Home » Christ Clone » Christ Clone vs. Left Behind: A Preview

Christ Clone vs. Left Behind: A Preview

Christ Clone versus Left Behind

For those of you who know me over on Slacktivist, I’ve been one of the more vocal proponents of the Christ Clone as Rapture-done-right.

I’ll dive more into this after I finish EoA but I want to offer a couple of “appetizers”, if you will, about the contrast between Decker Hawthorne, a news reporter in the Christ Clone, and Cameron “Buck” Williams in Left Behind.

Now, in the first chapter of the first Christ Clone book, which is titled In His Image, Decker’s late for a plane trip and needs the plane to reopen the boarding door to let him in:

Decker’s flight arrived late into New York and he had to run to make his connecting flight to Milan, Italy.

(…)

“I’ve got to get on that plane!” he told the woman, as he put on the sweetest ‘help me’ look he could muster.

“You have your passport?” she asked.

“Right here,” Decker answered, handing it to her along with his ticket.

“What about your luggage?”

“This is it,” he answered, holding up an overstaffed and somewhat oversized carry-on bag.

The plane had not actually moved yet, so after notifying the pilot, it was an easy task to move the jetway back into place. After a quick but heartfelt ‘thank you,’ Decker boarded the plane and headed to his seat.

(…)

Decker found his seat and sat down. There to greet him was Professor Harry Goodman, a sloppily dressed, short man with gray hair, reading glasses half-way down his nose, and thick bushy eyebrows that blazed helter-skelter across his brow and up onto his forehead like a brush fire. “I was beginning to think you’d stood me up,” Professor Goodman said.

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world,” Decker answered. “I just wanted to make a big entrance.”

Notice right away that Decker has a legitimate reason to need to hold up the plane – his connecting flight is late. He doesn’t ostentatiously make demands of the ticket agent, and tries to show that he’s as prepared as can be for his trip – passport ready, one bag, and he can be on the way immediately.

Furthermore, his self-effacing joke at the end actually works. He’s not trying to be a showboating asshat.

Contrast this with Buck’s showboating behavior when he’s about to get a Land Rover. He’s pushy about getting the car, and even subjects the dealer to added inconvenience. Customer service blogs and websites are replete with the kind of appalling misbehavior from customers who manage to force employees to do extra things just because they’re spending a lot of money in one spot.

Buck sat in the sales manager’s office of a Land Rover dealership. “You never cease to amaze me,” Chloe whispered.

“I’ve never been conventional, have I?”

“Hardly, and now I suppose any hope of normalcy is out the window.”

“I don’t need any excuse for being unique,” he said, “but everyone everywhere will be acting impulsively soon enough.”

The sales manager, who had busied himself with paperwork and figuring a price, turned the documents and slid them across the desk toward Buck. “You’re not trading the Lincoln, then?”

“No, that’s a rental,” Buck said. “But I am going to ask you to return that to O’Hare for me.” Buck looked up at the man without regard to the documents.

“That’s highly unusual,” the sales manager said. “I’d have to send two of my people and an extra vehicle so they could get back.”

Buck stood. “I suppose I am asking too much. Another dealer will be willing to go the extra mile to sell me a vehicle, I’m sure, especially when no one knows what tomorrow may bring.”

“Sit back down, Mr. Williams. I won’t have any trouble getting my district manager to sign off on throwing in that little errand for you. As you can see, you’re going to be able to drive your fully loaded Range Rover out of here within an hour for under six figures.”

“Make it half an hour,” Buck said, “and we’ve got a deal.”

The sales manager rose and thrust out his hand. “Deal.”

On top of all this, he crows gleefully to his wife, Chloe, about how he’s used a government-issued credit card for that purchase and has no intention of using the truck for its stated purpose.

“You consider spending almost a hundred thousand dollars on a toy like this an investment in our cause?”

“Chloe,” Buck said carefully, “look at this rig. It has everything. It will go anywhere. It’s indestructible. It comes with a phone. It comes with a citizen’s band radio. It comes with a fire extinguisher, a survival kit, flares, you name it. It has fourwheel drive, all-wheel drive, independent suspension, a CD player that plays those new two-inch jobs, electrical outlets in the dashboard that allow you to connect whatever you want directly to the battery.”

“But Buck, you slapped down your Global Community Weekly credit card as if it were your own. What kind of a limit do you have on that thing?”

I can’t imagine Decker Hawthorne ever behaving this childishly about something he spent someone else’s money on and which he intends to unlawfully convert (a.k.a. “steal”) for his own use.

The irony is that both Decker and Buck are news reporters, but one of them actually acts like a real reporter and the other is just a showboating jackass.

I’ll do a proper comparison on an “era by era” basis, if you will, between Left Behind and the Christ Clone, since they both follow the basic precepts of Rapture theology. In this way, I hope to highlight the way James BeauSeigneur avoids many of the writing problems that plague Tim LaHaye’s and Jerry Jenkins’s book series.

Until then, we’ll continue through LaHaye and Parshall’s attempt at Rapture theology.

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19 thoughts on “Christ Clone vs. Left Behind: A Preview

  1. “Do you take GlobalCommunityCard?” “Yeah, we only have to pay $6.66 a month in handling fees…”

    Four-wheel drive AND all-wheel drive! Wow!

    A CD player! How quaint!

    It comes with first-aid and survival kits! As opposed to the ones you’ve built yourself where you know exactly what’s in them! Whoopee!

    (And so on. Bored now.)

    • The “four wheel AND all wheel drive” thing made me die laughing. Jenkins just can’t control himself when it comes to describing all the doodads and whatnots his favorite character should have at his fingertips, even if it means redundancies in his writing.

      And really, renting a Lincoln Navigator and buying a Range Rover with Other Peoples’ Money? The only way he could have “Arrogant Jackass” any more firmly spraypainted on him is using that GC Card to buy a fully loaded 747.

      Speaking of which, did you notice the Range Rover was “fully loaded”?

  2. “But Buck, you slapped down your Global Community Weekly credit card as if it were your own. What kind of a limit do you have on that thing?”

    You see, this is the reason I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the books even if I agreed with the ideology: Buying your top secret Trib Force mobile with the Antichrist’s credit card? Are you kidding me? