NRA: Reach out and touch someone

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 56-63

Here we go with the big action sequence — complete with a high-speed car chase. This being a Left Behind novel, of course, the car chase is conveyed second-hand, over the phone.

This is action in Jerry Jenkins’ signature style. That means speed-dial, re-dial, 411, powerful people on hold and all the pulse-pounding voicemail excitement readers can handle. We’re talking more than a dozen phone calls in eight pages — plus a dollop of medieval anti-Semitism, a steady stream of gratuitous misogyny, and the destruction of yet another great American city.

The action is off the hook.

Buck Williams arrives at the Chicago Bureau office of his news company just as the city of Chicago is under attack. A missile strike flattened a hospital, killing hundreds of innocent civilians. A bomb — possibly even a nuclear bomb — has destroyed O’Hare International Airport. But Buck hasn’t gone to his Chicago Bureau office to report on any of that. He’s just dropping by to make some personal phone calls.

It tells us all we need to know about Global Community Weekly under Buck’s guidance that his arrival doesn’t even prompt his staff to pretend to look busy. They’re huddled around a TV, watching CNN’s report on the attacks on Chicago. CNN is reporting from the scene. The Weekly’s Chicago staff is watching CNN.

The only person in the office who actually seemed to be working when Buck arrived was Verna Zee. Buck promptly commandeers her telephone and kicks her out of her office.

We’re not supposed to like Verna Zee because she has sensible shoes, a vagina, and little patience for missed deadlines or insubordination. When her former boss disappeared in the Rapture, Verna stepped up and kept the office running throughout the crisis. Buck resents her for that, and apparently we readers are supposed to resent her as well. We’re expected to cheer every contemptuous thing Buck says to her, and to giggle when he walked behind her making silly faces back when she was his boss.

I don’t think the authors intended Buck’s ugly behavior toward Verna to serve as a model for how good, Christian men ought to behave toward their bosses. They only mean this to be a model for how good, Christian men ought to behave toward their bosses if their bosses are women.

Jenkins reintroduces Verna with a summary of Buck’s history with her. It reads a bit like something out of Brief Interviews With Hideous Men:

Buck had had innumerable run-ins with Verna Zee in the Chicago office. Once he felt she had overstepped her bounds and had moved too quickly into her former boss’s office after Lucinda Washington disappeared in the Rapture. Then, when Buck himself was demoted for ostensibly missing the most important assignment of his life, Verna did become Chicago bureau chief and lorded it over him. Now that he was publisher, he had been tempted to fire her.

Buck is relentlessly nasty toward Verna in this section. He starts off sarcastic and snippy — “I believe I asked you a question,” “None of your business” — and winds up threatening her with violence. Verna responds in kind, with sarcasm and impatience, but she’s also indispensably helpful to Buck throughout these pages. He could not have made all those phone calls without her busily taking messages for him on the other line. And each time she pops in to her own office to deliver one of these messages, Buck snatches it from her and yells, “leave me alone!”

So here, then, is a summary of the action in this section:

1. Nicolae Carpathia calls for Buck, Verna takes the message.

2. Rayford Steele calls for Buck, Verna takes the message.

3. Buck calls the hotel and gets Rayford’s message there, learning that Chicago is about to be destroyed.

4. Buck calls information to get the telephone number for the Land Rover dealership.

5. Buck calls the Land Rover dealership to get the telephone number for his car.

6. Buck calls his car-phone to warn Chloe, but doesn’t get through.

7. Nicolae calls for Buck, Verna takes the message.

8. Buck calls his car-phone to warn Chloe, but doesn’t get through.

9. “Buck hung up on the recorded message several times,” repeatedly calling the car-phone and failing to get through.

10. Chaim Rosenzweig calls Buck. They talk on the phone.

11. Chloe calls for Buck, Verna takes the message.

12. Buck calls his car-phone to warn Chloe, and Chloe answers.

And then Chicago gets destroyed.

Nicolae and Rayford were both calling to warn Buck to get away from the city before the attack. It’s nice that they were both concerned for his safety — even if neither was quite concerned enough to convey their warning in the messages they left.

