NRA: A whoopee cushion on Hitler’s chair

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 89-92

The main outlines of 20th-century “Bible prophecy” mythology were well-established before Tim LaHaye came along. That mythology is flexible enough to allow each successive storytelling entrepreneur a chance to put their own unique spin on it, but ultimately they need to stick with the established storyline.

LaHaye’s particular contribution was to cram as many Cold-War-era John Birch Society conspiracies as he could into the existing outline. Thus we get LaHaye’s version of the Antichrist, Nicolae Carpathia, who looks like “a young Robert Redford” and embodies the liberal youth culture that LaHaye has been railing against ever since Robert Redford looked like a young Robert Redford. When we first meet Nicolae, he’s all about peace, unity, harmony and all that Aquarian hippie stuff that’s always infuriated LaHaye.

Tribulation Force scientists have developed a new secret weapon in their battle against the villainy of the Antichrist.

But eventually, the prophecy mythology requires that even this supposed pacifist must “rise” to become the Antichrist the plot demands. The hippie-peacenik will have to be transformed into a mass-murdering tyrant and the cruelest, deadliest dictator the world has ever seen. This is a story about the end of the world and the culmination of history. So if the Antichrist is to be the ultimate evil chronologically, he also needs to be the ultimate evil in terms of degree. Otherwise history would seem kind of anticlimactic.

Plus there’s that title — Anti-Christ. Although LaHaye and most other “Bible prophecy scholars” don’t seem very interested in pursuing the idea, that name suggests that the Antichrist is to be a kind of evil mirror-opposite of Christ. So in a sense, if the Antichrist is anything less than the ultimate evil, it would suggest that Christ was something less than the ultimate good. To diminish the Antichrist’s evilness would seem to diminish Christ’s goodness, and they can’t have that.

But this superlative evil creates a challenge for Bible prophecy storytellers. It Godwins the thread. If the Antichrist is to be the greatest monster ever in the history of the world, then he’ll need to be obviously worse than any of the actual usual candidates for that title. It won’t work to have your Antichrist wind up seeming almost as bad as Mao, or nearly as bad as Stalin, or merely “kind of Hitler-y.” He needs to be clearly, emphatically worse than any other possible candidate.

Here in the third book is where LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins finally get around to Nicolae’s first steps toward joining that pantheon of monsters. After spending the first year and a half of the Great Tribulation seeming like not that bad a guy, Nicolae Carpathia has suddenly started nuking population centers and arbitrarily slaughtering millions of people. After claiming only a handful of murders in the first two books, our Antichrist is now starting to accumulate the kind of body count that makes his claim to be the ultimate evil a bit more credible. The authors are starting to build their case that Nicolae is worse than any of the deadly tyrants of history.

This presents two serious challenges for the authors — challenges they hardly seem aware of, let alone capable of facing.

The first problem is that all those actual tyrants whose crimes Nicolae will need to out-do were real people who really killed other real people. It’s a tricky thing to write a novel with an antagonist who appears worse than Hitler, Stalin or Mao without seeming to diminish the gravity and horror of what those actual figures did. It might be possible for a good writer to pull that off, acknowledging and honoring the full horror of the real history while at the same time exceeding it in a fictional setting, but L&J aren’t up to the task.

In their view, such a task is unnecessary, since they don’t regard their story as fiction. Theirs is an account of Bible prophecy — so it’s not a made-up story, just a true story that hasn’t happened yet. Since they believe their fictional story is a future matter of fact, it comes across as matter-of-fact — as glib where it ought to be grave.

They compound this problem. First they insist that Nicolae’s misdeeds are worse than the crimes of any real tyrant from history — which diminishes both those crimes and their real-world victims. And then they further diminish them by insisting that even Nicolae’s atrocities aren’t all that bad, since all the civilians he’s slaughtering are sinners who deserved their fate.

The second problem with making Nicolae out to be Worse Than Hitler is that both Buck Williams and Rayford Steele are working for  Nicolae. If Nicolae is more evil than Hitler, then how is serving as Nicolae’s personal pilot not worse than serving as Hitler’s chauffeur?

Jerry Jenkins seems to realize he’s painted himself into a corner. He sent his heroes off to work as close confidants of the Antichrist mainly as a narrative convenience, justifying their service to Nicolae as a kind of infiltration by the resistance. But if they are double-agents working for the resistance, then at some point Buck and Rayford will need to resist, and the fatalistic logic of prophecy means that resistance is futile — or maybe even forbidden.

