NRA: Chaim is one of my Jewish characters

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 143-146

So far in this series we’ve encountered two named characters who are Jewish.

We know they’re Jewish because of the names the authors gave them: Chaim Rosenzweig and Tsion Ben-Judah. And because the authors have both men speak in what they say is a “charming Hebrew-accented dialect.” And because the authors keep mentioning their Jewishness so aggressively that I’m reminded of that old anti-prejudice PSA from the 1970s:

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For those who can’t watch video or who are too young to recite this from memory, here’s a transcript:

BOY: Yesterday Jimmy said I was prejudiced.

GRANDPA: Do you know what prejudice is?

BOY: No.

GRANDPA: Well, prejudice is when you react to someone because of their religion or their culture.

BOY: But I don’t do that.

GRANDPA: Who is Jimmy?

BOY: Jimmy’s one of my Jewish friends.

GRANDPA: Then you are prejudiced, because you think of Jimmy as your Jewish friend and not your friend.

I think of that every time our story comes back to Chaim or Tsion in these pages, picturing Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins saying with that same earnest innocence, “Chaim Rosenzweig is one of my Jewish characters.”

We’ve met other characters in these books without being told anything about their religious or ethnic background. In another book, that might mean it was possible that those characters could be Jewish too, but in these pages it means we know they’re not. If Verna Zee were Jewish, she wouldn’t be named Verna Zee, she’d be Rachel Mount Sinai. If Spiky Alice were Jewish, she’d have a thick Yiddish accent and she’d be constantly identified as a “spiky-haired Jewess.”

And more to the point, if any of those other characters were Jewish, readers would know because the function of Jewish characters in these books is to walk around being Jewish. As with Chaim and Tsion, their ethnicity would be their character — or what they had in lieu of character.

Plus the authors only need two Jewish characters because they only need to illustrate the two possible outcomes for Jews in their End Times mythology. So we get Tsion Ben-Judah, the rabbi who repents of his Judaism and converts to fundamentalist Christianity, and Chaim Rosenzweig, the “nonreligious, nonpracticing Jew” who rejects Jesus and embraces the Antichrist. (Spoiler alert: Several books later, Rosenzweig also converts to Christianity.*)

LaHaye and Jenkins are vaguely aware that this dichotomy is problematic. It sounds like they’re suggesting that every Jewish person who doesn’t reject Judaism and convert to Christianity is in league with the Antichrist. And that is what they’re suggesting, but they take great pains to explain that many Jews, like Chaim, pledge their allegiance to Satan’s servant for “innocent” reasons:

The irony of all this was that the sweet-spirited and innocent Chaim Rosenzweig, who always seemed to have everyone else’s interests at heart, became an unabashed devotee of Nicolae Carpathia. The man whom Buck and his loved ones in the Tribulation Force had come to believe was the Antichrist himself played the gentle botanist like a violin. Carpathia included Rosenzweig in many visible diplomatic situations and even pretended Chaim was part of his elite inner circle. It was clear to everyone else that Rosenzweig was merely tolerated and humored. Carpathia did what he wanted. Still, Rosenzweig worshiped the man, once intimating to Buck that if anyone embodied the qualities of the long-sought Jewish Messiah, it was Nicolae himself.

See? The authors aren’t saying that Jews serve the devil because they’re evil. They’re saying that Jews serve the devil because they are befuddled and deceived. And surely the use of adjectives like “sweet-spirited and innocent” ought to shield the authors from any charges of anti-Semitism here.

That had been before one of Rosenzweig’s younger protégés, Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah, had broadcast to the world the finds of his government-sanctioned quest for what Israel should look for in the Messiah.

Rabbi Ben-Judah, who had conducted a thorough study of ancient manuscripts, including the Old and New Testaments, had come to the conclusion that only Jesus Christ had fulfilled all the prophecies necessary to qualify for the role. …

Though Ben-Judah had been a student, protégé, and eventually a colleague of Dr. Rosenzweig, the latter still considered himself a nonreligious, nonpracticing Jew. In short, he did not agree with Ben-Judah’s conclusion about Jesus, but mostly it was simply something he didn’t want to talk about.

