So, a note before we start: as was pointed out in the comments of the last installment, one of our authors, Tim LaHaye, has died.
Not Raptured, mind you. Just died. Like a normal person.
I feel bad for his family and friends, as I always do when someone dies, but part of me is not sure why I should feel bad, since 1) if his family and friends share his beliefs, they are presumably thinking that the best thing that could ever happen to someone has happened, and 2) this is a guy who, if someone dies and didn’t believe exactly what he did, thinks they get to be tortured for all eternity.
When Jesus comes back in Glorious Appearing, Rayford Steele tells his Raptured wife that she gets “one cosmic told I-told-you-so.” And that’s the annoying thing about being an atheist: we don’t get that. Because there is no cosmic afterlife for anyone.
Still, though, I’ll take a worldly told-you-so: there’s no Rapture. Jesus isn’t coming back to get anyone before they die.
Sorry not sorry.
Anyway! Back to our regularly-scheduled heathen critiquing:
Isis and Murphy are on the third floor by the stairs. The Two Moar Arabs just got to the third floor and headed down an aisle away from them; Talon and the Other Arab are still on the elevator.
So what are Murphy and Isis to do?
Why, they dash up to the FOURTH floor, of course!
And then, a moment later, the Moar Arabs head to the fourth floor, too!
Gee, never saw that one coming.
But Murphy has a plan!
“Come back here where the two directions of bookshelves converge.”
Phillips…doesn’t have much experience writing action scenes, does he? WHO TALKS LIKE THAT???
The Two Moar Arabs split up when they reach the fourth floor, I guess so they can increase their chances of being overpowered.
Fadil turned down an aisle and started toward Murphy and Isis.
Murphy whispered, “When he gets near, step into the aisle and say something to him in Arabic.” Then Murphy disappeared.
Hey, neat trick!
What a surprise that, once again, Murphy abandons Isis to do all the actual work. Also, gotta love that our brave and resourceful heroine isn’t even allowed to come up with her own plan.
Fadil was caught completely off guard as he approached the end of the aisle. All of a sudden a beautiful woman with red hair stepped in front of him, took a sexy pose, and smiled.
“My, but you are handsome,” she murmured. “I’ll bet all of the women want to go out with you.”
So our heroine, who once saved a little girl by pretending to be an ancient goddess…is reduced to striking sexy poses.
We are told that Fadil, of course, isn’t actually a trained terrorist. (Um, so why then did Talon bring him along?) So the sight of this white woman completely flummoxes him, to the point that Murphy can get the jump on him and “fire a reverse punch.”
Having knocked him out, Murphy wastes precious time posing Fadil as though he had fallen asleep at a table. Inexplicably, all this ruckus has attracted no attention.
So then, instead of making a break for it down the stairs and out the door (it’s insulting!), Murphy leads Isis to a ladder that leads to the roof. Then, instead of just using the fire escape (“I’ve got a better idea.“), they use the roof to get to the elevator shaft (?????), so they can hop onto the top of the elevator so they can get back into the building and ride the elevator to the first floor.
Hey, idiots, there are STAIRS RIGHT THERE!!!
And the funny part is that Talon doesn’t buy that they definitely went to the roof. Team Talon once again splits up so they can cover both the roof and the interior. Jeepers, seems Murphy didn’t think of that! And I will once again point out that they could have dashed down the stairs and been completely gone by now.
But then we wouldn’t have the HILARIOUS scene where Murphy and Isis hop onto the top of the elevator, then into the elevator, startling a grandmother and her two grandchildren. Because Phillips could not care less about women over the age of forty who don’t look like supermodels, the grandmother isn’t even given a line. And Murphy swears the children to secrecy because they’re being chased by “evil men.”
I’m kinda surprised that he didn’t say “evil Arabs.”
Also, no matter how much you swear little kids to secrecy, I’m willing they would have spilled the beans if the Evil Men were suddenly looming over them. In other words, Murphy just really endangered this little family. And it was totally unnecessary, because again, THEY COULD HAVE BEEN GONE TEN MINUTES AGO RIGHT OUT THE FRONT DOOR.
And it actually winds up being the SAME THING, because one of the terrorists, Rashad, sees them as they get to the front door. So the whole go-upstairs-go-to-the-roof-drop-onto-the-elevator plan was completely pointless.
And as they run out of the library, we are told that Murphy grabs Isis’s hand as they run. Sure, jerk, just drag her everywhere. Women love that.
This all leads to an alley fight, where Murphy conveniently knocks the gun away from Rashad so they can fight hand-to-hand and Murphy can once again demonstrate that he is an expert in karate-do.
He flashed to the face of Terence Li, a young Cantonese archaeology student who had taught Murphy the secret of drunken-man fighting.
So Phillips has seen Drunken Master, so I guess that’s cool. But the fight is over in one-third of a page, so not so cool.
Then Murphy and Isis wander off, but not far, because they idiotically left all their books and papers back in the library, when they could very easily have taken them along. Nope, they are forced to hang in a coffee shop for THREE HOURS until they can assume the coast is clear, then they head back to the library, where, in a COMPLETELY SHOCKING TWIST, Talon has taken all the papers!