The heroes’ complacency toward and their co-operation with the arch-villain has been a problem for Jenkins ever since Buck and Rayford accepted their new jobs, but that problem has gotten far more acute now that Nicolae has begun acting like the Antichrist and perpetrating deadly evil on a massive scale. Increasingly, our heroes just seem to be complicit in monstrous evil.

Jenkins acknowledged this problem for Buck in the passage we looked at last week, where Buck reassured himself, and readers, that he had tried really hard to use his position as publisher of Global Weekly for good, but:

As much as he tried … everything seemed to come out with the spin of the master deceiver. … Buck just hated the idea that he himself was being used to spread propaganda and lies.

Acknowledging the problem isn’t the same thing as fixing the problem, though. As much as Buck may dislike that he is “being used” to support Nicolae’s slaughter of millions of people, neither Buck nor the authors seems to consider withdrawing that support.

That sets us up for this next scene with Rayford Steele. He goes beyond Buck’s tepid reluctance to take bold action against the Antichrist.

Or, rather, to take what the authors think of as bold action against the Antichrist. Jenkins seems to think this addresses the problem of his heroes’ complicity. I think it makes it worse, but I’ll let you decide.

Having learned that Amanda has safely departed from San Francisco, Rayford is ready to take off, allowing Nicole to destroy the city as soon as they leave. As he taxies Nicole’s plane down the runway, a flight attendant ducks into the cockpit:

“Captain,” she said as he lifted the headphone from his right ear, “not everyone is seated and buckled in.”

“Well, I’m not going to stop,” he said. “Can’t you handle it?”

“The offending party, sir, is Mr. Carpathia himself.”

You can probably see where this is going.

“I don’t have jurisdiction over him,” Rayford said. “And neither do you.”

“Federal Aviation Administration rules require that –”

“In case you haven’t noticed, ‘federal anything’ means nothing anymore. Everything is global. And Carpathia is above global. If he doesn’t want to sit down, he can stand. I’ve made my announcement, and you have given your instructions, right?”


“Then you go get strapped in and let the potentate worry about himself.”

Rayford’s remark there that “Everything is global” is the most explicit statement so far that Nicolae’s one-world government really has superseded every other authority. That doesn’t explain why there still seem to be armed Chicago police officers, like the one who pulled a gun on Buck just 10 pages ago. But even if Jenkins is wildly inconsistent in portraying the monolithic global structure of the OWG, it’s helpful here to realize that this is what the context is supposed to be in our story.

Rayford could have begun gradually and slowly picked up enough speed to go airborne. But everybody enjoyed a powerful takeoff once in a while, right? He throttled up and took off down the runway with such speed and power that he and [copilot] McCullum were driven back into their seats.

“Yeehah!” McCullum cried. “Ride ’em cowboy!”

Rayford … couldn’t resist pressing that intercom button again and hearing what he might have done to Carpathia. In his mind’s eye he pictured the man somersaulting all the way to the back of the plane, and he only wished there was a back door he could open from the cockpit.

“Oh, my goodness!” he heard over the intercom. “Potentate, are you all right?”

Rayford heard movement, as if others were trying to unstrap themselves to help Carpathia, but with the plane still hurtling down the runway, those people would be pinned in their seats by centrifugal force.

“I am all right,” Carpathia insisted. “It is my own fault. I will be fine.”

If you’re writing a scene in which your hero is engaged in some woefully inadequate act of petty rebellion, it’s best not to undermine even that meager deed by having him daydream an exaggerated effect beforehand.

Nicolae, apparently, did not somersault all the way down the aisle.

He fell down.

And then he got back up. He’s fine.

That is the end result of the first and thus far only act of resistance undertaken by any member of the Tribulation Force.

In just the past several hours of this story, Nicolae Carpathia has killed millions of people in London, New York, Washington, Chicago and Dallas. Immediately following this scene, he will kill millions more in San Francisco and Oakland.

Rayford Steele has done nothing to interfere with this slaughter. He will do nothing to warn any of the people who just assisted him at the San Francisco airport. Rayford is a first-hand witness, a bystander, as Nicolae sends forth a wave of death meant to signify that he is worse than Hitler, Stalin or Mao.

And Rayford’s response — his only response — is to accelerate sharply, causing Nicolae to fall over in the aisle of the airplane.

Secretly, he hoped Carpathia had been leaning against one of the seats at the time of the initial thrust. That would have spun him around and nearly flipped him over. Probably my last chance to inflict any justice.


