NRA: Winners and losers

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 113-116

The Antichrist’s personal plane is making good time, as Rayford Steele enjoys the sleep of the just, “snoring, according to McCullum, for several hours.”

Well, if not the sleep of the just, the deep sleep of one who just doesn’t care that he just stood by and did nothing to prevent the slaughter of millions.

About an hour outside Baghdad, Leon Fortunato entered the cockpit and knelt next to Rayford. “We’re not entirely sure of security in New Babylon,” he said. “No one expects us to land in Baghdad. Let’s keep maintaining with the New Babylon tower that we’re on the way directly there. When we pick up our other three ambassadors, we may just stay on the ground for a few hours until the security forces have had a chance to clear New Babylon.”

“Will that affect your meetings?” Rayford said, trying to sound casual.

“I don’t see how it concerns you one way or the other. We can easily meet on the plane. …”

You get the idea. Just in case you don’t, Jerry Jenkins spells it out in excruciating repetitive detail in the following pages. It’s a semi-plausible way of arranging to have Nicolae Carpathia’s strategy meeting with his top lieutenants take place on the plane — and thus to allow Rayford, and readers, to eavesdrop.

This chapter, then, spends three pages contriving a situation in which Rayford can listen in on a meeting that eventually takes about 10 pages to unfold. That makes this one of Jenkins’ most efficient chapters — throughout most of this series of books it’s more like a 1-to-1 ratio of positioning to narrative, spending just as many pages maneuvering his characters into a position to observe what happens next as he does allowing them to observe it.

Buck Williams, for example, is headed to Israel to meet with Tsion Ben-Judah. That’s the next actual bit of story he’ll be involved in, but rather than just telling us the story parts of the story, Jenkins keeps us apprised of every phone call and airport stop along the way.

Buck checked in with Donny Moore, who said he had found some incredible deals on individual components and was putting together the five mega-laptops himself. “That’ll save you a little money,” he said. “Just a little over $20,000 a piece, I figure.”

Maybe Donny is a good and trustworthy guy and he’s putting together some really amazing computers. Or maybe he just couldn’t resist when he found a customer who was willing to pay $100,000 for five really “special” laptops.

Buck told key people at Global Community Weekly his new universal cell phone number and asked that they keep it confidential …

I imagine those “key people” at the news organization were surprised to learn that Buck hadn’t been killed when World War III began a few days ago. This ongoing story is the biggest news since The Event itself, so when the boss never bothered to check in with his top editors and reporters, they had to assume he was either dead or trapped under something heavy.

Think of it: You’re the managing editor of a major news outlet. New York, London and Washington are all destroyed and you never hear from the boss. Chicago and Dallas and San Francisco are destroyed and the boss is still AWOL. And then, the following day, he calls — not to give orders or ask questions about how this huge story should be covered, and not to ask if everyone survived the series of nuclear attacks. No, he’s just calling to let you know he got a new cell phone, and to give you the number so you can call him if anything comes up.

Meanwhile, Rayford lands at the airport in Baghdad and Jenkins begins a laborious explanation of security ruses and arrangements for the meeting Nicolae will have with his lieutenants there on the airplane. This description is interspersed with a testy conversation between Rayford and Leon Fortunato. Fortunato tells Rayford they’ll be flying again in four hours.

“International aviation rules prohibit me from flying again for 24 hours.”

“Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”

“Exhausted.”

“Nevertheless, you’re the only one qualified to fly this plane, and you’ll be flying it when we say you’ll be flying it.”

This goes on for another half-page or so, the two men posturing and asserting competing claims for dominance. Rayford makes a point of calling the man by his first name.

“I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as Mr. Fortunato.”

“That means a lot to you, does it, Leon?”

“Don’t push me, Steele.”

As they entered the terminal, Rayford said, “As I am the only one who can fly that plane, I would appreciate it if you would call me Captain Steele.”

Fortunato here seems like kind of a jerk, but then he’s supposed to be the chief assistant to the Antichrist — the No. 2 guy and the right-hand man of the all-time epitome of evil. Just being kind of a jerk doesn’t quite seem evil enough.

Like Nicolae himself, Fortunato seems like an unpleasant person to be around, but unpleasant doesn’t really cut it when you’re supposed to be superlatively wicked.

