Books Are Pretty

Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers

Ten years ago my husband and I vacationed out West, driving aimlessly from landmark to landmark, looping from Mt. Rushmore to Devil’s tower to Yellowstone to Deadwood to the Badlands, not following any particular timetable other than a tentative reservation made at The Irma Hotel.

One cloudy afternoon, we swung upwards into Montana to visit the site of America’s worst military disaster, the battle of the Little Bighorn. In 1875, Sioux and Cheyenne Indians, outraged over the continued intrusion of white people into their sacred lands, banded together with Sitting Bull to fight against the settlers. During the summer of 1876, the 7th Cavalry, led by Lt. Col George Custer, split into three parts to attack and defeat the Sioux. However, the Army seriously underestimated both the difficulty of the terrain and the number of enemy combatants, and they were quickly overpowered and surrounded. Prior to the slaughter of the settlers by the Sioux, Custer sent Captain Frederick Benteen to block the upper valley, while Major Marcus Reno was to pursue the Indians across the river and charge the village, while Custer lead a division to continue marching forward.

With the advantage of their numbers and familiarity with the terrain, the Indians drove Reno’s squadron out of the village before turning their attention to slaughtering Custer’s division. Totally surrounded by the Oglala Sioux under the command of Crazy Horse, Custer ordered his men to shoot their own horses and use them as barricades. By the end of the hour, the entire Seventh cavalry was slaughtered, except for Benteen’s group, and a few remaining members of Reno’s. When it was over, the Indians walked among the hundreds of dead, mutilated and scalping them before leaving to prepare for the next battle in the war to save their culture and their land.

It must have been so quiet the morning after. The land no longer tells the story, and only a few white markers, popping up like new teeth in a baby’s jaw; ragged, stubby, and white in the landscape, give any indication that there was ever any human joy or suffering in the rolling green grass underneath the endless Montana blue.

It's up to the poets, artists, and historians - those who love the intangible - to help the rest of us see what time has made invisible. They show us the bloodstains beneath the grassy fields that gave bloom to a generation of hardy prairie flowers, reminding us that life and death lie in intertwining layers. Delia Falconer’s The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers an incredibly poetic novella ten years in the making, layers little lives, little deaths in the life of Captain Frederick Benteen, the commanding officer who survives, who must live and die in the glorified legend of the vain, arrogant Custer.

Benteen, who went home to Georgia to live a quiet life with his wife, Catherine “Frabbie” Benteen, struggles with the depression of living for twenty-three years after the battle of the Little Bighorn, and quietly succumbing to the belief the public held that his duty was to die with Custer. He receives letters daily from eager young historians wanting the truth behind the bloody battle, and ignores them all until one catches his eye from a young Chicago man who “wants to set the record straight.” Over the course of a morning, Benteen reminisces over the journey to Little Bighorn. He decides that he will enlist the young man’s help to “write the lost thoughts of soldiers…not the grand story, he has never known his life that way, but the seams and spaces in between. This is history too…the weight of gathered thoughts, the cumulus of idle moments.”

In these idle moments before their last battle, Falconer crafts exquisite character sketches of the men in Benteen’s troop, each sketch a poem, each sentence carefully crafted to whittle every soldier down to sparse, lean imagery. Within the structure of the delicate prose, Falconer fleshes out the stories of boyish young men, filled with crude humor and dreams. The minimalist style is similar to Cormac McCarthy in its delivery, but with more emphasis on poetic style and less emphasis on plot.

The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers is a highly enjoyable novella, as long as the reader doesn’t find a plot particularly necessary. If you’re in it for the beautiful writing alone, you won’t be disappointed.

The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers
by Delia Falconer
2006 by Soft Skull Press
Hardcover, 146 pp
ISBN: 1-933368-17-9

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Insomnia 2

One of my favorite 4-panel cartoon from the Sunday funnies that I remember reading when I was a kid was a Peanuts cartoon that had Lucy psychoanalyzing Charlie Brown through one of his drawings.

"I see the man that you’ve drawn has his hands behind his back," she observes. “This is a sign of insecurity and low self-esteem on the part of the artist. It could also mean that the artist is hiding something, or is trying to get away with something. Definitely untrustworthy. Also, it could mean –"

And Charlie Brown interrupts her here, saying crossly, "It means I can’t draw hands!"

