L.B.: Cruel to be kind, pt. 2

Left Behind, pp. 367-377

Rayford Steele has taken Hattie Durham aside for a lecture about sex, sin, God and the end of the world. This will not be an argument or a dialogue or even a conversation, he explains. He will do the talking and she will do the listening. Once he’s done talking, he will allow her to speak, but only once he’s done.

One of my repeated complaints about this book is that it is not creepy enough. The scenes describing the Rapture and its aftermath are not nearly as disturbing or unsettling as they ought to be. But this scene — this is disturbing. Rayford’s behavior here is plenty creepy. The whole scene plays out like one of those didactic school-assembly dramas that teach kids to recognize the warning signs of abusers.

Creepier still is the realization that the authors don’t intend for this scene to read this way. Rayford here seems to be doing his impression of Patrick Bergin in Sleeping With the Enemy, but the authors mean for us to see him as a model of good, Christian, manly behavior.

After several pages of his laying out the ground rules and establishing his rightful male dominance over the submissive female, Rayford finally gets around to the apology he hinted at earlier. It starts out promising:

Rayford leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, gesturing as he spoke. “Hattie, I owe you a huge apology, and I want your forgiveness. …”

I’m glad now he’s only gesturing as he speaks and not just waving the Hand of Silence at Hattie while she’s talking. But the rest of this bit is begging to be rewritten from Hattie’s point of view:

“… We were friends. We enjoyed each other’s company. I loved being with you and spending time with you. I found you beautiful and exciting, and I think you know I was interested in a relationship with you.”

She looked surprised, but Rayford assumed that, had it not been for her pledge of silence, she would have told him he had a pretty laid-back way of showing interest.

Rayford is confident that he knows exactly what a woman would say to him if he were to allow her to speak. And he’s completely confident what Hattie would have told him if he had been less laid-back in showing his interest. “If I had found you willing,” he continues, but the “if” there is merely rhetorical. Rayford has already assumed that she — and apparently every other woman at any time — would be “willing.”

“If I had found you willing, I’d have eventually done something wrong.” She furrowed her brow and looked offended.

“Yes,” he said, “it would have been wrong. I was married, not happily and not successfully, but that was my fault. Still, I had made a vow, a commitment, and no matter how justified my interest in you, it would have been wrong.”

I think it is wrong for married men to cheat on their wives. Cheating is not a victimless crime — every betrayal involves a betray-ee, often more than one. Plus it’s not a great deal for the other woman, who is expected to make due with table-scraps. But Rayford’s wrong-wrong-wrong rant here seems more like he’s directing it at Hattie than at himself. It reminds me of Sen. Larry Craig’s description of former President Clinton as “a nasty, bad, naughty boy,” except that Rayford seems to be condemning nasty, bad, naughty Hattie for tempting him to become a nasty, bad, naughty boy.

Now Rayford’s “I must be cruel only to be kind” strategy really kicks in, and it works out as well for Hattie as it did for Ophelia. “There would have been no future for us,” he tells Hattie:

“It isn’t just that we’re so far apart in age, but the fact is that the only real interest I had in you was physical. You have a right to hate me for that, and I’m not proud of it. I did not love you. You have to agree, that would have been no kind of a life for you.”

She nodded, appearing to cloud up. He smiled. “I’ll let you break your silence temporarily,” he said. “I need to know that you at least forgive me.”

As she begins to cry we get that two-word sentence: “He smiled.” It’s not quite that he’s smiling because he has succeeded in making her cry. His smile, instead, is intended as a kind of gentle overture, a comforting gesture. It’s almost a fatherly smile. It seems very much like the reassuring smile of the Good Cop during a brief respite from “harsh interrogation techniques.” It’s a smile that says, “I’m sorry this is happening to you. Would you like a glass of water? I can get them to stop, you know, if you’d just cooperate. …” It’s a smile that never quite conceals a note of menace — a smile that asks you to play along with the false conceit that the person smiling isn’t complicit in the ordeal you’re experiencing.

Rayford is lying about his “physical” interest in Hattie. This is the “woman he had never touched,” the woman he had fetishized like a collector, stringing her along, unopened in the original shrink-wrap packaging. Nothing has changed. He’s still playing the same kinky control game that he’s played all along. I think he’s leaning forward like that to hide his arousal.

