TPD pp 84-91: Bernice on the prowl

I don’t have much to say about the beginning of Chapter 9, mostly because it’s honestly pretty well-written. Kate and Marshall set a place for Sandy at their table, and fret and worry (yes, even Marshall!) when she doesn’t show up. The kid at the end of the last Sandy bit turns up at their doorstep; his name is Shawn, and he just wants to try and smooth things over, explaining her perspective and trying to get her parents to go easy on her. They agree, Marshall even admitting to this total stranger that he’s been a rather shitty father, and Sandy comes home.

So let’s talk about the next bit instead.

The Friday edition of the Clarion was on the streets, and the usual post-publication lull around the office gave Bernice the chance she needed to do some hoofing.

Hang on, what?

Yami: …. what day does the Friday edition of a paper come out?

Chaos: Friday.

Having established that I’m not going crazy, it appears we skipped three days not in between chapters, but three pages into chapter 9. What? Seriously? Who does that?

Alright anyway…

But Williams

Buck Williams!? Oh wait, misread that. Phew.

Bernice goes to lunch with someone named Ruth Williams at Whitmore College, who calls her sordid tale of being picked up for soliciting “disgusting”. Langstrat, it seems, is known for being “aloof” and “mysterious”, and Williams found it “next to impossible to start any coherent conversation.”

“Her academic interests are very esoteric and metaphysical”

Maybe I’m naive, but I suspect Professor Trelawney would be kicked out of most American universities. In any event, despite calling what Bernice is after (a story?) “unprofessional and distasteful”, he gives her a lead: Albert Darr, another Psychology faculty member.

Albert is described as

a baby-faced young professor with stylish clothes and a certain penchant for ladies

Where was he when I was an undergrad? I’d have changed my major for sure.

Or maybe not. The minute Bernice mentions Langstrat, he gets all creepy and weird:

“Ahhhh,” he said gleefully, “so you dare to infringe on sacred ground!”

Um. What? Okay, whatever. Darr denies that Brummel and Langstrat are having an affair, pointing out that they meet weekly and that Langstrat is known for giving weekly “sessions”. (Side note: does Peretti understand the difference between practicing clinical psychologists and psychology teachers? Does he realize there’s half a dozen specialties of psychology, and that there’s far more too it than self-help book slogans? And she’s giving weekly sessions to “lot of people”? How much free time does he assume professors have?)

“Everything Langstrat does is a deep, dark secret! The Inner Circle, Bernice. No one is even supposed to know about these so-called consultation, no one but the privileged, the elite, the powerful, the many special patrons that go to her.”

Stay creepy, Albert.

“Her areas of study go beyond anything the rest of us have had any desire to tamper with: the Source, the Universal Mind, the Ascended Planes…”

Creepy cult is— hang on a minute. Is Peretti actually claiming psychologists believe in this crap?! That Psychology has anything to do with…

b.r.b, dying laughing.

“as nearly as we can tell, she derives it from the Eastern religions, the old mystic cults and writings, things I know nothing about and don’t want to know anything about.”

Really? Because a little glance at Taoism and Confucianism and Shinto and Hinduism would probably alleviate most of your suspicions that she got any of this from them. Protip: neopaganism has very little to do with “Eastern religions”, and this mis-mash reeks of very badly done neopaganism.

“I may even be mocked and maligned among my peers for saying this, but I don’t see Langstrat’s advances in these areas as anything other than foolish, neo-pagan witchcraft”

Somehow I doubt your peers would be as mocking as you think, Albert. Oh wait, Peretti wrote them too. Yeah, you’re doomed. They’re all Satanists.

“Maybe she cooks slug tails and newt’s eyes and serves them with breaded spider legs to evoke some answer from the supernatural…”

Wow, way to be offensive there. But then, this is Christian Literature, you don’t expect to see anything like an accurate depiction of neopagan practices.

We end chapter 9 with a list of names of her “inner circle”: Ted Harmel, former editor of the Clarion; Mrs Pinckston, a trustee on the board of regents (also known as the Higher Education Governing Board); Dwight Brandon, the owner of the property the college is built on (don’t universities usually own the property they’re built on?); Eugene Baylor, a “general treasurer” on the board of regents; and of course, Young and Brummel.

Hey, I got through a whole chapter! Awesome!

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