Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Part Sixty-Five, Chapter Two - Space Aliens Who Never Heard of a Digital Office

The day after the trip to Istanbul, Krak tasks Gris with getting his records together.  See, she spent her time in the cell reading the copy of Voltar Confederacy Combined Compendium Complete and so has gotten familiar with Voltar's legal codes, which are "very straightforward and no nonsense" compared to Earth's.  Since Heller, "for some reason," wants Gris to have a fair trial, the agent needs to sort out his defense from what files and documents are strewn about his room.  And Gris, who is pretending to be hypnotized into cooperation, has to go along with it and be as helpful as possible.

Thrill as our villainous narrator organizes his paperwork, in other words.

Gris' logs are a scattered mess of illegible handwriting, but he does his best to organize them under the watchful gaze of two guards.  Krak gets bored and starts wandering around, eventually ending up in Utanc's room, where Gris can hear her thanks to the bug he planted.  I find it a bit odd that the guards don't get interested in this - they're clearly around since they keep prodding him to continue working, but they don't react to the fact that the prisoner is monitoring other parts of the villa.

I think that'd be something you bring to Krak or Heller's attention, something they might want to hear about.  Then again, these are presumably the same guards who went half a year without noticing the explosives someone had planted around the base's opium stockpile.

The important thing is that the bugs let Gris, and us, eavesdrop on Krak as she deals with the two little kids hiding under the bed in Utanc's room.  She can't get the brats to stop sniveling and hiding, so she finds Melahat and Karagoz, presumably pulling them into the room so Gris can hear that conversation too.

The villa headman and housekeeper were pretty embarrassed.  The Countess Krak listened in growing horror and disgust.

It seemed that Gaylov had made the two little boys into catamites, and each night, and sometimes in the day, had practiced many sexual perversions with them to satisfy his lust.

The KGB's finest, no doubt.  So why a belly dancer?  Why didn't they try to insert him into the villa as a faceless member of the house's staff?  Why did they decide to make him crossdress as a sex slave, undoubtedly a position with extremely high risks of discovery?  Why did they pick a child molester for the job and not someone more inclined to keep a low profile?

They knew all along that Utanc was a man but hadn't told anybody.

Why?  Did they think it was funny?  Were they more afraid of giving their master bad news than they were of his reaction if he ever found out that they knew but didn't tell him?  Why didn't they bring this information to the authorities, or Faht Bey, or anyone?  Why not try and leverage this fact to their advantage?

I'd ask "Why did the book need the Utanc subplot" in general, but it was Utanc's credit card excesses that kicked off all those "Gris needs money" subplots which ultimately ended in Gris trying to stop Heller to get back in Rockecenter's favor so he could cancel his debt.  Instead I'll once again ask why we needed that many subplots to get the book's villain to oppose the book's hero.

The Nameless Kids Surgically Altered to Look Like 1930's Hollywood Stars are terribly distraught that "they weren't getting it anymore," and demand that if their precious Utanc isn't returned to them, they'll just have to run off and find other men to play with, and if they can't do that they'll kill themselves.

"This perverted planet!" cried the Countess Krak.  "It's just as if they never heard of normal sex!"

Bang-Bang, Izzy, presumably the rest of Heller's friends in New York... all those good ol' boys who spelled out the secret history of Rockcenter's son... anyone who went to the Gracious Palms... Mrs. Boomp and the folks in Atlantic City...

That's the weird thing about this book: Rockecenter's supposed to be backing psychology's attempt to turn the world gay and wipe out mankind according to the Nazis' master plan.  We see that with Candy and Pinchy, and Madison, and Torpedo, and other nasty people Gris commonly interacts with.  And then divorced from that are all those other guys Heller and Krak interact with, who seem pretty normal and untouched by the whole Psychiatric Birth Control thing.  But Krak still gets to rant about how perverted we Earthlings are.

My guess is that the author needed to show us how psychology was responsible for homosexuality, just like it's responsible for all the world's ills, but he didn't want gay stuff happening around his hero, so the real perversions (and "perversions") are limited to Gris' scenes.

