Home » Edge of Apocalypse » EoA: Counselling and Treatment, RTC Style

EoA: Counselling and Treatment, RTC Style

Edge of Apocalypse: pages 131-137 (Chapter Twenty-Five)

Incidentally, Chapters One through Twenty-Five comprise the “Part One” arc of this book. To use a rather clichéd metaphor, this is where the opening moves of the chess game have been made. One may even think of this as being like a version of multiplayer chess in which the players do not yet know they are actually playing a more complicated game than at first glance.

The next three parts will carry us to the conclusion in which all the disparate plot threads come together, and set the stage for the next book.

Meanwhile, this chapter touches on a possibly delicate issue: drug addiction. This is why I have titled the chapter review “counselling, etc.” It’s a look at quite a few phenomena all packed into one chapter:

First, the people involved (Abigail, her friend) are well-off, if not actually wealthy. Having money and access to health insurance can, under certain circumstances, lead to being able to support a drug addiction that is perfectly legal. A rather prominent example of legal drug addiction is Rush Limbaugh’s addiction to oxycontin – commented upon by people as being particularly hypocritical given his use of Drug Warrior rhetoric for hoots and laughs on his TV and radio show. Because he is a right-wing celebrity as well as very wealthy, illegal acts he committed to obtain the oxycontin were, in the end, brushed under the carpet.

Similar gentility of treatment has often been afforded wealthy white people, even those addicted to illegal drugs. A person I was chatting with just recently mentioned that the high school they attended – which was in a well-off sector of the school district – had a sub rosa drug problem among its upper-middle-class student population, while the other school in the district, which was in the poorer sector, was stereotyped as being rife with drug problems when really, there was no such thing.

There are numerous social issues surrounding drug use and abuse, and the very real effect of differential treatment based on race and economic status is one that I think LaHaye and Parshall didn’t intend to raise, but the book portrays a wealthy white woman with a legal drug addiction and it certainly calls to mind all these extra complexities.

Second, the nature of the proposed treatment. I’m not comfortable, personally, with the idea of a religiously-themed treatment program for drug addiction, partly because of the way in which it is presented. Although LaHaye and Parshall may not realize it, one undercurrent of the proposed treatment, in effect, seems to me like switching from surrendering to a drug to surrendering to God.

I am not an expert in drug addiction treatment; however, I can’t help but feel that the above proposed mechanism is not healthy for the person being treated.

With all the above in mind, let’s begin looking at the chapter.

“Abigail had had to ask herself whether some dark secret might be lying just under the surface. She knew her friend Darlene well enough to know that she seemed to be carrying some great weight on her heart that morning as they drove together. While their husbands prepared for the first day of meetings of the clandestine Roundtable group, the two women had driven to Aspen for lunch. The idea had been Darlene’s.”

As we see, there is foreshadowing of the aforementioned issue above. Incidentally, the “great weight on her heart” smacks of Biblical-style language and is likely a reference which I don’t fully understand the context of.

Note also the gender roles: the men do all the heavy lifting while the women go off and do things that don’t tax their minds.

We get introduced to Darlene, and the village they’re in:

“Abigail was several years younger than the round-faced Darlene. The two had known each other for nearly a decade and had initially met through their husbands. Darlene was married to Judge Fortis Rice, a former Idaho State Supreme Court justice. He was a charter member of Joshua’s Roundtable.

As a longtime resident of Colorado, Abigail had traveled through that fashionably rustic little village more than a few times. She privately didn’t care for the celebrity-conscious, Beverly-Hills-of-the-Rockies atmosphere of the famous ski resort, which was home to a number of Hollywood stars and even a Saudi prince. But Darlene had never been there and wondered if they could go. Abigail said she would be happy to take her and agreed to do the driving. They would travel in the little yellow Jeep for the daytrip, the one that Darlene thought looked so cute, which the Jordans kept year-round at Hawk’s Nest.”

