Friday, February 22, 2013

Part Forty-Seven, Chapter Ten - The Hero is Exiled From Canada

So the newspapers are howling about the Whiz Kid's expulsion from the Purity League, the radio is inviting people to join a lynch mob, preachers are working the Whiz Kid's moral failings into their sermons, the U.S. government is looking into the Whiz Kid's back taxes, and the United Kingdom has banned the Whiz Kid from not just the isles but Canada.

And none of it matters because nobody besides Gris is paying any attention to the media.  So, another riddle.  Is the author, while satirizing the media by presenting it as nothing but slanderous fiction, undermining his own message by showing how ineffective it is?  Or is the media's impotence part of the satire?  If so, is it wise to spend book after book talking about something that isn't real and doesn't matter?

Except exactly twice in the series it has mattered, when Babe Corleone and Krak decided to accept the media's rendition of reality over their own senses and experiences.  So does the author need to explain why the media is meaningless 99% of the time but catastrophically powerful the other 1%?  

Anyway, Krak is still in her room, crying, and Heller has evidently given up trying to talk things out with her, and is instead examining his legal dilemma with Izzy.  Cue three-and-a-half pages of Izzy explaining how anyone can sue you at any time for no reason for millions of dollars in legal battles the lawyers will draw out for years to fill their own pockets.  Heller chimes in with zingers like "civil suit?  It sounds awful uncivil to me," or "sounds illegal to me," or "any honest lawyer/government would end this," or "nobody could live in a society like that!"  It is all very droll social commentary that makes the reader reflect on the absurdities of the world he or she lives in, and perhaps compels him or her to act to reform the nation's legal system so that it will never accuse an alien infiltrator of fathering an illegitimate baby while on a mission to prepare the world for conquest by an imperialist extraplanetary civilization.

Izzy reminds Heller that he did try to give him that plane ticket to the Amazon one or two books ago, but promises to do what he can to deal with the situation.

"This could wreck my whole mission," said Heller despondently.

"That's all the legal system is designed to do," said Izzy.

And it works!  Not a single successful alien invasion!  Long live the lawyers!

"Enrich the lawyers and bums and ruin everybody else.  But cheer up.  An atomic war might intervene and settle everything."

"With a legal system as insane as that, they deserve it," said Heller and left.

That alarmed me a little bit.  And then I realized that he hadn't packed any atomic bombs that I knew of in his suitcase.

The book's hero just advocated global nuclear Armageddon because he's annoyed with the legal system. (editor's note from the future: and Heller doesn't need a nuke to bring about an apocalypse)

Gris is in deep thought following this talk about lawsuits - what if Candy and Pinch decided to sue him for getting them pregnant?  But then Gris cheers up because he's "guilty as Hells," and "Only the innocent were ever found guilty."  So between that and Krak crying in her room, he's in a pretty good mood.  Which is of course to set up the next disaster the author will visit upon Soltan Gris.

Little did I know the next horror coming my way.

I was about to get the anvil's view of the hammer.

I thought in most cases the anvil doesn't get to see the hammer, but rather the object the hammer is striking upon the anvil.

Wait, anvils don't have eyes.  Stop confusing me with your alien metaphors, Gris!

Back to Part Forty-Seven, Chapter Nine

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