NRA: Cater to their feelings

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 120-122

First, a quick reminder that Buck Williams is a jerk:

It was nearly time for Buck to head for Palwaukee Airport. Verna Zee was back at the Global Community Weekly office with the new (to her) used car Buck had promised to buy her from the fleet of leftovers from New Hope.

Verna, you’ll remember, had graciously loaned Buck her car so that he could go to look for Chloe after the bombs fell.

He abused it, blowing a tire, and then abandoned it. He’d promised Verna to replace it with “a better car,” and, apparently, has fulfilled that promise as minimally as possible.

A few chapters back Buck bought a car for himself. He used his Global Weekly credit card to buy a $100,000 Range Rover even though it was for personal use, not for work. (Buck stopped doing work in the last book, although he still collects his salary.) But he won’t use the company credit card to replace the car he took from his employee. She’ll have to make do with one of the Rapture-surplus cars Loretta had collected at New Hope.

I’m sure Loretta and Donny Moore gave Buck a competitive price for the car — just like with the laptops. I’m picturing them in the church office, counting the money, as Donny asks, “Do you think Buck will ever realize we just sold him Irene Steele’s car?”

Loretta, we’re told, “was at the church office fielding the constant phone calls about Sunday’s memorial service.”

And here’s how I imagine those calls going:

“No, it’s just for Bruce. Only Bruce. … Yes, I realize that our church lost dozens of members in the bombing, and millions more are dead all over the country, but … no, no, you’re right. You’re absolutely right, but it’s not up to me. … Buck Williams planned it. … Exactly, yes. …”

Chloe hobbled around on a cane, needing crutches but unable to manage them with her sprained wrist in a sling. That left Amanda to take Buck to the airport.

“I want to ride along,” Chloe said.

“Are you sure you’re up to it, hon?” Buck said.

Chloe’s voice was quavery. “Buck, I hate to say it, but in this day and age we never know when we might or might not ever see each other again.”

“You’re being a little maudlin, aren’t you?” he said.

The last time Chloe left the house she was badly injured in a car wreck due to a nuclear bomb. She also knows, for a fact, that the second, third and fourth seals of divine wrath are being poured out on the world, meaning that “a fourth of the world” will be dead in the weeks to come. So rather than seeming maudlin, her comment seems appropriate.

But the authors have to treat this like a “quavery” bit of overly emotional thinking on her part because that will allow Buck to callously dismiss her feelings, after which the authors, through Amanda, can deliver yet another Lesson in Christian Marriage.

That’s the point here, with this lesson meant to be some Mars-Venus business about men being too practical and unfeeling while women are overly emotional. The authors here are thus reminding good, godly husbands that they need to cater to the sensitivities of the weaker sex and pretend to be paying attention when their wives prattle on about their feelings. This is similar to the earlier Lesson in Christian Marriage in which godly husbands were urged to pretend to appreciate any “frilly,” feminine knick-knacks their wives have used to decorate the home.

That’s my summary, but look at what the authors have written here and judge for yourself if it’s accurate:

“You’re being a little maudlin, aren’t you?” he said.

“Buck!” Amanda said in a scolding tone. “You cater to her feelings now. I had to kiss my husband good-bye in front of the Antichrist. You think that gives me confidence about whether I’ll ever see him again?”

Buck was properly chastised.

The lesson here seems to be, roughly, “Husbands, cater to her feelings and make her think you’re really listening when your wife talks about … oh, you know … whatever it is that wives talk about when they talk about all that woman-ish stuff.” I can’t figure out whether the authors are simply unaware of the way their lesson on listening reveals that they don’t listen, or if this is actually meant to sound patronizing. I may think of “patronizing” as a bad thing, but I’m not sure the authors agree that it is. (If husbands are patrons, after all, why shouldn’t they be patronizing?)

After the lesson, Buck, Chloe and Amanda pile into the Range Rover — Buck driving, of course, because it’s his car and because penis — and head toward Palwaukee Airport.*

Buck was amazed that the built-in TV had survived Chloe’s crash. He was not in a position to see it, but he listened as Amanda and Chloe watched. Nicolae Carpathia, in his usual overly humble manner, was holding forth.

Nicolae Carpathia, we have just been told, usually comes across as “overly humble.” He seems like a fake, in other words, a condescending phony.

