Thursday, October 23, 2014

Stroke of Midnight chapter 14, Elsie chapter 11


 Well, these guys are because Merry's kept them waiting for-fucking-ever. Oh, she blames the brass, but she's the one who had to investigate brownies going boggart and protest being wrapped in troll fur.

Merry tries to sort through the dick-measuring contest between the local boys and the feds. Apparently the Fairy reservations fall under the same rules as the Native American reservations.

...and that means it falls under fed jurisdiction.

...which is probably correct (comparison between Shiny Sparklepoo fairies and a demographic that sometimes doesn't even get running water aside) but that would mean we wouldn't have to deal with the BULLSHIT pissing contest. So somehow an overworked St. Louis crime lab is better equipped to handle an investigation than the FBI.


 LKH elects to make the FBI total morons.

Marquez argued , as I’d expected him to. “You are not an officer of any kind, Princess. No offense, but this investigation needs more than just a private detective in charge of it.”

...and yet he somehow manages to score a valid point. The FBI have more resources to focus than St. Louis PD. They don't have to deal with crack-house murders. They don't have to work traffic stops. And also? Given the way cops in the St. Louis area have behaved over the last couple months? They're probably not nearly that fucking racist.

 Merry reminds Marquez that she's a goddamn princess.

He asks her if he hurt her feelings.

Merry calls the goddamn wife of the president of the goddamn United States I am not making that up I swear to fucking God.

  The First Lady chews Marquez out. He agrees to co-operate.

...I have to admit, that's kind of fucking cool.

The First Lady then gushes over Merry for a few minutes, and then we move on to the rest of the chapter.

...which ends shortly after the lead cop laughs his ass off over the feds getting shown the door by the First Lady.

I really do hate this book.

On to Elsie.

This was published as a series. The version I read originally cut out very large chunks of the next part because it concerns Elsie being happy, and there's nothing to be gained from watching Elsie being least from the POV of the IDIOTS who decided this should be given to modern children.

There is a LONG, LONG passage about how Horace doesn't really love Jesus. Now, anybody with two braincells to rub together would notice that Horace is a horrible fuck of a human being and that Jesus probably doesn't want to have much to do with him. But Elsie's big concern is that Horace isn't Saved. Her evidence that he isn't Saved? He doesn't give two shits about the Sabbath.

There are many, many theological arguements I can bring concerning that. Suffice to say that Paul addressed it (Romans 14) and the jist of that is that you have to live according to your conscience, but that God is big enough to work with you and if you need to reschedule to Wednesday, he'll be cool with that.

But that kind of flexibility is anathema to these idiots, so Elsie decides her dad isn't saved because her theological teaching doesn't allow for one single fucking mistake, EVER. Great

And thus it was with Elsie. She knew now that her father was not a Christian; that he had no real love for Jesus, none of the true fear of God before his eyes. She saw that if he permitted her to read to him from God's word, as he sometimes did, it was not that he felt any pleasure in listening, but only to please her; she had no reason to suppose he ever prayed, and though he went regularly to church, it was because he considered it proper and respectable to do so, and not that he cared to worship God, or to learn His will.

I have been on the receiving end of this attitude multiple times. I've also handed it out, but in my defense that shit stopped when I was eighteen and smart enough to know better. So we don't all worship God the same way. My way happens to involve self-created rituals and lots of cool incense. Other people use old rituals and lots of cool incense. Other people use neither of those. You know what? The Faith is bigger than having to adhere to a code of conduct. According to basic theology, that was the entire point of the Cross. It's that you DON'T have to play these stupid games anymore. It's that you're able to minister to people on your holy days because they NEED it. You're able to break out of the mold and do what you need to do for others. Not by works but by faith means that you don't need to worry about the nitty gritty legalism of your conduct, and you just need to focus on wheither or not what you do is helpful to the faith or helpful to others. You know that God's got you covered if you fuck up, so it's perfectly alright to jump off the cliff, so to speak, to catch somebody else.

"He could see no necessity for a change of heart; he did not believe in the doctrine of total depravity, not he; no indeed, he thought the world much better than many people would have us believe."
Yes. The legalistic religion of an 18th century Calvinist would go that route.

Elsie lifted her eyes timidly to the gentleman's face as she replied, "I was just thinking, sir, of what our Saviour said to Nicodemus: 'Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.' 'Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.'"

2. The conversation between Christ and Nicodemus is really, really complicated, and it's not the kind of thing you trot out during an ANTEBELLUM SOUTH DINNER PARTY.

And of course Elsie "Saves" a random stranger at Daddy's party, but she doesn't manage to save Horace because Plot.

Elsie finally manages to go to bed, and then this happens:

Her questioner followed her with an admiring glance, then turning to her father, exclaimed warmly, "She is a remarkably intelligent child, Dinsmore! one that any father might be proud of. I was astonished at her answers."
I wish I didn't know this.

