TF: Loopholes and paradoxes

In a crowded market, you have to carve out a niche. The market for End-Times, Bible-"prophecy" hucksterism is very crowded, so Tim LaHaye has to introduce some edge, some peculiar twist or innovation to set apart his brand. His personal variation on the standard Darby/Scofield formula includes several unique, idiosyncratic quirks that distinguish his version from that of his rivals.

Such quirks function at least two ways. First, they provide market differentiation — Why should I buy LaHaye's books instead of, say, John Hagee's? Why order LaHaye's video series instead of Jack Van Impe's? Because, LaHaye can say, my message is different — better, new and improved.

Second, these slight variations create the illusion of a spectrum of diverse views while actually constraining the perceived range of options for his followers and those of his rivals. By picking fights over the esoteric details that separate them, prophecy gurus establish the parameters of what is imaginable for their followers. It's like the bar owner in The Blues Brothers who says his bar offers "both kinds" of music, "country and western." The Bible-prophecy literature is thus filled with references to the conflict among "pre-trib" and "post-trib" and "mid-trib" rapturists, reinforcing the idea that these are the only possible views and that, whichever one chooses, belief in the Rapture and in the broad outlines of Darby's scheme will always be a given.

All such subcultures seem to have some variation of internal disputes that function this way — precluding any consideration of external views. Keep the in-group focused on the conflict between Team Edward and Team Jacob and the followers will not imagine any additional possibilities, such as maybe Team These Books Aren't Very Good.

I'm bringing this up now because we're about to reach a critical point in our survey of Tribulation Force related to one of LaHaye's more significant variations to the standard formula. Our cast of characters is slowly — very slowly — making its way toward Jerusalem for the signing of a weirdly construed and superfluous-seeming peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist's OWG (or, I guess, his One-World-Minus-Israel Government).

This treaty is part of the standard Bible-prophecy scheme, which bases the idea on something taken from the book of Daniel (reshaped, twisted in half, melted down and then reinterpreted). But LaHaye gives it added significance. For Tim LaHaye, the signing of this treaty marks the official beginning of the seven-year Great Tribulation.

For most other End-Times authors, this seven-year countdown begins with the Rapture — an event that occurred several weeks and several hundred pages ago at the beginning of the first book. My initial immersion in the world of Bible-prophecy mania came via Hal Lindsey and the Dallas Seminary/Philadelphia College of the Bible faction, so it's taken some adjustment for me to adapt to LaHaye's framework. I have occasionally lapsed here by referring to the Tribulation as something that has already begun in our story when, for LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins, that won't be true until after the treaty signing.

In my defense, though, the authors themselves seem to forget this distinction occasionally as well, such as by referring to their team of protagonists as the "Tribulation Force" rather than, more accurately, as the "Interim-Between-the-Rapture-and-the-Tribulation Force."

The murky period in which everything in these books thus far has occurred is something like injury time in a soccer game — an additional span of time of uncertain length, in this case before the game clock starts.

LaHaye imagines that this interval will be brief, and in these books it is portrayed as a matter of just a few short weeks (dragged out over a book and a half), but there's no guarantee that such an interval would play out this way. It creates the potential for a kind of prophetic paradox. What if Israel refuses to sign the treaty for months, or for years, or for generations? LaHaye doesn't consider this a possibility — if his prophecies say they'll sign the treaty, they they will sign the treaty, promptly, in keeping with the preordained divine check list and timeline.

But why should they? For Hal Lindsey, the final countdown starts with a divine act — the Rapture sets the seven-year hourglass in motion and what follows is inexorable. But LaHaye puts that hourglass in human hands. Starting the countdown is not up to God in his scheme, so free will and fallibility are now part of the equation. If Israel were to refuse such a treaty, we would enter an unprophesied limbo — a post-Rapture world in which the Tribulation never begins and the End never comes.

And here's the really odd part: Tim LaHaye and his premillennial dispensationalist allies across America have been determinedly working for decades to make this paradox happen. They've poured millions of dollars into this effort, creating a powerful political lobby organized around the core principle that, because of alleged biblical prophecies, Israel must never, ever sign any peace treaties with anyone. That effort has borne fruit, empowering a wing of nationalist conservative Israeli political parties who are fervently committed to this position.