Rayford’s message just told Buck to call the hotel to get the message Rayford left on the voicemail there. He apparently didn’t want to repeat that warning here lest some of Buck’s co-workers might overhear and their lives might also be saved accidentally.

Buck ignores Nicolae’s phone calls, and Verna just keeps dutifully taking his messages. It never occurs to either of them that an exclusive phone conversation with the global potentate right in the middle of World War III might be of some journalistic interest.

Buck never seems to think like a reporter, but we’ll cut him some slack this time because he just realized that he sent his wife to the very downtown hotel that he has just learned is about to be obliterated. He’s desperate to reach Chloe — to warn her to turn around and to take her and his beloved new car far away from the city. Unfortunately, he was so excited by the idea of his shiny new car-phone that he neglected to get the number for it, so he dials up the car dealer who is, of course, still open for business as the war planes zoom overhead. (Just like the information assistance operators are still at work — “the smoldering ruins of what city, please?”)

He asked for the sales manager and said it was an emergency.

Within a minute, the man was on the line. As soon as he identified himself, the man said, “Everything all right with the–”

“The car is fine, sir. But I need to reach my wife, and she’s driving it right now. I need the phone number on that built-in phone.”

“That would take a little digging.”

“I can’t tell you how urgent this is, sir. …”

That’s not really true. Buck easily could tell the man how urgent this is. He could pass on Rayford’s warning and explain that this was a matter of life and death. If Buck were anything like a decent person, he would realize that he’s actually obliged to do that. But instead, Buck says this:

“I can’t tell you how urgent this is, sir. Let me just say that it’s worth my developing a quick case of buyer’s remorse and returning the vehicle if I can’t get that number right now.”

Like his father-in-law, Buck just can’t resist the chance to bully the help. Buck is pleased with the cleverness of his bluff. The poor car dealer has no idea that it would be impossible for Buck to make good on his threat. The sales manager doesn’t know that he and the rest of his staff are about to die a horrible death as bombs rain down on the dealership and the homes of everyone they know and love. Suckers.

When Buck gets no answer on the car-phone, he starts doing that redial, no-answer, hang-up, redial thing, at which point Verna tells him that Rosenzweig is calling from Israel and “says it’s a matter of life and death.”

Israel, you’ll recall, still has a good 23 months or so left before it’s peace treaty with the Antichrist expires as prophesied, so really Rosenzweig is calling from the one place in the world where it’s not “a matter of life and death” at the moment. The deaths he’s calling to report have already occurred, but he has some plot developments to convey and some ancient anti-Semitic stereotypes to reinforce:

“Israel has been spared the terrible bombings that your country has suffered, but Rabbi Ben-Judah’s family was abducted and slaughtered! His house has burned to the ground. I pray he is safe, but no one knows where he is!”

Buck was speechless. He hung his head. “His family is gone? Are you sure?”

“It was a public spectacle, Cameron. I was afraid it would come sooner or later. Why, oh why did he have to go public with his views about Messiah? It’s one thing to disagree with him, as I do, a respected and trusted friend. But the religious zealots in this country hate a person who believes that Jesus is Messiah.”

This is, quite frankly, viciously racist. In this compact little conversation, the authors manage to squeeze in both the ancient sin of the blood libel — children “abducted and slaughtered” — and the biblically illiterate Christ-killer slur.

Nasty, nasty stuff.

And yet Tim LaHaye seems genuinely confused and offended whenever he is accused of anti-Semitism. He angrily points out that he has always been a true and loyal friend to Israel, helping to raise millions of dollars to support what he believes is Israel’s best interests in Washington. It infuriates LaHaye when others so often fail to recognize that as evidence of his deep, deep love for those Christ-killing Jews.

“The religious zealots in this country hate a person who believes that Jesus is Messiah.”

Tim LaHaye wrote that. Why would anyone ever accuse him of being anti-Semitic?

