L.B.: In these shoes?

Left Behind, pg. 411

In a rare display of economy and pacing, we skip directly from Chloe’s midflight conversion to this at the beginning of the next chapter:

Buck called New Hope Village Church to set up an early evening meeting with Bruce Barnes, then spent most of the afternoon at the Chicago bureau of Global Weekly.

This is a remarkably streamlined transition and a radical, but welcome, departure from the pattern of the book so far. Sure, the first two words of Chapter 23 are “Buck called,” but we’re not forced to sit through a transcript of that phone call even though it would have been a chance to name-check Loretta. We’re also not forced to slog through all the logistics of the remainder of the flight from New York, the landing in Chicago, Buck’s getting off the plane, his choice of rental car and drive into the city, etc.

This might be further confirmation of my theory that Jerry Jenkins took a breather just after typing Chapter 21 and, for the first and only time, skimmed through the preceding finished pages. Maybe he learned from that. Maybe he thought to himself, “Hmmm, I’ve expended a great deal of ink so far on the minutiae and logistics of travel, which does nothing to advance the story or the characterization.” If he did realize as much, of course, he was still Jerry Jenkins — so he wasn’t going to go back and rewrite any of the earlier pages, but maybe he decided to try to do less of this from now on. Or perhaps he was just getting lazy, trying to spare himself a bit of work and — as a happy side effect — sparing us readers some extra tedium as well.

In any case, here we are at the Chicago office:

News of his becoming their boss has swept the place, and he was greeted with coolness by Lucinda Washington’s former assistant, a young woman in sensible shoes.

Global Weekly apparently conducts its internal business in accordance with its journalistic motto: “We won’t tell anyone.” Why send out a memo announcing Steve Plank’s departure and Buck’s promotion? Some form of the news will eventually get around to everyone through the office gossip grapevine.

“Sensible shoes” is, of course, a cue that we’re supposed to dislike this young woman. Only two kinds of women exist in Left Behind. They can be, like Lucinda Washington, a madonna. Or they can be, like this young woman, the other kind. “Sensible shoes,” for LaHaye and Jenkins, means “unladylike shoes,” and all women who are not ladies are whores.

The misogyny is palpable, but we’ve had plenty of opportunity to explore that before now, so let’s set aside for the moment L&J’s warped understanding of gender and consider instead their warped understanding of footwear. The authors seem to imagine all of their lady madonnas dressed like Donna Reed. Even their maternal stereotypes like Lucinda Washington are walking around in impractical high heels. Their whores meanwhile — a category that includes not just supposed flirts like Hattie, but all female executives and single women — are apparently all wearing “sensible shoes.” They seem to think of comfortable flats as slutty. Does that mean they would consider a pair of four-inch stilleto-heeled stripper shoes to be matronly?

Jenkins continues his thumbnail sketch of this ladder-climbing young trollop:

She told him in no uncertain terms, “Plank did nothing about replacing Lucinda, so I assumed I would move into her slot.”

Her attitude and presumption alone made Buck say, “That’s unlikely, but you’ll be the first to know. I wouldn’t be moving offices just yet.”

If there’s one thing Cameron Williams can’t abide it’s presumptuous young people trying to buck authority. Except, of course, for himself. “Buck” is, after all, a masculine nickname.

Both Buck and she-Buck here are, yet again, acting like they work for Global Quarterly. Lucinda Washington disappeared 9 days ago. Since then, at least two final publication deadlines would have come and gone. Jenkins lacks any sense of the relentless urgency of a weekly production schedule. Whether or not Buck wants to accept it, this young woman already got a battlefield promotion the day that Lucinda disappeared. The battle doesn’t stop just because the lieutenant got killed. The sergeant takes over without waiting for word from central command and the mission continues.

The same dynamic would have occurred in every institution that didn’t have the luxury of shutting down for a week or two in the aftermath of The Event. There would be first-year interns in charge of emergency rooms, rookie deputies stepping in as acting sheriffs. Every mayor, marshal and manager who had disappeared, died or crawled into the fetal position would have been replaced, out of sheer necessity, within hours of The Event.

The characters in LB are all behaving eerily blaise blase about the disappearances, as though The Event were something they had all read about in history books instead of a world-altering trauma they had actually experienced less than two weeks ago, but that’s not how any of this would really play out. Nine days after The Event, none of those assistants thrust into leadership roles would yet have had a full night’s sleep. They’d all be wearing sensible shoes, the same clothes they had on yesterday and the day before, and the bedraggled, frantic look of those surviving on adrenaline and necessity instead of food and sleep. Suddenly over their heads with others relying on them, they would either have learned to swim or they’d have drowned, replaced immediately by someone with even less experience.