In the fictional fantasy of the Left Behind series, LaHaye undoes all of that with a wave of a magic wand, turning Israel into a nation eager to sign treaties willy nilly. But that's nonsense, utterly impossible in this world, our world, the real world. In the real world, the idea of quickly and easily getting Israel to sign a disadvantageous peace treaty is about as likely as … as … as, well, getting Israel to quickly and easily sign a disadvantageous peace treaty. "Peace in the Middle East" has become a proverbial, emblematic shorthand — the very symbol of an intractable problem that will never be resolved. By making the resolution of this problem the prerequisite for the official start of the Great Tribulation, LaHaye makes his whole prophetic check list conditional. He creates a loophole.

A squadron of wrathful angels awaits in LaHaye's Heaven — fingers on the trigger of the apocalypse. They stand ready to open the seals and pour out the bowls of judgment, but — according to Tim LaHaye — they cannot do so until Israel signs this peace treaty.

This loophole, this flaw, is the prophetic equivalent of a ray-shielded thermal exhaust port leading directly to the heart of its core reactor. It's just the sort of thing that any real hero would be compelled to try to exploit.

LaHaye's protagonists aren't real heroes. They share his view that global conquest by the Antichrist, plagues, famines, earthquakes, mass-death and the end of the world are all "God's will" and, therefore, not to be interfered with. But surely some actual heroes could still be found among the other 4 billion people left behind after the Rapture. Untouched by LaHaye's doctrine of despair, they would oppose the rise of evil and calamity. They would do what heroes always do: Try to save the world.

GILES: It's the end of the world. Everyone dies. It's rather important, really.

WILLOW: So what do we do?

BUFFY: I stop it.

A real hero really would — and thanks to LaHaye's loophole, could — stop it. That would derail LaHaye's prophecy and his and Jenkins' plot. To avoid that, they portray a world without heroes — a world full of people apparently unmotivated even by simple self-preservation. No one in these books tries to exploit the prophetic loopholes or to reset the hourglass or stop the treadmill.

That effectively preserves the plot, but it comes at the cost of making the books' protagonists a bunch of inhuman
sociopaths. By maintaining their intended plot, they alter
their intended theme. (At least, I don't think "be a sociopath" was their intended theme.)

LaHaye believes an Antichrist-Israel peace treaty is prophesied, and thus creates a world in which such a treaty is less likely to occur. This is a smaller version of a larger paradox involving these books. The Left Behind series offers a depiction of what the authors insist is a guaranteed prediction. But for that prediction to come to pass as depicted — for their prophecies to come true — the vast majority of people in the post-Rapture world would have to be ignorant of what they're predicting. The popularity of the books thus suggests that those prediction won't and can't come true.

LaHaye's peculiar timeline exacerbates this paradox, but it's part of every other PMD scheme as well. Hal Lindsey's best-selling 1970s books all detailed prophecies that could only come true if no one knew what was coming. The fact that his books were such best-sellers therefore meant that the events he foretold could not occur the way he described.

Lindsey's response to that problem, like LaHaye's, was an assertion of fate and fatalism. If the prophecy says that the whole world will blindly follow the Antichrist, then that is what must and will happen and nothing that anyone knows or does will change that. Knowing or not knowing, they insist, won't make any difference. Acting or not acting will not and cannot change what is to come.

This fatalism kind of puts a damper on the action-steps portion of a PMD sermon. "There's nothing you can do to change anything" isn't a very practical or applicable take-home message. PMD preachers always urge their followers to be watchful and vigilant for signs of the End Times, but always, at the same time, they remind them that it doesn't matter whether or not they heed this call.

Premillennial pessimism and fatalism just doesn't provide the basis for any sensible social agenda or movement. "The world is getting worse and worse and there's nothing you can do because it's God's will," discourages any effort to improve the status quo. It's a call to complacency.

"Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven," is, for the fatalistic PMD Christian, merely an expression of the belief that whatever is must therefore be divinely ordained. The passive voice of that phrase from the Lord's Prayer is allowed to mask the subject of the sentence — to pretend it doesn't really have one. The do-er is not named or acknowledged. God's will will "be done," but no one, in particular, will have to do it.

There's no logical escape from this implication of PMD fatalism, but it's not what Tim LaHaye wants from his followers. He wants them aggressively working to change the world, singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" as though they were a bunch of optimistic 19th-century post-millennialists. He wants them lining up to support his wife's efforts, through Concerned Women for America, to ensure that discrimination against homosexuals remains perfectly legal. He wants them to join him in fighting for the same political agenda he has supported ever since his days in the John Birch Society — anti-Communist, anti-government, anti-civil rights, anti-worker, anti-hippie, anti-peacenik, anti-modern. He wants them to rally behind him as he stands athwart history yelling "Stop!"

But there's no reason for LaHaye's followers to join a rally, a fight or a campaign. He's already told them that none of that can matter, none of it can change anything. The future is preordained and immutable. The world is doomed and trying to change that is a lost cause.

Here we encounter one more paradox, and this one simply confounds me. Premillennial pessimism and fatalism are ascendant in American evangelicalism. This is a view that, explicitly, teaches that heroism is for suckers and any attempt to change the world is futile. And yet these premillennial believers are more politically active than previous generations of evangelicals and fundamentalists.

The only explanation I can offer for this is that their convoluted theology confuses them even more than it confuses me.

  • Will Wildman

    Actually, the ‘Jam every other day’ bit (Jam Yesterday, and Jam Tomorrow, but not Jam Today. Today isn’t any other day, you know) was from the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, not the Red Queen; but beheading people was the Queen of Hearts, yes. So you are conflating queens, but different ones.

    Blarg, my memory is inexcusably weak. Time for another trip to the bookstore.

    As for Transformers 2, as I’ve noted before, I think there were 10-15 good minutes in there, basically consisting of Optimus Prime and some of Jetfire’s scenes. (Yes, I know it has nauseating racial caricatures for no reasons and so many other things wrong with it, but I remember the fight in the forest – “Isn’t saving our people worth one human life?” “You’ll never stop at one. I’ll take you all on!” – and I can’t completely wish I hadn’t bought a ticket. I’m definitely not buying the DVD, anyway.)
    For additional completeness, I feel it’s important to point out that it was one of the human characters who used Devastator’s wrecking balls as a landmark, not one of the awful racefail ‘bots. Actually, I’m thinking now of those bots, and Jazz in the first movie, and the human characters in general, and realising that these aren’t merely repeated instances of stupid jokes, but a comprehensive campaign of failure. Oh – there was the black soldier second-in-command in the first movie; he may have been okay. Which is either because he got so little screen time, or the reason why, I expect.

  • ajay

    Albaneon, thanks, but that really does count as “questions I now wish nobody had answered”. Ugh.

  • Winter

    And don’t forget the hot girlbot who got this close to tentacle action with whashisface. That was just weird. I’d rather not think too much about whether it would’ve been better to put Mikaela into that scene.

  • Albanaeon

    You’re welcome, ajay. Some things just HAVE to be shared…

  • ajay

    Good grief, Winter. This film sounds stranger and stranger the more I hear about it. Enormous Decepticojones*? Robot hentai? Who scripted this thing, William Burroughs?
    (*I don’t care if the robot in question wasn’t a Decepticon. The pun’s good enough to justify the inaccuracy.)

  • Rachel McG

    In Rachel Maddow‘s interview with VP Joe Biden last week, the Vice President said that the reason Obama did not just order the military to stop enforcing DADT was because that was the compromise he came to with those in Congress whose votes they needed to repeal it. But, just like every other compromise this administration has made with the Republithugs (see Health Care, crackdown on Wall street, etc.), this one had no purpose either, since those votes did not mateialize when it mattered.
    At this point, by Biden’s own words, the President has no reason not to at least stop the implementation of DADT until December, when the report comes out.

  • Lonespark

    Why did I look at this thread?!?! I hoped to never be reminded of that horrible movie, especially the mysogynistic bits involving the skinjob Decepticon that didn’t even make any sense. Ugh! Off to get the brain bleach!

