NRA: Excluding Loretta

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 48-51

Buck Williams knows what is happening. He knows what’s coming.

Thanks to more than a year of study with Bruce Barnes, Buck is thoroughly familiar with the details of the End Times check list. He has a schedule for the Great Tribulation and it sets a clear itinerary for the few remaining months of life on earth. Some of the events prophesied are cryptic, but those come later. The first several items on the check list are explicitly, unmistakably clear: war, famine, death.

It’s 1997, baby, and Buck Williams has his eye on a sweet Nokia 6110. “Get five of those cell phones, Chloe, and don’t scrimp.”

That war has begun, just as Buck had known it must. And he knows what that means — knows what will, inescapably, follow. War and famine and death have been “… given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, famine, and pestilence, and by the wild animals of the earth.”

Buck has, with his own eyes, seen the bombs begin to fall. And he knows they will keep falling, as foretold that they must, until one fourth of humanity is dead.

He knows this. He had known that this war would come, and now that it has arrived he knows that it will continue.*

Since we know that Buck knows all of this, his behavior in the next few pages seems impossible to explain. For a moment, earlier in this book, it seemed that Buck was going to act on what he knows is happening. The very first thing he did when the war began was to race to acquire an off-road vehicle well-suited for fleeing the final moments of civilization. It seemed that at least one of our heroes was finally going to take Jesus’ advice. If you find yourself suddenly faced with an apocalypse, Jesus says in Matthew’s Gospel:

… flee to the mountains; someone on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; someone in the field must not turn back to get a coat.

Yet Buck didn’t flee to the mountains. Here we are in Chapter 3 and Buck’s shiny new luxury-survivalist Range Rover is parked in the lot of a suburban church, just a few short miles from the city of Chicago, which Buck has every reason to expect is about to be obliterated.

And he isn’t there collecting supplies — ammunition, canned food, bottled water or holy water. Instead he’s just calmly printing out the contents of Bruce’s hard drive and making hotel arrangements for a longer stay downtown.

He had packaged pages and Bruce’s computer into one huge carton. As he lugged it out, he told Chloe, “Drop me off at the Chicago bureau office, and then you’d better check with The Drake and be sure our stuff is still there. We’ll want to keep that room until we find a place to live closer to here.”

I can only explain this by imagining that Buck is in shock and in denial.

For her part, Chloe seems to be right there with him:

“I was hoping you’d say that,” Chloe said. “Loretta is devastated. She’s going to need a lot of help here. What are we going to do about a funeral?”

Chloe expects a funeral for Bruce, because that’s what happens when a friend dies. Or at least that’s what happens when a friend dies and it’s not right in the midst of the Great Tribulation, as the seals of judgment are being opened and divine and antidivine wrath are both being poured out to claim the lives of more than a billion people.

“You’re going to have to help handle that, Chlo’. You’ll want to check with the coroner’s office, have the body delivered to a funeral home nearby here, and all that.”

Only people deep, deep in denial could imagine that any of this was still possible. Unable to cope with the scale of the devastation they have personally witnessed — the ruins of the hospital, the mushroom cloud they saw rising over the North Side — they’ve developed a kind of traumatic amnesia, shutting out every thought except that of the death of their friend.

If they stopped for a second and allowed themselves to absorb all that they’ve seen, or if they glanced at all those charts and timelines from Bruce’s notes — explanations of prophecies that Buck is, at this very moment, carrying in his hands — then they’d have to realize that there’s no way the Drake hotel or the coroner’s office or a funeral home could still possibly be functioning normally, or at all.

They must be in denial. They must have forgotten about all those other casualties.

“… have the body delivered to a funeral home nearby here, and all that. With so many casualties, it’s going to be a mess, so they’ll probably be glad to know that at least one body has been claimed.”

So much for my denial/traumatic amnesia theory.

And I’m afraid that was the only theory I had that could make sense of this. All I can do now is marvel at the strangeness and stupidity of our heroes in these pages — and at the strangeness and stupidity of the authors.

Here are two characters who believe that a global, perhaps-nuclear war has been foreordained by God. They have been expecting and awaiting the onset of this war, which they know will continue until it claims a fourth of the earth. And they have seen it begin, felt the concussive blast of a bomb that they know will only be the first of many, many more.

So put yourself in their shoes, what would you do? Would you book a room in a downtown high-rise?** Head back to the office? Try to make funeral arrangements for a friend who died just as the war was beginning?

The staggering weirdness of their behavior here is made even stranger by the glib casualness of it all.

“We’re each going to need a vehicle,” Buck says to Chloe. And then, to underscore the point, he adds, “I can’t promise I’ll be around here all the time.”

Or in other words, he’s calling dibs on the Range Rover. Chloe seems to have guessed he would:

“Loretta, bless her heart,*** thought of the same thing in spite of all she’s going through. She reminded me that there’s a fleet of extra cars among the congregation and has been ever since the Rapture. They lend these out for just such crises as this one.”

First let’s commend Jerry Jenkins for finally realizing — 50 pages into the third book of his series — that all those real, true Christians raptured away in the first book would have left behind empty homes and abandoned cars. Buck Williams has gone car-shopping twice since then, paying full price for a new model each time while all along the Rev. Billings’ Buick and Irene Steele’s minivan have sat unused.

Jenkins still doesn’t seem to grasp how many millions of empty homes and abandoned cars his version of the rapture implies, or the full implications of that. But at least — belatedly — he’s realized that he can exploit this previously ignored consequence to solve another of his commuting-logistics conundrums.

The astonishing bit here, though, is Chloe’s reference to “just such crises as this one.” She’s not talking about the destruction of the hospital, the church’s loss of its pastor, the death of every church member who may have been at or near the airport, or the onset of war, pestilence and death that will sweep away one fourth of the earth. Those are about other people and so those, therefore, do not constitute “crises.” No, the urgent crisis here — the priority — is that Buck Williams and his wife need a second car.

“Good,” Buck said. “Let’s get you fixed up with one of those.”

He called dibs, remember. We all heard him.

Chloe asks Buck about the 5,000 pages of file-dump in the box he’s carrying and his vague plan to, you know, make copies and, like, pass them out.

“Buck, wait a minute. There’s no way we can reproduce that until someone has read all of it. There’s got to be private, personal stuff in there. And you know there will be direct references to Carpathia and to the Tribulation Force. We can’t risk being exposed like that.”

Buck had an ego crisis. He loved this woman, but she was ten years his junior and he hated when it seemed as if she was telling him what to do, especially when she was right.

This … this … thing the authors are doing here through Buck, it needs a name.

I’ve heard a thousand variations of this very thing, from pastors, politicians and business executives. This thing, this sick passive-aggressive ritual, is something such men often perform whenever they’re speaking in public with their wives present, usually with a forced chuckle and oozing the same feigned humility that the authors here attribute to Buck.

The authors would, of course, insist that they’re poking fun at Buck here, and that this “ego crisis” is a foible of his. In just the same way all those pastors and politicians always pretend they’re poking fun at their own “egos” rather than flexing them by making all those similarly disingenuous comments at the expense of their wives, asserting a claim of dominance by portraying even common decency and fairness as expressions of magnanimous, benevolent condescension. Such magnanimity is, of course, what every husband owes to the little lady, but silly me, sometimes my ego gets in the way and I forget to show it — so the joke’s on me!

That thing needs a name. Maybe if we can figure out what to call it, we can figure out how to kill it.

Fortunately for Buck here, the authors have kept this bit confined to Buck’s internal thoughts. He didn’t say all that out loud to Chloe, and thus she is spared from having to punch him in the neck. Instead, she says:

“Just entrust it to me, hon. I’ll spend every day between now and Sunday poring over it line by line. By then we’ll have something to share with the rest of New Hope, and we can even announce that we might have something in copied form for them within a week or so.”

It’s a plan, then. Chloe will edit and rewrite 5,000 pages by Sunday, and then, “within a week or so,” she’ll have it all retyped and they can then make copies, bind them, and distribute them to all members of New Hope Village Church, each of whom will then have the chance to read through all 5,000 pages at their leisure. Because that’s clearly the easiest way to get the word out.

“But where will you do this?”

“Loretta has offered to let us stay with her. She’s got that big old house, you know.”

“That would be perfect, but I hate to impose.”

“Buck, we would hardly be imposing. She’ll hardly know we’re there. Anyway, I sense she’s so lonely and beside herself with grief that she really needs us.”

This bears an uncanny resemblance to the usual social niceties involving an offer of hospitality. The would-be guest expresses a reluctance to trouble the would-be host, who in turn insists that it’s no trouble at all, and that she would be glad for the company.

The slight difference here — the bit that makes this near-resemblance uncanny — is that both Chloe and Buck seem to interpret Loretta’s social niceties literally. Whatever it was she actually said — we hear echoes of it from Chloe in “that big old house” and “hardly know [you’re] there” — the couple has decided to take it at face value. They’ve convinced themselves that they really are the ones doing her a great favor by allowing her to accommodate them.

But the core thing here is that one sentence: “Loretta has offered to let us stay with her.” However Chloe and Buck want to spin it, that’s the essential fact of the matter. Loretta is extending hospitality to them.

That sentence is on page 50, about two-thirds of the way down the page. Buck and Chloe exchange a bit of wince-inducing banter (“I keep you around because you’re cute,” she says), and then, on page 51, we come to this:

“You’ve forgotten the shelter under the church.”

“I haven’t forgotten it, Chloe. I’m just praying it’ll never come to that. Does anybody else know about that place except the Tribulation Force?”