The portrayal of villains is another place where storytelling and theology inevitably intersect. What is evil? What is sin? What is wickedness? Is it the opposite of good, or the absence of good? Could it be an excess of good? Does it lie more in its ends or in its means? Your ideas about all of those questions will shape how you portray your uber-villains.

Think of the movie Serenity, Joss Whedon’s delightful big-screen curtain call for his abruptly cancelled scifi TV series Firefly. Serenity gives us “Reavers” — sub-human, bestial nightmares of pure savagery and violent carnage. From one theological or philosophical perspective, Reavers might seem to be strong candidates for the epitome of evil — soulless monsters bent on mindless destruction.

But Whedon has always been more interested in soulful monsters and mindful destruction. The Reavers are terrifying, but — SPOILER ALERT — they’re not the true villains of Serenity. The real villains are those who created the Reavers, and who did so with the best of intentions. And therein lies a whole other philosophy or theology and a very different set of answers to those questions about the nature of evil.

The Left Behind series ought to have richly meaningful villains. Just look at that title — “Antichrist” — and consider all the myriad ways Nicolae Carpathia’s villainy might have been used to explore the nature and meaning of Christ by portraying his antithesis.

Nicolae could have been shown to epitomize power instead of love. He could have been shown as the kind of man who would say “Yes” to all the temptations Jesus is said to have rejected in the wilderness. He could have been portrayed as the one who chooses to take rather than to give, to harm rather than to heal, to kill rather than to die.

But we never see anything in these books about the Antichrist as the antithesis of the Christ of the Gospels. That part is already taken in this series by Jesus himself, the Jesus of Tim LaHaye’s imagined second coming who will arrive at the “Glorious Appearing” to correct all of his earlier mistakes by embodying the opposite of everything he taught and lived in his first coming. The Antichrist cannot be shown to be the opposite of this Christ because the Antichrist is exactly like this Christ.

This also means that Fortunato — the Antichrist’s chief disciple — cannot be portrayed as the antithesis of what it means to be a disciple of Christ. Indeed, what we just saw in his conversation with such a disciple, Rayford Steele, is that Leon Fortunato is exactly like his Christian counterpart. He’s kind of a jerk in that conversation, but then so is Rayford. He’s arrogant and full of himself, but then so is Rayford.

The only difference between the two men is the same as the one thing that makes the Antichrist different from the vengeful Christ of LaHaye’s imagination: Fortunato is on the wrong side.

This seems to be the only thing the authors have to say about the nature of evil. It’s the wrong side. It’s the losing side.

So how, then, can we avoid evil? Easy — by always doing whatever we have to do to make sure our side wins.

That’s the author’s definition of good. For many other authors — including some of those in the Christian canon — that’s the definition of evil.

 

  • Michael Pullmann

    One wonders, if Jenkins didn’t do so much padding with phone calls and logistics, just how long would the important parts of this series actually be?

  • aunursa

    This chapter, then, spends three pages contriving a situation in which Rayford can listen in on a meeting that eventually takes about 10 pages to unfold. That makes this one of Jenkins’ most efficient chapters — throughout most of this series of books it’s more like a 1-to-1 ratio of positioning to narrative, spending just as many pages maneuvering his characters into a position to observe what happens next as he does allowing them to observe it.

    That doesn’t give me much confidence.  If we go by the previous 2 1/4 books, in the next chapter Rayford will call Buck to relate what happened in the meeting.  Then Rayford or Buck will call Chloe to share the news.

  • Jessica_R

    The (non) action of the Trib Force is especially galling when you look at real life examples of heroes like this, http://chickgonebad.tumblr.com/post/40689604725/the-hero-of-ages-gdfalksen-chiune-sugihara. People who show you can sit behind a desk and be an utter BAMF, you just have to have the courage, and the will to accept that love without works is dead. You can’t just think badly of your bosses, you have to risk something, maybe something huge, to help. 

  • aunursa

     

    “That’ll save you a little money,” he said. “Just a little over $20,000 a piece, I figure.”

    Why does that matter?  Why does Buck need to save money?  Doesn’t he have access to an unlimited line of credit from the antichrist?

  • Turcano

    Nicolae could have been shown to epitomize power instead of love.

    LaHaye and Jenkins were never going to do that because that might cause some of their audience to question who their true master is, and we can’t have that.