But friendly librarian Alvena Smidt fills our heroes in on Talon: that he is from South Africa and speaks Afrikaans. Murphy is pleased at this information, because it “may give us a way to track down more information about him.”
Except that Murphy has already interacted with Talon twice, so this should not come as a surprise. I mean, isn’t Murphy supposed to a cosmopolitan world-traveler, like another, better archaeologist?
So why wouldn’t he recognize a South African accent when he heard one? Hell, Ive only been to two countries besides my own, and I know a South African accent when I hear one.
But this is just time that we’re driving home that Phillips decided Talon is South African, when he clearly was no such thing in the first book.
Poor Greg Dinallo.
Well, now that Paul is free of the horrific Shari, we can resume our intriguing espionage action, right?
Back in the library, Isis has emerged from the potty and is now looking for Blavatsky’s book. Almost against his will, it would seem, Phillips gets inside Isis’s head for a moment, sharing her moment of discovery and excitement upon reading a new book. For a moment, he seems to forget that she’s just Murphy’s Like a Supermodel arm candy.
Pausing for a moment to savor her surroundings, she spots Talon and the Moar Arab he is with as they get into the elevator. But they don’t see her. Isis also sees two random men ascending the stairs (why, if there are four men, doesn’t Talon leave at least one of them to keep an eye on the door?).
They too looked like Arabs.
Based solely on this “fact,” Isis assumes the two men are evil and with Talon, because we all know how those Moar Arabs are.
Please note that Phillips didn’t even have to do this. Because literally ten seconds after she spots them, she hears them talking, and of course understands them, and confirms they’re with Talon. But once again, we all know how those Moar Arabs are. Isis was only being
And now she needs to get a message to Murphy before the Moar Arabs see him back at their table…
So remember back in Babylon Rising, how Isis saved the day when that little girl was kidnapped and was going to be sacrificed? Despite BR being a silly RTC novel, Greg Dinallo managed to do something pretty much perfect with Isis. It showed her saving the day by using her special skill set that Murphy didn’t share. In one brief moment, she showed that she wasn’t “just” the intellectual spinster, but was brave and imaginative and resourceful…pretty much everything Murphy (and probably most RTC readers) figured she was not.
If you didn’t realize what a shitty hack job The Europa Conspiracy is, and how it has absolutely no purpose other than being the third book in a series that is meant to have four books, you might think this scene was once again setting up Isis to do hero stuff. The bad guys are closing in, and Isis and Murphy have been separated (because she had to potty, but whatever), and Isis sees the danger before Murphy.
So, drawing on her incredible knowledge base and her genius IQ, Isis…
Makes a paper airplane.
She writes TALON on the blank first page of the book (though it would have been way funnier if she had written MORE ARABS), and makes a paper airplane and tosses it at Murphy. So he grabs his notes (but none of the other papers and journals they’ve been reading), and comes over to Isis.
Wait, if he could get to her, why couldn’t she get to him?
Probably because she’s A Girl.
And, like the Girl she is, she “fell into his arms, shaking.”
Sure is a far cry from pretending to be an ancient goddess…
Oh, and by the way, I can’t help but feel that Isis might have been better prepared for this crisis had Murphy only told her that it was a possibility.
Hey, guys, remember Paul and Shari? With all this conspiracy talk and moar Arabs, I bet you forgot they were part of this story.
And yanno, they aren’t really part of this story. But they’re very minor characters that are still around, and it’s time for them to break up.
Which leads to my main question on this topic: WHY ARE THEY STILL TOGETHER IN THE FIRST PLACE????
Paul and Shari have been together for about two years. That’s about one year and ten months longer than they should have been together, considering how little Shari thinks of or cares about Paul, and how much Paul has gone through for this “relationship.”
To review: Shari and Paul had a Meet Cute way back in Babylon Rising. And even at that first meeting, Shari had a snide comment to make about Paul’s lack of faith. But being a Good Christian Girl, Shari immediately invited him to church so that she could get Conversion Points. And there, Paul was seriously injured, through no fault of his own, by two villains: Talon…and Shari’s own brother.
Despite all this, Shari and Paul stayed together, Shari punching him in his injuries that were caused by her brother. And throughout the next book, Paul continued to stay with Shari, because he apparently has so little self-esteem that he thinks it’s normal to be with someone who doesn’t care about you at all, and is only interested in your conversion.
But Shari always has to have things her way, and now she has decided it’s time for them to break up. After all, two years is a long enough time to devote to any conversion prospect, and it’s clear that Paul enjoys the writings of Richard Dawkins far too much to ever become a really real RTC.
Now, I’ve talked before about how these books really want us to see Shari as innocent and sweet and kind, but she once again proves herself in this scene to be anything but. Instead of letting Paul (who, let’s remember, has done exactly nothing wrong) down easy, she basically recites him a Reasons You Suck Speech. One that goes on, and on, and on.
But we’re certainly not supposed to be thinking “Poor Paul.” In fact, Phillips does a very strange thing here: he starts referring to Paul as “Wallach,” even though he has always been Paul. And Shari is still “Shari,” not “Nelson.” Just one more way to distance the reader from Paul as Shari dumps his sorry ass in the most painful way possible.
