TEoD: Chapter 18: Meth is Meth

Presumably the next day (but who knows?), Murphy gets a call from Levi Abrams.  Levi invites him out for lunch, Levi’s treat, and the following groan-inducing conversation takes place:

“How about [I treat you to lunch at] the Shaw Towers Dining Room?  I’m working on some security issues with the owners there and part of our deal is free lunches for me and any guests.”

“Aha, now I understand your generous offer to treat.”

“You know I was born in Israel,” said Abrams, and they both laughed.

HAHAHAHA, cheap Jews, amirite???  It’s okay, Phillips—you might be a Christian, but you’re putting your antisemitic joke into the mouth of your only Jewish character, so it’s totes okay!

Actually, it’s not.  Sarah Silverman, you ain’t.

Levi has invited Murphy to Jewish Free Lunch so he can reveal the exciting information of Methuselah’s true identity.  So during his class, instead of focusing on his students, Murph goes over in his mind everything he knows about Meth.  It’s just the stuff we already know about the cackling laugh, which every person who has ever met Meth has mentioned in that exact way, but now Phillips throws in that Meth has a tongue-clicking habit, which I don’t remember reading about until just now.

Before even revealing the guy’s name, Levi gives Murphy Meth’s backstory: he has American, Israeli, and Taiwanese citizenships, and survived a plane bombing in 1980 that killed his wife and three kids.  Levi know a bizarre number of details about the crash, and even Murphy remembers hearing about it, which also seems a tad odd.  It doesn’t seem to terribly much matter anyway, since Meth and his family were innocent passengers, not the intended targets of the terrorism.

Anyway, FINALLY we learn that Meth is one Markus Methuselah Zasso.

Yep, that’s right: Methuselah’s name IS ACTUALLY METHUSELAH.

That is pathetic.  I mean, first of all, why would Meth use his own name, even his middle name, when he taunts the professor he likes to taunt and give clues to artifacts to?  And why would this not be the first line of research that Murphy/the FBI/Levi Abrams followed?  There can’t be too many men in the U.S. who have the kind of resources needed for this who ALSO HAPPEN TO BE NAMED METHUSELAH.

(It’s also bizarre, and I wonder what LaHaye and Phillips will make of this, that Zasso is an Italian name.  Murphy underlines this point, in fact.  And since the only other Italian I can think of in the LaHaye oeuvre is my poor woobie Leon Fortunato, I can’t help but feel that A LOT more will be made of this.  After all, we’ve had “cheap Jew” jokes, so we might as well throw some Italian stereotypes into the mix.)

Murphy actually wonders about Meth being named…well, Meth.  And Phillips can’t come up with a very good reason, either.  (Again, why even BOTHER making this his real name?  It’s just a biblical alias he chose!)  The best Phillips can do is that Meth’s grandfather was a missionary to China and Meth’s father was born in China and so…Meth is named Meth.

Instead of, yanno, David or Paul or Aaron or Adam or Michael or Jacob or Peter or Seth or ANY OF THE OTHER PERFECTLY REASONABLE BOY NAMES FROM THE BIBLE, Daddy decided to saddle an innocent baby with the name Methuselah.

No wonder Meth is a bit screwy in the head.  Allegedly.

Levi has also discovered that one of Meth’s many homes is in Myrtle Beach, which I actually visited a few times as a kid, so when Murphy inevitably confronts Meth there, at least he can brush up on his mad mini golf skillz.

Meth is surrounded by at least six armed guards at all times, even when he’s relaxing on the beach, but Levi hilariously opines that Murphy can still “get real close to him” because he has “the element of surprise.”  Because the element of surprise always works when an unarmed civilian wants to “get real close” to a heavily-guarded, insanely wealthy man.  I mean, it’s not like Murphy is planning an infiltration and kidnapping or anything—he just wants to talk to the guy.  How does “the element of surprise” even enter into this?  I just doubt that all of the SIX armed guards will be surprised that Some Guy wants to chat with their boss.  They probably deal with that every day.


