NRA: Don’t smile for the camera

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist, pp. 135-139

This is an odd little section of our story. The Antichrist has finally arrived back at his capital city after flying half-way around the world while nuking a dozen major cities because … well, because he’s the Antichrist and bombing cities apparently was the first evil thing he could think of to do.

Upon arriving in New Babylon, Nicolae Carpathia decides to have a short press conference on the tarmac at the airport, and Jerry Jenkins gives us a semi-competent account of what such an event might look like as imagined by someone who had never seen a press conference before. Jenkins wants to convey the manipulative sophistication of the Antichrist and his assistants and to show us that Nicolae is a master communicator and politician. But the problem is that Jenkins doesn’t really have any idea what that looks like.

This is a variation on the “greatest orator in the history of the world” problem we’ve discussed before. It’s a trap Jenkins keeps setting for himself, compounding the problem by lazily refusing to do anything like research.

“Leon Fortunato instructed everyone on the plane when to get off and where to stand for the cameras when they finally reached New Babylon.”

Imagine we were all in some kind of writing class and we were assigned to write a short scene describing a surprising upset in an Olympic fencing match. I’d be in big trouble with this assignment, because I know next to nothing about fencing. I don’t know the rules or the language, or what distinguishes the best competitors from the rest. One doesn’t need to have mastered the art of fencing to write about someone who has, but one has to learn enough about it to be able to describe what mastery looks like.

Before beginning to write our assigned scene, then, I’d need to do some research. I’d need to talk to or read some experts who know all about this stuff, and I’d need to watch some fencing. Ideally, I would watch some fencing with some of those experts, so they could help me understand what I was seeing, what to look for, what’s important. Only after doing such research could I begin to write. Then, after finishing a first draft, I’d want to take it back to those experts to allow them to correct, refine and sharpen my attempt to portray their art.

That’s one approach. Jenkins takes the other one. He seems to figure that it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t know anything about fencing, because 99 percent of his readers probably don’t know anything about it either. No need to do all that hard work of research, then, he can just bluff and bluster his way through it. Maybe he won’t be able to write something that would be convincing to fencing enthusiasts, but that’s OK, because most readers won’t know enough to be able to tell if he gets everything wrong.

This bluff and bluster is on full display here in this section, as Jenkins insists that we see Nicolae and his henchman Leon Fortunato as masters of political stagecraft while at the same time revealing that neither he nor his characters has much of a clue as to what such expert stagecraft really looks like.

This is a pattern in these books. We’re told that Buck Williams is a master journalist, but since the authors couldn’t be bothered to learn what good journalism looks like, we’re shown that Buck is a clumsy hack (“like saying the Great Wall of China is long”). We’re told that Nicolae is a great orator, but since the authors couldn’t be bothered to learn what constitutes good oratory, we’re shown that Nicolae is a droning bore (“Afghanistan, Albania …”).

Worst of all, we’re told that Buck, Rayford, Bruce, Chloe and Tsion are devout disciples of Jesus Christ.

And the pattern holds.

The authors clearly could not be bothered to learn what real Christian discipleship looks like, and so while they tell us that these characters are good, Christ-like saints, what they show us, instead, is a bunch of self-centered, oblivious, obnoxious sociopaths who hold all of their neighbors in contempt.

Here again the authors try to lazily bluff their way through, figuring it won’t much matter if they don’t know the first thing about the subject because most readers probably won’t know enough to tell when they’re getting it wrong.

I cannot claim to be an expert or to have mastered Christian discipleship any more than I could claim to have mastered journalism or oratory or political stagecraft. But I’ve seen all of those things done well and I’ve seen all of them done poorly. And even if I’m not an expert, I’ve learned enough about them to recognize the difference. I suspect that’s true for most readers of these books. So when the authors bluff and bluster, telling us that we’re seeing mastery while showing us, instead, the clumsy posturing of ignorant amateurs, I don’t think most readers are convinced. At least, I hope not.

Leon Fortunato instructed everyone on the plane when to get off and where to stand for the cameras when they finally reached New Babylon.

“Mr. Fortunato,” Rayford said, careful to follow Leon’s wishes, at least in front of others, “McCullum and I don’t really need to be in the photograph, do we?”

“Not unless you’d like to go against the wishes of the potentate himself,” Fortunato said. “Please just do what you’re told.”

