NRA: The Antichrist’s evil plan of evilness

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 125-128

“Now, let us get down to business,” the Antichrist says.

Rayford pulled up the top two sheets on his clipboard and began to take notes, as Carpathia outlined immediate plans.

At last. The Rapture occurred more than a year and a half ago and Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist, seized power soon afterwards, ruling over the entire world (except Israel) as a global dictator with unchecked power and no one to stand in his way as he set about demonstrating his wickedness as the all-time epitome of evil.

Well, that’s what it said on the package anyway. The actual Antichrist here in our story hasn’t done a whole lot during his first 500 days on the throne.

Does TurboTax come with the new GNP-EZ form?

I don’t mean to diminish his accomplishments. He’s built a brand new global capital — and entire city — in the middle of a desert. And he’s consolidated the entire globe under one world government, one world religion, one world currency and one world language. That’s all quite impressive — probably even impossible. But we still haven’t seen anything much like a plan. Nicolae has been putting all his pieces in place, but nothing we’ve seen suggests he has any idea what to do with them.

It seems like he’s just drifting along — an evil mastermind without an evil master plan. The sudden burst of arbitrary mass-murder in the early part of this book shows a newfound enthusiasm for the evil part of that equation, but there still hasn’t been any sign of the plan part.

But now Nicolae promises to “get down to business.” Now, at last, he’s ready to outline his evil scheme of evilness:

“We must act swiftly,” he was saying, “while the people are most vulnerable and open. They will look to the Global Community for help and aid, and we will give it to them.”

That is, I suppose, a plan. But now I’m confused about the evil part. Providing help and aid to vulnerable people makes the Antichrist’s OWG seem kind of like the International Red Cross, and most of us don’t usually think of the Red Cross as a global supervillain and/or the embodiment of Satan.

“However …”

Aha, there’s a catch. Excellent. Maybe Nicolae will reveal that this help and aid is conditional. He will rebuild their shattered cities, feeding and sheltering the millions of nuclear refugees, but in exchange for this assistance he will demand that the afflicted sacrifice their children.

Hold on, no, wait. Scratch that. There are no children anymore in the world of this novel. I keep forgetting.

That’s an important point to keep in mind, too, when we’re evaluating Nicolae’s work as an Antichrist. It puts him at a rather large disadvantage in the monstrous evil department. Sure, he’s still able to do things like bomb a hospital, killing Bruce Barnes and hundreds of other sick people, but that would have been so much more evil if the pediatric ward hadn’t already been empty. This whole world-without-children thing really does handicap Nicolae’s ability to do the sort of thing we’d expect from an epitome of evil. He’s supposed to surpass all the monsters of history, but it’s hard to compete with guys like Genghis Khan or Joshua when there are no children available to put to the sword.

So, OK, demanding that his subjects sacrifice their children is out, but he could still maybe require some kind of Shirley-Jackson “The Lottery” situation, where, say, food and shelter from the Global Community only goes to cities who offer a random 1 percent of their residents as a human sacrifice.

But no. Nicolae doesn’t have anything that evil in mind. What he intends to do, instead, is to rebuild all the cities he just finished nuking, ensuring that everyone is housed, fed and spared from hardship. But in return he will levy taxes to pay for it.

“However, they will give it to us first. We had an enormous storehouse of income before the rebuilding of Babylon. We will need much more to effect our plan of raising the level of Third World countries so that the entire globe is on equal footing.”

That oxymoronic phrase “storehouse of income” gives a hint of Nicolae’s shaky grasp on economics — a subject about which he and the authors are deeply confused.

The authors also tip their hand here when you consider what they have just provided. This is intended to be a threat — a wicked threat of dire immorality. The Antichrist is the worst person in the history of the world and here he threatens to do the worst thing he can imagine doing. And that, in the authors’ words, is “raising the level of Third World countries.”

What does “countries” even mean in the context of a one-world government? Weren’t all countries abolished and absorbed into the monolithic “Global Community” ruled over by the global potentate?

Yes. And no. Both. And neither.

Every time I think I have a firm grasp on this, the authors turn around and contradict themselves. Chapter after chapter, book after book, they provide occasional conclusive statements definitively stating that Nicolae is the head of a single government over the entire world. And then two pages later they introduce some local political leader or official — an American president or a Chicago police officer who shouldn’t exist in this world, but does.

This section flips back and forth on this point so much that I wound up almost as confused as Nicolae seems to be.

Later in this speech, Nicolae refers to the now-deceased “President Fitzhugh,” whose rebellion he says, “confirmed my earlier decision to virtually strip him of executive power.” That doesn’t clear up my questions about whether this OWG is really a OWG. Nor does the bit a few pages from now in which Nicolae says:

“I will soon be appointing leaders to replace the three ambassadors to the regions that turned against us. That will bring the Global Community administration back to its full complement of ten regions. While you are now known as ambassadors to the Global Community, forthwith I will begin referring to you as sovereign heads of your own kingdoms. You will each continue to report directly to me.”

So, forthwith, he’s going to replace the current structure with an exact replica in which the ambassadors will continue to be “sovereign” and “kings” except not, as they will also be reporting directly to the potentate. Got it? If so, could you explain it to me? Because I’m lost here.

The one thing that’s clear here is that these ambassadors are terrified of Nicolae. Because if they weren’t completely intimidated and paralyzed with fear of the potentate, they would be laughing at him, or at least asking questions about his very strange plan for diabolical taxation.

And it turns out this is the core, the skeleton, the foundation for all of the Antichrist’s evil master plan: taxes.

In theory, you could make that work. You could impose unbearably harsh taxes, following the example of Joseph in the book of Genesis, burying the people under such a heavy burden of taxes that eventually all of their property, their vocations, their bodies were the possession of the central government and the entire world was enslaved by the potentate.

That sort of thing would certainly seem to qualify as wicked (although, inexplicably, Joseph is rarely criticized for enslaving an entire nation), but it still seems a bit too abstract and detached. The Antichrist should be beastly, after all — ruling with an iron fist and an iron boot and not just with an iron spreadsheet.

Even the worst-case scenario for oppressive taxation only gets you something like North Korea. The Antichrist is supposed to be worse than North Korea. Plus, even North Korea doesn’t lean entirely on oppressive taxation for its evilness. They mix in a big dose of secret police, perpetual re-education and an absurd, Kafka-esque cult of personality.

It just doesn’t seem likely that Nicolae is going to succeed as an undisputed Antichrist if his evil master plan is going to lean so heavily on the evils of taxation.

The bigger problem, though, is that Nicolae’s tax plan just doesn’t make sense. Here he is outlining the first piece of it:

“You all have been doing a wonderful job of moving to the one-world currency. We are close to a cashless society, which can only help the Global Community administration. Upon your return to your respective areas, I would like you to announce, simultaneously, the initiation of a ten-cent tax on all electronic money transfers. When we get to the totally cashless system, you can imagine that every transaction will be electronic. I estimate that this will generate more than one and a half trillion dollars annually.”

So now we know that the one-world currency is, in fact, US dollars. Convenient. Almost as convenient as Nicolae’s decision to make English the one-world language. Those two factors should help make the Great Tribulation a little less tribulation-y for residents of the former United States.

This business about a cashless, one-world currency is of course meant to set the table for the whole Mark of the Beast system to come. This bit of premillennial dispensationalist “Bible prophecy” has entered popular culture to the extent that most people in our world (but no one in the world of the novel) are familiar with the idea taken from Revelation 13:

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

That passage is why “prophecy” obsessed fundies freaked out over the introduction of bar codes, and credit cards, and PayPal. This is why America will never have a national ID card. And why you have to carry your driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance as three separate documents instead of those latter two just coming up when your license is scanned or swiped.

Anyway, you get the idea here of what Nicolae Carpathia is supposed to be steering toward. He wants a global system in which nothing can be bought or sold without his say-so.

Unfortunately, his bungled version of a financial transaction tax will likely make sure that never happens.

Consider the proposed Robin Hood Tax (which will probably never happen, but which I think is an interesting idea and could be an effective way of limiting speculation and shifting our economy away from our present imbalance toward the FIRE, or finance insurance real estate, sector). That’s a financial transaction tax of about 0.05 percent — or 1/20 of 1 percent. Nicolae’s tax doesn’t charge a percentage, but instead charges a flat 10 cents for every transaction. Under Nicolae’s tax, the cost doesn’t increase for a larger transaction, but it increases a great deal when you make a greater number of transactions. In other words, the Antichrist has just created a worldwide incentive for every business, investor and consumer to make fewer, less frequent financial transactions.*

So now everyone from investment banks to the coffee shop on the corner starts billing differently. You don’t pay for your cup of coffee every day anymore, you pay a monthly coffee bill. Transactions get bundled, pay periods get larger and longer. Everyone, everywhere starts running a tab for everything.

That, in turn, creates a cash-flow problem. Running a tab essentially means paying with IOUs instead of cash. So now everyone is piling up IOUs, but they’re short on cash. The obvious next step is to make IOUs transferable. There’s a well-established model for just exactly that, for a system of universally exchangeable IOUs. It’s called currency.

Nicolae’s flat-rate transaction tax would almost certainly undo everything he’s done to create a single global currency. It would encourage the rapid creation of a black-market currency system (which would likely make use of all the former national currencies he tried to abolish). Once he gets around to requiring everyone to take the Mark of the Beast, this black-market currency system will already be well-established and the Mark isn’t going to make much difference one way or another buying-and-selling-wise.

That black-market currency will also get a big boost from another piece of Nicolae’s odd tax plan:

“You knew the time would come for a tax to the Global Community on each area’s Gross National Product. That time has come. While the insurrectionists from Egypt, Great Britain, and North America have been devastated militarily, they must also be disciplined with a 50 percent tax on their GNP. The rest of you will pay 30 percent.

“Now do not give me those looks, gentlemen. You understand that everything you pay in will be returned to you in multiplied benefits. We are building a new global community. Pain is part of the process. …”

He misunderstands the looks he’s getting from the ambassadors. They’re not reacting to the “pain” of this proposed 30-percent “tax on their GNP,” they’re just trying to figure out what such a thing could possibly mean.

First off, there’s no longer any such thing as GNP under the OWG. It only makes sense to speak of “gross national product” if there are nations.

But nevermind that, the bigger question is how is such a tax “on GNP/GRP” supposed to be calculated and collected? I suppose since GNP is meant to total the price of all goods and services produced within a nation, then a 30-percent tax on GNP just means that nation would have to collect a 30 percent tax on everything in order to pay its national bill at the end of the year. In 2011, the U.S. GNP was about $15.23 trillion. So if the U.S. had owed a 30-percent “tax on GNP” to some global federation, would it have had to write a check for $4.57 trillion on Jan. 1, 2012, or could it just have $176 billion withheld from its national paycheck every two weeks?