The hands that I draw always look like five bloated hot dogs attached to a piece of bread, so I always appreciated that cartoon as one that stuck up for those of us who can't draw while lauding those who can. Drawing hands may go far in separating the good artists from the bad, but the rest of it, I think, is the intangible ability to draw a picture that looks like, if you stared at it long enough, it might begin to move. Or if you listened carefully enough, you could hear the low buzz of voices coming from the illustrated cocktail party or the sound of a thirty-year-old Oldsmobile rushing down a desert highway. Or a squeaky, tinny voice piping up cheerfully from an abstract, cartoony face.

I don't think that's something that can necessarily be learned, too bad for me, but I've long since been resigned to enjoying the work of those who can.

Matt Broersma, author of the Insomnia storyline in the Ignatz series, has the uncanny ability to bring his characters to life this way, and shows it off in the series comic to great advantage, particularly when drawing the big sky, lonesome road panels of the first book in the series, "El Dorado," but is no slouch at breathing life into the lonely New York City scenes in his second installment, "The Lock." (I should point out here that he can also draw hands. You can see for yourself – there's one right on the cover.)

Loneliness is about the only common thread running between the two seemingly separate stories. While "El Dorado" focused on a down-on-his-luck bartender fleeing to Mexico in a rickety car to escape trouble north of the border, "The Lock" concerns itself with the dual storyline of a burlesque dancer and an old man, who intersect with each other in a single unpleasant encounter.

The old man, a veteran, became obsessed with a dancer he saw in North Africa during a botched mission in World War II. He searched for the dancer for decades, finally locating a woman he thought might be her in Saigon during the Vietnam war. As he approached the hotel where she was staying, he is dismayed to see that the hotel had been bombed. While sifting through the rubble, he finds what he believes to be a lock of her hair. Meanwhile, the burlesque dancer, who, in a serious error in judgment he believes is The Girl, grapples with problems of her own. In between fighting off intruders and waiting for her version of a handsome prince to carry her away, in her dreams she knows things are not panning out for her.

How the veteran and the burlesque dancer relate to the bartender is anybody's guess, but I know I’ll be back for Insomia 3 to find out.
cross-posted at Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Insomnia 2
by Matt Broersma
2006 by Fantagraphics
Saddle Stitching, 32pp.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Watchdogs of Democracy?

Helen Thomas first came to my attention a few years ago. As Dean of the Washington Press Corps who has been a Journalism icon for 60 years, Thomas traditionally has been offered the first question in deference to her status. However, Bush made no secret of the fact that he did not appreciate the veteran reporter hammering him with tough questions and demanding accountability, and started refusing to call on her. The insult was clear, grave and, to many reporters at the time, a definite warning that difficult questions would not only be unappreciated, but the askers would be punished.

In her latest book, Watchdogs of Democracy?, Thomas traces her career, covering nine presidents, and proves that although this is not the first time a President has had an antagonistic relationship with the press - in fact, she is quite clear about the fact that it is a trait all presidents share - this is the first time the press has seemed completely cowed by an administration, and her book is an often blistering condemnation of both press and president in their failure to act in the best interests of the public.

Thomas comes across as extremely knowledgeable, if a bit dry, when relating the histories of each aspect of political press coverage. The detailed relationship between each president and the reporters who are both in the pressroom and on "body watch" is thoroughly covered, starting with Roosevelt onward. Thomas also devoted a chapter to the different press secretaries, right wing news spinners, historical whistleblowers, her opinions on jailed journalist Judith Miller and almost-jailed Matt Cooper, the FCC, the business of newspapers and the debilitating influence corporations have had on the public's right to know, and whew! I have to say this: While it is a privilege to hear what someone as esteemed as Thomas has to say, this coverage got a little tedious at times. It read like Thomas wrote an outline of what she wanted to cover, and methodically fleshed it out. It was competent and informative, but lacked the spark of passion that is needed to draw in the reader and hook her to the page.

That spark finally appears in the last two chapters, where Thomas writes about her opposition to the war in Iraq and gives homage to individual colleagues she admires, particularly when she lauds outstanding female journalists. It is moving to see a woman who struggled up the ladder to join the Boys' Club treehouse and then make a point of not pulling the ladder up once she gets to the top. One gets the sense that Thomas, when reliving passions past and present, forgot about the outline in her head and wrote from her heart, giving the book the knockout punches it needs.