  • Lori

    The New York Times published an editorial today about the way forward on DADT repeal. It talks about the possibility of passing the repeal during the lame duck session, but suggests that if that doesn’t happen Obama decline to appeal the ruling that the policy is unconstitutional. If the government doesn’t appeal then the case doesn’t go any farther and would, as far as I know, DADT would be dead. The full article is here (requires registration).
    The last paragraphs give the main argument:

    President Obama, the House and a majority of senators clearly support an end to “don’t ask, don’t tell,” but that, of course, is insufficient in the upside-down world of today’s Senate, where 40 members can block anything.
    The two parties clashed on the number of amendments that Republicans could offer. Republicans wanted to add dozens of amendments, an obvious delaying tactic, while Democrats tried to block all but their own amendments. In an earlier time, the two sides might have reached an agreement on a limited number of amendments, but not in this Senate, and certainly not right before this election, when everyone’s blood is up even more than usual.
    If the military’s unjust policy is not repealed in the lame-duck session, there is another way out. The Obama administration can choose not to appeal Judge Phillips’s ruling that the policy is unconstitutional, and simply stop ejecting soldiers.
    But that would simply enable lawmakers who want to shirk their responsibility. History will hold to account every member of Congress who refused to end this blatant injustice.

  • Robyrt

    Transformers 2 isn’t just a bad movie. It’s an intentionally bad movie, aping video game tropes that are themselves pale attempts to imitate movies. Boss robots appear multiple times with inexplicable new moves, the settings are gratuitous, an entirely new superstrate of the plot is shoehorned in, screen time is inversely proportional to character respectability, and the whole thing is crammed with self-satisfied references to the previous film.

  • Jeff

    [[When [insert fast food restaurant here] serves something genuinely healthy.]]
    Jack in the Box has a salad that is pretty healthy. It’s a dinner salad — I usually eat it by itself for dinner. Lettuce (NOT iceburg), field greens, tomatos, some cheese, and grilled skinless chicken (which can be removed, but I don’t). It comes with dressing in a separate packet, so you can add as much or as little as you want. Croutons or “corn sticks” also come with. It’s pretty tasty, and pretty darn tasty.
    ===============================
    [[That's a tradition surrounding the source text. It's not in the source text itself.]]
    I did not know that. It will be hard for me to be a “Good Jackie”, but I’ll try…
    ===============================
    [[They can do what's called a procedural filibuster, where they just say they're going to filibuster but they don't actually have to get up on the floor of Congress wearing an adult diaper and read from the phone book.]]
    According to the Republicans, **any** sort of filibuster is a matter of courtesy and can be removed at any time by a majority of Senators (see “nuclear option”). The Dems could change the rules if they wanted but far too many are perfectly happy with the cover the Republicans offer.

  • Emcee, cubed

    According to the Republicans, **any** sort of filibuster is a matter of courtesy and can be removed at any time by a majority of Senators (see “nuclear option”). The Dems could change the rules if they wanted but far too many are perfectly happy with the cover the Republicans offer.
    To be fair, getting rid of the filibuster altogether requires the dangerous assumption that you will be in the majority permanently (which, at the time the Republicans threatened the nuclear option, many of them thought they would be). Getting rid of the filibuster greatly reduces the power of the minority, and if you then become the minority, you would be shooting yourself in the foot. So that idea needs to be thought out carefully before it is done. I’m a bit more comfortable with reducing the amount of votes needed to overcome a filibuster from 60 to 55 or something, though have hesitations on that as well.
    That’s not to say that with the way Republicans are abusing the filibuster that getting rid of it might not be the lesser of two evils at this point. But I think the long-term repercussions need to be considered and weighed before it is done.

  • Dav

    Yeah, I was not thrilled when the Republicans altered the rules, and would not be pleased with the Democrats if they chose the same way.

  • Jeff

    [[Getting rid of the filibuster greatly reduces the power of the minority, and if you then become the minority, you would be shooting yourself in the foot.]]
    This assumes that the minorityn is willing to challenge the majority. The Dems have not been willing to challenge the Reps, no matter whether they are majority or minority.

