Les survivants de l’Apocalypse

(This comes from the fun discussion yesterday in comments.)

The unusual events describes in this chronicle occurred in 20__ in Oran. The account of the first days needs giving in some detail.

When leaving his surgery on the morning of April 16, Dr. Bernard Rieux felt something soft under his foot. It was a child’s shoe, part of a whole outfit lying in the middle of the landing. On the spur of the moment he kicked it to one side and, without giving it a further thought, continued on his way downstairs.

Only when he was stepping into the lobby did it occur to him that a set of children’s clothing had no business to be on his landing, and he turned back to ask the concierge of the building to see to its removal. It was not until he noticed old M. Michel’s reaction to the news that he realized the peculiar nature of his discovery. Personally, he had thought the presence of the clothes rather odd, no more than that; the concierge, however, was genuinely outraged. On one point he was categorical: “There weren’t no children here.” In vain the doctor assured him that, children or no, a set of children’s clothing was, indeed, to be found on the second-floor landing; M. Michel’s conviction wasn’t to be shaken. There “weren’t no children in the building,” he repeated, so someone must have brought those clothes from outside. Some prankster trying to be funny, most likely.

On his way out to the street the doctor passed on the stairway a stocky, youngish man, with a big, deeply furrowed face and bushy eyebrows. Puffing a cigarette, Jean Tarrou was gazing down at a pile of clothing on the step in front of him. He looked up and his gray eyes remained fixed on the doctor for some moments; then, after wishing him a good day, he remarked that it was rather odd, the way all these strange piles of clothing lay abandoned along the street.

“Very odd,” Rieux agreed, “and it ends by getting on one’s nerves.”

“In a way, Doctor, only in a way. We’ve not seen anything of the sort before, that’s all. Personally I find it interesting, yes, definitely interesting.”

Tarrou ran his fingers through his hair to brush it off his forehead, looked again at the pile of clothes — a woman’s dress, a pair of spectacles haphazardly fallen on top — then smiled toward Rieux.

“But really, Doctor, it’s the concierge’s headache, isn’t it?”

This is the literary mash-up I’d like to see: Left Behind and The Plague. Give me Tim LaHaye’s “Bible prophecy” scheme, but instead of Rayford Steele, Buck Williams and the rest, give me a “Tribulation Force” of Dr. Rieux, Jean Tarrou, Rambert, Grand, Cottard, Fr. Paneloux and all the others.

It would be a better story — not just because those characters are more interesting, or because Albert Camus was a far better writer than Jerry Jenkins. It would be a better story because Camus and Rieux set out:

… to state quite simply what we learn in time of [Great Tribulation]: that there are more things to admire in humanity than to despise.

Tim LaHaye, and Tim LaHaye’s God, ruined their story by taking the opposite view.


Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 28: 'Shackled'
Setting half the trends we know
Left Behind Classic Fridays, No. 30: 'Thank Heaven for little girls'
The earth spins on and on and so much news is bad
  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Nice :D And a very apt skewering of L&J!

  • Carstonio

    LaHaye finds more things to despise in humanity than to admire? That’s not quite right. He admires people like himself and despises everyone else. People like LaHaye insist that they’re just as much sinners as the supposed heathens they condemn to hellfire. Not only are they wrong for labeling others as sinners, they’re being disingenuous.

  • SergeantHeretic

    When People like EllenJaye disingenuously claim that “Oh yes, they too are sinners in need of god’s grace.” what this is is the same essential sort of sentiment as a privelidged WASP male declaring that he’s not a bigot, some of his best friends are (_______)”
    It’s a disingenuous ass-cover that is meant to hide/excuse their overriding contempt for 99 percent of the people on the planet who don’t belong to their fatuous little club/tribe/clique.

  • Carstonio

    Damn, I wish I had thought of that comparison. Very true.

  • Elizabeth Coleman

    I’m working on my psychology midterms right now. (Existential Phenomenology) One of the questions was to write about a phenomenon that the class material has shed light on for you. I wrote about how Nietzsche has illuminated Fox Geezer Syndrome. In embracing an ideal world that is separate from our own,(such as Heaven, or as is popular with many Fox Geezers, The 50s) you have to poo-poo the real world, and thus become an obstinate nay-sayer who refuses to face facts lest it destroy oneself.
    This is why visiting my Tea Partier uncle is so stressful. He is constantly complaining and collapsing under his despair. (Mexicans, Obama, Al-Qaeda, oh my!) When I try to point out the good in the world, he just thinks I’m not taking things seriously.

  • SergeantHeretic

    It just came to me. I grew up in an Evangelical household and boobs deep i nthe subculture. (Yes, everyone, I’m a woman, not a man.) That horrid faux-humble ass-cover has been vimited back at me my whole life and it was and is ALWAYS followed by “BUt I think (________) is SUCH a terrible thing and THOSE people who do it will be punished with hellfire.”

  • Jamoche

    Today’s Oglaf takes the LB version of God to its logical conclusion (also, it’s completely worksafe – important consideration there :) )

  • Matri


    Really, the only surprising thing is that it didn’t happen sooner.

  • http://www.xkcd.com/285 Eran Rathan

    Elizabeth Coleman wrote:
    (Existential Phenomenology)

    I read this as “Experimental Phrenology”, and was wondering if this was in any way related to retrophrenology…

  • stardreamer42

    I hope you get a top grade on that question!