He is a fake, of course. He’s the Antichrist — a false messiah. But the thing about any decent false messiah is that he has to seem like the real deal. That’s the salient fact about actual phonies — they seem genuine.

I think part of the problem here is that the authors simply do not trust their readers to dislike Nicolae without making him utterly unlikeable. This despite the title of the book: Nicolae: Rise of the Antichrist. His rise, we are told, is due entirely to his charisma, his preternatural charm and superlative eloquence. Yet they’re afraid to allow him to be or even to seem charismatic or charming or eloquent.

Instead what we get is every bad writer’s favorite method of making one character seem smart: making everyone else seem stupid. Consider poor Chaim Rosenzweig. He’s supposed to be a genius, but he comes across as clueless and dimwitted, utterly fooled by Nicolae’s obvious fraudulence and “overly humble” phoniness.

In this scene it’s not just the foolish Rosenzweig who is fooled by Nicolae’s obvious pretense — it’s the entire world.

Jerry Jenkins’ provided himself with another way of handling this. Back in the first book of the series he went to great lengths to establish that the Antichrist has supernatural powers of mind control. I keep waiting for him to make use of that in scenes like this — to suggest that Nicolae is working his mojo on the whole world through this broadcast while only the redeemed, those who enjoy the magic of divine protection, can hear what’s really going on.

But Jenkins doesn’t do that here. Instead, he falls back into the trap he set for himself by insisting that Nicolae is the greatest orator and most convincing speaker of all time.

Again, don’t ever do this to yourself as a writer. Don’t ever give a key character any superlative skill that will at some point have to be demonstrated on the page. Robin Hood stories are fine — you can describe an arrow hitting its target without having to wield the bow yourself. But don’t try to tell readers about the world’s greatest poet, or the world’s funniest comedian, or the most compelling orator of all time, because eventually you’ll have to back that up by supplying the poetry, jokes or oratory that live up to such descriptions. And unless you are, yourself, the greatest poet, funniest comedian, or most compelling speechwriter in all the world, then you’re trapped.

Jenkins is trapped. He is not the greatest speechwriter in the world. He is, rather, a terrible writer of terrible speeches.

And instead of great, or good, or even adequate oratory from Nicolae, what Jenkins gives us instead is this:

“Make no mistake, my brothers and sisters, there will be many dark days ahead. It will take tremendous resources to begin the rebuilding process, but because of the generosity of the seven loyal global regions and with the support of those citizens in the other three areas who were loyal to the Global Community and not to the insurrectionists, we are amassing the largest relief fund in the history of mankind. This will be administered to needy nations from New Babylon and the Global Community headquarters under my personal supervision.”

So New Babylon, the capital of the one-world government established after all nations were abolished, is going to oversee the distribution of “relief funds” to the various nations that need them. What?

“With the chaos that has resulted from this most sinister and unwise rebellion, local efforts to rebuild and care for the displaced will likely be thwarted by opportunists and looters. The relief effort carried out under the auspices of the Global Community will be handled in a swift and generous way that will allow as many loyal members of the Global Community as possible to return to their prosperous standard of living.

“Continue to resist naysayers and insurrectionists. Continue to support the Global Community. And remember that though I did not seek this position, I accept it with gravity and with resolve to pour out my life in service to the brotherhood and sisterhood of mankind. I appreciate your support as we set about to sacrificially stand by each other and pull ourselves out of this morass and to a higher plane than any of us could reach without the help of the other.”

It’s difficult to imagine that banal, contentless speech uniting the entire world behind its beloved leader. I’m not sure I can imagine anyone listening to the whole thing without changing the channel.

Buck shook his head. “He sure tells ’em what they wanna hear, doesn’t he?”

Set aside that the meaningless pile of throat-clearing noises above is being presented to us as an example of superlative oratory. Focus, instead, on the idea that this speech is also the authors’ best attempt to convey an oily politician pandering to the masses and giving them exactly “what they wanna hear.”

Who, ever, in all the long history of human experience, has ever wanted to hear that? How are the masses being pandered to by that indecipherable puddle of rhetoric?

