Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: A Member of the Roundtable

EoA: A Member of the Roundtable

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 111-112 (Chapter Twenty-One)

The chapter abruptly segues to this guy, General Rocky Bridger (ret). Given that usually Parshall makes you work a bit to figure out why he picked a name, this one’s almost glaringly unsubtle in telegraphing that he’s one of the Good Ole Boys. A “rocky bridge” after all, can mean a bridge constructed out of rocks, i.e. stones, and made very solid and stable. And that’s the sense his name conveys – that General Bridger is a rock-solid kind of guy who would never turn his back on his good buddies.

Now, if you read the previous write-up and refresh your memory quickly, you’ll note that the Rev. Berne, in this highly artificial world of LaHaye and Parshall’s, has been arrested for holding a rally and used his legal right to a phone call to get word to General Bridger.

A further word on names: I find it rather odd that Berne uses an uncommon word for God – “Jehovah”. For background,ย  Wikipedia offers some help in the area, as does the Catholic Encyclopedia. I read in a book called The Orwellian World of Jehovah’s Witnesses that one origin of it is the Greek-transliterated word Iaoue, which sounds a lot more like Yahweh than Jehovah. That being said, if you judiciously modify the letter-usage, you get yaove, which could be said ya-oh-vey, and you can start to see where Jehovah might come from. My personal thoughts only on the matter, of course; the Wiki has a rather exhaustive analysis. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some fringe Christian sects prefer to use this word, and while I’m not up on the details of why, I think LaHaye and Parshall putting this word in Berne’s mouth may be an attempt to telegraph to particular Christians that this book is aimed at them.

So with that out of the way, let’s meet the General. Note again the habit of using his rank even though he’s retired.

“Within the hour General Bridger received a call on his Allfone. His fishing boat was just about to dock at Charleston Harbor along the coast of South Carolina. The man on the other end of the line explained what had happened to Reverend Berne.

The General listened intently as he waved to the marina master who was tying his boat off to the harbor slip. Bridger promised the caller he would look into it.

‘I’m about to meet with some people who’ll want to hear about this,’ he explained. ‘I know nothing about this Reverend Berne fellow other than what you just told me. I have no idea whether he’s an honorable man or not. But let him know his case will not be forgotten.'”

One thing I’ve got to say about LaHaye and Parshall inventing this Allfone thing for their books is it not only allows for phone porn, it also allows for not having to remember which character has one of a zillion brands of cell phones. ๐Ÿ˜€

Now as yet I don’t know what effect this Reverend will have on the plot, (I did read ahead but to be perfectly honest I was more interested in what was going to happen to the Jordans) so we’ll just have to see when we get there. Meantime, it turns out that Rocky Bridger knows Joshua Jordan:

“‘Josh, it’s Rocky. I know we got a full agenda for the Roundtable, but I got something I’d like to throw into the pot.’

‘General, whatever it is, I’m sure it’s worth discussing. How about sending out an encrypted email to all the members. Let them know what you’ve got.’

‘Okay.'”

Amusingly, the last words of each sentence rhyme. ๐Ÿ™‚

In all seriousness, the fact that the organization that Jordan and Bridger have created ad hoc is called the “Roundtable” is quite interesting. There is the well-known legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table; in this context it seems that the intention is to evoke an exalted order of people whose membership to the order has been severely restricted to include only those deemed worthy of it. Since themes of worthiness as a human being run through the LaHaye-sponsored books as being closely correlated with real or incipient Christianity it is worth thinking about this “Roundtable” in that light – especially given that the back of the book hints at Jordan’s encounter with the highly-connected Christian “Patriots”.

‘Abby and I are really looking forward to seeing you in Colorado. Maybe we can arrange to shoot eighteen holes at the club while we talk.’

‘Only if you give me a decent handicap. In fact, as ranking officer, I’ll make that an order.’

Joshua laughed. General Bridger was one of the finest men he’d ever known. Joshua had served under him when he was detached for a stint at the Pentagon, and he reported directly to him when he flew several secret U-2 missions over Iran, leap-frogging over military chain of command.

(Ed. note: Bold mine)

I’d like to take a look at that bolded part for a sec. It seems consistent with the theme that Joshua Jordan is Special; that he is allowed to break convention and get away with it. It evokes this comparison: Cameron “Buck” Williams in Left Behind is allegedly noteworthy for “bucking tradition”, and his behavior is intended to be interpreted in that benign light – the can-do go-getter kind of guy – rather than the less attractive light of a goldbricking misogynistic jerk who throws his weight around, as evidenced by the way he humiliates Verna Zee of Sensible Shoes fame since he has the ace in his pocket of being in the old boy’s club with the Big Guy in Charge of the company. When Verna Zee calls Stanton Bailey, he verbally slaps her down, telling her that he authorized Buck to work out of his home and suchlike. Buck thus “leap-frogs” over the corporate chain of command even though he’s been nominally put out to pasture.