Is this a thing that happens? Do world leaders and dignitaries arriving at the airport pose for pictures with the pilots who flew them there? Are the flight crews usually asked to stand around behind the dignitaries throughout their tarmac press events? I’m trying to recall ever seeing this. Yet here it’s presented as a customary practice — as something routine and expected whenever a world leader travels by plane:

Rayford buttoned his dress uniform jacket and put his hat on as he stepped out of the cockpit. He and McCullum trotted down the steps and began the right side of a V of people who would flank the potentate, the last to disembark.

Next came the flight service crew, who seemed awkward and nervous. They knew enough not to giggle, but simply looked down and walked directly to their spots.

I might point to this as another example of the pervasive misogyny in these books, but I’m afraid the authors might point to this same passage as part of their defense against that criticism. After all, the little ladies in this scene “knew enough not to giggle” during a press conference following the nuclear destruction of a dozen or more major cities. I’m guessing the authors regard that as a sign that these are exceptionally smart and capable women, able to suppress their natural womanly tendency to be constantly giggling and batting their eyelashes and what not. I’m also guessing that the authors would expect brownie points for not using the word “stewardesses” — even if every aspect of the scene reeks of sexist stewardess imagery from a 1960s “Fly Me” ad campaign.

Before departing the plane, Nicolae reminded everyone not to smile for the class picture they were about to take:

“Remember,” Carpathia said, “no smiles. This is a grave, sad day. Appropriate expressions, please.”

That warning could have been a chilling illustration of Nicolae’s monstrous evil except that, in this story, everyone needed to hear it. Including Rayford.

This is all happening the very same day that New York, London, Chicago and many other cities were destroyed, killing millions of people. If these books were populated with human characters, they would not need to be reminded that this is “sad.” If these were human characters, then Nicolae would be telling them to dry their eyes, to be strong, to not let their devastation show in front of the cameras. But instead he has to remind them not to smile — not because he’s an evil monster, but because everyone is.

When Nicolae finally departs the plane, we get Jerry Jenkins’ best attempt at a description of a polished, sophisticated politician — along with the hint of some vague supernatural mojo at work:

The potentate always seemed taller than he really was in these situations, Rayford thought. He appeared to have just shaved and washed his hair, though Rayford had not been aware he had the time for that. His suit, shirt, and tie were exquisite, and he was understatedly elegant in his accessories. He waited ever so briefly, one hand in is right suit pocket, the other carrying a thin, glove-leather portfolio. Always looking as if he’s busily at the task at hand, Rayford thought.

Rayford was amazed at Carpathia’s ability to strike just the right pose and expression. He appeared concerned, grave, and yet somehow purposeful and confident. As lights flashed all around him and cameras whirred, he resolutely descended the steps and approached a bank of microphones. Every network insignia on each microphone had been redesigned to include the letters “GCN,” the Global Community Network.

The hand in the pocket is a JFK thing — a detail plucked from the same Mad Men era conjured up by the giggling stewardesses, exploding flashbulbs and “whirring” cameras.

What with the still-unfolding outbreak of war, I’d have had Nicolae lose the tie and maybe even the jacket. Rolled-up shirtsleeves tend to convey a leader “busily at the task at hand” better than an “exquisite” suit and tie with “elegant” accessories.

Rayford slept for several hours crossing the ocean, so he shouldn’t be so bewildered that Nicolae appears freshly showered and shaved. But I like the hint here that maybe something else is at work. Maybe this is another part of the Antichrist magic — the ability to appear however he needs to appear in order to sway the masses. I wish Jenkins had pursued this a bit more. Maybe Nicolae is not actually clean-shaven and dressed in an impeccable suit and tie, but that’s how he appears to Rayford because it’s what Rayford expects to see. (Rayford’s divine protection is supposed to keep him from being influenced by Antichrist mojo, but maybe not this particular special power.)

I’m disappointed that the Antichrist still doesn’t seem to appreciate the economies of scale afforded by his one-world government. His OWG owns every media outlet in the world and he controls what all of them print. Is it still necessary, then, to keep paying the expense of a New Babylon desk at every one of those media outlets?

The only person he couldn’t fully control chose that moment to burst Carpathia’s bubble of propriety. Hattie Durham broke from the crowd and ran directly for him. Security guards who stepped in her way quickly realized who she was and let her through. She did everything, Rayford thought, except squeal in delight. Carpathia looked embarrassed and awkward for the first time in Rayford’s memory. It was as if he had to decide which would be worse: to brush her off or to welcome her to his side.