“Fortis”: there’s an interesting name. The word “fort” in French means “strong”, and as befits his name, he was a judge presumably cracking down on those lawbreakers unlike those wishy-washy liberal judges in San Francisco or whatever. “Darlene” is less obvious, but is derived from “darling”. Incidentally the name seems to have been popular as a baby name in the 1940s and 1950s, which, given that the book is set in the 2010s, would be consistent with Darlene and Fortis being an older, retired couple in their sixties.

I’m not sure if Judge Rice being from Idaho has any great significance, but it’s worth remembering that parts of Idaho have been hotbeds for virulently right-wing, anti-government organizations. For example, Ruby Ridge is located in that state.

And this book certainly plays neatly into the kind of belief system where the liberals have taken over and everybody’s freedom is in mortal danger.

I find Abigail’s faux-populistic reaction to be not credible regarding her views of Aspen. The lifestyle she and Joshua live is well-suited to the likes of Aspen, which has a Canadian counterpart in Whistler, BC. It’s exceedingly trendy as a location to ski in, exceedingly expensive as hell, and is more for the tourists than for the people who live there on a day to day basis.

Even the way in which the verb to Aspenize has entered the cultural lexicon is very suggestive of the cloistered, insular lifestyle that Joshua Jordan has created for himself: secluded penthouse apartment, “Hawk’s Nest” retreat, his private helicopter so he doesn’t have to use a car to get around, his private jet so he can go across the country if need be, and so on. Given that the trappings of success are freely bestowed on the Jordan husband and wife couple, it definitely jars when Abigail reacts the way a less wealthy person might to the way Aspen has evolved over the last thirty or so years.

I find it curious that Abigail is the one to show Darlene around, who “had never been there”. It’s almost as though being associated with the Jordans is like being introduced to the exclusive lifestyle they lead.

“As they sat down together at the crowded outdoor cafe for lunch, Abigail wondered if Darlene may have arranged their day together so she could open up about whatever it was that had her in its grasp.”

Literary nitpick again: I dislike the use of ‘may’ in the literary past tense. ‘Might’ would be better-suited.

“But Darlene wasn’t ready just yet. Instead, she was busy cracking jokes about the Aspen society: the trendy Labradoodle mix of designer dogs being walked past their table by the locals, and the wealthy chic women wearing artfully ripped blue-jeans and eight-carat diamonds strolling by and swinging their Prada bags.”

Note how LaHaye and Parshall use this to show the audience the eccentric-bizarre things rich people do, provoking both sneaking envy and that tsk-tsk-y feeling. It’s kind of like saying you can get close to Sodom and Gomorrah and take a good look at what they get up to, but don’t dare join them because at any moment it will be destroyed to make way for righteousness.

They order lunch and have some chit-chat, but eventually get down to the real issue:

“‘We don’t see each other but, what, maybe twice a year on average. And lots of phone calls in between, of course…’

Abigail smiled at that.

‘I feel I can really share anything with you…’

Now Abigail was waiting.

But then Darlene suddenly darted off course. ‘You look so fit, Abby. You must still be jogging?’

‘I try to. Our schedules have become impossible lately. It’s hard to stick to the routine with everything that’s going on…’

‘I know. Fort and I have been following how the media has been going after poor Josh over this missile crisis. What a mess this country’s in.’

Abigail nodded and smiled, but she knew Darlene was just dancing around the issue now, whatever it was.”

Note that no wife of Josh’s must in any way be less than perfect. Naturally.

But we’re getting close, now. Keep reading:

“‘I bet there’s been a lot of pressure on the two of you,’ Darlene continued.

‘There has been. But funny enough, I feel so close to Josh lately, despite the tension and stress.’

‘Hmm, stress…’ Darlene repeated the word with almost a kind of whimper.

‘But on the other hand, I know of so many other folks who have it much harder than we do,’ Abigail offered with a gentleness in her voice that unexpectedly caught her friend off guard. Darlene quickly covered her mouth with her hand as her eyes began to fill up. It took nearly a minute before she could collect herself and respond. When she did, her voice was noticeably trembling.”