Shari does a nice little bit of misdirection to begin the breakup–she questions him about religion for one second, then switches gears to the fact that he has a scholarship from Barrington, and wants to work for him after he graduates (which I assume is this year).
Shari brings up her same old concerns about Barrington, principally that “Barrington’s company produces a lot of sleazy programs on television and radio. They go against the moral fabric of society. How can you be a part of that?”
(Phillips apparently forgot that Shari doesn’t watch TV at all, so Paul isn’t allowed to point out that Shari has no firsthand knowledge of any of this.)
Phillips makes sure that no matter what Shari says, Paul is the one in the wrong. For example:
“Paul, you know that I’ve always been honest with you and with my feelings. I think that you’re being used.”
Wallach bristled and began to get defensive. “No one is using me!” he exclaimed.
Geez, I can’t imagine why Paul is getting defensive…just because Shari invited him to coffee for the sole purpose of attacking and then dumping him.
“You’re just angry because I sometimes challenge your precious Dr. Murphy in class. Not everyone believes in creation, you know,” Wallach said angrily.
“It’s not that at all, Paul.”
Liar, liar, Shari. Stop bearing false witness.
Caught in a truth that probably hits just a bit too close to home, Shari shifts into sanctimonious lecture mode:
“I’m concerned with your values in life. God doesn’t seem to be high on your list. Money, power, and pride seem to be your focus. Those things can be very attractive at first, but in the long run they destroy a person.”
“I just want to get out of school and start earning some money.”
Paul, who has way more patience than I do, actually responds seriously to this asinine question:
“I want money so I can buy things.”
“Yeah. Like a car, a house, a boat, or a plasma television…things!”
Yeah, so this is supposed to be the trap so that Shari can catch Paul in his own materialism, yet I find no fault with his goal of home or car ownership. I mean, can you imagine Shari’s response if Paul had said he had no plans to ever get a job or buy a house? Basically, there’s just no way Paul can win here.
“Well, after you buy all the things…”
Sorry. I’m pretty sure this is a mistake, and Shari was meant to say “buy all these things,” but this way is way funnier, so it all worked out.
“…then what are you going to do?”
Sounds like a plan. I’m there, dude.
“Let me see if I understand,” Shari said slowly.
…in order to make him feel as small as possible.
“A job earns you money, so you can buy things, so you can have some fun. Right?”
It is just so bizarre that Shari is treating Paul’s very normal goal of getting a job and earning some money as though he just told her his life goal was to kick as many puppies as possible.
“Paul, things don’t bring lasting happiness. A car can wear out. A house can burn down. A boat can sink. And a plasma television can break. When that happens, where will your fun be?”
I guess it’ll be in the new car you get when you trade in the “worn out” one, and in the new house, boat, or TV you buy after the insurance payout.
“Everyone has to earn money to live!”
Ah, but Paul’s sensible response has no place in Shari’s little world. (And damn, this is a long, annoying dumping. And I was once dumped in a heartless way myself, so my bar is set pretty high.)
“I don’t disagree with working to provide for one’s family.”
Really? Cause…it kinda sounds like you do. At least when it’s Paul who’s doing the providing.
“But in all of our conversations, you haven’t talked about family, or service to the community, or contributing to the nation, or raising children with values that you can pass on.”
Yeah, he’s just been working his ass off to keep his scholarship and planning to find a job as soon as he graduates. What a monster.
“Most of your conversations have been self-centered and me-focused.”
Remember, everyone, Shari is supposed to be the nice, sweet, sensitive person here. As she dumps this poor, hapless guy with the world’s longest Reasons You Suck Speech.
She then quotes the Bible at the atheist, because that always works:
“Do not try to work together as equals with unbelievers, for it cannot be done. How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together?”
Paul takes understandable offense at being told he is unequal to Shari and living in darkness. Shari, bless her sensitive little heart, doesn’t deny for a second that she meant what she said, but goes on to “explain” the quote as meaning that they are “walking down separate roads.” Which is a much nicer way of breaking up with someone and what she should have said in the first place, instead of telling Paul that he is a shallow, materialistic, selfish, evil idiot.
Who wants to get a job and was once knocked into a coma when he went to church at her behest.
Yanno, sometimes the way you are dumped says more about the character of the dumper than months of dating can. There are nice ways to break things off with another person, and mean ways of doing so. And even though I’m sure Paul is hurting right now, hopefully he’ll quickly realize that someone who would be so nasty is not someone he needs by his side as he performs the evil deeds of graduating college and beginning a career.
I’m just sorry for him that he wasted two years of his life on this Mean Girl.
But Phillips sure wants us to dislike Paul (oops, I mean “Wallach”) and side with Shari. Because we are told that Shari starts crying
as she finishes stomping on Paul’s heart. Aww. Poor widdle Mean Girl.
We aren’t told what Paul’s reaction to all this is. What a surprise. He’s just an atheist in darkness, after all.
Well, after that little detour into Crazy Conspiracy County, it’s nice to be back in the world of improbable partnerships between Islamic terrorists and white South African guns-for-hire.