  • aunursa

    “Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”
    “Exhausted.”
    “Nevertheless, you’re the only one qualified to fly this plane, and you’ll be flying it when we say you’ll be flying it.”

    The great irony is that in this single exchange, Leon is actually making a greater effort to kill his boss, the antichrist, than either Rayford or Buck does during the their entire Global Community employment.

  • ScorpioUndone

     one book. Maybe three like they originally planned.  ;-)

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

    For many other authors — including some of those in the Christian canon — that’s the definition of evil.

    A lot of right-wingers like to treat politics as a game. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been told I was just angry because “my guy” lost. It’s a completely irrational way of looking at the world that I keep forgetting exists until I smash up against it yet again.

  • flat

    Now here is one of my favorite subjects how is somebody evil when he is willing to do the most difficult thing for his cause, or is somebody evil because he quits.

    Is grimlock ” strong”  because he is more willing than optimus to use extreme measures.
    Is Optimus “weak” because he hates to use those measures despite the fact they could end the conflict faster.

    Is L evil because of the measures he took in catching kira.
    Is Amon evil because he wanted to make the world more equal by using bloodbending.

    It is always a theme that I find interesting in the hands of (pay attention here Jerry Jenkins) a good writer. 

  • Vermic

    If Nicolae is the anti-Christ, then Rayford is the anti-Judas.  Like Judas, he’s the traitor in the inner circle, but the opposite in that he never gets to any actual betraying.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    This is yet more evidence of why the “Mary Sue” character is harmful in ways that a less indulgent Author Avatar would not be.

    Exhibit A: Buck Williams. Had Bucky remained the GIRAT, his globe-trotting, never-turning-in-work, ignoring-the-office behavior would have been appropriate for his described profession. Steve Plank, his boss and the publisher alternates between defending the plucky young go-getter to the owner (Carpathia) and shouting at Buck to do his job! Buck keeps spinning straw into gold, revealing the overreaching response of the OWG to a handful of pathetically armed insurgents.

    Buck still gets to be an author-insert. He still gets to mouth off to “the man” (Carpathia) and be protected because he is TEH AWEOMEEST REPORTAR EVAR but at least we’re not getting our legs broken falling into plot-holes along the way.

    Exhibit B:

    “International aviation rules prohibit me from flying again for 24 hours.”
    “Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”
    “Exhausted.”
    “Nevertheless, you’re the only one qualified to fly this plane, and you’ll be flying it when we say you’ll be flying it.”

    The only reason this exchange exists is to set up Rayford’s power-play of “You have to call me Captain Steele, and I get to call you Leon
    This dialogue could have been used to show how dangerous and out-of-touch Carpathia and his inner circle are. Let’s try a quick re-write:

    Rayford had just entered the cockpit from where he had been sleeping and saw Fortunado clap McCullum on the shoulder.
    “Ready to take us to New Babylon? It’s just a few more hours.”
    McCullum shook his head. “Aviation rules prohibit a pilot from flying for more than 8 continuous- ”
    Fortunado cut him off. “It was a rhetorical question. We’re flying to New Babylon and with the potentate on board, we’re not spending any more time on the ground than we need to, so buck up!”
    Rayford stepped past Fortunado and buckled into his seat. “Mac, I just got done with a power nap. Why don’t you head back and catch some shut-eye? Oh, and Leon? There are three professionals that you want well rested when they’re working on the job for you: your surgeon, your lawyer, and your pilot. If Mac dozed off and crashed the plane, you’d be just as dead as if insurgents with rockets had found us. Cut us some slack; we know what we’re doing.”

    Not a great re-write, but the scene works a little better if Rayford is on the side of angels, instead of just trying to one-up someone.

  • Dogfacedboy

    Maybe Donny is a good and trustworthy guy and he’s putting together some really amazing computers. Or maybe he just couldn’t resist when he found a customer who was willing to pay $100,000 for five really “special” laptops.

    Maybe they have 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive and play those little mini CDs.

  • GeniusLemur

    “You’re the only one qualified to fly this plane.” Gee, is that on the plane, available, or in the world? Could this be a subtle hint that CAPTAIN RAYFORD STEELE is the only person in the world who could have the superlative skills necessary to fly this amazing plane?

