NRA: Escape to Antichrist, an anti-Semitic adventure story

Nicolae: The Rise of Antichrist; pp. 195-201

We’re about to set off on a rollicking little adventure as Buck Williams becomes a man on the run.

This is that story where the hero has to sneak across the border without getting caught. I love that story. Most people love that story. Ben Affleck’s movie Argo told that story and won a bunch of Oscars for it last year.

This story always works because it’s so simple. The hero is at Point A and has to get to Point B while the villains — all the king’s horses and all the king’s men — are trying to stop him.

Why does the hero have to get to Point B? That doesn’t really matter. “The audience don’t care,” Alfred Hitchcock said. All we need to enjoy this story is what he called the “MacGuffin“:

The main thing I’ve learned over the years is that the MacGuffin is nothing. I’m convinced of this, but I find it very difficult to prove it to others. My best MacGuffin, and by that I mean the emptiest, the most nonexistent, and the most absurd, is the one we used in North by Northwest. The picture is about espionage, and the only question that’s raised in the story is to find out what the spies are after. Well, during the scene at the Chicago airport, the Central Intelligence man explains the whole situation to Cary Grant, and Grant, referring to the James Mason character, asks, “What does he do?”  The counterintelligence man replies, “Let’s just say that he’s an importer and exporter.” “But what does he sell?” “Oh, just government secrets!” is the answer. Here, you see, the MacGuffin has been boiled down to its purest expression: nothing at all!

My guess is that the adventure sequence that begins here and continues for the next several chapters is a favorite section for fans of these books. I think that’s because those readers have learned — from hundreds of Hollywood movies — to enjoy the ride just as Hitchcock says. Don’t sweat the MacGuffin, that will only distract you from the fun of the chase and from seeing how our hero is able to overcome all the obstacles the story throws in his path.

These chapters of Nicolae aren’t written any better than the rest of the book, but the simplicity of the formula here gives Jerry Jenkins a clarity of purpose and a narrative momentum that the rest of the book is lacking. If we just accept the validity of the MacGuffin, we can go along for the ride. And even though Jenkins’ prose throws as many obstacles in the reader’s path as his story sets before Buck Williams, that simplicity and clarity will get us to ask the vital question “What happens next?”

Iranians were upset with “Argo,” because its escape-driven plot made Iran look evil. The escape-driven plot in “Nicolae” is set in Israel.

Reviews of the Left Behind books within the evangelical subculture frequently refer to these books as “page-turners” — a description that, most of the time, is utterly wrong. But here it’s somewhat appropriate. If we read this section the way we’ve been trained to by Hitchcock and a thousand other skilled storytellers, we’re propelled through this adventure. Once we accept the premise implied by the MacGuffin — that it is very important that Buck Williams gets to Point B — we become just as determined as he is to get him there, and all the false starts, wrong turns, tangents, distractions, banalities and dull patches that Jenkins lays across our path aren’t going to stop us from seeing this thing through all the way to Point B.

Unfortunately, though, this is not North by Northwest. I don’t just mean that Buck Williams is no Cary Grant or that Jerry Jenkins is no Alfred Hitchcock — although both of those are certainly true. I mean that this story isn’t presented in a way that allows us to enjoy it the way we can enjoy North by Northwest. We’re not just being told a thrilling story for the sake of entertainment — we’re being taught a theological lesson. Jenkins’ “co-author” here is Tim LaHaye, a “Bible prophecy scholar” who chose to produce these novels in order to teach us what he believes the Bible teaches about the End Times — about real events that will really happen very soon here in the real world.

This story won’t allow us to accept a MacGuffin boiled down to its purest form of nothing at all. In Left Behind, the MacGuffin always matters. We can’t ever just relax and go along for the ride: Point A to Point B because MacGuffin. We’re supposed to be learning about Point A, and about Point B, and about whatever the reason it is that our hero has to get from one to the other.

So let’s just briefly take a look at some of those elements before we set off with Buck Williams on the race to Point B.

The MacGuffin here is a person: the former Rabbi turned fundamentalist Christian evangelist Tsion Ben-Judah. Point A is Israel. Point B is Not Israel. The plot, in other words, is that Buck has to help his friend Tsion escape from Israel.