Hey, it could happen!
Oh, and remember when Murphy went to Florida and Talon couldn’t take him out alone, even though he had a CAR and Murphy is kinda a dumbass? Well, now that Isis is along, Talon has recruited THREE Arab terrorists to search ONE library for the pair. So, go Isis, I guess.
The Arabs (hey, why bother to learn their names, right?) pretend to be interested in silly things like books, while Talon chats up the librarian.
Oh, and ALSO remember that time Paul Stepola cited Con Air in Soon, even though the movie came out years before he was born and might perhaps not be the kind of film to be considered a must-see classic by subsequent generations? Well, Tim LaHaye and Bob Phillips share Jenkins’ love for 90s action films, as the interaction between Talon and the librarian mirrors the interaction between the villain and the bank worker in In the Line of Fire. More on this as the scenes between them progress.
Or…maybe I’ve just seen too many 90s action films.
Anyway, Alvena Smidt is a typical librarian (at least in the minds of LaHaye and Phillips, I guess)–plump, nerdy, bespectacled, with a liking for obscure words, classical music, and polka-dot dresses. Naturally, she is also a lonely sister, and is immediately attracted to Talon, especially because she’s South African, and recognizes his accent. (Which I don’t even think he had in the first book, but I don’t care enough right now to go back and check.) Talon couldn’t care less about her, since
he’s a sociopath she’s a plump librarian, and just asks about Murphy and Isis.
“Oh, yes. Who could miss that beautiful woman with the red hair. She looked like a model.”
Isis’s newfound looks-like-a-model status: Confirmed again.
Said looks-like-a-model needs a potty break, so she ambles off, but because she’s a woman, she doesn’t notice Talon or The Arabs. (The name of my new band!) As she leaves, Murphy speculates as follows:
Whoever the Friends of the New World Order are, it’s certain that they are powerful and have an evil plan. They succeeded in killing Dr. Anderson. Will we be next?
Okay, I have no idea why Murphy thinks that killing Anderson was the work of the Friends of the New World Order. Talon was behind the wheel of that SUV, and Murphy doesn’t even know that. For all he knows, in fact, it could just be a random hit-and-run by a crazy driver. And if the FotNWO wanted Anderson dead…well, Anderson was sitting in that nursing home for years, and they could have killed him in any number of ways, any time they wanted to.
And downstairs in the library, the TENSION MOUNTS, as Talon schools The Arabs on how not to just start shooting at two people in a library, since this will reduce their chances to mount a successful terror operation later. Is it really so difficult to quietly dispatch two unarmed people in a large and not-very-busy building with tons of places to hide, and why are these guys taking orders from Talon?
Questions for the ages!
My mom asked me what I was doing with the blog right now, and I tried to explain some of Michael Murphy’s “ideas.” This was her take on the whole thing:
“So they think the AntiChrist is going to be some kind of Nazi vampire? Because I think being a Nazi vampire would make sense if you were the AntiChrist–you could do a lot of the work for yourself.”
Makes more sense to me than anything else I’ve read so far!
Anyway, you’d think, after three chapters of this, that we’d be done with RTC conspiracy theories. But nope–time for more to pile up!
But first, a look at what makes The Perfect RTC Wife-to-Be:
Murphy looked up at Isis as she read, studying her face for a moment. There was no question she was beautiful. Her sparkling green eyes and red hair were striking.
It is a rule in this book that green eyes shall always be referred to as “sparkling“…whether those eyes belong to Isis…or Shari. In Chapter 6, Murphy wishes he could “drown in [Isis’s] sparkling green eyes.” And in Chapter 1, Murphy observes Shari’s “sparkling” green eyes, too.
Actually, since Shari has black hair, I guess Isis is a Significant Green-Eyed Redhead.
But there’s more!
She was smart, well-read, and could hold her own in almost any conversation.
“Her fine mind and ability to handle herself are the reasons I never tell her anything and don’t allow her to participate in discussions that are Man Talk!”
She was fun to be with and was not afraid to try things that were new and different.
I’m wracking my brain trying to think of a time when Murphy and Isis had fun together. Sure, she tries things that are new and different…if you count the fact that she constaly puts her career on the line to secure funding for the pseudo-boyfriend whose success rate is only 50%.
She was independent and at the same time seemed to need his strength.
“She’ll probably be able to submit with little to no trouble!”
So in the continuation of Murphy and Isis’s constant fun-having, she fills him in on some of the genealogy of the future AntiChrist: in an act of research that is pretty shocking, Dr. Anderson found out that the AntiChrist’s egg donor’s mother AND the AntiChrist’s inseminated mother’s mother were both prostitutes.
Oh, and the father of the inseminated mother was a “Gypsy chieftain,” allowing Murphy to observe that Gypsies “are well-known for fortune-telling” and into lots of scams. Raise your hand if you’re surprised that, on top of everything, Murphy is anti-Romani.
Murphy observes this of Alfred Meinrad, the sperm provider for the AntiChrist:
“He was a scientist and had a Ph.D. in astrophysics and a second Ph.D. in microbiology. He was a very outspoken atheist and evolutionist.”
