The Overton Window: Chapter Forty-Six

[Trigger warning for torture.]

Oh, you didn't think, just because we're nearly done, that wrapping this mess up would be easy, did you? Because if you were under the assumption we were through with speechifying, dear reader, you've got another thing coming. (Judas Priest reference!)

Noah had been savaged for many hours, of course, brought to the brink mentally and physically in his interrogation. No one would blame him if he didn’t immediately recognize his visitor—the man was so rarely seen outside of his natural, elegant habitat. Yet despite all of these mitigating factors, Noah knew instantly whom he was staring at because it was his own flesh and blood: the legendary Arthur Gardner.

No surprise. We all knew it was Darthur, right? I still haven't quite figured out why he's a legend. The book keeps vacillating between Darthur being this celebrity PR genius, and him being the invisible puppetmaster. Besides that, who refers to their own father as "legendary"? I sure don't. And my father is a grade-A asshole, worthy of legendary bigot douchebag status. But you didn't come here to read about my daddy issues. You came here to read about Noah's daddy issues.

But before we discuss that, let's look at the author's consistency issues.

From chapter forty-five:

They spent a few minutes cleaning Noah up as well as they could, unstrapped one of his hands, adjusted the table to a more natural recline, and even slipped a couple of flat pillows beneath his head.

From chapter forty-six, less than 300 words later:

Arthur was taking the high ground, as usual; seated in this way the old man towered above his son, who was still bound securely to the metal bed.

Whoops! Editors? Who needs em! Though, according to the acknowledgements at the front of the book, Beck has an editor whom he thanks profusely. I guess that's nice of him to do, but it seems he's only enabling them at this point.

"This woman you became involved with," Arthur Gardner began, "do you have any idea what she has cost us?"

"I don't know," Noah said. His voice was hoarse from lack of moisture, and from the suffering they'd already put him through. "Billions?"

The old man's fist came down on edge of the table, hard enough to break a bone.

"She cost us impact!" he shouted.

Ugh. More diarrhea of the keyboard. You know what would have been better: "I don't know," Noah said, his voice hoarse. "Billions?" No need to go on about how he's thirsty and been tortured. We're all adults here, we can all grok why Noah might have trouble speaking.

But of course, Darthur isn't concerned about the fiscal impact of Molly's meddling, it's the PR he's concerned about. Duh. Let's look at something here, shall we? Molly had nothing to do with their plan going to pot. At all. Remember a couple chapters back when she was arguing with Noah?

"Open your eyes, for God's sake. They've got everything, and you've got nothing. All you're going to do is get us both arrested or killed or put into an unmarked hole in the middle of the desert."

"I have to try."

Molly all but admits her efforts are futile. She knows it. Noah knows it. Neither of them had anything to do with the nuke detonating early. It was Danny Bailey who'd set it off. Bailey, who'd had no direct contact with Molly since he'd been picked up on Friday. Remember that? The bogus cop raid on the teabagger bar, presumably arranged by Darthur and the NWO? Then he was conscripted into service with Kearns, secret agent and patsy for the same NWO. It was Bailey who'd figured it out, sort of, on his own that it was a false-flag op he'd been duped into. It was, with absolutely no help from Molly or Beverly or Hollis or Noah, that Bailey ruined the operation. So, what the fuck is Darthur talking about? It was his fault, more or less, that Bailey was there to make muck of things.

You know what's the worst thing about this book? It isn't the crap writing, the infantile worldview, the garbage political philosophy. No, it's the insulting way it presumes the reader is a fucking dolt who can't remember what happened chapters earlier, or even paragraphs earlier. Fuck you, Glenn Beck, and your dogshit book.

Darthur continues:

"It was to be a clean and spectacular event, a thing to be leveraged into a leap forward toward our new beginning. Instead it's become a complete debacle. We were left with an almost unnoticed explosion out in the empty desert that barely rattled a teacup in the nearest town. There aren't even any pictures—we've had to resort to artists' conceptions and special effects. We'll be up all night trying to make a credible story of it all, to salvage the greatest effect we can. After all the years of preparation it was rushed forward, against my advice, due to the actions of this meaningless resistance. Which my son was somehow a part of."

No pictures? So the super spy network that Bailey just went on about on the phone with 911, with their satellites and Big Brother cameras everywhere, didn't catch anything? Wow. You think they'd at least have their spy satellites trained on Nevada since they knew there was going to be a nuclear explosion that very day. And no one felt it? That seems ... unlikely. There was never any indication what type of nuke it was Kearns had, but assuming it was something in the 100 kiloton range, that is likely to trigger a pretty big fucking blast, maybe equivalent to a 5.0 magnitude earthquake. I'm no earthquakologist, but that shit is going to be felt for a few hundred miles, at least. No? Oh, who cares. The point is, Darthur is pissed because no one died, and their coup or whatever it was is in jeopardy. (No Greg Kihn joke, sorry.)