In the 1980s there was a man named Joel Steinberg. His common law wife was named Hedda Nusbaum. Depending on who you talked to they either had an intense S/m relationship OR he was an abusive shithead who abused her on a regular basis (Either case left Hedda horribly disfigured by the abuse she received.) They (Illegally)adopted a kid named Lisa. Lisa was known for being intelligant and rather un-child-like. She was that way because nobody around her was willing to tolerate a child. Lisa Steinberg existed to be an accessory and an emotional crutch for her "parents". She was never allowed to be a child.

Childhood is a very important thing for children to have. All the things that annoy us adults are actually a child practicing things that will be very necessary to adult life. Sabotaging that process by demanding that a child show "wisdom beyond their years" means that they won't learn the very basic building blocks we all need to ensure our social survival.

Elsie is a BADLY neglected child who is expected to pass up her developmental years for the pleasure of the adults around her.

Also, Lisa Steinberg? Died. She was beaten to death by her "father", and then left alone on the floor of a bathroom by her "mother".

So no. I find nothing adorable or admirable about precious Elsie Dinsmore. I see something very sad, very dangerous, and very VERY troubling.

She opened at the third chapter of John's Gospel and read it through. At the sixteenth verse, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life," she paused, and asked, "Was not that a wonderful gift, papa? and wonderful love that prompted it?"

I had that verse memorized by the time I was six. With exactly that language, because the Sunday Schools, Vacation Bible Schools, homeschooling curriculum AND motherfucking private schools ALL used the KJV 1611 version of the bible.

You wanna know what this is like to Christian audiences? You really want to know? If this novel were erotica? This? This is missionary position sex. This is something that everybody could do with their eyes closed through a hole in the sheets. This is a key stop on the goddamn Roman Road. This is not new information to ANYBODY who would still be reading this series.

Don't get me wrong. I like that verse. I'd like it a lot better if I didn't see it a MINIMUM of once a day. I see it so much that it has lost ALL MEANING to me. There is a lovely, beautiful idea encapuslated in those words and I can't see it anymore because it gets shoved in my face EVERY. SINGLE. FUCKING. MINUTE.

The chapter ends with Elsie sobbing because Horace doesn't understand she's trying to SAVE HIS SOUL.


  1. Okay, so the Fairy reservations are the same as Native/Tribal/whatever American reservations, then why was there a pissing match between the FBI and St. Louis PD? Oh, right, so there's an excuse for them to have done nothing while Merry literally fucks around at the crime scene.

    Also, I refuse to believe that the First Lady would react like that to a phonecall from Merry. Honestly, I kinda doubt that she'd even take a phone call from Merry, even if she's a literal Fairy Princess. Mostly because I doubt that real royalty would be able to do that.

    Also also, why call the First Lady? I mean, it's not like she'd have any real authority over the FBI (or any federal or government agency, for that matter).

    1. Oh, but Merry is so wonderful and special that the First Lady is a fan. And you know that women whisper in their husbands' ears to really get stuff done.

      Seriously, sometimes I feel like reading LKH's writing is like getting trapped in a stuffy room with a constipated 1950s housewife.

  2. From what I understand of reservations (not American so I could be wrong) but aren't they self governed? So in away it does make sense for the fairies to be shoved into the same box.
    While the First Lady probably doesn't have any clout with the FBI, they'd still listen to her because her husband sure as hell does. Also she'd probably take Merry's call because it'd look good for the president and the faires to have a good relationship. Make it less likely for civilians go all pitchfork and torches on their arses.

    1. The reservations are technically self-governed, in as much as that has ever really mattered. What pisses me off is that most of the reservations are deeply, deeply poor, sometimes to the point of relying on tourists to buy dreamcatchers and moccasins so that their kids can eat. I understand several reservations are having serious issues with rapes on the reservations because the internal system has neither the funds nor the support to police themselves.

      You got people tripping all over themselves to help LKH's pretty fairies because they are just oh so very much more special than their real-world counterparts. That's irksome when you're talking about movie stars and big city cops. It's another matter entirely when it's eclipsing an active and ongoing problem that nobody wants to even admit is happening.

      Throw in that the fairies are living in the last remnants of a massive native city--the Cahokia Indian Mounds-- and it just feels really uncomfortable for me.

    2. My problem is less with Merry being able to call up the First Lady and more with the apparent ease of it. It'd be one thing if Merry called and had to go through a secretary/assistant or two, or if she and the First Lady were particularly close, but as it's presented, Merry seems to have a direct line to the wife of one of the most powerful men in the world because reasons.

      Also, calling up the First Lady because the FBI doesn't want some PI poking into their investigation feels really, really petty to me.