(Oh, and I wonder if Murphy might just be a teensy bit jealous of the good doctor, who has one more Ph.D. than our favorite adventurer.)
So the AntiChrist is descended from whores and god-deniers. Whereas last time they made an AntiChrist, he was descended from not one, but TWO homosexuals.
Wonder which of their Most Hated Humans LaJenkins will use next time?
And the hits just keep on coming, as the truth comes out, to the shock of all: the AntiChrist’s ancestors have SPOOKY NAMES.
I’m serious. We spend a page on this. Spooky names.
“Michael, Michael! Listen!” Isis exclaimed, reviewing the genealogy. “You know that I can read and speak many languages.”
“Sure. I know that.”
“Look at these names. Zigana Averna: Zigana is Hungarian for ‘gypsy’ and Averna is Latin for ‘queen of the underworld.’
So “speaking many languages” means “knowing the meaning of every given name and surname in that language,” eh?
“Mariana Yakov: Mariana is Russian for ‘rebellious’ and Yakov is Russian for ‘supplanter’–one who takes the place of another.
I’m not sure which is sadder: that Isis thinks that Murphy doesn’t know the meaning of the word “supplanter,” or that she thinks Bible scholar Murphy doesn’t know the history of the name JACOB.
“Keres Mazikeen: Keres is Greek for ‘evil spirits’ and Mazikeen is Jewish for ‘elf like beings who can change shapes.’
“Alfred Meinrad: Alfred is Italian for ‘counselor to the elves,’ and Meinrad is German for ‘strong advisor.’
Holy shit. Alfred Meinrad is the most bad-ass name ever.
“Carmine Anguis: Carmine is Latin for ‘crimson’ and Anguis is Latin for ‘dragon.’
“Kala Matrinka: Kala is Egyptian for ‘black’ and Matrinka is Egyptian for ‘divine mother.’
“And finally Calinda Anguis: Calinda is Latin for ‘fiery’ and Anguis is Latin for ‘dragon.’
From all this, Isis now concludes that the situation is “really spooky” and “scary.”
This is coming from a woman named ISIS. Who got teased for that name as a kid. And she thinks other people’s names are spooky.
This is also the author of the book, congratulating himself that the names he chose for his characters are spooky and scary.
But how does that work in the world of the book? Did the Friends of the New World Order scour the globe for a family with appropriately-spooky names? Did God put the ideas for spooky names into the parents’ heads so the AntiChrist would be spooky enough?
Regardless, it’s all SPOOKY, eh?
And we all know how easily Isis is spooked.
Woman that she is. Who needs Murphy’s strength. To fight the spooky names.
With a clear plan to confirm Murphy’s wild conspiracy speculations, we now check in with The Seven (TSAN!) during their planning meeting.
This time, they’ve opted to meet in Rio, which is cool. What’s not cool is the way the story manages to contradict itself immediately:
John Bartholomew thinks that Rio is a great city to meet in because it’s “one of the most crowded cities in the world.”
Then he thinks how nice it was of Señor Mendez to book them a huge villa at Copacabana Beach, “a secluded spot where they would be alone.”
Then he thinks how funny it is that they’ll be planning to “destroy Christianity, the rule of law, and set the stage for the Anti-Christ in the shadow of Corcovado Mountain with the giant Christ the Redeemer Statue on top.”
Okay, admittedly, that is fairly bad-ass.
Or it would be, if they were actually DOING something instead of once again hitting the planning phase of the…plan. Man, three books in, and they’re still going over hard-copy (REALLY???) to-do lists of their nefarious schemes.
Admittedly, it is hilarious the way they talk about their plans. I kinda like these planning stages, just for the way they phrase things:
“We have begun to plant the suggestion into the minds of key UN leaders to consider moving the United Nations organization from the United States to Babylon in Iraq. … Rebuilding Babylon will bring back Arab pride and give them all something to focus their energy on. … The United States would still have to support the UN or be accused of being Arab-phobic.”
I wonder if LaPhillips are speaking from experience with this whole weird accusations-of-being-“Arab-phobic” thing.
BECAUSE MAYBE THERE WERE MORE ARABS!
(I’ll never get tired of that line.)
Then they talk about their plans for wars and rumors of wars:
“We have begun a plan to create a crisis between India and Pakistan. … We have already started stirring up the North Koreans over the nuclear issue.”
I’d love to know how they’re actually accomplishing this. I have a feeling they’re just taking credit for what’s already happening.
Then they talk about trade and it’s just as boring as talking about trade always is.
Then they get to the smallpox and anthrax attacks they’re planning, which also sound like a bad-ass way to spread panic, but once again, we’re given no details.
Then on to the stock market. Zzzzzzzz…
Okay, now the fun stuff:
“We will infuse money into the Americans’ next presidential election. Our plan is to support those candidates who are more liberal and socialistic in their thinking.”
Because we all know that those eeeevil libruls are but a step from the Anti-Christ himself!
Oh, and then they have this bizarre sub-plan to set a bunch of fires. Yes, actual fires. So that…firefighters will be kept busy, or something:
“The plan is to cause erosion problems, which will lead to increased runoff, mudslides, and flooding. Hopefully this will damage crops, structures, and transportation.”