This is the other reason we know that Verna Zee can’t be Jewish: She isn’t friends with Chaim and Tsion. In these books, all the Jews know each other. Thus a rabbinical scholar was a “student, protégé, and … colleague” of a botanist. It doesn’t matter that these two scholars are in disparate disciplines, they’re both Jewish, and so of course they studied together.

That seems a bit absurd, but it actually helps to explain Ben-Judah’s idea of scholarship. Unable to find anything in his university library except for texts on botany, he was forced to conduct his “thorough study of ancient manuscripts” using only those texts available in the nightstand of every room at the local Holiday Inn.

This whole rehearsal of the history of Chaim and Tsion’s characters was prompted by Buck’s arrival in Jerusalem. According to Tim LaHaye’s End Times itinerary, Jerusalem ought to be the safest place on earth. It’s protected by divine intervention and by a treaty with the rest of the world that “prophecy” insists will be respected for three and a half years. But Buck didn’t flee to Jerusalem for a respite from the war zones he left in Chicago and New York, the authors sent him here with the idea that Jerusalem was an exotic locale for danger and derring-do.

Why is Jerusalem so dangerous? Well, the authors seem to think that Jews are Christ-killers who must now be out to kill the Christ-followers. The anti-Semitism here is nearly that explicit and palpable. This next bit gets pretty ugly.

Tsion Ben-Judah, Jenkins writes:

… had shocked the world, and especially his own nation, when he withheld the conclusion of his three-year study until a live international television broadcast. Once he had clearly stated his belief, he became a marked man.

… When Ben-Judah, with the cncouragement and support of the two strange, otherworldly preachers at the Wailing Wall, began sharing his message, first at Teddy Kollek Stadium and then in other similar venues around the world, everyone knew it was just a matter of time before he would suffer for it.

Buck knew that one reason Rabbi Tsion Ben-Judah was still alive was that any attempt on his life was treated by the two preachers, Moishe and Eli, as attempts on their own. Many had died mysterious and fiery deaths trying to attack those two. Most everyone knew that Ben-Judah was “their guy,” and thus he had so far eluded mortal harm.

Like I said, in these books, all the Jews know each other. So Tsion isn’t just best friends with Chaim Rosenzweig, he’s also best friends with Moses and Elijah.

Jenkins muffles the message a bit here with an evasive passive voice — “he became a marked man,” “he would suffer for it,” “he had so far eluded mortal harm.” He’s careful to avoid mentioning any explicit subject or actor. They are intent on killing Ben-Judah because he has become a Christian. But who are they?

Apparently, they are the Jews. This chapter doesn’t suggest that Jews all want to kill Christians. It simply assumes that to be the case — to be something so obvious it doesn’t need to be said. “Everyone knew.”

The authors here may not be explicitly promoting the ancient blood libel against Jews, but they’re certainly presuming it.

That safety seemed at an end now, and that was why Buck was in Israel. Buck was convinced that Carpathia himself was behind the horror and tragedy that had come to Ben-Judah’s family. News reports said black-hooded thugs pulled up to Ben-Judah’s home in the middle of a sunny afternoon when the teenagers had just returned from Hebrew school. Two armed guards were shot to death, and Mrs. Ben-Judah and her son and daughter were dragged out into the street, decapitated, and left in pools of their own blood.

We’ve already seen what Carpathia’s role in this was — ignoring Rosenzweig’s plea to protect Ben-Judah, but not actively targeting the converted rabbi himself. These “black-hooded thugs” were local — people from the former rabbi’s “own nation” who were enraged by his talk of Jesus and had declared him a “marked man” because of it.

The Rapture took away all the real, true Christians as well as every infant on the planet, making it impossible to produce a purer portrait of the blood libel here. The authors did not have any Christian infants available for their monstrous “thugs” to slaughter in this scene, so they had to make do with the closest available approximation — two teenagers who were recent converts to Christianity.

Explain to me again how Tim LaHaye is a “staunch friend of Israel”?

- – - – - – - – - – - -

* I got the sense that this was not the authors’ initial idea. I doubt the authors had worked out a detailed character arc for Rosenzweig, but it seemed to me that he was introduced in the early books as a representative intellectual/scientist type who was duped by the Antichrist and therefore was doomed to death and Hell. Over time, though, I think the authors grew too fond of him to abandon him to such a fate.