Let’s just pretend for the sake of argument that there were some way to make sense of this idea of a “tax on GNP/GRP.” What this means is that most of the world will suddenly owe a 30-percent tax on every good and service that’s on the books. (The war-ravaged regions will owe an even higher tax, because that makes sense.)

The key words in that paragraph are “on the books.” This is yet another huge push in the direction of an off-the-books black-market currency. Anything that can be done off the books or under the table will be. Nicolae’s dream of one-world currency and a cashless society will be replaced by a cash-only, underground, under-the-table economy that avoids his OWC whenever possible.

But we’ve only scratched the surface so far of Nicolae Carpathia’s economic dreams. Next week we’ll look at more of his evil master plan, including his bewildering ideas for making sure that his one-world government is no longer dependent on foreign oil. (Yes, really.)

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Nicolae’s estimate of $1.5 trillion in revenue works out to something like 10 transactions a day for every person, assuming a post-Rapture population of around 4 billion people. But that doesn’t count corporations, retailers, stock exchanges, investors, casinos, etc. Factor all those in and that $1.5 trillion figure looks really low.

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  • Twingle93

    That part about about in book 10 about Nicolae’s miracle-worker is probably the best scene in the entire series. People have said that that one-scene miracle worker is creepier, more powerful, and more like how the Antichrist should be than Nicolae ever was. He has much more impressive powers than Nicolae’s hypnotic voice, weird glowing power, immune to hunger/thirst/sleep, and apparent ability to resurrect himself.

    Also about the speaking English part, it becomes particularly noteworthy when Nicolae is alone in his private quarters while being secretly bugged by one of the Tribulation Force members. Nicolae starts praying to Lucifer…in English! I guess so that the guy monitoring him could understand him, but it makes no sense. Nicolae is Romanian, and so should have been praying to Lucifer in his native tongue. He would have no other reason for praying in what to him would be a foreign language.

    The mystery babylon religion makes a lot more sense if it was simply some kind of religious sect registration organization. Everyone who is religious simply registers with the Enigma Babylon organization, and is allowed to believe however they want. They can keep going to churches, or temples or synagogues or whatever so long as they sign a long form signifying that they believe in the unity of all mankind or the belief in a higher power or whatever. Anyone who doesn’t do this is technically breaking the law, but since tolerance is considered to be something evil the bad guys would tolerate any churches that don’t register.  However, this runs into problems when Nicolae disbands the Enigma religion and replaces it with worship of himself.

    Also I guess by taking a percentage of every sector’s Gross National Product means just taking about a third of the estimated resources that the sector would produce in a year as tribute? I think the authors needed to re-think this. And punishing rebellious sectors who were bombed back into the stone age with 50% of their GNP makes even less sense.

      

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

    Also about the speaking English part, it becomes particularly noteworthy when Nicolae is alone in his private quarters while being secretly bugged by one of the Tribulation Force members. Nicolae starts praying to Lucifer…in English! I guess so that the guy monitoring him could understand him, but it makes no sense. Nicolae is Romanian, and so should have been praying to Lucifer in his native tongue. He would have no other reason for praying in what to him would be a foreign language.

    Ah yes, that would be my most despised David Hayseed.  The language thing becomes particularly dumb with him.  He is supposed to be The World’s Greatest Computer Genius, and talks often about his translation software, yet doesn’t mention it (IIRC) when bugging Nicky’s office. 

    (David, we are told, speaks two languages, English and Hebrew.  Technically, he should also be able to speak Polish since, yanno, he is Polish, but the books (and the voice actors in the audio versions) constantly forget this.)

    Somewhat off-topic, but then, it goes along with my theme of despising David Hayseed: at one point, Chang Wong gives David a recording of the Wong family fighting about Chang getting the Mark of the Beast.  And David trusts Chang (a fellow believer!) so little that he makes a mental note to double-check the translation from Chinese to English with Chang’s sister, to make sure it’s accurate.

  • vsm

    and the voice actors in the audio versions
    You’ve listened to the audio plays? You certainly aren’t afraid of going beyond the call of duty. How were they?

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

    Oh, I take my Christian entertainment duties very seriously.  Always.

    I’ve listened to the “dramatic audio” versions of (IIRC) Nicolae, Apollyon, The Mark and Desecration.  Some of the voice acting is pretty good, and so is the editing (I kinda like their version of “Hail Carpathia”). 

    And if nothing else, they make the antagonists even more sympathetic.  (Whether this is on accident or on purpose is left as an exercise to the listener.)  For example, David Hayseed seemed even more of a jerk, and poor, doomed Jim Hickman became my woobie.

    http://leftbehind.wikia.com/wiki/Jim_Hickman

    If anyone wants just a little taste, here is the part where Rayford meets Jesus.  Extra-fun to watch, what with Jesus and his Very Serious Face.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmkfcefFdtg

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I tried listening.  I got to Rayford being overwhelmed with the shame of his sins.

    Here’s the thing about shame.  If that shame is truly internalized, it’s usually going to be specific.  If you’re going to mention it at all, you’re usually going to mention perhaps not everything, but examples of individual actions that go into your shame.

    “I’m overwhelmed by the shame of my sins.”  That’s not shame, that’s knowing what the social script tells you to do.

    And, while the actor did a good job with the lines, those words do not tell me of humility so much as the tell me of someone who knows that humility and shame are the great virtues that are the best way to his own perfection to all the world.

  • Whengreg

    A good author could run with this. (Nicky speaking English when alone.) Just have the spy realize that there is absolutely no reason for him to be speaking English, then switch off the bug and start panicking because he knows you were listening, and is playing with you.

    (Alternately, Lucifer never learned Romanian.)

  • banancat

     This is actually played to a similar effect in a fantasy series I’m reading.  Some evil giant serpent/worm type thinks are the physical manifestation of chaos and they thrive from other people’s fear and torment.  One of the ways they do this is to let people accidentally hear their evil plans, which always happen to be in the language of the person/dwarf/elf listening, and the characters are generally so terrified that they don’t realize that they shouldn’t have been able to understand it.  But in this case it was intentional and used to great effect.  And everything in the book is written in English, which doesn’t exist at all in the setting world.  So it is quite possible to do this without requiring the author to use a different language.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    In defense of Nicolae’s idea of taxing the rebellious districts more heavily, it’s not unlike the war reparations imposed on Germany after WWI. And we all know how well that turned out….

  • Some Guy Who Hates Pants

    There are no children anymore in the world of this novel. I keep forgetting.
    ,
    Aren’t there children again at this point, the authors haven’t really mentioned it,  but from reading the spoilers on wikipedia don’t Buck and Chloe have a baby soon?

     

  • aunursa

    don’t Buck and Chloe have a baby soon?

    Buck learns that Chloe is pregnant in Book #4 (which means she became pregnant sometime during Book #3.)  Their son is born at the end of Book #5.

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    Well, we know Cendrillon Jospin was born, because she dies 93 years into the Millennium. At the funeral her parents have to say “Cendrillon is in hell.”

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

    If that wasn’t a totally shitty thing to say about your own kid. (-_-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    What a horrible thing to *have* to say about your own child.

    1000 years of “peace”.

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

    They didn’t have to say it out loud, for land’s sake.

  • aunursa

    Yes, Cendrillon Jospin is the first person to die during the Millenium.  She would have been born about nine months after the Rapture, and would be ~ 1 year old during the events of Nicolae.

  • Rae

    Let’s see: There’s no children, but we’ve still got adolescents, roughly 12 and up. We’ve got ten regions, which need to be kept in line because three of them rebelled. And we’ve got The Most Evil Human Being EVAR! controlling everything from the utopian opulence of New Babylon. 
    This is literally *exactly* how and why the Hunger Games were invented!

    Nicolae needs to take notes from President Snow (and a few other people if you read to the end of Mockingjay. That book was not as good as the prequels and I was annoyed at a lot of things that Collins did, but wow, that one scene was chilling!)

  • Worthless Beast

    Strangely enough, I was thinking roughly the same thing when I was reading this earlier.  I’m late to the punch, but I just finished reading the first book of The Hunger Games and started the second. Haven’t seen the film of the first book yet and am already a bit spoilered for the rest, am trying to avoid getting spoiled too much.

    I was thinking… “Yeah, Panem is how you run an evil empire.  Carpathia is dull and downright humanitarian for an Antichrist.  Where are the people chosen at random to kill each other for the entertainment  and/ or torture of dissenters and the like?”  I bet Carpathia doesn’t even smell like roses and blood…

    (I’m far enough in series to have *just* met President Snow. He creeped me the frick out).

  • bekabot

    “…There’s no children, but we’ve still got adolescents, roughly 12 and up. We’ve got ten regions, which need to be kept in line because three of them rebelled. And we’ve got The Most Evil Human Being EVAR! controlling everything from the utopian opulence of New Babylon. 

    This is literally *exactly* how and why the Hunger Games were invented!”
    Yeah, well, but.  The Hunger Games were not invented by Jenkins or LaHaye, and there’s a reason for that.  

    In order to invent the Hunger Games, or have Nicky invent the Hunger Games, Jenkins/LaHaye would have to know something about interpersonal relationships, crowd control, topography, strategy, tactics, and fighting, and that’s just for starters.  (They do know about cliques, I’ll give them that; IMO they understand cliques because they belong to one.)  In other words, they would have to educate themselves extensively about a number of topics of whose very existence they apparently have no knowledge before they set Word One down on paper (or whatever).  

    So what are the odds?  Not good…

  • Meegan

     Also, they would have to be interested in dramatic conflict and suspense, which they are not.

    To me, the fact that the protagonists know that there are no risks to anything that they do and behave as such  is boring. To Jenkins, scenarios like that are thrilling.

    If Jenkins were writing “The Hunger Games”, Katniss would spend all of her time driving President Snow and thinking mean things about him. All of the action and fight scenes would involve people that Katniss doesn’t care about, and we would hear about it over the phone or on PNN. During the exciting conflict scenes, Katniss would be free to insult Snow directly to his face and he wouldn’t do anything but splutter indignantly.

  • bekabot

    “During the exciting conflict scenes, Katniss would be free to insult Snow directly to his face and he wouldn’t do anything but splutter indignantly.”