  • Jenny Islander

    Re Transformers: There’s a gap-filler fanfic for the first live-action movie that really should have been added to the script, in which Jazz (who lives) asks pointedly why his act in particular is seen as disrespectful when every single Autobot is playing a broad caricature. He points out that it’s all fake, even their assumed gender. Turns out that Jazz likes to poke people in the assumptions. So everybody else chose a stereotype that seems okay to people who are pretty comfortable with the assorted -archies, or at least take them as baseline, while Jazz set out to make as many people uncomfortable as possible: big, black, male, and loud on one hand, and teeth-gratingly blaxploitational on the other.

  • Lori

    How much am I loving the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese? Quite a lot. She turned down an invitation to be the grand marshal of the 2011 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in NYC because of the ban on allowing GLBTQ groups to march.

  • Consumer Unit 5012 thinks the US has been without legitimate government since Emperor Norton died without heir.

    Ursula L: That sounds rather close to some of Shrubs “signing statements” where he essentially would sign a law that said X, and announce that he’d be doing something quite different in the name of the law. I’m not comfortable with the idea of presidents deciding to ignore established law.
    That reminds me – One of my many complaints with Obama is that it seems like he’s neither trying to wall off Bush’s massive abuses of Presidential power so they won’t happen again, NOR _trying to use them_. The worst of both worlds.

  • Consumer Unit 5012 will continue to vote for those miserable slackers as long as the GOP stays terrifyingly insane.

    Pius Thicknesse: How the hell can Republicans be such obstructionistic little beckfaces, anyway?
    What’s more important, having a functioning government and a healthy country, or winning electiopns? Priorities, man!
    It’s infuriating and Obama needs to put on a little Harry S Truman and a little less milquetoast.
    I would’ve said Lyndon B. Johnson, but yeah. The Democrats’ obsession with trying to play nice with people who want them DESTROYED baffles me.
    Jeff: The Dems could change the rules if they wanted but far too many are perfectly happy with the cover the Republicans offer.
    Unfortunately, yes. I get the impression the Dems are institutionally much happier when they can relax in a position of total impotence, freeing them from the horrible burden of actually DOING THEIR DAMN JOBS.

  • Mrs Harris

    OK, the reason I like this blog is that it makes me think. Now, it has succeeded in making my head hurt. Despite a couple of days spent pondering and three separate re-reads of the blog and posts, I can’t work out why preventing Israel signing peace treaties is a bad idea. No one who could be a signatory is the One World Government – some of them are barely able to govern themselves. So why not go for Peace in Our Time – even if it’s about to be disrupted by the Rapture and the Nicky Pennines de nos jours?
    Oh, and the couch-lounging “saved” chap ought to be directed to Confessions of a Justified Sinner, to see where that particular idea ends up.

  • Lee Ratner

    ConsumerUnit: The reason why many Democratic politicians are milquetoast is because a good chunk of Democratic voters, especially the older ones like milquetoast politicians. There are numerous reasons for this. A certain type of liberal, the educated ones involved in non-blue collar professions, have always preferred witty, cosmopolitan and non-swaggering types of politicians like Adlai Stevenson over more strident prone to demagoguery ones like LBJ. As these people gain more prominence and become more active in the party than more milquetoasty politicians would be nominated. The other reason is that Vietnam War and LBJ’s association with that war turned off a lot of liberals to politicians with his style. Its the younger liberals that are looking for a return to politicians with LBJ style swagger, liberals with no personal memories of Vietnam.

