Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Part Ninety-Two, Envoi III-xvi-xvii - One Last Session With Dr. Crobe

A third envoi.  Makes as much sense as having three epilogues.

A guard leads Monte to a hut perched precariously on a coastal outcropping, two thousand feet above the crashing arctic seas.  Battered by snow and the howling boreal winds, Monte can't help but find it all "a gruesome place--think of being incarcerated here for nearly a century!"  We're presumably supposed to approve of this as an appropriate location to imprison two of the books' worst villains, except this horrible prison is a short walk away from a humane, perfect mental asylum whose "inmates" are treated with care and respect.  Same "gruesome" scenery.  Same arctic winds.  Same distance from the rest of civilization.  Same level of treatment, too.

They reach the rectangular hut made out of insulating blocks, and Monte bids the guard remain outside while he interviews Number 69,000,000,201.  What an unlikely number.  The hut's interior is one big, gloomy room divided by iron bars.  The place is furnished with books and a tub, over which is perched a man with bird-like limbs and an overly-long nose and chin.   "IT WAS CROBE!"

Even though the guard told Monte that the hut had just been cleaned (and good thing too, otherwise they could've smelled the place from a hundred yards away), which presumably included some laundry, Crobe's coat is already filthy, because Evil is of course corrosive and unhygienic.  Crobe doesn't bother asking who his visitor is, and announces that he's just in time for some home brew Crobe ferments from his leftovers.  Crobe demands that Monte lie down on a couch and have a sip.  And Monte, who has read everything we've read, and has found nothing to suggest that Gris or Heller or any other sources were lying about how good or evil the story's characters were, decides "This was no madman.  He was even smiling pleasantly."  And so he voluntarily stretches out on the furniture of a known psychologist.

The drink hits Monte's throat like "PURE FIRE!", and Crobe describes the beverage as his recreation of Kentucky Bourbon, "one of many gifts to Heavens from the planet Earth."  Now, Hubbard, you're getting into some dangerous territory here.  Everybody hates psychologists, journalists, intelligence agents, etc., and everyone can agree that drugs are bad.   But suggesting that alcohol is another disgusting Earth disease like the above might alienate some of your readers.  You might want to stick to the statutory rape and necrophilia.

After Monte's boozed up, Crobe directs his patient to lie down and start some free association.  Monte unhesitatingly gives his speech about how important it is for him to get his book published, so that his uncles won't stick him with a desk job or force him to marry Lady Corsa "and spend my life, much like you, in a cultural desert, Modon, an exile."  My inner editor is screaming.

"Ah," he said, "trouble with your mother!"

"How did you know?" I said. 

See, Monte never mentioned his mother, so it's a joke about how... yeah.

"Obvious," he said.  "Sigmund Freud covered it like a blanket.  An Oedipus complex!  I can get to the bottom of your case at once.  It is a classic example of psycho-pathology.  You see, there is the anal passive, followed by the anal erotic.  Then there is the oral passive, followed by the oral erotic.  There is also the genital stage but no one ever really reaches that.  These are ALL the mental stages there are.  Everything is based on sex.  Sex is the single and only motivation for all behavior.  So there you are."

Our friend Monte is a bit confused by this, but Crobe insists that obviously Monte's mommy didn't let him play with her nipples enough, so he's stuck in the oral erotic stage, and the only recourse is for Monte to commit himself "to making love only to young boys and men--orally, of course."  Then Crobe announces that's all the time he has in his busy schedule for his latest patient, but it's fine because Monte is now cured.

Monte gets up and thanks Crobe for his therapy, offers the doctor a "puffstick" (Crobe eats it), and then asks for his "professional opinion" about the guy who sent him here, who may have had him illegally incarcerated.  Crobe admits that Heller is a very difficult case, someone suffering from alto-libido, velocitus-libido, urbanus-populi-libido, justitius-libido and lascivious-libido - which is to say that Heller is comfortable with heights, likes to go fast, is pleasant to people, "pretends" to be fair, and likes sports.  Worse, Heller is not just achiever-oriented and GOAL ORIENTED, which as psychology tells us are very bad indeed, but to top it all off Jettero Heller is now the Duke of Manco.  In other words he has "TWO NAMES!  TWO IDENTITIES!  SCHIZOPHRENIA!"

Crobe concludes that Heller is obviously the insane one, and should be in this asylum instead of him.  Monte doesn't really have a reaction to this - next chapter he'll ask Crobe about Hisst, but he never mulls over Crobe's lecture.  Monte never thinks about whether Crobe's assertions make sense, or compares them to his own morality.  He certainly doesn't recognize that Crobe's diagnosis sounds exactly like the poisonous, insane rantings that Mission Earth warns us psychologists like to make.  No, Monte just accepts it all.

Now of course he's had a few shots of moonshine at this point, except even later, after he sobers up, Monte continues to parrot Crobe's phrases and sings the praises of psychology.  So now I'm not sure whether psychology is insidiously persuasive, or else Voltarian brains are as impressionable as silly putty.

Back to Part Ninety-One, Envoi II-xv

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