Total Drek

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Friday, October 14, 2011

The Overton Window: Chapter 36

Welcome back one and all to our ongoing series on The Overton Window, the book that reduces literary critics to incoherent tears. Last time we had an intermission because, frankly, I'm bloody exhausted. The time before that, however, Noah was reunited with Molly and they both forgot the crazy shit she did to him. What happens this week? Well, we get to hear about Noah's genius plan for getting Molly through airport security. And I gotta tell you, this one is a doozy, even for Noah.

As I mentioned I am once again selecting a comment of the week, and this week that "honor" goes to Jay for pointing out just how stupid this romantic comedy tragedy really is:

The authors seem to think the previous events were a romance. They met, they flirted, there was heavy-handed but oddly unspecific political conversation in a bar, she took him home to the safehouse to meet the other members of her cell, she drugged him, then they were in love.

I don't care how big her tits are, love does not work that way. People who try to make love work that way go to jail. Deservedly.

And that is the central problem with the Noah/Molly "romance": it's so badly written we can't believe it, but even if the writing were better the plotting is such that it's basically a date-rape gone horribly wrong. And no, a date-rape can't go right to begin with, so we're really talking some serious whatthefuckery here. Anyway, great job Jay, and keep at it folks. Because we've got more muck to rake.

And, with that, let's begin! As always, page/line numbers are in bold, quotes from the book are in block quotes, my commentary is in regular print, and you can navigate the whole series with the provided tag. My footnotes use the traditional star system (e.g. *, **, etc) while references included in the Afterword to the book are noted with numbered parenthetical tags (e.g. (1), (2), etc.). Bawitdaba!

Dramatis Personae: In an order determined by the contents of my daughter's diaper.

Eli Churchill: Former janitor at a volcano lair. Fan of remote telephone booths. Shot in the head by parties unknown.

Beverly Emerson: Mysterious correspondent of Eli Churchill's. Molly's Mom. Injected with weed killer by parties unknown blisteringly obvious to everyone.

Noah Gardener: 28 years old. Sets the dating bar "medium-high". Works Vice president at a PR firm. Went to NYU. Is "witty". Frequently forgets where he's going and why. Not good at talking to women. Not really inclined to help out cab drivers. Low tolerance for alcohol. Lost his mother when he was young. Fond of chicken and waffles. Rich as shit. Views himself as a sexual panther. Likes bacon. Considers himself to be good at word games. Wants to bang his mom

Molly "Hottie McPretty" Ross: Dresses like a hippie, but not really. Looks like a free spirit. Perfectly captures the essence of womanhood. Auburn hair. Green eyes. Pale skin. Has a tattoo on her chest. Wears a silver cross around her neck. Lost her father when she was young. Impressed by fancy cars. Cocktease. Possibly suffering from bipolar disorder. Looks just like Noah's mom.

Arthur Gardner Noah's father. Owner of Doyle & Merchant. Megalomaniac. Surprisingly vigorous for a 74 year old man.

Khaled: Lebanese cab driver. Sold out by Noah Gardener.

Hollis: Friend of Molly Ross. Very polite. From the country. May be a Yeti.

Danny Bailey: Some kind of YouTube celebrity. Former lover of Molly Ross. Kind of a dickhead. Loves conspiracy theories and incoherent speeches. Sodomized by inmates following the rally. Once dressed up as Colonel Sanders to infiltrate the United Nations. May be afraid of cats.

Charlie Nelan: Gardner family lawyer. Silver hair. Impeccably dressed. Looks awesome. Has some sort of weird relationship with GQ. May have the ability to sense when Noah's in trouble using some sort of clairvoyance. Possible kleptomaniac.

Stuart Kearns: FBI agent. Works on homeland security matters. Kinda old and wrinkly. Not particularly trusting. Lives in a double-wide trailer. Sixty-three years old.

Mr. Puddles: AKA Gray Death. AKA Ninja Cat. Stuart's cat. Large. Dangerous looking. Possibly plotting his demise.

Tiffany: A stripper at the Pussycat Ranch. Thinks Danny is awesome.

Ellen Davenport: Old friend of Noah's. Second-year neurology resident at Mt. Sinai. Doesn't appear to need sleep or have good taste in her associates.


Chapter 36: In which Noah and Molly adopt a plan so cliched it's right at home in this "novel".

Recommended Mood Music:

Page 228, Line Bitter Root:

No quotation, because I just cannot bring myself to transcribe any more of this crap than I have to, but Noah is described as returning to the booth after having called someone on a pay phone. Why he did not use his goddamn cellphone I do not care to speculate upon.* Certainly it wasn't so he could avoid having his call traced given that we've already been informed that his dad is tracking it regardless. Likewise, Molly and her Merry Band of Mental Defectives didn't steal it, so there's no reason not to think it's riding in his pocket even now. So, really, his leaving his dad to go straight to Molly's mom in the hospital and then straight to some random freaking diner would probably be an enormous tipoff. Or it should be to any organization that shoots random tertiary characters in phonebooths in the goddamn desert, anyway (Page 3, Line 24-27). But I digress. Noah starts pawing through Molly's bag and she demands to know his brilliant plan.