This echoes the problem we saw earlier with the Lesson in Christian Marriage. Husbands are instructed to seem like they’re listening to their wives when they say all that stuff they’re probably saying, whatever it is. And politicians are criticized for pandering to the masses for saying all that stuff the masses want to hear, like …  you know, whatever that stuff is that the people want.

The authors have no idea what it is “they wanna hear,” because they view ’em — the masses, the maddening crowd, the hoi polloi — the same way they view their wives: as alien, inscrutable and unknowable. As a different, and subordinate, species.

And thus it doesn’t occur to the authors that it’s actually very easy to portray a politician saying what everyone wants to hear. Just have him say what you want to hear. To portray a crafty Antichrist spinning words to deceive the entire world, have him say the kinds of things that would deceive you.

Sometimes the authors’ lack of empathy is due to a lack of imagination. But here — with their world as with their wives, with the masses as with the Mrs. — they avoid empathy because they regard it as impossible. Empathy works by remembering the ways that you’re just like everyone else, and the authors refuse to accept that they are.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* This is not a long trip. I looked it up. Palwaukee Airport is only about 7 miles from Mount Prospect.

Yes, they’ll be driving through a post-nuclear wasteland, but we’ve already seen that the roads are fine. The only after-effect of the nuclear attacks on Chicago’s highways seems to be that there’s less traffic than usual. And anyway that’s downtown, in Chicago itself. The city was attacked with nuclear weapons, not the suburbs. If things that happened in cities were in any way connected to life in the suburbs, then, why, suburban churches would have to change almost everything they’re doing. And that’s just silly.

Palwaukee Airport is a good 18 miles from downtown, so no problem there.

Oh, and Buck Williams is certainly the only person who decided to fly out of the smaller suburban airport after O’Hare was destroyed in the bombing. So no need to worry about crowds or a riotous mob-scene when they get there.

In real life, it’s not called “Palwaukee Airport” any more, by the way. It’s now “Chicago Executive Airport” — they changed the name about 10 years after Nicolae was written.

There may be a lesson there for anyone writing stories with a near-future setting. It’s probably best to avoid using the present-day names for any airports, stadiums, concert venues or convention halls. Those names are too likely to change, making your “future” seem oddly antiquated.

I’m not criticizing Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins for failing to foresee this name-change. It’s just a novel, after all, it’s not like the authors claim to be prophets or something. Oh, wait …

The fact that, 15 years after this book first came out, Palwaukee is now called “Chicago Executive” does not undermine the credibility of their prophecy. What does undermine their credibility as prophets is the fact that, 15 years later, the airport — and the rest of the world — is still here.

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  • Yeah. I’ve seen milder versions of this put forth by some men, who act like their wives/girlfriends wanting something is silly and superficial, and then go on to whine about “the woman nixing my toys”.

  • banancat


    Wait just a minute.  How did they get the Range Rover out of the tree?

    Respawn point.

  • You know, the Quake analogy is an excellent one.

    Rayford and Buck are using the in-‘verse cheat codes. :P

  • Lunch Meat

    Considering the amount of money this series made and the seemingly limitless number of examples of people in love with the books, who identify with the characters and find the plot compelling and believable, that aunursa always seems to be able to drag out of the dark places of the Internet–

    Has anyone considered the possibility that these books really are amazingly well-written and that we’re the ones being mind-controlled by Fred to think they’re terrible? (presumably as part of his evil plot to destroy the world by making conservative evangelicals with whom he disagrees retroactively more popular.)

  • Fusina

     Just read the article in the link. Only one thing to say here… THE HELL?

  • I was seriously considering the possibility that the people who praise the books got some super-secret release only issued to people who call themselves RTCs.

  • Dan Audy

    Putting aside the variations in behavior within the sexes, there’s no way to determine which sex-specific traits are innate and which are learned, because we don’t have a control group of people raised without societal influences.

    Obviously scientific literature is different, but for the purpose of a relationship book does it really matter whether particular traits are innate or learned?  It seems to me that for a book written to help people within a particular culture at a particular point in time is more relevant to write about the common experience of dealing with a gender rather than the core of what a genders identity is.  Ascribing traits to nature rather their societal causes is bunk writing and most of these books massively overgeneralize but it strikes me that regardless of the cause of the behaviour talking about how men are prone to repressing feelings and how to manage that sort of behaviour in a relationship would be useful advice.