That’s odd, considering what we already know about the world of this story. In this world, Israel is the only remaining sovereign nation on Earth — the only place in the entire world not controlled and policed by the Antichrist’s one-world government. And the authors have assured us that the geographically expanded Israel of these books is a prosperous, peaceful nation on the best of terms with all neighboring people — a country without all the security barriers and checkpoints and walls that now line the Palestinian territories.

That means our story now involves our hero fleeing from the one peaceful country on Earth into the hands of the apotheosis of evil. Buck and Tsion are trying to escape to the Antichrist. Buck and Tsion are desperately racing to get into a tyrannical dictatorship led by the Beast himself, a madman who just a few days ago started arbitrarily killing millions of people by nuking New York, Washington, London, Cairo, Chicago, San Francisco, etc.

So already the basic formula of Point A to Point B is weirdly broken. It’s like we’re reading about Andy Dufresne trying to break into Shawshank prison.

That wouldn’t be an insurmountable problem if we were given some easily ingested explanation for why Tsion has to flee Israel. The usual MacGuffin-ish way of accounting for such a need to flee a free country involves the hero being falsely accused of some crime. Jenkins nods in that direction, briefly, with a muddled bit about the death squads who killed Tsion’s family claiming to have been hired by him, but no one — including the author and the readers — seems to find this convincing. The death squads are after Tsion now not because of some half-hearted frame job, but because he converted to fundamentalist Christianity.

Tsion is forced to flee Israel, in other words, because he is a Christian. Jenkins tells us this repeatedly in these pages and in the chapters that follow, always in a way that suggests its obvious and well-known that any rabbi who converted to Christianity would be hunted down and killed by the Israeli government. Jenkins just assumes that readers know this to be the case: You know how those Jews are, they kill Christians.

As much as I’d like to stick with the standard practice of not sweating the details of the MacGuffin, that’s difficult to do in this case because the MacGuffin is blithely, but viciously, anti-Semitic. Take away the anti-Semitic assumptions and nothing in these chapters makes any sense. It’s not an incidental, background slander here — anti-Semitism is the engine that drives the narrative.

And we’re not talking about some slightly offensive ethnic stereotyping, either. This is hard-core, blood-libel stuff: Israeli death squads killed Tsion’s family, which is to say Jews kill Christian babies. This MacGuffin isn’t just a set of “secret plans” we can accept and ignore thereafter. This MacGuffin is an old and deadly lie at the root of centuries of slaughter.

Why would anyone want to flee into a tyrannical dictatorship led by Satan’s own hand-picked evil mastermind? To get away from the Christ-hating, Christian-children-murdering Jews.

Throughout the pot-boilerplate, paint-by-numbers adventure in the chapters to come, we can’t avoid that. Even when Jenkins semi-capably creates a bit of familiar tension with familiar plot devices — the traffic stops and check-points from a thousand superior escape thrillers — we’re aware that the tension and suspense we’re meant to feel is based on a presumption about some intrinsic malice and danger attributed to all Jews. The authors assume we share that presumption.

That gives this whole adventure sequence over the following chapters a Birth-of-a-Nation feel to it. Unlike Jerry Jenkins, D.W. Griffith was a masterful artist, but while The Birth of a Nation is a work of art, it’s also a repugnant film. Griffith directed his whole genius to getting his viewers caught up in a thrilling adventure story, but the only way to get caught up in that story is to accept the racism and racist mythology that drives his plot. Griffiths’ racist enthusiasm isn’t something overlaid on top of his story, it is the premise of that story. Without it, the story cannot happen.

Am I suggesting that Tim LaHaye, Jerry Jenkins, and the millions of Very Nice Christians who enjoyed Nicolae as a “page-turner” are all, therefore, vicious anti-Semites?

Well … let’s not jump to conclusions. Let’s work our way through the adventure of Buck and Tsion and their thrilling escape from Israel back into the safety of the Antichrist’s one-world government. Let’s consider the story as it unfolds and all that Buck and Tsion and other characters have to say in the chapters to come. And then, after our heroes arrive at Point B, we can consider that question again.