    Katniss’s insults would come directly from notes which she would have had no opportunity to take and their substance would be derived from a political/social American-90’s reality she could never have experienced.  She’d carry a slide projector everywhere (too early for PowerPoint) in a secret interdimensional pocket.  Plus, Katniss would tote along a pointer.  And a bunch of markers and a whiteboard (no eraser, though; KatnisSue would know her RTC Bible well enough not to need one; besides, can you picture Katniss, caught up in the heat of furious argument, pausing to scrub out the points she’s gotten out of order…even for Jenkins/LaHaye, that would be a bridge of absurdity too far).  

    No evil overlord anywhere would safe from a scolding.  Let the multiverse beware.  

  • http://twitter.com/nedlum Alden Utter

    Slightly off topic, but I just spent ten minutes trying and failing to find a diolague from a while ago between Buck and Carpathia about the freedom of being ignored for a year by the authors, where Nicolae decides to take over the world with atheist clones and cloned atheists. Does anyone know what I’m talking about?

  • Beroli

    http://exharpazo.blogspot.com/2010/08/18-months-later.html

    Unfortunately, the link to the actual comment there doesn’t seem to be working now that the comment is no longer on Typepad.

  • http://twitter.com/nedlum Alden Utter

     Thank you! I guess I couldn’t find it because the parts I remembered no longer exist in text form.

  • http://twitter.com/shay_guy Shay Guy

    You might be able to find it if you identify the original post, then go to the Patheos copy of that post with JavaScript turned off so you can look through the old comment thread.

  • aunursa

    Left
    Behind Movie Reboot

     
    Casting is underway in Los Angeles for the film’s starring
    and co-starring roles. Additional principal actor roles will be cast in Baton
    Rouge, Louisiana where shooting will take place beginning in March, 2013.

     

    The movie tells the story of an apocalyptic disaster where
    millions upon millions of people suddenly and mysteriously disappear leaving
    behind their clothes, wedding rings, eye glasses and shoes in crumpled piles.
    Panic around the globe ensues, as the beginning of the end of time has arrived
    – The Rapture. A young lady named Chloe Steele is one of those still remaining
    on earth, and she must somehow find a place for her pilot father to land the
    jet he’s flying and save the passengers on board. Cameron “Buck” Williams is an
    award winning news reporter who is on the flight, and becomes a love interest
    for Chloe.

     

    Starring in “Left Behind” is Academy Award winner
    Nicolas Cage as 747 captain Ray Steele, a negligent father and lustful husband
    with a roving eye, on the verge of an affair with his senior flight attendant, Hattie
    Durham. MTV Movie Awards winner Ashley Tisdale stars as Ray Steele’s daughter
    Chloe, who is a college student and very skeptical of Christianity. Four-time Teen Choice Awards winner Chad Michael Murray is portraying the celebrated
    journalist Cameron “Buck” Williams, who is a senior writer for Global Weekly, a
    prestigious weekly news magazine.

  • aunursa

    Left Behind The Movie FAQ

    Q. How closely will the new LEFT BEHIND movie follow the books?
    A. The LEFT BEHIND reboot will focus on the hours immediately following the rapture. It will not cover everything that the first book includes, but will be more specifically concentrated on those first few hours and the chaos of the world in the wake of millions of people vanishing with no explanation.

    Q. What color will Ashley Tisdale’s hair be as Chloe Steele?
    A. That will be a decision made by the director once we start shooting.

    Q. Who will play the anti-Christ in this movie?
    A. Since this movie will only include the first few hours after the rapture, the character of the anti-Christ, Nicolae Carpathia, will not be in this film.

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

    Q. What color will Ashley Tisdale’s hair be as Chloe Steele?
    A. That will be a decision made by the director once we start shooting.

    What is this I don’t even.

    Chloe’s hair is blonde in the books.  In almost every single picture I see of her online (quick Google images search), Ashley Tisdale’s hair is blonde.

    What’s the problem here again?

  • EllieMurasaki

    I think she’s a natural brunette.

  • aunursa

    I just thought that it was an interesting question to be included among the FAQs.  It’s not a question I would have considered, much less expected to be on the list.

    The questions of Rayford’s and Buck’s hair colors aren’t asked.

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

    Hmmm…is there even a canonical color for Ray or Buck’s hair?

    This does sometimes happen with male actors, though: some people freaked out when Daniel Craig was cast as the new James Bond because noooooo he’s a blonde!!!11!!1!

  • aunursa

    is there even a canonical color for Ray or Buck’s hair?

    According to the Character section from the Authorized LB Handbook posted on the LB site, Rayford’s hair “turned gray before 30.”  Buck has “longish blond hair.”   Chloe has “blonde hair, and green eyes.” Nicky has “neatly trimmed blond hair.” Hattie is blonde. Bruce has “curly hair.”  Tsion has “dark brown hair.”

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

    Damn, you’re so good at this.  *hat tip*

  • Lori

    That’s a whole lotta blonde. What is up with that?

  • Matri

    That’s a whole lotta blonde. What is up with that?

    One word, ROT13’d: Nelna.

  • aunursa

    The
    Official Left Behind Movie Facebook Page

     

    A
    new poster we’re playing with.

     

    Those who have read the books know that
    when the rapture happens, Buck, Hattie and Rayford are on an airplane. Well,
    the cool news is that we’ve left a few seats available on that airplane and if
    you’re a fan of this page, you’ll have a shot at winning one of those seats and
    being in the movie!!

     

    Heather XXXXXX I would love this! I have read all 16 books
    at least 3 times and really want to get back into the series again! The books
    always chang and deepen my walk with God!

    January 30 at 10:58am via mobile

     

    Samantha XXXXXXXXX That would be awesome!!! Getting to be
    part of something that can bring thousands to Christ.. It’s not me, but just
    being a willing vessel for God. that’s great

    January 30 at 12:03pm

     

    Kelly XXXXXX AWESOME! Save me a spot on the Rapture
    Plane!!!! Please Lord…Pick me!

    January 30 at 8:30pm

     

    Katherine XXXXX @heather I thought that I was the only one
    that have read the entire series 3 times and every time I read it, I get
    something else out of it. A totally awesome series.

    February 15 at 4:54pm via mobile

  • Lori

    Oh for the love of FSM. The fans of these books. I can’t even.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Focusing on the first few hours of what happens right after the rapture could be a good idea.  By focusing so sharply, they can actually make the drama, you know, dramatic and, rather than make this a checklist of the apocalypse, make this into a, you know, story.

    That said, Samantha, “can bring thousands to Christ”?  How, exactly, does she believe that will work.  Does she believe that there’s a reasonable chance that someone watching this movie will not already be aware of Christianity?

  • AnonymousSam

    A common theme with many of this particular form of belief is that atheists and members of every other religion in the world (which are often lumped in as the exact same thing) have one of two outlooks:

    1) Sheer ignorance. They’ve never read the Bible. They barely know anything about Christianity, except that it has something to do with that Jesus guy, and, um, some guy named God who’s apparently really important.

    2) Pride, anger, and rejection. “Of course I’m not Christian! Sinning is too much fun!” says the atheist/pagan/Catholic/Buddhist and every other member of the planet. “Who cares that someone died for my sins? My sins didn’t need dying for, so NYAAAAA. *Raspberry*”

    According to the script, members of the first group, when given proof that Jesus is the way to salvation (in the form of “Hey, look, this is what we call the Bible!“), will instantly fall to their knees and convert.

    Everyone else (members of the second group) will reject Christ because they don’t want to admit what terrible people they are. They will, of course, spend eternity screaming in agony while the members of the first group look on from Heaven with smug satisfaction, just like Jesus would want.

  • AnonymousSam

    What’s especially telling is that Jews, Muslims and even some members of Christian denominations (such as Catholics) are included in this binary system. Apparently there are millions of people out there who go to church every Sunday, read the same Bible and say the same prayers, but are ignorant about Christ and will go to Hell with everyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    Well don’t you know all non-RTCs are secretly satanists taking orders from the Pope and planning the day they massacre their Christian neighbours?

    y.y

    This is paraphrase of what I’ve heard from some RTCs but it’s not an hyperbolic paraphrase. Some people seriously believe that. I suspect L&J believe it on some level because their Pope selected after the raptured Pope (who was supposedly a heretic) becomes head of Enigma Babylon and everyone plays along.

    I even saw one RTC guy be told he was clearly 5th column because he was ex-catholic and refused to go along with the crap about having known about this supposed plot and indeed disbelieving in the supposed plot.

    (note: the place where I saw all this was on a catholic mailing list in th early 1990s – because, of course, if you think a group of people are planning your murder your best response is to join a public email list and post abuse at them… No, I don’t get it either. We mostly ignored them and got on with our own conservative vs liberal arguments).

    But can you imagine living in a world where you think most of the population is actively involved in a plot to lull you into a false sense of security and then murder you.

     

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    But can you imagine living in a world where you think most of the population is actively involved in a plot to lull you into a false sense of security and then murder you.

    Wait, you mean… you mean you aren’t? Oh, that is so relieving, I just don’t know how to – ohhh no, you almost got me there. But I’m on to you! Thought I was going to drop my guard, didn’t you? Didn’t you?

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

     Curses! Foiled again!

    X-D

  • P J Evans

     It’s a bit farther from reality that the stuff I heard in the mid-70s. That was to the effect that all the smart Catholics become priests and nuns (they meant ‘religious sisters’, but everyone says ‘nuns’).

    I kept my mouth firmly closed, but I thought that that told me more about that particular fundie church than it did about Catholics.

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

    1) Sheer ignorance. They’ve never read the Bible. They barely know anything about Christianity, except that it has something to do with that Jesus guy, and, um, some guy named God who’s apparently really important.

    Speaking of the Left Behind movie, this attitude reached comical heights during the infamous debate of Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort vs. the Rational Response Squad.  (Y’know, the crocoduck debate.)

    Anyway, Kirk’s mind clearly could not wrap itself around the fact that someone had read the Bible and not become a Christian.  The exchange basically went like this (paraphrasing, of course):

    Kirk: Read the Bible.
    Kelly: Yes, I’ve read it.
    Kirk: Read the Bible.
    Kelly: I have read it.  Several times.
    Kirk: Well, if you’d just read the Bible, you’d see–
    Brian: Dude, she just said she’s read it.
    Kirk: …
    Kirk: Read the Bible.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    Kirk: Read the Bible.

    “Insanity(*) is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results…”

    (*) And Test Engineering.

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

    The problem is that the “conversion scripts” are modelled off the way Amway teaches its people to do their spiels:

    “Listen, (name), I’ve become part of a great opportunity and I’d like to share it with you!”

    “Okayyyy?”