This is quite common among people like LaHaye and Jenkins who believe in a crowded Hell where they expect the majority of the human race to be tormented for eternity. Every little bit they balk at the idea — at least when it comes to specific people they know and like, even fictional ones.

I wish more of them would explore that emotional conflict and the underlying logical conflict. I wish they would examine why it is they think that God feels less love and mercy than they feel, or how it could be that God is less loving and less merciful than they feel themselves inclined to be.

Please don’t mistake this for a squishy or sentimental, “soft-hearted” objection to this idea of Hell. The problem isn’t that Team Hell isn’t sufficiently soft-hearted, but that they seem to be denying the divinity of Christ, which is usually regarded as kind of a big deal, heresy-wise, for us Christians.

The argument for Hell is that God demands blood, and thus, in this view, God’s only role at Calvary was to sit in judgment, awaiting the payment of the penalty God was due. From this view, the response to those Christians who balk at the idea of Hell for someone whom they’re fond of is to note that if God was willing to subject God’s only begotten son to such torment, then who are we to imagine that our friends or loved ones deserve anything else?

It seems to me that logic only works if we deny that God’s place at Calvary was on the cross. It only makes sense if we regard Jesus as a sinless sacrifice to God — the paschal lamb without blemish that God demands, but not God. If Jesus is God, though — if God commended God’s love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, God died for us — then it seems like blasphemous ingratitude to imagine that our own merciful inclinations could exceed those of God. If we are reluctant to see Chaim Rosenzweig damned to eternal torment, then we ought to understand that God’s mercy and love exceeds our own, and that the God of Calvary would go — and has gone — to any length to save Chaim and all the others we care about, even unto death, even death on a cross.

In any case, I find it somewhat endearing that the authors couldn’t seem to bring themselves to condemn Chaim to the horrific fate that their theology insists must be in store for people like him.

Alas, such flickers of compassion are the exception and not the rule. The authors also seemed fond of poor Earl Halliday, but they still killed him off a couple of chapters ago and he’s now roasting for eternity in the fires of their Hell. But at least we have the case of Chaim Rosenzweig to show that the authors aren’t always as awful as they think they’re supposed to be.

 

  • Dash1

    No, no, no, your own good self. I will humbly beg that you read what I actually said. I did not speak of any such mythical beast as “rhetorical passivization.” I said that the sentences had the rhetorical effect of something very like passivization.

    I know you’re a linguist, so I don’t need to tell you about Relational Grammar, Case Grammar, or Role and Reference Grammar, in all of which one may talk about the fact that the syntactic subject of the sentence may have the semantic role of experiencer rather than doer, as with the verb “suffer.” I was really trying not to go there, since the details are of interest to no one but folks like us.

  • tnv

    “News reports said black-hooded thugs pulled up to Ben-Judah’s home in the middle of a sunny afternoon when the teenagers had just returned from Hebrew school.”

    They were nominally-Jewish kids in Israel. Of course they would go to Hebrew school, as in, a day school that is taught in Hebrew, because that’s what day schools in Israel are taught in. This sounds as ridiculous as saying in New York or Ohio, “the teenagers had just returned from English school.”

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

    I think Cam & Ray are “accidental stereotypes”. The authors didn’t realize that the Americans in the book are a college-drop out, (Chloe) a man who’s first choice of car is a “fully-loaded range rover”, and a man who sexually harasses his co-workers and likes to fly big, manly planes, and a priest who thinks he was unworthy of Heaven because he once enjoyed looking at a dirty magazine. It’s just that they were writing what they knew, what they thought were “good Americans”.

    Later in this book (spoiler?) Buck will buy a vehicle intending to dispose of it shortly thereafter, (consumerism, wastefulness) and illegally cross national borders without a second thought. He does this because he believes the safest place is in America, (!) and because he doesn’t trust any non-American could bring Tsion to safety. (!!)

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    No, they’re not stupid; their ability to reach obvious conclusions is just being impeded by the influence of Satan having wormed his way into their hearts and minds due to their obstinate hatred of god and jesus.