“No. Not even Loretta. It’s an awfully small place. If Daddy and Amanda and you and I had to stay there for any length of time, it wouldn’t be much fun.”

Eighteen lines. That’s the distance from “Loretta has offered to let us stay with her” to “Not even Loretta. It’s an awfully small place.” About half a page separates them.

At the bottom of page 50, Buck and Chloe are in need and Loretta extends hospitality to them in their time of need. At the top of page 51, Buck and Chloe discuss what they would do to Loretta in her time of need and, well …

Monsters.

Half an hour later, Buck pulled into the Chicago area office of Global Community Weekly magazine.

Hey look, the GIRAT suddenly remembers his day job. It’s been a while since he’s checked in at the office, but apart from the destruction of New York, Washington and London and the perhaps-nuclear bombing of airports across the continent, it’s been a slow news week.

“I’m going to get us a couple of cell phones,” Chloe said. “I’ll call The Drake and then get down there and get our stuff. I’ll also talk with Loretta about a second vehicle.”

“Get five of those cell phones, Chloe, and don’t scrimp.”

As if Mrs. Buck Williams would ever think to “scrimp” when it comes to telephones.

In 1995, when Jenkins wrote the first book in this series, cell phones were an exotic luxury item. By the time he was writing this book, in 1997, they’d become much more common. Chloe’s abrupt announcement, above, is how Jenkins went about catching up with technology — just suddenly inserting cell phones into the world of these books, like Dawn Summers, and then acting as though they had been there all along. A bit jarring, but it solves his problem.

It raises other, new problems, though, such as why our heroes expect these cell phones to have coverage amidst a nuclear war, why they think they will be safe to use now that Nicolae controls all communications, or how they expect to recharge them once the grid shuts down as war, famine and pestilence seize the earth.

“Five?” she said. “I don’t know if Loretta would even know how to use one.”

“I’m not thinking of Loretta. I just want to make sure we have a spare.”

If Buck allowed Loretta to have a phone then he wouldn’t have an extra one for himself.

He’s not thinking of Loretta. He never is, bless his heart.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Buck also knows, or should know, that it’s even worse than he may have expected. The shape of this war suggests that his odds of survival are even lower than the 75-percent chance he might have thought he would have.

The rider on the red horse, war, the second seal of judgment “permitted to take peace from the earth,” seems to have a narrower focus, with Nicolae Carpathia’s weirdly one-sided World War III confining its destruction to North America, North Africa and Britain. The total population of those areas adds up to less than “a fourth of the earth.” If the war remains confined to those regions, and if that war is to kill one fourth of the earth’s population, then no one in America should expect to survive.

** Set aside for the moment the whole World War III and mushroom-cloud business. Don’t worry about why O’Hare International Airport is now closed in this story. Just consider that much, on it’s own. O’Hare is closed. No flights in. No flights out. Now consider what that means for the likelihood of booking that downtown hotel room.

*** “Bless her heart” is not a term we’ve heard from Chloe previously, nor is it a term that 21-year-old Chicagoans are likely ever to use. Since Chloe associates the term with Loretta here, I’m going to assume that’s where she picked up the phrase — although she did so without quite understanding it.

Loretta, Jenkins said, is from the South. My guess is that Chloe heard Loretta say something like, “So Buck bought himself a new luxury SUV, did he? Well. Bless his heart,” and that Chloe mistook this for an expression of affection.

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  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Jenkins has creepy eyes in at least one of those pictures.

  • Joshua


    Jenkins has creepy eyes in at least one of those pictures. 

    That’s really, really understating it. That guy has freaky eyes from Hell. Like something from the SCP Foundation.

  • readerofprey

    Is this a common archetype in the evangelical subculture? Is there some dispensationalist rule that holds that “the Whore of Babylon” is just a woman who doesn’t know her place?
    It makes sense if you think of a woman as a being who has no agency other than sexual agency.  Not enough sexual agency to proposition a man, but enough to invite a proposition or not (by dressing immodestly or chastely) and enough to accept or refuse sexual advances.  Men, on the other hand, can do anything and everything except be held responsible for their own sexual urges, because their lust is enough to overpower them when some thoughtless woman entices them.  A woman, therefore, is responsible not only for her own sexual behavior, but for the sexual behavior of innocent men around her, which it is her duty to control by dressing modestly, dating only the “deserving,” and by remaining abstinent until marriage.  But she is responsible for nothing else, because she is not supposed to be a mover.

    So the only choices a woman can make involve the circumstances under which she will accept or refuse sex and her sexual partners, then sleeping with a bad man in a forbidden way is literally the worst thing a woman can do.  A man like Nicolae may commit any number of murders, betrayals, blasphemies, and evil deeds.  But the worst thing a woman like Hattie can do is sleep with a man like Nicolae without being married to him.  Therefore, the disproportionate punishment – given her limited agency as a woman, she is doing the worst thing it is possible for her to do and judged accordingly.

  • readerofprey

    I get the idea that Lahaye doesn’t even see secretaries, until something goes wrong…
    I like to think that LaHaye can’t even use a typewriter and records his notes on what he’d like to happen in each chapter on one of those Dictaphones they use on Mad Men and some poor secretary lugs the huge thing into another room to type up the notes and fax them to Jenkins.

  • Will Hennessy

    As I type this, a bank robbery has just occurred in my town, just down the street from my house. Last anyone heard of the guy is that he’s armed and somewhere in town. I’m not terrified, as I realize that this is crime that happens every day in civilized society.

    Nothing like, say for example, the kind of crime that would occur in a collapsing economy caused by the disappearance of billions of people including every child on earth (we authors had forgotten them again… maybe they’re those Invisible Children I keep hearing so much about…), followed by martial law and then ultimately the outbreak of quasi-global (the parts of the globe that matter, anyway) perhaps-nuclear (love that phrase) war.

    This is why Jesus said head for the hills, not downtown or the ‘burbs. Or, to borrow a quote from Lewis Black, “you get your s***, you get out the door, and if the kids don’t move fast enough, f*** ’em, drive away!”

    So why are we sticking around making photocopies, Buck?

  • Will Hennessy

    The real tragedy is that, eventually, Loretta is going to die a sad, pathetic, lonely death, and it’s going to be the saddest thing in these damnable books for everyone here, and I’ll bet the authors and their characters barely notice.

  • GeniusLemur

     And probably burn in Hell forever, because she hasn’t said the magic words. If she has a) we didn’t hear about it, and b) it wasn’t because of any of our “heroes,” including Bruce

  • aunursa

    And probably burn in Hell forever, because she hasn’t said the magic words. If she has a) we didn’t hear about it, and b) it wasn’t because of any of our “heroes,” including Bruce

    Loretta’s spiritual status is not explictly indicated, but it’s strongly hinted that she became saved shortly after the Rapture.  The unofficial Left Behind Wiki identifies her as saved.

  • Dash1

     

    Loretta is going to die a sad, pathetic, lonely death

    Or, to look at it another way, she gets to die in peace and quiet without Buck, Chloe, Rayford and Amanda standing over her deathbed and busily making sure each of them has the other three’s cell phone numbers?

  • Will Hennessy

     Yeah… I like yours better.

    But we’ll care because Loretta’s one of us. Just sayin…

  • Dash1

    Chloe will edit and rewrite 5,000 pages by Sunday, and then, “within a
    week or so,” she’ll have it all retyped and they can then make copies,
    bind them, and distribute them to all members of New Hope Village
    Church, each of whom will then have the chance to read through all 5,000
    pages at their leisure.

    I suppose it’s too much to hope that there’s a simple, logical explanation for all of this? Like Bruce, word-processing innocent that he was, somehow managed to get the font stuck on 72 and set the margins at “8-1/2” and “11,” resulting in approximately four sentences per ream?

  • Kiba

    “Five?” she said. “I don’t know if Loretta would even know how to use one.”“I’m not thinking of Loretta. I just want to make sure we have a spare.”

    Or to put it more succinctly: Mine! Minemineminemineminemine!

    And why do I think that Loretta already knows about their little hole in the ground club house and is rolling her eyes? I picture her scouring the surrounding schools and finding some of the older ones that are now empty and date back far enough to come with fallout shelters and fixing those up.

  • quietglow

     This would serve more than one purpose. She could also make the stable parts of the schools into temporary relief shelters or, at the least, distribution sites. Which would also provide the perfect cover for work parties to slip in and stock and prepare the shelters. Who are those, Mr. Peacekeeping Soldier? Why, they’re volunteers going into the back for a little lie-down. They’ve been working hard, they need a rest. Those boxes? Blankets and food for tomorrow, we were so rushed helping people we haven’t set up our storage yet. Pie?

    Also, how is Loretta not saved? Did we ever get an explanation?

  • Kiba

    Yup. And using schools would be great cover since, in my experience, that’s where the emergency shelters and aid areas tend to get set up. 

    Also, how is Loretta not saved? Did we ever get an explanation?

     

    I have a memory like a steel sieve so I’m not really sure if an explanation was given or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.norris.129 Anthony Norris

    @quitglow:disqus Loretta was surronded by a large loving family who were all Real True Christians, but she never had “A personal relationship with Jesus” so she was the only one was not Raptured.  From book 1

  • quietglow

    The hospital doesn’t have time or room to hold onto the bodies or send them off to families in other cities. They’ve got dead, they’ve got dying. They’ve got more every day. They’ve got massive problems even sending them to the graveyard down the street. They don’t have power to spare keeping a room cold. And, well, it’s not winter.