That sentence of Abigail’s just doesn’t ring true for me, somehow. Her sympathetic statement about ‘other folks’ who ‘have it much harder than we do’ just jars harshly against what she did to her son a few chapters ago. For a woman who is supposed to be kind and gentle, she has proven willing to go behind her son’s back and manipulate her son in the name of love. I can’t help but wonder how deliberate her word-choices and phrasings are on a day to day basis, especially as Cal has openly complained that she has maneuvered him in this manner before.

Anyway, to switch gears for a second, I’d like to segue into another issue this chapter touches on which called to mind some rather shocking news I’ve read on occasion in the local newspapers:

“‘I will never forget how you helped me through Jimmy’s death. It’s one of those things that a mother doesn’t ever let go of. So many questions. How could my perfectly healthy twenty-five-year-old die like that from an aneurism? No warning. No symptoms. A call from his friend … they were playing basketball at the Y. ‘Jimmy collapsed,’ he said. Your whole life changes in an instant. From one phone call.'”

This kind of premature death I have been reading in the local papers over the last few years involves the sudden onset of a cluster of stories in which the basic theme is horribly similar: a teenager with no health problems who plays sports regularly suddenly dies while playing  a game, sometimes after being struck in the chest with a hockey puck, soccer ball or the like. The issue is documented by a sports-medicine doctor who insists it’s something people need to take seriously.

I can only imagine how their families must feel; young people barely into their lives die from utterly unpredictable causes, and nothing could have been done to stop it short of forbidding them to play any sports (which is unrealistic; some people enjoy active lifestyles and sports are  a component of that).

Darlene and Fortis are clearly feeling the ongoing effects from that incident (italics in the original text):

“‘I tried to talk with Fort about it. But you know him; he sort of retreats into himself. I don’t blame him. It’s just the way he is. I know he was devastated. I still wonder whether all of that contributed to his heart problems. And ever since he had to retire from the bench it’s been … well … interesting at home, and not in a good way.'”

That kind of makes me go O_O and I hope it doesn’t mean what I think it means.

But now we get to the moment of truth:

“Then, abruptly, [Darlene] sat straight up and began looking around. ‘Where is it? Where’s my purse?’

There was a look of panic on Darlene’s face.

Abigail spotted it under her chair and reached down to pluck it up. Darlene thrust her hand over the table to grab the purse. As she did she inadvertently knocked her purse out of Abigail’s hand and down onto the table where the contents spilled out.

Including a dozen prescription pill bottles.

Abigail picked up one of the bottles. Then another. And another. They all read Diazepam.

Abigail recognized what it was.

‘These are all valium…’

Darlene reached out to grab them and stuff them back in her purse. She was trying to look unruffled. But it wasn’t working. Her hands were trembling, and she accidentally dropped several of the pill bottles on the floor once again. Abigail quietly helped her pick them up and placed them on the table.”

Valium, being a perfectly legal drug, nonetheless has potentially addictive properties, and so should be used carefully. We’ll see in a moment how Darlene is abusing Valium; the “why” is the sudden death of her son.

“Finally she summoned the strength to speak. ‘Okay, Abby. Now you know. My nasty little secret. This is how I cope.’

‘That’s a lot of valium, Darley…’

Darlene nodded. ‘I have three different doctors. In three different cities. All of them prescribing. I don’t think they know about each other. Although two of them know about Fort, and because of who he is, they don’t ask a lot of questions. So I triple-dose. I’m using this to exist, Abigail.'”

It gets pretty heavy here. Darlene, barely avoiding breaking down, goes on to admit that she has tried to quit, but remarks that she feels extreme fear and anxiety when she attempts it. Abigail and Darlene suspect Fortis may be using something too, but Darlene is not sure.

Abigail discusses what Darlene’s options are:

“‘I don’t know. Maybe you’ve got some advice. I’ve run out of answers. I’m just surviving from one minute to the next. Just barely.’

‘Look, I’m glad you confided in me. I’m no expert. But I know a little about addiction. Back when I was practicing law full-time I had a few clients dealing with similar issues. And I know enough to know that your willingness to admit you’ve got a problem is the first big step.’

