Sunday, April 29, 2007
Sherrinford Potter didn't much like Buck Williams. It was nothing personal: he just didn't get along with lazy blowhards. But even if Williams had been his favorite person "It's after ten p.m. at night, and he wants to come on over and watch TV? What's wrong with his own TV?"
"I tried everything," Marge said. "I even told him you'd be watching M*A*S*H. I'm sorry, Ford. But Mr Plank seemed to think this was really urgent."
"If he knows anything about TV, he'd know M*A*S*H would be over before Nightline starts," Potter said. "You couldn't just have told him we'd be going to bed?" Marge was looking at him in that kind of way. She had really thrown herself into her work in the week since the Event. God knows he felt bad about their grandchildren, Ted and Jo-Anne and little Sherry, but he'd been worried sick about Marge. He sighed. "Okay. Okay. He can come over. Now sit down with me and watch. It's the episode where Hawkeye's supposed to be dead, and he gets into a fight with that blowhard Frank Burns."
"Oh, Ford, I ought to pick up the sitting room, it's such a mess - "
"We're doing them a favor, they can take us as we are. Sit down. I love this episode."
Steve Plank was a nice enough guy, Potter supposed: Marge always spoke well of him. Unlike Williams, he thought to apologize for turning up so late at night, but couldn't say why it was so important. They all settled down in front of the TV: it was an interview with the new President of Romania, who'd given a speech at the UN earlier that day.
Potter wasn't impressed. Plank and Williams kept leaning eagerly forward, hanging on every word, making Potter think of a pair of schoolgirls watching their favorite pop star. "Interesting kind of guy," Potter said, to be polite, when they looked at him, but he didn't think so.
Wallace Theodore seemed all shook up himself. Potter didn't watch Nightline all that often, but Theodore was never this flaky. He kept jumping from point to point. And the guy Carpathia kept staring at the camera, like a novice who'd never been on TV before. He didn't have anything to say about the Event, and Theodore didn't ask him anything.
But then, right out of the blue, there came a pretty sharp question: "So you deny having a business rival murdered seven years ago and using intimidation and powerful friends in America to usurp the president's authority in Romania?"
Carpathia smiled. Potter didn't like the look of that smile. "The so-called murdered rival was one of my dearest friends, and I mourn him bitterly to this day."
But that don't answer the question. Potter glanced at Williams, expecting to see him react, but the man just had a wide-eyed look, like a deer in the headlights, waiting to get clobbered. Wasn't this supposed to be homework for Williams' interview with Carpathia later tonight? Why wasn't he taking notes?
He glanced at Marge, and realized that under that polite look, his wife was equally puzzled, and even a bit embarrassed - for her boss and Williams, he realized: she'd always been plenty impressed by Williams.
"This Roman kid is light on his feet," Potter said.
He saw Marge relax a bit. "Romanian," she corrected him. She slid her hand over to his and gave him a grateful squeeze.
"I heard him say he's a full-blood Italian," Potter said. He gave the word full emphasis. He'd thought that bit was even more nonsense: sure, the guy could be Italian, he'd met blond Italians, but he'd never heard that Romanians were mostly Italian: most of them were Slavic, and the country didn't even border on Italy. Marge winked at him.
The interview went on. It got more boring after that: Carpathia was some kind of UN geek, Potter hadn't heard so much UN trivia since Mrs Dunnett's grandson had been memorizing answers for the tri-state high school quiz championship, and Potter - like everyone else in the apartment building who'd hold still for it - had tested him on all the subjects Joey had thought he might be asked about. That was what this guy Carpathia sounded like - a high school geek with a passion for UN trivia. But Plank and Williams watched, absorbed, nodding, fascinated.
"We must disarm, we must empower the United Nations, we must move to one currency, and we must become a global village."
That was it. End of show.
"He's really quite a guy, isn't he?" Williams said to Potter, as they were getting up. It was the first time he'd spoken to Potter, but he didn't seem aware of that. "Really impressive. I was at the UN this afternoon and heard him speak. At the press conference afterwards, he recognized me."
"Oh," Potter said. He couldn't think of anything to say. "That must have been quite a treat for you."
Saturday, April 21, 2007
It was the buzzer from her room that got her off the floor. She didn't know how long she'd lain there. It was hard to get up, her back was stiff, her legs were numb. BUZZZZZZ BUZZZZZ. She pressed the 'listen' button down by millimeters, like it might burn her finger any moment.
"HELLO! HELLO HELLO! Anyone!" the voice was distorted with madness as much as by her speaker. Clara let go of the switch and looked out her window at the street outside. It was quiet save for a big dark car smashed up against a lamp post. She was inspecting the crumple in its hood when a heavyset man in a football bomber turned into view. He walked briskly, head down but coming up to glance around every few steps. Clara slammed the window shut and backed away in horror.
There were people out there. Contaminated, worldly, toxic. The refuse Jesus had abandoned. People who had sinned, who had been weak, who had betrayed Jesus. Like her. But there they were roaming, eating, mating. Out there. She lost her thought as the buzzer shouted at her again, making her jump. It was too much. She pivoted and plunged into empty halls that suddenly seemed hard and bare. The stairwell to the first floor gulped her down with its jagged concrete teeth.
The lobby, when she got there, was dark. The lights weren't on. Fake plastic plants made ominous holes in the indoor daytime twilight. A tangle of fabric nearly tripped her as she came out the fire door, and a patent leather shoe ricocheted off her foot and up against the wall. She tiptoed around the rest of the pile then turned a corner towards the front door. There, late afternoon daylight blazed in through the glass doors that encased the half-way cage to outside. In it, a woman in a floor length tan coat was hammering wildly at the grid of round black buzzer buttons, long wisps of hair flying as she pounded both fists against the panel.
"HELLO! SOMEONE HELP!" Its voice was shattered, half muted through the inside door. Clara edged towards the mad creature slowly. She was within 10 feet before she was spotted.
"Oh there you are! Someone, thank God. Do you know where Bridget is? Bridget Glenn. I'm her mother! Is Bridget ok?"
Clara froze. A beseeching hand rested on the glass between them, fine boned, fingers curved as talons.
"Let me in. Are you a student here? Do you know Bridget?"
"Sinner." Clara croaked. "Unrepentant!" There was a long table to her right, covered in fliers for abstinence programs. She took a handful and flung them at the door. They fluttered off the glass and scattered to the ground. The creature stared at her. Clara could see the sinews of its neck belling out to its shoulders.
It seemed to Clara as though she could almost see the sickly vapors of corruption coalescing around the creature in the cage. They were probing for a crack, it seemed, a hole, a way into God's sanctuary. She blinked her burning eyes and squinted into the back lit cage. The creature shifted, sliding along the glass towards her, searching, testing, snaking. The heat was upon her, invading her nostrils, creeping onto her skin. She gripped clammy forearms with sticky palms.
"My name is Kim Glenn." It was cajoling now, seducing, tempting. "My daughter is enrolled here. I haven't heard from her in three days, I'm worried sick. I need..."
Clara didn't hear the meaning, she just saw the flickering lips. Words were slithering past them, through the door, into her mind. She shook her head violently and grabbed her ears. "No!" In a lightning movement she snatched for more pamphlets, but when her hands hit the table she seized that instead.
"You're not getting me!" Energy came from nowhere, and she heaved the table up against the door, blocking it. "Not again!" She fled back upstairs as fast as rickety legs could take her. "Not again!" She only fell once.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Buck briefly found himself the center of attention. Someone recognized him and expressed surprise and pleasure that he was alive. Buck tried to quiet everyone.....
In my version of Left Behind (god forbid!) this scene never happens because Buck isn't stupid enough to have himself presumed dead, and even if there was a rumor that he was dead, it's not definite enough (and post-Event, no one cares enough) to publish his obituary.
But, supposing that for some reason a rumor that Buck the GIRAT was dead had got around the press corps, at least the chunk of it that covers stuff like a new leader of a small country making his maiden speech at the UN: there would be reporters (named by name or by journal, depending how Buck thought of them) thumping Buck on the shoulder, and saying things like "Hey, back from the dead! or "'Course I knew it wasn't you in that car, no one's quick enough to get Buck" or "I was worried about you, glad to see you're OK, let's meet for a drink after this," or "Didya see that they published your obituary? Pretty good, huh, and now they'll have to write you a new one! Wonder who they've got to write mine?" Meantime Buck has an eye on the door where the GOFAT, young Nicolae Redford himself, with a twinkle of understated jewellery, is about to enter, and is trying to avoid committing himself to anything and get people to hush up so he doesn't miss any of his latest crush-object's wonderful oratory. Mostly, I imagine, this would involve manly grunts and chuckles and pats on the back in a heterosexual kind of way, as Buck tries non-verbally to indicate that this is great but hey, guys, let's all listen to Nicolae! Maybe he'll recite some more lists!