The greatest monster in the history of the world, the epitome of evil, and this is Rayford’s idea of “justice.” He flies Nicolae to safety so that millions can be killed in Chicago, assists in the global broadcast of the Antichrist’s propaganda, then ferries him away from San Francisco so that everyone in that city, too, can be killed.

But he made Nicolae fall down, without injury. And that’s “justice.”

The more I read about Rayford Steele, the more I think that Nicolae Carpathia will, at most, only seem like the second-most loathesome monster in the history of the world.

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  • ReverendRef

     L&J have bit an all-time low.

    That is, until next week when Fred posts the wacky goings on of the Tribulation (no)Force.

  • SisterCoyote

    Well obviously, the Christian thing to do here is to change any and all cultural traditions, conventions, and what-have-you to match the white Christian expectation. If they’re Real, True Christians, why wouldn’t they behave exactly as middle-class suburbanites? That’s what Christianity means, right?

  • LL

    Of course. What a douche. 

  • And get a load of the whole “Cloud Ten is a secret Satanic front organization because CROSSES IN THE O’S” thing.

  • Chris

    In my personal never-to-actually-be-written End Times story, there are several plausible candidates for Antichrist (including but not limited to the President of the USA, the Secretary-General of the UN, and the Pope). There is also a large, active Christian resistance against them, which often seems to actually be winning. And about halfway through the story, it suddenly becomes painfully clear that the actual Beast is none other than the leader of said Christian resistance.

  • SisterCoyote

    …because that’s the only thing that could be meant by a quartered circle. Of course.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I was wondering about Hong Kong Fooey

  • Vermic

    This moment, this useless prank, is where the book should end.  Because this is effectively the endpoint of the story.  It’s the climax, the culmination of Nicolae’s story and Rayford’s story and everything that’s happened until now.  Left Behind has protagonists, a villain and a pending apocalypse.  The central question of any such story is: Will our heroes prevent the end of the world?  And with this scene — with Rayford allowing the nukes to go off and contenting himself with a meaningless stunt — we have our answer: No, no they will not.  There’s nowhere else for the story to go.  Left Behind effectively ends here, nine books before it actually does.

    It would have been the perfect ending if Left Behind had been written as a cynical, absurdist satire like Dr. Strangelove.  We are shown with certainty that the end of the world will occur without interruption, because none of the people able to stop it have the power, good sense, or courage to do so.  Rayford’s prank is that last hollow jest before the end, the “Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!” of this tale.  After that, we cut to San Franciso and other cities being destroyed, somebody plays “We’ll Meet Again”, and then it’s all over but the author bibliographies and the page that talks about the typeface.  Kubrick would have loved this.

  • “Yeehah!” McCullum cried. “Ride ‘em cowboy!”

    Rayford … couldn’t resist

    Now that sounds like a story I could read.

  • Everybody Chang Wong tonight? 

  • “Of all those names, the one I mind the least is Loren Hut. The character is Canadian, and those are both names with English origin.”

    No Lady Elizabeth London, sister-in-law to Anglo Jones?

  • Will Hennessy

     Well, unless Rayfuck REALLY doesn’t know how to fly a plane.

    Which, let’s face it, is a likely scenario.

  • Swapping Mao’s rifle with a clever lookalike that shot flowers?

    That would actually be kinda awesome. I can picture heroes doing that. Even better: keep doing it, to everyone around Mao, over and over and over. It’s a direct opposition to a violent tyrant, and would actually make said violent tyrant look foolish in a way that points directly to his tyranny.

  • Mao? Stalin? Hitler? I doubt any of those people viewed themselves as “evil”.

    Actually, there’s a compelling theory that’s slowly but steadily gaining popularity that Hitler saw himself as an artist of evil. 

  •  A few weeks ago I ws trying to explain to someone an issue with a character played by a black actor in a science fiction show. They argued that the protrayl was fine because the character’s race wasn’t part of the specification, therefore it could not possibly be racist, and anyway, how would we expect a character to “act black” when they’re from the future and well-educated? Surely in a non-racist society, black people and white people would act the same.

    I couldn’t quite get it through to him that the problem was that “Acts like a 20th century middle class white man” was being presented as “human default for all people in all times and places such that any person will default to that when placed in a futurey society”.

  • Dash1


    really, if you want some big influential thinker who leads people to
    behave in un-Christlike ways and mistreat each other, damning hundreds
    of thousands of souls because they followed him instead of Christ…

    …  really, you’d be doing the Anti-Christ as a televangelist.

    Or as Ayn Rand.