“Sometimes I wonder if honesty is always the best policy,” she said. “I might have been able to accept this if you had just said your wife’s disappearance made you feel guilty about what we had going. … That would have been a kinder way to put it.”

“Kinder but dishonest. Hattie, I’m through being dishonest. Everything in me would rather be kind and gentle and keep you from resenting me, but I just can’t be phony anymore. I was not genuine for years.”

“And now you are?”

“To the point where it’s unattractive to you,” he said. She nodded. “Why would I want to do that? … I want to be able to convince you, when I talk about even more important things, that I have no ulterior motives.”

The authors would have us believe that Rayford has gone from pursuing Hattie’s body to pursuing her soul, but that’s just not true. He’s been after her soul all along.

Hattie’s lips quivered. She pressed them together and looked down, a tear rolling down her cheek. It was all Rayford could do to keep from embracing her. There would be nothing sensual about it, but he couldn’t afford to give the wrong signal. “Hattie,” he said. “I’m so sorry. Forgive me.”

She nodded, unable to speak. She tried to say something, but couldn’t regain her composure.

“Now, after all that,” Rayford said, “I somehow have to convince you that I do care for you as a friend and as a person.”

Hattie held up both hands, fighting not to cry. …

This goes on for a full page, with her sobbing and him interjecting things like, “Your tears give me no satisfaction,” and “I would be no friend if I didn’t tell you what I’ve found, what I’ve learned …” Through it all I was desperately hoping for Hattie to launch into Mercedes Ruehl’s speech from The Fisher King

No, you don’t get to be nice. I ain’t gonna play a stupid game where we act like friends so you get to walk out feeling good about yourself.

– but she never does. She just takes it until she can’t take it anymore, at which point she blurts out, “Give me a minute” and hurries off. Rayford has been pulling her strings for so long he knows she can’t break them, so he’s not at all worried she might not come back. He just sits there, thumbing through his dead raptured wife’s Bible, running lines so he can be off-book by the time Hattie returns:

He had decided not to sit talking to Hattie with the Bible open. He didn’t want to embarrass or intimidate her, despite his newfound courage and determination.

The scene switches to Humbert, Lolita and their cookie and we return to Captain Steele when Hattie does:

… slightly refreshed but still puffy eyed and sat again as if ready for more punishment. Rayford reiterated that he was sincere …

Punishment expected; punishment delivered.

My theory for the rest of this chapter gets back to something we’ve discussed earlier about characters taking on a life of their own, struggling to behave humanly despite the best or worst efforts of the authors. My theory is that Hattie Durham, airhead flight attendant and future Whore of Babylon as written by LaHaye and Jenkins, is still sobbing uncontrollably in the women’s room at the Pan Con Club (bleibe, reste, stay!). The Hattie we see here, instead, is that other Hattie, acting on her own against the wishes of the authors. She emerges here because this is the scene where Hattie first hears, and rejects, the End Times Gospel of Tim LaHaye and so the authors attempt to make her seem combative and disdainful. Thus readers are presented with this strange scene in which Rayford, the character they are trying to portray as the very model of godliness, comes across as vain and shallow, while Hattie, the character they are trying to portray as vain and shallow, comes across as closer to an actual human than anything else we’ve encountered in this book.

Hattie’s more-assertive doppelganger recognizes that Rayford’s not going to shut up or stop pestering her until she forgives him and reassures him that he is good and strong and — above all — sincere, so she grants him a deadpan absolution:

“I need to know you forgive me,” he said.

“You seem really hung up on that, Rayford. Would that let you off the hook, ease your conscience?”

“I guess maybe it would,” he said. “Maybe it would tell me you believe I’m sincere.”

“I believe it,” she said. “… And I don’t hold grudges, so I guess that’s forgiveness.”

“I’ll take what I can get,” he said. “Now I want to be very honest with you.”

“Uh-oh, there’s more? Or is this where you educate me about what happened last week?”

She actually lands a couple of punches there. I’m sure the authors intended that to show us how hard-hearted she is being despite Rayford’s sincere sincerity, but all I was thinking was Good for you.

“Does this require some reaction?” Hattie asks before he begins his sales pitch. “Do I have to buy into your idea or something?” According to Rayford’s Rules of Order, she’s still not supposed to be allowed to speak, but meta-Hattie isn’t playing by Rayford’s rules anymore and Rayford is no match for her. The Hand of Silence has lost its power. Her tone is a bit sarcastic, but her questions are genuine — she’s really asking what it is, exactly, that he needs her to do in order for him to get this over with already.