Again, I'm thinking - this could have been such an impressive, telling scene. Carpathia has just made the most boring, pointless speech ever, yet the unSaved unRaptured - all of those at the UN, of course, aside from the few who got the video from their local RTC church - are listening to him in awe. Everyone. Only a handful of people - and most of them, probably, in subordinate positions - are Saved, and can therefore hear Carpathia's speech for what it is, as their Magic Words provide a kind of holy shield for Carpathia's mindwhammy. And that handful are watching, astonished, as the most dreadful speech they've ever heard brings the massed representatives of the United Nations, and reporters, other translators, everyone! - to their feet in a standing ovation.
Supposing one of the reporters was immune. And this reporter is standing next to Buck at the press conference. Reporters are waving their hands and asking questions - gibberish questions, or at least pointless nonsense (Thank you, sir, I was wondering if you could go over the dates for U Thant again ...) - and Carpathia is smiling and responding to them with what sounds like pointless trivia (Of course. Pantanaw U Thant was appointed acting secretary-general on November 3, 1961. A Friday. He retired from that office on December 31, 1971, also a Friday.) or more of that "appropriate humor" - that this reporter listened to, aghast, wondering what kind of person makes light, whimsical jokes about the Event now, and why everyone is laughing at them.
This reporter tries to ask a question, but of course Carpathia doesn't call on them: Buck notices - and notices this reporter's urgency - and wants to know what it is, what's going on? But they get separated in the crowd, and the reporter disappears...
Well, of course, if the LB authors had wanted to write intelligently about how someone like Chloe might feel and think, Chloe might be reacting because all this evangelical Christian stuff reminds her too poignantly of her mother. Maybe when her mother was alive and going on about it, it bored and annoyed Chloe, and she kept wishing her mother would shut up, and stop bringing God into everything. And now her mother's dead, and Chloe walked out of last night's meeting because it was that or burst into tears because everything that wimpy little pastor said sounded like something her mother had said, and although it bores and annoys her she really wishes that her mother was saying that to her, instead of this dreary man with the grey voice. And she misses her mother so much, and her dad doesn't seem to want to talk about it, he wants her to watch this creepy video which says she should be glad her mother's gone. So she walked out halfway through and walked home, and cried a lot of the way home, but when her father got back he didn't seem to notice. And now instead of asking her what's wrong, he wants to bother her with more God-talk. Is he going to disappear too?
That's the kind of thing LB would have written if they'd actually been thinking about Chloe as a person, instead of a stock figure to be redeemed from sin.
Somebody remind me.. who tried to kill Buck, and why?
Colonel Mustard, in the men's room at the Pan-Con Club, with a red-hot poker, after he had to wait 10 pages of interminable prose for Buck to finish.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
The simmering resentment that had characterized her parents' marriage since her brother Josh had been a toddler had boiled over during dinner, right on schedule. The current excuse for the fight – a few years earlier, Jody had come to the conclusion that her parents didn't fight about anything, they had fights and justified them as they went along – was church, which was continuing its recent meteoric climb up the "things that made Gregory and Betsy Kohler scream at each other" rankings.
Her father's voice rose sharply in intensity, soon followed by a flapping noise. Jody, by now a connoisseur of the sounds of parental combat, guessed he'd thrown a magazine to the ground, since nothing more dramatic had been ready to hand. Jody grinned in spite of herself. Her parents hadn't paid attention when she'd "redecorated" two of the rooms that saw much of the combat – the living room and the dining room – and replaced the few surviving glass and china knick-knacks with lightweight woven baskets, needlepoint samplers, and "Oprah" magazines.
As Jody lay across her bed, head and shoulders crooked over the edge so she could peer underneath, a stray beam of light scattered amidst the dust motes orbiting the preserved family treasures. A china statuette of a serene woman stroking an even more serene sheep was barely short enough to fit standing up under Jody's bed, and so she'd put it there last. The statuette, then, blocked her view of the brightly colored glass flowers on wire stems that sprouted from a Kool-Aid red glass globe, which she'd loved ever since she was a little girl. To either side of the flowers, the statuette was flanked by a handful of lesser artifacts – the black clay pottery vase with incised patterns, the small Japanese lacquer-work tray, her grandmama Elaine's third-favorite Hummel figurine, and the rest.
A crackling sound from the living room told Jody that her mother had responded, probably with the small pink Easter basket filled with green plastic grass. If only I'd been able to disarm the kitchen too, she thought.
Sunday, April 8, 2007
And she waited. After half a minute she became aware of her head and chest throbbing with double pulse beats. Her stomach started constricting in on itself. Where was Jesus? She broke her pose and sprinted out into the hallway, Michelle's sweater traveling with her, tangled around her left Converse. A scatter of college wear lay in a heap outside Maria's door. Silence swallowed her whole in one massive gulp. They were gone. She was not. Jesus had gathered the righteous, He had assembled the flocks at his side, he had brought in the faithful. Michelle was raptured, Maria was raptured. Clara clutched the guilty flesh of her painfully solid wrists. Could God be late for her? Was he still coming? She fell to her knees, blood red fingernails seized in a desperate claw of prayer.
"Hello?" She screamed. Nobody answered. "Hello?" Nothing. Was anybody else here at all? It didn't matter, she knew it as soon as she thought it. There was no point looking. She wasn't worthy, she was abandoned. She knelt in place until she couldn't feel her knees anymore. Between the carpet and ceiling tiles, her sobs didn't so much as echo.
In the course of this discussion, many of us have speculated what would happen in LaHaye and Jenkins world if it were not populated by drones from casting central. What would happen in this dramatic post rapture universe if the people in it did not clack mindlessly through a checklist of events drawn from a semi-literate reading of the bible, behaving all the while like they've already read the dust jacket of the book they are in. Imagine you suddenly woke up and found that all the world's children had disappeared, along with a few people belonging to a narrowly defined Christian sub-group (according to L&J you're not a Real True Christian unless you say the magic words inviting Jesus into your life, and hold strictly to premillenial dispensationalist dogma -- see the Slacktivist for more articulate explanation), what would you think? What would you do? This is a forum for those stories.
Sunday, April 1, 2007
Main Index of Fred Clark's Tribulation Force criticism:
- Inaction Heroes, pp. vii-x, February 20, 2009. The review of Tribulation Force begins with the recap of Left Behind that almost bears a passing resemblance to the book and we are reminded of some bad writing and theology.
- Sign o' the Times, pp. 1-2, February 27, 2009. In which news by way of theology is examined and there is generalized Bible reading without recourse to specifics. Rayford's co-pilot doesn't want to talk to him because Steele is now pestering for Jesus. Also, when does Tribulation Force take place in relation to Left Behind?
- A New Car, pp. 2-5, March 6, 2009. The second recap leads to the question: Why is perception of reality the same for all RTC in these books? The point of view switches from Rayford to Buck, and we examine what specific car and apartment Buck doesn't have now that he's in Chicago.
- The Militant Verna, pp. 5-8, March 13, 2009. "Wherein LaHaye & Jenkins' overwhelming visceral contempt for women almost succeeds in distracting readers from the astonishing inappropriateness of Buck Williams' actions."
- Fantasy Sequence, pp. 8-14, March 20, 2009. In which the signs of an abuser are reviewed, Rayford and Chloe have a moment of characterization, and then we return to Buck's (and Jenkins') chauvinistic sexual harassment of his peers and dismissal of Chicago as a rural backwater.
- No Shame, pp. 14-16, March 27, 2009. About putting evangelizing before friendship (or any other form of communication) and the hostility this can create. Rayford's boss sits him down for a talk about his new tendency to evangelize until the pastless Nicky Edwards complains.
- Not Funny, pp. 5-20, April 03, 2009. There are some things that shouldn't be funny, and why Buck's subplot with Verna Zee is one of them. Also, what this says about the authors.
- Enough with Chapter 1, Already, pp. 16-20, April 10, 2009. As chapter 1 ends, the Verna subplot ends with a drunk call from Stanton Bailey at his "after hours" phone number, Verna humiliated for doing the best she can with no instructions, and Buck getting some non-Chloe tail.
- Stoppage Time, pp. 21-29, April 24, 2009. Buck and Chloe continue their neo-Victorian courtship and there is a discussion of their pre-conversion celibacy and the benefits that has for the readers. Also, there is discussion of religious tolerance leading to homosexuality, mass murder, and Hitler.