    “Yes, it’s great! Listen, you’ve probably never heard of it before, but I want to bring you along with me to the next meeting. Can you come?”

    “Well, I guess.”

    “Excellent. Now, tell me, do you know what Amway can do for your financial security?”

    At this point the script is SUPPOSED to have  the prospective new recruit eager and ready. What actually happens is:

    “Amway? Ew, get away  from me.”

    And of course the person trying to do the recruiting has been filled with the usual “what they say about us is LIES!” so they may honestly not grok why Amway has such a bad reputation.

    The fact that some evangelicals are taught to treat the Christian religion like it’s an induction to some kind of mind-blowing secret (“Jesus died for OUR SINS? OMGWTFBBQ!”) reveals a profound lack of understanding of the deep religious underpinnings of modern Western culture. It was only, gee, the state religion of the Eastern Roman Empire for umpty ump centuries, as one example…

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    I’m aware that’s how a lot of RTCs act.  Heck, it’s how a lot of people that I have met at work or in college act.  But, I’m also sure that there is a great number of those who act this way who have never stated that belief out loud, or even said it through in their minds.

    Just that exercise has helped me change my own mind about a couple issues.

  • arcseconds

    Just that exercise has helped me change my own mind about a couple issues.

    Just to be clear, you are saying that stating a belief of yours out loud helped you change your own mind about a couple of issues?

    I’d be curious to know what, if you were of a mind to tell us.

    (totally understand if you aren’t of such a mind. Me, I’d never have admitted ever being wrong in the past in the first place! )

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Okay, for example hate-crimes legislation.

    Originally, I was against it on the premise that the hate-crimes list would have to include any and all group-based reason for attack and that this would have to include, in the protection, groups such NAMBLA.  For obvious reasons, I find myself less of mind to feel the desire to protect that group.

    Now, this was a while back, when there was more discussion on just that point and people were talking about the “chilling effect” that this would have on discussion.

    While walking and talking expressly to myself, I found myself saying “Then we’d have to protect any group from non-self-defense related violence.”  It was then, that it occured to me that doing anything but would actually sanction making assaults on entire groups for reasons only of appearance or ideas expressed, not for any criminal activity they’re engaged in or any danger, either clear or present, presented.

    It made me aware of my own subtext, which was that it was okay to make terrorist assaults on entire groups.  Now, this wasn’t a moment of straight epiphany whereby I turned a 180.  I still tried to resist my own logic and come up with some way around it, but eventually I admitted to my error.

  • Lliira

     Getting to be part of something that can bring thousands to Christ..
    It’s not me, but just being a willing vessel for God.

    The smug is strong in this one.

  • hidden_urchin

    Is it bad that I want to see someone post, ” I’m an atheist but I want to know more about Christ. Maybe if I got picked to ride the Rapture Plane then I might have a better understanding about what you believe.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    I would bet every dollar I have ever owned that the atheist would be immediately shouted down by everyone else, with lots of insults, imprecations, and at least a few death threats.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    No, no not at all.  In fact, I’m betting that the true believers want to see that, too.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    When this contest is up, we HAVE to enter Fred in it.  It’s a moral imperative.

  • The_L1985

     Yikes.

  • AnonymousSam

    Huh. So the movie is based on the initial few pages of the first book, massively expanding the significance and impact of the Rapture. No wonder Jenkins doesn’t like it.

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

    I see we have some… enthusiastic… people who want to be extras. Didn’t Cloud Ten claim that there were like 328643872648 christians who wanted so much to be extras? (not exactly backed up by a teenage kid rolling his eyes at Tsion Ben-Judah’s speech!)

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

    Which of course means Buck and Chloe ….. had sex.

    In the approved missionary position, of course.

    I may write a flash fic around that, but it would be kinda NSFW so I may ROT13 it.

  • aunursa

    Which of course means Buck and Chloe ….. had sex.

    You are assuming that the child is Buck’s.  You want a subject for fiction?  Tell the story of who the real father is.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    We will need much more to effect our plan of raising the level of Third World countries so that the entire globe is on equal footing

    “He raises the poor from the dustAnd lifts the beggar from the ash heap,To set them among princesAnd make them inherit the throne of glory.”

    Raising up the poor to be equal with the rich is one evil plan I’m OK with.

  • AnonymousSam

    There may be a case of FridgeBrilliance in that. Twisting Christ’s nature to evil ends is kind of what the Antichrist is supposed to do, you’d think.

    Unfortunately, one suspects that taking money away from those who deserve it and giving it to those who don’t (i.e., socialism!!1) is what we’re supposed to take home from this. The Antichrist is weakening the master race and using their life’s blood to empower the welfare class of Madagascar. How dare he.

    Isn’t it amazing how much LeHaye and Jenkins’s philosophies resemble the/a true Antichrist agenda?

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

    geez, Rayford got a pretty rotten deal if his hair turned grey before 30. Don’t Gary Stu type characters like ol’ Rafe have fine wonderful heads of hair into their 50s?

  • hidden_urchin

    No doubt it is a distinguished gray with no hair loss. You know, the kind that screams ” alpha male.”

  • Lori

    I suspect the gray is meant to convey patriarch, more than alpha.

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

    Yeah, but it doesn’t take away from him being “alpha patriarch” (or just “patriarch”) to have gone grey circa 35 instead of 30.

    eh IDEK.

  • Newbiedoobiedoo

    On gray hair: The same but totally different, in Joan of Arcadia Joan’s hair and Sister’s hair are heavily streaked because they’ve been close to God. When Joan is committed to a “rest cure” facility until she stops saying she saw God, the streaks go away. Then they come back as she comes back. There’s no indication that these two are coloring their hair. It’s probably a Moses reference.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jon.maki Jon Maki

    It’s especially interesting, given that Rayford is a stand-in for LaHaye, who himself has hair that…well, is it even hair?  It’s hard to tell if it’s a rug or if it’s just an extremely unnatural dye job.  Whatever it is, it’s not grey. 
    Which ultimately just makes it look that much worse, as it’s such a marked contrast to the rest of him.  Thin, grey hair would be a better look for him, as it wouldn’t create the contrast that seems to exaggerate his aged appearance.
    Looking at him is kind of unnerving, frankly.

    (FWIW, I was mostly grey by the time I turned 25)

  • spinetingler

    Carpathia isn’t even as logically scheming as Doctor Heinz Doofenshmirtz.

  • Lori

    One rises to the level of one’s opponent and the Tribbles are no Perry the Platypus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Riastlin-Lovecraft/100000678992705 Riastlin Lovecraft

    In other news (not related to this thread at all, I fear, but I’m too meh over it to care atm:
    http://www.4wfca.com/liberal-alliance-youth-will-give-danes-firearms-to-defend-themselves/
    (Not familliar with the site itself, but it was the first place I could find that told the story in English rather than Danish).
    Just goes to prove that no matter how clearly bad a situation in the US is, there’s always someone who should know better who want to emulate it.

  • Lori

    Just goes to prove that no matter how clearly bad a situation in the US
    is, there’s always someone who should know better who want to emulate
    it. 

    My sympathies.

  • YoGabbaGabba67

    The author was doing a great job of stereotyping his laughable subjects.  But then he used the word “Kafka-esque” and soon thereafter “fundies”, and suddenly I realized that he was simply portraying a smug, neo-liberal, emergent, “Jesus-follower” who was ripping the 88 year old Tim Lahaye. Well done! 

  • Lori

    Oh for Pete’s sake, what does Lahaye’s age have to do with this? He wasn’t 88 when he came up with his “Biblical” “prophesies” and he wasn’t 88 when co-wrote these vile books. Even if he had been, since when is advanced age an excuse for being hateful and promoting evil? Unless you’re suggesting that he’s non compos mentis due to his age, in which case you need to note that you’re the one saying that and we are not. Also, when it comes to “smug” you might want to watch the stone-throwing. You wouldn’t want anything to happen to all those windows in your house.

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

    Going over this commentary again, which runs into the similar complaints about characterization in the LB books…

    I randomly remembered a short story I wrote years ago – it actually won a small contest and was put in a ‘zine.  It was inspired by Left Behind, unfortunately, back when I was an actual fan of the material… So, it’s become one of those “old shame” short stories I don’t like to think about…

    However, going over these Slacktivist posts and commentary, I wonder if, even back then when I was stupider than I am today (I think… stupid is as stupid does)… if I somehow, someway hit upon a better way to go about an LB-style story.  You see, I remembered something about people rising from their graves during the Rapture as taught by one of those TV prophecy guys and didn’t remember EllenJay covering that totally WTF aspect…. So I wrote about a teenage girl who was mourning a beloved, religiously-eccentric grandmother, how she was confused at the utter chaos that had taken her town with random disapperances.  She wound up in the local graveyard where she found her grandmother’s burst-open casket and was left to mourn her all over again.

    I don’t think I have this story on any of my hard drives anymore – I think it got lost in a move/computer overhaul, but I have the zine it was in and can type it again if people want more stuff for the massive fix-fic project.  All I know is that it’s probably bad writing because it’s Young Me, but I recall doing a very “small-world” style charater introspection with a different flavor than what it was inspired by.  Maybe that’s what LB really sufferes from – not enough of that. I know I wasn’t that interested in tax-code.  

  • Trixie_Belden

    Typing it again sounds like a drag for you, but if you ever get around to posting it somewhere, let us know – I’d be interested to read it.  I understand it’s Young You, back when you were a fan, but it sure sounds like you had an interesting idea.

  • Worthless Beast

    Okay, I got the ‘zine out from my bookshelf and re-read the thing and… I may just take you up on trying to find it on my old computer or typing it up again because it’s surprisingly not-horrible! 

    Now, I didn’t say “good,” just “not-horrible.”  

    I mean, I was so ashamed of it because of the initial inspiration that touched me off, but… in re-reading it… wow, I didn’t actually preach! I mentioned the Rapture and PMD theology, but… I also mentioned aliens, mysterious cosmic phenomema and the Hohokam people (if you’re an Arizonan, you understand). I also made use of the word “skanks” (my protagonist being someone who did not think well of her high school classmates).  Sure, it’s heavily implied the Rapture happened, but I never actually set in stone that it did.  I seemed to have pulled the scenario as done by Stephen King more than Jenkins.  

    I do remember writing that story as more of a “What if?” scenario than a “What will be!” primarily because, while I was a fan of LB back then, I never really thought Ellenjay were prophets – I thought that for certain prophecies to happen, people needed to *not* have them as pop-cultural common-knowledge – ie. we’d all sniff out the Antichrist a mile away so End Times in our times was always taken with a grain of salt.  (Not to mention some of the disbelief I had to suspend for the sudden!one world religion).  Young Me was dumb, but not as dumb as you’d think. **

    I googled… the ‘zine apparently either never went online or went under some time ago, so I will have to deal with my old story the hard way.  

