Soon: Chapter 4: Apostle’s Ladies

Much of the rest of Chapter 4 showcases Paul Apostle’s interactions with the women in his life.

First up is Felicia, Paul’s secretary.  As a black woman in her late forties, it is naturally assumed that this is the one woman in his world that Paul won’t sleep with.  And as a black woman in her late forties, she is naturally introduced to us through a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. plotline.  You see, when Paul returns from a consulting job, it is “King Day,” and the big news is that a speaker referred to Dr. King as “Reverend.”

Here’s the odd thing–Dr. King’s doctorate was in systematic theology.  So why is it okay to call him “Doctor,” but not “Reverend”?

Here is part of the exchange:

“Tell me the truth, Dr. Stepola.  You see any harm in using a man’s title, one he earned and used himself?”

Nice to see that the tradition of LaJenkins heroes always being addressed by their titles is continuing.

“Yes, I do, Felicia.  And the organizers know better, too.  It’s playing with fire to link religion with a hero like Dr. King.”

Link?  Isn’t that where Dr. King got his nonviolence philosophy?”

“If you’re talking about his tactics, I believe he got them from Mohandas Gandhi.  Think about it–what that title links him to is occultism and ignorance.”

“I just meant–”

“Dr. King was a product of his time.  Do you think highlighting that era’s blindness serves his memory?  When we want to honor Thomas Jefferson, do we focus on his slaveholding?”

Good thing Paul can whitesplain race history to a black woman.  The long tradition of LaJenkins heroes interrupting everyone continues, too.

Felicia looked stricken.  Paul smiled.

You ass.

“Am I going to have to arrest you for practicing religion, Felicia?”

“Cuff me.  You’ll need backup.”

Wow, Felicia doesn’t take any sass, does she?  Excuse me while I roll my eyes into the next state.

“Oh yeah?” he said, chuckling.  “We’ll see about that.  But seriously, I spent four years studying the world’s major religions….

Um, it takes more than four years to get a doctorate, Paul.  Maybe you can reference your friend Dr. King about that.

…And ‘I ain’t gonna study war no more.’  That’s what the history is like.  Believe me, religion is the opposite of nonviolence.”

You ain’t gonna study war no more?  Really, Paul?  I just…there are no words.

After that battle of wits, Paul retreats to his office.  The picture of Jae on his desk makes him “acknowledge” that he has thought more about Angela than about his wife lately.  Meanwhile, I’m rather shocked that Paul has a picture of his wife on his desk at all.

Then, we meet Trina Thomas, the “vivacious redhead from the South” who “presides” over “the division lab.”  Paul enlists her aid under false pretenses: he wants to make sure the letter from his father is not a fake, so he tells her that it’s a genealogy project of Jae’s.  This is an example of the “flirtatious banter” the two exchange, though Paul describes their relationship thusly:

Though she was married, Paul always thought it was the fact that they worked together that kept them from taking the next step.

This is just fascinating, for so many reasons.  First of all, Paul (and Jenkins) always seem to forget that Paul is married, too.  As well, isn’t this the same Paul who slept with all his “female colleagues” on business trips only a few chapters ago?  Not to mention that Paul is in consulting and this woman runs the lab.  How much “working together” could they really be doing?  And I love Paul’s (and Jenkins’) assumption that but for Paul’s misgivings about “working together,” Trina would happily hop right into his bed.  Because women, even in our glorious cancer-curing, war-free atheist utopia, have no control over their own actions when the “quick-witted” Paul is on the prowl.

“And what do you have for us?  Some precious artifact?” [Trina asked]

“A personal favor, actually.  For Jae.”

“Is she ready for me to take you off her hands?”

“Afraid not.”

Ah, the banter is indeed scintillating.

So, after his tough day of whitesplaining, banter, and getting on the new task force, Paul heads home to his despised wife:

“Paul, when you get back [from your trip on the new task force], do you think we should go to counseling?” [Jae asked]

“You go.  You’re the one who’s paranoid.”

Yanno, I’m starting to see why Trina keeps their relationship on a strictly Stupid Banter level.

More on the task force next time.

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Posted on February 12, 2011, in Books, Soon. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.

  1. Once again a LeHaye piece of writing that cannot be parodied because it is already a parody of itself.

  2. Er, wasn’t Gandhi’s adherence to non-violence founded in his understanding of Buddhism and Jainism? Not that those are properly *religions*, of course, not like Christianity….