“If it’s something you can’t handle right now,” he says, “I’ll understand. But I think you’ll see the urgency of it.” And then we get the paragraph quoted earlier, about Holy Spirit descending on Rayford in the form of a dove and a voice from Heaven declaring “This is my beloved evangelist in whom I am well pleased. Take notes, people — this is how you proselytize”:

Rayford felt much like Bruce Barnes had sounded the day they met. He was full of passion and persuasion, and he felt his prayers for courage and coherence were answered as he spoke.

And then we get two pages of the authors telling us about Rayford telling Hattie about the things Bruce told him about. Rayford began by telling Hattie that he didn’t want a conversation or a dialogue, but we don’t even get a glimpse of his big monologue, just a lot of sentences like this:

He told her of calling the church, meeting Bruce, Bruce’s story, the videotape, their studies, the prophecies from the Bible, the preachers in Israel …

Interspersed throughout this are little notes about how “Hattie sat motionless,” or “Hattie stared at him. Nothing in her body language or expression encouraged him,” or “Hattie wouldn’t even give him the satisfaction of a nod.” (Again, Good for you.)

After nearly half an hour, he exhausted his new knowledge, and he concluded, “Hattie, I want you to think about it, consider it, watch the tape, talk to Bruce if you want to. I can’t make you believe. All I can do is make you aware of what I have come to accept as the truth.”

Was it as good for you as it was for me, baby?

Hattie sat back and sighed. “Well, that’s sweet, Rayford. It really is. I appreciate your telling me all that.”

She’d stay and cuddle for a bit, but she has an early flight in the morning and she has to go home to walk the dog and no, that’s fine, she’ll see herself out, thanks. Buh-bye now.

Rayford’s Big Speech is so underwhelming because L&J are terrible writers who always prefer telling to showing. The reader thus reaches the end of this chapter as unmoved and unpersuaded as Hattie is. But L&J really didn’t have a choice here, there was no way to write this passage effectively. There was no credible way to show Rayford’s “passion and persuasion” when this was his subject matter; no way to allow the readers to hear the words he spoke while still maintaining the illusion that those words made sense. “I never knew that stuff was in the Bible,” Hattie says after Rayford’s speech. But “that stuff” isn’t in the Bible, which is why his speech had to be kept hidden from readers.

Throughout our discussion of this section, I’ve used words like “evangelize” and “proselytize” to describe Rayford’s agenda here, but I should note again that this was never really what he was doing — even if it’s what he and the authors think he was doing. Everything leading up to this chapter showed Rayford worrying about Hattie’s salvation, as though leading her to repentance, to conversion, to faith and amazing grace were what he intended. But he never gets anywhere near any of that.

The “gospel” Rayford presents to Hattie has no incarnation, no cross, no resurrection, no Christ. It has nothing to do with anything other than “prophecy” and the End Times Checklist. The central figure of Rayford’s gospel is not Jesus Christ, but Nicolae Carpathia. Rayford is preaching an anti-gospel.

  • Ecks

    The risk here comes in the form of government power over finances. The assumption typically made by liberals is that the government will remain trustworthy and not abuse its power. From a libertarian perspective, government is made up of individuals who can be tempted by power… Unfortunately, this may mean restricting the government from doing things that would otherwise be highly desirable.
    No, I think liberals remain terrified that government will be misused. It’s why all the bother over all that voting and oversight and accountability, rather than just sending a likely sort of lad off to [insert capital of choice], blindly trusting that he’ll do us all proud. To liberal eyes, the claim that government is untrustworthy and therefore needs heavily restricting is a nasty case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Government is uniquely situated to be able to do a whole lot of things that collections of uncoordinated individuals are terrible at doing on their own, and the fact that it will often go wrong in a lot of ways (some small, others not so much) means that you have to watch it like a hawk. One of the things you see us complaining about now is the LACK of accountability that Bush has been introducing – concentrating enormous unchecked power in the hands of the executive branch, etc. If liberals were blindly pro trust in government, that wouldn’t bother us at all, but somehow we’re wondering where the conservatives have got to in screaming bloody murder over this stuff with us too.