The rules-defying high-protector-and-protegรฉ relationship seems to have been recreated here: Jordan is the ne’er-do-wrong golden boy under Bridger’s command. And that means we’re to see Jordan as a Special Person, worthy of looking up to, rather than the far less flattering prima-donna sophomoric-humor-using nose-thumber to the entirety of the legislative branch of the US government (honestly, for someone to say “well gee, I just don’t trust you guys and that’s that,” when a great deal of his fortune seems to have come from the revolving door between the Pentagon and the civilian sector and thus from the largesse of the US government in the first place… that takes some sheer chutzpah and more than a minor sense of entitlement).

The chapter has only a couple of extra paragraphs. I’ll end this analysis with the pseudocliffhanger here:

“Then he closed the notebook. Everything in him was indicating that the timing of his upcoming trip to Colorado and the subsequent secret meeting he would convene couldn’t be better.”

So we’re informed that many events will come together at an opportune time for Josh to begin his special project. Wonder what it could be.

Next chapter continues with Josh and Abby discussing the events since the missile deflection.

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15 thoughts on “EoA: A Member of the Roundtable

  1. So Jordan and General Bridger are involved in a conspiracy against the U.S. Government? Having previously committed high treason by bypassing military chains of command in time of war? Well, well, well. You’d think the almighty UNHCDAMAP (High Commission for Destroying America, Mom and Apple Pie) would have checked records for stuff like that when they were deciding which known troublemakers to arrest.

    • UNHCDAMAP? * is immediately dead of laughter ๐Ÿ˜„ *

      Seriously, didn’t LaHaye and Parshall stop to wonder if portraying military officers who authorize sub rosa missions might be a bad idea? Robert Ludlum has a similar theme of the US military turning a blind eye to hiring people like “Delta” and “Foxtrot” under the aegis of Treadstone Seventy-One, but at least he doesn’t portray them as heroes: they’re nasty mercenaries who take great pleasure in killing North Vietnamese in gruesome ways and in stealing money and equipment as often as they can, as well.

      Here, though, the people who execute sub rosa missions are portrayed not as people who had to get something done without being able to get official recognition for it, but who are actively to be *praised* for doing it – even though one such mission cost the Israelis a spy.

      And I find it odd they mention U-2s. The last time U-2s got widespread recognition it was exactly the same kind of sub rosa no-official-acknowledgement mission and it landed the US in a load of diplomatically embarrassing hot water as the Soviets used it to beat the US over the head with woebegone U R SPYING NAO expressions.

      If Josh Jordan had been captured by the Iranians you can bet exactly the same sort of thing would have gone down.

      I’m seriously giving credence to the idea that this is LaHaye’s fantasy of how he would have done everything so much better than in the real world if he were still a military officer.

      • Firedrake: Odd, I would have pegged him as being a lot younger. I find it hard to take issue with his military service since it was (even in the closing months) of the Second World War.* But, ohmydearheavens he just makes me go D: sometimes with the way he’s portraying the military in this yarn.

        I mean… take this Roundtable thing. The hilarious thing is that the government just got done essentially accusing him of conspiring to keep secrets from the government… and here he is with this Roundtable thing which I suspect is not a ’roundtable discussion.’ It’s a gen-u-ine conspiracy. Isn’t LeHaye a big Illuminati** conspiracy theorist himself?

        Anyway… this Roundtable thing sounds like another end-run around legitimate authority that Joshy likes to do. I used to think that the worst thing that LeHaye did was peddle bad theology; now he’s peddling bad military ethics. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        * – I know, I know… simply serving in a war, even the Second World War, does not give anyone a free pass in behavior. It does, however, shed some light on the way a person interacts with reality. And, I guess it’s one of my personal biases being ex-military: war vets tend somehow automatically get a few passes in my mind, even if I know that’s irrational, illogical and (perhaps in LeHaye’s case) dangerous. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ
        ** Il-lu-min-a-ti~, a secret society, they DO exist, Il-lu-min-a-ti-ti-ti-ti…. Sorry, whenever I hear ‘Illuminati’ I think of either that song, or Tom Smith’s ‘Illuminati Polka.’ ^_^

    • Perhaps the UNHCDAMAP knows of Jordan’s treason and, therefore, smiles on him and his work. Much like how the UNHCHR presently smiles on the work of Dr. Sima Samar.

  2. This sense of entitlement from our “heroes” is quite a prominent theme in LaHaye’s work. Again and again, the men get to leapfrog the chain of command, shirk the real duties of their jobs, and have preferential treatment no matter where they go. They most certainly never have to deal with the hurdles the rest of us do: interviews, red tape, notifying people of what we are doing, etc.

    -In Tribulation Force, Rayford goes for an interview, but it is a very different sort of interview than most prospective employees get, where the powers that be beg him to take the job.

    -Michael Murphy consistently walks away from the class he is contracted to teach to trot all over the world (and always on someone else’s dime) to unearth Biblical treasures.

    -And now, Josh Jordan.