    If you want to read something recent by me that has a similar flavor (“Oh, something vaugely religious happened to me, but I have no idea how to explain it and really want to get to the real bottom of it!”) there’s this thing on my haphazard blog:  http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2012/11/abscence-revised.html – It’s about a guy who experiences an unwanted ressurection.  (As for a certain portion of it: I wrote the story after Aurora, before Newtown).

    ** When I was a little more religiously ardent, I was pretty sure that the stuff in Revelations, if it really was a road map of the future, was going to happen something like 700 years from now because the people of now would be expecting it too much thanks to things like LB and the culture that spawned it.  I was mostly reading for the explosions, anyway.

  • vsm

    You could also scan it. Should be a lot less painful than retyping it.

  • Worthless Beast

    I’m going to check one of my ancient hard drives. I might actually have a copy of it there.

  • Worthless Beast

    I FOUND IT! 

    I just posted it here: http://sparrowmilk.blogspot.com/2013/02/old-shame-by-request.html 

    It looks like I missed a few of the breaks when transferring it from the old file to a blog post, though.

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

    Woooow. That’s way better than L&J’s take on a Rapture!

  • Trixie_Belden

    Whoa – I read it and let me just say I am very impressed!  Even though you say you were a fan of L&J when you wrote it, what is particularly striking is that you, at your age, and working under the constraints of a short story format, had already put much more thought and care into imagining what a post-rapture world would be like.  Also, there’s much more psychological realism, as Ruth tries, as best she can, to find reasons for what is happening around her.  Aliens, of course would be a natural thing for your character to speculate about. 

    The atmosphere of your story is quite evocative, as well.  I quite liked the description of  how the graves were opened as if by small explosions.

    I think you can take justifiable pride in what Young You created.

  • Worthless Beast

    Thanks.

    Young Me was 20 when I wrote it.  Not a child, but still pretty young.  And, hey, I was also a fan of The X-Files.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    But can you imagine living in a world where you think most of the
    population is actively involved in a plot to lull you into a false sense
    of security and then murder you.

    I can dimly imagine it.

    Fox News viewers have it delivered into their homes on a nightly basis.

  • aunursa

    I don’t recall whether Cendrillon’s parents actually say that their daughter is in hell.  But they do allow Buck Cameron to preach that message during the funeral.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Just to check for a potential excuse, did anybody think that Cendrillon might be headed heavenward?

  • EllieMurasaki

    Nope. If she were, she would have lived till the end of the millennium, instead of being the first one to die once it began.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    So, it was an absolute certainty that, because she died, she was going to Hell…  Yeah, saying that, particularly at the funeral, is known as rubbing salt into an open wound.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Yeah, but remember: everyone at the funeral was either unsaved or saved.

    The unsaved are terrible people devoid of love for people, and don’t believe Buck anyway, so they don’t care.

    The saved people take joy in seeing God’s infinite justice and mercy (Because God’s only torturing her for all eternity) and rejoice in the knowledge that their beloved child is burning in hell for all eternity because it just reminds them how wonderful God is and how great it is that they aren’t being tortured for all eternity.

    And most important of all, it’s good that God did that. It’s a real good thing God did. He’s a good God for sending that kid to the cornfield hell.

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

    Oh, well, bless his heart.

    As if he wasn’t already a ten-pound sack of shit in a five-pound bag.

  • aunursa

    All [Cameron] could do was present the unvarnished truth, that Cendrillon had seemed a wonderful person, and had accomplished many good deeds. “But the sad fact is that either she never saw her personal
    need for a Savior, or she chose to ignore that need.  You may think this is hardly the time and
    place for a message like this, but Cendrillon’s parents agree that there may be
    no more appropriate venue.  I have a
    challenge to everyone who has not yet reached the age of one hundred and who
    has not received Christ as Savior. The one common denominator throughout all
    ages, from the creation of Adam to the present kingdom, is that all have a
    choice about God: will you or will you not accept what the Scriptures call ‘so
    great a salvation?’ Those who choose Him will enjoy His entire thousand-year
    reign and enter the heaven He has prepared for His own. Those who do not will
    be judged, die in their sins, and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. This is
    without question the most important decision you will ever make. I ask you
    directly: have you personally received Jesus the Christ and acknowledged Him as
    your only Lord and Savior? If you have not, I urge you to do so right now by
    telling God, “Thank you for sending your Son, Jesus, to die …”
    Kingdom Come, pp 59-60

  • hidden_urchin

    Wow, I’m having trouble trying to decide who’s worse here. God or Buck?

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

    God’s always the worst in these books. Buck’s just a jackass. God is torturing billions (or more?) of people for eternity. 

  • Worthless Beast

    I saw this late last night and have since wanted to play a game of Devil’s Advocate… or God’s Advocate… or Advocate for People Who Believe in Hell or something…

    This really *is* the theology of a lot of churches – particularly those that believe “faith alone” is the key to salvation. I used to be into such theology, and believe it or not, there are a lot of good, kind people who are.  (Depending upon your definition of “good,” we all have different definitions, so I’ll make mine “would not knowingly physically harm anyone and would give you a glass of water if you asked”…)   It’s the translations of the Bible they are given, and what they are taught by their leaders…  The apparent nastiness of it is typically gotten around by the idea that “a relationship with God is a choice” and God being, frankly, not as omnipotent as advertised – (I often heard God compared to a light switch – when the lights are on, darkness flees, so if you’re still “in darkness” there’s no other place for you to go).  Then again, my old Southern Baptist, highly conservative church seemed to think less along the lines of fire and brimstone and more along the lines of a lonely darkness when it came to ideas on Hell.

    And I hated believing in it.  Hated.  It was one of those things I thought I had to believe or was “just is.”  I think a lot of people are like that. It’s kind of like how I really want to believe in Humanity but can’t, because of what I’ve seen in humans, but wishing I were more optomistic.  I was kind of overjoyed when someone turned me onto some actual scholarly arguments for universal salvation.  I still worry that God (if one exists) really “is” the chaotic neutral entity that people call “good” that I formerly thought he/she/it was.

    What I’m saying, I guess, is when someone comes up to you pleading with you not to go to Hell, don’t assume anger on their part or them just “being into it for the evulz” – unless they come to you gloating or angry, assume FEAR.  From my experience, it’s safer to assume that you’re dealing with a very frightened person who sees the Universe as hostile and the brutal “escape by the skin of your faith” being the only thing that makes sense to them.  If you cannot see them as “equal” enough to you to have true compassion, then at least have some pity. 

    If they gloat and glee over their supposedly “saved” status like Ellenjay… and certain other high profile preachers, then, yeah, revile all you want.  Just know that most of the fans of their books and adherents to their theology are probably just full of fear more than anything.

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

    If anything shows that the LB series is all about justifying using Christianity as an excuse to be an asshat, I’d say Buck’s smarmy self-righteous speech should about cover it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Every so often, I think I should write a book of tips for people who want to convert others.  One of those tips would be “Judge the actions of God as though he was not God.  If he doesn’t measure up to the high moral standards of Jigsaw from the saw movies, you have a problem.”

  • Parisienne

    I can’t help feeling that Jenkins missed a trick by not making the global currency the Euro.

  • aunursa

    In the original Left Behind, published in 1995, the three remaining demoninations are dollars, marks, and yen.  In the updated Left Behind series, published in 2011, Jenkins changed marks to Euros.  In both versions, the eventual global currency is known as “Nicks.”

  • Carstonio

    With the bills and coins depicting Carpathia, I assume. Imagine an LB spinoff involving a heist in England – “Nick the Nicks.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GUFZNDXKK6JQGEIGV7VGXFUDKE c2t2

    Well, if Nicolae robs Stevie Nicks during a tour in England, it would be “Nick Nicks Nicks’ s Nicks”
     
    We just have to add the NY Knicks in there somewhere.

  • aunursa

    Nick Nicks Nicks’ Nicks?  Maybe we can get the Cam-Cam-Cam on it.

  • Carstonio

     

    We just have to add the NY Knicks in there somewhere.

    Maybe if Stevie Nicks was on a date with Patrick Ewing… “Nick Nicks Nicks’ and Knick’s Nicks”

  • aunursa

    Alas, Nicolas Cage is set to play Rayford.

  • Steve Morrison

     So then it does mean $US? My first thought was that calling the currency “dollars” didn’t have to mean that, since the USA is neither the first nor the last country to have a currency unit called the dollar; IIRC that was how Terry Pratchett justified having Ankh-Morpork’s money come in dollars.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Okay. Putting his name on actually everything is probably the one Evilest Evil Overlord Ever thing Nicky Molehills actually does.

    (I keep thinking of that bit in that one MST3k where the one guy identifies a rock as being like the jewel of medea, and the scientist immedietly shouts ‘Yes! That shall be its name, *I* have named it!”, and Tom Servo quips “It shall be called ‘Me-ite’!”)

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

    This tendency of authors to stealth-revise texts and reissue them is, while on the one hand admirable given the way time marches on, also a little annoying because some of the charm of the writing is the sheer datedness of the material.

    Example: Gordon Korman or even Isaac Asimov.

    Asimov had the galleys of the Foundation series slightly reworked in the 1980s to account for the inaccurate word “atomics” and to correct misconceptions regarding how nuclear power plant meltdowns work.

    Still, there’s something neat about reading a 1950s-era omnibus volume and seeing the older language.

    And Gordon Korman’s books are solidly a product of the 1970s and 1980s, so for him to “update” the books for a modern audience kind of… eh. :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    This tendency of authors to stealth-revise texts and reissue them is, while on the one hand admirable given the way time marches on, also a
    little annoying because some of the charm of the writing is the sheer datedness of the material.

    Even more annoying is when it’s inconsistent.

    When I read the 1990 revision of Stephen King’s The Stand around 2005, what struck me was not the datedness of the 1990 revisions, but of the parts that were not revised. Larry Underwood’s single “Baby Can You Dig Your Man” being a hit in 1978, yes, but in 1990?

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

     To be fair, King said what he was doing was reinstating the 1978 text as he wanted it and then updating it. Given that it runs to 1300-some pages…. :O

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    I’ve read the original “When HARLIE Was One” – written in 1972 about the first computer AI, and it’s interesting to work backwards from the “future” computer to what computers were like in 1972. It was revised in 1988; I should look it up and see if the reverse-extrapolation still applies.