    • I read that Gandhi was influenced by the Jains, who advocate complete non-violence towards all living creatures. Of course, I’m sure that “Jainism,” like “Asian religious factions,” is something Jenkins could not define if you paid him.

  3. hapax, you have to remember that according Jenkins, all religions are disingenuous: in other words, they’re just clinging to a religion they know to be fake in order to deny the almighty truth of JESUS!!!!!111

  4. Yick.
    So now I have to decide which of these little vignettes is more creepy. First there’s Paul Apostle’s lecturing an older black woman as to how she should think about her hero Dr. King, then threatening her (jokingly) with arrest. Then there’s his not-so-sublte flirting with Trina (who would no doubt jump his bones the moment he lowered his professional standards-the harlot!). Finally we have the continued emotional abuse of his wife.
    All in one chapter. Wow.

  5. With Felicia, I think we see very clearly that Jenkins doesn’t know the difference between winning an argument and bulling someone into not bothering to argue with you any more because they want to keep their job and not be found in a barrel.

    Naturally every woman wants to sleep with a Real True Man. It’s all the poor fellow can do to fend them off and go home to his “attractive enough” wife. I’m certainly getting a strong feeling here of someone who thinks that a successful worldly man ought to be doing this sort of thing, but hasn’t really got enough experience of the world to make it convincing.

    Perhaps part of Atheistopia is the Breakdown of the Sacred Bonds of Marriage? …nah, too obvious even for Jerry.

    • “I think we see very clearly that Jenkins doesn’t know the difference between winning an argument and bulling someone into not bothering to argue with you any more because they want to keep their job and not be found in a barrel.”

      Now, Firedrake, we both know that that was completely an accident. Dork Too Stupid was just wandering around a warehouse in complete darkness (Don’t you?), and then just happened to stumble into those inconvenient open barrels of kerosene they kept around the place (They really need to keep better track of those things), while smoking and carrying literal tons of flammable materials.

      I’m sorry, I just can’t get over the fact that not only is The Ebul Atheist Gubment stupid enough to make THAT their excuse (when “Murdered by Religious Extremists”-or something similar- as already noted, would make so much more sense), but also that people seem to BUY it. Just… what the hell? Apparently Jenkins has made one problem with the Atheist Society clear- it is full of High School dropouts with no understanding of logic or how things happen.

  6. So, come to think of it, does this Atheistworld have same-sex marriages? Or would that be a perversion of the natural order too bizarre even for Jerry’s Atheists Triumphant?

    And why are all redheads “vivacious”? Why can’t we have a a placid, lethargic redhead, once in a while? And can you ever call a men “vivacious”?

    Insomnia, it brings the unanswerable questions…

    • In Atheistopia, same-sex marriage is compulsory. But you don’t actually have to have sex with your partner, and if you have sex with someone else people don’t shun you. Truly, a hell on Earth.

      • There are several mentions in the book (though we haven’t had one yet) that same-sex relationships are much more open and accepted. And when Paul starts going to the big, evil cities, the gay sex is openly advertised, just like the straight sex.

        Jenkins sees this as a bad thing.

      • In Thomas M. Disch’s liberal atheist sort-of-dystopia *334* (it’s not so much a dystopia per se, but a book saying “you can give people a World That Rocks, and some of them will *still* screw up”) there’s not only same-sex marriage, but at one point one of the protagonists is told that he is “too heterosexual” and advised to have a gay relationship for a while to balance himself out.

  7. Oy! And even worse than the “whiteplain[ing] race history to a black woman” is LaJenkins’ attempt to thus co-opt MLK to their side of the camp! Cause the Rev. Dr. King would so be on the side of the RTC PMDs in these here Modern Culture Wars for the VERY SOUL of aMURRICA, doncha know.

    • Andrew The Eternal

      What’s weird, though, is how much they failed to develop the Atheist World Government co-opting MLK.

      In a better written dystopia (ie most of them), the main character being just old enough to have been born before the beginning of the new state would be used to develop a continuing dramatic irony between what the audience knows and what the character feels is wrong in some way they can’t define. But here, Paul is weakly enforcing the dogma of the day. We can’t share his sense of dread and unease about just what happened because he is just fine with.

      But let’s say AWG had a different narrative: Dr. Martin Luthor King Jr. starring in the parable of pearls and swine. If they view MLK as a good man in a culture he didn’t realize was irrevocably tainted(religion), than not using his title of Reverend becomes a given, an honor like that of the Good Samaritan.