  • I had to kiss my husband good-bye in front of the Antichrist.

    Ooh, kinky.

  •  Try multiply that by every leader in the world abdicating their position to Nick and his princes.

  • We have a natural gas fire place, so turning it on involves nothing but flicking a little toggle switch on the side.  

    Not a big deal for us though, the cats in the house prefer it this way (often vocally reminding us when we have “forgotten” to turn on the warm-box.)

  • MaryKaye

    You could write a reasonable book on how to handle differences in communication style and ability within a relationship.  You could reasonably note, in that book, that some styles are commonly found in men in our culture, and others in women, leading to probable style mismatches in het relationships (and other kinds of trouble in non-het relationships).

    But my impression of Gray was that he went further:  these differences are *normative*, if you don’t think you have them you are either deluded or Doing It Wrong.  Furthermore it is each partner’s, but especially the woman’s, job to *cater* to the partner’s style (for more recent examples think of anything in which the term “man-cave” appears).  The emphasis on “Your partner may not say s/he wants this but s/he secretly does” squicked me.

    I also recall the advice being given as very specific to white suburban upper-middle-class couples with a rather conventional lifestyle.  Fireplaces.  Champagne.  French restaurants.  Nine to five jobs.  Nuclear families.  Television, sports, shopping.  It ended up reading as essentialist in other ways too–as if to say “Your relationship isn’t real/doesn’t matter unless it fits this mold.”

  • Not a big deal for us though, the cats in the house prefer it this way (often vocally reminding us when we have “forgotten” to turn on the warm-box.)

    Just hope the cats don’t figure out how to flick the switch.

  • >If 1/3 of the waters need to become undrinkable, well, several megaton
    detonations >casting fallout might move things in the right direction,

    Except that they’re using special fallout free nukes.

  • B

    Obviously scientific literature is different, but for the purpose of a relationship book does it really matter whether particular traits are innate or learned?

    Maybe not, but I’ve never really understood the “Men are like this, Women are like that” relationship book anyway.  As a description of cultural patterns (or linguistic patterns, like Tannen’s books are) it would make sense assuming it’s based on actual research and not the stereotypes of the author.

    But by and large I think differences between the genders are smaller than differences within the genders.  It doesn’t seem to me like reading a generalized description of “women” or “men” — even if accurate — is going to help you much a particular woman or man.  Trying to figure out how to get along with your spouse by reading sweeping statements about their gender seems kind of like trying to find out how tall they are by looking up the average height for their gender.  You’ve got them right there, why not just measure them?

    I mean, I can see SOME such books being helpful to the extent that they might open one’s eyes to different ways of dealing with the world, some of which might be true of your spouse (Grey’s books, I think not so much).  But I don’t know that drawing these traits along gender lines clarifies things rather than obscures them.

    (N of one here, but I tell people who have only met my mother, that if they want to know what my father is like, imagine taking away all the parts of me that are like my mother and what’s left is kind of what my father is like.  It would work the other way, too.  I’m not saying there haven’t been cultural influences because clearly there have been, but think there’s a great big helping of DNA there and I don’t mean my possession of two X chromosomes.)

  • Tybult

    I just watched the first episode of Twin Peaks, and let me tell you, they love them some phone conversations in that show. The characters treat the phones with a near fetishism – they caress them, they haul them around, they describe the colors of the phones.

    But they do it right. The phone calls convey critical information, and more, they convey emotional context. You see a community get torn apart in this show, and the destructive agent (the death of a teenaged girl) is largely transmitted over the phone.

    Before the LB posts, I never would have noticed this.

    “You’re being a little maudlin, aren’t you?” he said.

    This is such over-the-top chauvinism that I can only respond to it with some shitty detective noir:
      It was a hot day, as hot as one of Carpathia’s barnburner speeches.
      The dame walked into the office, smelling of old church pews and fallout. She had a shiner under one eye.
      “Some lug been smacking you around, doll?” I asked. I poured myself two fingers of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and tossed it back.
      The dame sniffed. “I need you to look into a couple a mooks for me. Go by the name of Moishe and Eli.”
      “I asked my banker. He doesn’t know who they are.”
      “Sounds like a conspiracy to me.”
      “Do you want the job or not?” she asked.
      “I’ll bet it’s backtalk like that got you the shiner,” I said. “I don’t investigate for free, doll.”
      My name is Buck Williams. I’m the best private dick in Chi-Town.

