Sunday, April 24, 2011

Branding Jesus

Happy Easter and how is everybody! I got in the Easter spirit by watching The Last Temptation of Christ. Great movie, definitely a nice palate cleanser after having to deal with Ellanjay's view of God. Consider Temptation to be the movie, Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ wishes it could be: a wrenching, passionate look into the life and times of our Lord. The trouble with so many movie portrayals of Jesus is that he comes across as distinctly unpassionate, reciting platitudes and parables with all the fervor of a wet piece of cardboard. This is a mistake: regardless of what you belief about Jesus Christ, surely he must have been more charismatic to make men leave their homes and families to follow him. But in Temptation, we get a sweating, striving, passionate Jesus that makes the whole film worth watching, even if Willem DaFoe is a little too Aryan to properly portray Jesus. Anyway, long story short, watch The Last Temptation of Christ; don't read Ellanjay's books.

But I vowed to snark as long as people will read my snarks, so here goes.

Anyway, Judd is told to cut out of his speech:

"Mentions of God. About the disappearances being a 'wake-up call.'"

Frankly I agree with them and not just because I hate Judd. A tragedy should not be used as an excuse for an altar call. It is a ghoulish and evil practice and should be stopped. We would be offended if a competing airline used the 9/11 disaster to advertise their services; why should we use Jesus the same way?

Apparently the graduation services are going to be airred live on CNN and if you can't point out all the things unrealistic/wrong with that scenario...Well I don't need to fill in the blanks, now do I? Anyway, even Leon Fortunato (have fun taking apart that name) is going to be there which causes the valedictorian to faint leaving Judd to the rescue!

Okay, I do believe in giving credit where credit is due so here we go: I liked the first part of Judd's speech where he asks for a moment of silence for those lost to the disappearances. This is the only instance of anyone mourning in the Left Behind universe. I cite as example, exhibit A: Rayford who forgot all about his wife once he was saved.

Now that I've given credit where credit was due, let me say something shocking: the speech quickly goes downhill after Judd confesses to having written the Underground. Afterwards, it turns into your standard altar call which is wrong for reasons I've already mentioned.

Next chapter, we find out the consequences of said speech: Judd is expelled, given no school credit, is banned from every college, and has to sign a document saying that he won't make disloyal statements against the NWO.

Remember how in a previous chapter one of the YTF, Mark, had expressed an interest in joining a militia? Well that plot thread is abruptly picked up.

"Tomorrow night we're simulating an attack," Mark said. "I can't say much, but the militia is big. I think God is going to use it to overthrow Carpathia."
"That doesn't square with scripture," Judd said.
"What are we supposed to do, roll over and play dead?" Mark said.

That's a good question, Mark, because right now that is the TF's plan. Well actually, the plan is to hide in a hole and did I mention it is a very selective hole? Bruce stalwartly refuses to let the other members of his congregation know who the anti-Christ is because he deems them worthy of immense suffering. So in a way, I like Mark though the idea of a child becoming a soldier sickens me: at least he's doing something.

Judd is still trying to talk Mark out of it, though.

"But Carpathia has gathered all the nuclear weapons," Judd said. "What chance could you possibly have? It's like a slingshot against a bazooka."

Apparently Judd hasn't heard of guerilla warfare. Sure the militia would die if they faced the enemy directly but in guerilla warfare, that seldom happens. The militia may be small but they can raid Nicky Karakoram's stores of supplies and weapons and generally make pests of themselves. After all, we had nukes and all kinds of superior weapons and we still lost Vietnam. It's very hard to take out guerilla fighters.

Well anyway, Mark, Judd, and Vicki go to the training exercise, but while they're there, the NWO goons show up. But it turns out that the militia had expected them to show up; in fact, they had planned this training exercise as an excuse to draw them out, while the rest of the militia attacks. Needless to say, faced with actual action, the YTF beat a brave retreat and we don't find out how the attack goes. But right now, I like the militia because they're doing a hell of a lot more than the TF hiding in their hidey-hole.


Firedrake said...

The usual approach seems to be "any tactic is fair because the stakes are so high". Yeah, and the end justifies the means.

Why isn't Judd arrested? It's not as though the NWO were a particularly law-abiding organisation.

"But Carpathia has gathered all the nuclear weapons!" "So what's he gonna do, nuke New York?"

A smart militia wouldn't provoke a pitched battle. But the American militia movement tends to be anything but smart, so this is probably realistic.

Ruby said...

Having read the whole "adult" series, I've always been a big fan of Leon. Especially since he is something the Trib Force never is: grateful when others help him. He gets such a raw deal, poor guy...

Mouse said...

Re: The Usual Approach:

I'm assuming you're referring to using tragedies to sell Jesus, right, Firedrake?

Well always liked the webcomic, Something Positive, view on "The ends justifies the means."

If you're wondering the context behind the strip is that a character goes to a haunted house expecting a haunted house but it turns out to be one of those Christian Hell Houses.

aunursa said...

Having read the whole "adult" series, I've always been a big fan of Leon. Especially since he is something the Trib Force never is: grateful when others help him. He gets such a raw deal, poor guy...

A sample from Book #6...