      Then Paul could be developed as a man whose studies of the enemy leave him perturbed by the ever so slight inconsistencies that he can’t justify to himself. He feels like something is wrong, just like we do, giving Jenkins an emotion hook he could use to pull us through Paul’s conversion.

      But instead? Lukewarm failure.

    • “Oh yeah?” he said, chuckling. “We’ll see about that. But seriously, I spent four years studying the world’s major religions….

      Yeah, nothing like a few years studying secondary sources to make you expert enough to tell off a woman who (in her late forties) would have lived through the pre-Ahteistopia world and probably experienced real racism first hand….

      …And now that I’m thinking about it, since when does studying religion make you an expert on civil rights? I’ve taken a couple of courses on Islam but I’m not an expert on Malcolm X.

  8. Inquisitive Raven

    Wanna bet Jenkins has no idea what King’s doctorate was in?

  9. I wanna bet that Jenkins has never read “Why I oppose the War in Vietnam” by Dr. King or heard that Dr. King called America, the good ol’ US of A, the greatest perpetrator of violence in the world. Conservatives love to focus on the “Content of their character” quote and forget that Dr. King was a radical and that when he was preaching, their side spent most of their time trying to discredit him by digging up dirt on him.

  10. ““Dr. King was a product of his time. Do you think highlighting that era’s blindness serves his memory? When we want to honor Thomas Jefferson, do we focus on his slaveholding?”

    Spoken like a true white guy. Yes, yes we should acknowledge the fact that all historical figures held attitudes that were representative in some way of their time period and accept their good along with their bad–

    Oh. Wait. That’s not the fundy way. We can’t acknowledge flaws in anyone we respect, no matter how glaring they are.

    • Once King was safely dead, the appropriation began more or less immediately. I sometimes dream that the Christians in America might band together and stop the practitioners of American-Christianity from representing themselves as Christians, since they so blatantly aren’t…

      • Hah! I would love to see that! People actually being expected to live up to the ideals that they insist showing off.
        I can just see it now, the ubiquitous man with the clipboard interviewing a RTC:

        Q: Do you consider charity to be a personal choice in that you are free to withhold help from a starving man if you consider him to be unworthy?
        A: Well yes, of course. Some of these poor people a just bums who don’t want to work!
        Q: Okay then. Do you consider yourself to be a beacon of light in a world of darkness, one of the few lone bastions of righteousness in a world that has gone over to the devil?
        A: Wow, it’s like you’re reading my mind! I used to be a wretched sinner but ever since Jesus Christ washed me clean in his healing blood, I’m perfect in almost every way…
        Q: I see. Iraq War?
        A: Justified and totally necessary.
        Q: Universal Health Care?
        A: Will lead to socialism and death panels. It’s in Mein Kampf.
        Q: Alright then, almost done. One more question: That man over there in the turban. Do you love him like your brother?
        A: Actually, I just called Homeland Security about him while I was waiting in line. They should be here to pick him up any time now…
        Q: Okay, that pretty much makes it a clean sweep. I am sorry to say that you do not meet the minimum requirements for Christian (20th Century). As a result you will have to immediately cease and desist in all Religious activities immediately. Please leave your Bible and crucifix in the tray over there. The if you could show my associate Sully here to your car, he will sand blast the “In Case of Rapture this car will be empty” sticker off your bumper and bend your Jesus Fish magnet into a dollar sign…

  11. I could get behind that, Evil Paul. Especially if first we strip George W. Bush and Karl Rove of their credentials.

  12. …And ‘I ain’t gonna study war no more.’ That’s what the history is like.

    Wow, he’s really trying to defeat the 1960s, isn’t he? It’s rather sad.

  13. I am having an increasingly hard time understanding how anyone could consider Jae in the wrong.

    …Is Jenkins even reading what he’s writing?

    • Inquisitive Raven

      If he’s churning them out like he did the Left Behind stuff, I doubt it. But he probably wouldn’t see the problems anyway. Wimmin’s is supposed to be chattel doncha know.

  14. “You go. You’re the one who’s paranoid.”

    Tool.

    I never thought I’d say this, but compared to Stepola, Joshua Jordan and Mike Murphy are almost likable if goofy. Paul takes asshattery to new levels. I realize he’s supposed to be portrayed as a proto-villain in this section and is thus entitled to be an asshat for the sake of the story, but… he really doesn’t change, does he?

  15. I have absolutely nothing of import to contribute, but due to fatigue, I seem to be mentally narrating everything Paul says in the voice of Sean Connery.

    Given how terrible all the dialog is, results are somehow awesome.

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