- Bruce's Big Plan, pp. 28-32, May 1, 2009. Barnes' (and L&J's) plan to build a giant bunker is examined. Additionally there is talk of prophecy in and not in the bible.
- Love, Apocalypse Style, pp. 33-38, May 11, 2009. The awkward writing and creepy relationship of Buck and Chloe . . . and Rayford. Is love a zero sum game? Also, Buck chuckles about having the Antichrist after him and Rayford watches television.
- Bible Studies, pp. 38-43, May 15, 2009. Why the Bible is not what a premillenial dispensationalist Christian wants to study at the end of the L&J universe, and a reading guide for someone that wants to follow along. Also, there is a momentary insight into the biblical Jesus Christ.
- Meta-NHVC, pg. 45, May 22, 2009. New Hope Village Church is suddenly filled with people that neither Bruce or L&J really notice. Meta-Loretta really shines. Also, a note on a Star Trek convention without Trekkies.
- What's the Story, Mr. Exposition?, pp. 45-52, May 29, 2009. Bruce talks about his extra special burden and importance to the members of NHVC who mostly ignore him, about why Hattie deserves her fate, and then suddenly falls silent on the future.
- Tweaking Buck's Article, pp. 48-53, June 5, 2009. While Chloe and Buck continue to act like tweens, Buck also considers dropping in on the Antichrist. Also, Buck suddenly has a magically written story to polish that fails to give basic theories about the Event.
- Skip Verse 10, pp. 53-55, June 12, 2009. Disinformation 101 for the Antichrist and why Buck's article is an attack on the Catholic Churches position on faith vs. works. Also, why Calvin and Luther aren't in the L&J version of heaven.
- The Second-Biggest Story, pp. 56-59, June 19, 2009. In which there is confusion about Buck not being dead, people stay quiet about the most massive political shifts ever, and we learn that we can't learn about the Antichrist's powers.
- That Guy, pp. 59-60, July 3, 2009. Buck takes that last space in the inexplicably full church parking space and there is examination of what exactly makes him "That Guy."
- Let Us Sing, pg. 61, July 10, 2009. We see a normal church service in a very not normal time. What hymns would they be singing?
- Bruce's Sermon, Part 1, pp. 60-63, July 17, 2009. Bruce sermonizes on the four horsemen for the readers, not the characters in the book. Also, why Left Behind requires the willing suspension of humanity.
- Bruce's Sermon, Part 2, pp. 60-65, July 24, 2009. Why does Bruce have to cajole his followers into belief in the wake of the Event and the Russia-Israel war? Bruce also expounds on what is to come.
- Bruce's Sermon, Part 3, pp. 63-65, July 31, 2009. It's my way or the literal way. We watch Bruce backpedal on the symbolism vs. literal reading debate, be as good of a speaker as the Antichrist and then drop lots of hints.
- Bruce's Sermon, Part 4, pp. 69-73, August 8, 2009. Four deeply weird things about Bruce's sermon, including the bizarre secrecy when surrounded by other Christians, the invisible map needed to read the Bible Bruce's way, and the sudden proficiency with the Bible that seems to be conferred to the unseen audience. Also, why peace is war and war is peace and the hypocritical conclusion of the sermon.
- Out of Alignment, pp. 73-74, August 14, 2009. After three weeks, Bruce's brand new congregation acts like a long time practicing evangelical one. For evidence there is noodling, the small talk with Bruce, and Bruce's denial of what he just spent hours preaching. Also, what should Bruce be telling them to do? Finally, the way the words vs. acts debate and they way that words matter in the Left Behind universe more than actions.
- Irreconcilable Differences, pp. 74-79, August 21, 2009. Why the Christianity of the main characters apparently prevents them from having normal relationships with each other.
- Still A Million Things To Say, pp. 78-82, August 28, 2009. The "Chloe situation" continues to present nothing but narrative problems, especially in light of the much more interesting "Alice situation."
- No Heroes, pp. 82-85, September 4, 2009. As Buck and Bruce plan to do nothing in suburbia a list of real heroes is offered in comparison to the Tribulation Force.
- Mr. McGillicuddy, pp. 85-91, September 11, 2009. In which Buck accepts lots of free gifts from the Antichrist and shreds the ethical conduct code of his paper on a slowly traversed path toward his possible execution.
- Unlikable, pp. 91-95, September 18, 2009. The vast gap between the intended effect of characterization and the actual personalities of the main characters is examined in depth, with an example inspired in part by Charles Dickens' defenses of the underdog.
- Feast and Famine, pp. 94-104, October 2, 2009. In which Chaim Rosenzweig, agent of the Antichrist, argues for feeding the whole world while Buck, the Christian, argues that they should starve.
- An Approved Wanton, pp. 104-105, October 9, 2009. A classic plot device is fumbled into the book with several major errors, not the least of which is the painful misogyny.
- My Lunch With Chaim, pp. 97-104, October 16, 2009. Chaim defends Nicolae while Buck rolls his eyes, pacificism is a joke in the LB universe, and we see Chaim, Lehaye and Jenkins view of Judaism.
- Tim LeHaye's Cherokee Grandmother, pp. 105-108, October 23, 2009. Discussion of the LB version of Real True Judaism continues with the first glance of Tsion Ben-Judah (TBJ), a Jewish Antijew.
- Saving Hattie Durham, pp. 108-109, November 2, 2009. Having spent chapters talking about how the only point to his trip to New York City is to rescue Hattie, Buck doesn't bother to talk to her once. Also, the Antichrist recruits Buck and Rayford to be bystanders, not heroes.
- Showdown Let-Down, pp. 108-113, November 8, 2009. When confronted by the Antichrist, Buck refuses to apologize to save his life and acts like a teenager while the Antichrist shrugs it off. Also, a quick check with Rayford/Chloe.
- Spies Like Us (And We Like Spies), pp. 113-117, December 4, 2009. Having failed to save Hattie or put off Nicolae's suspicion, Buck now fails to do his job for his paper and his job for the Tribulation Force.
- Karma Police, pp. 117-126, December 11, 2009. There are three groups of the religious left in the Left Behind universe and one of them is temporary. Also, the Antichrist smuggles snacks into baseball games and is planning on buying all media outlets.
- Anna Nicolae Carpathia, pp. 126-128, December 18, 2009. In which Nicolae buys the world's news organizations for $271,556 each and there is a problem with a one world language mandate.
- LaHaye World, pp. 126-128, January 8, 2010. In which some other hurdles to brute force purchase of the media become apparent and another way the books fail in their primary goal becomes apparent.
- Do I Love You, Do I?, pp. 128-133, January 11, 2010. The beginning of "the romantic awakening of 30-year-old virgin Buck Williams and Rayford Steele's Guide to Losing Converts and Alienating People" as well as an examination of Buck biting it.
- Pan-Con One, pp. 139-147, January 25, 2010. Rayford sits down with HR and is very, very "virtuous."
- The Good King, pp. 147-151, February 8, 2010. Buck can't disagree with the idea of a benevolent dictatorship, but he has some suspicions about the moral fiber of this "Antichrist" character.
- The End of the Interview, pp. 151-157, February 15, 2010. In which the great HR machine of The Beast is examined and found to be either invisible or wanting. Also, we see the lead of the Tribulation's bad romance.
- The Flowers are in the Trash, pp. 157-162, February 22, 2010. In which Chloe, around and during phone calls, is miserable.
- GWFYL, pp. 162-169, March 1, 2010. While Buck waits his turn there is examination of how the free world is no more in the L&J universe and then an in-depth discussion of God's Will For Your Life, romance, and having children in the end of times.
- Sign My Yearbook?, pp. 169-172, March 8, 2010. In which a church phone directory serves as a focus for bad writing, poor characterization, and inhuman behavior from Buck.
- Dramatic Invasion, pp. 172-176, March 15, 2010. If there is a fundamental disconnect between what you see on CNN and Revelation 11:5, Bruce wants to remind you that your eyes cannot be trusted.
- Morality and Sex and All of That, pp. 175-177, March 22, 2010. During Bible study Chloe is upset with Buck, but not because he spent the day with the Antichrist. She wants to talk about "morality and sex and all of that."
- Then As Farce, pp. 177-188, March 29, 2010. In which we learn that women don't know what they want, are untrustworthy eyewitnesses, and should never be trusted, even if they're your daughter. Also, Chloe and Buck talk about the flowers in the trash.
- Who's Your Daddy?, pp. 189-192, April 5, 2010. In which Buck raises his voice while Rayford silently cheers and there is more examination of the paternalistic role of Buck in his and Chloe's romance.