  • My slash goggles on your post and my previous post immediately lead to this next line:

    “With a powerful thrust, McCullum proceeded…”


  •  So… Cloud Ten is a front for the Old Ones who serve The Light?

    Would that make Kirk Cameron, Gordon Currie and Brad Johnson the Three From The Track?

  • Tybult

    Secretly, he hoped Carpathia had been leaning against one of the seats
    at the time of the initial thrust. That would have spun him around and
    nearly flipped him over.

    This makes me envision “Three Stooges vs. the Antichrist,” which is not a thing that exists, and then I am sad:

    “Settle down, you knuckleheads. Boss wants us to deliver this nuclear bombs by the end of the day!”
    “Nyuck nyuck nyuck!”
    *Slide whistle*

    That would have been so much better than this story.

  • Keromaru5

    I’d rather like to see a version where Ray does kill Nicolae, and Nicolae is resurrected anyway.  For one thing, it would mean something happened.  For another, it means a hero (using the term loosely, of course) gets killed, which is often a pretty big shock in a story like this, since it shows no one is safe.  It heightens the Antichrist’s menace by simultaneously suggesting to his followers that he actually could be the Messiah, and showing the Trib Force just how powerful he is, perhaps even sowing the seeds of doubt.  It might even shake Buck out of his self-absorbed complacency… but no, that’s probably too implausible.

  • Splitting Image

    The only problem with imagining that Rayford has been mojoed by Nicky is that it introduces the possibility that a Real True Christian might be wrong about something.

    And Real True God knows we can’t have that.
    Or to put it another way, that is exactly how it should be done and exactly why someone other than Lahaye and Jenkins needs to be writing this.

    Suggested book title: Armageddon on the River Kwai.

  • I’ve never seen an author who didn’t write sex scenes use the word “thrust” as often as Jenkins does.

  • …would actually make said violent tyrant look foolish in a way that points directly to his tyranny.

    That’s the thing, isn’t it?  “Falling down” doesn’t nevessarily lead to “looking foolish,” except in LaJenkins’ fantasy. 

    In fact, Nicolae handles the whole situation with aplomb–he admits his fault and doesn’t let anyone endanger themselves by trying to help him–and ends up looking far more classy and dignified than fully-loaded schoolyard-trickster Rayford.

  • P J Evans

    ‘ Dwayne and Trudy Tuttle’ sound like people you’d find in Oklahoma. Or Texas.

  • Well, who’s to say that didn’t happen? Of course Nicolae Mountains Of The Moon would then get up, brush off his suit, tell all his aides “Okay, you didn’t see that. You Did Not See That,” (Mind Mojo optional, they know who signs the paychecks), then sit down and have a glass of, not RTC -approved John Birch worthy JAY-zuz made grape juice, but REAL wine, which is EE-vul, and then quietly resume his Antichrist business. Anyone familiar with James Thurber’s cartoon, “Touche!”, showing two fencers with the one man’s head in the air?

  • The last two things might inconvenience or annoy Hitler and Mao, so they don’t count. Rayford’s “justice” is to simply do his job properly and rely on Carpathia choosing to stand on a taxiing plane for no apparent reason. Even Carpathia himself doesn’t seem upset, because, as he says, it is his fault for standing up for no reason even though he’s been on a plane for this entire book basically and knows the procedure by now.

    Rayford’s remark there that “Everything is global” is the most explicit statement so far that Nicolae’s one-world government really has superseded every other authority. That doesn’t explain why there still seem to be armed Chicago police officers, like the one who pulled a gun on Buck just 10 pages ago. 

    Actually, that kind of makes sense. Carpathia doesn’t realistically have enough personnel reporting directly to him to monitor the entire world. A smart world ruler would simply suborn the top ranks of the police and military while leaving the rank-and-file in place. Why bother hiring, recruiting, equipping, and training millions (tens of millions) new police officers and soldiers when you can just take control of the existing apparatus? The Chicago police officers would already know the area and know what they’re doing; just give them new orders and make them enforce it. 

  • Dogfacedboy

    I discovered this blog about three months ago by Googling “Jerry Jenkins shitty writer”.  Woo-hoo, this place feels like coming home.

  • “I am all right,” Carpathia insisted. “It is my own fault. I will be fine.”

    I know he slaughtered millions, but this is a compelling evil overlord.  Not, “Find me the imbecile responsible for this so that I can watch him beg for his life before I have him killed in a slow and agonizing fashion,” but, “I fucked up.  My bad.”