  • Emcee, cubed

    No. At worst we have a whole bunch of people who join the military, begin their careers and are then dishonourably discharged. That is a pretty damned awful thing to happen to someone, and is what an EO led attack on DADT would bring about. A bad law like DADT needs a legislative, not a stop-gap solution.
    Apologies on the name misspelling.
    Factual error, there. DADT discharges are honorable, unless there are additional charges such as sexual assault.
    And the discharges of the people who are in the military now are a less awful thing to happen to someone? Again, I’m not saying to stop trying to repeal DADT, but to let good servicepeople continue to lose their jobs while congress sits and bickers seems pretty unconscionable to me.
    For me, DADT is like a leak in your roof at one in the morning. You can’t get it fixed right now, this minute. So the options are to either patch it temporarily until morning when you can have the roofers in, or let it keep dripping, causing more damage the longer it goes until they get there. A stop-gap solution is a bad thing. A stop-gap measure to limit damage until a permanent solution can be accomplished, not so much.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Pius Thicknesse

    I would’ve said Lyndon B. Johnson, but yeah. The Democrats’ obsession with trying to play nice with people who want them DESTROYED baffles me.

    FOr a good rehabilitation of Johnson, read Bugliosi sometime. His commentary on how differently Bush has acted to any other President during wartime, real or undeclared, really did it for me when he showed how even LBJ was moved to question himself at times about what he had been doing increasing US involvement in Vietnam.

  • Consumer Unit 5012 thinks LBJ looks good compared to Bush…but so does almost anyone this side of Caligula

    @Lee Ratner: You’re probably right. But I don’t want “swagger”, I just want these dingbats to stop being such utter doormats to the GOP.
    @Emcee, cubed: “There’s nothing as permanent as a ‘quick fix’.” – some computer programmer.

  • Lee Ratner

    Consumer Unit 5012: At this point, I think that liberals are still recovering from a series of self-inflicted wounds from the 1960s, mainly caused by the Vietnam War but there were other causes as well. I don’t think we can have a real recover till people old enough to have fought in Vietnam are gone. Liberals were at there most powerful when allied with the classic Democratic machines like Tammany Hall, roughly the period between the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, when the alliance started and the end of the LBJ administration. Suburbanization, culture wars, and the Vietnam War broke this alliance and liberal power. The Vietnam War also gave certain factions of liberals, a hatred of machine politics. Its changing now, hence the LBJ revival but its a slow change.

  • Lori

    OT: A chance to possibly do something positive instead of just being depressed about how much things suck.
    I think we’ve talked here about how awful the Texas board of education is and how their dominance in the K-12 textbook market is damaging education all over the country. Well, a couple of women are running for seats on the board who are not only not creationist wingnuts, but are in fact qualified educators. Because these seats have such national influence I think this is one local race where it’s definitely legitimate for outsiders to make campaign contributions. So, if you have a few dollars you can spare you might want to consider sending spending some of it on these races.
    More information, and links to candidate info and contribution pages can be found here .

  • Jeff

    I’m going to pretend I didn’t see Lee’s post.
    My sign would have been
    DFH
    and proud of it!

  • Jeff

    Wrong thread for the sign. Sorry.

  • Ursula L

    Another issue may be that if Obama stops the enforcement of DADT by executive order, it may reduce the pressure on congresscritters to repeal it properly. You get a situation where when a liberal is President there is no implementation, so there is less urgency for repeal, but when a conservative is President there isn’t the will for repeal by those in political power.

  • Caravelle

    One of my many complaints with Obama is that it seems like he’s neither trying to wall off Bush’s massive abuses of Presidential power so they won’t happen again, NOR _trying to use them_

    Against suspected terrorists he totally is.
    As for the filibuster : don’t think of it in partisan terms. Needing a supermajority to do everything is no way to run a parliamentary body, period.

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    A certain type of liberal, the educated ones involved in non-blue collar professions, have always preferred witty, cosmopolitan and non-swaggering types of politicians like Adlai Stevenson over more strident prone to demagoguery ones like LBJ.

    Speaking for myself, I oppose demagoguery in any context, even for the most noble goals. It’s not just that manipulating people through fear or greed is despicable, or that use of such motives drags liberals down to the level of the people they oppose. It’s also that any gains realized through that method are likely to be temporary or illusory, because one isn’t changing people’s hearts and minds. Similarly, the appeal of the Stevenson types isn’t their cosmopolitan quality but their belief in appealing to reason and compassion.