‘That’s good to hear…’

‘The next step is to find a place that is discreet, where counselors can help you to kick this thing. I can help you look for a good rehab center.’

Darlene was weeping gently.

Abigail continued, ‘You’re also going to have to talk to Fort about this…’

‘Abby, he’s going to be devastated…’

‘But he loves you, Darley. I’m sure he’ll support you. But there’s one more thing, an even more important step…'”

I honestly am not sure about whether or not total honesty between a long-term couple regarding drug addiction is necessarily good without taking timing into account. Eventually, yes, it should be shared, but I’m getting the feeling that if Fortis is having problems he’s going to need to see someone as well and I don’t see that being pointed out by Abigail.

And now Abigail segues into the RTC part of the prescriptive method of drug addiction treatment:

“She then looked up at Abigail through her tears and asked, ‘An even more important step? Like what?’

‘You said it yourself.’

‘I did?’

‘Yes. When you said the words God help me … I believe He can and He will. If you let Him. God’s in the business of fixing people.’

Darlene’s face relaxed into a mildly surprised look. As if she had just been told something she assumed she had known all along but now realized she had never really thought about.”

(To clarify: the “God help me” phrase was in a part I did not reprint here)

As I mentioned above, I’m not sure Abigail’s advice regarding religiously motivated “additional help” is useful or warranted and I can’t help but feel she’s taking advantage of a friend’s desperate straits, even if Abby doesn’t realize that’s what she’s doing.

She may very well know what she’s doing, given that one part of the RTC calculus vis-a-vis non-Christians is that every opportunity is an opportunity to proselytize, because the truth MUST be spread far and wide else all people shall be sent forever to Hell to burn without end.

This lack of compassion for those who sin is why, when I was younger, I think I was particularly attracted to the idea proposed by the WWCOG that Hell is not a place of everlasting torment and that people who are not redeemed would simply cease to exist upon being judged at the Second Coming, because at that time it struck me as a lot more kindly to not keep people around burning forever as that seemed particularly nasty to me*.

Doctrinal stuff aside, even today I still feel that the RTC-emphasis on people who burn forever is a rather unattractive trait of that branch of Christianity. As readers of Fred Clark’s blog will know, the appellation “TurboJesus” has entered the lexicon over there, and refers to the kind of Fuck-You-Sinners attitude the books take on, particularly when TurboJesus drags Leon Fortunato and Nicolae Carpathia back out of Hell to mock them some more and dump them right back in even though they’re really really really really very sorry.

Even assuming Carpathia is unredeemable, for Pete’s sake, put Leon out of his misery! Vaporize his ass or something, he’s spent the last how many centuries learning how very bad he was and there’s really no point to eternal torment for him except sheer sadism.

Before I move too far off topic, I should stop here and say that since Part One is ended I might detour some more and write a couple more fanfiction snippets. 🙂 Then on to Part Two.


* Even so there’s obvious moral and ethical issues with exterminating everyone who doesn’t fill the bill of “righteous and repentant person”, so it’s a question of difference in degree, not difference in kind, I think.

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33 thoughts on “EoA: Counselling and Treatment, RTC Style

  1. The first “religiously-themed treatment for drug addiction” that comes to mind is the Scientologists’ Narconon…

    Yes, a lot of RTC-style religion is about letting someone else make all the hard decisions in your life. So’s a lot of many religions, I think; it’s one of the things that attracts people to them. I find this scarily unhealthy; my thinking is that, as a conscious being, it is incumbent upon me to build my own moral code (perhaps using bits from others), not adopt one wholesale.

    Not a nitpick: “may” is simply wrong here. An awful lot of editors and writers, especially but not exclusively in the USA, don’t know how it works or have an ear for it, though.

    Of course other folks have it harder than Abigail. They don’t have TurboGod in their lives!

    I’m all in favour of more fanfiction…

    • I was thinking of Narconon as well. Isn’t Alcoholics Anonymous also somewhat religious-based?