Her constant quest for the truth and for the American people's right to know it, her brilliance and her courage, and her dedication to her craft end up revealing a reason for the cowed press corps that Thomas never touches in the book: that seeing the current administration treat someone who so valuable as if they had no worth was almost as demoralizing as Thomas' theories that 1.) the reporters kowtowed to the administration out of the fear of being labelled "unpatriotic," and 2.) unpatriotic reporters were no longer supported by their corporate-run papers.

While I can understand how reporters could find that intimidating, I would hope that they would also find inspiration in the fact that an 86-year-old woman is able to freak out any Presidential administration to that degree and really, America really needs more crusty old broads out there swinging away.

Watchdogs of Democracy?
by Helen Thomas
2006 by Simon and Schuster
Hardcover, 201 pp
ISBN: 0-7432-6781-8

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Babel 2

Oh, Ignatz, you had me at Hello.
I love the high quality paper stock.
I love the 2-ink minimalist coloring.
I love the sexy little book jackets.
For all these superficial reasons, I love you, Ignatz series. But to give me David B., well, you’ve really outdone yourself.

The Ignatz series, an internationally-produced collection that’s part graphic novel and part cheapie pamphlet, has been consistently turning out volumes that make me dizzy. The rotating collection, featuring everyone from Italian comic goddess Francesca Ghermandi to Brit Matt Broersma, is also incorporating French graphic novelist David B., whose masterful memoir Epileptic blew me away when I reviewed it last year.

In Epileptic, David B. writes of his older brother’s struggle with a devastatingly severe form of epilepsy. Searching for treatment in France in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, before the existence of MRIs and before brain disabilities were well-researched or well-understood, David’s family gets sucked into the vortex of his brother’s illness, and the entire family devotes their lives to his care. David B. wrote so emotionally and convincingly of how profoundly epilepsy has affected his own life, even though he is not the one suffering from it, that when I saw the gorgeous cover of Babel 2, an illustration of an Indonesian war mask, I thought, “That’s his brother’s face.”

And it was. Babel 2 does not go into the depths of his family life the way Epileptic does, of course, but the river of his brother’s illness runs through it all the same.

Babel 2 begins with David and his brother, Tito, looking at a magazine article in an issue of Paris Match featuring war as waged by the Indonesian Dani tribe. The article, called “The Papuans’ Last War,” describes the tribe’s manner of exacting justice against other tribes, and how, at the advent of the Cold War, the government of Indonesia outlawed tribal warfare. Using a Dani warrior as a narrator and guide, David B. explains that his warfare has become outdated, that “war is supposed to be profitable,” and that since the Cold War mandated that wars not be fought on the soil of industrialized nations, “the West takes off and wages its battles in the Third World, forcing the Third Worlders to fight on its behalf..”

The narrative drifts back and forth and begins to weave in his brother’s illness as an enemy combatant against his brother and the family, and opens up a story that illustrates the Cold War’s effect on Third World countries by introducing the French-Algerian war.

Babel 2 is incredibly engaging and instantly addictive. The two-color format works beautifully here, giving soft warmth from the brown and shocking vitality from the red. But like almost everything I’ve read in the Ignatz series so far, you come for the pretty visual, but you stay for the story.

This article first appeared at The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society

Buy Babel 2!

Babel 2
by David B.
2006 by Fantagraphics Press
2-color saddle stitched 8 1/2” x 11", with jacket.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006


One of the geekier, sadder habits I’ve developed at work is picking computer wallpaper to match whichever book I’m reading. Yes, it’s sad, but it gives me a small amount of pleasure in an otherwise soulless corporate existence. Plus, I’ve found some good stuff.

Like, for my review of Skipping Towards Armeggedon, I found a fun propaganda poster from Bureau Crash. Since my e-mails, phone calls, and web surfing are all monitored, it was meaningful to me on more than one level, so I was sorry to see that one go.

Things looked up when I read Christopher Moore’s Lamb, the story that answers a question for the ages: Exactly how did Jesus spend his teenage years? To inspire my reading, I found a very helpful website called (what else?) Teenage Jesus.

This painting is actually not too far off from the spirit of the book. For the forward, called "Author’s blessing," Moore writes,

"If you have come to these pages for laughter,
may you find it.
If you are here to be offended, may your ire rise
And your blood boil."