  • rizzo

    Ahahaha Jenkens/LeHay don’t know how taxes OR GDP work and couldn’t even be bothered to read a book entry about either of them….hahahaha!!!

  • aunursa

    I should point out that The Incredibles is considered by a number of conservatives to be one of the top recent movies with a conservative message…

    #2: The Best Conservative Movies of the Last 25 Years
    The Edge’s Conservative Movie of the Week

  • Carstonio

     High achievement? The family members were born with their powers. Nothing particularly partisan about the principles of courage and responsibility, despite the decades of Southern Strategy spin on the latter. While Helen/Elastigirl was a laudably strong character, there was something bothersome about her heroics as almost exclusively for protecting her children, as of motherhood was the only natural role even for female superheroes.

    The conservative praise is ironic, given how Bob Parr’s boss at the insurance company wants him to screw over policyholders to make the company wealthier. That’s how for-profit insurers operate in real life, and as I mentioned in another thread, the concept of insurance isn’t supposed to be about enriching shareholders.

  • AnonaMiss

    I hadn’t thought of it before, but the Incredibles really is conservative in its worldview.

    To start with, the premise is that some people are inherently better than others; and these better people are the primary agents of change in the world, until spurious lawsuits and accompanying regulation suppress them into hiding their talents. We’re shown how frustrating and miserable this is to the talented people, and we’re never asked to sympathize with the common people, or shown any case in which supers have caused harm worse than the common people would have suffered if they hadn’t intervened. (My dad pointed out to me at the time that the lawsuits in question should have been thrown out under good samaritan laws). As far as the audience is shown, the regulations are government interference that does 0 good, and just get in the way of all the good the Talented People could be doing if only they weren’t fettered by regulation and the threat of lawsuits.

    The primary villain of the movie is a normal who dares to aspire to super status, and his eeevil agenda is to level the playing field between supers and normals by giving the normals technological equivalents of superpowers. Rather than presenting this as well-intentioned, the movie presents this as spiteful: as trying to make the supers not “special” anymore.

    Then there’s the whole ‘heteronormative traditional family’ thing, including a deleted scene in which Helen dresses down a straw feminist for sneering at her for being a stay at home mom.

    …Extreme tangent, but Helen must have had the easiest time giving birth ever.

  • Carstonio

     Is that conservatism or libertarianism, or is that a distinction without a difference? Either way, I wonder what Brad Bird thinks of Superman, who sees his role as helping others and inspiring them. Taken to its logical conclusion, Bird’s ideology would have Superman as benevolent dictator. Red Son much?

  • AnonaMiss

    I’d say if you want to classify it more specifically, it’s closest to Objectivist, especially the stuff with the villain being jealous of how Special the main characters are, and vowing to destroy that Special class by bringing everyone up to their level – Objectivists tend to be obsessed with how a few Super Awesome Ubermenschen deserve all the wealth they can get, and the rest of us should just hope we can ride on their coattails to glory. The kleptocratic right of kings. Though Objectivists tend to think they deserve this because they’re so much smarter than everyone else, and no matter what one’s circumstances of birth, someone Good Enough to Deserve Success would be able to bootstrap themselves up; so having the Ubermenschen be born that way is almost a throwback to the actual divine right of kings idea, with the Ubermenschen being inherently more deserving because if they weren’t, then they wouldn’t be Ubermenschen.

    But then, I’m one of the shrinking camp of strongly anti-Objectivist libertarians, so I’m a little bit bitter about Objectivists claiming the name ‘libertarian’ and then drowning out the rest of us.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

     Syndrome was ALSO killing super-people.

    ….Just throwing that out there.

  • AnonaMiss

    You might as well say that the black people in Birth of a Nation were killing/abducting/whatever they were doing to white women, and the heroes were just fending them off.

    Of course Syndrome was killing super-people. He was the villain. The writers would have had to be downright stupid to write a superhero movie in which the villain did not kill super-people. They didn’t have to make him a norm whose sole motivation in pursuing technological progress for the human race is to make super-people feel bad. I mean, wtf is that shit?

  • aunursa

    High achievement? The family members were born with their powers, so using that term implies a just world.

    Many people were born with uncommon skills and talents.  What they do or don’t do with their abilities determines whether they are high achievers.

    of motherhood was the only natural role even for female superheroes.

    Or pershaps that motherhood is a natural and laudable role for female superheroes.

    the concept of insurance isn’t supposed to be about enriching shareholders.

    Huh?  The concept of just about any corporation is supposed to be about enriching shareholders.  The concept of for-profit insurance corporations is to enrich shareholders by generating a profit from a business that protects insureds from large, unexpected financial losses.  The concepts of providing insurance and generating profits are not mutually exclusive.

  • Carstonio

    What they do or don’t do with their abilities determines whether they are high achievers.

    In real life, even people with natural aptitude for certain endeavors must still hone these abilities. Achievement is about facing and overcoming challenges. The Parr family didn’t have to do anything to achieve super powers, although they might learn to use them more effectively. There’s no challenge for Dash to run against kids who lack superpowers so it’s not really achievement. A true athletic challenge would be learning a sport that has nothing to do with his powers, as Jenny said. Or else racing someone who’s on his level like DC’s Impulse.

    Or pershaps that motherhood is a natural and laudable role for female superheroes.

    That wrongly implies that not choosing motherhood is wrong or bad. Motherhood isn’t inherently laudable. Society has no business deciding what roles the sexes should play. If a woman chooses to be a parent or chooses not to be, that’s her business and not anyone else’s.

    The concepts of
    providing insurance and generating profits are not mutually exclusive.

    They’re at cross-purposes, because producing dividends is the primary goal of any shareholder-owned corporation. Dividends from a for-profit insurance company can increase only by increasing premiums, and/or decreasing benefits, and/or dropping high-risk policyholders. In another thread I advocated the principle of non-profit membership corporations for insurers, and it’s also a good one for banking.

  • aunursa

    That wrongly implies that not choosing motherhood is wrong or bad.

    No, it doesn’t.  One can consider the occupation of police officer to be a laudable choice without the implication that not choosing to be a police officer is wrong or bad.  Same with firefighter, soldier, medic, scientist, or any other profession.  Similarly one can consider motherhood to be a laudable role without the implication that not choosing motherhood is a wrong choice.

    They’re at cross-purposes, because producing dividends is the primary goal of any shareholder-owned corporation. Dividends from a for-profit insurance company can increase only by increasing premiums, and/or decreasing benefits, and/or dropping high-risk policyholders.

    Or dividends can increase by attracting additional business from preferred customers.  The concepts of insurance and profits are not at cross-purposes … because an insurance company that denies benefits that were promised under the terms of its policies will be liable in court.  And because the company will get a bad reputation, resulting in policyholders leaving for a rival company that honors the terms of its policies.  And companies that provide good service and appear to care about their policyholders will also attract business.  All of which will result in increased profits for companies that deliver the best service and and product or range of products.

  • Carstonio

    The police officer analogy is wrong on a few levels. The person hypothetically has a choice of any number of professions besides that one. Plus, that job is a type of public service, choosing to put one’s life on the line to protect others.  Motherhood is partly about the woman’s decision about what to do with her  body, and the only alternative is not to become a mother. Neither one is inherently laudable because neither one should be judged by others.

    And because the company will get a bad reputation, resulting in
    policyholders leaving for a rival company that honors the terms of its
    policies…

    That’s more Just World thinking. Competition doesn’t work like that for health insurance because health care isn’t a typical market. The pseudo-theistic concept of the invisible hand is silly enough for most markets, but downright cruel for health care. In that market the insurers hold all the power, squeezing both policyholders and providers.

  • aunursa

    Motherhood is partly about the woman’s decision about what to do with her body, and the only alternative is not to become a mother.

    Only one alternative?  I can think of a number off the top of my head…

    1. Bear and raise a child/children
    2. Adopt and raise a child/children
    3. Serve as a foster parent
    4. Work at a non-profit that benefits children/families
    5. Volunteer in a role that benefits children/families

    Motherhood and fatherhood benefit society when parents raise children who become responsible, productive members of society.  Without responsible parents, society would soon collapse.

    Competition doesn’t work like that for health insurance because health care isn’t a typical market.

    You’re moving the goalposts.  We were discussing for-profit insurance companies in general, not just for-profit health insurance companies.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Are all of those options–and number six, teach children, and number seven, have nothing whatsoever to do with children–considered equal in the eyes of society? There’s never been a person, however well-meaning, who asked their infertile or childfree adult child when there’d be grandchildren?

  • aunursa

    Are all of those options… considered equal in the eyes of society?

    They are all considered laudable.  I never suggested that they were considered equally laudable.  But the suggestion that because motherhood is praised, therefore women who choose not to have children are scorned by society, I don’t agree with that view of society.  Is the expectation that women, especially married women, will raise a family?  Yes.  But I don’t agree that such an expectation means that those who choose otherwise are looked down upon.  Of course you’re free to disagree.

  • EllieMurasaki

    I don’t agree that such an expectation means that those who choose otherwise are looked down upon. Of course you’re free to disagree.
    Yeah, when I am made to feel as though I will be violating the social contract by not making babies (no pressure, of course, Ellie, you’re only as old as your father was when you were born, you’ve years yet before you’re as old as your mother was then, get your life in order first, meet a nice man…), I am CLEARLY IMAGINING THINGS.

    For the record: Not making babies. Ever. Possibly raising babies, I haven’t decided, but the sort of bullshit I describe above is not exactly making that a stress-free decision.

  • Carstonio

    No one contests that society benefits when parents raise their children responsibly. My criticism is of the stance that all women have an obligation to society to bear children. That usually unspoken assumption runs through nearly every social norm that deals with women’s roles. Sure, there are a handful of radical feminists who do sneer at motherhood and marriage. The difference between them and the chauvinists who slam single women as selfish for pursuing careers? The latter have thousands of years of sexist social norms backing them, norms that still influence billions of people.

    The point you’re missing about laudable is that it’s not your place, or mine, to make that judgment about a woman who chooses to bear children. Or who chooses not to. It may be defensible to deem it laudable when someone helps children in need through foster care or volunteering. But that applies to both sexes and is about directly helping people in need. Caring for children isn’t inherently or naturally a woman’s role or responsibility.

  • aunursa

    The point you’re missing about laudable is that it’s not your place, or mine, to make that judgment about a woman who chooses to bear children. Or who chooses not to.

    It absolutely is my place — if I so choose — to call women who choose to raise children in a responsible manner laudable.  In no way does that reflect adversely on those women who choose not to raise children.