      And yes, agreed on more fanfiction. ^_^

      • AA is a bit of an interesting case. It’s generically religious, very much using the idea that you can’t sort yourself out but an unspecified “higher power” can. Which is an idea I find fairly repulsive, as I’ve said before, but it clearly works for quite a lot of the people who attend. (Personally I suspect that the thinking about the bad effects of drinking, and the community support, do rather more good.)

  2. “Although LaHaye and Parshall may not realize it, one undercurrent of the proposed treatment, in effect, seems to me like switching from surrendering to a drug to surrendering to God.”

    This immediately made me think of George Carlin’s bit: “Before I found Jesus, I used to get fucked up on drugs. Now, I get fucked up on Jesus!”

  3. I’m developing a theory, and I would love to be able to read this whole passage to see if it confirms the theory. Hello, library!

    I’m wondering if Abigail has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The quotes here certainly seem to point strongly in that direction. Bringing the conversation constantly back to herself, reinforcing any statement with a veiled or not-so-veiled compliment to herself. (Sure, Josh and I are stressed and busy, but our relationship is still perfect. I don’t really have time to work out, but yes, I DO still look fabulous, thank you for noticing, my “round-faced” “friend.”) The “expertise” in whatever field is currently being discussed, despite any actual training or experience (I know all about this–I knew one or two addicts twenty years ago!) The fairly flat effect, despite learning just that moment that her friend is struggling with an addiction.

    Oh, and I love the line, “I’m glad you confided in me.” She didn’t confide in you, lady, you discovered the truth by accident! But it sure reinforces Abby’s image of herself as a Great Friend and Great Listener.

    Lots of warning signs there. And that’s not even touching on her relationships with her children.

    • That’s actually a really good point. And I think the rest of it does kind of reinforce your theory. Darlene grouses about the “calories” she’s taking in with a ham and cheese (Abigail offers an offhand dismissal and tries to change the subject to just two lady friends having a chat and eats) and she calls Abby not just her friend but says her “dearest friend”. It’s inconsistent though, I couldn’t say that Abby uniformly makes it All About Herself.

      I would absolutely agree that she and Joshua share some personality traits: they both seem to insist on being the center of attention in different ways. Josh, for all that he thinks it’s “torture” to get his picture taken he doesn’t mind some seriously narcissistic bullshit in front of a Congressional committee, and we’ll see later he doesn’t mind ordering his son around like a robot.

      • The behavior of ordering his son around in such a way pretty much underlines that Josh has no trust in the mental capacity or decision-making ability of the Fourth Jordan.

        Hmm. The Fourth Jordan is starting to remind me of the son of that media mogul from the Babylon Rising series, the one who was pretty much killed as a sacrifice a la Issac, except to prove the mogul’s loyalty to the Seven (TSAN!). Which…

        …ow. FRACKow. The Fourth Jordan as Issac? Cal as Issac without the last-minute save by the Almighty?

        Ow. I am not liking that thought. Not likely to happen, but it’s easy to see Josh already having a low enough opinion of his son that if Neccessity or TurboJesus saw the need for the Fourth Jordan to be sacrificed, Josh would not hesitate.

      • D:

        Does anyone here think that we’re not justified in expecting the worst functional sociopathic behavior from Joshua Jordan?

      • I’m not sure about full-bore sociopathy, but I know that the judgement of how Rayford and Buck act in LB tends pretty close to that.

        Between those two, Jordan, Murphy’s grandstanding in Babylon Rising, and Ruby’s point about Abigail possibly being afflicted with NPD…Anyone else get the feeling that LaHaye himself might be likewise afflicted? We’d probably need transcripts of his sermons to get to even “possibly”, though…

      • Mink said:

        “D:

        Does anyone here think that we’re not justified in expecting the worst functional sociopathic behavior from Joshua Jordan?”

        No. JJ comes across as an asshole and I fully expect him to get even worse (if such is even possible) throughout the remainder of this series. That he’s the *hero* of this travesty and will probably wind up going to Heaven makes it all the more painful. He and TurboJesus certainly deserve each other, but what the hell did *we* do to deserve Tim LaHaye inflicting this crap on us?!?!?!