If it takes the generals and the other higher-ups nine days before they even begin talking about sending replacements and reinforcements to carry out the necessary function of their now-missing lieutenants, then those useless REMFs deserve to be “greeted with coolness” by those who never abandoned their posts.

Buck’s response above is essentially to inform this young woman that he expects her to continue carrying out all of Lucinda’s duties and responsibilities indefinitely, at her previous pay grade, without any formal increase in her authority to carry out those tasks and without even a trace of support or gratitude from her new boss. This is yet another example of one of our supposed heroes behaving despicably as the authors give each other high-fives and celebrate the way Buck put this uppity, sensible-shoed bitch in her place.

These are truly awful people.

  • Caravelle

    Reasoning backwards, after all: we know bonobos are our closest genetic relatives: we know that the normal human sexual orientation is some variation on bisexuality, with monosexuals at either end of the distribution curve: therefore, it makes sense to suppose that bonobos, like us, feel same-gender and cross-gender sexual attraction.
    Are bonobos our closest genetic relatives ? Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species (does it have a particular name ?).

  • Jesurgislac

    That wasn’t the question you asked in your post.
    Did you read my post? That is the question I asked.
    To start with, because maternal affection is hella more widely documented.
    Than normal human sexual orientation being bisexual? …no.
    Because, there ARE good reasons to assume that *the particular expression of bisexual behavior* (note clarification) of bonobos under *those particular circumstances* is abnormal
    Ah. Thank you for clarifying. That makes more sense. However, I would guess that you’re arguing that because de Waal’s studies of bonobo behavior are based primarily on his years of observing them at Arnhem Zoo, this behavior can’t be regarded as normal because animal behavior in zoos isn’t. (Just a guess.) If so, I think you’re arguing from mistaken premises, because in a good zoo (and Arnhem Zoo has a great reputation) there is no good reason to suppose that animals will develop abnormal/pathological behaviors unless you’re already predicated to suppose that a behavior is abnormal/pathological. And I suspect – again, just a guess – that given the recent influx of observation from non-heterosexist naturalists pointing out how many mammalian/bird species will have same-gendered sex or form same-gendered pairbonds, there is a backlash forming from the old guard who are determined that same-gendered sexual interaction must be regarded as abnormal/pathological and can be explained away by “oh, they’re in a zoo”.
    Am I close? Because it seems damned peculiar that you should raise as argument that bisexual sexual behavior could be pathological …if this isn’t coming up as an argument among old guard naturalists who can’t accept that heterosexuality isn’t “the normal sexual orientation” but just a human artificial construct developed in the 19th century to make all other normal forms of sexual behavior abnormal.
    Caravelle: Are bonobos our closest genetic relatives ? Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species
    Yes. The other chimp species is Pan troglodytes: when chimp/chimpanzee is used without qualification, it’s understood to mean P.Trog

  • Jesurgislac

    That wasn’t the question you asked in your post.
    Did you read my post? That is the question I asked.
    To start with, because maternal affection is hella more widely documented.
    Than normal human sexual orientation being bisexual? …no.
    Because, there ARE good reasons to assume that *the particular expression of bisexual behavior* (note clarification) of bonobos under *those particular circumstances* is abnormal
    Ah. Thank you for clarifying. That makes more sense. However, I would guess that you’re arguing that because de Waal’s studies of bonobo behavior are based primarily on his years of observing them at Arnhem Zoo, this behavior can’t be regarded as normal because animal behavior in zoos isn’t. (Just a guess.) If so, I think you’re arguing from mistaken premises, because in a good zoo (and Arnhem Zoo has a great reputation) there is no good reason to suppose that animals will develop abnormal/pathological behaviors unless you’re already predicated to suppose that a behavior is abnormal/pathological. And I suspect – again, just a guess – that given the recent influx of observation from non-heterosexist naturalists pointing out how many mammalian/bird species will have same-gendered sex or form same-gendered pairbonds, there is a backlash forming from the old guard who are determined that same-gendered sexual interaction must be regarded as abnormal/pathological and can be explained away by “oh, they’re in a zoo”.
    Am I close? Because it seems damned peculiar that you should raise as argument that bisexual sexual behavior could be pathological …if this isn’t coming up as an argument among old guard naturalists who can’t accept that heterosexuality isn’t “the normal sexual orientation” but just a human artificial construct developed in the 19th century to make all other normal forms of sexual behavior abnormal.
    Caravelle: Are bonobos our closest genetic relatives ? Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species
    Yes. The other chimp species is Pan troglodytes: when chimp/chimpanzee is used without qualification, it’s understood to mean P.Trog

  • Jesurgislac

    Than normal human sexual orientation being bisexual? …no.
    “Widely”. Obviously there’s more about maternal affection. But normal human sexual orientation being normally towards both genders is about as widely documented as you can get: from earliest records and across cultures.