    Taking responsibility for his own mistakes (not sitting during takeoff), something Rayford and Buck would never do.  Carpathia is the most sympathetic character in the scene.  Rayford just comes off as a bully.

  • Makabit

    When I imagine these scenes, I can only see Nicolae being played by Patrick Neil Harris. This does not add to the gravitas of the situation.

  • phoenix_feather

    Ah, Invisible Neutrino, I got shivers!


  • Oh yes, and in the same book in which Rayford pulls off that silly-assed sophomoric voices prank on Carpathia? The Tribbes use the jet wash from an airplane to knock over Carpathia and send him hurtling down the runway.

    (HURHUR IT IS SO FUNNEY!!!!!111oneonone)

  • Makabit

    The thing about Ming Chang Toy Woo and friends is that these don’t look like modern Chinese names. They’re using the old-fashioned romanization that gives you Woo, instead of Wu, or Low for Lo, Chew instead of Chiu. These days, a name like that tells you that the family has been in the States for several generations, and kept the romanization they first got when in the country.

    I wrote part of a novel set in San Francisco in the nineteenth century, and I had to look at a lot of Chinese names from the period to get a sense of how people spelled out Chinese words at the time. Ming Chang Toy Woo, except for the rather overkill of names, sounds as though she might live some generations ago. Her modern descendant is named Jennifer Woo, and is embarrassed to only speak a couple words of Cantonese, although her children are taking Mandarin at school.

    Her modern Chinese-born counterpart spells it Ming-chang Wu when she orders letterhead in English.

  • phoenix_feather

    Antichrist is to be a kind of evil mirror-opposite of Christ. So in a
    sense, if the Antichrist is anything less than the ultimate evil, it
    would suggest that Christ was something less than the ultimate good.

    The thing is, L&J don’t even need to make the Antichrist the evilest man ever if that doesn’t suit their plot.  There are lots of ways to make Carpathia the opposite of Christ without turning him into Hitler II. 

    For example, there’s an Antichrist in the story I’m attempting to write.  But my Antichrist isn’t the opposite of Christ because he’s OMGSOEVIL–he’s anti-christ because he was born with the same potential capabilities as Christ.  The difference  (in this version) is that Jesus used his abilities to selflessly spread love and acceptance, while Antichrist uses those same abilities to promote his own selfish ends.  He’s not so much the embodiment of evil as the embodiment of selfishness.

    L&J could have easily done something like that.  They could have picked any of Christ’s good qualities–selflessness, love, acceptance, patience, compassion–and given us an Antichrist whose utter lack of compassion (for example) destroys the world and eventually leads to his downfall.  Given that Nicolae’s been a basically good guy until now, it wouldn’t be a stretch at all to make him a decent human being with a major character flaw that grows until it tarnishes all of his actions.

    I know why L&J didn’t do this, of course.  I know they wanted too badly to set up Carpathia as a cautionary liberal stereotype and pacificist-who-secretly-wants-to-bomb-everyone-because-isn’t-that-what-all-pacifists-are-like.  And I know that to focus on a particular Christlike quality might draw attention to the fact that maybe our protagonists aren’t actually that Christlike.  I just can’t help but imagine the cool narrative possibilities if L&J had stopped trying to preach at us long enough to consider exactly what ‘being the opposite of Jesus’ would mean for a person.

    Wow, that was longer than I intended.  Tangent over now. :)

  • Even Colonel Nicholson came to his senses in the end. :P

  • banancat

     Wait, precious innocent fetuses aren’t supposed to be raptured?

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I think I finally figured out what bothers about the Brad Pitt nee Young Robert Redford description: As a comparisons go, it only tells us that he is superficially handsome — blond hair, strong chin, big smile — and doesn’t capture any other qualities Nicolae supposedly has, not even charisma. (I don’t think either actor is especially charismatic.) A good comparison needs to capture several similarities on several levels. It would have been better to go with, say, Jack Kennedy who, in addition to being an easily recognizable cultural touchstone, was superficially handsome in the same way Pitt and Young Redford are, but was also a charismatic statesman whose memory evokes strong emotions.

    How about “as handsome as Brad Pitt with the charisma of Bill Clinton”?

    …I’ve just realised that George Clooney is the antichrist. Holy crap.

  • That’s a very good point though. I also think that the flaw in their antiChrist may point towards a possible flaw (or at least discrepancy with the mainstream) with their conception of Christ. The politics espoused in the series as righteous explicitly rejects selflessness, compassion, patience, and acceptance. The main characters are pretty cold and unloving towards anyone who isn’t within their inner circle. 