    It also is my place — again, if I so choose — to call women who choose to bear and raise children in an irresponsible manner as, well, irresponsible.

    It also is my place to make similar judgments about men who choose to raise children in a responsible (or irresponsible) manner.

    What is not appropriate for me to do is to make any judgment whatsoever about those women and men who choose not to procreate or raise children.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Damn shame ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ is New Testament, not Tanakh.

  • aunursa

    Many Christians understand that passage to be referring to judging another person’s salvation … not that Christians should never judge any action or decision made by another person.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Many Christians are then wrong. It’s about keeping your nose out of other people’s business when uninvited in order to create a culture in which people don’t stick their uninvited noses in your business.

    Whether a person, especially (given the general sexism of our culture on this point) a uterus person, chooses to have children, that is not any of your business unless you are the person in question or (maybe) that person’s significant other, and your nose needs to stay out.

    Most of our culture doesn’t realize that, so I don’t blame you for not realizing it either. But you need to learn.

  • aunursa

    It’s not my business whether someone (other than my wife) chooses to have children.  But I certainly can make and express a judgment about a person’s decisions.  That’s not sticking my nose is someone else’s business, that’s expressing my personal opinion.  Everyone makes judgments about other people’s decisions.  I’ve seen hundreds of comments on this blog in which the host and guests have made judgments (especially negative ones) about the personal decisions of others.  It’s a little late to complain about someone making a supportive judgment.

  • Carstonio

    While I have no disagreement with any of that, your original claim was that motherhood is a natural and laudable role for women, specifically female superheroes. That’s not about how the children are being raised. “Natural” is even more problematic of a value judgment. If you really see yourself as having no place to judge people’s procreative decisions, then don’t call it laudable when a woman chooses to become a mother.

  • aunursa

    motherhood is a natural and laudable role for women, specifically female superheroes. That’s not about how the children are being raised

    Motherhood absolutely is about how children are raised.  Raising children is a part of motherhood and fatherhood.

    If you really see yourself as having no place to judge people’s procreative decisions, then don’t call it laudable when a woman chooses to become a mother.

    It’s not my place to make a negative judgment about a responsible person’s procreative decisions.  I reserve the right to express positive and negative judgments based on a person’s ability or inability to bear and raise children responsibly.

  • Carstonio

     

    Motherhood absolutely is about how children are raised.

    No, the word is simply an acknowledgment that the mother-child relationship exists.  It doesn’t say anything about the quality of the child-raising.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Similarly one can consider motherhood to be a laudable role without the implication that not choosing motherhood is a wrong choice.

    One can. But does one? Because the attitude you describe is one I have only encountered from liberal feminists, and not all of those. Unless it is an attitude you yourself hold, aunursa, in which case the conservatives I know of who hold it number, in total, one.

  • aunursa

    Really?  Because I’ve encountered the exact opposite attitude.  I’m not going to make the error, as you have with respect to conservatives, of suggesting that all or even most liberals who have demeand motherhood as unworthy.  But I’ve seen that attitude.

    The “straw-feminist” from the previously mentioned deleted scene doesn’t represent all feminists … but she does represent some.

    As for conservatives, I have little doubt there are some who believe that motherhood is the only laudable role for a woman, and that any woman who is not primarily a mother is a failure.  But my experience is that that opinion is held by only a small sliver of conservatives.  The vast majority seem to agree that motherhood is not for every woman.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Was I not careful enough to specify that the conservatives I personally know are the ones I’m talking about, and they may not be a representative sample? I know of no reason to think they’re not, but I know damn well they might not be.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     

    That wrongly implies that not choosing motherhood is wrong or bad. .

    That in no way shape or form implies that.  WHat it sounds like to me is that you’ve decided that motherhood is too lowly or unworthy for a woman with super-powers.

  • Carstonio

    Not all. That’s the same straw woman that’s been used against feminists for decades. Condemning the social norm against non-motherhood is not the same as condemning motherhood. I was addressing Aunursa’s claim that motherhood specifically is a laudable role, and my answer is that no role for either sex is inherently laudable or not laudable.

  • vsm

    I’d say Bob’s heroics had everything to do with his role as a father. His dilemma is how to lead a fulfilling life while also being a father and a husband. His working for Syndrome behind his family’s back was likened to an affair and placed his family in danger, so we probably aren’t meant to consider his attempts to be a superhero free from his role as a father a good thing. Things are only solved when the two roles are combined, making them a family of superheroes.

  • AnonaMiss

     

    I’d say Bob’s heroics had everything to do with his role as a father.
    His dilemma is how to lead a fulfilling life while also being a father
    and a husband. His working for Syndrome behind his family’s back was
    likened to an affair and placed his family in danger, so we probably
    aren’t meant to consider his attempts to be a superhero free from his
    role as a father a good thing. Things are only solved when the two roles
    are combined, making them a family of superheroes.

    See here’s the main problem I have with the ‘traditional family’ aspect of The Incredibles:

    Why was Bob the one working outside the home?

    He hates his job, he has a lot harder time adjusting to normal society than Helen does, why isn’t Helen the one bringing home the bacon? Which isn’t to say that she’d have to be and any woman who stays home instead of her husband is a bad woman blah de blah de blah but the problematic part is, can you even imagine Helen and Bob having that conversation? Can you imagine Bob being a stay at home father?

    Bob’s role as a father is very different from Helen’s role as a mother. His role as a father is for his care for his kids to be a personal motivator for him to do great things. They are at his back, propelling him forward. He loves them and wants to protect them, but – he doesn’t have to do the drudgery. He doesn’t have to deal with the hard parts, the work of parenting. Bob Parr is to Helen Parr as Tim LaHaye is to Tim Lahaye’s visitation pastor.

    I think it’s notable that Bob and Violet don’t have a relationship. Sure, they have little in common, but Helen has to have a relationship with both of her kids as an inherent part of her role as a mother. As a ‘traditional father,’ Bob gets to take the parts of parenting that he likes, the sports stuff with Dash, and can basically ignore Violet, and nobody thinks this is worth addressing – even through the happy “Yay our family isn’t dysfunctional now!” ending, Bob never acknowledges or interacts with her as an individual.

    This strikes me particularly hard because my father was always the child-centered one of my parents, and happily worked part time to take care of us while my mom worked 12 hour days. So when I see ‘traditional families’ portrayed in media, it almost hurts to see the “father’s role.” It hurts me in the my-relationship-with-my-father, the man who drove us to school and social events and girl scouts and friends’ houses, met our friends and our friends’ parents, made our lunches and dinners and cut smiley faces into our sandwiches with an apple corer to carve out the eyes, helped us with our homework, read to us at bedtime, and comforted us when we were scared or sick or just out of sorts. The lack of any meaningful Violet/Bob interaction is a hole in that movie that nags at me; and the fact that, in a movie about healing a dysfunctional family, the lack of a Violet/Bob relationship wasn’t even worth addressing disturbs me.

    ***

    When people celebrate ‘motherhood,’ there is so much bullshit tied up with the concept, so many connotations that aren’t present when talking about ‘fatherhood.’ So when someone talks about motherhood being a “laudable pursuit” for a woman, well – women who aren’t interested, and to anyone who grew up with our fathers as our primary caregivers, that phrasing highlights the fact that no one talks about fatherhood being a “pursuit” for a man.

    Which is unfair to women, because it dumps a plate full of connotation and responsibility on their lap which men don’t get; and it’s unfair to men, because those, like my own dad, who would prefer to pursue fatherhood over a traditional “career” have to swim upstream to do so.

  • P J Evans

     The problems come when providing profits to the shareholders becomes the major focus of the corporation, instead of whatever-it-was that they were organized to do.
    It’s why I don’t approve of having finance people running non-finance businesses.

  • Worthless Beast

    I enjoyed “The Incredibles” but that’s before/without thinking too hard about it.  I read somewhere that the filmakers didn’t register all of the unfortunate messages people were finding in it. They seemed to have wanted to make a family-friendly “Watchmen.”  The film strikes me as playing with the idea of superheroism in the real world – all that collateral damage that Superman got away with that he wouldn’t in real life.  I think they were trying to put in a “be yourself” message, too… but it really winds up being the darkest thing Pixar’s ever released. 

    Tell me you didn’t cringe at the people with capes being sucked into airplane engines?  *shudder.* 

    The thing in that movie that strikes me as being very overlooked as far as darkness is the suicidal man that Mr. Incredible saves that kicks off the superheroes in hiding thing.  I relate to him.  He is portrayed as this ungrateful little weasel, but think about it: A lot of suicides in our world are trigged by finanical pressure and the idea that without money, you are made of fail. I keep thinking “the poor guy probably felt the rejection of losing his job” or couldn’t make enough to support his family or himself… and what does Mr. Incredible do? Thwart his suicide, leaving him with injuries he probably has no insurance for.  He gets a lawyer on his side, and suddenly, there’s a chance for him to correct the thing (financial) that drove him to suicide in the first place.  Sure he has to hurt the man who saved him in order to “stay saved,” but such is the way of our complicated world. 

    If I had that stretchy-woman’s powers, I wouldn’t be nearly as terrified of pregnancy as I am.  I’m still afraid of how much I’d mess up any kid I’d be raising, but still…  

  • http://www.facebook.com/WingedWyrm Charles Scott

    Regarding The Incredibles.

    Speaking as a flaming liberal, there was a line in the Incredibles that did kind of hit me as true.  In response to the old cliche “Everybody is special” Dash responds “that’s just another way of saying nobody is.”

    It just didn’t hit me the way the movie wanted it to.  As a child, I struggled with being the target of harassment (a bit of that discussed in the “I do, in fact, care who started it” thread).  I also struggled with distinguishing myself on some other level than “designated victim”.  And, the constant stream of telling me I’m special because everybody’s special created a special kind of special that left me feeling like I still really wasn’t all that special.

    That’s what made me sympathize with Syndrome just a bit.  Of course, I didn’t side with him killing supers or staging a robot-rampage so he could be a hero*.  But, taking the people who were born special down a peg by raising everybody else up, yeah, that I was all for.

    And, that’s what made the movie for me.  I must not have gotten what they were going for but, to me, this was the story of someone who, for at least that part of their motivation, was in the moral right, but they followed it down to a dark place.

    BTW, his Syndrome’s willingness to let Mirage die in order to get what he wants, or bluff that out… that was more Objectivist to me than anything Mr. Incredible or Craig T. “I was on welfare and food stamps.  Nobody helped me.” Nelson did.  Those were Rand’s heroes, weren’t they?  The ones that didn’t let little things like other people’s lives get in the way of what they wanted?