Buck gets off the phone with Chaim only to learn from Verna that he just missed a call from Chloe. As he redials the car-phone, he decides that Verna’s presence there in her own office is intolerable:

Buck had never been angrier with anyone. …

Yes, Nicolae Carpathia has killed millions of people in the past chapter and is about to kill millions more. But Verna, a female, dared to get sarcastic while taking phone messages for him. The latter, it seems to Buck and the authors, is a greater cause for righteous wrath.

Buck had never been angrier with anyone. He stared at Verna. “I’m coming across this desk to kick that door shut. You had better not be in the way.”

The car phone was ringing. Verna still stood there. Buck rose from his chair, phone still to his ear, and stepped up onto the desk and across Verna’s mess of papers. Her eyes grew wide as he lifted his leg, and she ducked out of the way as he kicked the door shut with all his might. It sounded like a bomb and nearly toppled the wall partitions. Verna screamed. Buck almost wished she’d been in the doorway.

Thanks to that previous scene with Chaim, this is, astonishingly, only the second-most appalling passage in this section.

Buck finally speaks to Chloe on the car-phone, only to learn that she has already heard her father’s warning at the hotel and is driving as fast as she can away from the city. When he reaches her, she’s being followed by a police car:

“I was speeding, and I went through a light, and I was even on the sidewalk for a while.”

And now, with the cop still behind her, she’s talking on the phone. Of course, back in 1997 when this was written, that was still legal.

“Chloe, listen! You know the old saying about how it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission?”

“You want me to try to outrun him?”

“You’ll probably be saving his life!”

After refusing to warn anyone at the Drake, or at the car dealership, or any of his co-workers at the office, or the rest of the Chicago area, Buck at last decides there’s another life out there worth saving.

“OK, Buck, pray for me! Here goes nothing!”

“I’ll stay on the line with you, Chloe.”

“I need both hands to drive!”

“Hit the speaker button and hang that phone up!” Buck said.

All those exclamation points! This is exciting! And it’s good to know that Buck’s speed-dialing and door-slamming frenzy wasn’t for naught. Even though it turned out Chloe didn’t need him to warn her after all, he still gets to serve the crucial function of staying on the line to pray during her car chase (just like Sally Field did in Smokey and the Bandit).

Unfortunately, we never learn whether or not Chloe would have outrun that police car. The chase is abruptly interrupted by the second horseman of the Apocalypse:

But then he heard an explosion, tires squealing, a scream, and silence. Within seconds the electricity went off in the Global Community Weekly office. Buck felt his way out into the hall where battery-operated emergency lights near the ceiling illuminated the doors. “Look at that!” someone shouted, and the staff pushed its way through the front doors and began climbing atop their own cars to watch a huge aerial attack on the city of Chicago.

That last paragraph isn’t terrible. It almost seems like it belongs in a better novel — one without multi-page accounts of pointless phone-tag saturated with sexism and anti-Semitism.

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  • Dash1

     

    Verna still stood there. Buck rose from his chair, phone still to his
    ear, and stepped up onto the desk and across Verna’s mess of papers. Her
    eyes grew wide as he lifted his leg,

    You know, if you read this right after you come back from walking the dog, it really does put a different spin on it.

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

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 285 pages

  • friendly reader

     For arguments sake, let’s see if I can write a version of that conversation that’s at least somewhat less anti-Semitic:

    “Israel’s been spared the bombings, but we’ve had another national tragedy.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “You know some of the religious extremists here have been upset with Tsion Ben-Judah’s recent promotion of Christianity, yes? It appears a small number of them went looking for him at home yesterday, and wound up murdering his family instead.”

    “No… his wife and kids?”

    “Yes. By the time the police arrived, it was too late.”

    “Did they catch the killers?”

    “Thank God, yes! You know we take this sort of thing seriously. No one here is fond of conversion – that’s why Carpathia’s religion hasn’t caught on – but such blatant murder of innocents has caused a public outcry.”