  • Tybult

    I appreciate your support as we set about to sacrificially stand by each
    other and pull ourselves out of this morass and to a higher plane than
    any of us could reach without the help of the other.

    God. This is awful. Like “I passed out and hit my head on the desk while I was listening, and now there’s blood all over the carpet and I’ve forgotten what numbers are” awful.

  • Rae

    Especially considering that a new car for Verna would probably be the most *legitimately* work-related purchase that Buck would have ever made using that unlimited credit card of his…

  • Heck, a new car for Verna – if they did succeed in bringing her into the Tribbles – would be a good excuse to pick up another “fully loaded” Range Rover or something else similarly tricked out to ultimately benefit the resistance. Even if she doesn’t become a Tribble, using a fancy new car to get her gratitude could be useful if Buck ever has to abandon ship but needs an inside contact for a favor or two.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wait…Amanda’s with Buck and Chloe now? Last I heard she was getting on a plane to leave….I wanna say LA?…before the airport was bombed.

    How did she get to Chicago? Did she change planes somewhere or get a direct flight? What airport did she land at? How did she get from the aiport to Loretta’s place?

    Enquiring minds need to know.

  • Jessica_R

    Really Nicoale’s speech reminds me of a MST3K bit with Professor Bobo going on about why he is not fit to lead and ending with the immortal line, “I will now open the floor to questions about my incompetence.” 

  • Beroli

    I just…

    It would have cost Jenkins nothing at all to write Buck replacing Verna’s old junker with an expensive new car. It would have demonstrated Buck being generous in a way that cost Jenkins nothing and cost Buck very little. Instead, he makes this huge point of Verna getting a new-only-to-her used car. I must therefore conclude that Jenkins thinks spending more money on Verna than necessary to fulfill the letter of his word would reflect badly on Buck, or that it makes Buck cooler that he just-barely kept his word. Or that “you shouldn’t spend more money on anyone outside your tiny personal sphere than you have to” is an essential part of Jenkins’ philosophy.

    I suppose we should count our blessings he didn’t decide it would show how incredibly cool and manly Buck was to have him, instead, tell Verna that she should be honored to have had her car be wrecked by the GIRAT and he wasn’t replacing it.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Now how exactly is Verna with her vagina supposed to drive a Range Rover?

  • “I appreciate your support as we set about to sacrificially stand by each
    other and pull ourselves out of this morass and to a higher plane than
    any of us could reach without the help of the other.”

    Is it supposed to be that awful? Poe’s Law at work!

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    My favorite is always the assertion these books make that women love to talk about their feelings. My mother likes to complain that I’m just like my father in that getting either of us to talk about our feelings is harder than pulling teeth. And she’s right!)

    I was a decade into adulthood before a friend told me that when people are complaining about a problem to friends they’re not actually looking for suggestions to fix it. Apparently complaining-to-vent is a “feminine trait” and focusing on solutions is a “masculine trait” so I got that one backwards.

    So now when a friend starts telling me about some problem they’re having I clarify–are you looking for sympathy or ideas or both–and we’re fine.

  • I’ve also heard the gender-essentialist line that women who complain want huggy-feelies and not someone who’ll bail them out or help fix the problem. It’s supposed to be part of the whole “aren’t-women-just-so-complicated-haw-haw” paradigm.

    The really insidious part is that the reason why some women are sometimes so maddeningly indirect in the first place about things like problem-solving?

    Because of socialization.

    Many (but not all) women, as has been established before, are taught to respond to men in ways which preserve the male sense-of-self-as-master, for example not directly saying no to propositions for sex or dates, but providing face-saving answers which have the effect of declining such things.

    The taught tendency to apply indirection likely holds for other aspects of conversation which involve some emotional stakes.

  • SisterCoyote

     My favorite part of my sister inviting all her friends over for bonfires was… actually the conversation, since they’re mostly cool folks.