    It’s really a heckuva an attitude towards authority and responsibility.

    • Which makes it sound like this sort of justified-by-extraordinary-results abjuration of official duties in favor of Righteous(tm) duties is something LaHaye decrees in his characters. I guess in the way he saw Jesus jumping over the Pharisees’ concerns, even when there was no way anyone could have really seen him as more than a particularly keen-sighted teacher?

      I wonder if this is part of why DiNallo crafted Isis the way he did. “Fine, you can have your jump-over-the-rails hero. I’ll just supply a character development catalyst to help straighten him out of the nastier parts of that…” (Might have to look at his earlier, done-solo books from the late 70s/early-mid 80s…I think…to get a better sense of his ideas of storytelling.)

    • But it’s only mere *government* “authority” that Jordan and Bridger are ignoring and/or violating. To the RTC, *God* is the only *true* authority that *cannot be disobeyed under any circumstance.* All other “authority” is questionable/suspect (if not actually satanic) — except when it’s not*…

      *And notice vv. 6-7. I bet the Teabaggers try like heck to ignore *that* bit of Apostolic wisdom!

  3. One thing Iโ€™ve got to say about LaHaye and Parshall inventing this Allfone thing for their books is it not only allows for phone porn, it also allows for not having to remember which character has one of a zillion brands of cell phones.

    Another word that does that: “phone.” Which has a couple of advantages: it’s what we actually call the small, powerful computers that we carry around and incidentally make calls, and it does not make you sound like a douchebag.

    Speaking of which, outside of the encrypted e-mails, has anyone used an Allfone for anything other than making calls? Forget searching for local restaurants on Urban Spoon’s Allfone app—has anyone sent a text message?

    • I hadn’t realized until you mentioned it how… really toolish continually using the term ‘Allfone’ sounds. I’m not one to denigrate folks for particular brands that they use, but, really… calling a car a ‘Maserati’ or a ‘Lambourghini’ is calling attention to how much you shelled out for that thing, and nothing more. It’s douchebaggery.

      Except when it’s the Tesla. Mostly because it’s cool that Nikolai “I AM MAD SCIENCE’S AVATAR!” Tesla got an electric sportscar named after him. And also because it’s cool to say. Tesla Tesla Tesla!

      • I did mention it before, I believe, that LaHaye seems to feel that his characters should have the trappings of all the markers of “success” as generally defined in a culturally American context: an expensive telephone whose brand needs to be repeated every time someone uses it, the luxurious living spaces, and so on.

        So yeah, as toolish as it may be to constantly mention this Allfone thing, it’s just what LaHaye’s good at (and apparently his co-authors, too. ๐Ÿ˜› ).

      • @Apocalypsereview

        Which is a little baffling. All these people have the trappings of wealth and power and influence. The vast, vast majority of LeHaye’s readers will never have a personal jet, a bleeding-edge smartphone, personal access to generals and congressmen, or a letter from the White House. There’s nothing for people to identify with — none of these people are ever shown as having needed to rely upon the Christian charity of their fellows. They come off as not quite identifiably human. They’re alien.

        Is he following some sort of belief that people want to read about the jetset? That it’s more interesting to read about JOSHUA JORDAN, defense contractor and power broker! or RAYFORD STEELE, pilot of fully-loaded jumbo jets! or MICHAEL MURPHY, ace archaeologist! Granted, in escapist literature, we are encouraged to sit back and turn off our brains and not identify with the protagonist, but be carried along on their adventure. And I’m sure that for some people, these stories do that; they’re just saddled with what to most people are really unsympathetic and poorly-envisioned characters. (Except for Isis Prosperina MacGregor. She rocks! At least before she becomes a Pod Person.)

        So I’m not sure I understand where LeHaye is coming from, unless he really is promoting the heretical, Mammonist doctrine that God rewards his most faithful with wealth.

        * – Most military schools have a name for their first-year, fourth-class cadets, usually some form of derogatory nickname. USMA calls them ‘plebes,’ VMI calls them ‘rats.’ Annapolis calls them ‘swabs.’ (Notably, the maritime service academies — USNA, USMMA, USCGA — and some of the state maritime academies call their students ‘midshipmen.’ SUNY Maritime at Fort Schuyler is an exception and calls them ‘cadets’ for some reason.) Colorado Springs calls them ‘doolies.’ Fort Schuyler calls them ‘mugs,’ which has an interesting etymology on it’s own; one source says that ‘mug’ stands for ‘midshipman under guidance.’ (Which is odd; c.f. above about Fort Schuyler calling its students ‘cadets’ instead of ‘midshipmen.’)

  4. Although it seems to me that the lack of phone brands means the authors miss a(nother) opportunity for characterisation. If everyone is reaching for their Allfone, then no one is reaching for their Blackberry, Iphone, Nokia or cheap no-frills generic mobile, and an opportunity to show how practical/snobby/trendy/thrifty/patriotic/whatever the characters are goes out the window.

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