Nicolae is the Antichrist, so unlike a good, godly man, he cannot “fully control” his fiancée. Hattie Durham has rejected the gospel, so she refuses to be fully controlled by her man. Tim LaHaye has written many books describing his ideal for Christian marriage. This book is one of them.

There’s a nasty little bit more in which Hattie — who does not know enough to suppress her constant giggling — tries to “plant an open-mouthed kiss” on Nicolae’s lips during the middle of his press conference. That’s another reminder that Hattie is not a virginal madonna, and therefore she must be the other thing.

(Kind of odd, too, that the potentate’s fiancée doesn’t have any kind of security detail. The whole pretext of all the war and bombing in the previous chapters is that armed insurrectionists are in open rebellion against the OWG. Shouldn’t Hattie have at least a bodyguard?)

The press conference ends with the authors providing yet another example of what they insist is Nicolae’s masterful oratory.

That’s what they tell us, anyway, but here’s what they show us:

“This is a difficult time in which we live, and yet our horizons have never been wider; our challenges so great, our future so potentially bright.

“That may seem an incongruous statement in light of the tragedy and devastation we have all suffered, but we are all destined for prosperity if we commit to standing together. We will stand against any enemy of peace and embrace any friend of the Global Community.”


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  • ““This is a difficult time in which we live, and yet our horizons have
    never been wider; our challenges so great, our future so potentially

    And now I’ve pictured him breaking into song… “I studied nuclear science… I love my classes…”

  • Fair enough, I know nothing about the movie. The scene in isolation is nice, but I could certainly see it being creepy if she was his subordinate.

    And for the record, I’m not in the habit of hitting on subordinates (not that I’ve ever had one, but still).

  • P J Evans

    It does sound a lot like a high-school valedictory, doesn’t it!

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Just last night at the Maundy Thursday service, we heard about Jesus insisting on washing his friends’ feet (a dirty job that was usually left to slaves) at the Last Supper. It seems to be an object lesson in the importance of serving others. Somehow, I can’t see Call-Me-Captain Rayford embarrassing himself doing anything like that.

  • Well, you could fit the thumbnail on an index card, probably. Two men from different background meet in the wake of a worldwide catastrophe. They return to the elder man’s home, where the younger man falls in love with the elder man’s daughter. The whole group discovers that the “catastrophe” was actually God rescuing the innocents of the world before the real horror starts. Subsequently, both men get tied up in international intrigue, only to discover that the man at its center is actually a incredibly powerful supernatural being. Spurred on by this knowledge, the group forms a core of resistance, but they prove incapable of thwarting their enemy’s first evil act – a simultaneous nuclear strike against multiple cities.

    It’s short, but that’s not bad in and of itself (although it is bad that I basically left out TF without losing anything). It’s certainly better than the alternative – I spent last night digging through the plot to a video game where the shortest possible synopsis was thousands of words, which is a sign of a different kind of bad writing. The problem in this case is that the synopsis is the story. That less-than-one-hundred words is everything that happens, unabridged.

    One of my pet peeves when it comes to novels is the bloat the accompanies an obsession with word count and page length. The LB books are a classic example – there is no reason for these things to be over five hundred pages each, given how little happens. So I am genuinely curious as to how long they’d be if they were carved up, Vonnegut-style.

  • ohiolibrarian

    I thought that A River Runs Through It (1992) was the passing of the torch.

  • Jemmy

    Carpathia does not seem to be able to control Hattie’s mind, even later on in the series when the relationship comes to a bloody end. She seems to be able to do whatever she wants and oppose or defy his wishes and he never uses mind control to make her compliant.

  • auroramere

    Appeared as different women to different male officers and as an imposing Black man who addressed her in Swahili to Lt. Uhura. That was neat.

  • Trixie_Belden

    I have never seen the whole movie, but I have watched this scene before. I guess, for fans of the film, the scene is supposed to be one of the “romantic” highlights; a “transformative” moment for Hugh Grant’s character as he boldly declares his love for this woman in front of the world. IMO, the scene just doesn’t work. I don’t know if it’s Hugh Grant’s acting style, or his acting choices, or what, but as I watch it, he comes across as being terribly embarrassed and maybe even a little bit unhappy this woman is throwing herself at him in this way, at this time, but he’s decided to carry on as best he can and be decent about this unwanted public display of affection.