    But my second favorite part, by far, was the way I’d sit inside, hanging out on an IRC channel, and listen to the guys go from “You got it? You got it? DAMN! Get out of the way, I got it. …Dammit, Andrew, you just made it worse! John? …no? Okay, somebody go inside and get Ruth’s sister…”

  • Ian

    I actually read it as Emperor Palpatine, especially “unwise rebellion”

  • Starbeam

     There’s actually a gag about this effect in one of the Order of the Stick prequel books: the evil overlord Xykon enjoys terrible coffee more than delicious coffee, because drinking bad coffee makes you remember all the superior coffee you’ve ever had. (On that note, Xykon — a literal stick figure of a skeleton with a crown — is written so much better than virtually anyone in these books that it’s not even funny.)

  • Dmoore970

    That should raise his charisma by several points.

  • Dmoore970

    The movie version actually did a pretty good job of just that.  Buck finds Stonagal and Cothran’s sinister plan to corner the market on food and exposes it.    Nicolae uses the expose to remove the last two obstacles to his absolute power.  Well done!

  • Deborah Moore

    I always wanted to counter with a book called “Men are from Earth; Women are from Earth.”

  • flat

    talking about emperors, on the same day her majesty queen Beatrix of the Netherlands announced she will abdicate I found out that there will be a new banner of the stars novel.

    So now I can find out how the assault on the imperial capital will end.

    I hope lakafalle will fall because when I watched the anime I thought the empire had it to easy fighting the alliace, and the loss of the capital will give a bunch of high ranking abh officers some real stress.
    And the rank and file united mankind soldiers not happy about the stunt the Haina federation just pulled of because they have been fighting for the past seven years, while the Haina federation was neutral.

    So I hardly can’t wait to see how it ends.

  • Rakka

    Let’s also say that you haven’t been trained to question everyanything you read



  • christopher_y

    According to L&J they’re all guaranteed to see each other again and spend an infinite amount of time together.

    Pas besoin de gril, l’enfer c’est les autres – Sartre. [No need for a gridiron, hell is other people]

  • I wonder if it counts as catering to someone’s feelings if you offer them pizza when they’re down…  I mean I can’t speak for anyone else, but pizza almost always cheers me up

  • Mah head asplode.

  • Carstonio

    The issue with the idea of innate gender behavior is that it pushes guilt onto people whose behavior doesn’t conform to gender, where they come to believe that something is wrong with them. Since “gaydar” is driven mostly by assumptions about nonconforming behavior, the concept of innateness also treats homosexuality as abnormal.
    Plus, it’s a handy excuse for jerks to claim that they are just acting like nature made them. I’ve seen this mostly from men, but there are probably some women who use the same excuse. 

    Causes aside, I doubt that the common experience of dealing with a gender is all that useful for specific partners. It doesn’t take into account the individual differences in upbringings. A brother and sister could show identical repressing because their parents had this personality as well. It’s far too easy for someone to frame all of a spouse’s behavior in gender terms and assume that this explains everything. 

  • Carstonio

    That was my response as well, but I like your wording far better than mine.

  • Carstonio

    I find myself focusing on solutions, but most likely because I’m uncomfortable when people are angry or sad or upset. My impulse is to take away whatever is causing the negative emotions in that person. A few times I’ve found myself becoming frustrated with someone when I perceive him or her to be causing those emotions in someone else, a variant on “Stop making Mommy/Daddy mad!”

  • Heck, a new car for Verna – if they did succeed in bringing her into the Tribbles – would be a good excuse to pick up another “fully loaded” Range Rover or something else similarly tricked out to ultimately benefit the resistance.

    This is such a good point, and such a good illustration of the fact that even when the ultimate result would benefit them, Buck and Ray always take the most cheap and selfish route.

    They really do operate on the level of a not-very-bright five-year-old, don’t they?  They can’t even think two steps ahead of the moment.  Not a great trait for people who are leading a (heh) resistance force.

  • That Other Jean

      “I appreciate your support as we set about to sacrificially stand by each other and pull ourselves out of this morass and to a higher plane than any of us could reach without the help of the other.”

    Is it supposed to be that awful? Poe’s Law at work!

    Maybe it’s from an entry into the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest?  Nah, we would have heard if L&J had won.

  • GeniusLemur

    My name is Buck Williams. I’m the biggest private dick in Chi-Town
    There, fixed.

  • Cater to her feelings.