    Other Real True Christians in the New Hope Church who aren’t in the circle are kept out of the shelters and bunkers, essentially left to fend for themselves without the benefit of the prophesies that Bruce has compiled. And non-Christians are treated even worse; Rayford barely even tries to tell anyone he works with about the bombings and plagues about to come, and Buck — who has an entire worldwide media apparatus under his control — doesn’t even consider trying at all.

    These actions aren’t portrayed as selfish or cowardly at all; they are portrayed as righteous. And if that’s the standard set forth by Christ, it would be hard to devise a conception of the antiChrist that be as bad. 

  • arcseconds

    I commented in the Sarah Hammond post about L&J’s obsession with superficial status trappings for their heroes, and (despite the fact that resisting an evil tyrant might well require such a thing) the apparent lack of any real (or even perceived! unless you count the occasional piece of rudeness from Carpathia) humiliation or degradation.

    Seeing as I’ve got this in my head now, I’m wondering whether in their eyes, Carpathia actually has has been dealt a blow.   The most powerful man in the world, due to his own hubris and the heroism of Rayford, takes a pratfall!  How the mighty have fallen!

    (I’m not sure how seriously I take this myself.  But consider this: it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll ever see our heroes be the butt of a prank like this, and it does make sense of a scene which otherwise just paints Rayford as pathetic and ineffectual)

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Ming Chang Toy Woo.

    …iddle i po.

    You made me giggle like a child, and for that you deserve more than a “like”. Thank you, Jamoche, that was asolutely bloody hilarious.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    It’s wrong not because it’s wrong to kill people, but because it’s wrong to kill people unless you have a really good reason to do so.

    To be fair, that’s hardly a sentiment unique to L&J. Just upthread there was a comment about how even “the good guys” engage in mass slaughter on occasion. Implication being that being responsible for large scale violent death doesn’t make you a “bad guy”, as opposed to the argument that it means your categorisation of “good guy” is off.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I’m pretty disappointed that the Cadinal who became Pope was named Peter Mathews instead of Seamus O’Mick. Show some commitment to your art, L&J!

  • banancat

    I’d like Nicky’s evilness to be portrayed in a way that he could plausibly deny.  I imagine him talking to Rayford in a faux-concerned voice, asking if there could possibly be a mechanical problem with the plane.  Because surely his most loyal employee would never intentionally disregard him.  And then he’d tell Rayford to make sure he gets the plane checked out, followed by a just tragic story about a friend of a friend who had caused a similar “accident” and then just disappeared one day or mysteriously committed suicide or something like that, and he would just hate to see Rayford come to the same fate. 

    That would just fit with my idea of a charismatic sociopath.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    I discovered this blog about three months ago by Googling “Jerry Jenkins shitty writer”. Woo-hoo, this place feels like coming home.

    LOL, and welcome.

    I’d love to see the data on what queries and links bring people to this blog.

  • Makabit

    And that’s leaving out the issue that in Chinese, the family name comes before the given name. So while Ming-chang may write it like that on her English letterhead, her Chinese letterhead reads Wu Ming-chang.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah. At least when G&S wrote The Mikado, they had the excuse of at the time there really wasn’t a hell of a lot of English-language material on how Japanese names work.

  • EllieMurasaki

    not RTC -approved John Birch worthy JAY-zuz made grape juice, but REAL wine, which is EE-vul


  • (I’m not sure how seriously I take this myself.  But consider this: it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll ever see our heroes be the butt of a prank like this, and it does make sense of a scene which otherwise just paints Rayford as pathetic and ineffectual)

    Like many bad writers, Jenkins is uncomfortable putting his heroes at a disadvantage to anyone, in any situation. It’s the same impulse that allows Buck to effortlessly and doubtlessly dominate Verna. It never occurs to him, or to the writers, that Stanton Bailey’s belief that Buck is an incompetent screw-up who repeatedly and flagrantly lied to him should put him in a disadvantage during his power struggle with Verna. In fact, Bailey’s anger at Buck has no actual negative consequences for Buck; it doesn’t diminish his standing one iota and doesn’t prevent him from using his inexplicably cozy relationship with the man to outmanuever his rivals. 

  •  Peter Mathews was his chosen Pope name.  His birth name was of course Patrick Shillelagh O’Toole.  And that darned Tribulation Force was always after ‘is lucky charms, doncha know?

  • The reams and reams of Fundy literature insisting that the water-turned-wine was actually grape juice would not be believed.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Grape juice was not a thing until 1869!