    By this point, if there’s no nearby crematorium, they are probably using mass graves for the sake of public health. Once Barnes was confirmed dead and his name put on a list, I doubt they had the option of tracking his body any further. 

  • Emcee, cubed

    I can’t help but seeing this copying and handing out the 5000 pages of Bruce’s notes as the Trib Force’s version of a document dump.  This way they can say they gave everyone all the information they needed to protect them from the upcoming destruction, but by the time anyone actually finds the useful information in all those pages of dross, the Tribs will already be safely ensconced in their bunker with the doors firmly locked.

  • Münchner Kindl

    If one wanted to be charitable to Hay/Jenkins (though I don’t see a need for that), printing out pages and editing them with scissors and white-out does make kinda-sorta sense if nuclear bombs are about to fall – so an EMP might destroy computers, leaving you only with paper to work on.

    If you edit with scissors and paste the old-fashioned way, the result won’t look pretty, but you can photocopy it without any need for re-typing. And it leaves the original files on Bruce’s computer intact for further references.

    Besides Buck’s massive jerkitude towards Chloe, the authors even fail with traditional gender rules. If one were to accept that women and men have different responsibilities and tasks, then one of the tasks would be to comfort and do all the emotional feeling -stuff. So if Chloe “senses” that Loretta is lonely – quite likely that Bruce’s death opened up barely-healed wounds after her whole family was vaporized by ET during the rapture – and then actually does hold Loretta’s shoulder to ease her grief … that would be womanlike and useful and kind.

    But instead, Chloe wants to move in with Buck – a newly-wed couple, so Loretta will be excluded while they have “fun” – and will be busy with the editing meanwhile. So Loretta is nothing better than a cook- and cleaner for the guests in her own house.

    And after that horrible part, they don’t go to Loretta at all, because they stay at the Hotel for the meantime. So sensing Loretta’s need for company and help, they … leave her alone. Well done, compassionate RTCs.

  • http://twitter.com/AbelUndercity Abel Undercity

    STILL the all-time champion for worst self-published book ever, IMO: http://www.cynical-c.com/2009/03/09/book-of-the-night-2/

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to get near a book publishing site. :O

  • JonathanPelikan

    “No. Not even Loretta. It’s an awfully small place. If Daddy and Amanda and you and I had to stay there for any length of time, it wouldn’t be much fun.”
    Okay, Chloe, suddenly absorbing a lifetime of Christopathic culture is already pushing it, but if you’re going to start sounding like  a Gods-damned C.S. Lewis protagonist then that’s just really creepy. It’s so…infantilizing, really. And by now we know Jenkins is doing it intentionally. He really just does want to put every single woman In Their Place, huh? What a piece of human shit you are, Jenkins.

    we’re still only on book three

  • quietglow

    It’s very infantilizing. Problem: the shelter is tiny and cramped. Keeping four people alive for any length of time will lead to them sweltering in the fumes of the chemical toilet with no expectation of privacy. They have no room to save additional people.

    Solution:  Plan to exclude people, whine about the shelter not being good at worst-case scenarios.  Put energy towards restarting publication of book that has already been printed at laborious expense as a labor of love.

    Why doesn’t she go get a pickaxe and do a little wall expansion? Is that not fun either? How can it be less fun than playing copyeditor?

  • Kiba

    we’re still only on book three

    Look on the bright side; it can only get worse!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    I pointed this out before we started Nicolae: the first two Left Behind books comprised the “well-written” portion of the series. Those were when Jenkins was still experimenting with character development, nested subplots, and subtle portrayals of antagonistic characters (Nicolae genuinely seemed like a nice guy, it wasn’t necessarily obvious that Verna Zee was supposed to be a stereotypical gay woman). Beginning with this book, Jenkins basically just runs out of patience with even the most generic writers’ conventions.

    Carpathia becomes Satanic (figuratively at first, then literally); the next gay character to be introduced will be so insultingly stereotypical that it actually loops around and starts being entertaining; subplots will more or less run in the background and only pop up to be resolved; and characters will be introduced at the beginning of one book, thrown away by the ending, and replaced by the beginning of the next book by a different character with more or less the same personality and skillset.

    (I would argue that “Left Behind” is actually the best book of the original series, since it contains traditional rising and falling action and ends in a scene that at least is constructed to seem climactic. “Tribulation Force” just veers out of control for several hundred pages, laden down with useless nonsense until finally it just comes to a stop after Jenkins ran out of ink. And this book, well… you’ll see…)

  • aunursa

    the first two Left Behind books comprised the “well-written” portion of the series.

    To paraphrase the late U.S. Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks: Each book is worse than the one before.  And this chapter is written as if it’s in the middle of Book #5.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Aren’t RTC dudes supposed to protect women, especially the women in their families? Isn’t that part of the paternalistic thing they’ve got going on? Or have they ditched that entirely in favor of flat-out, undisguised misogyny? Actually neither Buck nor Rayford has ever shown any desire to protect Chloe that I can remember, and this is a particularly glaring instance of that.

    I can’t imagine anyone in my family being as blasé about another family member’s safety as Buck is about Chloe’s. On top of that, Buck’s supposed to be this manly man, but he’s about as unchivalrous as it’s possible to be without actually committing rape. I am confused by the lack of any attempt by Jenkins to dress up Buck’s assholery in something that appears prettier.

  • Lori

    Protect is another one of those words that has it’s own, let’s say unique, RTC usage. The only harm or injury that some RTC men want to protect women from is the terrible harm of not being in a woman’s proper place, doing a woman’s proper job with the deferential attitude that all good women should have.

    I really think that for men (and I use that term in the narrowest possible way) like L&J women have no value at all apart from men and children. Since neither Chloe or Amanda are breeding they’re totally expendable in the service of keeping the men alive & comfortable to do their oh-so-important Tribble “work”.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    What I don’t understand is why Jenkins doesn’t pay at least lip service to the idea that men have to protect women as part of the traditional-gender-role thing.

    Haven’t any of his RTC audience been squicked by the way Rayford cheers on Buck even before Rafe realizes Buck wasn’t two-timing her?

    Hell, the stock plot point there is to have the whole rawr angry daddy thing going on and Buck sweating as he tries to explain What He Has Done With Rayford’s Daughter.

  • Lori

    What I don’t understand is why Jenkins doesn’t pay at least lip service
    to the idea that men have to protect women as part of the
    traditional-gender-role thing. 

    I have a couple of theories about this, neither of which are the least bit flattering to Jenkins*. They both boil down to him being so inside his own perspective that he had no idea that he wasn’t actually writing what he said he was writing. He thinks he did write strong, noble RTC men protecting the little women. If you asked him why he didn’t he would have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Haven’t any of his RTC audience been squicked by the way Rayford cheers
    on Buck even before Rafe realizes Buck wasn’t two-timing her? 

    They don’t notice any of the other ways Rayford acts more like a sociopath than a follower of Jesus. Why would this thing stand out?

    *Option 1: He’s a total closet case. So deep in the closet that he believes all men think about other men the way he does and thus thinks Ray & Buck’s relationship is the norm. We joke about Chloe & Amanda being Ray & Buck’s beards. I’m not totally convinced that that isn’t essentially true.

    Option 2: He is a profound misogynist, embedded in a deeply misogynist subculture of a larger culture that is not exactly free of misogyny and he simply does not understand, on a gut level, that there are men who actually like the women in their lives and don’t think of them as necessary but tiresome obligations and impediments to guy time.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I think your Option #2 is the more correct one. Most gay men I’ve known care plenty about the women in their lives. Also, there are lots of instances in which a gay man in the closet married a woman he loved and who was his best friend. And in my experience, a man being protective (truly protective, not controlling) of women doesn’t have anything to do with whether he’s gay. So I don’t think that has anything to do with it.

    #2 however — yeah. Jenkins hates women, he hates sex, he hates anyone who isn’t just like him. It’s pretty sad that this so-called Christian series of books is nothing but a hatefest. Phones turn Jenkins on, but people? Doubt it. Possibly his own reflection.

  • Lori

    Most gay men I’ve known care plenty about the women in their lives.  

    So do most gay men I’ve known. At the same time, some of the worst misogynists I’ve ever met have been gay men. They don’t like women and since they don’t want to have sex with them they consider them totally useless and don’t bother to hide it or moderate it. If the world turned into Planet Men tomorrow they’d think that was great.  In a couple of cases I feel completely sure it would never occur to them to be protective of any woman, especially not at the expense of the safety or comfort of a man. That just would not compute for them.  Some people just suck.

    (To be clear, I don’t suspect that Jenkins could be a closet case because he treats women badly in the story. I suspect it because of the whole Ray/Buck thing which is fairly ridiculous and, IME, not a feature of RTCism. The total lack of care for the women is a side issue.)

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    At the same time, some of the worst misogynists I’ve ever met have been
    gay men. They don’t like women and since they don’t want to have sex
    with them they consider them totally useless and don’t bother to hide it
    or moderate it.

    I suspect that many of those men don’t like men either, but if they actually showed that they hate men, it would get in the way of their sex lives, so they do bother to hide it.

    After all, plenty of straight misogynists hide their misogyny in order to get laid.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think part of the reason gay men might be misogynstic has to do with internalizing cultural viewpoints about women and then adding in the fact that since they’re attracted to other men, they’re kind of double-whammied to extra-value men and the way they look and act, while devalue women and the way they look and act.

    It isn’t right, but I can kind of see how it would come about.