  • So Carpathia’s kind of like The Mule from Asimov’s Foundation Novels? Would be an interesting parallel if L&J even knew about it.

  • Matri

    Technically, if we were omniscient we would already know the reactions.

    The word you’re looking for should be “omnipotent”, cause then doing this will be for shits ‘n’ giggles. Like Q.

    Exactly like Q.

  • Matri

    Well, as Fred’s entire topic today is about, these two keep writing about stuff they haven’t the foggiest about.

    Stuff like press meetings, journalism, piloting, government, wars, church services, marriages, being a human being, Jesus, eating cookies…

  • Will Hennessy

    I think Neil Patrick Harris (as Barney Stinson) is about the only one who could pull off Nicolae, the way Jenkins can’t get enough of his clothing…

  • Matri

    Actually, based on his past behavior and L&J’s mindset (that of a kindergartener, obviously), Rayford really hates Nicky’s guts so much that he doesn’t want to be seen together.

    But he just has to stay close.

    But he really doesn’t want to be seen together. People might get the wrong idea that Rayford was working for him or something..

  • I’m sorry, I don’t get that reference.

  • Heavens, no. Not with the way he’s so concerned about appearances, even to the point of making sure people see him properly obeying Supreme Commander Leon.

  • P J Evans

    ‘Cask of Amontillado’.

  • reynard61

    “I’m actually working on a story right now in which nearly everyone everywhere is murderously insane. Something of a satire of White male lone wolf-hero fantasies and authoritarian fears of ‘disorder’, plus a lesson I gleaned from Monty Python that hyperbolic violence can be hilarious.”

    Actually, that’s not a new concept. In the 1980s there was a series of pulp novels called The Survivalist that was pretty much as you describe — only without the satire. Believe me, I doubt very much that; even taken to Pythonesque levels of absurdity; you could match the levels of violence found in those books. (Yes, I actually read a few of them in my more disaffected moments. To use a Python quote: “I got better.”)

  • P J Evans

    We’re not omniscient, but God is supposed to be. So if she inspires the books just to see how we’d react…

    It really is funny, that way.

  • Rakka as we are on the topic of eating cookies and not knowing better.

  • Tybult

    (Someone could have already remarked on this. I have no idea, the new commenting system is completely opaque to me.)

    After all, the little ladies in this scene “knew enough not to giggle” during a press conference following the nuclear destruction of a dozen or more major cities.

    The quote from NRA doesn’t specifically say that the flight attendants were women.

    So let’s be generous, and assume that Ellenjay are hip, “with it” dudes, and some of those non-giggling attendants are men.
    And male flight attendants, as any Real Man(tm) knows, are the gayest gaynors who ever fabuloused down an airplane aisle.

    And that would fit with Nicolae’s gay agenda. (‘m guessing he has a gay agenda. He’s got to, right? He’s got a pacifist/Marxist agenda already. How can he not be ready to implement the worldwide Fashion Gestapo?)

    (Oh right, because Ellenjay are assholes, and they never think up awesome stuff like that.)

  • Amtep

    Yeah you did kinda skip over everything that happened in TF there. You should edit it to “… the group forms a core of resistance [and infiltrates the enemy’s hierarchy], but they prove incapable of thwarting his first evil act…”

    There, now it includes TF :)

  • reynard61

    “L&J not only don’t know, but they don’t know that they don’t know, which is much worse. So they don’t realize that they should avoid details that they don’t know, which is much worse.”

    I’m gonna go a step further and say that they just plain don’t *care* about things that they don’t know — nor do they have to — because one thing that they *DO* seem to know is that their intended audience is dumber than a box of rocks. Why suffer for your “art” (or, indeed, expend any great amount of energy at all in the creation of it) if you don’t (can’t?) respect your audience?

  • The quote from NRA doesn’t specifically say that the flight attendants were women.
    (remainder snipped for brevity)

    L&J are well-known by now for pandering to gender-essentialist constructions of how men and women ought to behave. As a result, I doubt they seriously ever intended “giggl[ing]” to refer to anything but what they perceive women to do.

    That said, it’s probably undeserved brilliance that attaches to L&J for actually achieving subtlety in implying that Nicolae is pushing the Gay Agenda. :P

  • Unscientifically judging with a jaundiced eye from the few people I’ve met who loved the series… the authors didn’t underestimate their target audience. I cynically think that the Left Behind readers were reading the series to reassure themselves that Jesus would soon snatch them up to that very exclusive, pearly gated community of many mansions, as a reward for uncritically believing what they were reading in the Left Behind books.