Because I like the thought of Teenage Jesus myself, all crabby and acne-riddled and worried about girls, I came for the first reason and not so much for the second. I was raised in the Christian faith, and often turned to the Bible during boring sermons in search of something to do. Revelation was always good for a satisfying crazy read, as is Ezekial where he rolls around in feces and recommends that everybody eat it, too. (Side note: How the hell did they pick the authors in the Bible? Matthew was okay, and even that asshole Paul I can understand, but Ezekial was a nut. He must have been related to someone in the ancient publishing industry.) And the Gospels were okay, talking about the life of Jesus, who, despite my cynicism and lack of religious conviction, I still find to be a remarkable human being. There’s baby Jesus in the Gospels, and Rabbi Jesus, and Wine-drinking partying Jesus, and dead Jesus, and, of course, Zombie Jesus. But there’s no teenage Jesus anywhere. Which I don’t exactly blame them for, because it would be difficult to find the proper reverence with which to view a fourteen-year-old Jesus battling the urge to incessantly masturbate. Or a fifteen-year-old Jesus getting into a fight with his brother over whose turn it was to scoop the donkey droppings out of the barn or watch the younger siblings.

Which is exactly the burning questions Moore answers in his novel. Lamb is told from the point of view of Jesus’ best friend, Biff, who is as eager to dive into all the adolescent sins his friend struggles to abstain from. Biff, it becomes clear, serves a lifetime role of helping someone who cannot lie, cheat, or steal survive in a world that’s all about lying, cheating, and stealing. Biff commits the sins that Jesus can’t, or won’t.

The comic novel, which covers the thirty-three year span of both their lives, and the life of Jesus’ beloved Mary Magdelene, is told in modern language and characters react to ancient civilization in very modern ways. After the boys come of age, Jesus and Biff spend seventeen years searching for the Magi who attended Jesus’ birth. Once the Magi are found, they both spend several years being tutored by the wise men to learn ways of salvation that are simultaneously novel and ancient. It is during these years that Jesus (known thoughout the book as "Joshua" hones the philosophy that had a more profound impact on the world than any other: the ideas of love, inclusiveness, forgiveness, and the belief that God is in all of us. Although the book often goes for the broadest possible humor (read: lots of cheap whore jokes), Moore keeps pretty closely to Biblical events, and never actually puts Jesus into situations where he will betray his legend. By putting such a human personality on a young Jesus, Moore actually made me appreciate his life and his sacrifice for humanity much more so than Mel Gibson’s recent theological snuff film.

by Christopher Moore
2002 by HarperCollins
Paperback, 438 pp.
ISBN: 0-380-81381-5

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them

I know, I know. There’s nothing quite like a new review of a three-year-old political book. I wanted to read it when it was new, but I didn’t feel like paying for it. So I got on the waiting list for it at my local library.

“The list is a bit long,” warned the librarian. “You might be waiting awhile.

“That’s okay,” I assured her. “I’m not in a hurry.”

I checked in with the library a year later. “Did that book ever come in?” I asked.

“Mmmmm, no. No, I don’t think so.”

It was another full year before I stopped waiting by the phone and a year after that before I finally stopped crying.

Finally, last Saturday, when I took my six-year-old to the library to get him a library card, I checked the political science shelf, just for old times sake. And lo, there it was, sitting on the shelf. Cursed librarians!

So I got to read the thoughts of a younger, more naïve Al Franken. An Al Franken who is blissfully unaware that Dick Cheney shot an eighty-year-old man in the face, that Tom Delay spiraled down in flames, that Scooter Libby was indicted, that we still haven’t found either weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or Osama bin Laden in the mountains in Northern Pakistan. Other than that, it’s still sadly relevant.

To help him write Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, Franken hired a team of Harvard students to do his research, and, in at least in the case of one of the students, to travel to fundamentalist college Bob Jones University to pose as a potential college student. With their assistance, he methodically dissects the arguments of his favorite arch-enemies such as Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity, gleefully pointing out some of the more outrageous lies he spots on the Right wing. Along the way, he animatedly shares several anecdotes where he tangles face to face with the other side, including his infamous Book Expo battle with Bill O’Reilly.

Although I’m as liberal as Franken is, I did have a small bone to pick with him. In his chapter about racism on the Right, “Fun with Racism,” Franken recounts the now-notorious story of Trent Lott’s toast to Strom Thurmond at the late Senator’s one-hundredth birthday. (If you’ll remember, Lott said, “when Strom Thurmond ran for presiden, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.”)

The planks of Thurmond’s 1948 presidential platform, as you history students well remember, were segregation, a pro-poll tax, a plank against anti-lynching legislation, and a plank against anti-miscegenation laws. What puzzled Franken was that nobody asked Strom Thurmond himself what he thought of Lott’s toast.