  • Lori

     

    I think part of the reason gay men might be misogynstic has to do with internalizing cultural viewpoints about women and then adding in the fact that since they’re attracted to other men,
    they’re kind of double-whammied to extra-value men and the way they look
    and act, while devalue women and the way they look and act.

    I think this is a factor for some of the misogynist gays I’ve known. In the case of one guy I used to know I think there was also a element of resenting the way the culture demeans gay men by associating them with femaleness. He (justifiably) resented being told that he wasn’t a “real” man or having feminine terms used against him in disparaging ways. The problem was that he (unjustifiably) turned that resentment on women instead of on the misogyny and homophobia in the culture.

    That’s screwed up and wrong on more than one level, but it has it’s own internal logic.

  • Lori

    I’m sure that some of them are just general misanthropes, but I have known several gay men who liked men just fine, but really do flat hate women. They’re basically MRA’s without the whining about how women won’t have sex with them. They’re certainly not representative of gay men I’ve known, but MRAs aren’t representative of straight men I’ve known either.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    It’s pretty sad that this so-called Christian series of books is nothing but a hatefest.

    It is, but the books are Christian books, not so-called Christian books.  They’re written by Christians for Christians, dealing with events that the authors believe will happen as prophesied in the Bible.  Nothing so-called about it.

    (I know, I’m a broken record from the other thread.  This kind of thing is just a pet peeve of mine.)

  • GeniusLemur

    As Fred has pointed out many times, the “Christian” authors and their stories also do #2 all over every lesson in the gospels and so does their audience. Hence (among other things) the lack of prayer or even mention of God in chapter after chapter of these books. They may call themselves “Christian,” but in a very real sense, they aren’t. If someone called himself “Nazi” and advocated equality for all races and creeds, would you take him seriously?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Actually, these books mention God and Jesus and prayer quite often–about as much as I expect from Christian entertainment, and I have consumed my fair share of Christian entertainment.  LaHaye and Jenkins may not be deriving the same “lessons in the gospels” as liberal Christians, but they are people who believe in God, Jesus’ divinity, and the Bible.  They define themselves as Christians, they are Christians, and their books are Christian books.

    This is the same problem I had in the other thread–people ascribing a moral component to belief, so that professed beliefs can be stripped away if the person isn’t “good” enough.  (In that thread, someone called Romney a “believer” (quotation marks included) because he’s a liar.  I have no reason to think that Romney is lying to anyone about his faith, so he is a believer (and not a “believer”), regardless of how much of a liar or a jerk he is.)

    Long and short of it, I don’t like No True Scotsman. 

  • aunursa

    Thank you.  The misuse of scare quotes and “so-called” is also a pet peeve of mine.

  • vsm

    I’ve assumed that highlighting their theology’s incompatibility with certain parts of the Gospels is a rhetorical device to undermine Fundamentalism’s largely successful project of redefining what it means to be a real true Christian. In other words, they started it.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Who cares who started it?  This isn’t the playground.  (And if it is, then two wrongs don’t make a right.)  No True Scotsman isn’t cool no matter whose side does it.

  • Lori

    I think that in many cases the scare quotes are meant to highlight the differences between what the person claims to believe and the way they act. Person X him/herself defines Christian in a certain way and then behaves quite differently from that definition. At least that’s what I mean when I do it.

    As I’ve said, I have no interest in defining who is and is not a Real True Christian. Don’t know, don’t care. However, I do care if a person is being a hypocrite. I especially care about that hypocrisy in the context of attempts to implicitly or explicitly claim privileges because of being a Christian. So, if someone is claiming to be a special snowflake because he follows the Bible and he is not actually following the Bible I think it’s worth pointing that out. (Of course part of the reason I want to call attention to it is that I have the persistent hope that at some point enough people will notice the lack of cause & effect connection between claims of belief and actual behavior that we can stop with the special snowflake crap altogether. I like to dream big.)

    In Romney’s case I don’t think hypocrisy is really the issue. The Mormons are very big on money and they keep a lot of secrets from outsiders, so I’m not convinced that Romney’s behavior is particularly out of bounds for the religion he claims to follow. That’s why I tend not to make that particular critique of him.  Ryan on the other hand, claims religious beliefs that are in significant conflict with his behavior and his love of Ayn Rand, so I do think the hypocrisy critique applies to him.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Double post, because Disqus ate it for a second. Sorry. :(

  • JenL

    If someone called himself “Nazi” and advocated equality for all races and creeds, would you take him seriously?

    If his books were sold in Nazi bookstores, bought by millions of Nazis, and widely proclaimed (by people acknowledged to be Nazis) as representing Nazi beliefs … 

    I’d scratch my head, and I’d argue he doesn’t represent the groups’ historical beliefs, but I wouldn’t argue he doesn’t represent the modern Nazi party.

  • PJ Evans

    written by Christians for Christians

    If the main characters were better Christians, or eve Christians in anything but name, that statement would be true. As it is, it’s PR by the publishing company and the writers.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    This is what I’m talking about–the main characters are Christians.  They may be jerks, but they are jerks who believe everything they need to believe to be Christians.  Not measuring up to the moral standards that some other Christians think they should does not make them less Christians.  The fact that Mitt Romney lies does not make him a scare-quote believer.  They believe–they are believers. 

    Assigning moral definitions to Christians, such that their Christianity is stripped away when they’re not good enough, is both a faulty definition and a slap in the face to those of us of other or no beliefs, who manage to be good even though we are “unChristian.”

    Christian is not a synonym for a good person.  Believer is not a synonym for an honest person.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    The fact that Mitt Romney lies does not make him a scare-quote believer.

    The fact that his god is actually money is what makes him a scare-quote believer.

    People are not always what they claim they are. “No True Scotsman” has become a dogmatic bludgeon to pound anyone who says, “hey wait, if that person is X, they can’t possibly believe Y, because it doesn’t work that way.” A Scot is born a Scot. There are no iffy grey areas, no beliefs that you have to have to be a Scot. Christianity is a belief system. If you don’t believe in the bedrock of that belief system, you are not a Christian any more than Camille Paglia’s a feminist.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Unless I have some good evidence that Romney doesn’t believe in God, then I’m going to take his word for it that he does.  That’s the same thing I expect from believers when I say I’m an atheist.

    No True Scotsman absolutely applies in these cases.  “Oh sure, Tim LaHaye says he’s a Christian, and we have no reason to think that he doesn’t believe in God and that Jesus was his son, but he’s not a nice person, so we’re calling ‘not Christian.'”

    That is bullshit.  That is assigning moral definitions to belief systems, and it takes us right back to the days when the dictionary definition of atheist was “immoral person.”

  • vsm

    But The Bible does include certain ethical rules, along with theological claims. Why would you insist only the latter count when defining someone’s belief status?

    I’m not entirely sure where you get the part about insulting non-Christians. If we define Christian as someone who both believes the required theology and does good deeds, we are in no way implying only Christians are capable of the latter.

    Personally, I’d be happy accepting anyone calling themself a Christian as a Christian, but it’s not really my fight.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    But The Bible does include certain ethical rules, along with theological claims.

    …which depend on the individual’s interpretation.  Liberal Christians don’t generally take kindly to the idea that they are less Christians because they are, for example, pro-choice or not homophobic or in favor of no-fault divorce.

    So, we can define things by including moral issues, but I hope the liberals and moderates are happy in the endless round of “No U” that will be the result.  It’s not like any one group has managed to find the definitive interpretation of the moral teachings of the Bible.

  • PJ Evans

    I hope the liberals and moderates are happy in the endless round of “No U” that will be the result

    Thanks for insulting about half the people here. This is why I didn’t miss you.

  • vsm

    Okay, so you’re advocating for a very broad definition of ‘Christian’ because it’s the simplest and won’t cause disagreements. That’s fair enough and perfectly serviceable for non-members such as you and me. However, why should someone who defines themself as a Christian accept that definition, when their holy book places other criteria (see, for instance, Matthew 25:31-46) than simply accepting certain vague theological ideas? That different people disagree on just what those criteria are is beside the point. Arguing it would prevent disagreements is also unlikely to be persuasive at least in America, where those disagreements already exist.

    This isn’t really a case of No True Scotsman either. The person who pulls out the ‘true’ qualifier still accepts the other person as some kind of a Scotsman, albeit an inferior one.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    I’m advocating for it because it is the most correct.  I don’t think it’s fair to call someone a scare-quote believer when he is a believer who also happens to be a liar, just as I think it’s not fair to call someone a scare-quote believer when the person in question is a believer and is also pro-choice.  In both cases, the person is still a believer.  I simply don’t like people redefining words like that, especially when it appears that the only purpose it serves is to kick out the “wrong” sort of people from sharing your faith.  If someone says they are believe something, I’m going to believe him about that, absent good evidence to the contrary.

  • Nathaniel

    This. This kind of stuff is bull, even if it comes from a liberal perspective.

    Believe in the divinity and rebirth of Jesus? Then yeah, you’re a Christian. Doesn’t stop you from being a shitty human being, and being a shitty human being doesn’t prevent someone from being Christian, how ever much people may wish it.

  • vsm

    It’s certainly the most inclusive definition, but I’m afraid I still don’t see how it’s the most correct, at least from the point of view of a Christian. If accepting a few points of theology was all that was necessarily, Satan himself would count. I don’t consider wanting to kick certain people out of your movement necessarily bad either. That’s exactly how Christian dogma was formed in the first place.