Everyone nodded in agreement. The plan sounded wonderful to them.
If you say so, man.
On to the religion plans!
“We will begin funding various religious leaders and also begin to call for all faiths to unite.”
“We’ll fund individuals and also work to bring everyone together equally! This is sure to work!”
“We will push for the universal brotherhood of man.”
“We will support and encourage the homosexual community.”
“Those who oppose them will be ridiculed, threatened, punished. We can do this by instituting legislation that will take away critical tax advantages for churches and religious organizations.”
It’s hilarious that this would qualify as threatening or punishing. Still, the tax idea? Nice. I approve.
“Any who oppose our plan can be accused of hate speech and jailed for nonconformity.”
Jailed for nonconformity? Are they for real? This is what LaPhillips think American secularists are into? Jailing people for nonconformity?
Man, American Christians have it so tough, don’t they? In a novel written by two RTCs, fictional villains talk about the possibility of jailing people…for nonconforming thoughts on gay rights. No wonder preachers are constantly prepping their flocks for persecution.
Oh, and The Seven (TSAN!) end the meeting saying it will all come together if Talon does his job. Which I wouldn’t bank on, given how he still hasn’t even managed to kill Murphy, a man who takes zero precautions whatsoever with his own safety and security.
Damn, looks like the atheist-theosophical-UN-librul-LGBT-Catholic-feminist-socialist-Arab-forest-fighting worldwide conspiracy is screwed.
Well, Michael had his chance to read aloud, and now it’s Isis’s turn. She claims her readings are from “some of these other folders” but she can’t fool me–she’s just been checking Wikipedia on her iPhone.
Seriously, there is nothing Isis says about Helena Blavatsky that you can’t get from Wiki. Birth and death dates! Her imaginary friend (basically), an Indian man who would visit her dreams! The symbol of the Theosophical Society!
Oh, and she wrote The Secret Doctrine.
“I’ve heard of that book,” Murphy said, excited. “Adolf Hitler kept a well-marked copy of it beside his bed.”
Really, Murph? Thoughts of Hitler get you excited, do they?
Sorry, my mind goes right to the gutter. Guess I’m just not as up on Nazi occultism as Murphy. I don’t have the History Channel, after all.
Actually, I’m not seeing a lot on this claim at all. Granted, I’m not all that interested, but a did search a bit, and found repetitions of the claim at…well, let’s say questionable websites (like, say, this one). Don’t get me wrong, I’m as amused by worldwide conspiracy theories as the next atheist, but it does seem like the Theosophists have put up a pretty good defense to this charge.
Anyway, Our Hero is still tickled pink by the whole thing, cracking that:
“[Blavatsky] sounds like Shirley MacLaine,” Murphy grinned.
Man, I feel like that joke must have been old even in 2005. And seriously, has Murphy forgotten) yanno, again, that a man died so they could have these Wiki articles? Be serious, Murph!
Isis mentions that Blavatsky “led a wild life of wandering the world for about ten years,” which sounds pretty bad-ass for a 19th-centruy woman, but I suppose is just more damning evidence of how unfeminine a creature she was.
“Besant was an activist in the feminist movement; she was especially involved in birth control.”
(It’s also kinda amusing that Isis–formerly single, independent, free-thinking Isis–presents these facts as criticisms against Besant.)
Seems she has well and truly turned to the RTC Dark Side. Sad.
More Wiki info that you can just get by reading the pages I linked, if you’re interested. Because so far, it all comes to nothing–Isis hasn’t actually uncovered why this information is important for The Case of the Murder of Dr. Anderson or, for that matter, the Writing on the Wall, which I could have sworn played some kind of role in this book.
No matter, though. Murphy makes another crack about Lucifer Magazine being the stuff of “Saturday morning cartoon programs” the three women being “triple-threat charmers for sure,” and vaguely mentions the eeeeevil United Nations…
…but we’re no closer to…well, anything than we were before.
Back with Murphy and Isis in the library, and in a five-page chapter, four of the pages are devoted to Murphy reading from Dr. Anderson’s notes, and the last page being Isis’s reaction to them. And in all this, a certain word keeps being repeated again and again…
But first of all, Anderson has titled his own journal: “The Journal of Harley B. Anderson.” Now, I haven’t had a diary since the age of 11, but is it really common for grown-ass men to title their professional daily journals as such? I suspect Dr. Anderson’s diary has copious pictures of unicorns and kitties on the front cover.
But on to the science!
Today J.M. and I were contacted by three men from a group called the Friends of the New World Order. They want us to artificially inseminate a girl for them.
So that’s how it works, huh? Strangers just accost doctors who have never successfully managed to artificially inseminate anyone, and ask them to inseminate a random girl, with no reason given? And you’re okay with that?
We met again with the Friends of the New World Order. They promised to pay for a fully-equipped lab.
Wait…they came to you for help with this brand-new procedure, and you don’t already have a lab?
That will cost a great deal.
They said that they had one stipulation–that we would have to keep the entire matter in absolute secrecy. They are very strange.
