L.B.: The Babel Fish

Left Behind, pp. 10-15 We turn now to the worst crime against plausibility in Left Behind’s early pages. I’ve already said quite a bit about LaHaye and Jenkins’ description of the massive, all-out, leave-no-warhead-behind nuclear surprise attack that Russia and Ethiopia launch on Israel. (A war motivated, they suggest, purely by spite and envy.) What [Read More...]

L.B.: The Literal Donkey’s Penis

Left Behind, pp. 10-15 I like Ezekiel. Even by the standards of Old Testament prophets, the guy was pretty over-the-top. Lots of prophets accused the faithless nation of “promiscuity” and “whoredom,” but Ezekiel took it a step further: “Every prostitute receives a fee, but you give gifts to all your lovers, bribing them to come [Read More...]

L.B.: Peace in the Middle East

Left Behind, pp. 8-9 Here in reality, the "road map" peace plan is stumbling and staggering and likely to fall apart. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat seem determined to undermine the plan in any way possible. Its two-state solution, and its stated goal of an independent Palestinian state in what [Read More...]

L.B.: A Thief in the Night

Jimmy Breslin, God bless him, isn't just a great newspaperman, he's a pretty good theologian too. Breslin writes of a tragedy — an infant strangled in the night in a fall from a bunk bed. Part of the reason that Breslin has been so good for so long is that he writes with an expansive [Read More...]

L.B.: Weird Science

Left Behind, pp. 6-8 Buck Williams is, as mentioned, the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time: At thirty, Cameron Williams was the youngest ever senior writer for the prestigious Global Weekly. The envy of the rest of the veteran staff, he either scooped them on or was assigned to the best stories in the world. [Read More...]

L.B.: Meet the GIRAT

Left Behind, pp. 6&7 It's a dangerous thing for a writer to introduce a fictional character who is, the reader is told, the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time. The pitfall here is the same as if you introduce a character by telling readers he is "the absolute funniest person who ever lived." You can [Read More...]

Joan Didion on Left Behind

Thanks to "david" in Atrios' comments, I found this essay by Joan Didion in The New York Review of Books. Didion's frightening question is how much the kind of thinking found in the Left Behind books influences the decisions of President George W. Bush, proud evangelical Christian, doubter of Darwin, and courter of the fundamentalist [Read More...]

L.B.: Meet Buck Williams

Left Behind, pg. 6 Here we meet LaHaye and Jenkins' second protagonist: Buck Williams. I grew up in Jersey, so I'm a long-time admirer of Buck Williams. The man was a rebounding machine — dominating the NBA boards for a decade, pulling down more than 13,000 rebounds (No. 12 on the all-time list). Williams is [Read More...]