  • Lori

    But which version of Christian dogma are we do accept and use as a guide for has and had not been kicked out? What Christians do in-house so to speak is up to them, but expecting everyone to buy into the idea that only good people (for whatever values of good the speaker chooses) are Christians is just not on.

    Saying “not all Christians agree with that” or “Not all Christians are like that” is fine, but saying “Anyone who says/does that isn’t a Christian at all, no matter what they call themselves” gets into problem territory really, really quickly.

    And yes, the whole line of reasoning is insulting to people of other faiths or no faith. It’s basically saying that all the bad people must be either some faith other than Christian or they’re nonbelievers because they can’t be Christians. That’s mighty convenient for Christians, but as a basis for public discourse it’s beyond shitty.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    And yes, the whole line of reasoning is insulting to people of other faiths or no faith. It’s basically saying that all the bad people must be either some faith other than Christian or they’re nonbelievers because they can’t be Christians. That’s mighty convenient for Christians, but as a basis for public discourse it’s beyond shitty.

    Yes, this exactly.

  • vsm

    I pretty much agree with you, actually. Like I said earlier, I’m perfectly willing to count anyone who wants to be a Christian as one. My problem was that Ruby_Tea seemed to want Christians to do the same, which I don’t think is reasonable.

    In a broader sense, who gets to be a member of an intellectual tradition is an interesting question. Was Pol Pot a Marxist, despite systematically destroying his country’s industry? If you’re a feminist who sees equality as the movement’s defining goal, can you exclude female supremacists like Mary Daly? Do Christians have to accept Anders Behring Breivik as one of theirs, despite his actions breaking the ethics of every single strain of Christianity?

  • vsm

    Also, I should have probably clarified that if tomorrow the Progressive Pope of America decided to excommunicate anyone who ever voted Republican, I would lose a lot of respect for the new institution. However, if the letters of excommunication were only sent to various people with the last name Phelps, I’d find it perfectly acceptable. You can’t disown everyone from your tradition you disagree with, but neither do you have to accept responsibility for every single whackjob who happens to like the sound of your group. (Not that Mary Daly was one.) I also find it much more acceptable to describe acts and creations as non-X, rather than the people responsible for them.

  • Lori

     

    My problem was that Ruby_Tea seemed to want Christians to do the same, which I don’t think is reasonable. 

    If this was a discussion board about Christian dogma I’d say this would make sense, because it would be an in-house issue. In the context of the kind of broad discussion we have here I think it’s not.

    L&J’s beliefs are obviously repulsive to some Christians, but equally obviously they are very representative of a certain strain of US Christianity. In a broad-based discussion of their work I don’t see how it’s sensible or reasonable to call them “Christians” or so-called Christians. They’re Christians. They believe in the Biblical God and the divinity of Jesus and they follow their interpretation of the New Testament. Christians.

    Mitt Romney is a member of a Christian faith. It’s rather unorthodox due to the whole Book of Mormon business, but it’s still a Christian faith. AFAICT he’s actually a Mormon and isn’t just fronting for some reason. That means that he’s not a “Christian” or a so-called Christian, he’s a Christian. That’s true even though he’s a heartless, greedy jackass. He’s a heartless, greedy Christian jackass. Same goes for Paul Ryan. I’m sure some Catholics consider him a very bad Catholic, but he’s still a Catholic. Except in the sense I mentioned earlier about using it as an indication of hypocricy, calling him a “Christian” serves no good purpose. It simply furthers the highly problematic notion that the Venn diagram of bad people and Christians is 2 circles that don’t touch. That diagram is actually 2 circles with considerable overlap. Leaving off the scare quotes and the so-calleds is simply acknowledging that.

  • Lori

    If you’re a feminist who sees equality as the movement’s defining goal, can you exclude female supremacists like Mary Daly? 

    This is obviously a huge discussion and I could make arguments for both sides, but I’m not sure how productive it would be. The most I would say is that I’m a feminist and I disagree with her and with anyone who says that all feminists are female supremacists.

    Do Christians have to accept Anders Behring Breivik as one of theirs,
    despite his actions breaking the ethics of every single strain of
    Christianity? 

    I have no direct proof, but I find it highly unlikely that the Christian Identity folks have any major beef with Anders Behring Breivik.

    There are a lot of strains of Christianity, is what I’m saying.

  • vsm

    It’s complicated. You’re absolutely right in saying it’s problematic to claim bad people can’t be Christian, and making such pronouncements about the other party’s candidates means doing the exact same thing as those preachers who’ve turned Evangelical Christianity into the Republican Party’s propaganda wing. However, the Bible is an important source of authority in American culture, so it makes perfect sense to point out that you can’t serve both God and Ayn Rand when someone claims to do so. I’m not really sure what would be the right approach to Ryan now that he’s repudiated her in public but hasn’t in any significant way altered his thinking, though. Being too aggressive on the point would come off as religious bullying.

    How would you feel about Christians refusing to accept the Christian Identity folks into the fold? They are obviously against universalism, which is a rather important part of Christian theology.

  • Lori

    I think the right approach to Ryan is to just to keep pointing out exactly what you said. That he’s paid lip service to repudiating Rand, but hasn’t actually changed any of the positions that clearly have their origin in her writings and that Rand isn’t compatible with Catholic doctrine.  I don’t see how that’s more religious bullying than saying that he’s not actually a Christian.

    As for Christians refusing to acknowledge Christian Identity I’d say the same thing that I said about feminism and female supremacy—it’s totally fair and reasonable to say that you believe universalism is a fundamental point of the Christian faith and therefore you have a huge point of divergence with Christian Identity and that it’s wrong for anyone to believe that all Christians hold with Christian Identity’s particular beliefs. I don’t think you can really go beyond that in a general context. They worship the same God, read the same scriptures and acknowledge the divinity of Jesus. Christians. Creepy, hateful, dangerous, vile Christians, but Christians.

    I don’t think I’ve ever self-identified as a member of any general group that didn’t include some people I’d rather disown. That doesn’t mean that I actually get to do that. As an example, I don’t want to call the poster by name for fear of invoking her, but we’ve had visits here from an incredibly rude, ignorant atheist who has said things I totally disagree with. I have responded to her by basically saying, “You are rude and ignorant and you’re making the rest of us look bad. Please to be shutting up now and going away.” What I never even tried to say was that she wasn’t an atheist. She believes there are no gods. She’s an atheist. We have that in common whether I like it or not. (I don’t.)

    You can pick your friends, but you just can’t decide who is and isn’t X when X is a large group or movement. 

  • vsm

    Insisting that he is not a Christian would undoubtedly be religious bullying. I don’t really know how criticizing a candidate’s politics based on their religion would fly, at least if it came from outside the church.

    I don’t think atheism’s a very good example here, since the list of required positions is so brief and unambiguous. If you think or are pretty sure there are no gods, you are a member. However, what exactly makes someone a Christian, Feminist or a Marxist is a much more difficult question to answer. Mormons, for instance, have their own post script scripture and a different view of the Trinity*. When someone differs with the mainstream on issues as basic as that, or the Great Commission in the case of Christian Identity, I wouldn’t fault the majority for not wanting to associate with them.

    *This is why my old schoolbooks listed LDS as a religion influenced by Christianity rather than a form of Christianity, along with Jehovah’s Witnesses and the followers of Reverend Moon**. I was actually surprised that so many Americans do count them.

    **Who has apparently just died.

  • Lori

     

    I don’t really know how criticizing a candidate’s politics based on
    their religion would fly, at least if it came from outside the church.  

    This is an issue where I know my own views are not necessarily in line with prevailing opinion, but I think if a candidate makes his/her religion an issue then it’s fine to comment on it provided that one fights’ fair. Ryan has used his Christianity as a selling point so he made it an issue. Doing that and then claiming that other people aren’t allowed to discuss it is, IMO, just bull.

    By fighting fair I mean that it’s fine to point out areas where Ryan’s self-identified Catholic beliefs are in conflict with his policy proposals. What isn’t OK is using dog whistles to stir up anti-Catholic bias.

    The same applies to Romney. I think it’s fair to ask if Romney actually tithes 10% to the church as he claims. At one point he agreed, and said that because he had publicly made that claim, voters had a perfect right to judge him based on whether or not he actually did it. Of course he’s now flip-flopped on that like everything else and questions about his religion and his tax returns are supposedly off the table. I call shenanigans on that crap.

    What I don’t think is OK is people implying that there’s something wrong with Romney because his grandfather was a polygamist. He’s not his grandfather, polygamy is no longer offical LDS policy and Mitt only has one wife. Bringing up the issue is just a cheap shot designed to push the “Mormons are weird” button and that’s not cool. I think cracks about magic underwear are over the line for the same reason. Every religion has rituals that seem freakish to outsiders. Bringing up the underwear thing is just a way to Other Mormons and that’s not cool. Romney is totally unfit to be president, but his underwear has nothing to do with that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Actually, Jewish people have had real concerns about Mormons effectively trying to ‘erase’ the Jewishness of some ancestors by rebaptizing dead people into the Mormon faith.

    Religious customs should not be given a free pass just because at first glance they seem harmless.

  • Lori

    I was speaking in a specifically political context. Unless there’s evidence that Mitt Romney has been rebatizing Jews or he makes it an issue in some way I’d say that it doesn’t really have a place in the campaign. I also don’t think people should be going around saying that Paul Ryan shouldn’t be VP because of the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church. If Ryan comes out in support of pedophile priests then it’s on, but otherwise I don’t think he’s obligated to answer for that during the campaign.