    Wait. That may actually fall into the definition of “evil” after all.

  • Dash1

    Because their research into Greek names consisted entirely of looking up the list of characters in The Robe?

  • Dash1

    Aw shucks, I bet they say that to all the unbelievers.

  • Dash1

    Now my image of Rayford is inextricably meshed with Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

  • connorboone

    I think he also used an Israeli handgun.

  • phoenix_feather

    There’s a moment in the later books where Rayford is trying to find Hattie, who is staying in a clinic under a pseudonym. When he reads the list of guests’ names, it’s includes a bunch of ethnic names and a “Mary Smith,” and Rayford chuckles at how unoriginal Hattie is at picking out a fake name.

    Only it turns out that Mary Smith is an Asian (?) woman and Hattie was hiding under a completely different name. Even Rayford is impressed by how clever Hattie is, since she managed to … shocker … pick a non-English name.

    I have no idea why Hattie is the only character who is able to look past ethnicity in choosing a name, but I’m guessing it was a complete accident on the part of the authors. Maybe Meta-Hattie coming out to play?

  • Launcifer

    You know, every time someone posts that particular name, I can’t help but think that it’s a poor attempt to anglicise phonetically the name of a Korean car manufacturer.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’s one of those “you see it because you expect to” tricks.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Remember, part of the elaborate framework that lets these people believe what they believe and still think of themselves as good people is that they don’t believe that people like you describe can exist; Para-Chaim, the nonreligious Jew who does good work to feed the hungry can’t exist. Either he eventually converts, or he’s secretly been evil and up to no good all along.

    And when they see someone like you or me, who tries to be a good person, do good things, but doesn’t believe exactly what they do, they know that either we are eventually going to have the scales drop from our eyes and convert, or we’re secretly evil: maybe I secretly beat my wife*; maybe while you’re working at a soup kitchen, you’re surreptitiously trying to convert the patrons to homosexuality. Maybe we’re just biding our time before we rise up and murder all the Real Christians.

    Because a good person who doesn’t believe what they do? Can’t. Exist.

    (* More than is necessary to establish my proper male headship, whatever that means.)

  • SisterCoyote

    I dunno, it’s like that all over RTC culture. There’s this perception that the Jews, being God’s Chosen People, need to be carefully guided and protected – as a nation, by America, and as individuals, by Christians. That’s why being “anti-Israel” is seen as such a political career-ender, I think – even making statements like “It would be great if we could find peace between Israel and Palestine” is seen as not standing 100% behind God’s Chosen People, who… need our protection, NO MATTER WHAT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dpolicar David Policar

    > maybe while you’re working at a soup kitchen, you’re surreptitiously trying to convert the patrons to homosexuality.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that porn.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    “Looks like an open and shut case of death by natural causes”

    “Natural causes?”

    “Can’t live without a spine. Nothing unnatural about that.”

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

    I have that problem, but I also have the problem Fred’s talking about. I think what happens is this: we want drama. And killing someone off kills any drama they can ever have again. I dislike writers who just kill off characters left and right; I think it’s pretty lazy.

    As for the problem Fred’s talking about, I cannot for the life of me seem to write an actual villain. I can write antagonists to the protaganists, and I can make the antagonists do some pretty awful things, but I seem to be physically incapable of not giving them scenes which will invariably make random people on the internet think I’m siding with and excusing the antagonists. I set about making a man who was just absolutely awful, almost everything I despise, and I ended up with him sobbing in self-hating agony in the arms of my main character. That isn’t where I wanted to go.

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    Well, are you actually trying to get a villain who is completely irredeemable? Personally, I prefer villains who have an ideology that, to their perspective, places them in the right. I’m not fond of the cardboard “SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST RARRR I KILL YOU BECAUSE I CAN AND THAT MAKES IT RIGHT” villains.

    On the other hand, I did write one of my fallen angels as being utterly opposed to the very concept of goodness — one who does evil for the love of evil itself, who would adapt his purposes to whatever did the most harm to a society, even going so far as to make it a prolonged campaign perverting the morals of the society in order to set people against each other and– y’know what, just look at the Republican party.