    • She has to have something. That scene couldn’t be that stilted and groan-inducing through purely bad writing… could it?

      Also, aren’t they supposed to be in Denver? Or Boulder? Aspen is, like, 6 hours from Denver. If you have money (and, hey, who doesn’t?!), you can fly your private jet directly to Aspen (it has a large, modern airport, of course).

      • What I am suspecting is that the books sponsored by LaHaye tend to be written with an eye to reinforcing the idea that people who are Real, True Christians are always right and that the world is about them because they are the favored ones.

    • Isn’t there a Christian song that goes ‘It’s all about me?’ I am probably remembering wrong especially since this is from a comedienne’s skit.

      There are some very subtle nuances in what Abby says, thank you for pointing them out. I get the very strong impression from many of LaHaye’s characters that he has known people like this and is modelling these characters off of them. It then stands to reason that his protagonists are therefore (a) perfect in his eyes, or at least close to it, and (b) are representative of the circles that LaHaye travels within. This concerns me because this is not healthy emotional behavior.

      But a part of me can’t blame Abigail; a part of me thinks that this is (like Josh’s utter lack of empathy) a learned behavior. Could this have come about as some sort of defense mechanism to Josh’s emotional immaturity?

      • I’m more or less going with the assumption that Josh is the instigator of the Jordan family dysfunction, and that the root cause of this is either whatever happened to him in Iraq, or a chain of events which culminated in whatever happened to him in Iraq (which is most likely) and made him… ahem, how he is now.

        Like most people, Abigail had to adapt to living with someone. Unlike most people, I get the distinct impression that this was a one-sided act; JOSH wasn’t going to change, so Abby of course had to develop all sorts of defensive behaviors — much like Deebs in your fic — to deal with living with the man she (thinks she) loves. I am not a psychologist; I’m not sure how one can develop narcissism as a defensive response to another’s behavior. Is it possible that this behavior is evinced only around others, in her attempt to assert her own self which must be normally subsumed around Josh? Yes, it’s very shaky, I’m afraid, and I’m not entirely happy with it as an explanation.

      • According to the back story, Jordan did fly missions “in the Middle East” “during the war”, but which one isn’t specified. If we assume he flew missions in the earlier Desert Storm… well, I’m at a loss. I really have no idea where he would have formed his oddly rigid attitudes towards his role as a father in the family.

        I’d have to vote that Abby had narcissistic traits in herself as well which have been, of necessity, subsumed to Josh’s because she gave up an independent source of income. This reeeeeeeeally makes me wonder what kind of people LaHaye must have met to believe this is normal. 😮

      • Re: Normal People, I know! It’s rather horrifying if LaHaye thinks this is not only normal but also good behavior. It would make more sense if the protagonists are meant to be imperfect, but I don’t have that much faith in LaHaye being able to do that. ^_^

  4. Oh, well, if we’re going to pick nits: the “clandestine” meeting of the Roundtable? (To which mere wives are not invited, I notice.) I always thought that clandestine had overtones of “furtive” and “illicit” and general skulking around, in a way that doesn’t seem suitable for our manly heroes. Surely the “libs” haven’t yet made it illegal for conservatively-inclined public figures to exercise their freedom of association– or did I miss that bit?

    Anyway, dictionary.com says that clandestine can merely mean hidden, private, confidential, which is what I suppose they were going for. And also that it’s derived from the Latin clandestinus, from the root word clam, secret. So I suppose, as Captain Carrot would say, this is the Clam before the Storm.

    If we’re playing the Significant-Name game again, do you think that “Rice” is a nod to a former Secretary of State? Although, from the sound of him, it’s not much of a compliment to her. And “Strong Rice”? Sounds like a vegetarian option on a Chinese-restaurant menu.

    I recently read a YA novel featuring a contemporary 16-year-old named Darlene. It’s true, though, that she was named after her grandmother, didn’t care for the name, and went by “D.J.” instead. So I guess we’re not seeing “Darlene” make a comeback just yet.

