Thursday, December 12, 2013

Part Seventy-Seven, Chapters One and Two - The Greatest PR Since Caesar!

We're now two thirds of the way through Villainy Victorious, and I have to say it doesn't feel like the good guys have lost.  Sure, Hisst has drug-dealt his way into controlling the Confederacy, but so what?  He can't exert real control over anyone outside the Apparatus, the regular government is just as crooked as those stinky sneaks, and the situation for Borb the Average Voltarian doesn't seem any different.  I guess the terrible victory is that Heller's name is about to be besmirched in the mass media?

Despite ending the previous chapter all gloomy and doomy after Teenie's threat to kill him if he doesn't deliver, this chapter Madison's got a bounce in his step and feels victory is in sight.

How could he fail? He was the most accomplished PR since Julius Caesar, of this he had no doubt.  Caesar, an Earth king of long ago,

Madison is from Earth.  So is the audience of this book.  Why would he feel the need to mentally add "Earth" as a suffix?

had come, he had seen and he had conquered all of Gaul.  Madison would do the same to Voltar.  Lack of confidence was not one of Madison's faults.  Historians, dear reader, may wish it might have been, for when all this cover-up is exposed,

Oh that's right, our friend Monte Pennwell is behind this atrocity.  Thanks for reminding us of that, and simultaneously raising the question of how the hell this alien author knows so much about what Madison was thinking or feeling while he was doing all this nefarious PRing. 

it is very plain that J. Walter Madison was bent upon a course which would alter the history of not only Voltar but of Earth.  Some poet once said that the pen is mightier than the sword:

An Earth poet or a Voltar poet, Monte?  What, you know that Madison thought Relax Island was ten times better than Tahiti, and you know that he mentally compared himself to Julius Caesar, and you know about the quote comparing pens to swords, but you don't know who said it or what planet they were from?

in this case one was testing if PR was mightier than the combined good sense of all the leaders of two empires.  And as we follow the actions of Madison and others, we shall certainly see if it was.  So read on, dear reader, read on.  You'll be flabbergasted!

Mission Earth continuously asks "Are these people seriously this stupid?" and the answer is always "Yep!",  but not quite in the way the author intended, I think.  We're supposed to be focusing more on the cunning of those psychiatrist PR secret agent drug dealing Nazis than the staggering stupidity of the cast and setting as a whole.

Anyway.  A "Reencouraged" Teenie goes back to her non-crap palace, leaving Madison free to go back to his not-actually-haunted apartment and do some proper PR!  He assembles his crack team of "criminal reporters" and addresses them as proper public relations men, freed from "the habits of drudgery and facts" so that their creativity may run wild.  They're to start writing about Soltan Gris' misdeeds, and when they ask for more direction all he has to explain is

"He is a blackguard," said Madison.  

I'm having trouble believing Gris ever qualified to be a Paladin.

"That's all you have to know.  We are going to try him and find him guilty in the press, and by that, force them to bring him to a public trial.  That done, we have other game in sight."

"Wait a minute," said the leading reporter.  "I don't think anybody has ever done this on Voltar. People might not think it's fair."

And now Madison's characterization once again shifts from innocently destructive to actively nefarious.

"It's up to you to manufacture crimes so monstrous that the public will be ravening after his blood.  Do that and all thought of civil rights are swept aside.  That's PR at its best."

Another criminal reporter said, "You used a funny term there, 'public trial.'  I never heard of one.  On Voltar, trials are private and they simply announce the crime and sentence."

Wonder if they even bother with a jury, or just have the Royal Judge decide how many million years dungeon you get for being passed a counterfeit bill... oh what am I saying, of course those scumbags are executed.

Madison refuses to give his workers any further guidance, since they are now PRs and freed from the fetters of ordinary men.  While they work on making Gris famous/dead, Madison gets together with his other media men to set up a studio so he can work on Heller: The Musical.  Because remember, that's the only way he can properly PR the guy, through theater.  Madison continues to rip off Earth music and introduces these aliens to something called "ragtime," then tells a director to teach these hardened criminals how to wear clothes and "hold a sincere and earnest smile without strain."

By the time he's done with that, his bright shiny new PRs have some stories for him, about how Gris has been detected "rushing all over the farm country of this planet poisoning the wells.  He's been killing grazing animals that way like flies."  Madison thinks it's a bit amateur, and adds a bit about the horribly mangled body of the informant before sending it off to the "city editors."  Because I guess Madison can do that?  He used Teenie's control of those governmental pages to dominate the editors of... something?

Madison smiled.  Oh, things were going well.  Just like old times.  And when he got Gris on the stand, he could coach his lawyers on how to get him off: simply accuse Heller.  Copy, copy, copy, miles of headlines!

J. Walter Madison was in his element!

And that ends Chapter One.  The first line of Chapter Two is

Madison was feeling very much indeed in his element as he ate supper that evening. 

I guess sometimes, the best starting place you can come up with is a rehash of what you ended with yesterday.

There's not much to this chapter: Madison's engineered "a little internal PR caper" while he eats dinner with Flick, waiting for his men to come back with news from those nebulous editors.  See, Flick is still having women trouble, which is to say with the lady criminals he recruited for sexual services are still punching him for talking about how wonderful Hightee Heller is.  But Madison has invited Flick's "bed-maker," Twa, and his footwoman Cun, to... seriously?  Seriously?

Let's bid a fond farewell to Subtlety, everybody.  I mean, he was really half-assing his appearance in Mission Earth, so it isn't much of a loss, but now he's gone for good.  I thought he left several books ago, but there he goes, grabbing his coat and rushing out the door without making eye contact.

Anyway, Madison has coached those women to go on about those five hundred half-naked "soldiers" on Teenie's private island, "the heaviest hung birds" they'd ever seen.  And they whispered such charming innuendo, like "You see that flower tree over there?  It's nice and soft behind it and I have something pretty hard that needs handling.  I haven't had any in ages, and boy, do you look good!"  The girls are ready to take the gilded flying bus and go right back to the Island of Hunks, but Flick declares that he's "re-reformed" and will see them in bed shortly.  Yay?  Har har har?  What's our response to this supposed to be?

Madison's pleased, at least.

Madison beamed, benign as a god.  He had carefully coached the women.  He had restored everything internally.  It was an odd employment of his craft, using it for peace, but by the simple expedient of advising the girls to PR the regiment, he had changed the mind and behavior of Flick.  It just proved to Madison how much he him­self was a master of his trade.  Microcosm or macrocosm, it didn't matter; for bad or for good, it didn't matter.  What mattered was that one could command, without fail, the destinies of men.  The Supreme Being must feel this way from time to time as he directed the courses of the universe. 

And now we have megalomaniacal master manipulator Madison.  Also, wasn't he psychology'd at some point, and psychology teaches everyone to be soulless animals in a godless universe?

The only reason Madison hadn't done it the other way around and gotten Flick killed was that he didn't need him for a headline.

Why hello there, sociopathic Madison, welcome to the "what the hell is your characterization?" basket.

Really?  The only reason Madison didn't kill the guy who knows how to fly the damned angel bus, the guy with all the connections to the criminal underclass that Madison has made so much use of, is because there's no immediate benefit from a headline clamoring about the death of a low-ranking bus driver in a supposedly-secret intelligence organization?

Back to Part Seventy-Six, Chapter Six 

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