    I find myself gravitating toward villains who could just as easily be antiheroes, though…

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    Wait…. HUH? Please tell me that they spent more on that story than just that. So much potential for drama and action in a
    scene and this is how they do it, just rattle it off like a news
    blurb. Gah. Amazing how they can take almost anything and make it
    dull.

    Yeah, that struck me as odd too. Do they even CALL it Hebrew school? I can understand differentiating between religious classes and the regular ones.

  • Persia

    Man, that’s a depressing list.

  • http://profiles.google.com/vlowe7294 Vaughn Lowe

    Every time I hear that name, I want to break out into song. “Everybody Chang Wong Tonightl”

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

    Well, they (Perkin-Elmer) don’t make GCs as far as I know but they do make spectrometers for UV-Visible spectroscopy.

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

    Yeah, Cendrillon Jospin. Not coincidentally, a well-known French politician at the time was a man named Lionel Jospin.

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

    Irredeemable, yes. TW: rape

    He rapes the main character for years, and believes he’s perfectly justified in doing so. He’s a manipulative, selfish, self-absorbed shithead with a chip on his shoulder. He thinks he’s a good guy. But I feel like he keeps screaming at me that he knows he isn’t, and he’s tormented by this. The way the story is, and this world is, and especially the way HE is, he will never become anything other than a horrible person who considers himself to fully deserve everything good that happens to him, and to be an innocent victim whenever anything less than wonderful happens to him. He’s charming and capable and passionate and generous… and horrible.

    I think I’m too worried about what people will think and say — like, that they’ll think I’m justifying this guy’s horrible behavior, and especially rape, by also making him have this side to him. Especially because his relationship with the main character is actually really complicated. A lot of the time, people seem to read “complicated” as “justifying unjustifiable behavior”.

    And I sometimes like to read or see villains who are just villainous and who get their righteous comeuppance. I don’t like being unable to write that kind of character, because it makes me feel like I’m not in control of my own writing. It makes me feel like Laurell K. Hamilton, who buys presents for her characters and doesn’t seem to realize that they’re fictional characters any longer. I should be in control, damn it. But I’m not totally.

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

    Well, Voldemort is a pretty cartoonish survival of the fittest villain…

  • J_Enigma32

    It’s a challenge coming up with a name for a character that covers all of their different features and aspects. Naming your character “Renee Rhee” can say a lot about them; it gives you a bit of a mental image from the start. When the only aspect that you have to worry about is how Jewish they are, though, then a lot of that difficulty melts away.

    I have a Jewish character in “The Blue Pimpernel.” In fact, it features a Jewish family as the central family that the main character was adopted into. The family, biologically, consists of: Ofelia, Maria, and John Stratford. They’re Jewish, yes. Ofelia and Maria are Sephardim. Whether John is ethnically Jewish or not isn’t confirmed, but he’s a practicing one. Maria is from Mexico, she speaks fluent Spanish and English as a second language; John is from Belize.

    Ofelia is never once referred to as “Jewish” in the novel. I hope that you can infer it from the description of the family and their traditions, and their lifestyle (for instance, Maria freaking out over Passover and treating Passover as a major holiday – because it is, or the fact that they don’t normally celebrate Christmas *or* Hanukkah, among other traditions). They have their own quirks – for instance, Maria washes the passover dishes anyway before Passover, even though that’s not Sephardim tradition by my understanding of it – but my goal was to make them recognizably Jewish without constantly throwing it in your face.

    I’ve used Naomi for a character in a series of short stories I wrote. She was Xhosa/Indian, and from South Africa. She wasn’t Jewish; maybe it’s just me, but I associate that name more with Christians. Same with Jonas and Marc. Jacov… isn’t that spelled Yakov? Because if you pronounce that name with the hard ‘j’, you get something entirely inappropriate, and just as unintended as the sexual tension between Buck and Ray…

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    We never are.

    If you’re concerned about what the audience will think, perhaps you could see about squeezing in an audience surrogate at some point, even if it’s right at the end when he gets his comeuppance?

  • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

    I never said I thought of him as the ideal villain. ^^ Still better than a lot of the ones I’ve seen, though.