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    Buck checked in with Donny Moore, who said he had found some incredible
    deals on individual components and was putting together the five
    mega-laptops himself. “That’ll save you a little money,” he said. “Just a
    little over $20,000 a piece, I figure.”

    This is another one of those weeks where I can’t help but latch onto something inconsequential. Yeah, L&J can’t write villains to save their lives, but I can’t get past these $20k “mega-laptops.”

    First, why? I fail to see why the Tribbers need to have anything like this. In the mid-90′s, you could get a notebook computer for around a thousand dollars. These were very basic businessman’s computers, with word processing, spreadsheets, and Internet access. And really, that’s all our not-quite-heroes even need them for. Given how low-tech this operation has been thus far, I don’t see Buck doing any 3D rendering or coding complex C++ scripts (And yes, I know he’s supposed to be “tech-savvy,” but so far that seems to mean that he knows cell phones and e-mail exist). I guess he could use one of them as a mobile host (I’m assuming that wireless Internet is available, given that this is “the not-so-distant future”), but given that his means of distributing info consists of printing, retyping and copying millions of words, I can’t imagine he’d know how.

    And then there’s the price point. I’m hoping that someone with a little more hardware knowledge comes along, but I do know a bit about the computer building subculture. Homemade computers are usually desktops – mobile machines are more or less standardized – but I’m willing to allow that our secret tech guy could work his magic on a laptop. I’m having trouble picturing what a $20,000 box would even look like. Even a crazy machine so overclocked it glowed, fitted with the highest-quality peripherals available, wouldn’t run to 20 grand. You would have to electroplate the casing in solid gold to get the price that high.

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

    Verna Zee Sensible Shoes Confrontation Countdown: 232 pages

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I imagine those “key people” at the news organization were surprised dismayed to learn that Buck hadn’t been killed when World War III began a few days ago.

    Fixed that for you.

  • A A

     Buck’s the Greatest Pilot Of All Time, and he can fly the plane just fine even if he hasn’t gotten the required amount of sleep. What’s he’s doing is working to rule, which is of course a technique invented by those lazy union workers to persecute the poor factory owners.

    This is ironic, because Nicky and Fortunato are wicked liberals, so they have to support labor union techniques. And it’s doubly ironic because liberals are the ones who came up with all those dumb “worker safety” regulations to being with.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    “You’re the only one qualified to fly this plane.”

    Again, better writers would use this to show how unbalanced and arrogant our villains are:
    “Wait, what? The primary means of transporting the most powerful person in the world, and you only trained one person how to fly it? So if I get food poisoning, the potentate gets stranded in Dulles while I try to keep down Pepto?” 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    But Whedon has always been more interested in soulful monsters and mindful destruction. The Reavers are terrifying, but — SPOILER ALERT — they’re not the true villains of Serenity. The real villains are those who created the Reavers, and who did so with the best of intentions. And therein lies a whole other philosophy or theology and a very different set of answers to those questions about the nature of evil.

    I always found myself strangely identifying with The Operative:

    “So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?”
    “I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there… any more than there is for you. Malcolm… I’m a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.”

  • Ralovett

    I thought the same thing about the difficulty of making a $20,000 laptop ,back when I read this book first, many moons ago. I think at that time, you could go $4000 or a bit higher, but to go higher than that you were going to need a super-fast processor, or super-capacity hard drive, and even if those were feasible, you’d have to have them custom made to fit in the case, and that would cost a LOT more than $20,000, since you’d have to pay for the R&D. What they folks wind up with is custom computer in a (large) briefcase, not a laptop.

  • Dogfacedboy

    “International aviation rules prohibit me from flying again for 24 hours.”“Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”
    “Exhausted.”

    Wait a sec – Rayford’s exhausted after a flight in which he was “snoring for several hours”?  Are we sure we’re not talking about Arnold, the Antichrist’s cat?

  • http://kingdomofsharks.wordpress.com/ D Johnston

    Regarding your rewrite: That kind of thing would actually work really well if the main characters hadn’t already been established as self-aggrandizing jackasses. If Ray were more world-weary and beaten down, this kind of aggressive stance could signal the start of his path from bystander to hero. He’s standing up to evil for the first time – in a small way, and to a more venial evil, but that’s how it begins. But, of course, that would only work in a much better book, one in which the protagonist doesn’t pull rank every so often just to bolster his ego.