    Charity thrift stores and flea markets have piles of Left Behind books, which may suggest that they aren’t being especially treasured and reread.

  • Lorehead

    That reminds me of something I just heard. I’m not Christian, and I know less about Christian discipleship than Fred. I haven’t thought nearly as seriously as he has about what living by the example of Jesus of Nazareth would really entail. But it’s something I greatly respect when I see it.

    By way of background. As you mention, in the story of the Last Supper in John, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, and then said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”

    Women in the New Testament do follow this example, and one might even have given him the idea. A woman in Luke washes Jesus’ feet (“Do you see this woman? […] she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. […] this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. […] Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.”) and 1 Timothy says that a woman should be “bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.”

    So, one way of interpreting this is that only men ever get their feet washed in the New Testament, and therefore women are included in the command to “wash one another’s feet” when it comes to doing the washing, but never get to have their own feet washed because they don’t deserve it. And that is exactly how the Catholic Church has interpreted it.*

    Until this Thursday. At a prison in Rome, Pope Francis became the first pope in recorded history to wash the feet of both men and women.

    The article I just linked had no difficulty finding people who were more Catholic than the Pope. One complained, “What he does do, I fear, is set a questionable example.” (Perhaps even “an example that you should do as I have done for you?”) What’s really rich is that a Vatican spokesperson gave the excuse, “Excluding the girls would have been inopportune in light of the simple aim of communicating a message of love to all, in a group that certainly didn’t include experts on liturgical rules.” He said this about his own Pope.

    Something tells me that Pope Francis, who’s been washing the feet of women as well as men for years, knew exactly what he was doing. Something tells me that what his church needs right now is not more experts on theological rules.

    * In responses to this story, I’ve heard many Catholics say that, in their own experience and practice, this rule excluding women has long been ignored. So I should more properly have said that that is how the Catholic hierarchy has interpreted it, which is not at all the same thing as the Church.

  • arcseconds

    the photo-op is more barely-dressed narcissism, isn’t it? Rayford, unlike every other chauffeur in the world, gets to appear in a photo shoot displayed in all the world’s major media. But, poor guy, he’s made to do it by his boss, so he gets to go on about how superficial and pompous it all is at the same time.

  • Matri

    More like they were supposed to be intended as a proselytizing tool (“See what happens when you don’t believe?!?”).

    But the reality is probably that they just weren’t the right thickness to prop up that broken table.

  • Of all the badness in this passage, the one I’m getting stuck on is Hattie trying to “plant” an “open-mouthed kiss”. That’s just the wrong verb for that kind of kiss. Makes her sound like a lamprey. Not, I suspect, that the authors have a problem with accidentally dehumanizing her further, but–it’s just the wrong motion. Try to visualize it. It doesn’t work.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yes – I read what may be the same news story, and was startled by the statement that the Roman Catholic church does not allow women’s feet to be washed. So I asked a Catholic I know about this, and was told that ever since Vatican 2 in the 1960’s, U.S. Catholics have been washing women’s feet. I don’t know whether this is a Europe vs. Western Hemisphere disagreement (keeping in mind that Pope Francis is from Argentina), or whether the news story was just plain wrong.*

    * Like the news broadcast last night that explained that Jesus was crucified by the order of Emperor Pilate – I suspect that if Pilate had heard somebody refer to him as “Emperor”, he would have had them very publicly executed to show his loyalty to the actual emperor, Tiberius, who had become dangerously suspicious of rivals by that time.

  • Lori

    I didn’t get the same vibe from it as from Spy Game, in part because River was before Pitt became a star and Spay game was after. I wouldn’t argue the point much though.

    Oh and as an aside, a friend reminded me about Legends of the Fall. That was in 1994.

  • hidden_urchin

    You’re right. I was trying to figure out what was so odd about how I visualized that scene and realized I was thinking of the Alien facehugger when I read it.

  • Mrs Grimble

    “somehow I am thinking of nickie mount tenebrus being played by leslie nielsen in this particular scene.”
    With Hattie being played by Pricilla Presley. Wearing a giant condom…..

  • Over the past couple of years, I’ve managed to collect the entire series in hardcover-with-dustjacker, and have never paid more than one dollar per book. (And it’s usually pennies.)
    Then again, it may be because the books were so initially popular. The Underground Zealot and Babylon Rising series are just as bad, but less popular, and thus harder to find.