    “I just… I can’t believe it…”

    In fact – this scenario could work well for Carpathia’s plans. The next day he gives a speech:

    “I granted Israel freedom in consideration for the grievous suffering they have endured from religious intolerance. I now see that Judaism itself harbors as great an intolerance as the other faiths of the old order.* It is time for Jews to embrace the Enigma Babylon Faith [did I remember that right?] as their own. While I will uphold my end of the treaty – we are en enlightened government, after all – I encourage all citizens to boycott Israeli products until they come to see that they too need the all-inclusive tolerance of the New Order.”

    …and soon the treaty itself is broken.

    But of course, all of this would require that:
    (1) L&J genuinely don’t hold the anti-Semitic belief that Jews genuinely hate “anyone who believes that Jesus is Messiah” (i.e. Christians),
    (2) understand there are actual differences between non-Christian religions, and
    (3) feel that prophecies need actual justifications to happen.

    *I’m putting words in the mouth of the Antichrist, don’t hold me to believing or defending them.

  • Raj1point618

    “But the religious zealots in this country hate a person who believes that Jesus is Messiah.”

    Oh. Right. Just as “evolutionists” hate (and feel so threatened by) the Paluxy River footprints.

  • Jessica_R

    I think Buck’s misogyny goes back to how words not deeds are the mantra of this series and RTC in general. He’s a complete dickless wonder to Carpathia, always begging for favors, but in his heart of hearts he thinks Carpathia is such a big meanie. So while feeling very bad about Carpathia makes him a Brave Christian Warrior actually treating Verna like garbage does too. She is a woman who does not know her place, feeling bad at her isn’t enough, it’s not like she’s the Antichrist, she actually deserves him springing into action to punish her.

    And in storytelling in general sometimes cliches can work, or sometimes you don’t have reinvent the wheel just tell a simple story well. I love the cliche of the dying guy staying behind to trigger the bomb, I love the cliche of the brave servant helping our heroes out (points double if she then goes on to be a member of the team), I love the hero herding everyone to safety and stopping to pick up a child who’s fallen down in the pandemonium. That they don’t even think to give us these is telling. 

  • Raj1point618

    And for some reason, his children are always referred to as his “teenagers”, never as his “children”, “kids”, “son and daughter”; only as his “teenagers”.

  • Raj1point618

    Hey, Victor’s back! (Hmmm…I hope this isn’t a form of troll-feeding.)

  • Raj1point618

    “I need both hands to drive!”

    “Hit the speaker button and hang that phone up!” Buck said.

    “Yea, now I shall gain glory for myself by impressing a woman with yet another bit of my techie knowledge,” he smugly muttered under his breath.

  • quietglow

    Too late for that. She’s speeding with a cop on her tail, she doesn’t have time to button-hunt. The best she can do is mash at the buttons while shoving the phone at the cradle, and even he’s not helping. (Besides helping her to T-bone another car.)

    “Drop the phone and drive” would have been more, well, masculine and heroic. But it would have pointed out that Buck is completely superfluous.

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

    What did Verna ever do?

    She’s a woman. She therefore “deserves” every bit of horrible treatment she gets from a man. We are supposed to scrape and kneel and giggle and cringe in order to gain mens’ favor so they maybe won’t be mean to us, but they have absolutely no duty not to be mean to us. They’re doing us a favor when they don’t treat us terribly. Anything bad that they do to us is our own fault because we are women. 

    And lest someone thinks this is only an RTC or L&J attitude — nope. They don’t disguise it as well as some others do. But it’s pervasive throughout all of society, among all genders. MANY women tsk tsk over other women having standards that are “too high” if the second group of women wants anything from a man other than not physically abusive and not blatantly cheating. And even that is often considered too much to ask.

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

    I can’t believe L&J were inept enough to think that I didn’t know of CallMeBuck’s allegiance. Only followers of TurboJesus could be this pointlessly cruel (as GLaDOS would say)

  • Guest

     The brainbusting clash that comes from thinking about Nicolae-as-written-in-LB alongside GLaDOS, an artificial intelligence in a video game who has more depth and complexity than all the LB characters put together, fills me with unholy glee.

  • LG

    This might be the single worst section of Left Behind that you have yet described.

    I…

    Daaaaaaamn.