J.M. and I met the young woman to be inseminated for the first time. She seems nice but a little frightened. Her name is Calinda Anhuis. She is Romanian, and J.M. had to translate and explain the procedure to her.
Wow, agreeing to inseminate a stranger, sight unseen, and she’s scared. Nope, no medical ethics problems here that I can see!
Today we received the sperm and egg provided by the Friends of the New World Order. They would not tell us who the donors were. Strange!
You know what else is strange? That they found another unethical doctor to subcontract out the extraction of the egg.
But, nothing doing, they go ahead and implant Calinda, and all appears to proceed as normal (well, as normal as it can be, considering that this is the first time this procedure has actually worked, a fact that causes surprisingly little excitement in the offices of Docs Anderson and J.M.
[J.M.] has fears that we may be doing something illegal.
We both do not care for the people we have met. They seem evil.
Wow, and they seemed so nice at first! With a happy name like Friends of the New World Order and dragging scared teenagers around to give them mysterious and untested medical procedures!
Despite being nervous about their possibly illegal actions and being warned by this mysterious group to keep things quiet, Anderson does some digging and traces the family tree of the new fetus. Calendars parents are Carmine and Kala Matrinka Anguis. Egg donor is Keres Mazikeen and her mother is Mariana Yakov and her mother is Zigana Averna.
Sperm donor is Alfred Meinrad, a scientist. Huh.
baby boy Antichrist is born on April Fools’ Day. Six weeks later, J.M., who had expressed his fears for months, is killed in a car accident. This is, according to Anderson, impossible, as it happened in the mountains, where J.M. didn’t like to go, and he “always [drove] under the speed limit.” If you say so, dude. I have no idea of my coworkers’ driving habits.
Anyway, cut to Isis and her reaction to all this:
“That does sound very strange, Michael,” Isis said thoughtfully.
STRANGE AGAIN OMG PHILLIPS THE THESAURUS IS FREE ONLINE
Murphy dials it up, confirming that not only is the situation STRANGE, but also EEEEEVIL:
“In my talk with Dr. Anderson before he was killed, he was convinced that they were evil people who had an evil plan of some kind.”
“He even suggested that he might have helped in the birth of the Anti-Christ.”
“You mean the Anti-Christ of the Bible that you’re always talking about?”
“No, the AntiChrist from Alvin and the Chipmunks—YES THE ANTICHRIST FROM THE BIBLE!”
“The same one,” Murphy said, soberly.
Y’know, these books would be a lot more fun if I was drunk right now.
So Isis sits there and thinks about her faith. She reminisces for a whole second on Noah’s Ark, which, hell, I would think about for longer if I was her. She decides she needs to be “open-minded” and think about making a decision about God. Sometime in the vague nearish future.
As you would.
Yanno, I make my little jokes and we all have a good laugh at Michael Murphy’s silly antics and talk of “more Arabs,” but when it comes right down to it, the vast majority of readers of these books will never be pressed into service as terrorist-hunters by their Mossad-agent best friends.
But 1 in 3 women will be victims of domestic partner violence in their lives (so will 1 in 4 men, but I really can’t imagine LaPhillips including an abused husband as a character in these how-to manuals).
And these books (at least since Phillips took over) have been how-to manuals for Christians: how to act with a new love after your wife dies, how to respond to a friend who is cheating on his wife, how to counsel a young woman in an unequally-yoked relationship. And now: how to be an abused partner.
In other words, this is as real as it gets. It’s darkly funny in a weird way: we’ve watched Paul Stepola rejoice over the deaths of children, yet this is what angers me more than just about anything else we’ve read.
And the weird thing is, there’s not even one clear teaching that I can be angry at. Because the Christian view of spouse abuse is, at best, muddled. At worst, it is fatally divided against itself.
What’s the first thing RTCs say about marriage? That the wife must submit to her husband, of course.
Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. or the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
In everything. Every single thing.
And gee, go figure that if you tell a person that he has absolute authority over another person no matter what, in every single possible issue in life, such a God-mandated power imbalance might have…unfortunate consequences.
So on one hand, we have the wives who must submit. And on the other, we have the very human sensibility that says that a person should not have to put up with abuse.
See what I mean about fatally divided against itself?
RTCs twist themselves into some pretty complex knots to get out of this conundrum. (Granted, some of them don’t. Read a few blogs, and you’ll find an enraging number of accounts of women told by their pastors to go back to abusive husbands and submit harder already!)
- This delightful gentleman thinks abuse is wrong, but not quite so wrong as to justify divorce. He defensively protests that he is not condoning abuse, darn it…just making it impossible for an abused wife to get closure, move on, and try to find some happiness away from the beatings.
- This woman at least thinks abused wives should be able to divorce…because any man who would abuse his wife is, ipso facto, not a Christian. So the wife has accidentally gone and gotten herself unequally yoked and thus can divorce under 1 Corinthians 7:15. So, points for getting the wife out, even if you have to convince yourself that only a horrid nonChristian would ever be capable of hitting someone.
- Another vote for Leave, but no Divorcing. (And the last sentence of the whole piece advocates involving the police!)