  • Ecks

    If the government didn’t take the money from you, then you could decide to give a much greater percentage of your money to feed the poor.
    Yeah, but the whole thing wouldn’t work. Maybe we’d all be so moved by the plight of starving Mabus on the news that we’d give most of our discretionary money to poverty in MabusLand charities that year, and all of a sudden poor people in the less visible areas are starving all the way to death… and the road-building projects that were started last year is suddenly having to lay off all the workers and spend its remaining money to mothball everything. So then the next year we’re all upset about roads, and they get more than they can spend, but the public universities…
    Large scale projects need stable multi-year funding, money needs to be given to the non-sexy projects that don’t grab any attention in addition to the charismatic ones (take health research funding – it’s easy to drum up money for heart disease and cancer because lots of people very die in visible and dramatic ways from them. It’s really hard to raise money for, say, arthritis, even though it’s the number one cause of taking prescription medicine in the country and the number two cause of non-prescription (after allergies & colds), because people think “well, it’s just aches, it’s not a REAL disease.” If you have an even more obscure disease like fibromyalgia that you can’t even explain to people what it really even is at all… Forget it. Sorta like with saving endangered species, it’s relatively easy to drum up money for pandas and whales, but really hard for obscure yet important frog species, or for general habitat protection, which in the long run is probably THE most effective strategy.
    Plus, even if I COULD figure out how to divide all that up, it’d be a full time job and a half. Can you even imagine how much research I’d have to do? Isn’t it SOOO much easier to pool our resources and have a few people who’s job it is to figure out how to distribute all of our pooled contributions? Then be able to ‘fire’ them every 4 years if they don’t do it well?
    Probably more, because you could send the money directly to the charity of your choice, rather than the government siphon off a portion for its bureaucracy.
    Governments aren’t particularly less efficient than any other organization of large size. It turns out coordinating so many people all at once is just a really really hard thing to do. If everything went through charities, then one or both of two things would happen:
    1) People just wouldn’t bother donating anything. Let’s face it, we’re all in favor of the poor being fed, really who’s against it? But, y’know, me personally, I haven’t quite finished paying off my mortgage all the way, and the car’s getting a bit old maybe. And frankly I’m sick of cleaning the damn bathroom, so I NEED a cleaner every two weeks. And after all that, well, y’know I just don’t have a lot lying around for whatever that stupid frog is, and feeding other people and the university I’m sure will still be there tomorrow… So I mean, if I chip in 200 bucks? Maybe call it 150? No, 100… Maybe it’s ok if *I* think like that, but if we all do (and lets face it, most of us would), then all of a sudden you have a lot of dead starved people on your hands, and everyone saying “hey, don’t look at ME.”
    The reality is that left to decide on our own, we probably wouldn’t give nearly enough (as Kennedy points out, local charities can’t near keep up with even just feeding people, and that’s ON TOP of food stamps). Getting rid of government isn’t going to magically solve that problem. It never has when it’s been tried before in the past.
    2) charities would get so big in having to do these huge jobs themselves that their bureaucracy would get to a size it’d become like the government’s anyways. So much for extra efficiency.

  • Ecks

    If the government didn’t take the money from you, then you could decide to give a much greater percentage of your money to feed the poor.
    Yeah, but the whole thing wouldn’t work. Maybe we’d all be so moved by the plight of starving Mabus on the news that we’d give most of our discretionary money to poverty in MabusLand charities that year, and all of a sudden poor people in the less visible areas are starving all the way to death… and the road-building projects that were started last year is suddenly having to lay off all the workers and spend its remaining money to mothball everything. So then the next year we’re all upset about roads, and they get more than they can spend, but the public universities…
    Large scale projects need stable multi-year funding, money needs to be given to the non-sexy projects that don’t grab any attention in addition to the charismatic ones (take health research funding – it’s easy to drum up money for heart disease and cancer because lots of people very die in visible and dramatic ways from them. It’s really hard to raise money for, say, arthritis, even though it’s the number one cause of taking prescription medicine in the country and the number two cause of non-prescription (after allergies & colds), because people think “well, it’s just aches, it’s not a REAL disease.” If you have an even more obscure disease like fibromyalgia that you can’t even explain to people what it really even is at all… Forget it. Sorta like with saving endangered species, it’s relatively easy to drum up money for pandas and whales, but really hard for obscure yet important frog species, or for general habitat protection, which in the long run is probably THE most effective strategy.
    Plus, even if I COULD figure out how to divide all that up, it’d be a full time job and a half. Can you even imagine how much research I’d have to do? Isn’t it SOOO much easier to pool our resources and have a few people who’s job it is to figure out how to distribute all of our pooled contributions? Then be able to ‘fire’ them every 4 years if they don’t do it well?