  • Consumer Unit 5012 thinks Elizabeth Bathory could get about 25% of the vote, if her pro-abstinence campaign was loud enough

    Newsflash: The GOP has _already_ dragged the Dems down to their level. We either get good at mud-wrestling, or learn to like the taste of dirt.
    Besides, it’s not like the liberals NEED to lie to make the GOP look bad – like Stevenson said, “If they stop lying about us, we’ll stop telling the truth about them.”

  • Christina Archer

    TimandJerry- ” Come one, come all! We have salvation for yew, at only $19.95! Yes folks, genewine salvation! It walks! It talks! It cost Jeezus a bundle, but it won’t cost yew a cent. Jest $19.95! Amazing!” Tim and Jerry have managed to illustrate Boenhoffer’s concept of cheap grace, with their horrid series. As long as Tim and his wifey Beverley can look down upon the rest of us, they’ll feel Better Than Most. Or, better than us anyways.

  • http://www.samrx.com/buy-penegra.aspx Penegra

    its a true statement which will lead to a contradiction or a situation which defies intuition.

  • Kitti

    OT by this point, but. As a recently-teenage girl, I really, really want a Team These Books Aren’t Very Good t-shirt.
    Also? I would pay money to read the fic where Buffy Stops It. (Or maybe the Doctor? OR some combi–wait, no, sorry my brain just broke from that mental image. Although I must admit, the dialogue would pretty much be made of win.)

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    “If they stop lying about us, we’ll stop telling the truth about them.”

    That’s part of my point. Demagoguery is a form of deception through exaggeration or outright lying. Admittedly, in a world were conservatives seriously talk about overturning the 14th Amendment, their positions are getting harder to exaggerate. But imagine if liberals proclaimed that conservatives were planning interment camps for all dark-skinned people, regardless of religion or citizenship status. That approach would wipe out a key distinction between the two sides.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com/ Ross

    Also? I would pay money to read the fic where Buffy Stops It. (Or maybe the Doctor? OR some combi–wait, no, sorry my brain just broke from that mental image. Although I must admit, the dialogue would pretty much be made of win.)

    If you can find a way to mix Jed Bartlett into it, you would pretty much exhaust the world’s supply of Win.

  • Will Wildman

    Also? I would pay money to read the fic where Buffy Stops It. (Or maybe the Doctor? OR some combi–wait, no, sorry my brain just broke from that mental image. Although I must admit, the dialogue would pretty much be made of win.)

    If you can find a way to mix Jed Bartlett into it, you would pretty much exhaust the world’s supply of Win.

    I have a new project!

  • Lori

    On DADT: Both the Human Rights Campaign and the Courage Campaign have gotten behind the idea of the administration simply not defending the DADT lawsuit. The Courage Campaign has set up an online petition that people can sign urging the Justice Department to just let it go: http://www.couragecampaign.org/DontDefendDADT

  • Ysidro

    Buffy wouldn’t Stop It. Buffy would look at them, laugh, and go dancing at the Bronze.

  • Andrew Glasgow

    That’s part of my point. Demagoguery is a form of deception through exaggeration or outright lying. Admittedly, in a world were conservatives seriously talk about overturning the 14th Amendment, their positions are getting harder to exaggerate. But imagine if liberals proclaimed that conservatives were planning interment camps for all dark-skinned people, regardless of religion or citizenship status. That approach would wipe out a key distinction between the two sides.

    Of course they’re not planning that. Some black people vote republican. They’ll be allowed to stay.

  • Lee Ratner

    I think we might be talking past each other, Tonio. You want to avoid demagogery, which you seem to view as exagerating conservative opinion in an reducio ad absurdium fashion. Consumer Unit and I want Democratic politicans to get more strident in fighting Republicans and GOPism rather than just going into fetal position.

  • hapax

    I’m not particularly interested in stridency on anyone’s part, but I am croggled that the Dems can’t muster (according to TPM) the intestinal fortitude to allow tax cuts to lapse for freaking millionaires.
    I’m reminded of John Adams line in 1776, “Good God, what in hell are you waiting for?”

  • Lonespark

    Maybe they are all waiting for the Rapture? By corporatistTurboGod?