  • Jesurgislac

    Than normal human sexual orientation being bisexual? …no.
    “Widely”. Obviously there’s more about maternal affection. But normal human sexual orientation being normally towards both genders is about as widely documented as you can get: from earliest records and across cultures.

  • Dahne

    Tuna (the fruit, not the fish) should be just to the left of pineapple.
    There is a fruit called tuna?
    I cannot believe this.
    WHAT ELSE HAVEN’T YOU BEEN TELLING ME?!

  • Dahne

    Tuna (the fruit, not the fish) should be just to the left of pineapple.
    There is a fruit called tuna?
    I cannot believe this.
    WHAT ELSE HAVEN’T YOU BEEN TELLING ME?!

  • Jesurgislac

    Tuna grows on trees.

  • Jesurgislac

    Tuna grows on trees.

  • hapax

    Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species (does it have a particular name ?).
    Yes, and yes. They are usually referred to as “sister taxa”.
    Because it seems damned peculiar that you should raise as argument that bisexual sexual behavior could be pathological
    Jesu, where in the HELL (excuse my language) are you getting that I argued that bisexuality was pathological? I did not, and I would not. I said, as explicitly as I could, the way that observations suggest it is expressed in bonobos — to wit, the extreme proliferation of non-procreative sexual behavior, which is the common perception of bonobos, is likely abnormal, possibly pathological. It doesn’t correspond to anything seen in any other primate species, including human beings, who would otherwise be the ones breaking the scale.
    IFF (notice again the qualifications) current understanding of the function sexual behavior serve in bonobos is correct, it CAN’T be normal in zoos, because it is most likely used in fashions that can’t be replicated in captivity without a huge expense of resources.
    Why do you have a problem with this? Weren’t you the one arguing in the thread on the fanfiction thread that a human character can be present data that he was enthusiastically and exclusively heterosexual, yet “really” be “normally” bi- or homosexual because of the pressures of warped cultural expectations? Do you think that our society is more “abnormal” than a captive situation when a human would have to spend their entire lives with the same ten people, under constant observation, in a quarter acre that only weakly imitates our homes? Or, even worse, surrounded by a vicious predator species, only taking a break from slaughtering each other and burning down our homes to hunt us for our meat?
    Not to name drop or anything, but yeah, I know Frans de Waal, I’ve read his work and met him, I have enormous respect for him as a scientist, but he also has his own agenda, among which is promoting his research in as provocative a way as possible, in order to get the interest and funding to continue doing excellent and important research. Does he fudge his data? Hell no. Does he sex up his soundbites for the popular media? Hell yes, and who could blame him?
    Once again, Jesurgislac, are you so insecure in your convictions that you must trivialize, misinterpret, and prostitute good science in order to shore up your ideological agenda? If so, maybe you should go march over to L & J’s corner.

  • hapax

    Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species (does it have a particular name ?).
    Yes, and yes. They are usually referred to as “sister taxa”.
    Because it seems damned peculiar that you should raise as argument that bisexual sexual behavior could be pathological
    Jesu, where in the HELL (excuse my language) are you getting that I argued that bisexuality was pathological? I did not, and I would not. I said, as explicitly as I could, the way that observations suggest it is expressed in bonobos — to wit, the extreme proliferation of non-procreative sexual behavior, which is the common perception of bonobos, is likely abnormal, possibly pathological. It doesn’t correspond to anything seen in any other primate species, including human beings, who would otherwise be the ones breaking the scale.
    IFF (notice again the qualifications) current understanding of the function sexual behavior serve in bonobos is correct, it CAN’T be normal in zoos, because it is most likely used in fashions that can’t be replicated in captivity without a huge expense of resources.
    Why do you have a problem with this? Weren’t you the one arguing in the thread on the fanfiction thread that a human character can be present data that he was enthusiastically and exclusively heterosexual, yet “really” be “normally” bi- or homosexual because of the pressures of warped cultural expectations? Do you think that our society is more “abnormal” than a captive situation when a human would have to spend their entire lives with the same ten people, under constant observation, in a quarter acre that only weakly imitates our homes? Or, even worse, surrounded by a vicious predator species, only taking a break from slaughtering each other and burning down our homes to hunt us for our meat?
    Not to name drop or anything, but yeah, I know Frans de Waal, I’ve read his work and met him, I have enormous respect for him as a scientist, but he also has his own agenda, among which is promoting his research in as provocative a way as possible, in order to get the interest and funding to continue doing excellent and important research. Does he fudge his data? Hell no. Does he sex up his soundbites for the popular media? Hell yes, and who could blame him?
    Once again, Jesurgislac, are you so insecure in your convictions that you must trivialize, misinterpret, and prostitute good science in order to shore up your ideological agenda? If so, maybe you should go march over to L & J’s corner.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/boldfacelie/ practicallyevil

    Because, not to be rude or anything, but that’s an idea that really belongs on the TFWOT thread.
    Whoa, it was late at night and I got the two mixed up, thanks hapax.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/boldfacelie/ practicallyevil

    Because, not to be rude or anything, but that’s an idea that really belongs on the TFWOT thread.
    Whoa, it was late at night and I got the two mixed up, thanks hapax.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/boldfacelie/ practicallyevil

    Wait…
    That was in this thread, unless your saying the discussion of that theory would probably decline into a flame-war, which is a fair enough I suppose.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/boldfacelie/ practicallyevil

    Wait…
    That was in this thread, unless your saying the discussion of that theory would probably decline into a flame-war, which is a fair enough I suppose.