The thick, swarthy Leon Fortunato appeared out of the haze, having rolled toward Mac. He grabbed Mac's face in both hands, and Mac nearly screamed from the pain
on one side. “You saved my life, Mac!” Leon cried. “You protected me with your own body!


Fortunato visited. “You will be pleased to know that you both will be receiving the highest award for bravery given by the Global Community,” he said. “The Golden
Circle, the potentate's prize for valor, will be presented by His Excellency himself as thanks for saving my life.”
Neither Mac nor Abdullah responded.
“Well, I know you're pleased and that only your modesty prohibits you from feeling worthy. Now rest. You will recuperate and rehabilitate here as long as necessary, then you will be transported to New Babylon by your former first officer in the new Global One.”

Assassins, p 170, 190

Pi said...

I never actually figured out what "Leon Fortunato" is supposed to be. Someone slurring "le unfortunaté" with a bad french accent?

aunursa said...

I never actually figured out what "Leon Fortunato" is supposed to be. Someone slurring "le unfortunaté" with a bad french accent?

The character is Italian.

(From Prequel #2...)

"Fortunato," Nicolae said. "Does that make him norocos -- a lucky man -- or an opportunist?"

Reiche shrugged. "I've not met the man."
Reiche riffled through his stack of papers. "An impressive fellow. Varied, eclectic background. Began his education as a religion major. Catholic. Has left the church for some reason. Appears to be a devotee of Theosophy. Served in the military with many decorations, always for service to his superiors. Seems to know how to make the man above him feel good.
The Regime, p 61, 64

[Oh boy, the slash practically writes itself.]

aunursa said...

Ooooops ... my mistake.

"Served in the military with many decorations, always for service to his superiors. Seems to know how to make the man above him look good."

Ruby said...

@aunursa--yep, that's exactly the bit I was thinking of!

@Pi--I've always assumed that "Leon Fortunato" was code for "This guy is an Italian Catholic." He even gets a New York accent in the audiobooks!

Funny thing--even though I read the books figuring I would be offended as an atheist, I was much more offended on behalf of Catholics.

Mouse said...

Well, defenders will claim that Ellanjay doesn't hate Catholics but Tim LaHaye has, in the past, published several anti-Catholic tracts. It's just that like I said before, now RTCs and Catholics have an uneasy alliance, born of a mutual hatred of women and fetishization of fetuses, so they try to keep their anti-Catholic sentiments to themselves. Trouble is, RTCs, as you may know, have a talent for shouting their mouths off.

aunursa said...

Some Catholic perspectives on the Left Behind series... - includes some of LaHaye's most controversial statements about the Church - also discusses the Kid's series

Mouse said...

The idea for a kids’ series based on Left Behind really came from the publisher. And at first blush it seemed to make sense. I’ve written a lot of kids’ fiction in the past and the main idea that we had was to not just dumb-down the product so that it would be easier to read for kids but to start with new main characters and have them be in the age group of the readers. So we start with four kids from ages twelve to sixteen. . . . And then they have their own adventures and exciting times fighting the Antichrist and trying to stay in hiding at times to keep from being exposed as believers. . . . And they’ve proven to be very popular.

Not only is Jenkins a bad writer, he's a liar. The Kids series is about as exciting as a nursing home.

Anonymous said...

I actually remember skimming this when it first came out. When the kids took off during the fight I figured it would be a slow read. I mean, there's something exciting happening RIGHT THERE and you don't even get to see it! Even having the kids stick around and hide in the bushes is better.

Between show and tell, our brave authors will pick "tell" every time.

rikalous said...

Mr. Fortunado's name amuses me, because it makes me thingk of Fortunado the tantric-sex-powered psychic pimp from the Wild Cards books.

Apocalypse Review said...

I always end up giggling at Supreme Commander Leon whenever he shows up. And yeah, buddy boy gets a raw deal. It's pretty sad when the second-in-command to the Antichrist is more human than any of the other characters LaHaye and Jenkins ever created.

If I was TurboJesus I'd actually think about having mercy on Supreme Commander Leon and letting him quietly vanish completely from the Earth.

But then, I'm also not L&J writing TurboJesus.

amylynn1022 said...

This kind of made me think back to my HS graduation. One thing I do remember is the administration had to confess that they had very little to hold over us if we decided to act up during graduation. Really all they could do was make us come to school the next week to pick up our diploma (instead of picking up after the ceremony). I emphasis here that they were threatening to (temporarily) withhold a piece of paper, not try to make the last four years of school go away. Which makes what they did to Judd kind of odd to me. I could see Nicky Mt Krumpet getting him blacklisted from college in an evil, Snidley-Whiplash way but retroactively cancel high school? Not likely, and petty even for Nicky-boy.

And was Judd seriously thinking about going to college anyway? The world is going to end in about six years at this point. Life is going to get very hard soon, esp. for RTC's, even ones that don't do stupid, self-destructive stuff. Judd would be lucky to get an associate's degree before it hit the fan. Unless he was thinking about doing something practical, like learning to be a mechanic or something, but even then he might be as well off learning on the job. Surely someone at church can get him connected--someone less useless than our favorite visitation pastor.