When fantasy role-playing replaces faith
Never abandoned in the flood lands
Sunday WTF?
NRA: Antichrist & Sons
  • FearlessSon

    I am a test engineer, working on the performance test team. Ostensibly that means making sure the software meets performance requirements under load on various platforms, but my lead-to-be tells me that in practice it means we are the go-to “response team” for shaking out the bugs in whatever thing happens to be highest priority at the moment. So I can expect my job to change day to day, and sometimes hour to hour. I can also anticipate a rough schedule with the expectation that I will be working overtime, especially as we near release. On the other hand, the company is more than willing to pay that overtime, as opposed to companies which put ever increasing demands on employees without actually granting them any extra pay or time to do them.

    And yes, I can tell you that working in the games industry pays on average at least a quarter less than an equivalent position in other software fields, while demanding more. Part of the issue with it is that the people who go into it do so out of passion for the craft and the product, and that eagerness tends to drive compensation down. I could make more money elsewhere, but I would be much less satisfied doing it. I still make enough above a living wage to be comfortable though. Having no spouse and no children tends to help here. This is why you see so many younger people in the industry, not because it is the hot new thing, but because the pressures of it tend to lead to an up-or-out kind of system. As people get older they tend to get married and have families, so either they go up to more management positions where they can better afford them in terms of time and money, or they leave for another software field that allows them to do the same stuff but have more time and money. Burnout is also a factor on this, they might just get tired of the long hours and low pay and look for a more relaxing job as their enthusiasm wanes.

  • arcseconds

    I watched the digitally remastered North by Northwest recently. I had watched it before, but in my head it was boring and tiresome and starred Jimmy Stewart for some reason. It doesn’t make a lot of sense some of the time and sometimes it’s more than a little contrived, but it’s very entertaining! and I loved Grant’s bon mots.

    While Kendall is basically a male fantasy figure, Saint portayed her pretty well and I enjoyed her almost complete unflappability and composure, and resourcefulness.

  • Laurent Weppe

    It’s the kind of cases where fleshing out the backstory is important: A good chunk of the millenium trilogy is about Lisbeth Salander becoming the target of a rogue unit of the swedish counter-intelligence: that’s the thing: Rogue Unit: it allowed the author to make the members of said cabal of rogue agents as evil and despicable as possible without making the claim that Sweden is a country ruled by fascist, rapist mobsters and populated by a craven populace who cowardly submits to their whims.

    It would not have been hard to make the death squad some sort of rogue unit. Or even better -since the authors love to go into tangents-: to spend a few lines explaining that Nicolae used his Magic Mojo to allow the most tribalistic, incestuously insular fraction of the Israeli political class to gain unprecedented power.

    But then again, the authors are all in favor of incestuously insular tribalism, so it was probably easier for them to add -deliberatly or not- antisemitic subtext than to explicitly turn their israeli political brethrens into villains.

  • Taneli Huuskonen

    !ahsataN-siroB a ma I !amabO riS !nataS ,hA

  • flat

    congratulations for your new job.

  • flat

    now that is some good character development.

  • flat

    yeah, I read about that problem as well, I can imagine the average jew gets fed up with those people.

  • flat

    reading an escape written by jerry jenkins.
    This is going to suck.

  • Matri

    It’s a page-turner the same way a prison concert has a captive audience.

    I’ll just show myself out now.

  • Matri

    If the trend continues, we’ll spend weeks deconstructing multiple chapters of self-monologues.

    And at the end of it all we’ll find out they finally made it to the end of the next block.

  • SororAyin

    And now I’m picturing Uhurah’s fan dance from Star Trek V.

  • SororAyin

    I have to disagree with you about Twilight. I’ve overheard the teen girls talk, and it really is Edward and Jacob they read them for.

  • flat

    yeah I know the suspense is killing me, I hardly can’t wait to see how they escape from this one.

  • Catherine Archer

    Oh, my. Bucky is all confused (again) about who is on the Good Side, and who is on the Bad Side. Was everything that the Rev. Tim Lahaye said absolutely true? Do Jews actually eat good Christians? Was it Really All Their Fault that JesusChristOurLordAndSaviour got kilt? Did he (Bucky) still have the hots for Chloe? What, oh what was actually going on? For the answer to these and other meaningless questions tune in next week for another episode of As The Stomach Turns. (Thank you, Carol Burnett.)

  • Panda Rosa

    And what about Naomi?

  • LoneWolf343

    More their ideas of those characters rather than the actual characters.

  • LoneWolf343

    Anyone who downvotes this comment will answer to me.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Oops! My deepest apologies, your potentatishness, sir!!