    To pick another nit, why is the most important thing about this Darlene’s rehab clinic is that it’s “discreet”? All these years after Betty Ford?

    • And “Strong Rice”? Sounds like a vegetarian option on a Chinese-restaurant menu.

      I laughed out loud at this XD

      Yeah, the “Rice” last name seemed like an odd choice; I found the “Fortis” name to be particularly interesting, especially as Darlene nicknames him “Fort”.

      I agree that the book is overdoing the “we’re having a seeeeeeeeeeecret meeting” deal; I’m suspecting this Round Table organization is a group of like-minded men who occasionally get together to chew the fat over political issues but don’t really do much otherwise. Now it will serve a different purpose in this book.

      • And of course there’s Patrick Forester from last time. “Patrick” is probably meant to evoke Patrick Henry, while Forester implies strength–whether the sort of strength a forester of old would need to perform his work, or the strength of maples, oaks, etc. Is up to you.

    • I recently read a YA novel featuring a contemporary 16-year-old named Darlene. It’s true, though, that she was named after her grandmother, didn’t care for the name, and went by “D.J.” instead. So I guess we’re not seeing “Darlene” make a comeback just yet.

      I was never any fan of the show Roseanne, but I do remember that one of the daughters was Darlene, and that one time an old friend of the parents comes over, and when Darlene is introduced he says, “Oh! Named after the Mouseketeer?!”

      And the teenaged Darlene replies, “WHAT???”

    • I’m really starting to wonder about this Roundtable thing. I too had thought it was pretty much just another “Old Boy’s Network” get-together. But using terms like ‘clandestine’ and ‘secret’ and ‘meetings’ to ‘prepare’ for…. Between this and seeing how LaHaye has started to really wear his politics (and his paranoia about the Illuminati) on his sleeve makes me think that this is a high-class Militia of sorts, or something that’s setting itself up to be a sort of high commmand of militias.

      Needless to say, this screams ‘SEDITION.’ So much for those oaths to defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic, Joshy! And getting your daughter, a cadet at West Point, involved in this, too? You do realize that there’s no visitation rights at Fort Leavenworth, right, Josh m’boy? But that’s okay, because if Deebs gets sent to Gitmo, that doesn’t mean she was aiding and abetting sedition, it means she was arrested by the eeeeeevil librul government!

      Honestly, I don’t think LaHaye would be happy with any government short of Constantine’s at Byzantium.

      Oh, well. This is mostly academic.. I wonder if the Roundtable will be as spectacularly ineffective at opposing the Evil End-Times Conspiracy as the Tribulation Force were.

  5. There’s something about this scene that reminds me uncomfortably about the movie “The Joneses.” I can see Abby’s complaint about Aspen being true if she had lived there and grown up there — you see much the same reaction to tourists in places like Lake Tahoe — but it doesn’t have any oomph to it; it sounds more like just a token complaint.

    I also found it noteworthy that Abby said to look for ‘discrete’ counseling (if not detox?) Why discrete?

    Hmm, I found it also a little concerning what Darlene means by ‘interesting’ when Fortis retired early and stayed at home. If Fortis is anything like what I am thinking he is, then yes, it would be seriously hard for her.

    • I think LaHaye must have been thinking of things like the Betty Ford Center. The rather odd aspect to all this is that LaHaye and Parshall are in the usual mode of thinking that drug addiction is fundamentally an act of shame and as such, needs to be hidden away and dealt with as quietly as possible. Unfortunately, it may hinder treatment success if the drug abuser must feel ashamed of it. I think, at any rate. I’m not a treatment expert but it certainly seems that LaHaye and Parshall are imparting moral overtones (a person is weak to do drugs) to the issue rather than approaching it as an inappropriate coping strategy, which is really what is Darlene’s problem.

      In that light it is not an act of shame or oppobrium to acknowledge that she’s abusing Valium; it is a recognition that she was not dealing well with the death of her son and did not feel she could seek proper counselling for it. Now she can get the counselling and treatment she needs and hopefully live a better life.