- What Are the Odds?, pp. 192-205, April 13, 2010. In which Buck chuckles while the humiliated Chloe weeps and then they talk about their very strange and virginal dating histories.
- Another Award-winner, pp. 205-207, April 20, 2010. In which Buck covers for the Antichrist when aliens and religion should be under siege.
- Lying to Stan, pp. 207-212, May 4, 2010. Buck lies to Stanton Bailey, stabs Jimmy Borland in the back, and glosses over bribes and threats while Stanton Bailey also acts out of character.
- The Religion Editor, pp. 213-217, May 11, 2010. Buck has nothing ambitious planned. Why doesn't he? Why isn't he preaching premillenial dispensationalist theology? Also, Jimmy Borland is introduced and exploited and we learn why all news happening in Israel is religious. Finally, the Bruce countdown is near to beginning.
- The Scornful Colleague, pp. 218-219, May 18, 2010. Jimmy and Buck discuss the rapture and Jimmy offers several legitimate concerns that are summarily dismissed.
- The Ever-present Absence of Absence, pp. 226-229, May 31, 2010. A discussion of why, in this world without children, this is not the story of a world without children. Also, Buck is better at your job than you are.
- Tribulation Baggers, pp. 229-231, June 7, 2010. In which the real world Maine GOP platform is a response to Nicolae Carpathia, and the John Birch society finds refuge in L&J's fictional world.
- Last Supper, pp. 231-235, June 15, 2010. Rayford and Chloe have the good fortune of being able to have family time while not even trying to comprehend the upcoming end of the world.
- Direct Leading, pp. 236-243, June 22, 2010. During Bible study Rayford and Buck are the only ones that don't get direct leading from God about their respective job offers, and we learn that Bruce didn't send the mysterious flowers.
- Meanacing Flowers, pp. 243-250, June 29, 2010. The inept president of the airline appears to heap praise on Rayford and accidentally spill the beans about the Antichrist's evil anonymous flower plot.
- Gang of Four, pp. 248-251, July 6, 2010. The One World government consists entirely of four people, no bureaucracy or nothing, and we see several examples of how strange this is.
- Fast-forward, pp. 251-257, July 12, 2010. Marge Potter does Buck's work for him, he works on big stories while pining for big stories, and the Antichrist's plot to give chocolates to Chloe continues.
- Calvin and Hobbes, pg. 257, July 20, 2010. A discussion of the difference between Calvin's "total depravity" and "utter depravity" and it's relation to the off-scene Left Behind crime wave.
- Another World, pp. 257-258, July 27, 2010. In which 17 sentences advance the plot more than the prior 256 pages, and in which 4 billion people continue to act unlike 4 billion people.
- Back to the Airport, pp. 258-265, August 4, 2010. Buck and Rayford spend more time at Chicago's O'Hare and there is an examination of the shallowness of depravity in the Left Behind world.
- August and Everything After, August 10, 2010. In which Slacktivist's Left Behind takes a break until September 6.
Main Index of Fred Clark's Left Behind criticism:
- Pretrib Porno, pp. 1-3, October 18, 2003. A discussion of the main character's suggestive names and an introduction to the gender politics prevalent in the Left Behind world.
- The Denial of Death, pp. 4-5, October 20, 2003. An introduction to why the rapture of the Left Behind universe avoids the messy complications of any actual people dying.
- Meet Buck Williams, p. 6, October 20, 2003. Why the characters of Buck and Ray are Mary Sue Stand-ins for their authors. Also, the phrase "The Greatest Investigative Reporter of All Time (GIRAT, see next post) is introduced.
- Meet the GIRAT, pp. 6-7, October 21, 2003. Why the introduction of character supposed to be "the greatest" in any field is dangerous, especially when their field is writing.
- Weird Science, pp. 6-8, October 22, 2003. Why LaHaye and Jenkins' agricultural miracle in Israel isn't actually all that impressive.
- Peace in the Middle East, pp. 8-9, October 23, 2003. All that is needed for peace in the middle east is for Israel to be wealthier.
- The Literal Donkey's Penis, pp. 10-15, October 24, 2003. Russia, Ethiopia and Libya launch a nuclear attack on Israel, of course.
- The Babel Fish, pp. 10-15, October 25, 2003. Why the irrefutable presence of God in the Left Behind universe fails to convince anyone of his existence.
- Do Panic, pp. 15-19, November 2, 2003. In which the rapture goes unnoticed by the readers and common sense is beaten to death with a stick.
- Tony the Flight Attendant, p. 18, November 3, 2003. Just how inclusive is the Left Behind universe's rapture anyway?
- Not Creepy Enough, chpt. 1, November 7, 2003. The creepiness of Left Behind is subverted by the authors "unadulterated triumphalism."
- The Naked Truth, pp. 21-25, November 8, 2003. A discussion of why no one examined the piles of clothes left behind, and what this suggests about the characters.
- The Lex Luthor Factor, pp. 23-24, December 9, 2003. In which questions are asked but then never answered and a possible opening for the Antichrist is ignored.
- Concorde Calling, pp. 25-27, December 10, 2003. Beginning with a discussion of why a Concorde was carrying so many real true Christians and ending with a return to the discussion of how the Left Behind rapture desperately avoids death.
- Hard to Get a Cab, pp. 28-30, December 20, 2003. LeHaye and Jenkins refuse to employ storytelling to describe what has happened during the rapture and speculate about how hard it is to get a cab at O'Hare after the rapture.
- A Fool's Hope, pp. 29-30, December 22, 2003. Why the avoidance of death in the Left Behind universe conflicts with the teachings of Paul.
- This Ain't Science Fiction, p. 30, December 26, 2003. In the "near" future technological progress has stopped at the year 1994 and why this has occurred.
- My Favorite Character So Far, pp. 22-37, December 30, 2003. The saga of the comedic drunk executive comes to an end.
- E-mail MacGyver, pp. 30-32, January 16, 2004. Buck lies to Hattie, a presumptive example of terrorism is overlooked, a discussion of the protective powers of alcohol, and Buck belongs to the worst frequent flier program in history.
- Flirting With Disaster, pp. 32-34, March 23, 2004. Buck flirts with Hattie to allow him to continue to destroy airline property and then summarizes his ethical philosophy.
- God Took My Copilot, pp. 34-35, March 24, 2004. Why you should never fly with a born-again flight crew and the good reporting of The Advocate.
- The Evil of Banality, pp. 35-39, March 25, 2004. Mass carnage means that our heroes have a long commute ahead of them.
- Buck Deplanes, pp. 41-43, March 31, 2004. Logistics and self-absorption meet slapstick comedy.
- Scream Morality, pp. 43-45, April 6, 2004. What the internal morality of the Left Behind universe says about the future of Rayford's co-pilot and Hattie.
- Inhumanly profamily, p. 45, April 20, 2004. When being "profamily" can become a barrier to acting morally.
- Yesterday's News, p. 45, April 20, 2004. In which the looting of airport stores is given a closer examination.
- Go to Hell, pp. 45-46, May 5, 2004. Why Left Behind isn't just very bad writing but is decidedly not Good News.
- Pagan Babies, pp. 46-48, May 19, 2004. Why Left Behind theology sidesteps the issue of God roasting pagan babies in hell and also our first glimpse at the disappearances.
- Shackled, p. 48, May 21, 2004. A discussion of what the meaning of life is in the Left Behind universe.
- Sorrow Floats, pp. 48-49, June 15, 2004. When family members depart and another mention of the Left Behind universe's avoidance of death.
- Thank Heaven for Little Girls, pp. 49-54, July 28, 2004. In which we learn that an emergency is something that concerns Rayford and he details how his creepy like of Hattie is even creepier than before.
- Scream 2 Morality, pp. 50-53, July 29, 2004. Why not being a main character in Left Behind can kill you dead, even by suicide.
- Keep an Eye on the Jews, pp. 54-57, August 3, 2004. The disappearance of billions isn't as big of a story as a Jewish banking conspiracy at the U.N. and a speech by the Romanian President.
- The Final Frontier, pp. 57-58, August 5, 2004. Could the God impostor from Star Trek V have invaded the Left Behind Universe? Why isn't that a valid theory?
- Dr. Dives is Bored, pp. 59, August 6, 2004. A bored doctor patches up Buck while ignoring the horrific carnage just outside the airport windows.
- Nice People Finish Last, pp. 59-66, August 17, 2004. An examination of the nice people left behind and a discussion of Calvinist selective reading.
- Get in Line, p. 68, December 20, 2004. Buck waits in line at the airport because that is absolute most important thing he could be doing.