  • Ecks

    Probably more, because you could send the money directly to the charity of your choice, rather than the government siphon off a portion for its bureaucracy.
    Governments aren’t particularly less efficient than any other organization of large size. It turns out coordinating so many people all at once is just a really really hard thing to do. If everything went through charities, then one or both of two things would happen:
    1) People just wouldn’t bother donating anything. Let’s face it, we’re all in favor of the poor being fed, really who’s against it? But, y’know, me personally, I haven’t quite finished paying off my mortgage all the way, and the car’s getting a bit old maybe. And frankly I’m sick of cleaning the damn bathroom, so I NEED a cleaner every two weeks. And after all that, well, y’know I just don’t have a lot lying around for whatever that stupid frog is, and feeding other people and the university I’m sure will still be there tomorrow… So I mean, if I chip in 200 bucks? Maybe call it 150? No, 100… Maybe it’s ok if *I* think like that, but if we all do (and lets face it, most of us would), then all of a sudden you have a lot of dead starved people on your hands, and everyone saying “hey, don’t look at ME.”
    The reality is that left to decide on our own, we probably wouldn’t give nearly enough (as Kennedy points out, local charities can’t near keep up with even just feeding people, and that’s ON TOP of food stamps). Getting rid of government isn’t going to magically solve that problem. It never has when it’s been tried before in the past.
    2) charities would get so big in having to do these huge jobs themselves that their bureaucracy would get to a size it’d become like the government’s anyways. So much for extra efficiency.

  • Ecks

    they view life as a highly valuable property — which is not the same as discounting life as having worth at all.
    That’s just disturbing. Property is something you can buy and sell and dispose of when it isn’t useful anymore (it’s slavery plus!)… Plus while I’m not allowed to STEAL other people’s property, I have no obligation whatsoever to make sure other random bad stuff doesn’t happen to it.
    Huh… so it was fine with me posting everything in smaller chunk, but too much together constituted comment spam. STUPID TYPEPAD!!

  • Bugmaster

    That’s just disturbing. Property is something you can buy and sell and dispose of when it isn’t useful anymore (it’s slavery plus!)…

    Well, as far as I understand, in the libertarian view, your life is your property. You are free to sell or rent it in whichever way you see fit (including “disposing” of it, i.e. suicide), but taking it from you by force is not allowed (*), just as taking your car by force is not allowed. You could sell yourself into slavery, if you wanted to (this is how libertarians see employment in our current society), or you could rent it out on your terms (this is how non-libertarians see employment in our current society), but the choice is always up to you.
    (*) Which brings us to discussion of what “not allowed” means in a libertopia; I never quite understood that part.

  • http://www.geocities.com/aunursa aunursa

    Ecks,
    Yeah, but the whole thing wouldn’t work.
    That wasn’t the issue. The Comrade claimed happiness that his tax dollars were going to feed starving people. He claimed not to care about anyone else’s tax dollars. I simply pointed out that he could increase his happiness by contributing a much greater portion of his money directly to feed the hungry than he would otherwise by paying indirectly through taxes.
    Of course your post demonstrates my point that he wished to deny. It’s not that liberals want to feed starving people with their tax dollars. They want to feed more starving people with everyone’s tax dollars. Most conservatives want to protect national interests at home (via border security) and abroad (via military action) with everyone’s tax dollars. It’s just a matter of different priorities.

  • Ecks

    You could sell yourself into slavery, if you wanted to (this is how libertarians see employment in our current society)
    All well and good, but what happens when you declare bankruptcy and your debtors claim all your assets? Your ass is now an et.

  • Ecks

    Aunursa, I think you’re getting lost on a technicality here. It’s completely irrelevant which particular dollar from which particular person gets spent where. It’s beyond meaningless, you couldn’t track it if you tried, because there’s literally nothing to track.
    Wow, this comment spam thing is running out of control! It seems to be flagging things almost randomly. I’m having to split posts smaller and smaller to find out which harmless bit it is kvetching about. You’d think I was trying to post about cheap watches or something.