Now, being the unrepentant liberal feminist atheist that I am, I don’t want to leave out the supposed counter-argument to the idea that a wife submitting to a husband in EVERYTHING is sick and wrong and a recipe for disaster. After all, any preacher knows to quickly add, “But husbands are commanded to love their wives! So wives aren’t getting the bad end of this deal at all!”
Except I’m not so sure that the command to love would automatically convince a man not to abuse. After all, this is the same Bible that commands fathers to beat their children, and I doubt that is supposed to imply that hitting a kid means you don’t love her. So why would a Christian husband think that hitting is out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive wife, of it is not out of bounds for an insufficiently-submissive kid?
As well, this is the problem that arises when one party is commanded to DO something (obey), and the other party only to THINK something (love). I mean, isn’t “I’m sorry, babe, I love you” the rallying cry of abusive husbands? You can’t prove he doesn’t love her, can you?
Oh, and that brings up another muddling point: the doctrine of forgiveness no matter what.
And again, people tie themselves into knots. Many Christian commentators will claim that forgiveness doesn’t have to mean forgetting and reconciling…except that divorce isn’t an option and reconciliation should be the ultimate goal.
Now, I will add here that there are Christian blogs that advise abused spouses to go to the police and to separate from the abuser. Some even call out church elders who side with the abuser (or maintain “neutrality,” which amounts to the same thing).
But honestly, all this reading makes me feel a tiny bit better for poor Stephanie Kovacs. Seems that Shane actually did her a favor by not putting a ring on it. Because Stephanie will never have to worry about reconciliation or how much God hates divorce. Being a new baby RTC, she’ll probably have to immediately forgive him, but at least she won’t have to live with him again. Filthy unmarried (monogamous, committed) relationship that it was.
Damn, that was depressing.
But next time: Michael Murphy tackles theosophy!
Yeah, we all know Shane is evil. Granted, LaPhillips think he’s evil because he’s a nonbeliever working with The Seven (TSAN). But he’s also evil because he’s a dickish employer and abandoned his Ambiguously Gay son.
And now he’s also evil because he’s a domestic abuser.
Stephanie comes home from South Carolina (where she was on her vague and pointless assignment for THREE WEEKS, it seems). She’s made the decision to leave Shane, and now Phillips backbuilds a series of events in which Shane was on the edge of violence with Stephanie, punching walls and the like. Which just seems highly out of character for Shane, but that’s just the beginning.
Stephanie still has her own place, but has been staying with Shane more often than not. Despite all this backbuilding about how scared she is of Shane, Stephanie takes the time to pack two big suitcases with her things, despite not knowing quite when he’ll be back. And, of course, Shane does come back, just in the nick of time to see the suitcases.
So he screams at Stephanie and slaps her across the room and throws her suitcases at her head.
And it is just so, so wrong.
I don’t mean just the domestic abuse. Of course that is incredibly wrong. But Shane just doesn’t seem the type. And I know that asshole abusers don’t walk around wearing signs, but everything we’ve seen of Shane so far shows a man who solves problems (and people he considers problems) by making them go away, not by battling them head-on. He hadn’t seen his ex-wife and son in years–out of sight, out of mind. When anyone displeases him in the slightest, like one of his employees, he just fires them and/or ditches them.
So I just get the feeling here that Phillips wanted Shane to do something evil, because he couldn’t be bothered with the more complicated idea that Shane and Stephanie might have it out with words and their usual mutual manipulation. And it’s only natural that Shane would be abusive. He’s not a Christian, after all! Never mind that it’s nonsensical character development.
In fact, after knocking her out with her suitcase, Shane carries Stephanie and the suitcases down to her car and deposits them all in it. So when she comes to, there she is, beaten and bloody, with a lipstick message on the windshield that “NO ONE RUNS OUT ON ME.”
So this might seem like the time to go to the police, but Stephanie doesn’t. And yes, I get that many women don’t leave and don’t report abuse, but Stephanie really has no reason not to. She has no children to protect, and no concern over Shane’s reputation. This is a relationship of just over a year, and she has no history of abusive relationships, either for herself and in her family. In fact, she’s a nationally-known television journalist with a huge platform to expose Shane.
But no, she goes home, washes away all the evidence, and sleeps until she gets a call from Shane’s secretary, who tells her that she’s fired and Shane is going to blackball her. Which seems like a plan doomed to failure, given Stephanie’s success and reputation. You’d think after being fired without cause, Stephanie would be snatched up by another network within the hour.
Anyway, Stephanie just rolls over and thinks of God. Yep, she calls Murphy’s words to mind about having happiness in the midst of sorrow, and she doesn’t have that (gee, shocking), so she talks to God and makes the transaction. She also thinks this:
I’ve really made some poor choices, and they’ve affected my entire life.
Huh. It’s almost like Phillips is implying that Stephanie’s choice to have a monogamous sexual relationship without a wedding ring was an obvious precursor to abuse and professional ruin. Fancy that.
I dunno. It’s just that making Stephanie into someone who doesn’t even consider going to the police when she’s been beaten into unconsciousness, followed by this talking to God about “poor choices“…well, I guess there’s only thing a good Christian woman should do when she is abused: pray about it.