental Reading

Yanno, I make my little jokes and we all have a good laugh at Michael Murphy’s silly antics and talk of “more Arabs,” but when it comes right down to it, the vast majority of readers of these books will never be pressed into service as terrorist-hunters by their Mossad-agent best friends.

But 1 in 3 women will be victims of domestic partner violence in their lives (so will 1 in 4 men, but I really can’t imagine LaPhillips including an abused husband as a character in these how-to manuals).

And these books (at least since Phillips took over) have been how-to manuals for Christians: how to act with a new love after your wife dies, how to respond to a friend who is cheating on his wife, how to counsel a young woman in an unequally-yoked relationship.  And now: how to be an abused partner.

In other words, this is as real as it gets.  It’s darkly funny in a weird way: we’ve watched Paul Stepola rejoice over the deaths of children, yet this is what angers me more than just about anything else we’ve read.

And the weird thing is, there’s not even one clear teaching that I can be angry at.  Because the Christian view of spouse abuse is, at best, muddled.  At worst, it is fatally divided against itself.

What’s the first thing RTCs say about marriage?  That the wife must submit to her husband, of course.

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.  or 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.

In everything.  Every single thing.

And gee, go figure that if you tell a person that he has absolute authority over another person no matter what, in every single possible issue in life, such a God-mandated power imbalance might have…unfortunate consequences.

So on one hand, we have the wives who must submit.  And on the other, we have the very human sensibility that says that a person should not have to put up with abuse.

See what I mean about fatally divided against itself?

RTCs twist themselves into some pretty complex knots to get out of this conundrum.  (Granted, some of them don’t.  Read a few blogs, and you’ll find an enraging number of accounts of women told by their pastors to go back to abusive husbands and submit harder already!)

Some examples:

  • This delightful gentleman thinks abuse is wrong, but not quite so wrong as to justify divorce.  He defensively protests that he is not condoning abuse, darn it…just making it impossible for an abused wife to get closure, move on, and try to find some happiness away from the beatings.
  • This woman at least thinks abused wives should be able to divorce…because any man who would abuse his wife is, ipso facto, not a Christian.  So the wife has accidentally gone and gotten herself unequally yoked and thus can divorce under 1 Corinthians 7:15.  So, points for getting the wife out, even if you have to convince yourself that only a horrid nonChristian would ever be capable of hitting someone.
  • Another vote for Leave, but no Divorcing.  (And the last sentence of the whole piece advocates involving the police!)

Now, being the unrepentant liberal feminist atheist that I am, I don’t want to leave out the supposed counter-argument to the idea that a wife submitting to a husband in EVERYTHING is sick and wrong and a recipe for disaster.  After all, any preacher knows to quickly add, “But husbands are commanded to love their wives!  So wives aren’t getting the bad end of this deal at all!”

Except I’m not so sure that the command to love would automatically convince a man not to abuse.  After all, this is the same Bible that commands fathers to beat their children, and I doubt that is supposed to imply that hitting a kid means you don’t love her.  So why would a Christian husband think that hitting is out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive wife, of it is not out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive kid?

As well, this is the problem that arises when one party is commanded to DO something (obey), and the other party only to THINK something (love).  I mean, isn’t “I’m sorry, babe, I love you” the rallying cry of abusive husbands?  You can’t prove he doesn’t love her, can you?

Oh, and that brings up another muddling point: the doctrine of forgiveness no matter what.

And again, people tie themselves into knots.  Many Christian commentators will claim that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting and reconciling…except that divorce isn’t an option and reconciliation should be the ultimate goal.

Now, I will add here that there are Christian blogs that advise abused spouses to go to the police and to separate from the abuser.  Some even call out church elders who side with the abuser (or maintain “neutrality,” which amounts to the same thing).

But honestly, all this reading makes me feel a tiny bit better for poor Stephanie Kovacs.  Seems that Shane actually did her a favor by not putting a ring on it.  Because Stephanie will never have to worry about reconciliation or how much God hates divorce.  Being a new baby RTC, she’ll probably have to immediately forgive him, but at least she won’t have to live with him again.  Filthy unmarried (monogamous, committed) relationship that it was.

Damn, that was depressing.

But next time: Michael Murphy tackles theosophy!

TEC: Chapter 27: Evil Shane

Yeah, we all know Shane is evil.  Granted, LaPhillips think he’s evil because he’s a nonbeliever working with The Seven (TSAN).  But he’s also evil because he’s a dickish employer and abandoned his Ambiguously Gay son.

And now he’s also evil because he’s a domestic abuser.

Stephanie comes home from South Carolina (where she was on her vague and pointless assignment for THREE WEEKS, it seems).  She’s made the decision to leave Shane, and now Phillips backbuilds a series of events in which Shane was on the edge of violence with Stephanie, punching walls and the like.  Which just seems highly out of character for Shane, but that’s just the beginning.

Stephanie still has her own place, but has been staying with Shane more often than not.  Despite all this backbuilding about how scared she is of Shane, Stephanie takes the time to pack two big suitcases with her things, despite not knowing quite when he’ll be back.  And, of course, Shane does come back, just in the nick of time to see the suitcases.

So he screams at Stephanie and slaps her across the room and throws her suitcases at her head.

And it is just so, so wrong.

I don’t mean just the domestic abuse.  Of course that is incredibly wrong.  But Shane just doesn’t seem the type.  And I know that asshole abusers don’t walk around wearing signs, but everything we’ve seen of Shane so far shows a man who solves problems (and people he considers problems) by making them go away, not by battling them head-on.  He hadn’t seen his ex-wife and son in years–out of sight, out of mind.  When anyone displeases him in the slightest, like one of his employees, he just fires them and/or ditches them.

So I just get the feeling here that Phillips wanted Shane to do something evil, because he couldn’t be bothered with the more complicated idea that Shane and Stephanie might have it out with words and their usual mutual manipulation.  And it’s only natural that Shane would be abusive.  He’s not a Christian, after all!  Never mind that it’s nonsensical character development.

In fact, after knocking her out with her suitcase, Shane carries Stephanie and the suitcases down to her car and deposits them all in it.  So when she comes to, there she is, beaten and bloody, with a lipstick message on the windshield that “NO ONE RUNS OUT ON ME.”

So this might seem like the time to go to the police, but Stephanie doesn’t.  And yes, I get that many women don’t leave and don’t report abuse, but Stephanie really has no reason not to.  She has no children to protect, and no concern over Shane’s reputation.  This is a relationship of just over a year, and she has no history of abusive relationships, either for herself and in her family.  In fact, she’s a nationally-known television journalist with a huge platform to expose Shane.

But no, she goes home, washes away all the evidence, and sleeps until she gets a call from Shane’s secretary, who tells her that she’s fired and Shane is going to blackball her.  Which seems like a plan doomed to failure, given Stephanie’s success and reputation.  You’d think after being fired without cause, Stephanie would be snatched up by another network within the hour.

Anyway, Stephanie just rolls over and thinks of God.  Yep, she calls Murphy’s words to mind about having happiness in the midst of sorrow, and she doesn’t have that (gee, shocking), so she talks to God and makes the transaction.  She also thinks this:

I’ve really made some poor choices, and they’ve affected my entire life.

Huh.  It’s almost like Phillips is implying that Stephanie’s choice to have a monogamous sexual relationship without a wedding ring was an obvious precursor to abuse and professional ruin.  Fancy that.

I dunno.  It’s just that making Stephanie into someone who doesn’t even consider going to the police when she’s been beaten into unconsciousness, followed by this talking to God about “poor choices“…well, I guess there’s only thing a good Christian woman should do when she is abused: pray about it.