    *What?  There aren’t natural disasters and crimes already?  There aren’t police forces and fire departments that would gladly make you a hero just for selling them useful tools like a flight-suit and stasis ray?  Seriously, if he wants to be a hero and make special people seem less special because their powers are effectively purchaseable, the murderbot isn’t necessary.

  • AnonaMiss

     

    BTW, his Syndrome’s willingness to let Mirage die in order to get what
    he wants, or bluff that out… that was more Objectivist to me than
    anything Mr. Incredible or Craig T. “I was on welfare and food stamps. 
    Nobody helped me.” Nelson did.  Those were Rand’s heroes, weren’t they? 
    The ones that didn’t let little things like other people’s lives get in
    the way of what they wanted?

    I just want to clarify that I do not think the Parrs, as characters, were Objectivists. The concept, the worldview, the ‘arc of history,’  pretty much everything that happens off-screen; those strike me as Objectivist. But Pixar is not in the business of promoting the Cult of Ayn Rand, and knows that heartless assholes do not likable protagonists make.

  • Tricksterson

    Note that Bob gets fired for helping the poor and disadvantaged and while he gets a rush from being a superhero he genuinely wants to help.  A more blatant dichotomy to me is that all the villains referenced don’t have super powers but instead are gadgeteers, in other words they use their minds, not their muscles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=667708632 Kenneth Raymond

    I find myself thinking that Syndrome would be fun to rewrite for a supers setting where he’s a borderline villain with truly idealistic motives (as opposed to the movie version, where he’s more about the spite) and questionable (at best) choice of methods. Preserve the idea of him wanting to bring everyone up to super level, provide technology that makes the world better. But in a world where super-scale threats happen all the time, he needs to stress-test that technology to make sure it works out.

    So he doesn’t just throw his robots at earthquakes and floods, but into super-fights, potentially causing all kinds of trouble through his interference. He hires down-on-their-luck supers for dangerous tests, and while he’s up front about the tests’ potential lethality, he’s still exploiting (a specific subset of) the poor. Yet at the same time the benefits of his work (some sold for profit, some donated in acts of charity) are so great that various world powers and most other heroes must take a pragmatic view that, in this one case, the ends do justify the means.

    I don’t know, I just think that would make for some great plot hooks to explore. But given the genre’s tendency to drop the ball on moral gray areas, a writer would need a deft hand to avoid having “Syndrome’s” problematic issues either written out or magnified into outright villainy.

  • aunursa

    If you’re going to complain about those who “stick their nose into other people’s business, lecture celebrities like Ashley Judd before you lecture people who merely offer praise…

    “It’s unconscionable to breed with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.” – Ashley Judd

  • Carstonio

    I had never encountered that quote before. While Judd doesn’t appear be telling specific people to refrain from procreating, her comment is simplistic at best, wrongly assuming that hunger would disappear if people stopped having children. A belief in how everyone should live is not quite as personally obnoxious as a belief in how specific people should live, but both amount to a belief in what’s best for others.

    And “merely offer praise” ignores the fact that praise is often selective and conditional, where the praiser defines laudable according to what zie thinks is best for others.

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

    When Hattie excused herself to answer the phone on her desk, Rayford slipped his New Testament and Psalms from his pocket.

    This is a snippet from an earlier chunk of the LB series.

    What I find interesting and instructive is that the NT + Psalms are mentioned.

    These “cut-down” Bibles have been handed out by the Gideons and similar groups, and I think the (un?)intended side effect is that they limit the reader’s experience of the Bible to that which the creator of the cut-down text wants them to have.

    It also is probably an unintentional admission that L&J’s own hither-and-yon skipping through the Bible to justify their particular rendition of prophecy for the End Times is largely based on similar distillations of a complete text to a partial text that they believe is solely relevant.

  • P J Evans

     I’ve seen those. Sometimes they also include Proverbs. (Still a very limited selection.)

  • EllieMurasaki
  • SkyknightXi

    Adding to the mention of Tsion saying that God intentionally smokescreened the eyes of the unrepentant, I notice these elements from “Assassins”, pp. 173-175.

    That this current plague [of the Sixth Trumpet] was wrought by the releasing of the four angels bound in the Euphrates River should be instructive. We know that these are fallen angels, because nowhere in Scripture do we ever see good angels bound. These have apparently been bound because they were eager to wreak havoc upon the earth. Now, released, they are free to do so. In fact, the Bible tells us they were prepared for a specific hour, day, month, and year.

    It is significant that the four angels, probably bound for centuries, have been in the Euphrates. It is the most prominent river in the Bible. It bordered the Garden of Eden, was a boundary for Israel, Egypt, and Persia, and is often used in Scripture as a symbol of Israel’s enemies. It was near this river that man first sinned, the first murder was committed, the first war fought, the first tower built in defiance against God, and where Babylon was built. Babylon is where idolatry originated and has since surged throughout the world. The children of Israel were exiled there as captives, and it is there that the final sin of man will culminate.

    (Bound for centuries…? Talk about advance preparation. Never mind that God himself effaces and reshapes the world at the close of “Kingdom Come”. Was the four angels’ error that they wanted to wreak havoc too early?)

    Revelation 18 predicted that Babylon will be the center of commerce, religion, and world rule, but also that it will eventually fall to ruin, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

    (And where did strength come into this?)

    This current plague, the Bible indicates, will result in the death of a third of the population left after the Rapture. Simple math portends a horrible result. One-fourth of the remaining population already died from plague, war, and natural disaster. That left, of course, 75 percent. One third of 75 percent is 25 percent, so the current wave of death will leave only 50 percent of the people left behind at the Rapture.

    I must clarify that what follows is speculation. My belief after studying the original languages and the many commentaries on this prophecy is as follows: God is still trying to persuade mankind to come to him, yes, but this destruction of another third of the remaining unbelievers may have another purpose. In his preparation for the final battle between good and evil, God may be winnowing from the evil forces the incorrigibles whom he, in his omniscience, knows would never have turned to him regardless.

    (Yet, if the whole Heel Face Door Slam that comes with taking the insignia of the Beast is anything to go by, that isn’t all the incorrigibles, apparently…)

    The Scriptures foretell that those unbelievers who do survive will refuse to turn from their wickedness. They will insist on continuing worshiping idols and demons, and engaging in murder, sorcery, sexual immorality, and theft. Even the Global Community’s own news operations report that murder and theft are on the rise. As for idol and demon worship, sorcery, and illicit sex, these are actually applauded in the new tolerant society.

    (And I have a hunch that “illicit” here doesn’t just mean bestiality and rape, but also homosexuality, adultery, and even pre-marital sex.)

    […]Many of you have written and asked me how I explain that a God of love and mercy could pour out such awful judgements upon the earth. God is more than a God of love and mercy. The Scriptures say God is love, yes. But they also say he is holy, holy, holy. He is just. His love was expressed in the gift of his Son as the means of redemption. But if we reject this love gift, we fall under God’s judgment.

    That last paragraph, I have to admit, was what I was remembering, although I misremembered it as saying that God was holy and just more than he was loving. (Although given how he tends to operate in this series…) Still, it’s odd that there’s only the binary between “accept the vicarious atonement” and “suffer eternal punishment”.

    Still, I suppose it has to do with the idea that God can somehow tell that someone will never turn to his side. But…how does that one work in tandem with free will? Free will only works if the future isn’t already set in diamond. In other words, if free will exists, then omniscience CAN’T extend into knowing the totality of the future, no more than omnipotence would let you create a salt with two alkalines and nothing else.

    There’s a VERY heavy all-or-nothing strand in Tsion’s message. The question becomes, why must God’s justice be all-or-nothing?

  • AnonymousSam

    Free will doesn’t really exist. Tsion also warns that God will harden the hearts of people to prevent them from repenting.

  • AnonymousSam

    Ah, wait, I’m thinking of another Jenkins/LeHaye book. But I’m sure the same rules apply in both books.

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

    Free will doesn’t really exist. Tsion also warns that God will harden the hearts of people to prevent them from repenting.

    Ah, wait, I’m thinking of another Jenkins/LeHaye book. But I’m sure the same rules apply in both books.

    Tsion specifically makes that point in Desecration, which is several books down the line.  Still,God has been thwarting free will since Moses and Pharoah, so it’s nothing new.  ;)

  • SkyknightXi

     That’s what I was referring to about the smokescreen. Although there’s another paragraph, this time p. 245 of “The Indwelling”, during Tsion’s vision, that I think is pretty telling of how LaHaye understands things.

    From the throne came a voice of such power and authority that volume was irrelevant: “Thou shalt not touch my beloved!”

    I can see a voice having power, but authority? Is there something I’m missing here? But how to mind-hear that aside, it sounds like LaHaye regards God as some sort of authority elemental. The rightness of his rule doesn’t come from what he’s done or created as much as his substance.

    Not that I can figure out the logic or causality behind that one…

  • AnonymousSam

    You’re not meant to, which is where phrases like “God’s mysterious ways” and “objective morality” come from. They’re designed to short-circuit logic and causality by insisting that whatever God does is right and proper and good and just, simply because… well… he’s God. God causes the slaughter of a thousand infants? Clearly he had a grand purpose for doing so which we can never hope to understand because of its incomprehensible complexity.

    (I like to point out that we have no way of knowing that God’s purpose is ultimately benign. Take a spin on the Avenger’s Loki — “An ant is both incapable and irrelevant to the intentions of a boot, and the boot may have far greater designs than simply crushing the ants, but that doesn’t mean the ants are intended to benefit from the parking lot laid overtop the ruins of their insecticide-laden home.”)

  • Tricksterson

    Simply put L&J believe not so much “might makes right” as “might is right”.

  • SkyknightXi

    Which still doesn’t explain how God is dissimilar from Satanel in much of anything except strength. After all, that “might is right” precept makes them BOTH beasts of whim and chaos. (Would help to explain why the exhortation isn’t “respect the Lord” or “befriend the Lord”, but “fear the Lord”, though.)

    The alarming element with “might is right” is that it tacitly implies that existence is INNATELY tyrannical. If only strength has ultimate meaning, then there will always be something that cannot be beholden to anything, because there’s no way to muster enough force to stymie it. And what wards will there be if that strongest thing becomes fickle or reckless? Especially since it seems like that in such an existence, the strongest is necessarily a beast of whim and chaos?

    Weirdly enough, it makes it sound like LaHaye doesn’t actually believe in the primacy of good and justice, although I doubt that belief would be conscious. Only might, and being a sycophant to might. Just how terrified is he, then, of the universe?


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