      • I think you’ve hit on another good point, something very telling about Abby, as well. This is not like an oxycontin or morphine addiction; this is valium, an antidepressant, which Darlene says that she desperately takes ‘to exist.’ I’ve on occasion heard language like this used, and the issue is not an addiction so much as it is a perceived need to take that much. I know valium and its variants can indeed be frightfully addictive; but the issue to be addressed is not that Darlene is triple-dosing an antidepressant but that she started to do so in the first place.

        What is so horrible about home life with the retired Judge Strong Rice, that in order ‘to exist’ his wife felt the need to *start* triple-dosing an antidepressant?

        We know why Abby is not addressing that core issue: It is the duty of the RTC wife to stay by her man no matter how… ‘interesting’ it is. (And there are all sorts of horrible thoughts that come up with that term. Most of which are probably exaggerations as to how LaHaey intended, but still.) Considering that Strong Rice and Josh are two of the ‘charter members’ of the Roundtable (a term that lends it a bit of a formal tone, I think) they seem to be reasonably good friends or at least compatible acquaintances. Possibly somewhat similar emotionally. I can, rather startlingly, see some very familiar behaviors in Josh, and in the reflection that poor Darlene gives.

        I wonder if Josh is giving Strong Rice suggestions on how to make for a more pleasant home life now that he’s retired…. or if he has been giving the retired judge such advice for some time now. Yes, I am attributing all sorts of horrible evil things to Joshua. That’s because *it’s easy* and we’re given nothing to show us otherwise or even to to excuse it other than some vaguely mentioned incident in Iraq.

        It is also telling — mostly of Darlene’s ‘interesting’ home situation — that she barely knows Abby, even after ten years — writing, presumably calling on their Allfones, meeting occasionally — that she absolutely GLOMPS Abby and calls her her ‘dearest friend.’ Language like that is also a warning sign; I wonder how much Strong Rice limits his wife’s contact with other people. (Sorry, I can’t think of him as anything but Strong Rice now! ^_^ )

      • It’s always fascinating how LaHaye-sponsored books seem to unintentionally give a LOT of insight into the characters that are supposed to model the behaviors expected of the “good guys”. I believe Fred Clark noted that Jenkins unintentionally showed Rayford as being a man that wanted the best of both worlds: the freedom to carry on an extramarital affair without any of the emotional commitment necessary to see it through, and certainly no inconvenient STDs or babies to come along with it.

        Well, Parshall certainly seems to have unintentionally shown the kinds of changed behaviors exhibited by people who feel trapped in lives they can’t get out of. Scary!

  6. {SPOILERS HEREIN}

    Well, it turns out the Round Table ISN’T men-only; their member who acts as their watchpoint in the free market is a self-made Hispanic woman. I just barely skimmed the chapter, but she’s written as having gone through a Cinderella story. Pre-Perrault, one hopes.

    Also, their press watchpoint makes mention of the nation undergoing a devolution to socialism. Er, “devolution”? How so? (And no snipes at this in a presumably creationist milieu, please…) As far as a good chunk of the world (e.g. most of Europe) are concerned, going from socialism to unfettered free market would be the atavism!

    • The more we hear about Edge of Apocalypse, the more it becomes apparent that LaHaye is really showing his politics in this. And in the family life of the Jordans, both Parshall and LaHaye have an extremely disturbing view of a healthy family.

      Mostly, here, I try to ignore the politics — if I want that I can listen to Rush — but the family trainwreck is disturbingly familiar and therefore fascinating.

  7. Meanwhile, I found an earlier book by Parshall, “The Accused”. Checking the back flap, it mentions that Parshall was/is a highly successful Washington defense attorney, specializing in civil liberties and religious freedom cases. He is/was also a strong champion of conservative and Christian ideals, in mainstream and Christian media alike.

    Just a little something to fluff out what we know about him.

  8. I actually think the reaction of Darlene and Abigail to Aspen makes sense; they seem aristocratic enough to castigate for letting in all that Holloywood riff-raff. Although, I don’t think they would complain about “wealthy chic women” under that interpretation.

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