Maybe I can help you out, Al. His daughter, the late Nancy Thurmond, went to my rival high school back in the mid-eighties in South Carolina, and let me tell you, he had the mental faculties of a potted plant back then. By the time he was one hundred years old, he probably didn’t remember he had any daughters, not Nancy, and not the daughter he made by forcing himself on the teenaged black girl that worked in his house while he was busy stumping for those anti-miscegenation laws. (Actually, that’s not true. By the time he began busily fighting integration, he was quietly putting that illegitimate daughter through college. As you can see, Al has inspired me to sling my mud more accurately.) There’s no way Thurmond was capable of talking to the press about anything. (Yet oddly, he kept getting elected into office.)

As you can see, if you’re a liberal it’s very easy to get carried away talking about the distortions and fallacies of Republican politicians and their lapdogs at Fox News. Franken and his team of researchers do a good job of categorizing everything, which is harder than it sounds because there’s an awful lot of overlap.

If you see it in the library, it’s worth checking out. Is it worth waiting three years for? Eh, no. No, it isn’t. But it’s fun and easy to zip through anyway, even though sometimes it’s still depressingly current.


Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them
by Al Franken
2003 by Dutton Adult
Hardcover, 368 pages
ISBN: 0525947647

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Monday, July 03, 2006

Skipping Towards Armageddon.

I’m not a religious person. I haven’t felt the need for Jesus since I was about twelve, and even converted to Reform Judaism when I was nineteen and had a Jewish fiancé. Although I liked studying Judaism well enough, when we broke up he took his religion with him and, aside from lighting the Menorah in December and impulsively kissing my fingers before touching a mezuzah outside someone’s door, there isn’t much left from my Jewish days, and even less from the days when I was ten and wanted to be a Christian missionary.

Which is fine, because I no longer get Christianity. And I really don’t get Christian Fundamentalism. I don’t get the ideology, I don’t get the willful blindness to anything presented outside their mega-Church, I don’t understand why they aren’t embarrassed by their stance on evolution, I don’t understand their views on what I see as severe corporal punishment for children, and I don’t understand the Prairie Muffins.

My friend Ginny, who counsels women coming out of religious fundamentalism, once told me that they are deeply mistrustful of what the rest of us think of as “common sense.”

“They don’t put a lot of stock in common sense or gut feelings,” said Ginny, “because that wouldn’t be putting your faith in God, who often tells you (via the church elders) your instincts are wrong. So they teach themselves to ignore their instincts.”

Instincts like the one that tells you actively trying to bring about the total destruction of the planet we live on is a bad idea.

According to Michael Standaert, author of Skipping Towards Armageddon: The Politics and Propaganda of the Left Behind Novels and the LaHaye Empire, this is exactly the plan Christian Fundamentalists have been working toward for the last 150 years.

Standaert painstakingly follows who he calls “dispensational premillennialist” leader Tim LaHaye, the idea man behind the best-selling Left Behind novels, tracing his steps to power bit by bit and documenting his wildly successful efforts to eradicate the separation of church and state, destroy American democracy, establish a theocracy, and maneuver global politics to bring about the Rapture.

“To get to the political reality of why premillennialists hate talk of peace,” writes Standaert, “it is important to understand why the Antichrist character of the Left Behind novels, Nicolae Carpathia, the “peacemaker,” is painted so deliberately as Satan. It is the “manmade” peace and utopia delivered through secular world order which Carpathia represents, in contrast to peace and utopia under Christian dominion, that the premillennialists fear…The words of prominent TV evangelist and premillennialist Jim Robinson echo this fear of secular peace quite clearly. In his opening prayer to the 1984 Republican National convention, Robinson said: ‘there’ll be no peace until Jesus comes. Any preaching of peace prior to this return is heresy. It’s against the word of God. It’s anti-Christ.’”

Although it enters the realm of flat unbelievability that the kind of deep crazy that cheerfully advocates grisly genocide could actually influence global politics, Standaert lays out the case for it fairly convincingly.

LaHaye’s paranoia is nothing new, and even the “prophetic” plotline seems to be lifted from another book graphically detailing the fantasies of another political extremist: William Pearce’s The Turner Diaries.