  • AnonaMiss

    allow the most tribalistic, incestuously insular fraction of the Israeli political class to gain unprecedented power.


  • Lori

    My love for NXNW is about 60% Roger Thornhill’s sense of humor in the face of strange goings on and the fact that he spends the entire movie, including running through a corn field and scrambling over giant presidential heads, in a suit & dress shoes (ah, the 50s).

    35% is Eva Marie Saint’s version of the cool Hitchcock blond and the fact that she’s allowed to be much more morally ambiguous than many of them. She doesn’t slot neatly in as either the ice queen luring a good man to his doom, who must be punished accordingly, or the pure fantasy woman who gets her man because, of course. Eve is both and neither at the same time.

    The remaining 5% is Mt Rushmore.

  • auroramere

    I’d like to know more about the non-Haredi Orthodox in Israel.

  • auroramere

    Well, yes, probably, but they don’t know that. From their POV it’s about the actual characters.
    And if they thereby invent characters more interesting than the ones in the text, good for them.

  • Daniel

    My guess is they’ll make a phone call to someone. Then someone else. We’ll be told about ever ring.

  • arghous

    I don’t think JesusChristViolenceInstigatorYetEarHealer had a kilt, though he did have some mighty fancy underwear.

    But Buck as played by Tim Conway and Rayford as played by Harvey Korman does make a lot of sense.

  • Nick Gotts

    Once we accept the premise implied by the MacGuffin — that it is very
    important that Buck Williams gets to Point B — we become just as
    determined as he is to get him there

    I think the cleverest use of this psychology I’ve seen in a film is in Dr. Strangelove, where it’s pretty much impossible not to get behind the heroic efforts of the last USAF bomber crew to overcome all obstacles, complete their mission… and destroy the world.

  • Panda Rosa

    For some reason I keep hearing that in Elmer Fudd’s voice: “the howwah, the howwah…”

  • BaseDeltaZero

    Which wouldn’t be *terrible*, necessarily, if the Good Guys were in any way capable.

  • Bill Hiers

    No love for James Mason as Vandamm? :)

  • Bill Hiers

    In my mind, Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart are about equal in terms of appeal. North by Northwest with Stewart would’ve been interesting. What’s your take on Rope?

  • Lori

    He does an excellent job and the movie would be less good if the he didn’t do such a good job with his part, but he’s not really why I love it. Affection is a quirky thing.

  • Abel Undercity

    Huzzah and congratulations!

  • Jim Roberts

    Harvey is probably my favourite play. I would love to play lead in that some day.

  • Daniel

    Buck and Michael sailed peacefully along discussing everything and nothing, joyfully discovering how much they had in common, which was nearly everything. The two had known each other for hours and for their whole lives. Buck knew if he’d been born in different, less comfortable circumstances he may have ended up like Michael. But God had clearly favoured him from an early age, allowing him to grow up with a family he didn’t care about so that one day he could leave and journey alone to fight for Christ with no emotional ties to anyone else. It was a painful blessing, to be forever alone with a family you didn’t want to tell about your successes, but it made Buck special, and he was grateful, even though he deserved it. Michael too was a loner.
    Buck had rowed once and so he understood the harsh life of the riverboat captain and the urge that compelled him to stay on the river. Like Buck he was a wanderer.
    “So you row yourself?” He said, his face alight with admiration
    “Yeah,” said Buck, playing it cool, “I rowed in Harvard, once.”
    “Oh, right. I didn’t have you down as an egg head.”
    “Yeah, well” Michael looked mistrustful “my Dad.. old man wanted me to go. But they didn’t teach…learn me anything…” he quickly corrected himself “nothing, didn’t learn me nothin’ that I didn’t already know.”
    Michael still looked nonplussed.
    “Yeah” Buck added “I hardly ever went to lectures. Still came top though. That really annoyed those fancy professors! I got innate talent, me.”
    Michael looked happier and Buck felt a wave of relief wash over him.