  • tatortotcassie

    Make that steaming vegetables with melted magically-came-out-of-nowhere-’cause-we-don’t-eat-animal-products butter.

  • tatortotcassie

    I see it more as LaHaye et al love Israel as a concept and a country. They just wish it didn’t have so many Israelis in it. And by Israelis, I mean Jews. And Muslims. And anyone else who isn’t a RTC who shares the exact same beliefs as LaHaye et al.

  • tatortotcassie

    I believe Fred was pointing out that when ethnicity is all that is given to a character in terms of traits — when an author makes the reader(s) see the ethnicity first and foremost and then maybe gets around to making the ethnic character an actual person — that’s when You’re Doing It Wrong.

  • J_Enigma32

    * Yasmine: Persian? That’d be my first guess.

    * Suhail: Indonesian, right?

    * Demetrius: Greek, but only because I read the comments above.

    * Heinz Ketchup: German, related to John Kerry (no wonder he got left behind…)

    * Lukas Miklos: I’d peg this one as Macedonian or Greek, possibly Bulgarian.

    * Mwangati Ngumo: Generic African. Mwangati is a family name. So is Ngumo. Ngumo is Kenyan. I’d probably guess that Mwangati is West African, so no, I couldn’t tell you this one.

    * Hannah: Native American, obviously from the same Tribe as Princess Pocahontas (the Mikkimaus Tribe)

    * Ming Toy: Generic Chinese Name. Also rather unfortunate, given that Ah Toy, the only Chinese name that Google turns up when questioned about “Toy family name”, was a Cantonese-born prostitute and brothel owner. There’s a lot to be said for missed sexual subtext in this series, isn’t there?

    * Chang Wong: A confused attempt at a Chinese name. Chang is usually a family name. Wong is almost always a family name. Alternatively, he could be a Klingon/Chinese half-breed.

    * Ree Woo: I dunno. Totally lost. Ri/Rhee/Ree is a Korean (specifically, the North Korean variant of Yi/Li/Lee/Yee) surname. Wu is a Chinese surname. Could it possibly be the name given by a confused white guy who couldn’t tell one of them short, slant-eyed peoples from the other?

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Living in HI, it becomes apparent that surname can match ethnicity maybe six to eight times out of ten, then you get a guy who looks stereotypical white dude with a name like Wong.

    Heck, I have a German last name and my ethnicity gets guessed as everything from Hindi to Iranian to Hispanic–everything but German/Hawaiian/Chinese which is what I am.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    I’ve always had a hard time conveying ethnicity. When I don’t have a specific reason to assign ethnicities, I’d like to think that means that it’s simply irrelevant and could be whatever, but then I think “What would happen if Hollywood decided to film this?” Answer: All white cast, because no one is coded with any specific race. For the thing I’m working on right now, I made a specific point of assigning all the major characters a race, but I’ve only explicitly communicated it for two of them, because it became relevant. I don’t want my characters to end up “implicitly white”, but every time I try to broach the subject, I get this horrible feeling that I’m about to wander into Babysitter’s Club territory.

  • J_Enigma32

    The solution is to make sure you assign a race to every character. If they’re White, mention it. Don’t allow any character, even tertiary characters, to go unassigned a race. It’s a habit that I started doing in the Blue Pimpernel and I continue throughout; if I’m going to identify a character as being half-Korean and half-White (Renee Rhee), why shouldn’t I identify a character was being strictly White (practically everyone with any political or social authority at all). Thus, every character except for the thugs that they routinely fight are assigned a race (this was also done on purpose; it turns out later the majority of them are White as well, but that’s not the connection a lot of people are going to be making immediately). My favorite statement when describing people with power and authority – that is, members of the Party – is “he was white and male, like all other members of the Party” or “they were an elderly white male, like anyone else with authority.”