    As for Buck, I like your suggestion for him. If nothing else, it makes him seem a bit more independent, like a counterpart to Ray – the free-wheeling troublemaker and the diligent old guard. As it is, they just seem like slightly different breeds of lapdog.

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

    I suppose I’m in the minority on this, but I actually kinda…like Leon Fortunato.  Or, at least, I feel for him.  LaJenkins want to make him into a chubby, sycophantic, bumbling fool, but I’ve always felt that there was a cool guy inside that silly shell, struggling to break free.

    Also, it’s worth pointing out that as sycophantic as Leon is, he is never hypocritical.  He believes in Carpathia absolutely, and, as the series progresses, it is ever more understandable why he does.  Great things happen to Leon that dwarf most of what constitute “miracles” for the Tribbles.  It’s no surprise whatsoever that Leon loves and worships Carpathia. 

    With what happens to him, I’d be far more surprised if he didn’t worship the guy.

  • Evan Hunt

    Actually I could believe laptops might cost $20,000 after the rapture.  This is a world without child labor, after all.

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

    I fail to see why the Tribbers need to have anything like this.

    They have to have the most expensive EVERYTHING.  This is a recurring theme in these books.

    Buck checked in with Donny Moore, who said he had found some incredible deals on individual components and was putting together the five mega-laptops himself.

    What a guy!  The world is being blown to smithereens, and he’s still wheelin’ and dealin’.

    I’d hate to think how much these things originally cost if 20 grand apiece was an “incredible deal”.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I would actually think that several cheap, relatively disposable laptops would serve the Tribs better than some $20,000 uber-laptops.  If they want to make them “special” then I can see them doing some modifications.  Maybe getting a few biometric locks (which do exist and are common enough) and chipping them with some custom cards with a small quantity of explosives that will cause the laptop to self-destruct if accessed by someone other than a user who’s fingerprint is on file.  That would also play well with the whole spy-fiction element they seem to be going for here.  Heck, they might have to ditch one of the computers as a distraction, knowing that it will blow up in the face of the first GC goon to try and open it.  

  • Flying Squid with Goggles

    The moral point made, that choosing wrong makes you EVIL, is the most saddening point made in all these hundreds of Left Behind posts.

    The worst part is, these authors really believe it. Torturing people and genocide can’t be evil because we see the ‘good’ side do it in greater scale and more extravagantly than the ‘evil’ side ever does.

    Maybe that’s the deep secret to the LB books, that whoever does something on grander scale and more extravagantly is the winner, and therefore the side to choose. If only to be consistent, L&J should really like Lady Gaga.

  • aunursa

    He could have been shown as the kind of man who would say “Yes” to all the temptations Jesus is said to have rejected in the wilderness.

    Jenkins does this at the end of Prequel #1. Jenkins does another copy-and-paste job from the Bible, having Satan tempt Nicky in the same manner, and Nicky succumbs to the temptations.

  • SisterCoyote

    “International aviation rules prohibit me from flying again for 24 hours.”

    “Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”

    “Exhausted.”

     
    “Potentate,” Leon said, sitting down across from Carpathia. “I think we may have been wrong about this pilot. He does certainly have an ego, but he is petty as a child when it comes to certain things. We would be better off leaving him in Baghdad and taking someone else on – it needn’t take long, and we might be better with a fresh pilot.”

    Nicolae pursed his lips and tapped the armrest of his seat thoughtfully. “I hear your concerns, Mr. Fortunato,” he replied. “But he is, at the moment, the only pilot who has taken extensive training with this plane, specifically. As long as he does not allow his ego to get in the way of his job, I believe we are safer with one who is familiar with the controls.”

    Leon shrugged, conceding the point. “As you say, Potentate.”

    “I would appreciate it if you would refer to me as Mr. Fortunato.”“That means a lot to you, does it, Leon?”“Don’t push me, Steele.”As
    they entered the terminal, Rayford said, “As I am the only one who can
    fly that plane, I would appreciate it if you would call me Captain
    Steele.”