    They had moved on from talking about their mutual friend Tsion Ben-Judah, and how the nature of their friendships differed – Michael was a pupil of the wise scholar, while Buck- as he knew- had been more of a mentor, or muse, or both. Buck’s discovery of Jesus preceded Tsion’s, but he did not resent Tsion for having used his idea. In fact as a Biblical scholar Ben-Judah enjoyed a higher profile than Buck- he did it professionally and whilst Buck knew just as much he preferred to stay an amateur enthusiast. He did not believe in being paid to do something he loved, but Tsion was from a different culture and had different values, which Buck respected. Tsion valued money, and Buck had nothing but disdain for his six figure income, a disdain that Michael shared as soon as Buck mentioned it. Any way, it was wonderful that Tsion had given voice to the truth about the Messiah, even though it had caused the deaths of his family at the hands of zealots. This was a terrible price, but Buck knew if it meant even one more person accepted that he was right then it was a price worth paying. But still Buck felt sorry for Tsion. He would have surrendered his own family instead, but as he was estranged from them it wouldn’t have meant as much, and the sacrifice would have been wasted. Besides, no one had thought to ask Buck to give a public announcement about the Messiah so he was hardly to blame.

    Buck and Michael found they shared an unshakeable fearlessness, and willingness to give voice to all the concerns real people the world over – Formerica and Formeurope- had but were too scared to say. They both agreed, for example, that the only people who claimed any of the One World Government welfare were workshy and lazy, and that living this way was a choice, one that should be punished. Buck knew this because he worked for the government, and a portion of his enormous wage was going as tax to pay for those people. The injustice made him seethe- not only did he have to work for the Antichrist but he also had to pay for non-believers to live. Buck had stewed over this when driving his Range Rover to the airport to make the flight to Jerusalem. The tickets were paid for by Global Weakly, so Buck hadn’t had to fork out even more money. Things were bad when he had to be grateful for such small mercies. They were both concerned that there were sinister forces controlling the banking industry, but both knew they’d be persecuted if they said this out loud. Their reticence to do so was not because of fear- they were fearless. It was because other people persecuted them by questioning their claims, and those questions enraged them. In order to protect others from their righteous anger both had kept their theories to themselves, until tonight.

    Buck had a lot of practice dealing with persecution, probably more than any of the Israelis that were now lurking in the jungle waiting to kill them. Rosenzweig’s formula was not just good for agriculture, it seemed. It had begun in Harvard when he had submitted stories to the student paper that had been turned down, ostensibly because of political correctness but really because the powers at the university hated Buck’s independence and skill. Apparently it wasn’t the done thing to write a column explaining why the girl you’d been going out with was immoral and polluted. He had explained logically and calmly that (although it had never happened to him) if THAT happened to a man it was the woman’s fault, for getting him too excited too soon. A lack of experience was to blame- her lack of experience, not his. It was a natural response, and not something anyone should laugh about, but women like her would spread this lie about men like him to hide the depth of their feelings and damage the man’s reputation. But apparently this was “sexist” and, laughably “not news”. Buck still scoffed at that. The deceit was so tissue thin- he had filled it with capital letters, just like a real news story. Jealousy had led to that story, and numerous others, being rejected.

    This persecution had continued into his professional life. Verna Zee, for instance – it was no coincidence she looked like that girl from university, there was a type – always tried to persecute him whenever he was late with a story, or submitted something “based on hearsay and conjecture”. A weaker man would have taken these rejections to heart, and maybe tried to adjust his style. But Buck was strong, and the one thing he could not do was back down and compromise. Though that sounded like two things, they were so closely related that they counted as one thing.

    These stories, which he had submitted every few months, were not false. They were just unproved, and unprovable. But, as he’d argued time and time again, just because there was no evidence that a global cabal of Jewish bankers was secretly running the world it didn’t make it wrong to claim that they were. And just because the cabal that had emerged from the shadows to run the world publicly happened not to be Jewish, it by no means meant that there wasn’t a secret conspiracy operating behind the facade of the public conspiracy. On the contrary, what it showed was the shadowy cabal was really good at hiding all traces of themselves- and who would be better suited to pulling the strings of the Antichrist? He’d merely been posing the questions, there was nothing wrong with that. One thing he was not was anti-Semitic. This was the bitterest label his persecutors had attached to him. One of his best friends, the one he was looking for now, was a Jew. Would an anti-Semite have rejoiced as Buck had done when that Jewish friend had accepted Christ as his Messiah and been saved? Buck hadn’t even commented on the rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem- would an anti-Semite have passed up an opportunity to make a snide remark in that situation? Of course not. But Buck hadn’t made a single one.