  • http://twitter.com/BillHiers Bill Hiers

    Buck’s treatment of Verna is horrific. And so is how he treats the poor Land Rover salesman. Why is he so pissed off at Verna when she’s, y’know, doing her job and taking his calls for him? And getting mad at her when she dares to stick her head in to tell him about those calls? And could he have found a more disgusting way to bully the Land Rover salesman into giving him the car phone number? Seriously, petulantly threatening to return the Range Rover unless the guy gets him the number RIGHT NOW?

    And why the sudden concern for the cop…? I think I get it now. Buck can only “save” someone without actually warning them. If Chloe speeds and the cop chases her out of the city before it’s nuked, he’ll escape Chicago’s destruction along with her. Hence, in Buck’s mind, this is him and Chloe “rescuing” the cop. So Cameron “Buck” Williams can only save someone from the Anti-Christ’s nuclear destruction by what amounts to an accident, completely without his own direct involvement.

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

    She’s a woman, a lesbian, and someone who dared cross Buck Williams previously. All this makes the blackest of black marks against her. One thing you will notice about GLBT people in Left Behind is that none of the POV characters makes a serious effort to “bring them to God”, for all that L&J love having Rafe, Buck, and others tell and retell their conversion stories.

    EDIT:

    A Chronicle of Buck’s Previous Arrogance to Verna – note, for example, his ridiculously asinine pun of “Ms. Zee = Missy”, as though anyone from a modern audience would think that much of an insult (the use of ‘missy’ as an infantilizing diminutive has faded away since the 1970s).

  • Dash1

    So Cameron “Buck” Williams can only save someone from the Anti-Christ’s
    nuclear destruction by what amounts to an accident, completely without
    his own direct involvement.

    Isn’t that the way God is supposed to work?

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

    Addendum, from the above link I provided:

    Appeals to her father—“get rid of him! You’re my dad! It’s your duty!”—are met with, “I don’t want him to leave!”

    You know, given how much the standard rawr-angry-overprotective-daddy trope is a staple of people who believe in the kind of schmoopy twu wub kind of relationships (anyone who’s ever read one of those gushy Harry/Hermione fics knows what I’m talking about – where they declare their wuvviest wuv at least once per chapter and her dad – invariably named “Dan” – is always “IF YOU HURT HER I WILL TEAR YOU TO PIECES RAWR.”) you’d think Jenkins would have just ripped that off wholesale since Chloe is clearly being two-timed by that horrible cad Buck Williams.

    The way these books devalue and diminish women is just appalling, and it’s clearly not isolated incidences of occasional crappy writing by Jenkins.

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

    Lucinda is
    whooshed up to heaven; we meet her through her coworker’s mixed memories
    of her. Apparently the unsaved Mr. Williams does not Play Well With
    Others. Not only does he scoop rival newspapers, he poaches stories from
    his colleagues. At one point he embarrassed Lucinda and her staff in
    public—and remembers her primarily as the one co-worker who rebuked him
    for his behavior. After he goes to great lengths to portray her as a
    matronly black role model, he expresses to the audience his irritation
    that Lucinda continually addressed him by his given name Cameron.
    Possibly it never occurred to him—or to the authors—that “Buck” was a
    white racist word for a black male slave, such as Lucinda’s grandfather.
    He assumes Lucinda called him Cameron to impose a barrier of formality
    between them, as a gesture of polite resentment. [His family uses his
    given name for this reason.] The fact that he insists upon a nickname
    that is a distasteful word in other circles may have escaped him.
    Certainly Cameron “Buck” Williams may be chasing vainglories when he
    constantly corrects others to use his nickname as friends are wont to
    do, when they are not, in fact, his friends.

    From here: http://oldmaid.jallman.net/entry.php?id=10

    How on God’s Green Earth did I not make that connection before? *facepalms at self*

    Being white, I didn’t make the connection, even if it wasn’t intended, between a meaning of Buck’s name and a term with unpleasant historical overtones.

    It is unsurprising in the extreme that “Buck”, a white male with a sizable income, is out of touch and insensitive enough to have no consideration for the sensitivities of minorities or historically oppressed groups.