- Unmotivated Close-up, pp. 68-71, December 22, 2004. It just so happens that Buck has notes from an interview with a Nobel winning scientist and miracle worker in which the scientist has talked for length about the Romanian President. Just because.
- Cursed are the Peacemakers, pp. 68-71, December 23, 2004. Why the premillenial dispensationalists are so worried about people that want peace.
- Nero's Fiddle, pp. 71-73, April 1, 2005. Buck and a airline customer service agent flirt and talk while dozens of planes burn though the windows in front of them.
- Ars Poetica, pp. 66-68 & 73-76, April 8, 2005. Rayford acts like a human, almost without the knowledge and consent of Lehaye and Jenkins.
- 10 Pages in the Men's Room, pp. 77, April 15, 2005. Buck ducks into the men's room to pull something out of his pants and we reminisce about the comparative costs of laundry services and chartered planes.
- Buck & Jules, pp. 77-80, April 15, 2005. Buck flashes back while still in the men's room, and we meet a Real True Christian who talks about the Israel miracle and Buck's theism.
- Not a Conspiracy Theory, pp. 80-87, April 23, 2005. Still in the flashback, we learn about the International Jewish Banking conspiracy and are introduced to Stoneagal/Rockefeller.
- Reciprocity, pp. 87-89, April 29, 2005. A consideration of the relationship between Hattie and Rayford and who really loves whom.
- Rule No. 4, pp. 89-96, May 6, 2005. In which Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules of writing fiction are egregiously violated, especially No. 4, and Buck plays phone tag.
- The Good Wife, pp. 89-96, May 7, 2005. Buck makes a list of people to call and recalls his brother's "Good Wife" who might be in a bad situation if she were in the real world.
- Accidental Honesty, pp. 92-96, May 13, 2005. In which LeHaye and Jenkins inadvertently admit that the raptured people are dead and the number of people gone is calculated at between 1.85 and 2.25 billion.
- Holy Spirits, pp. 97-98, May 20, 2005. Rayford takes a drink and there is more discussion of Jesus and grape juice (see also "Hide the Beer, the Pastor's here" below) and also Rayford and Irene's take on truthfulness.
- The Undead, pp. 98-101, May 27, 2005. Real True Christians aren't dead, they're just dead-like.
- Explicit Content, pp. 101-104, June 6, 2005. On the parallels between sexual pornography and spiritual pornography and the difference between fear of God and love of God.
- Spiritual Girly-men, pp. 102-104, June 10, 2005. An examination of Rayford's self-doubt in relation to his son's effeminacy and a follow up to "Explicit Content."
- No Change of Power, pp. 104-105, June 10, 2005. The whole "rapture" part of the book is over. The international Jewish banking conspiracy is coming to the forefront of the plot involving special elections in Romania and a bizarrely static political landscape in which the Antichrist completely fails to act.
- Making the Cut, pp. 105-109, June 17, 2005. More discussion of how to separate Real True Christians and Christians-in-name-only according to the Left Behind universe, with a bit of discussion of the works/faith separation.
- Finishing Chapter 6, pp. 109-114, June 24, 2005. In which telephones are still important, Buck has filed an imaginary report, Chloe rides a pink unicorn across the country and Buck notes a surprise move in Romania.
- Nineveh, chpt. 1-6, July 1, 2005. A reminder of why this is important and a discussion of premillenial dispensationalism and evironmentalism.
- Funny You Should Ask, pp. 115-121, July 8, 2005. Buck's travel plans neatly segue into a discussion of the alien kidnapping theory of the rapture.
- Opening Irene's Bible, pp. 121-123, July 15, 2005. The Bible manages to break through LeHaye and Jenkin's writing, if only for a moment.
- Other People, pp. 123-126, July 22, 2005. On spiritually dead churches and why judgment is only for other people.
- If You Can Make It There, pp. 126-129, July 19, 2005. The geography of New Jersey and New York City becomes hopelessly complicated by Buck's journey through it.
- Everybody Loves Rayford, pp. 129-133, August 12, 2005. The Left Behind universe revolves around Buck and Rayford and the disturbing consequences of this for other characters.
- The Antichrist Checklist, pp. 135-142, August 19, 2005. More interesting things happen in Romania and Fred addresses why this only makes sense if you accept that there is an Antichrist Checklist.
- Narcissus Reflects, pp. 142-144, August 26, 2005. Why Rayford is definitely narcissistic in the clinical sense.
- Regarding Hattie, pp. 144-150, September 9, 2005. Both Rayford and Buck treat Hattie like crap when she shows some emotion.
- Executive Intelligence Review, pp. 151-154, September 16, 2005. Despite the carnage outside, the Global Weekly Executive Board suspects that the Jews are up to something.
- The Blair Witch Video, pp. 154-156, September 27, 2005. In which we get the New Hope Church answering machine, and Chloe arrives home.
- Suspicious Phone Call, pp. 156-159, September 30, 2005. Buck jumps to a new genre and the bad guys make another stupid move.
- Leap of Proof, pp. 159-165, October 14, 2005. Why Rayford believes that God did it, and that there is no other explanation.
- Selective Literalism, p. 165, October 21, 2005. If there is a literal hell, then why isn't the requirement for good works literal also?
- A Grief Denied, pp. 165-170, October 28, 2005. In which questions about God's character are ignored in favor of watching television, there is another phone call, and Rayford lies to Chloe while he evangelizes to her.
- This is London, pp. 171-186, November 4, 2005. Jerry Jenkins jumps out of the genre behind Buck (see "Suspicious Phone Call") and some time is spent discussing the subtle clues indicating that Buck's friend Dirk was murdered such as the fact that someone confessed to killing him. To the police. On the phone. Which was taped. Also, Buck's other friend is killed in a car bomb and Buck pretends to be dead.
- The Nonattenders, pp. 172-174, November 12, 2005. Attendance at church is mandatory, but not sufficient, to be saved. Also, a reminder of why this is important.
- The Visitation Pastor, p. 196, November 25, 2005. Why Bruce Barnes not only sucked as a visitation pastor and what this says about LeHaye's position in his church.
- The Rise of the Anti-Huck, chpt. 11, December 22, 2005. How Huck Finn's salvation contrasts with the saved/unsaved in Left Behind.
- God's Battered Wife, pp. 188-199, January 6, 2006. The minor character of Loretta is related to the story of Job and there is a discussion about the character of Left Behind's God.
- King of Kings and Capo di tutti capi, pp. 189-190, January 20, 2005. On the trauma and fear involved with dealing with God in the Left Behind universe.
- Dogs and Cats Sleeping Together, p. 198, January 27, 2006. A reminder of the setting (which is ignored in the text) leads to a discussion of God's spirit in the post-rapture world.
- The Real Sin of the Rev. Bruce Barnes, pp. 195-197, February 4, 2006. A discussion of the not really all that bad sins of the Rev. Bruce Barnes.
- Hospitality vs. Sales, wrapping up chpt. 11, February 21, 2006. Why evangelism should be more than a sales pitch.
- Buck, Incognito, pp. 205-206, March 3, 2006. Buck goes incognito by calling a bunch of people and letting them know that he's alive and okay.
- Grace and Greed, pp. 206-208, March 14, 2006. As a odd contradiction of the setting is pointed out there is an important theme in the characterization of God as abusive.
- Fizzbinsationalism, pp. 208-210, March 24, 2005. Barnes takes a section of Paul's Resurrection Chapter out of context and what this says about dispensationalism and the truth of scripture.
- Still Not Creepy Enough, pp. 211-217, April 14, 2006. About turning a message from beyond the grave into a sales pitch.
- What's On Second, pp. 211-213, May 5, 2006. Jenkins backtracks about what he's written, an outline for the rest of the book is offered, and there is a swipe at the media.
- yes I said yes I will Yes, pp. 213-217, May 30, 2006. The deeply personal contents of conversion and some Christian spell casting.
- Over at the Frankenstein Place, pp. 217, June 2, 2006. Tired of his spy story Buck switches genres again, this time into horror, and we see the looming Antichrist.
- Today's Gospel Reading, pp. 217-218, June 25, 2006. Rayford reads the Gospel without actually reading or commenting on the Gospel.
- Tactical Decency, p. 218, July 7, 2006. More on the differences between "Assholes for Christ" and hospitable evangelism (See Hospitality vs. Sales above).
- Sunday Morning Coming Down, pp. 218-219, July 17, 2006. Rayford goes to New Hope Village Church, which doesn't serve a village.
- Full House, pp. 219-221, July 23, 2006. New Hope service is oddly complacent about the disappearance of two billion people, Barnes lies about a bit more, and some singing occurs.