After a time she came in and glared at me.  "While you're at it," she said, "you better dig up all the evidence of how you got mixed up with Gaylov.

This comes right after Krak goes through Utanc's stuff and has the rest put in storage, without giving Gris an opportunity to examine it.  An unusually subtle case of Krak going behind her boyfriend's back and breaking the rules for her own purposes?  Or did the author write the bit without thinking about it?

There are thirty-two statutes in the penal codes relating to homosexuality."

"There's homosexuality in the Confederacy!" I snapped.

And I can't remember if it's legal or not.  No, I'm not gonna check, Hubbard never bothered to look anything up and I'm following his proud example.  At any rate, the important thing is that it's disgusting and something you can blackmail people over.

"Not with children, you filthy brute."

"Wait a minute," I flashed.

Adding indecent exposure to his crimes... oh, excuse me, the word can also mean "to communicate quickly."

"I didn't have anything to do with that!  I hate homos!"

Wait, is brainwashing people with a hypno-helmet legal?

"You better be ready to prove it!" said the Countess and stalked off.

Sounds easy enough, just get Heller to mention all the puking Gris did after learning the horrible truth.

The injustice of it was like vinegar in my veins.  I began to dig harder, assembling my records.  Then I paused.  How the Hells did you prove you were not a homo?  It was almost impossible to prove that you were not anything.  The only evidence you could collect was that you were something.  You could never show a court an absence of anything.  You couldn't walk up to a judge and say "Here is a list of the cars I have not stolen."  The judge would just say, "All you had to do was omit from the list the cars you have stolen: guilty as charged!"  Justice was totally one-sided.  There was no such thing as negative evidence.

Which misses a fundamental part of the justice system, that the prosecution's job is to prove beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused, who is otherwise presumed innocent.  You don't have to prove you're straight, you just have to poke holes in the prosecution's evidence that you're gay.  Bow-chicka-bow-wow.

Of course, the way Gris tells it, sounds like Voltar justice is just as corrupt and broken as Earth justice.  So this is one of them nihilistic, "everything everywhere sucks" works of satire, hmm?

Right after this rant, Gris notices those misleading photographs of him and Teenie - "lying evidence of sodomy!" and "lying evidence of rape of a minor!"  And now I'm confused.  I thought Miss Pinch was holding onto those as blackmail material?  Why does Gris have them?  Or are they copies?  Why did he bring them with him across the Atlantic instead of destroying them?  Why did he take this incriminating evidence with him when he returned home?

He makes as to destroy them now, but the guards warn him off tampering with evidence.  So Gris focuses on finding things to incriminate others, like his copy of Ahmed's contract to buy Utanc.  And then three hours later he realizes how pointless all this is, since the minute he lands on Voltar, Lombar will waste no time in executing Krak and Heller, and Gris will never see trial.  But even though his trial will never happen, Gris has to keep playing along until he gets home.

So this whole chapter was a waste of time. (editor's note from the future: well, Gris' trial will end up happening, but the rest of the statement is pretty accurate)

Back to Chapter One


  1. Besides all the OTHER stupid stuff about Nazis, psychiatry, and homosexuality, the Nazis had pretty much the same attitude that Hubbard did toward homosexuality. They believed that homosexuals should be exterminated as part of their efforts to 'purify' humanity.

  2. That's true, but I think Hubbard's homophobia is of the old-fashioned 1940's American variety. In some of his early Scientology books on the "Tone Scale", he wrote that homosexuals (and practitioners of any other "perversions") were in a permanent state of "1.1", an emotional state that he labeled as "Covert Hostility." So all gay people everywhere are permanently hostile to humanity, but constantly pretending not to be, the backstabbers. /s

    To this day, Scientology is an extremely homophobic religion, and I've read many stories of Scientologists in good standing using vicious anti-gay slurs, calling gay people "1.1", and believing Scientology will "cure" homosexuality, or at least "handle" it. On the plus side, you can get kicked out of the Sea Org for even thinking you might be gay, so it's a possible escape strategy.