  • EnopoletusHarding

    It’s bizarre: my perfectly reasonable comments pointing out that Fred’s accusation of anti-semitism in the paragraph he quoted is absolutely baseless get relegated to the bottom of the barrel, while Chris Doggett’s irrational implication that religious extremists don’t kill people who’s “crime” is mere disagreement with them gets up-voted to the first page. Since when didn’t “just saying” anything that contradicts religious extremists’ religion make them angry enough to kill that blasphemer’s wife & children?

  • Donalbain

     Who would have ever guessed that Der Führer was at the forefront of a clean energy industry?

    Say what you like about Mussolini, but he was an advocate of clean burning biofuels and public transport.

    After all, he did make the trains run on thyme.

  • Dash1

    They [Eli and Moishe] have stood here before the Wailing Wall since just before dawn,
    preaching in a style frankly reminiscent of the old American
    evangelists.

    It doesn’t specify which old American evangelists, but somehow this leaves me with the impression of a couple of guys speaking Hebrew in a southern U.S. accent?  (I wonder if the Orthodox Jews in the book are “in an uproar” because they can’t figure out who the heck these two dudes are talking about. I mean, is anybody named “JAAAAAAAAAAAY-zussssss” going to sound familiar to Israelis?)

    (And before people leap on me for disparaging southern accents, I’m a southerner. The accents sound familiar and homelike to me. But there is a particular kind of oratorical style among southern RTC preachers that  grates on my nerves no end. Heck, if I were visiting the area purely for tourist reasons and found someone doing a loud imitation of an old-style American evangelist, I might be tempted to grab an Uzi or a bayonet or a breadknife or some dinner roles or a stalk of celery or whatever and make some threatening gestures at him.)

  • Lunch Meat

    By your standard, criticizing Creativity (the religion) or Christian Identity would be racist.

    No it wouldn’t, because neither of those religions are strongly associated with a particular race in people’s minds.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     Name me a single non-white person who is an adherent of either of those religions.

  • Lunch Meat

    If a reasonably well-educated person doesn’t know what those religions are without googling, then it’s a bit of a stretch to say they’re associated with anything.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     Very well, then. Is criticism of liberal Protestantism racist as the vast majority of liberal Protestants are white?

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

    Christian Identity is strongly associated with white supremacism and the belief that non-whites do not have souls and can never enter heaven. If someone doesn’t associate Christian Identity with white people, it’s probably because they don’t know what Christian Identity is…

    (That doesn’t mean that all white people are adherents to Christian Identity or that even all white supremacists are, of course, but it would be pretty hard for a non-white person to be comfortable in that circle.)

    Reading racism, a “Christ-killer slur” and anti-Semitism into a text
    which describes religious fundamentalists killing a person who disagrees
    with them is not “a very plain reading of the text”.

    I think the problem we’re having here is that you are unfamiliar with the storyline. I agree, if you take that line in isolation and have no knowledge of LaHaye or anything else he has written or portrayed, you could definitely debate about whether or not it is anti-Semitic. But once you look at the pattern of evidence, as Fred Clark has through this review, it becomes much easier to see the underlying bigotry take shape.

    Earlier in the last book, the Tsion BenJudah character argues that Jews consider Christianity as a faith to be deeply offensive, and that they consider the name of Jesus to be like an ethnic slur to them. He doesn’t specify only religious fundamentalist Jews; the way he states it, this is a belief that is shared by most Jews and nothing in the text really contradicts him. Later on, he suggests that Jews who do “accept the truth” and convert to Christianity are persecuted in Israel.

    Nowhere does LaHaye delineate between radical fundamentalist Jews and ordinary Jews; the Jews that hate Jesus so much that they consider his name a swear word and persecute Christians in their midst are portrayed as the vast majority in Israel, and men like Rabbi Ben Judah are one of a brave minority under siege.

    It’s difficult to read that and not get the impression that Jews are being portrayed as being the archenemies of Christianity and Jesus here. So when you reach yet another passage that portrays Jews kidnapping and murdering women and children because they converted to Christianity, it’s even more difficult to pretend that it’s not anti-Semitic.