    For the Stratfords, I researched the hell out of Sephardic Judaism. You couldn’t film that novel without making them Jewish; changing it changes the entire novel, since Ofelia is motivated by “tikkun olam” and Maria keeps Kasrut, and it’s a fundamental display of her love for Renee that she doesn’t force Renee (who isn’t Jewish) to follow it. She keeps a separate part of the fridge for Renee’s non-Kosher food, and a separate set of cooking utensils so she could cook for Renee, and Renee even gets her own milk and cheese. It does complicate things, since Renee notes it makes her feel excluded from the family, but there isn’t a real easy answer for it. Maria also spends a good part of the book prepping for Passover, and your first introduction to Ofelia’s character is her provoking a group of extremely “Christian” students by saying the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, during the mandatory Prayer at the beginning of class (which pisses them off, since they think she’s making fun of them – which she is).

    Renee is so visually distinctive as a character that you’d be taking away from the story in a very big way. She’s half-Korean and half-White; she looks Korean, since she gets it from her father, but she’s also got auburn hair and green eyes. As far as culture goes, Renee is thoroughly westernized; her dad is from North Korea, and that was a culture he was trying to get away from, not inflict on his children (Renee had an older brother, Samuel, too).

    It’s important to note, though, that just because you code with a particular race, it doesn’t mean Hollywood is going to keep it. Whitewashing is almost as popular today as Blackface was back during Vaudeville.

  • Tapetum

    I have a friend who is endlessly amused as people keep assuming she, as the only Asian woman at her church, must be “Renee Wong” (not the actual name). The real Renee Wong is a blond lady, who happens to be married to Mr. Wong, while my friend’s last name is English.

  • Jamoche

    And I think of the classic Goon Show song. Iddle-i-po…

  • Jamoche

    I can’t help but think they did all their research by listening to “Fiddler on the Roof” songs.

  • http://www.oliviareviews.com/ PepperjackCandy

    Alternatively you could do a global search-and-replace for Tania’s name and call her something else in the final draft. Then we won’t know who this is going to happen to until it actually happens to her. Did that make any sense? It’s late and I need to get some sleep.

  • tatortotcassie

    Neither does anything written by LaHaye and/or Jenkins.

  • http://shiftercat.livejournal.com/ ShifterCat

    I just checked Urban Dictionary.

    The writer of the first entry seemed to think that “Tribbing” should be a synonym for “scissoring”, but gave no explanation as to why. They also couldn’t spell. This entry had 20 upvotes, 24 downvotes.

    The second entry reads: “Someone who reads about philosophy and news on the Facebook: Tribbers.” I’ve never heard of such a Facebook page. This entry had one upvote and six downvotes.

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

    I’d upvote, in that case. But yeah, it is tricky :/

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

    Was about to go on a rant about the stupidity of them thinking “Heinz” was a proper German first name….only to discover that it’s apparently sometimes used as short for “Heinrich”. Guess I should leave the outrage for proper German speakers. I’ll be in the corner of shame for a while.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    My girlfriend (playfully) gave me crap about it a while. There was one other place in town we could have gone, but I vetoed that option (disliking the chain, I forget exactly which and why) so A&W was the alternative. I had no idea that it would be like that inside.

    We ate in silence and discomfort and left as soon as we could.

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

    Half-tempted to dislike that sentence, for two reasons. 1) You’ve given me far too much insight into what a sociopath actually is for me to forget anytime soon, and 2) I’m not gonna buy your book off a shelf. I’ll order it off Amazon.

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

    I haven’t, but I kinda want to :P

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    That also speaks of Rayford’s poor opinion of Hattie’s intelligence. Glad he got his comeuppance on that note.

    Since he was having “impure thoughts” about her previously, does that mean that he is into women with (in his eyes) low intelligence? It might explain some things if he had a “type” like that.

    Frankly I have always preferred the opposite. An intelligent woman is a much more interesting companion.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Probably they’d’ve been just as baffled as everyone else.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    If you stop and look at it, the protagonists are painful American stereotypes.

    Don’t be ridiculous. Buck & Ray don’t have NEARLY enough guns.

  • The Guest Who Posts

    I’m guessing “tribbing” would come from “tribad”, a word for “lesbian” that I hardly ever see nowadays.

  • christopher_y

    Late to this game because time zones. I’d agree on most of these, but I’d guess Suhail Akbar as Pakistani and Lukas Miklos as a confused attempt at Hungarian. Where did aunursa find all these?


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