    Leon glanced over his shoulder at Nicolae, who raised an eyebrow and gave a tiny head movement, indicating a summons. He fell back, walking next to the potentate.”I believe I may have underestimated him after all,” Nicolae murmured. “A man who relies on such petty terms of interaction is of no use to us. Have him disposed of, Mr. Fortunato, and make sure his replacement understands that respect and discretion are key traits in my personal pilot.”Leon fought to keep from grinning as he nodded, and failed.

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    A variety of things that jump out as problematic with just the plane scene:

    - That “international aviation rules” are proposed apply to the personal air fleet of the one world dictator. Does the ICAO outrank the one world government? (Is this another sign of the weird deference given to pilots in this series?)
    - That “international aviation rules” would be either followed or enforced by any party in the hours following the beginning of a nuclear war.

    - That, if we assume the “no more than X hours flight time in 24 hours” regulation is for *safety*, that Fortunado would be so pushy about pushing the envelope on safety regulations given he himself could be killed by a plane safety lapse.

    - That there is no backup pilot that could fly the plane if Rayford is unavailable, incapacitated, or hitting his safe hours-per-day limit.

    - As always, that such an insubordinate, difficult to work with person as Rayford continues to stay in such a sensitive position despite being imminently replaceable. A quick Google search suggests there are about 800,000 licensed pilots in the U.S. alone.

    As usual, the fact “Global Community One” used to be Air Force One raises obvious comparisons to how Air Force One surely works today. Do you think Air Force pilots, such as are used to pilot Air Force One today, necessarily follow civilian regulations concerning hours-per-day of flight time? Surely the Air Force has *some* regulations as to how much flight time should be allowed per pilot, but those will be internal regulations and surely not the same as the ones applying to commercial pilots. Do you think Air Force One has one and only one pilot on board suitable to fly the plane? If a nuclear war broke out under Barack Obama, and cities were blowing up, and Col. Scott Turner had hit  the Air Force’s recommended max flight time for the previous 24 hours, do you think they would just ground the plane and wait for Turner to recharge?

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

    Rayford’s exhausted after a flight in which he was “snoring for several hours”?

    Rayford often acts like a man at least twenty years older than he’s supposed to be. 

  • vsm

    I’m guessing that scene isn’t full of intertextual references to the Grand Inquisitor story in The Brothers Karamazov.

  • Grogs

    “International aviation rules prohibit me from flying again for 24 hours.”“Nonsense,” Fortunato said. “How do you feel?”“Exhausted.”“Nevertheless, you’re the only one qualified to fly this plane, and you’ll be flying it when we say you’ll be flying it.”The bit about “International aviation rules” is amusing considering that there is only one nation left on Earth. I would expect any two-bit villain to point out that the guy that makes the rules now is behind them in the plane, and he says it’s time to fly.I’m also trying to picture how this would play out if it happened on the real Air Force One. If someone like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden stepped into the cockpit and the pilot got snippy with them and insisted on using their first name, I’m betting he wouldn’t be on the next flight. It might not even take that long since I would bet that Air Force One has at least two fully trained flight crews on board. The Air Force is full of good pilots, so why would they put up with one who insists on being a jerk? The fact that Rayford and Buck can pretty much do whatever they want without getting more than the occasional annoyed look from the Antichrist really kills any chance these books had at suspense.
     

  • P J Evans

    I’m having trouble picturing what a $20,000 box would even look like.

    Windowed case, neon-lit cooling fans, about a terabyte of extra memory (because they couldn’t quite fit the terabyte hard drive in), and the case is framed in vermeil (gold-plated sterling silver). With engravings of Dore’s illustrations for Dante’s Inferno on the parts that have to be solid.

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

     +1

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

    Dude.  You haven’t even seen Biblical cut-n-paste until you’ve read The Jesus Chronicles series, in which LaJenkins pad out the stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John by reproducing the relevant Gospel in each novel.  That is, when you buy, say, Matthew’s Story, you are paying for the new story, but also for the entire gospel of Matthew.

    http://www.amazon.com/Matthews-Story-The-Jesus-Chronicles/dp/0399156216

  • http://twitter.com/richterscale Charles Richter

    Maybe you never played around with customizing a Macintosh on Apple’s website in the late 90s.  You could get pretty close if you selected all the options!

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

    I know, right? 

    Plus, isn’t Rayford former military?  You’d think he’d be familiar with the concept of “call your superior by the name he wants to be called, even if you don’t happen to like him.”