  • Lectorel

    “Nicolai!” Heads jerked toward the back of the airfield. Hattie, Rayford recognized, blinking rapidly in shock. She ran toward the podium, her long, lacy white skirt tangling around her legs. Carpathia stared at her, his expression flickering from shock to confusion, and then surprisingly boyish pleasure.

    “Iubita mea,” he gasped, stepping off the podium. They embraced, and Hattie leaned up to kiss him with tangible desperation. Carpathia slid his fingers into her hair, hands shaking. “Hattie, you’re here…”

    “Always, my love, always,” Hattie murmured. They seemed entirely wrapped up in one another, like they’d forgotten the presence of the cameras. Rayford fidgeted, looking away from the display. It wasn’t proper.

    At long last, the couple parted. Carpathia glanced at Hattie helplessly.

    She smiled, cupping his cheek. “Go, darling. The world needs you. I’ll be here when you’re finished.”

    Carpathia nodded and coughed. “My apologies, ladies and gentlemen. My fiancée was supposed to be in Chicago when the –” he broke off, swallowed. “When the bombs went off. I hadn’t known she’d survived.”

    “It’s no problem, Mr. Potentate,” a young reporter assured, smiling at him. The entire contingent of news crews nodded, a few wiping away tears. Carpathia nodded, a shy, almost young smile on his face.

    “Thank you. As I was saying…” The news conference preceded, a new mood of hope marking it. Rayford was disgusted. Couldn’t they see what an obvious act it was?


    “That was a brilliant maneuver, Iubito,” Nico said, once they were inside the limo.

    Hattie snickered. “I read too many pink-covers as a teenager. People eat up romantic gestures with a spoon.”

    “I saw.” Nico sighed, loosening his tie, and stretched out on the limo seat, his head in Hattie’s lap. “What would I do without you?”

    Nico looked young, as only someone raised and manipulated like he had been could. A little boy in the body of a man. Hattie felt a fierce, possessive swell of love inside her. This was her beloved, the one she had chosen, the one she had schemed and manipulated and deceived to reach. The one she had been promised in childhood dreams, by her dark-eyed father chained above a lake of fire.

    “Don’t worry about that. I’ll always be here,” Hattie Durham, daughter of Lucifer, anti-christ, promised.

    I don’t even know, alright? Best explanation for this I’ve got: If Nicolai can’t control Hattie, and she’s not a christian, then there’s only one other power who could grant her immunity…

  • That’s amazing! :D I, for one, would love to see more scenes seen from this version-of-Hattie’s perspective :)

  • When they started the series, Dan Quayle being constantly (and inexplicably) compared to Robert Redford was a fairly recent memory. Nicolae as Dan Quayle kind of makes sense, in a way.

  • Interesting how L&J conveniently left out the gaffes Quayle was prone to, except for getting Amanda’s name wrong.

  • Lorehead

    Maybe they really couldn’t make up their minds whether he was a prefect or a procurator. (But seriously, he was probably both.)

  • esmerelda_ogg

    True enough – but they called him an emperor. He never made it to that level (and was probably just as well pleased to survive Roman politics as well as he did).

  • Lorehead

    Bet you he’d have shaken his head and thought, “Stupid barbarians. What’s that they’re speaking, anyway? Some kind of West Germanic?”

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Yup. “Mehercule, they can’t even pronounce Imperator!”

  • I’d love even more to have Rayford and Buck in Thelma and Louise’s backseat, just in time for the ending.

  • Or a perverse sense of humor. Look at how many Republican no-hopers He convinced to run for the White House in 2012.

  • Anton_Mates

    He waited ever so briefly, one hand in his right suit pocket

    No word on which hand it was. I hope it was his left one; the image is better.

  • L&J not only don’t know, but they don’t know that they don’t know, which is much worse.

    A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially when that knowledge is as little as L&J’s.

  • I am reminded of the classic saying that a wise person is one who is aware of their own ignorance, while the foolish person is one who thinks that they know everything.

    L&J could stand to be a bit wiser.

  • Robert

    The guy just plain can’t write.

  • Carpathia. Parameters of the situation is: You must implement this list of prerequisites before attempting to accomplish (x).

  • KevinC

    They return to the elder man’s home, where the younger man falls in love with the elder man’s daughter.

    Fixed that for ya. ;) (I hope the formatting works…)