Page 229, Line 3-5:
"Have you ever wondered how celebrities and public figures avoid all the hassle the rest of us have to go through when they feel the need to suck it up and fly commercial?" (1)

As it happens, no, I haven't. That said, I'm a little floored by the implication that by definition all "celebrities and public figures" have an option other than to fly commercial. Not all celebrities are super rich and you can bet your ass not all "public figures" are either. I mean, shit, Bill Nye is a public figure and a celebrity- you reckon he has a private jet?

Page 229, Line 6-11:
I've never thought about it."

"They make a call like I just made. All the major airlines have a VIP liaison in the big cities, and there's a service company we've used from the office, KTL, that's going to grease the way even more. They'll meet us at the curb and walk us right to the plane-"

"Hold it, hold it," Molly said. "We aren't celebrities, Noah."

No, they're not. They're not even decent characters in a crappy novel. Christ, if they were any more two-dimensional they'd be goddamn transparent! Man, this just has "horrible idea" written all over it, and that's before you realize that it's a Noah Gardner idea.

Page 229, Line 12-13:
"No, you're right. But I'm a rich kid from a powerful family, and it's reasonable enough that they'd believe I could be dating a celebrity."

Wait... is that the "medium-high bar"? I am so f-ing confused right now, and this idea just keeps getting worse.

Page 229, Line 14-15:
"What are you talking about?"

He smiled. "I'm now dating Natalie Portman."

Jesus titty-fucking Christ! Did I really just read that? This is his plan? Seriously? They are going to end up being anally probed in a TSA security room before being arrested. Or they would if this book had even a passing relationship with reality. Also: are the authors suggesting that Natalie Portman is only at the "medium-high bar"?

I mean, she's no Mrs. Drek, but I think she can certainly do better than Noah Gardner.

Page 229, Line 19-21:
"It's perfect," Noah said. "She's an A-lister but she's done mostly art-house films, so the average Joe probably couldn't pick her out of a lineup. She's about your size-"

Well, that's sorta true. If we examine her filmography she's only done little films like The Professional, Heat, Zoolander, V for Vendetta, and The Other Boleyn Girl. Yeah, nobody will know her. Except, you know, for the fact that she was in FUCKING STAR WARS! And I mean, she was in all three prequels! Still, Noah goes on to insist that Molly does, in fact look like Natalie Portman. And Molly looks like Noah's mom. That being the case, Noah's mom must have looked like this:

Which means that in his youth, Noah's dad must have looked like this:

And that means their courtship must have been like this:

But eventually Arthur got older and looked like this:

And this, of course, means that the undescribed Noah Gardner must look like this:

And Molly, really, should look more like this:**

Which makes Noah and Molly's romance more like this:***

Thus making the whole thing creepy and wrong on a whole new level. Does everyone have all that? Good, because we're moving the fuck on. Anyway, Molly ducks out to the bathroom to try to get her Portman on- all to Noah's specifications I might add.

Page 230, Line 2-5:
She was in her Vanderbilt sweatshirt, her hair was up in a casual bun at the nape of her neck, and she'd done just enough to her lips and brows and lashes to suggest a layman's conception of a movie star who was wearing no makeup at all.

Right, whatever the hell that means. Moving on, I fail to see how the Vanderbilt sweatshirt is going to help here, given that neither Noah nor Portman actually went to Vanderbilt. Noah went to, if I recall correctly, NYU and Portman went to Harvard, so anyone who knows Noah, and knows a tiny amount about Portman, is going to be slightly thrown. And as we're about to see, Noah should really realize that.

Page 230, Line 14-21:
"Perfect," he said. "Absolutely perfect. Oh, wait." He took her makeup kit and searched through its contents until he found a small dark pencil with a dull tip. "Lean your face over here." Molly did, and he carefully and gently went to work. "Natalie has got two little tiny beauty marks, one here... and one... over here." He leaned back, squinted, and studied his masterpiece. "That's it. We can put a bit of powder on those on the way and they'll be fine. Come on now, the car's already outside."

I honestly don't know what's funnier here- that Noah comes off like a closet queen with his apparent skill with makeup,**** or that he is apparently so obsessed with Natalie Portman that he's memorized the number and locations of her "beauty marks". Rolled together, this is just getting creepy as hell. Anyway, there's some random exposition about how KTL is charging them a bit less than $2,000 for this service, which Noah puts on his expense account thereby guaranteeing his father won't have to work hard to figure out who helped Molly escape, Noah gives her some coaching about how to get her attitude right and that her ID documents have somehow been lost, and we're off to the airport with Kyle from KTL. The narrator muses about how Disney World has a whole hidden sub-level that visitors never get to see***** and then the authors decide to make an analogy:

Page 231, Line 27-29:
Likewise, a major airport has its own sublevel of secrets, and our man Kyle held all the skeleton keys to this particular enchanted kingdom.