    Nicholae’s guaranteed freedom of the press was another attack on Buck. It allowed the market to be flooded with impure, unsaved voices. The Tribulation Force knew this was deeply wrong- along with freedom of religion, freedom of the press meant Nicolae was corrupting people, allowing false prophets to tempt them away from God’s true church. This true church was the small one in a Chicago suburb where a large water tank had been buried to hide Buck and his best friend and two women they owned when the infinite and unstoppable wrath of God was unleashed on the world. Though there wasn’t room for all the other people Buck needed them to know it existed. He needed them to know that he had been right, so they would see that they were wrong, so that all his journalism had not been in vain. Nicholae’s policy allowed different opinions to proliferate,
    meaning more and more people questioned what Buck believed, and so persecuted him. It also placed restrictions on libel and fraudulent news stories. It was easy for the powers that be to reclassify Buck’s more powerful work as the
    latter, and they’d undoubtedly do so which is why he hadn’t published any of
    it. Despite Nicholae’s attempts to ingratiate himself with Buck, despite his promise that he would not stand in the way of Buck’s journalistic integrity, Buck knew there was a party line to toe, and that as a respected writer it behooved him to stick to it. As editor, Buck was now an authority figure, and he couldn’t very well buck himself whether he wanted to or not. What sort of message would that send to his staff? Had Nicolae asked him directly, he would obviously have refused. But he hadn’t. He had merely intimated that he’d like his policies reported in the paper, and Buck had known what that meant. He couldn’t report them critically, that might have made him look like he hadn’t understood- like he was stupid. It might have meant exposing himself- and no one wanted that. So he had to report favourably about such horrors as freedom of religion and freedom of speech- all devices used to persecute him.

    He had worried at one time that his persecution was undeserved, but since becoming a member of the Tribulation Force, that ragtag bunch of renegades, he had realised it was entirely the opposite. Persecution was something he was entitled to, and something he should celebrate. Jesus had explained that his true followers would be persecuted, and as Verna had shown by criticising him, he was constantly made a victim. It intensified the thrill of realising that every time the unsaved stood in his way- by plotting to kill him, or by sending him on all expenses paid trips around the world, or by taking the taxi he was waiting for- he was taking another blow for Jesus. He knew the unsaved were plotting to kill him. The fact that no one had actually tried just showed how nefarious and cunning they were and how the authorities were complicit- they refused to acknowledge any plots existed, they wouldn’t investigate. Dictators hate journalists with integrity. Buck was a great journalist, and had some. Of course there was a plot against him.

    As they drifted ever onwards towards the heart of that terrible darkness, the Sea of Galilee, Buck told Michael about a conversation he’d had with Loretta as a further test of his bona fides. This story strengthened their bittersweet connection. It was a bond he did not share with members of NHVC, who appeared not to acknowledge it existed.
    “Bruce told her: There are enemies all around us. We cannot trust outsiders. They all mean us harm.”
    Michael nodded sagely.
    “But she didn’t agree. She told me she thought it was the duty of the church to open its doors to everyone, to welcome all comers with open arms.”
    “What kind of Christian is she?!” Michael sputtered in angry disbelief, his hand returning to his gun.
    “Exactly.” Buck said. “It takes a special kind of faith to do what we’ve done… to kill for Christ.” He whispered the last part.
    “Have you killed for him too?”
    “Oh yes…in a way, though you might not consider it killing. I have written some pretty scathing articles, and in the world outside Jerusalem that’s pretty close to being killed.”
    “Against Carpathia?”
    “Yeah! Well… Kinda… mostly against…erm… his staff really. But it’s the way I say it you know? Everyone knows who I’m getting at.” His reporter’s instinct told him it probably wasn’t relevant to mention that he, technically, was also one of Nicolae’s employees and a personal acquaintance.
    “Well you are right to be afraid.” He whispered.