The resemblance between Left Behind and The Turner Diaries is striking. Both novels depict a violent revolutionary struggle in the United States that escalates into global genocide, where all non-fundamentalist Christians are horribly, gruesomely eradicated. For LaHaye, as for Turner author William Pearce, this is a glorious dream come true. Both novels use paranoid language of persecution, and both use coded references to antisemitism (The Turner Diaries refers to the fictitious gun-control laws as “The Cohen Act,” and many dark references are made to the “International Banking Cartel” in the Left Behind books) And of course, both are horribly written, the wooden dialogue and two-dimensional characters serving only to ham-handedly parrot out LaHaye’s misguided rhetoric.

Seriously, the dialogue in the Left Behind novels is so completely bad, and writer Jerry Jenkins stretches so hard to get his characters into a position where they are able to discuss LaHaye’s fundamentalist hot topics, that it boggles my mind that anybody could read these novels without throwing them across the room in disgust. Dig:

Hattie, the flight attendant who has become Carpathia’s assistant, discusses how her sister just happens to work at a pregnancy clinic. Because the fetuses/children have all been Raptured, Hattie is worried her sister, a distant and undescribed person the reader never sees, will be out of work now that there are no more abortions. This passage conveys the message that abortionists are waiting with bloody scalpels to carve out fetuses for money, and that they need unwanted pregnancies so they can keep in business.

”Hattie seemed to be waiting for some signal of affirmation or acknowledgement that he was listening. Rayford grew impatient and remained silent.

‘Anyway,’ she said, “I won’t keep you. But my sister told me they have zero business.’

‘Well, that would make sense given the disappearance of unborn babies.’

‘My sister didn’t sound too happy about that.’

‘Hattie, I imagine everyone’s horrified by that. Parents are grieving all over the world.’

‘But the women my sister and her people were counseling
wanted abortions.’

Rayford groped for a pertinent response. ‘Yes, so maybe those women are grateful they didn’t have to go through the abortion itself.’

‘Maybe, but my sister and her bosses and the rest of the staff are out of work now until people start getting pregnant again.’

'I get it. It’s a money thing.’

‘They have to work. They have expenses and families.’

'And aside from abortion counseling and abortions, they have nothing to do?'

'Nothing. Isn’t that awful? I mean, whatever happened put my sister and a lot of people like her out of business, and nobody really knows whether anyone will be able to get pregnant again.'”

Clunk! Put down that wooden dialogue, Jenkins! It’s got to be heavy! Why do so many people read such wretched writing that repeatedly rubs the reader’s nose in religious dogma? Jeez. As Rayford himself said, We get it. People who provide abortions want people to have as many unwanted pregnancies as possible, so they can make zillions of dollars. And as is a Religious Right trademark, any contradictory facts that get in their way are completely ignored, such as the fact that abortion clinics such as Planned Parenthood also provide prenatal care, pap smears, birth control, and sex education.

In addition to flaying the LaHaye and Jenkins novels, Skipping Toward Armegeddon also outlines LaHaye’s career and his pivotal influence in galvanizing the Religious Right into taking control of American politics. As tightly as they wrap themselves in the American flag, it becomes clear that LaHaye and his cronies - the usual supects of Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and of course, LaHaye’s wife, Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye – intend to destroy the Constitution and establish a theocracy before the Rapture comes. And of course, among the people who will be controlling the world until their bloody violent Jesus shows up, you can be sure Tim LaHaye will be front and center, preaching his greatest fear: that unless we Muslims, atheists, feminists, Jews, Catholics, and intellectuals are utterly destroyed, we will follow the Golden Rule and do unto Fundamentalists exactly what the Fundamentalists plan to do to us.

P.S. And I never even got the chance to work into the review what I always think is the most weirdly fascinating thing about Fundies: their total obsession with controlling other people’s sex lives while simultaneously being the biggest horndog pervs on the planet. Look at the names of the protagonists: Rayford Steele and Buck Williams. Seriously, if you were watching a gay porn movie, and the cast list looked like this:

Don’t Leave My Behind!


Ryan Idol

Peter North

Buck Willliams

Rayford Steele

You wouldn’t think twice about it.

And, And! Do you know what Tim and Beverly LaHaye did with themselves in the 70’s? They wrote graphic instructional books about sex, that’s what. If that isn’t a fundie, I don’t know what is. Key parties for me, but not for thee.

Skipping Towards Armegeddon
by Michael Standaert
Soft Skull Press, 2006
Softcover, 257 pp.
ISBN: 1-932360-96-4

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