  • Tricksterson

    “Nowhere does LaHaye delineate between radical fundamentalist Jews and ordinary Jews”

    This, I suspect, is because to him they are one and the same.  The idea that even among Orthodox Jews, those who actively hate Christianity are a small minority, much less the idea that Conservative and Reform Judaism even exist, would be alien to him.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

     Agreed.

  • Trynn

    Ugh, how did I NOT catch the fact that Buck was acting like a child to Verna? Oh wait, I *was* a child when I first read it… that seriously sounds like something the main character of a children’s novel would do because children like that sort of thing (being able to get back at someone they see as a “bully.” Problem being, Verna wasn’t a bully!)

    Also…. I watched Barefoot Gen. (I was supposed to read the book too, for a calss, but graphic novels aren’t my thing and give me a headache.) I didn’t shed a single tear, but I had a stomach ache for the rest of the day, and literally could not think about anything else, which was bad, as I had other classes/schoolwork to go to… It was a well done movie.

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

     

    Ugh, how did I NOT catch the fact that Buck was acting like a child
    to Verna? Oh wait, I *was* a child when I first read it… that
    seriously sounds like something the main character of a children’s novel
    would do because children like that sort of thing (being able to get
    back at someone they see as a “bully.” Problem being, Verna wasn’t a
    bully!)

    Only Buck could see Verna’s sullen obedience to his commands as a form of “bullying”.

  • Akichan_am

    I can’t help but keep seeing Loretta as Eulabelle from the MSTing of Horror At Pary Beach (“just smile at the stupid white people”) and Verna as a sort of Lois Lane.

  • jedgeco

    “and the staff pushed its way through the front doors and began climbing
    atop their own cars to watch a huge aerial attack on the city of
    Chicago.”

    Wait, someone help me out here.  Where is the “Chicago Bureau Office”?  I’d been under the impression that it was, you know, in Chicago.  Meaning that it would be in some tall building and not in what is apparently a one-floor office complex with attached parking.

  • Kadh2000

    Taken in just this particular piece, without relating it to the whole story, I agree that it doesn’t seem to be anti-semitic.  Unfortunately, while Fred is going over the book in small segments, you shouldn’t just read this section on its own.  You have to take it in with the context of the overall book.  The book does show a hell of a lot of prejudice.  This piece, by itself, doesn’t seem particularly biased.  Taken with the story as a whole, it is an example of that bias.

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    Where that Tsion Ben Judah says that “the very name” of Jesus is like “an ethnic slur” the one that really leaps to mind is, TBJ is calling it just like the N-word. Like Christians are running around calling themselves the N-word, but you’d better not mention the very name of Jesus in the presence of an L&J Jewish person or they’ll think you’re getting all N-word on them. In comparison to real-world Jewish people like, say, Aunursa who sure looks to be perfectly able to say the name Jesus, talk about the person Jesus, talk to other people who have different beliefs about the person, and point out that TBJ saying “Jesus Christ” is itself a profession of faith, as Christ is not Jesus’s last name but a title, a translation of Messiah. All without Aunursa’s head exploding or without dancing with rage and then going off to whack someone for using That Word in his presence.

    One of the reasons we (human beings) don’t whack everyone who upsets us is that sooner or later everybody upsets somebody (even those who are not the Professionally Offended), and besides if it were OK for us, then someone could say it was OK for them to whack back. It’d be a pretty empty world. Hence all those anti-whacking laws.

    As for the Verna & Buck “is a thread in the eye of the beholder” please don’t kill me with sheep too hard if I timidly suggest something that is in-between. Verna took Buck’s comment as a threat, but I don’t think Buck was bright enough to figure out it was a threat against her until she took it as such, and only then ran with it because it was working. Usually when Buck threatens someone he gets in their face and says, “Rawr, you’re gonna be sorry, rawr” and this was more a “huh? I just tripped over a fat wallet of cash on the sidewalk? Sure, I’ll pick it up and not return it. Thanks a bunch.” At least that was the impression I got.