- Episode IV, p. 221, July 28, 2006. A note to writers about choosing meaningful names for characters and places.
- Sunday Afternoons, pp. 221-225, October 13, 2006. All of the characters pointedly avoid dealing with recent events, Hattie gets a creepy dinner invitation from Rayford and readers are supposed to be thrilled at name recognition.
- Mostly Dead, pp. 227-228, October 20, 2006. Supposedly deceased and in hiding Buck sits around JFK and reads an obituary for himself that shouldn't exist in the wake of the rapture.
- Driving to O'Hare, pp. 228-231, October 27, 2006. In which an important meeting is glossed over and we learn that Satan pretty much controls everything.
- Enchanting, pp. 228-231, November 4, 2006. Quite obviously Chloe is a "selfish, greedly, jealous, petty, spiteful" sinner, she just doesn't know it yet. Also, a discussion of the premises of Barnes' (and LeHaye and Jenkins') faith.
- When the pawn ..., pp. 231-233, November 10, 2006. The international conspiracy is less than competent and we finally get some actual (although odd) description of the Antichrist.
- A Routine Flight, pp. 233-234, November 17, 2006. In which there is a routine flight that should be anything but and we check in on our apocalypse checklist.
- CSI Atlanta, pp. 234-236, November 25, 2006. A discussion of what people would call "The Event" and the continuing situational blindness of the characters.
- Lunch With Dad, pp. 236-237, December 1, 2006. Chloe is subjected to her father's confession of his psuedo-affair with Hattie and we learn a bit more about her relationship with her mother.
- Faith vs. Reason, p. 237, December 9, 2006. Why intellectual honesty is an oxymoron and other viewpoints of the premillennial dispensationalist.
- Humbert Steele, pp. 237-23, December 17, 2006. Rayford tries to be sympathetic while wondering how to string along Hattie and he accidentally compares the rapture to death.
- Going to the UN, pp. 239-241, January 5, 2007. In which the UN of the Left Behind universe is examined, Buck shows his self-absorption again, and we learn that the Global Weekly is putting the President of Romania on its cover rather than last week's rapture.
- Boutros Boutros Carpathia, part 1, pp. 241-247, January 12, 2007. A warning about superlative characters is given and the reader is allowed to see the Antichrist give a speech without notes. Also, a discussion of why Rosenzweig's formula is no longer necessary after the Event.
- Boutros Boutros Carpathia, part 2, pp. 242-247, January 19, 2007. Carpathia, the Antichrist, gives a well received speech to the UN in which he lists countries, recites UN trivia, and provokes international incidents, all between the lines.
- BBC 3, pp. 239-247, January 26, 2007. How the speech to the UN could have been made effective and the differences between the Antichrist and Jesus Christ in Left Behind.
- Domestic Agenda, pp. 249-250, February 7, 2007. In which there is more suburban travel and why Chloe's feminism isn't really feminism at all.
- A GIRAT exclusive, pp. 250-251, February 16, 2007. Buck gets a non-exclusive exclusive before a pointless press conference. Oh, and his cover is blown.
- Antiheroes, pp. 251-253, February 23, 2007. In which the Antichrist proves to hold a reasonable position, demonstrating that the authors of Left Behind do not.
- It Could Be Bunnies, pp. 253-255, March 2, 2007. The Antichrist tries to give a technobabble explanation for the Event but misses the "techno" part.
- Conditional Election, pp. 255-256, March 9, 2007. In which the difference between the visible and invisible church is discussed, and what that means for the LeHaye and Jenkins.
- LPU&B, p. 256, March 16, 2007. Why the message of the Antichrist is love, peace, unity, and brotherhood.
- The Missing Children, pp. 255-256, March 23, 2007. The Antichrist finally mentions something relevant going on, and the children missing from the missing (i.e. raptured) children.
- The Trepid Reporter, pp. 256-258, March 30, 2007. Buck and Steve decide that reporting news really isn't important, and reiteration of the UN's lordship and dominion.
- Hot Property, pp. 259-261, April 6, 2007. Jimmy the Bat steals lots of worthless stuff, including Chloe's independence and common sense.
- Dead Man's Messages, pp. 263-265, April 13, 2007. Buck checks his phone messages and receives some threats while avoiding doing the things that could help him.
- Why Doctors Hate Healthy People, pp. 265-268, April 20, 2007. In which there is a blatant straw man of reproductive clinics and we learn that abortionists only make money off of suffering.
- SMA, pp. 268-274, April 28, 2007. "Wherein Buck and Steve watch TV, a couple of comic bits fall flat, and Nicolae tells the Beave, in detail, about his plans to bring the U.N. into accord with premillennial dispensationalist numerology."
- The Longest Day, pp. 227-308, May 11, 2007. Over 81 pages not much manages to happen around the country and we are presented with a timeline of the first full Monday after the rapture.
- Mojo, p. 275, May 18, 2007. In which Left Behind is compared unfavorably to The Manchurian Candidate and it is wondered why the Antichrist doesn't just use his magical powers.
- Skipping Steps, pp. 275-281, May 25, 2007. In which Rayford's twisted relationship with Hattie results in her rejection of the Gospel and her eventual torture in hell.
- Three Days of the Chicken, pp. 283-288, June 1, 2007. Buck plans on throwing himself on the mercy of the Antichrist and has a footrace with another journalist.
- Late-night Phone Calls, pp. 288-292, June 8, 2007. After a brief aside with Rayford, Buck has his interview with Carpathia in which the U.S. President intervenes. Also, why this influences real life politics and the infamous "You do not mind my calling you Buck, do you?" line.
- The Last Temptation of Buck, pp. 292-298, June 15, 2007. In which Buck says the opposite of what he does and he conducts an interview with the Antichrist off the record.
- A Very Bad Reporter, pp. 292-298, June 22, 2007. In which the consequences of Buck's lack of professionalism is examined, the Antichrist revels in unclarity, and we learn that Buck simply doesn't believe in what he does.
- An Interlude, Ending with a Hug, pp. 298- 301, June 29, 2007. Three reasons to enjoy a Left Behind scene: It doesn't revel in pain, it attempts a high degree of difficulty, and it tries to reveal character.
- Muggletonians, pp. 301-302, July 6, 2007. In which "Biblical" prophecy occurs through exposition, Jerusalem Syndrome is discussed, and we find that the Muggletonians are deceased.
- Gross Estimate, pp. 302-305, July 13, 2007. In which 2 of 144,000 converted Jews appear, important news for Rayford is televised on CNN, and Carpathia handles a massive PR campaign without moving a muscle.
- Buck's New Friends, pp. 305-308, July 20, 2007. Buck is offered a job by the international Evil conspiracy, he has a rival murdered, and the Antichrist's odd plan for dominion is revealed and no one can think of any objections.
- Fact and Fiction, pp. 308-314, July 27, 2007. Rayford and Barnes read a straightforward, linear account of the apocalypse in the Bible which doesn't actually appear in the Bible.
- An Inconvenient Sooth, pp. 308-314, August 3, 2007. The difference between John's Revelation and LeHaye and Jenkins' soothsaying is examined in detail.
- Management Material, pp. 314-318, August 10, 2007. In which Tuesday is skipped and Buck is offered a promotion for absolutely failing to do his job.
- Is the Pope Catholic?, pp. 318-320, August 17, 2007. Public vs. private sector salaries are discussed, we find that JPII was raptured, and an executive makes a bad joke.
- Ben and Glory, pp. 321-324, August 24, 2007. The Antichrist uses magic to deceive, a Buffy reference is made, and ordinary evil is overlooked.
- Fire-breathing Martians, pp. 324-327, August 31, 2007. A horrible newscast reveals that Lehaye and Jenkins aren't taking Revelation quite literally enough to make it interesting.
- That Beats All, pp. 326-328, September 7, 2007. Buck, the journalist, misrepresents the truth again. Also, why the rapture is more important than the prophets and Buck heads for JFK.
- Body and Soul, pp. 328-332, September 14, 2007. Why Don Juan is a better man than Rayford Steele, Jenkins explains "how a woman thinks," and the authors don't explain why a sales pitch isn't a sales pitch.
- Dissipation, pp. 332-337, September 21, 2007. Buck's interest in Hattie . . . dissipates and we find out that equality and respect are qualities of the Antichrist.
- 7 Pages, 6 Phone Calls, pp. 334-341, September 28, 2007. In which there are lots of phone calls and Buck finds another scoop only he promises not to report on it, again.
- The Sticking-place, pp. 343-344, October 5, 2007. Why fear to proselytize, or just being polite, is evil according to L&J and there is a quick summation of the authors beliefs.
