Thursday, May 2, 2013

Part Fifty-Three, Chapter One - Learn About Nerves (and an Important Vein)

We start a fresh new Part in which to enjoy the latest subplot that has nothing to do with Heller or Mission Earth. 

Gris is a mess, only able to get through the night's delesbianization with the help of a "bhong," and even afterward he tossed and turned through the morning as he cursed his past interactions with Teenie.  "Time after time I had had that (bleeped) kid right in my bare hands.  I could have squeezed the life out of her with the ease of squashing putty."  Alas, he didn't, which robs us of the chance to watch Gris fight a teenage girl and, knowing Gris, lose.

Speak of the devil, but Teenie drops by after breakfast to chat, and perhaps show Gris what she's learned to do with her foot.  They make small-talk, and Teenie gives a third version of her family history - now her parents were Mafia killers executed for whacking the Governor of California.  Gris keeps urging her to go on to school in sentences followed by him thinking "What I meant to say was 'You set me up, you filthy, blackmailing (bleepch)!'" which is kinda amusing the first time but loses its charm by the third.  

On her way out, Teenie mentions how some of the men at the Chinese whore's sex school for minors are gay, which has the expected effect on Gris.

The shot about homos had gone straight to the center of my terrified stomach.

I sat there.

The pattern of the spring sun lay in bars upon the floor.


Crobe's viewer flickered.  He was having a conference with two other psychiatrists [...]

I actually kind of like this.  It's a total non-sequitor, there's no chain of thought or real transition from Gris sitting there in a funk to shifting his attention to the viewscreen.  It's a pretty accurate portrayal of someone in the grip of depression listlessly watching TV or surfing the 'net instead of doing something more important.  The problem is how it clashes with the few indicators that this book is being narrated in hindsight, such as all that "if I only knew I would have killed her right then" stuff from last book regarding Teenie.  Not to mention how Crobe's scene is described with great accuracy instead of Gris telling us "I watched Crobe do [something horrible], perfectly normal psychology stuff, but I wasn't really paying attention" or something like that.  So as it is, the section just doesn't fit in with the rest of the book.

So even when Hubbard gets something right, he puts it in the wrong place.

Crobe is indeed up to horrible, routine psychology stuff, namely conferring with his fellow head doctors regarding a twelve-year-old patient.  The boy's clearly antisocial, unwilling to join any gangs due to some misplaced notion that stealing is wrong.  And despite seven years of electroshock treatment and other therapies, he won't buy drugs from his teachers or develop a proper neurosis.  And now he keeps screaming and trying to flee when his healers remove the gag or straps.

So... getting kids to do drugs could be because drugs are basically medicine, and psychology wants to medicate everyone, right?  And psychiatrists would obviously want their patient to develop a neurosis so they can... cure him of it.  And the stealing... I give up.  I can't conceive of how psychiatrists would justify these goals beyond "bad is good and good is bad."  They're operating on bizarro morality devoid of any internally-consistent logic.

Anyway, the good doctors electro-shock the boy until smoke's rising from his head, pump him full of something from a syringe, then slice open his belly to sever the vagus nerve with a pair of fingernail scissors, thereby curing him of his fear of being operated on by psychiatrists.  And just in case it tries to grow back, the bore a hole in the boy' skull to snip the connection to the medulla oblongata.  And then they try to cut the nerve again where it passes alongside the jugular, but a psychologist's hand slips and he cuts the boy's throat, whoopsie. 

One psychologist apologizes to the other for costing him a patient, but his colleague shrugs since the boy's parents were going bankrupt anyway.  Which would imply that the purpose of psychiatry is to milk patients dry, which classes with the other objective we've seen of curing patients by killing them.  But again, we should not be trying to apply logic to this, much less internal consistency.

Gris remarks that Crobe is so far gone into his new field that he's not even trying to harvest the boy for cellology materials, then thinks about Teenie's latest backstory and how she's probably making it up, and:

Wait a minute.  There was a pattern to this.  An excellent student of psychology like myself should be able to sort it out.  Then it hit me: Teenie was a pathological liar!


It's book seven and Gris hasn't figured out that his flashes of "INSPIRATION!" have never ended well for him.

I knew my way out of this!

I could have her committed to Bellevue.
Any psychiatrist would end her as a threat!

Wait, what?  Why?  Surely not because she's a liar, that is bad and therefore a desirable trait.  Is it because she's not following Psychiatric Birth Control?  Wouldn't that depend on the psychologist involved?  What if they decide to just turn her into a lesbian instead of killing her?

I think Gris is assuming that because he wants something to happen, things will happen that way once he makes the right phone calls and moves people around.  Again.

The court could not possibly object!

My Gods, no wonder they had considered me a top student at the Apparatus training school!


And if Pinchy and Candy find out, you're still boned!  ...Sorry, I'm interrupting the insightful social commentary.

No wonder they continued to practice psychiatry here on Earth and at such vast expense.  What a Gods-send!  You could get rid of anybody you wanted, get them mangled or murdered at the stroke of a pen.

I could get rid of Heller, Krak and now Teenie.  All through the vast humanitarian benefits of psychology!

As opposed to through the simple, straightforward benefits of a sodding gun.  It's never "I'll shoot her," it's "I'll hire a hitman to shoot her," or "I'll get my contacts in the conspiracy that controls the world to send security forces after her so she gets committed to an asylum and potentially killed by psychologists," or "I'll bring his girlfriend to Earth and when she finds out he's been staying in a hotel with other woman as neighbors she'll kill him."

We can't just go from Point A to Point B, we have to go backwards through the entire alphabet to get there.

Back to Part Fifty-Two, Chapter Seven

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