    Buck was all ears. But he was not afraid. Buck Williams was never frightened, he was a man of action. He stood at the prow of boats, he wore denim, he drove a Range Rover. Fear was the one word not in his extensive vocabulary. When it came up on crosswords, those spaces always remained blank. Which is why he was unable to correct Michael before he continued through clenched teeth:
    “We’re surrounded on all sides.” Buck peered through the gloom but he could see nothing, a few twinkling lights from scattered houses, but the jungle surrounding the Jordan was too dense to see clearly for any great distance.
    “There are enemies everywhere. I’ve killed two already, although because salt exists it wasn’t really killing, but there are so many more. Everywhere.” He leant forward, eyes blazing
    “You know who the real persecuted minority is, don’t you?”
    “Yeah…” said Buck, sure he knew the answer but willing to humour Michael by allowing him to say it
    “It’s people like you and me. White Christian men.”
    “How do we stop the persecutors?” Said Buck, genuinely concerned in the way a lesser man might have been scared.
    “I don’t know. But this has been effective so far.” He gestured with his gun.
    Buck heard something move through the undergrowth. Suddenly the night seemed much more threatening.
    “Have you got one for me?” he asked
    “No.” came the blunt answer.

    Michael and Buck were bonded indissolubly by their awareness of the ever present and very real persecution they experienced every day. They slid into an uneasy silence, eyes peeled, staring into the trees waiting…waiting… soon it would be daylight and the zealots would come to do their terrible work. What a way to start the weekend.

  • dpolicar

    Falling Down is actually my favorite subversion of this trope, but it doesn’t work quite as reliably.

  • Lorehead

    As the saying goes, a philosemite is an antisemite who loves Jews.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    Daniel, Daniel, Daniel. You keep persecuting us by stuffing so many great lines into these modified versions! How can one response manage to acknowledge them all? I’ll settle for two gems – “He stood at the prow of boats, he wore denim, he drove a Range Rover.” and the mysterious, menacing Jungle of the Jordan.

  • Evan

    Well, if you’re using that standard for Messiahship, let’s not forget Saul son of Kish, David, Jehu, Aaron, and many others. (Also, aren’t you referring to Isaiah not Ezekiel?)

  • Kubricks_Rube

    Well done as usual! I was wondering how you were going to handle such a plot light installment, but you took the opportunity to explore and incorporate larger themes of Slacktivist concern- the persecuted hegemon, religious freedom as religious persecution, even the GOP’s behavior in recent years. (Or am I wrong to think “A weaker man would have taken these rejections to heart, and maybe tried to adjust his style. But Buck was strong, and the one thing he could not do was back down and compromise. Though that sounded like two things, they were so closely related that they counted as one thing” is actually about the government shutdown?)

  • themunck

    Seriously, Daniel. How are you not writing professionally yet?

  • Panda Rosa

    You are getting so good at this stuff it scares me. Mainly you lift the veil and show what was probably dancing around in Ellenjay’s heads as they penned this drivel. There’s just something so right about your version, wouldn’t be surprised if it was picked up as the “real thing” in RTC circles.

  • Daniel
  • Daniel

    I have never heard of that, so I’d have to go with serendipity.

  • Lori

    To Catch A Thief is worth it for Jessie Royce Landis as Jesse Stevens, if nothing else. (She’s the mother of Grace Kelly’s character.)

    There’s a quick exchange between Francie & Jessie at the beginning of the costume ball that’s one of my favorite things ever. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but it makes me smile every single time.

  • smrnda

    I suspect this is because the authors are American Xtians who might likely know nothing about Judaism, but basically assume they do since they assume that the Tanakh *is* Judaism (ignoring the Talmud, Midrash, Zohar, etc.).

  • Kubricks_Rube

    One successful foray ended on the guest bed of a high school friend’s parents, with a girl who resembled a chunkier Reese Witherspoon drunkenly masticating my neck and cheeks. It had taken some time to reach this point–”Do most Harvard guys take so long to get what they want?” she had asked, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I wasn’t sure what to say, but then I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted. My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business… and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered–”You know, I’m on the pill…”

  • Daniel

    Oh, I had heard that… yeah. Yeah it was influenced by that. I just forgot the Reece Witherspoon comparison.

  • Daniel

    honestly? Chronic lack of self belief and total unawareness of how to go about doing so.
    But thanks for the compliment.

  • Daniel

    Thank you kindly. I’ve always wanted to start a cult (compensation for a pervasive sense of inadequacy I suppose, as well as sounding like a bit of a lark.) so if your right… I’ll get choosing the robes.

  • Daniel

    Thank you kindly.

  • nemryn