- Mystery Dance, pp. 344-346, October 12, 2007. The Left Behind confusion between evidence of Lehaye and Jenkins' beliefs and a fictional story.
- New Babylon, pp. 346-353, October 19, 2007. During more exposition LeHaye and Jenkins reveal a profoundly different world than the one in which we live, where Israeli politics are dictated by Christian prophecy and where only the Jews have a problem with a one world religion and they'll be fine if we buy them a new Temple. Also, all non-Christian religions are just insincere and play-acting.
- A Billion Samanthas, pp. 353-355, October 26, 2007. The absurd characters, plot and setting of the Left Behind world all together in one room.
- Chairface Stonagal, pp. 355-359, November 2, 2007. On the technological neo-Luddite resurgence based on Carpathia's theory and the "Real True Christian" confusion in the book. Also, Buck has no problem with one man's leadership of the world as long as that person is suspicious enough of the international Jewish conspiracy.
- Buck's Soul Searching, pp. 356-357, November 9, 2007. In which the anti-intellectualism of fundamentalist Christianity and the pointlessness of pondering the Left Behind God are examined.
- Buck & Hattie & Ray & Chloe, pp. 361-364, November 16, 2007. The main protagonists are thrown together for the first time, and also why the movie is better than the book.
- Worlds Collide, pp. 364-365, November 23, 2007. Rayford goes for dominance, Buck goes for Chloe, and their greeting goes oddly.
- Bucky's in Love, pp. 364-375, November 30, 2007. A look at love in Left Behind.
- Cruel to be Kind, part 1, pp. 367-377, December 7, 2007. Rayford gets divine help to become an evangelizing machine toward Hattie and he fails to actually deliver.
- Cruel to be Kind, part 2, pp. 367-377, December 14, 2007. Rayford gets creepy and Hattie shows some backbone. Also, we see that Rayford's evangelism doesn't involve Christ.
- Care Less, pp. 379-381, December 21, 2007. Why trauma in Left Behind doesn't traumatize and how poor plot and characterization lead to the message: "Don't Care."
- Two Swell Guys, pp. 381-384, December 28, 2007. Further discussion of Rayford and Buck as Mary Sue surrogates for Lehaye and Jenkins (see "Rayford 'Mary Sue' Steele" below) and why they can't critically examine their work and therefore shouldn't be teaching writing.
- Imperio, pp. 384-387, January 4, 2008. A discussion on the way that Left Behind characters cast spells and are put under magic spells through Biblical Magic. Also, why the Bible can't prove the Bible's divine inspiration.
- 28:06:42:12, pp. 387-391, January 11, 2008. In which Buck catches the flu/food poisoning from the Holy Spirit and there is a discussion of when it's appropriate to point out that the world is ending. Also, the GIRAT makes a rookie reporter mistake and Hattie's opinion is dismissed because she's a woman.
- The Holy Hand, pp. 393-395, January 18,2008. Buck suddenly remembers that he believes in God, there is a discussion of "if any of it is true, all of it is" and Buck convinces himself that he's special, special, special.
- Knockin' on Heaven's Door, pp. 395-397, January 25, 2008. Buck converts despite the lack of justification, no one listens to Jesus, and Jenkins rewrites as quickly as possible.
- Otherwise Innocuous, pp. 397-399, February 1, 2008. Buck and Rayford have differing views on their interview, Rayford gets evangelism tips from his digestive tract, and there is a discussion of the "small signs" of God's presence in the Left Behind universe. Also, a writing assignment.
- Educational Filmstrip, pp. 400-409, February 8, 2008. Six ways to handle your GIRAT stalker who has booked the seat next to you on a plane.
- Losing Chloe, pp. 400-409, February 8, 2008. Chloe converts because Buck is stalking her, losing all of her independence, intellect, and characterization in the process.
- In These Shoes?, pg. 411, February 15, 2008. In which a travel scene is skipped, there is an analysis of who's left to continue working, and we learn that Buck doesn't like female initiative.
- Willful Stupidity, pp. 412-414, February 26, 2008. In which LeHaye and Jenkin's acceptance of the obviously untrue is questioned, Cricket is more popular than Baseball, and all of the countries in the world discuss complete and utter surrender.
- The Imaginary Liberal, pp. 413-415, February 29, 2008. Why the entire remaining population of the Left Behind universe are willfully ignorant, hateful, un-American and completely incompatible with the real world in any sense. Includes the announcement of the one world currency, government, language, and religion and some good Douglas Adams references.
- Super Powers, pp. 415-417, March 7, 2008. In which there is a discussion of the justification for Nicolae's super powers and in which we find that there is no justification for Nicolae's actions. Also: why is the Left Behind cast so small?
- Martyr Envy, pp. 418-421, March 14, 2008. In which the core-core group of Bruce Barnes church forms a paramilitary force to kill for Christ, the title of the second book is announced, and there is a discussion of why the excitement of the Tribulation Force vicariously appeals to current LeHaye acolytes that can do nothing but wait for the first Second-Coming of Christ.
- The Pope of Mount Prospect, pg. 421, March 21, 2008. Why Barnes fears the dangers of ecumenical cooperation, a question about why faux-Christians don't recognize what's going on, and a description of spiritual gaydar.
- Passionate Sincerity, pp. 421-423, April 4, 2008. In which there is a hint of lasting emotion, a description of scene, and a dismissal of evangelizing as useless by L&J.
- Buck and the Preacher, pp. 423-424, April 11, 2008. Buck and Barnes talk about "Captain Steele," Barnes' boredom with waiting for Jesus, and Barnes' notion of God.
- Transactions, pp. 424-426, April 18, 2008. In which Buck thinks about paying for salvation, we see a lazily researched church, and Lehaye and Jenkins desperately try to support the prophecies that they've written.
- Still Unsaved, pp. 426-430, April 25, 2008. In which we learn that Buck is still unsaved, unsaved people can be enslaved by the Antichrist, and that Barnes has decided to tell Buck all about their secret organization and mission before sending him to a meeting with the Antichrist.
- Geheimkode, pp. 431-435, May 2, 2008. In which "circle what's wrong" is played, Steve has had an intimate conversation with the Antichrist, and Buck shallowly probes the depths of Steve's knowledge.
- Speakerphone, pp. 435-437, May 9, 2008. How to create your own Antichrist checklist and a speakerphone is used to discuss the distribution of blonds in Western Europe.
- That Girl, pp. 436-438, May 16, 2008. Buck tries to convince Hattie not to see Nicolae by implying that if she does she's a slut. Yet, he fails to mention that Nicolae had Buck's friend murdered.
- Dear Captain, pp. 438-440, May 23, 2008. In which only one church is full after the rapture, there are three Sundays in 13 days, and Buck writes a love letter to Rayford.
- Heebie-jeebies, pp. 440-442, June 2, 2008. In which Buck brushes off a chance to evangelize to a confused woman, he prepares for his meeting with the Antichrist, and considers the magic spells that will render him spiritually protected. Also includes an imagined airplane conversation.
- Back to School, pp. 442-443, June 6, 2008. In which the absolute lack of funerals and the improbability of resuming college is discussed. Also, a question about what kind of school is left for a suddenly born again girl to attend after the rapture is considered.
- Doin' the Deal, pp. 443-448, June 13, 2008. Buck goes to meet the
WizardAntichrist and gets saved in the bathroom just before it starts (the deal was done). Also there is a discussion of the colors and sexism involved in salvation.
- Meta-Buck Gets Saved, pp. 449-451, June 20, 2008. In which Buck's vanity in his journalism saves his soul, and there is a discussion of one good passage.
- Pruneface Stonagal, pp. 452-453, June 27, 2008. In which the audience isn't introduced to the rogues gallery and the sad case of Jonathan Stonagal is considered.
- Chekhov's GIRAT, pp. 454-456, July 4, 2008. The Antichrist does party tricks, we meet a bit player, and there is a man with a gun.
- Pistol Packin' Pacifist, pg. 456, July 18, 2008. In which the violent, tyrannical and terroristic true nature of pacifism in the Left Behind universe is revealed.
- The Hidden Display, pp. 456-458, July 25, 2008. In which a gun goes off and the Antichrist fails to show anyone his show of strength.
- Reliably Unreliable, pp. 458-461, August 15, 2008. In which the idea of the characters as unreliable narrators is dismissed because the authors don't believe in it.
- The Talking Dog, pp. 459-461, August 22, 2008. In which Antichrist powers have to be double and triple checked, Buck lies by omission, and a murder at the UN becomes boring.