Darthur's next bit is a bit odd.

"Not that it's been a total failure. Your friends lost before the fight even began. We've spent years painting them as a fringe group of dangerous heirs to the likes of Timothy McVeigh, and of course they'll be revealed as the villains behind this failed attack." He stared off into the distance as if he were talking to no one in particular. "It's too bad that these friends of yours have been so transparent in their desire for violence. They wave signs with slogans about 'reloading' and watering the tree of liberty with the blood of tyrants. They wear shirts that endorse the 'targeting' of politicians, and, Noah, let's not forget about that unfortunate incident you got yourself caught up in at that downtown bar. These people never wanted to give peace a chance—and now they've shown just how far they are willing to go to send their message." He was actually smiling, clearly enjoying a sadistic satisfaction with it all.

Because, really, they have been transparent in their desire for violence. (Note actual teabagger violence for reference.) Maybe Beck is trying to tell his readers to tone it down a bit. I dunno. It certainly isn't an inappropriate suggestion. Then again, the vibe I am getting from this is exactly the opposite. It reads to me more like "Hey, they're gonna call you a bunch of violent whackos, so why not really give 'em something to complain about?!" Especially since it's the only thing standing between them and the NWO. Oy.

"Thankfully, there's already talk of suspending the presidential election. Though either candidate would have been equally useful in the aftermath, it will be a powerful bit of symbolism nevertheless. Many sweeping pieces of helpful legislation will be rushed through in the coming days with little or no debate, and those will be used to clamp down further on what remains of this Ross woman's pitiful movement. And naturally, a wholesale roundup is under way to ferret out all those connected with these backward revolutionaries, with full support of the media and the cowering public."

For the record, I am still unclear when exactly this is supposed to be set. Sometime after 9/11, sure. But is this 2008? 2012? I don't know which election year they keep referring to. And speaking of 9/11, this is obviously a reference to the Patriot Act™, ushered in after 9/11 with little to no discussion. Of course, it was Beck, O'Reilly, Hannity who were its biggest cheerleaders. I don't get why Beck thinks no one will remember that. Then again, he thinks we can't remember what happens paragraph to paragraph in this mess.

Darthur then goes on for five paragraphs about Saul Alinsky and "selfish and ignorant meddlers" and how people are too incompetent and foolish to govern themselves. The same shit he went on about before. The same fear of the NWO and the UN or whatever Beck is always blathering on about. "The United States should never have survived as long as it has, but all good things must come to an end. The system is broken beyond repair." But coming in its stead is "One world, ruled by the wise and the fittest and the strong." Blah blah blah. " We'll give the people a purpose: a simple, regimented, peaceful life with all the reasonable comforts, in service of something greater than any single, selfish nation." You get the idea. Communism, I guess? Or Socialism. That's a popular word these days.

There's some talk then about Noah's mother. (Did she ever get a name? I don't remember.)

"Your mother," Noah's father began, "meant a great deal to me. I saw in her my last hopes for humanity. She had her weaknesses, but in thinking back on it now, those weaknesses may have been what drew me to her. She believed in people, for one, that the good in them could outweigh the bad. For the brief time I was with her, a touch of those weaknesses even spread to me. We had a child together, though I'd sworn I'd never bring another human being into this world. But she poured all of her innocent dreams into her son.

"And as she lay dying, your mother told me that I should expect to see wonderful things from you, Noah. I've held on to that hope. But as I stood out there just now, watching outside this room for the preceding hour, I had to wonder if this was to be the end of my ambitions for you."

So, Padmé Noah's mother was good and pure and kind, and maybe there is some bit of her in Noah. How sweet. By which I mean "trite." And Darthur coldly watches his son be tortured. What a jerk! By which I mean "yawn." But still, Darthur has hopes for his son.

Blah blah blah. More paragraphs of Darthur speaking. Which I don't care about. Neither do you . Trust me.

The old man stood, walked to the door, rapped on the frame three times, and then came back and took his seat again. After a moment, others entered the room, a different group of professionals than Noah had seen before.

The technicians had already begun their preparations. Now some brought heavy copper cables and electrodes and fastened these to various points on Noah's body with wraps of white tape. A cold dab of conductive gel was applied to his temple on one side, and then on the other.

Really? They're going to electroshock Noah back to health? Oh, god.

Arthur Gardner nodded to one of the seated technicians.

"And now," he said, "let's find out together, once and for all, if Noah Gardner is really his father's son."

Wow. Okay. Is this thing almost over? Yes. One more chapter to go! Thank the maker.

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