TF: Another award-winner

TF: Another award-winner April 20, 2010

Tribulation Force, pp. 205-207

"You're sorry and I forgive you," Buck Williams told Chloe Steele, whereupon she began to cry:

"What'd I do now?"

"You're just being too sweet about this!"

That was in the previous chapter, which concluded with Chloe's tearful description of how awesome and forgiving Buck Williams is.

The problem with this effusive praise of Jenkins' wish-fulfillment surrogate is that it comes from a woman, and in the Left Behind universe, girls' opinions don't really count. Hence the following pages, in which Buck is praised even more effusively by manly man and successful businessman Stanton Bailey. This praise is delivered, of course, over the telephone:

"Still got the touch. How does it feel to write another award-winner?"

"Well, I'm glad you like it, Mr. Bailey, but I didn't write it for an award."

"We never do, do we? Ever craft one just to make it fit a category in some contest? Me neither. I've seen guys try it, though. Never works. They could take a lesson from you. Thorough, long but tight, all the quotes, all the angles, fair to every opinion. I thought it was real good of you not to make the alien kooks and the religious wackos look stupid. Everybody's got a right to his own opinion, right? And these represent the heartland of America, whether they believe it was something green from Mars or Jesus on a horse. … Anyway, this thing's a masterpiece, and I appreciate your usual great job."

He goes on. And on. And refers to Verna, Buck's putative boss, as "that little gal … what's her name?" because it's not enough just to praise Buck, Jenkins also needs to belittle the woman he created for the sake of belittling her because he thinks that makes Buck look even cooler.

All of this praise for the Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time is due to his Global Weekly cover story on the causes of the disappearances. His research for this article, you'll recall, consisted of interviewing the following: one Catholic bishop, one commercial airline pilot, one charter pilot and a handful of people who work in GW's Chicago bureau. This, Jenkins/Bailey says, constitutes getting "all the quotes, all the angles." ("And, gosh, ace-reporter of mine, how ever did you get access for that interview with Bob in circulation — what a great get!")

We haven't been allowed to read Buck's article, but from this passage and some that came earlier we know it considers three possibilities: Space Aliens, Jesus and the official, Nicolae Carpathia-endorsed explanation of "some kind of electromagnetic phenomenon."

The problem for Nicolae, and for the authors, is that the first two are far more plausible than the third, which is utter nonsense and demonstrably false. Yet this third explanation is supposedly the one that Stanton Bailey regards as most respectable and that the entire world is now accepting with an utterly complacent incuriosity.

Even more of a problem is that Buck Williams decided to assist Nicolae by writing an article that makes the official cover story seem both reasonable and respectable.

It's hard to imagine what Buck's article could possibly have said to pull off such a trick. "Blah blah blah electromagnetism blah blah," might work as an explanation for something about which readers are only dimly, passingly curious — the sort of question about which they might be satisfied to think, "Oh, I see, it's complex and confusing, so whatever." But the question readers will be asking is something they desperately need an answer for: "Where did my daughter go?"

To parents demanding an answer to this question, the "electromagnetism" B.S. would sound like precisely what it is — a half-baked official story used to cover up the truth.

The post-Event world, keep in mind, would have a higher-percentage of scientists than the pre-Event world did. (I'm assuming that even scientists like Francis Collins who self-identify as "evangelical Christians" wouldn't qualify as real, true Christians for LaHaye's Rapture.)

Whatever those scientists might have been working on before the Event — cancer research, cold fusion, proof that Rosenzweig's formula is a fraud — they would all have dropped those efforts to dedicate themselves to the mystery of the missing children. All of them. And even though these scientists would by now have only had a few sleepless, fevered weeks, they'd already have begun to rule out numerous possibilities.

Such as electromagnetism, for example. This is something that can be measured — something that actually is being measured all the time, all over the place. And those measurements would show nothing anomalous, no strange surge of electromagnetism before, after or during the Event.

Not that it would have seemed plausible anyway. The disappearances were too instantaneous — occurring across the entire planet, in every time zone, in the precise same millisecond — and too clearly targeted. The clothes, eyeglasses, hearing aids and implants left behind were undamaged. There was no residue, no ash, no vapor. Millions of tons of matter gone in an instant without any corresponding release of energy, suggesting perhaps something dimensional or cross-dimensional.

All of that points to Space Aliens or Divine Intervention. And it explicitly rules out the official explanation or any other possible natural or random explanation. Someone did this.

Had Buck bothered to interview a single scientist, he would have been able to include this refutation of the official explanation in his article. Not only would this have made for a better and more informative article, but it would have meant the end of Nicolae Carpathia's career as a credible public figure — possibly even the end of his life.

Politicians lie, and some politicians seem to do nothing but lie. Yet lying about this, lying to parents about this, would be a career killer. Satan himself wouldn't be able to rescue his chosen one from the fallout of such a lie. Nicolae would have been sent packing back to Romania whereupon he would be impeached as president and/or torn apart by an angry mob of grieving parents angry that he would try to exploit their grief for his own political gain (and far too enraged to be swayed by his soothing, "look directly into my eyes" mind-control mojo).

After Nicolae's downfall, Buck Williams — in recognition of his work unmasking the official explanation and bringing this hideous, unforgivable lie to light — would have been crowned as People magazine's new Sexiest Man Alive (only the third virgin ever so honored).

Buck didn't write such an article because doing so would have derailed the plot of the series, demonstrating yet again that what it portrays as "prophecy come to life" is a mass of implausibilities and impossibilities that require a world filled with humans who behave in ways that no humans ever have or ever would.

Buck's approach in his article does seem somewhat familiar, though. I've read enough weekly news magazines and watched enough cable news to appreciate that his unresearched hodge-podge of "some say this and others say that and who can really say?" does resemble what passes for "journalism" these days.

But I doubt this "who can really say?" pseudojournalism could survive after the Event. When people are desperately demanding answers, an inconclusive, unsubstantiated collection of competing talking points wouldn't cut it.

Buck's article won't win any awards from parents desperately needing to learn what happ
ened to their children. It can only further frustrate and infuria
te the already enraged masses — people who want their children back or, short of that, want somebody to pay.

Someone did this. For most observers, the global extent of the phenomenon would direct suspicion outward. No one on Earth would do such a thing, and no one on Earth could have. This came from outside, some external power with the ability to pull it off. Space Aliens or Evil Jesus — those are the most reasonable, logical, sensible explanations.

That means, despite what Bailey and Buck think, those would not be fringe opinions. The kooks on the fringes would be chasing other explanations — the Large Hadron Collider or Israeli Rosenfood.

But 90 percent of the planet would most likely be thinking Space Aliens.

And that would mean parents around the world channeling their grief and bewilderment into pure rage directed at America. The White House and Groom Lake and every other U.S. Air Force facility in the world would be under siege. And not just from American parents, but from international leaders and their armies. They would be demanding full disclosure — "What did America know and when did it know it?" "What's in Hangar 18?" "What really happened in Roswell — and don't say 'a weather balloon,' you bastards, they took our children!"

The Americans' claims of innocent ignorance wouldn't likely be persuasive, and the United States would soon find itself at war in a world without allies.

All of which would have happened, of course, far sooner than the four weeks it's taking Global Weekly to get its cover story on the causes of the disappearances out to newsstands.

If a majority of observers opt instead for the Evil Jesus explanation I think the scenario plays out pretty much the same. Just substitute the Vatican for the White House and local church buildings for Air Force bases.

Either way, the world would be awash in blood and flames long before this conversation between Buck and Bailey would have ever had a chance to happen.

Browse Our Archives