    There’s a part of me (a small part, but it’s there) that actually feels sorry for the people, both men and women, who fall into this line of thinking.  It must be very lonely, not being able or willing to connect with your partner, to “know” that such a connection is impossible because of the Mysterious Differences between

    Speaking of Focus on the Family, check out this gag-worthy article about how women want to be princesses and men want to be fairy-tale heroes.  This is a theme I’ve heard many times on Christian talk radio: men want one thing and only one thing (respect) and women want one thing and only one thing (love).

    That small part of me (the part that is not angry and contemptuous) feels bad for the men and women who buy into this bullshit.  That there are men out there who think it is wrong and not their god’s plan to have love in their lives.  Women out there who think it is wrong and not their god’s plan to get respect.

  • Isabel C.

    As someone who’s been “the guy” in a lot of relationships, yeah, Gray bugs the hell out of me.  As B says, a book about differences in communication style, even one that said “our society encourages men to blah and women to foo”, sure. Innate gender differences to the point of being from different planets? Barf.

    Although it does give me the opportunity to note that my friends and I conducted our *own* research into this subject, sometime around third grade, and concluded that boys were from Jupiter, because they were stupider. ;)

    As far as the fixing-things deal goes, I’ve found that offering possible solutions goes over just fine with my female friends, as long as I frame them as *possible* solutions, stuff that worked for me that you don’t have to try. In my experience–and I feel like there’s an essay on this somewhere, but I don’t remember who by–the guys who say that women don’t want suggestions are the guys who make suggestions in an assumed-authority manner that totally fails to take the other person’s life and preferences into account.  “Just quit your job!” when you’ve just bought a house or have dependents to support, for example.


  •  Yeah… I mean honestly is it too much to ask to have both?  A healthy relationship requires both elements or it simply won’t work out.

  • Bificommander

     Oh my god, a rapture book with the Anti-Christ’s character copied shamelessly from Xykon: GENIUS!

    Now I want to slam Jenkin’s head on every page of the Start of Darkness book, shouting “This is how you write a charming character who’s rotten to the core!”

    Really, the ending of that book shows more terrifying evil on every panel than Nicolae shows in this entire snorefest of a series.


    Since “gaydar” is driven mostly by assumptions about nonconforming
    behavior, the concept of innateness also treats homosexuality as

    This reminds me of my experience visiting Brazil, where practically all the men pinged my gaydar, mostly because they were comfortable with a level of physical closeness and interaction that men in the U.S. typically find inappropriate outside of a sexual relationship.

  • Bificommander

     True, it was kind of a lame example, but it was at least something. And the second movie gave the heroes something midly courageous and pro-active to do: Get to a mind-whammeyed Tsion Ben Judah and convert him before his broadcast, thus getting a public victory for Team Jesus when he announced the messiah. At least the heroes did something.

    But the problem with that approach is the same as the problem the Apocalypse movies (a series of four boiler-plate rapture movies) had: Each individual movie kept giving a ‘happy ending’ with the brave Christians twarting the Anti Christ, only for the next movie to pick up with the Anti Christ in power again. They exposed him to the world at the end of the first movie, but he’s still ruling pretty much unopposed by the second. They twart his plan to spread the mark of the beast in the second, but by the third 99% of the people have the mark anyway. They expose the Anti Christ again in the third movie, but it didn’t take for the fourth again (Not that it mattered at that point, since there were only very few non-RTCs who hadn’t taken the mark by that point, so their broadcast only showed the doomed population just how doomed they all were.)

  • Ken

    Wait…Amanda’s with Buck and Chloe now? How did she get to Chicago?

    Same way Chloe got from San Jose to Chicago in the first book, in the middle of the post-Rapture chaos.  Mind you I’m not sure how that happened either, but I have three theories:

    Quantum Mechanics: As a non-viewpoint character, Amanda’s position is uncertain until she is observed by one of the two viewpoint characters, collapsing her wave function.

    Friday the 13th: Amanda is wearing Jason’s hockey mask and can do Offscreen Teleports.

    Bad Writing: Jenkins doesn’t notice and doesn’t care. I am leaning toward this theory because it encompasses the other two as special cases.

  • Maybe Nicolae is a badass only while offscreen. In between books is when he gets most work done, and he is at his most ruthless and efficient in between page breaks and scene changes.