  • Moose

    Wow, this has been a heck of ride. I’ve been working through all of these posts, from page 1 of Left Behind, over the last week. I think my soul may have vomited in my mouth.
    But, now that I’ve caught up, I have to say something that’s been bugging me since near the beginning of Tribulation Force; the damn Boeing 757 that everyone keeps carping on. Forgive me if this has been mentioned in comments before, but its been driving me nuts! Now, I grant you, I am the sort of guy who, watching a movie, goes “Hey, this is supposed to be a Battle of Britain scene, but that’s the mid-war Hurricane IIC! How could they miss that?”
    However, this is a much bigger detail. This is like watching that same scene and seeing Goose and Maverick in an F-14.
    The Boeing 757 is not “new.” Not now, not in 1996. It first flew in 1982 and entered airline service in 1983. It also, most definitely, not “bigger” than a 747 (it actually only has a single aisle), nor is it a particularly long-range aircraft. It is a step down the pilot hierarchy from the 747, 777 and 767 (in that order), which were all in service when this book was written!
    Obviously, this is yet another symptom of Jenkins not doing the slightest bit of research. Instead of cracking a book on Boeing, or an encyclopedia entry, or asking a pilot or flight attendant on a flight, he just says to himself “Hmmm….747′s are pretty big, so I guess if I need an even bigger penis plane for Lehaye Rayford, one number bigger must be a bigger plane….hmmm, 757 sounds familiar, have I flown on one of those already? I could check, but no time!”
    Sorry to sidetrack these comments, but I had to get that off my chest!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/rajexplorer Raj

    *hastily destroys “new fred” golden calf idol on “Book-burning” thread* (Page 4, Sep 10, 6:31PM)
    AH HAVE SINNED!

  • Lori

    @Mosse: Welcome aboard. Don’t worry about the sidetrack. First of all, you can’t really sidetrack a meander, which is what the threads tend to be. Second, your gripe is actually on topic. After all, it’s about the books and how awful they are.

  • http://www.tproe.com/disco.htm Nicolae Carpathia

    Also? I would pay money to read the fic where Buffy Stops It. (Or maybe the Doctor? OR some combi–wait, no, sorry my brain just broke from that mental image. Although I must admit, the dialogue would pretty much be made of win.)
    If you can find a way to mix Jed Bartlett into it, you would pretty much exhaust the world’s supply of Win.

    Now that’s just unfair, I wouldn’t even have a chance!
    Besides, I maintain my defense that the real villain of these books is LB!Jesus. Hey, maybe they’d have a “lesser of two evils” moment and temporarily team up with me to take him down? Then maybe I could escape before I get pounded too?
    …please? I mean, I have feelings too, you know. :(

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    Consumer Unit and I want Democratic politicans to get more strident in fighting Republicans and GOPism rather than just going into fetal position.

    And that’s what I want as well. I just want the party to do so without selling out its principles in the process. That’s what it would do if it used fear and hatred instead of reason and compassion, and one can use the latter and still be strident. I want the party to be strident without being demagogic.

  • RogerBW

    Andrew Glasgow:

    Of course they’re not planning that. Some black people vote republican. They’ll be allowed to stay.

    Somebody has to mow the lawns.
    Moose: don’t worry, you’re not the only person to have spotted the 757 problem. My theory on how it got there is much the same as yours – “mine goes up to 757″.

  • ajay

    If you can find a way to mix Jed Bartlett into it, you would pretty much exhaust the world’s supply of Win.
    Hell no, get the Patrician in. He’d manage to persuade the A/C to resign, take over the One World Government, and, with any luck, sentence RTC novelists to be hung upside down in a scorpion pit on the wall of which is written LEARN TO WRITE.

  • http://j.com/ Tonio

    Moose did a good job explaining both the ignorance and the rationale behind the 757 problem. I think it would have been understandable in the 1970s to assume that Boeing would keep making the successors larger, like Mercury leading to Gemini leading to Apollo. (I remember when the 757 came out being a little disappointed that it was smaller, for the same reason I was disappointed that Pete Rose didn’t break DiMaggio’s hitting streak – I wanted to witness (?) history being made.) But in the 1990s there would have been no excuse for making that type of mistake.


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