  • Caravelle

    Caravelle: Are bonobos our closest genetic relatives ? Phylogenetically speaking they should be just as close/far from us as the other chimp species
    Yes. The other chimp species is Pan troglodytes: when chimp/chimpanzee is used without qualification, it’s understood to mean P.Trog

    The reason I wanted to point that out is because that makes it even more problematic to use Bonobo sexuality as opposed to Pan troglodytes sexuality to make a point about humans.
    That said, most of the times I’ve seen bonobos used in such arguments it wasn’t so much to say “see, bonobos have sex all the time therefore we should too”, but as a counter-example to the “nature abhors anything other than procreative, heterosexual sex” crowd.

  • Lauren

    (and Arnhem Zoo has a great reputation)
    Even the best zoo doesn’t have square miles for its animals to roam around in. If one of the bonabos decided he didn’t like the others, he doesn’t have the option of wandering off and joining another troop. Plus, whatever reputation the Arnhem zoo has now, bonabos have long lifespans, so unless the entire group was caught in the wild immediately before joining that exhibit, they were likely to have been held in “bad” environments where they could have picked up abnormal behaviors.
    If I bought two male betas and put them together in a 10 gallon aquarium, they would fight until one or both of them died, even if it was a really nice aquarium. In the wild, they don’t do that; they only fight to defend their territory, so the loser will live if he swims away. Concluding that betas fight to the death based on captive behavior would be wrong.
    So there’s no more reason to suppose that bisexuality observed in bonobos in captivity/under severe population and habitat pressures is abnormal than there is to assume that maternal affection observed in humans in the Warsaw ghetto is pathological?
    Yes. You cannot prove anything from the data.
    So maternal affection in the Warsaw ghetto was pathological, because the Warsaw ghetto was an abnormal situation?
    No. You cannot prove anything from the data.

  • Lauren

    (and Arnhem Zoo has a great reputation)
    Even the best zoo doesn’t have square miles for its animals to roam around in. If one of the bonabos decided he didn’t like the others, he doesn’t have the option of wandering off and joining another troop. Plus, whatever reputation the Arnhem zoo has now, bonabos have long lifespans, so unless the entire group was caught in the wild immediately before joining that exhibit, they were likely to have been held in “bad” environments where they could have picked up abnormal behaviors.
    If I bought two male betas and put them together in a 10 gallon aquarium, they would fight until one or both of them died, even if it was a really nice aquarium. In the wild, they don’t do that; they only fight to defend their territory, so the loser will live if he swims away. Concluding that betas fight to the death based on captive behavior would be wrong.
    So there’s no more reason to suppose that bisexuality observed in bonobos in captivity/under severe population and habitat pressures is abnormal than there is to assume that maternal affection observed in humans in the Warsaw ghetto is pathological?
    Yes. You cannot prove anything from the data.
    So maternal affection in the Warsaw ghetto was pathological, because the Warsaw ghetto was an abnormal situation?
    No. You cannot prove anything from the data.

  • http://jesurgislac.greatestjournal.com Jesurgislac

    Jesu, where in the HELL (excuse my language) are you getting that I argued that bisexuality was pathological?
    We were arguing about sexual orientation. Froborr said “all bonobos are bisexual”. You said “Almost all the studies of bonobo behavior took place under extreme population pressures, and it’s quite possible that the observed behavior was pathological.”
    Looking back, I note that Froborr also said “bonobos are fond of recreational sex” and you appear now to be saying that your comment about “observed behavior” was meant to apply only to the recreational sex, not the bisexuality.

  • http://jesurgislac.greatestjournal.com Jesurgislac

    Jesu, where in the HELL (excuse my language) are you getting that I argued that bisexuality was pathological?
    We were arguing about sexual orientation. Froborr said “all bonobos are bisexual”. You said “Almost all the studies of bonobo behavior took place under extreme population pressures, and it’s quite possible that the observed behavior was pathological.”
    Looking back, I note that Froborr also said “bonobos are fond of recreational sex” and you appear now to be saying that your comment about “observed behavior” was meant to apply only to the recreational sex, not the bisexuality.


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