Murphy wusses out of any immediate confrontation with Meth, since he has “a few things to do first.”  But he inexplicably looks forward to meeting Meth, so he can “put an end to the life-threatening bouts.”

Hey, Murph?  Here’s an idea: if you want to put an end to the life-threatening bouts, JUST STOP GOING TO THEM.  Meth has always INVITED you to them, and you have ALWAYS gone.  If you’re so concerned, JUST STOP GOING.  There has never been the slightest hint that Meth has or would ever force the issue.

I mean, geez, Phillips, at least keep your own character motivation straight!



Posted on August 14, 2017, in The Edge of Darkness. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. InquisitiveRaven

    Okay, I’m confused. Did I forget about Murphy talking to Levi about Methuselah, or did this pop up out of nowhere?

  2. Markus Methuselah Zasso is nothing compared to some of the other names we’ve encountered (Paul Stepola, Viv Ivins, Thomas Doubten).

    As for why . . . some parents just like to torture their offspring with odd names.

  3. Unless Methusalem has dozens of “adventurous” professors whom he regularly puts through death traps to find vague or not so vague clues* he probably knows what Murphy looks like, and ought to have shared that with his guards. But by all means, approach him on a wide open beach and hope they don’t notice you coming.

    * Suggest your own death traps and clues for professors in other fields here.

  4. What kind of “security issues” would a restaurant have? Is somebody leaking the chef’s secret recipes for chocolate salami and fried twinkies?* Even the kind of high-end diner where insanely rich billionaires go to eat don’t employ security experts – their insanely rich billionaire guests will have their own security people check the place out.
    Phillips is just setting up a scene for his laboured anti-Semitic joke. is this offensive stereotyping all his idea, or is it in his contract?

    *Those are real dishes that somebody has cooked and eaten btw.

  5. This isn’t a new thing with LaHaye. Anyone who knows about the Left Behind-verse, knows that LaHaye and Jenkins pretty much give every ethnic character or any character who isn’t an American White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, names that amount being Ethnic McEthnic or Non-American Nationalists, so much so that on my blog where I took on the Left Behind: Kids books, I eventually started calling characters General Jew or Foreign McForeign because they have no identity outside of being Jewish or foreign.

  6. It’s kinda stupid of Methuselah to use part of his own name instead of making up a fake one. Though to be fair, it’s taken until the fourth book before Murphy even bothered to try to figure out who he really is. And I’m not sure it’s even possible for a person to have triple citizenship.

    • I haven’t seen her in a while, but I think my friend had an American, Swiss and Dutch passport. Her mother was Swiss, but she lived in the Netherlands with her husband, and gave birth in the US.

  7. “And so at last we meet, in the flesh as it were DOCTOR MICHAEL MURPHY!”
    “It would appear so… Talon!”
    “I have waited fo…”
    “Or should I say… Ian Talon!”
    “I see your numerous contacts in the best and sexiest intelligence agencies around the world have ridden to your rescue, Dr. Murphy- I had taken great pains to hide my true name from you.”
    “Yes, but I was able to work it out all by myself. You see, you forgot one crucial detail.”
    “What was it?”
    “That “Talon” is your actual surname, and you are the only South African registered to own birds of prey in this state.”
    “Curses! The one tiny chink in my armour- and that’s not racist, I’m South African, so racism is part of my culture.”
    “You don’t have to worry about that around me, I’m not here to stifle your free speech, I’m here to prove that other people need theirs stifling because the Bible is totes true.”

  8. “Markus”? With a “k”?

  9. “You know I was born in Israel,” said Abrams, and they both laughed.

    They both laughed!
    It’s fine, they BOTH laughed. Why do you keep insisting there’s a problem when both of them- the WASP and the Jew- both laugh? I mean, it’s not like one might have found laughing at stereotypes about his culture, heritage and people was a successful defence against prejudice, heading it off at the pass and attempting to curry favour with people who might mean those prejudices entirely seriously and the other is, you know, a member of a notoriously anti-semitic dominant social ethnic group! They BOTH laughed, and there’s no need to wonder why except that it’s funny to assume Jews are tight fisted.

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Roundup for August 18th, 2017 | The Slacktiverse

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