  • Ecks

    … continued…. (trying about the 5th modification to get past the f&cking filters)
    The broader point is that government involves pooling resources from everyone. Everyone receives benefit, whether they like it or not, and everyone has to pay in, whether they like it or not. It wouldn’t work if only some people paid taxes – try and imagine how it could happen – it just couldn’t.
    Trying to give every individual a line item veto over what the government did would result in total seizure. Even having line item votes would be unworkable. No organization larger than a student council could work like this, and even there it’d be near impossible. Governments are obliged to walk a fine line between giving people what they want and need, and living within the harsh dictates of reality.

  • Bugmaster

    Hmm, I guess I’d say that a version of #4 might apply. His wife’s life is worth a lot more to him than the X, so it was ok for him to steal it. Actually, now that I think about it, an item which is not for sale is literally priceless, which libertarians would consider the same as worthless, so stealing the worthless X is likewise ok (provided that he pays for broken windows and such).

  • Bugmaster

    @Ecks:
    It’s kind of amusing how your regular posts get blocked, but “f&cking” gets through just fine.

    All well and good, but what happens when you declare bankruptcy and your debtors claim all your assets? Your ass is now an et.

    Well, I’m on shakier ground here, but AFAIK there are some libertarians who would be ok with some sort of indentured servitude; they might say that it’s no different from garnishing your wages in our society (or from throwing you into debtor’s prison in the olden days).
    But that beings us to yet another point that I’m missing: how are contracts even enforced in libertopia ? Let’s say I don’t feel like paying you for your goods and/or services… What do you do ? Come and beat the exact sum owed out of me (or hire people to do that) ? Or what ? I wish a real (and non-robotic, natch) libertarian would show up and explain this…

  • Bugmaster

    Bah ! It posted my previous response on the wrong thread !

  • Jeff

    Let’s face it, we’re all in favor of the poor being fed, really who’s against it?
    From the sound of it, Scott is, if it means THEFT of any of his “property”. If this makes me sound “morally superior, good, because anyone who values their property over someone starving or freezing to death is a slug who deserves a tablespoon of salt on their back.

  • Ecks

    It’s kind of amusing how your regular posts get blocked, but “f&cking” gets through just fine.
    AND “cheap watches”. Maybe Jesu has secretly taken over Typepad, and is sitting with a really nice and hot cup of tea, merrily flagging everything with ‘Ecks’ attached as SPAM SPAM SPAM! :)

  • http://liberalhyperbole.blogspot.com/ Randy Owens

    …SPAM SPAM SPAM!

    Bloody Vikings!

  • http://www.geocities.com/aunursa aunursa

    Ecks, you’re still missing the point. My comment doesn’t stand alone. It was made specifically in response to a statement by another poster. I have no intention of suggesting in a serious that each individual should decide how one’s own tax dollars should be spent. My only point was that the other poster was being disingenuous in his remarks about his tax dollars being used to feed the poor. In other words, you’re spending time responding to an argument that I’m not making.

  • Ecks

    oh, well sorry then.
    I won’t try wading into that original semantic argument, tho I think t’was a bit silly :)

  • http://jesurgislac.greatestjournal.com Jesurgislac

    My name is Seiko Montoya! You’re killing the time – can I sell you a cheap watch?

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    As a lifelong digital watch wearer, I worry constantly about my left arm coming off, leaving me unable to operate the little buttons.

  • Jeff

    As a lifelong digital watch wearer, I worry constantly about my left arm coming off, leaving me unable to operate the little buttons.
    You could always use your Detachable Penis. That works for me!

  • http://liberalhyperbole.blogspot.com/ Randy Owens

    Wait, let me get this straight: You, Jeff, are using Mikhail’s Detachable Penis??
    —————————-

    Orbiting this [Sun] at a distance of roughly ninety-two million miles is an utterly insignificant little blue green planet whose ape-descended life forms are so amazingly primitive that they still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea.

    Ah, it must be the Vogons, trying to sell us cheap digital watches!

  • Wesley Parish

    lalouve, all is forgiven! Come to my arms, though beamish … well … whatever? Snark?? Boojum??? (Softly and silently vanishes away … ;)

    (for what it’s worth, I have only seen Oral Roberts’ picture once, on a Bible trademarked as the “Oral Roberts Study Bible, if I remember correctly. I remain perpetually grateful to the Erinyes and the Norns, Fury and Fate, that I have never yet seen his twin brother Anal Roberts … Cthulhu would die in insane terror … but wait there’s more … Nasal Roberts, Aural Roberts, Urethral Roberts … from the naming habits of insane parents, good Lord, deliver us … ;)

    BTW, is aural sex where you and your Significant Other sit and earbash for hours on end … ? Perhaps Allen Ginsberg instead?