  • aunursa

    TBJ saying “Jesus Christ” is itself a profession of faith, as Christ is not Jesus’s last name but a title, a translation of Messiah.

    I usually refer to “Jesus” not “Jesus Christ” precisely for that reason.

    The only times I would say “Christ” is (a) if I am quoting or speaking as a Christian (e.g. TBJ above), or (b) for linguistic resonance (e.g. when referring to the caricature of Judaism as “Christianity without Christ”)

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    Yeesh, that’s “is a threat” not thread. Now I really am going to get sheared.

    But yeah, basically, Verna took it as a thread and once Buck figured out that was how she took it, he ran with it because it brought good stuff for him. Most people, if they figured out they just scared the bleep out of somebody would be horrified, apologize, and say something dumb like “I didn’t mean it that way.” Which wouldn’t work, but Buck never took back what he said. So I think it counts, but I also think Buck may or may not know if HE think it counts, because he doesn’t care if it counts so long as it works. 

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    “as a threat” NOT thread! Stoopid spellign stuf.

  • Victor

    You better smarten UP and check your spelling NOW! :)

    Peace

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    Yeah, I deserved that. *wears Bag-o-shame*

  • EllieMurasaki

    Ignore Victor, he’s harmless. I can’t tell from email notifs if you’re a registered Disqus user, and I can’t look because work hates Disqus; if you are, there’s an edit-post function.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    …as a threat, that makes no damn sense.  Isn’t Buck Verna’s superior? And he already knows here, right?  Aren’t the superiors above them Nicky the Mountain and his entourage–and being the anti-Christ in a story with Chick Tract morality, wouldn’the be delighted that Verna was a lesbian?

  • Beroli

     

    …as a threat, that makes no damn sense.  Isn’t Buck Verna’s superior?
    And he already knows here, right?  Aren’t the superiors above them Nicky
    the Mountain and his entourage–and being the anti-Christ in a story
    with Chick Tract morality, wouldn’the be delighted that Verna was a
    lesbian?

    Officially, he doesn’t know at this point and neither does Jerry Jenkins. All the dogwhistles Jenkins is writing are JUST A COINCIDENCE.

    “Verna has no reason to be afraid of being outed” is simply a detail Jenkins didn’t take into account. In his world, the disappearances of children mean nothing, a record crime wave impacts no one when he’s not focusing on it–and QUILTBAGs are always terrified to be outed.

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

    The homosexuals Jenkins writes are so stereotyped as to be painful. Verna Zee is the closeted, “militant” lesbian who, if she were Out and Proud, would be not-shameful about herself. But Jenkins can’t have that.

    And Guy Blod – well, we’ll get to him when David Hayseed meets up with him but he’s so stereotypically flamboyantly artiste-ly gay it’s unbelievable.

    The contempt LaHaye and Jenkins have for QUILTBAG people is not a mystery. They’re steeped in a subcuilture that regards them at worst with contempt and vilification and at best with a kind of patronizing benevolence (“Oh, you poor dears, you just convert and pray the QUILTBAG away and you’ll be right with Jesus! Oh, and hate the siiiiiiin and not the sinner!”)

    Anyone who ignores this context in deciding Buck isn’t “putting Verna in her place” when he’s unintentionally hit on a way to shut her up, is not paying attention.

    Oh, and that last part? Where they decide God was helping Buck?

    That’s the icing on the offensiveness cake. Period.

    For L&J to insert language saying God was helping Buck bully a lesbian –

    That clearly indicates that L&J do not consider QUILTBAG people to be human beings on the same footing as heterosexuals until such a time as QUILTBAG people effectively deny and mask a part of themselves to present as “acceptable” to L&J.

    I, frankly, find that to be really gross.

  • Beroli

    Yes, of course Buck meant to threaten Verna to get her to keep quiet. (“Nice secret-which-you-have-no-consistent-with-the-world-reason-to-keep-secret you have here. It would be a shame if something happened to it.”)

    aunursa is willfully blind to things he doesn’t want to understand; film at eleven.


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