Babylon Rising, Chapter 9, Part 1

Or: Daddy Issues from Tim LaHaye

Remember Shane Barrington?  The rich, crooked media mogul who grew up on the mean streets of Detroit, and is now in the employ of The Seven, the folks who will Stop at Nothing to get Michael Murphy’s archeological treasures?

But I’m sure what you’re wondering right now is, “Hey!  We just learned about Paul’s father-son issues!  I wonder if Shane has father-son issues, too?”

And indeed, he does.  Because that is apparently the only source of tension or conflict LaHaye can imagine in a man’s life. 

In the Left Behind series, there was no shortage of father-son conflict.  Rayford Steele wanted to be a pilot instead of joining the family business.  Buck Williams had the classic working-class-father-versus-college-educated-son conflict.  We just saw Paul’s issues with being a Poor Little Rich Boy who did not want to follow in Daddy’s footsteps.

And now, Shane Barrington has father issues.  You see, Shane is divorced (so now we know he’s evil), and saw his only child only on the occasional holiday visit.  Arthur Barrington is 25 years old now, wants to be an artist, and asked his dad for some cash to open a gallery.  Despite having millions, Shane tossed his son out on his ear, calling him a “loser freak freeloader.”

Which is sad in and of itself.  What is even sadder, however, is that LaHaye and Dinallo appear to share Shane’s contempt for his son.  Great relish is taken when describing Arthur Barrington.  Though good-looking (like his father), Arthur has purple hair and a pierced tongue, and wears “ripped leather pants.”  Because that’s how all artists look, isn’t it, LaHaye?

L&D seem to be skating around the edge of something here—is Arthur gay?  No, they never say the word, but all the conservative Christian dog whistles are there:

1.  Absentee father

2.  Raised in California

3.  Piercings

4.  Dyed hair

5.  Leather

6.  An ARTIST

Add to that the fact that although this chapter is really all about Shane and Arthur’s relationship, Arthur is never allowed to speak.  We never know what he said to his father or how he asked for money.  Arthur is never allowed to tell us how he feels about his father and their relationship.  We never hear Arthur.

Is it because LaHaye and Dinallo don’t know what a “loser freak freeloader” would say?  Is it because they are “subtly” trying to create a gay character, and have no concept of how a gay character would talk?  Or is it just more ham-handed portrayal of how they imagine an evil man with a broken family would be, with Arthur just an object, with no feelings or voice worth hearing?

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Posted on January 31, 2010, in Babylon Rising, Books. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Maybe it’s a good thing he doesn’t speak. I shudder to think *what* would they make him say if they’re really going for Ambigiously Gay trope. And with the lisp, probably.
    (Can I start shipping Arthur with Guy Blod?)

    • By all means! And now that I think about Guy Blod, Arthur seems even more likely to be Ambiguously Gay. Because I didn’t mention what Arthur’s medium is–sculpture!

  1. Pingback: Babylon Rising, Chapter 21 « Heathen Critique

  2. Pingback: Soon: Chapter 3: Daddy « Heathen Critique

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