    “Not fair game for a particular person’s political campaign” =/= “general free pass”.

  • Dash1

     Actually, I’d like to see people held to account a bit more for the beliefs and practices of their religions. I’m not terribly interested in Mitt’s underwear or his belief about whether he will ultimately be a god himself, nor did/do I care what John Kerry thinks about Ignatius Loyola or the Virgin Birth.

    But both men are adherents, voluntarily, of religions that have as an element of belief (to take one example) that women lack a spiritual competence that men have. I would want to know whether they believed that (since not all adherents believe all aspects of a religion), because such a belief might affect the way they represent or think about the interests of women, and remaining with a religion that holds such a belief says something about what they think is important.  Similarly, I would regard it as worthwhile to know what Romney thought about the dictates of his church up to the point where the decision was made to stop excluding Black men from the priesthood.

    Religion is important. It informs how people live and has an impact on what they consider important. And it seems to me valid to ask about how people who want to make decisions about how others will live relate to certain specific tenets and stances of their chosen religions.

  • vsm

    Wouldn’t examining their voting record give you pretty much the same information, with the additional benefit of not demanding them to publicly speak against their religion right before an election?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I prefer this approach as well. It would seem weird to me to sidestep a politician’s words and actions in favor of scrutinizing some of the tenets of their faith. Heck, especially in the world today, two people can be of the same religion will being as different as possible. Tim LaHaye and Fred Clark would both self-identify as evangelical American Christians but it would not be safe to assume that they agree on much politically based just on that.

    That’s not to say that religion can’t be part of that calculus, but if you already have information on someone’s voting record available that’s a much more direct and reliable test in my opinion. John Kerry might be personally Catholic, but he’s a vigorous opponent of abortion restrictions, backs same-sex marriage, and supports comprehensive sex education (instead of abstinence-only). I don’t need him to certify that he won’t try to impose his Catholic faith on everyone through legislation since he, well, hasn’t, in the roughly 30 years that he has spent in Congress.

    (The religion thing also makes me queasy because it sounds uncomfortably like the times when Glenn Beck and Michele Bachmann called on American Muslim federal employees Rep. Keith Ellison and Huma Abedin to certify that they are not in league with Islamic terrorist groups.)

  • Carstonio

    I have that same queasines, particularly since I’ve seen too many “you can’t be Catholic and pro-choice” bumper stickers. It also reminds me of the tactic by anti-theists of challenging Christians to reject, say, the barbarity of Leviticus. Not only has Kerry taken pro-woman positions, to my knowledge he’s never campaigned on his Catholicism. I might appreciate questions about a candidate’s religion if zie was using it as a selling point.

  • PJ Evans

     The problem is that Rmoney effectively has no voting record; he’s been governor of Massachusetts, no other elected positions.

  • CharityB

    Fair enough, but being the head of the executive branch of a state is a pretty good indicator. You can also look at his statements (at least, his current statements of belief, which admittedly are of limited value), and, of course, look at the platform of the Republican Party and especially the voting records of his main political supporters in Congress (who will control much of Romney’s agenda and determine how much he will actually be able to do). Religion *can* be a part of that but, really, is the social conservatism of Mitt Romney really *that* different from that of other, more ‘mainstream’ right-wing Christians? 

    (Honestly, I can’t tell the difference between an anti-gay Mormon and an anti-gay Southern Baptists — the actions, beliefs, and effects are identical to me.)

  • Dash1

     I don’t think the voting record alone would do it: sometimes there isn’t much of a voting record, and sometimes people vote for specific bills for reasons having little to do with the content of those bills.

    And, as I said, I think religion is important enough that it’s worth asking about. We don’t, after all, have trouble asking a politician why he’s a member of a club that doesn’t admit women or non-whites.  Religion is more important, and a more basic part of a person’s mental make-up, than club membership.

    Politicians have no trouble using religion when it suits them. I’m just suggesting that we eliminate the “when it suits them” part.

    I notice that you consider questions about a candidate’s religion as essentially asking them to “publicly speak against their religion”–that is, as by definition “gotcha” questions.  Is that really necessarily the case?

  • Lori

     

    Politicians have no trouble using religion when it suits them. I’m just
    suggesting that we eliminate the “when it suits them” part.  

    I would far, far rather that we eliminate the “using religion” part. Our elections are already have way too much religion, we don’t need any more.

  • vsm

    Politicians have no trouble using religion when it suits them. I’m
    just suggesting that we eliminate the “when it suits them” part.

    If you do that, you’re going to be hurting liberal politicians a lot harder than conservatives. Mitt Romney could survive saying he considers women less spiritually capable than men, though he probably wouldn’t be nearly as blunt. John Kerry would have a much more difficult time of answering the same question. In his case, it would most likely be a gotcha question.

    Asking such questions from Mormon and Catholic politicians is kind of questionable, by the way, considering how members of those faiths have been hounded as improper Americans. Anyone who’d ask the question you suggest of a liberal Catholic candidate with a decent pro-feminist voting record would be invoking that nasty history.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    Plus, we already do that to Mormons, Catholics, and now Muslims (Glenn Beck to Keith Ellison: “Prove to me that you’re not working with our enemies, sir.”) Is it really a good idea to formalize and encourage it?

  • JenL

    Wouldn’t examining their voting record give you pretty much the same information, with the additional benefit of not demanding them to publicly speak against their religion right before an election?

    Mitt Romney doesn’t exactly have a decades-long voting record to judge from.

  • JenL

    What I don’t think is OK is people implying that there’s something wrong with Romney because his grandfather was a polygamist.

    I haven’t seen people saying there’s something wrong with Romney because his grandfather was a polygamist – what I’ve seen is pointing out that he ignores his own fairly recent family history when he claims that his reason for opposing gay marriage is that marriage has been defined as one man and one woman for 3000 years.

    And you’ve got to admit that a picture of his grandpa’s family is an effective rebuttal to a quote about how marriage has been defined for thousands of years. 

  • Lori

    Sorry about leaving this off earlier. I got distracted by something going on IRL and dropped a mental thread.

     

    Mormons, for instance, have their own post script scripture and a
    different view of the Trinity*. When someone differs with the mainstream
    on issues as basic as that, or the Great Commission in the case of
    Christian Identity, I wouldn’t fault the majority for not wanting to
    associate with them.  

    It’s not as if all Christians except the Mormons have the same view of the Trinity and people don’t all interpret the Great Commission the same way either, so I remain unconvinced that those issues are where the Christian/Not Christian line should be drawn. 

    I’ve forgotten much of what I once knew about the finer points of JW theology so I don’t have an opinion about that one. The Moonies are a personality cult. Do they even claim to be Christians?

    I understand not wanting to associate with certain people, I just don’t think that some Christians’ desire not to associate with certain folks is actually a legitimate metric for declaring those folks not Christians. There be dragons (of more than one sort). 

  • vsm

    Sorry about leaving this off earlier.

    No problem. I had to sleep anyway.

    I remain unconvinced that those issues are where the Christian/Not Christian line should be drawn.

    While there are differences between orthodox Christians in how to interpret these (that damn Filioque), Mormonism and Christian Identity differ radically in their interpretations. Mormonism views the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost as distinct gods, only worships the Father (I think?) and holds that humans can become gods. That’s very far from mainstream Christianity. I also see having your own unique scripture as a rather big deal, though there are also some differences in what orthodox Christians accept as canonical. Christian Identity people assume the “all nations” bit of the Great Commission actually excludes the vast majority of nations. That too is a radical departure.
    I don’t think Mormonism is inherently worse or sillier than orthodox Christianity, but I do see it as quite different and wouldn’t blame any Christian who didn’t consider them fellow believers, as long as they remained respectful. As for the Moonies, the full name of their church is The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, so apparently they do consider themselves Christian.I think you’re absolutely correct regarding religion and political campaigning. I’m sorry I have nothing more interesting to say to such a well-considered post.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    I don’t think Mormonism is inherently worse or sillier than orthodox Christianity, but I do see it as quite different and wouldn’t blame any Christian who didn’t consider them fellow believers, as long as they remained respectful.

    *raises hand* I wouldn’t consider Mormons to be Christians, for the record.

    As for the rest of this discussion: I hate having to let horrible people say they’re Christians, but I agree with esmerelda_ogg that it’s not my call. Generally, I just go with the Ichthus thing: “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour”. Anyone who’d believe that much and called themselves a Christian, I’ll agree that they are, even if their beliefs differ wildly from mine in every other way.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I wouldn’t consider Mormons to be Christians, for the record.

    […] Generally, I just go with the Ichthus thing: “Jesus Christ, Son of
    God, Saviour”. Anyone who’d believe that much and called themselves a
    Christian, I’ll agree that they are, even if their beliefs differ wildly
    from mine in every other way

    My understanding is that these statements contradict.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Kinda depends on how you define “Christ”, “Son”, and “God”. I mean, when your understanding of those terms differs wildly from mine, then saying “we both believe that Jesus is the Son of God!” becomes kinda meaningless.

    I’ve discussed all this with some ex-Mormons (now atheists) who, when I asked if they’d consider Mormons to be Christian said no and started listing bullet-points of why not…

  • ohiolibrarian

     

    Mormons, for instance, have their own post script scripture and a different view of the Trinity*.

    Orthodox Christians also have a different view of the Trinity than either Catholics or Protestants. What did your text say about them?

    Just curious …

  • Lori

     

    Christian is not a synonym for a good person.  Believer is not a synonym for an honest person.   