    “come on poet shut up eat my word and taste my tongue in your ear.”

  • http://d_84.livejournal.com cjmr’s husband

    I always assumed that aural sex was why Rush Limbaugh went deaf…

  • hagsrus

    aural sex
    tasteless (old) joke warning
    He’s lucky he didn’t get hearing AIDS

  • Leia

    About libertarian morality: I think it’s useful to acknowledge that libertarianism is fundamentally a POLITICAL theory and not a MORAL one. That is, it’s mostly about people’s relationship to the state, not to each other. Political theories–libertarianism especially–are heavily influenced by the fact that the state is a particular kind of bureaucratic institution. Just because you would disapprove of the state doing something doesn’t mean you would disapprove of the individual or the family doing it. And vice versa.
    So if you are against the state taking people’s money to pay for other people’s medication, it does not necessarily follow that you must be against an individual stealing in an extreme circumstance. And likewise, a liberal who thinks the government should tax people to pay for healthcare could make a case that an individual has no business doing the same thing on a smaller scale.

  • pepperjackcandy

    About libertarian morality: I think it’s useful to acknowledge that libertarianism is fundamentally a POLITICAL theory and not a MORAL one.
    Isn’t morality more or less the root of politics? Every adult citizen over 18 (with the exception of some felons?) has the right to vote.
    Not because it’s practical or efficient or anything (it isn’t either one), but because it would be *morally wrong* to keep them from voting.
    Saying that Libertarianism has to do with politics and not morality is like burning one side of a piece of toast and telling the person you give it to just to eat the other side.

  • jamoche

    I have joined the ranks of the Right Behind writers!
    CNN Transcript of the Two Preachers event

  • jamoche

    I have joined the ranks of the Right Behind writers!
    CNN Transcript of the Two Preachers event
    And also the ranks of the spam-trap victims. Let’s see how much typing I have to do to make it acceptable to post an entry that basically only has a link. It’s like being on slashdot all over again, trying to get past the “lameness filters”.

  • jamoche

    … It told me it didn’t post that. Really.

  • Jeff

    You, Jeff, are using Mikhail’s Detachable Penis??
    You don’t think I’m going to use my own, do you? [Ugggggghhhh!!!]

  • Ecks

    good point about separation of politics and morality… You could make a case that it is the means they object to, not the ends. But it only seems possible to keep them separate if you maintain a purely theoretical notion of libertarianism, and hold yourself back from looking at what you are actually doing to people. Libertarianism in this sense is a lot like communism – a wonderful idea in the abstract, but not so great to actually get caught up in yourself.

  • http://mikailborg.livejournal.com/ MikhailBorg

    You, Jeff, are using Mikhail’s Detachable Penis??
    It’s part of my range of Detachable(TM) Body Parts. Molded in the finest silicone rubber, our Parts come in a variety of sizes and colors for the discerning palate. Geeks: Try our new Orion Slave Girl Green and Delvian Blue!
    Detachable(TM) brand. Our motto: “”If thine eye offend thee, Detach it!”

  • Ken

    Slack, everyone:
    You know what this whole post is about, don’t you?
    It’s the Conventional Christian Fiction trope of the Altar Call Ending, where the author breaks the fourth wall to Preach the Salvation Message directly to the reader. According to the page count at the top, we’re about 90% of the way through the volume, so in a normal novel the story should be reaching its climax (or anticlimax, in the case of a multi-volume story arc). Time for the Altar Call. And, according to Slack…
    The “gospel” Rayford presents to Hattie has no incarnation, no cross, no resurrection, no Christ. It has nothing to do with anything other than “prophecy” and the End Times Checklist.
    …L&J don’t even get the Altar Call Ending right.

  • http://cjmr.livejournal.com cjmr

    so in a normal novel the story should be reaching its climax
    The way LH & J write, I’d prefer to never read any scenes in which one of the characters comes to climax. UGH.

  • Bugmaster

    The way LH & J write, I’d prefer to never read any scenes in which one of the characters comes to climax. UGH.

    “Buck, his hand trembling, hung up the phone…”

  • http://jakobknits.blogspot.com Jake

    Thanks, Bug. I’ll be having nightmares for a week.


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