  • aunursa

    Buck told key people at Global Community Weekly his new universal cell phone number and asked that they keep it confidential except from Carpathia, Plank, and Rosenzweig.

    It was thoughtful of Buck to give Nicky his new phone number so that the Antichrist can use the GPS signal to keep track of Buck’s whereabouts.  I’m just curious whether he shared his contact info with Loretta, Verna, or Amanda.  I’m guessing he’s operating on a need to know basis, and the wimmenses don’t need to know.

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

    Are we sure we’re not talking about Arnold, the Antichrist’s cat?

    Excuse me.  Nicolae’s cat is named Puffington.  And Rayford holds him while Nicky conducts important business.

  • Deborah Moore

    What’s happening here is simple people like L&J basically define good as maximal opposition  to evil.  (Well, also no sex outside marriage and no lying to the Antichrist).  Thus war is good and peace is bad because war shows greater opposition to evil.  Politics of total obstructionism is good and compromise is bad because you would be compromising with Satan.  Torture is good because it shows maximum opposition to the evil terrorists.  And so forth.

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

    But then he would have to admit that anyone was his superior. 

    Most people call other people what they want to be called (within reason) because not doing so makes you a jackass. But every single blasted thing seems to be hierarchical to L&J. Either you’re above someone or you’re below someone; you cannot be equal to someone. So literally every interaction is a pissing contest.

  • Andrew_Ryans_Caddy

    It’s really a crime to write an Antichrist and have so little fun with the concept.  Think of all the anti-parables you could make up. 

  • http://twitter.com/mcclure111 mcc

    Out of curiosity, I went to store.apple.com, selected the most expensive laptop listed, and checked every single option I was given that would allow me to spend more money. The price I was given was $8,724.91. Looking back over the purchase, this turned out to include an Apple TV as well as a $2,299 line item for a 12-terabyte external RAID system that looks to be roughly the size of a microwave.

  • http://thatbeerguy.blogspot.com Chris Doggett

    Buck told key people at Global Community Weekly his new universal cell phone number and asked that they keep it confidential except from Carpathia, Plank, and Rosenzweig.

    Global Weekly Publishing, Buck William’s office, how may I help you?

    I’m sorry, Mr. Williams is currently out of the office. No, I don’t know when he’ll be back; he’s in the field investigating some thing to report. Would you like to leave a voice-mail?”

    I’m sorry, but Mr. Williams’ cell phone number is confidential. I’m only supposed to give it out to Nicolae Carpathia, Steven Plank, or Chaim Rosenzweig. Now what was your name again? Oh! Mr. Carpathia! So nice to finally meet you!”
    “What’s that? Yes, he wanted to make sure if Chaim Rosenzweig called, that he should have the cell phone number, so I gave it to him. Yes, he called, asked for Buck Williams, and I gave him the cell number. Oh well thank you for being so helpful and polite. You have a wonderful day.

    He seems nice. I wonder why everyone keeps calling him a potato….

  • fraser

     I had the same puzzlement about whether the rules apply in the Age of Nicolae.

  • Albanaeon

    I’m sure I’ve mentioned this, but this series really does work as a meta-criticism of the American Evangelical subculture (and possible of Americans in general…) than any serious End of Times work.  Seriously, nuclear war is raging and our “hero” is getting a shiny new laptop.  Nuclear WAR is raging and the heroes angriest responses are about how it has (sightly) inconvenienced them.  A pissing contest is the heart of drama here, and being good is being on the winning side.

    L&J may have written a terrible story, but damn, did they ever nail the absurdity of the American experience.

  • fraser

    What is evil? What is sin? What is wickedness? Is it the opposite of good, or the absence of good? Could it be an excess
    of good? Does it lie more in its ends or in its means? Your ideas about
    all of those questions will shape how you portray your uber-villains.”
    I’m reminded of Incorruptible, the comic book series about a supervillain trying to turn hero. But as he admits he has no moral compass so he tends to screw up a lot (massively disproportionate collateral damage for instance).

  • Albanaeon

     Ah, I think Ray-Ray is a hero in the true Right tradition of being a “chickenhawk.” 

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Plus, isn’t Rayford former military?

    I thought he always had a civil piloting job?  And the fact that he was not an Air Force officer was one of the weirder things about him having aspirations of piloting Air Force One.


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