    This is absolutely true and I totally agree with you about hating the fact that the terms of the debate have been set in this way.

    Is there a good, not overly wordy way to express disdain for the hypocrisy issue without seeming to implicitly buy into the the idea that Christians are good by definition and anyone who isn’t good is therefore not a Christian?

  • PJ Evans

     They don’t measure to any standard of Christianity but the one defined  by the RTCs. Which tends to ignore everything that Jesus actually taught, so (IMO) NO, they aren’t Christians, but ‘Christians’.

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    And the RTCs think that the liberals are ignoring what the Bible teaches.  Works both ways, which is kinda my point.

    Thanks for insulting about half the people here. This is why I didn’t miss you.

    Yep, I’m so sorry for thinking that people should stop playing No True Scotsman with religious beliefs. 

    I guess if I remembered you or anything you had ever said to me, I would be insulted.  Then again, you can’t please everyone in life.

  • PJ Evans

    This is why I left the old site: you push too damned many buttons with your attitudes and self-important opinions. And none of them are good buttons: they make YOU look bad.

  • Lori

    WTH PJ? I mean really, WTH?

  • http://heathencritique.wordpress.com/ Ruby_Tea

    Really?  Huh.  Well, I guess I should apologize for being so terribly important in your life that I made you leave a whole site.

    So, um, sorry?

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    They’re written by people who call themselves Christians for other people who call themselves Christians. I don’t think “No True Scotsman” applies to a chosen value system. And I don’t think people whose philosophy is based entirely on hate are Christians. Being Christian means attempting to follow Jesus Christ.

    I’m an atheist. If someone who believed in Ishtar claimed to be an atheist, they’d be lying about what they were. 

  • Tricksterson

    Are we sure he has one?

  • aunursa

    Haven’t any of his RTC audience been squicked by the way Rayford cheers on Buck even before Rafe realizes Buck wasn’t two-timing her?

    Rayford knew all along … because he took a peek at the later chapters.

  • Tricksterson

    And he knows who Buck’s true love is and it and it ain’t Chloe.

  • Gospodin Dangling-Participle

     [quote]And he knows who Buck’s true love is and it and it ain’t Chloe.[/quote]

    The English Beat had Buck’s number back in 1980: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYYVJnaoAww

  • Joe Hill

    I got a story I hope some of the commentators might enjoy.  

    Recently I was reading Writing Fiction For Dummies as a palette cleanser between books. I’m not seriously considering writing any novels any time soon but I like learning the techniques.  Anyway, I get to this section on different approaches to writing and one method is called SOTP, Seat-of-the-pants.  This is the method whereby one does little if any planning; they simply sit down and start writing.  Then I read this sentence.  

    Jerry Jenkins, author of the Left Behind series, is a seat-of-the-pants writer.  

    YOU DON’T SAY!! I never would have guessed!

    On this specific article, I just wanted to say that I have yet to see ANYONE in this book act like there’s a nuclear war going on.  I mean even when people are TALKING about the bombings and the attacks it feels like it’s just no big deal to them.  

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    There’s nothing wrong with being an SOTP writer. It just means you have to edit more than perhaps you otherwise would — 6 drafts instead of 4, possibly. If that’s the best way someone can get that first draft out, then that’s the best way for them to do it. It’s how I mostly get my first drafts out, actually. Since I enjoy editing, and tend to get tangled up in “what ifs” when I plan first, it’s what works for me.

    However, if a writer doesn’t edit, it’s not a good way for them to write. It’s bad enough for a writer who plans things out not to edit, unless said writer is Graham Greene. For someone who creates plot and character through the act of writing, it’s even worse. As we see with Jerry Jenkins.

  • PJ Evans

     The only time you can do SOTP without editing is when you’re doing something that’s not intended to be either serious or publishable writing – something like a one-shot at a party, where everyone can have a turn at writing a few sentences. (It can be a lot of fun, too.)

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I think the key thing Jenkins forgot about SOTP is you still need to edit the thing afterwards to file off all the rough edges.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sue-White/1605859612 Sue White

    He loved this woman, but

    Sentences that start this way rarely end well.

    He loved this woman, BUT she needed to be kept in her proper place.

    she was ten years his junior

    Again with the age thing.  He would hate it just as much if she were older.

    and he hated when it seemed as if she was telling him what to do,

    Because expressing an opinion or concern is the same as telling people what to do, and that’s a MAN’S job.

    especially when she was right.

    I notice that his “ego crisis” never leads to a moment of humility or insight.  Just grudgingly admitting to himself that she’s right.

  • hidden_urchin

    Since we were talking about authors being the gods of their universes earlier I figured I’d post a book recommendation for those of you who are science fiction fans.  Check out John Scalzi’s Redshirts.  It’s pretty much about a universe where the lives of the characters are controlled (unknowingly) by the writer of a bad sci-fi show.  Since they’re all redshirts, destined to die for dramatic purposes on the show, they have to come up with a way around it.

    These characters have a lot more heart than any of the ones in the LB ‘verse and it’s pretty funny too.

  • vsm

    It’s a pretty common idea in post-modern fiction in general. I’ve always liked Kurt Vonnegut’s take on it in Breakfast of Champions, where the author-god is Kurt Vonnegut. The novel ends with him freeing his characters.

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

    Saying “not all Christians agree with that” or “Not all Christians are
    like that” is fine, but saying “Anyone who says/does that isn’t a
    Christian at all, no matter what they call themselves” gets into problem
    territory really, really quickly.

    Lori – Thank you for finding a clear way to say what has been bothering me about this discussion. As a Christian of the liberal – Episcopalian – flavor, on one hand I’m very uneasy about announcing “so-and-so isn’t really a Christian”; from my point of view, that’s claiming I get to make decrees about things that are finally up to God. (And yeah, I have a Really Hard Time stretching that as far as the likes of Westboro Baptist Church. But it’s still not, ultimately, my call.)

    On the other hand, I do get very very tired of the way the media has, on the whole, bought into the Christian Right’s claim that their version of Christianity – fundamentalist, judgmental, patriarchal, militarist, and antiscience – is the official only version. And, not to stir up more arguments, but there are also writers like Dawkins who would strongly prefer to agree with the Christian Right on this; I don’t like being No True Scotsmanned out of my own religion, whether by hostile insiders or hostile outsiders.

    Not all Christians are like the right wing.

  • Nathaniel

     That’s fine. There is a difference between saying “not all Christians are like that” and “Christians are good people. Therefore if someone isn’t good they aren’t a Christian.”

  • http://newpillowbook.wordpress.com/2012/05/11/friday-fictioneers-lunacy/ esmerelda_ogg

     Nathaniel – yes, I agree. I’m specifically saying that I don’t dare claim that somebody I consider not-good, like Westboro Baptist (to be clear, these are the “God-hates-fags” funeral protesters) is therefore not a Christian. Again, as I see the universe, it’s God who gets to draw those lines.

    But admitting that some Christians fall in the politicized right wing in ways that appall me doesn’t mean I have to say that ONLY the right-wing, politicized churches are Christian.

  • El Durazno de la Muerte

    The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.

    So much for a literal interpretation.

    “HATTIE DURHAM HEEDS THE CALL OF THE LAST PRIME.”

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    The authors would, of course, insist that they’re poking fun at Buck here, and that this “ego crisis” is a foible of his. In just the same way all those pastors and politicians always pretend they’re poking fun at their own “egos” rather than flexing them by making all those similarly disingenuous comments at the expense of their wives, asserting a claim of dominance by portraying even common decency and fairness as expressions of magnanimous, benevolent condescension. Such magnanimity is, of course, what every husband owes to the little lady, but silly me, sometimes my ego gets in the way and I forget to show it — so the joke’s on me!

    Sounds like Buck needs to be rescued by, Capable Woman!

  • Dash1

    First of all, I agree with Lori, vsm, Charity Brighton, and anyone whose name I missed that in practical terms, asking candidates questions about whether they agree with the philosophical stances of their religions is problematic. And, as vsm points out, it would certainly hurt liberal candidates more than conservative ones. (For this reason alone, it is fortunate that I am not in charge of the presidential debates.)

    I also see it running afoul of the “no religious test” rule, to which I am very attached.

    On the other hand, by ignoring religion, particularly on the part of self-identifiedly devout candidates, we pretend that religion has no affect. If Paul Ryan says he got most of his ideas from Ayn Rand, I think he can reasonably be asked about Ayn Rand, and if reporters ever get around to asking questions of substance, they will probably ask him about Ayn Rand and not feel like they’re treading on forbidden territory. My point is that one’s religion also represents a philosophy. (Actually, I doubt Ryan would feel at all uncomfortable aligning himself with most of the current positions of the Vatican hierarchy.)

    As to whether it’s somehow more wrong to ask it of Catholics and Mormons, I’m not sure I’d agree with you, vsm. True, some people are still pretty ignorant of Mormonism, but to a large degree I think the people who would view them as “not real Americans” are probably the fundagelicals, who, by “not real Americans” mean “not my kind of Christian.” (If it comes to that, a group of the people who have been hounding people for not being “real” Americans tend to be disproportionately . . . Mormon!) And I think the composition of the Supreme Court indicates pretty well that Catholics are no longer considered “not real Americans.”

    But, while we’re speaking of practical applications, I suspect that avowed
    atheists get asked about their atheism much more than most
    religious people about their religion. As Charity Brighton points out, Keith Ellison (a man of astonishing patience) gets asked this question regularly. And of course, Obama was
    expected to talk about his agreement or lack thereof with Jeremiah
    Wright’s sermons. So it’s not like it’s not happening now. It’s just happening to some people and not to others.