- Vertigo's On First, pp. 461-465, August 29, 2008. Buck finally tries to write something down but Nicolae has worked his mojo on Buck's press credentials. Also, there is a discussion of the instantaneous knowledge of premillenial Christianity that is imparted when someone converts in the Left Behind universe.
- Under Cover, pp. 465-465, September 5, 2008. A discussion of why Rayford Steele does nothing except watch TV during the climax of Left Behind.
- What A World, What A World, pp. 466-467, September 12, 2008. In which Buck stumbles across a plot device and is demoted and sent to Chicago. Also, a hint at the discussion why Left Behind makes no sense elaborated on in the next section.
- Freeze Frame, Roll Credits, pp. 467-468, September 19, 2008. The final phone call, the final travel arrangements, and several reminders to buy the sequel. Also, a discussion of why the contradictions of Left Behind prevent it from making sense.
Index of posts about Left Behind: The Movie:
- That's Our Buck!, Part 1, November 14, 2008. The credits roll in Israel and Buck accidentally finds Israeli Air Command in a wheat field. Several themes from the book seem to already be in play.
- Meet the Steeles, Part 2, November 21, 2008. We meet the Steele family including Irene and bad child actor Rayfie. Then Buck has to meet with a nut who has figured out the plot and there is a discussion of being crazy or convincing about the Left Behind prophecies.
- Growing Pains, Part 3a, December 1, 2008. In which there is a discussion about why Left Behind theology produces mediocre artists at best and Kirk Cameron is compared to fellow child actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
- Gone Off Naked, Part 3b, December 5, 2008. We have our first glance of the Antichrist, there is unnecessary filler and commentary, and the Rapture happens in a plane suspiciously full of famous premillennial dispensationalists.
- In Case of Rapture, Part 4, December 14, 2008. Harold vanishes without detail, Buck meets Rayford much earlier, Chloe stumbles on a traffic accident with a few problems, and Rayford fights panic with scaremongering. The post-Rapture world kicks off with a speech by a minor Romanian statesman. Finally, as evangelical pre-millenial dispensationalist fundamentalists, please don't own pets.
- Jesus Met the Woman, Part 5, December 19, 2008. Rayford finds that Irene is missing. Buck spends the night with Rayford (oo lah-lah!) and then gets to meet Chloe early. Jesus makes a cameo that the filmmakers missed, the bad guys do good, and there is inadvertantly funny dialog.
- Lone Gunmen, Part 6, December 29, 2008. Ken Ritz reappears to offer theories that shouldn't be dismissed but are, the Jews aren't blamed and Dirk's body is Left Behind . . . for no good reason.
- Accumulated Radiation, Part 7, January 9, 2009. Rev. Barnes questions at God, Buck Cameron is annoyed by the intrusive Armageddon in his thriller plot, there is discussion of the segregation of church, and there is much confusion over Jewish temples. Also, good actors have a nice scene, and accumulated radiation is blamed for the Event then ignored.
- No Love For Hattie, Part 8, January 17, 2009. Actress Chelsea Noble squeezes Hattie out of the frame of the movie while the filmmakers abandon the sexual tension between Rayford and Hattie. Buck's thrillerish plot continues and a car blows up.
- Think Different, Part 9, January 23, 2009. Loretta makes an appearance, Buck is resistant to the Truth! in his confrontation with it, and multiple misquotations and twisted citations from the Bible occur. There is a note on the fact that suspension of disbelief does not carry over to real life. Further plot happens in the mocked up UN.
- Something Happens, Part 10, January 30, 2009. The Red Heifer is forgotten as the Temple is rebuilt, Buck converts in a bathroom during a pop interlude, and then the movie fails to improve upon mind controlled murders.
- The Worst Mankind Has Ever Seen, Part 11, February 6, 2009. Gordon Currie succumbs to (being) the Antichrist while failing to be a mastermind, "The next seven years are going to be the worst that mankind has ever seen," said a smiling Buck, and Fred reaches a conclusion on the book versus the movie.
Posts with the "left behind" tag that don't directly criticize sections of the text:
- In the Sweet By and By, September 23, 2003. On the foundation of American Christianity and the roots of premillenial dispensationalism.
- Hide the beer, the Pastor's Here, September 24, 2003. On Jesus and grape juice.
- "Left Behind" is evil, October 17, 2003. The beginning of the direct Left Behind criticism and an outline of why Left Behind is evil.
- Joan Didion on Left Behind, October 20, 2003. The difference between the illumination and practice of Christian theology and the Left Behind series.
- A Thief in the Night, October 22, 2003. Why opinion columnist Jimmy Breslin is a better theologian and pastor than LeHaye and Jenkins.
- Recylcing Sydney Watson, October 27, 2003. About the precursors of Left Behind and Sydney Watson's End-of-times trilogy.
- Why This Matters, October 27, 2003. An extreme example of the problems associated with the popularity of premillenial dispensationalism.
- The Hypothetical Bus, November 3, 2003. A discussion of the fear of imminent death, its place in evangelism and its subversion in the Left Behind series.
- There's a New World Coming, November 5, 2003. Hal Lindsey, a precursor of Lehaye and Jenkins, has his End-of-times book adapted into a graphic novel.
- Jerry's Book Tour, November 11, 2003. Profile of Jerry Jenkins and his "Christian Writers Guild" and of fundamental Christianity by Korean reporters.
- Welcome to the Hellmouth, December 8, 2003. A pause in the reading, an inoculation against stupidity, and a comparison with Buffy.
- And now, some Good News, December 9, 2003. A discussion of the Fuller Project at the Fuller Theological Seminary.
- 60 Minutes Falls Asleep in Church, February 12, 2004. Reporting on evangelicals is skewed by reliance on LeHaye and Jenkins.
- Rayford "Mary Sue" Steel, March 23, 2004. The connections between fanfic and Left Behind.
- Carl Olson Sits In, April 12, 2004. Carl E. Olson from the National Review Online dismisses LaHaye and Jenkins' Glorious Appearing.
- Apocalypservice, May 18, 2004. An examination of possible influence exerted on the Bush White House by the Apostolic Congress group.
- Global Weekly I, May 20, 2004. A discussion of Newsweek's profile on LeHaye and Jenkins and some criticism of the journalist's acceptance of their premises.
- Global Weekly II, May 21, 2004. Further criticism of the Newsweek profile, including sections involving J.R.R. Tolkien and LeHaye's investment portfolio.
- There goes the neighborhood, July 26, 2004. In which Lehaye rebuts a review of Glorious Appearing by characterizing heaven as a gated community in the suburbs.
- 21 Days, August 9, 2004. Jenkins writes a novel of the Left Behind series in about 21 days, and God wipes the sorrow from the evangelical mind.
- Left Behind Fridays, April 1, 2005. The establishment of Left Behind Fridays and a glimpse into the concerns of Left Behind fans.
- Apocalypse & Power, June 2, 2005. A question about the difference between the Revelation of St. John and Left Behind, inspired by a Radiohead review.
- A Less Graphic Experience, Left Behind Video Game, July 8, 2005. Fred discusses the forthcoming video game.
- Tin Men, August 5, 2005. More on the odd geography of the Left Behind world (see "If You Can Make It There" above) and how this relates to the idea of Christian vocation.
- Downpresser Man, September 16, 2005. Why Downpresser Man by Peter Tosh captures the spirit of the apocalypse better than Left Behind.
- Rayford Zork, June 14, 2006. Left Behind in the classic computer gaming style of Zork.
- Your regularly schedule apocalypse ..., September 23, 2006. Fred takes a leave of absence due to a performance that he's involved with.
- Casting the First Millstone, February 9, 2007. In which critics are criticized for casting their criticism at people rather than entertainment.
- The Watchmen, May 4, 2007. In which the Bible confuses LeHaye but coincidence provides him from a message from God and CNN's Glenn Beck proves to be a bad watchman.
- Coming Attractions, July 6, 2007. In which we see a trailer for the rapture that exploits real world footage.
- Celebration & Antidote, May 23, 2008. In which Fred struggles to make good come out of Left Behind, through the planting of trees.
- Unsubtle, August 8, 2008. In which Left Behind theology appears in a bad campaign ad.
- LJ vs. ORBP, February 13, 2009. LeHaye and Jenkins' Left Behind are compared with Olive Ruth Brown Pattison's Left Behind from 1969 and other predecessors.
- The Illuminati, February 1, 2010. LeHaye makes a cameo appearance in Selling Satan, a book about Mike Warnke.
- Down to Earth, April 26, 2010. On The Rapture Exposed and the question: "If LaHaye's/Lindsay's/Hagee's/Van Impe's/Darby's interpretation of Revelation is wrong, then what does Revelation mean?"