Leaving aside the fact that the narrator's use of the phrase "our man Kyle" is weird as hell, I've worked in an airport- for a long time as it happens- and basically anyone who does the same has the keys the narrator refers to. Seriously, it's not that big a deal. After a whole bunch of bullshit exposition we end up in a private security screening area. All seems to be going well until Noah suddenly notices something alarming and basically makes Molly fake like she needs to make a phone call. On a pay phone, mind you. Their fake Natalie Portman needs to make a last-minute phone call on a pay phone. How the hell does that even make sense?

Page 233, Line 1-9:
Molly picked up the receiver, put it to her ear, punched a few buttons, and pulled him [Noah] a little closer. "Now tell me what's going on."

"Check out the guy in the TSA outfit."

She did. "So?"

"Are you kidding me? That's a Star Wars geek if I ever saw one."

Maybe it was the Luke Skywalker blow-cut, his mismatched socks below the nerdish cut of his high-riding uniform trousers, or the soul patch and horn-rimmed glasses, but everything about this man was screaming king of the fanboys, and that was really bad news. [emphasis original]

Are you. FREAKING. kidding me? Have these authors ever actually met a sci-fi fan? I mean, yeah, they're all ugly, humorless, flabby man-children without the patience to put together a decent outfit and who will never get close to an actual woman, but... oh wait! Shit! That's entirely wrong! Never mind. On a related note: doesn't this all seem a little weird coming from Noah, who is apparently enough of a fanboy that he knows where Natalie Portman's moles beauty marks are?

Page 233, Line 10-12:
"I don't understand-"

Noah lowered his voice even more. "Natalie Portman is in all three of the Star Wars prequels." [emphasis original]

And this is a revelation because... why? Has Molly been too busy training in Tora Bora to have seen "Attack of the Clones" or something?

Page 233, Line 13-16:
"You're remembering this now?"

"I guess I hated those movies so much I'd blocked them out of my mind. But I'd bet my last dollar that dweeb knows Portman's face like the back of his hand. You don't understand these guys; he's probably got a candlelit altar in front of her picture down in his mother's basement." [emphasis original]

Well, it takes one to know one, eh, Gardner? Seriously, though, these people are too stupid to live. Anyway, Molly asks what they should do, Noah says they should wave off, and Molly says that's stupid and they should go through with it. They do, Noah goes through the metal detector and pat down and is reluctantly cleared by the aforementioned dweeb, who apparently takes his job very seriously and realizes full well that this entire scenario is utterly and totally f-ed up.

Page 234, Line 19-21:
He'd [Noah] just begun to let himself believe they were soon to be home free when the piercing tweet of the metal detector sounded off behind him.

Oh NOES! Did Molly forget to declare the assault rifle she carries in her bra or something? Are they busted? Is the book ending? What the hell is going on? Who knows? Moreover, who cares? But, whether you can answer any of those questions or not, you're just going to have to wait, because we're at the end of the chapter.

Come back next time when we get to read about Noah and Molly finally clearing security. And, if you can believe it, it's actually even dumber than the shit we saw this week. Seriously, it's so dumb it boggles the mind. You're gonna love it.

See ya' then.

* That's a lie. I speculate- nay KNOW- that it's because he's stupid.

** I have really got to talk my wife into dressing up like that for Halloween. Or, you know, Friday.

*** I'd make a joke about Han and Chewie being Danny and Hollis, respectively, but to be perfectly honest I have far too much respect for Captain Solo and Chewbacca to actually make that comparison. C-3PO, on the other hand, is a shoe-in for Stuart Kearns.

**** Seriously. I'm married, and share a small bathroom with my lovely wife, and yet if I were in Noah's shoes I would have had to say something like, "Shit, she has a couple of small moles- do you have some sort of makeup we could use to fake them?"

***** Totally true. It allows the characters to move from area to area without having to cross publicly- that's why you don't see folks from Frontierland in Futureland.



Blogger Mister Troll said...

Holy shit! Suspense!

Friday, October 14, 2011 5:13:00 PM  
Blogger Ken Houghton said...

Yeh. More than has been in this entire book.

I would suggest Drek is auditioning for the role of Glenn Beck's next co-author/ghost writer, but I fear his wife would have me killed. With good reason.

Friday, October 14, 2011 7:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my favorite Natalie Portman, from Goya's Ghosts:

I like to think that's what Noah's been jerking his sad meatstick to all these years... Well, that and pictures of his mom, I guess.

I can't believe the authors are making fun of Star Wars fans. I mean, if anyone has a candle-lit shrine to someone in their basement, it's probably Glenn Beck's basement, just replace Natalie with Sarah Palin.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:09:00 AM  

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