  • vsm

    Dash1: I’m probably not the most qualified person to assess race relations in the US, never even having visited and all. However, it is not difficult to run into anti-Catholic or anti-Mormon sentiments when studying American culture. Granted, most of these voices come from the right, but progressives can accidentally tap into that well as well. Implying Catholics should leave the Church over its abuses can come close to this.

    ohiolibrarian: I assume the definition of Christianity used for those schoolbooks was rather broad. Having a different understanding of the Trinity was acceptable, as long as you didn’t claim it consisted of three distinct gods as the Mormons seem to do. Incidentally, the Orthodox Church is one of two state religions where I live, so calling it non-Christian in the religious studies program meant for the Evangelical Lutherans would have caused a huge scandal.

  • vsm

    …I have no idea why I wrote race relations. I obviously meant to talk about religion.

  • Dash1

     

    I’m probably not the most qualified person to assess race relations in
    the US, never even having visited and all.

    A good reason to be somewhat cautious. It’s a large and diverse country and while, I grant you, we do tend to export a lot of our cultural products, whatever you see representing the U.S. as viewed by Hollywood should be taken with quite a lot of salt.

    However, it is not difficult
    to run into anti-Catholic or anti-Mormon sentiments when studying
    American culture. Granted, most of these voices come from the right, but
    progressives can accidentally tap into that well as well. Implying
    Catholics should leave the Church over its abuses can come close to
    this.

    I’d like to be just a bit more cautious about the language used here. The phrasing “anti-X” can easily connote that we are not talking about coherent and logical objections to the positions or practices of a particular organization, but rather simply having a knee-jerk response. The term “sentiment” suggests that that is what you are talking about, and I don’t for a moment question that there are people who deeply mistrust Mormons without knowing much about them; the same is true for Catholics, although, I think, to a far lesser extent than was true just a few decades ago. So much depends on the cultural material you’re looking at.

    So I want to distinguish between principled objection to positions or practices and “anti-X sentiments.” And I don’t think progressives only object to particular religions “accidentally.” Many progressives have a principled and logical objection to the positions taken by the Mormon and Catholic churches (as well as to those taken by the Christian Right, etc.).

    Heck, I don’t think conservatives only object to particular religions “accidentally.”

  • vsm

    Mind you, Hollywood is not my sole source of information of US culture. I follow the news closely and read blogs, magazines and books for analysis. Still, I realize I will be wrong on several points.

    I think the problem with criticizing Catholicism is how closely the faith is tied to the institution. If you’re a Protestant and your church commits horrific deeds, you could walk out and find a different church with more or less the same history, theology and rituals. It doesn’t work quite like that to Catholics, even though there are things like Anglo-Catholicism and so on. When criticizing the Catholic Church, this should be kept in mind. I’m not saying any aspect of the CC is beyond criticism, but that one should be careful not to slip close to bigotry. Which seems to be what you are thinking as well.

    I don’t know, my interest in British and Irish literature may have left me with too much sympathy for Catholicism.

  • Dash1

     Blogs? Oh dear. I’m afraid too much of that would leave you with the impression that the best choice would simply be to eradicate about half the U.S. (which half would depend on your own preferences) and start over. And, since we are at the moment having our political conventions, I’d agree with you.

    I think, as you suggest, that we’re really not in disagreement. It would be unacceptable, in my view, for someone to say (or think), “This person is a Mormon (or a Catholic or a Pentecostal or an atheist). I shall not, for that very reason, hire them.”  And downright stupid to say, “I shall not, for that very reason, be friends with them.” On the other hand, a woman who intends to have children might reasonably ask what her doctor’s position is on how to proceed if the pregnancy hits a point where it threatens her life. And it is simply a fact that many women (not, in my view, unreasonably) make a point, if their pregnancy runs into serious trouble, of trying to get to a hospital not affiliated with the Catholic church. Just as, if you’re a gay member of the armed forces and your relationship with your spouse or partner is going through a rough patch, you may want to be cautious about seeking counseling from a Southern Baptist chaplain (if indeed you have a choice).

     When a member of my religious group was proposed for a position on a federal commission charged with insuring equal opportunity for women (among others), I phoned my congressman’s office to let him know that this particular group believes that women should not “usurp authority over men,” and that for many members, that does not stop at the church door. I wouldn’t have wanted him to vote against the man solely on the grounds that he’s a member of X group, but I would certainly want him to press him on the subject of equal opportunity for women in the secular world. Sarah Palin’s religious views include the idea that demons have a real effect on the world and that they sometimes need to be cast out. It’s not unreasonable to take that into account when considering her for what might have amounted to the presidency.

    So we’re back to the fact that religious affiliation is often at least a potential indicator of personal philosophy. And, while I am puzzled by my Catholic and Mormon friends’ inability to conceive of another church as an option, I recognize that that’s a portion of their worldview that they arrive at not entirely illogically, and that I will not, on a gut level, understand.

    Also, I think I can say with confidence that we have pretty much gotten past the “No Irish Need Apply” period Mark Twain wrote about.

  • vsm

    Blogs are indeed better for smaller insights and interesting fringe phenomena, like left-wing Evangelical Buffy fans, but surely those too have their place in a decent view of the United States.

    I pretty much agree with you on your examples. Obviously you can be a bit more direct in your questions when you’re interviewing someone privately like in your first case, though it is important to ascertain any presidential candidate’s attitude to women. The question doesn’t necessarily have to be asked in terms of religion, however.

    Oh, I wouldn’t imagine the Irish are still an oppressed minority. They’re a frequent example of how race is a social construct even here. However, reading all that literature and being from a country where everyone switched to Protestantism with very little drama can leave you with a much more positive attitude to the CC than, say, extensively studying the history of Spain.

  • Dash1

     Good points. Actually, though, it’s illegal to ask about someone’s religion when you’re hiring them for most positions.

    What country, may I ask (re switching to Protestantism with very little drama)?

  • vsm

    That would be Finland. Imposing a new religion is much easier when you’re dealing with an obscure Swedish province filled with half-pagan peasants and poorly-educated yet pragmatic priests. Finnish and Swedish soldiers did fight in the Thirty Years’ War, but there wasn’t much internal strife, aside from one king who wanted to negotiate a compromise with the Pope but failed.

  • Dash1

     A belated thank-you for your reply. I have a good friend who’s a native speaker of Finnish–he grew up on a farm in Michigan, where there was quite a population of Finnish speakers before they all switched to English, probably mostly due to the public school system.

    Iceland probably gets the prize for easiest and fastest shift to a new religion.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    Oh hey. This here:

    It’s a plan, then. Chloe will edit and rewrite 5,000 pages by Sunday, and then, “within a week or so,” she’ll have it all retyped and they can then make copies, bind them, and distribute them to all members of New Hope Village Church, each of whom will then have the chance to read through all 5,000 pages at their leisure. Because that’s clearly the easiest way to get the word out.

    This here just crystalized something for me. Something that explains the obsession over communication methods and transportation.

    The authors of these books were trying to write their own Dracula. Chloe is their Mina Harker.

    They’re not doing a good job of it, of course. And they’re loads more sexist than Stoker, despite writing more than a century after him. But I think Chloe could be a fabulous Mina, if only the authors would get out of her way and let her do it.

  • everstar

     One of the things that makes me laugh when I read Dracula is how utterly screwed Team Van Helsing would have been without Mina.  The way Team Van Helsing utterly fails to take preventative measures against Dracula entering the asylum even though they a) know he lives next door and b) has on-going contact with an inmate?  The way they completely miss Mina’s blood loss and lethargy being similar to Lucy’s despite Seward being Lucy’s physician of record?  I love how it’s cutting edge with its technology–telegraphs!  typewriters!  blood transfusions!–but can’t manage basic deduction.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

     

    I love how it’s cutting edge with its technology–telegraphs! 
    typewriters!  blood transfusions!–but can’t manage basic deduction.

    The Idiot Ball* transcends time and place. But I think the fact that Stoker gives Mina, a female character, the job of deflating the Idiot Ball and thus assuring victory, indicates that Stoker was miles ahead of LaHaye/Jenkins in terms of respect for women, no matter what lines he puts in the mouths of his male characters.

    *Warning: Link goes to TV Tropes. Please pack adequate supplies before setting out on your journey.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Didn’t Jefferson get attacked on the basis of his religious beliefs?  I think this horse left the barn about  200 years ago.

  • hf

    That thing needs a name. Maybe if we can figure out what to call it, we can figure out how to kill it.

    Isn’t it just male cattiness?

    I guess I’m assuming they want to make the women look bad, eg uppity or nagging, but somehow they can’t say it explicitly.

  • hf

    Ryan’s remarks about Ayn Rand: It’s like someone who points out the known human tendency-to-anthropomorphize-without-cause, and publicly adjusts or explains some of their beliefs accordingly, but then fails to apply the same epistemology in a closely related case.

    On Mormons: Their beliefs seem sillier than evangelicalism or Catholicism in the sense that they add even more details without sufficient evidence. But they also have a much better approach to the Trinity. By this I mean they haven’t systematically condemned or marginalized every self-consistent answer, the way the Catholic Church has.

  • Dash1

    BTW, I suspect most people have moved on from this thread, but an excellent writer who is also a “Cafeteria Mormon” is Terry Tempest Williams. I’m really pleased to see that she has a new book out.


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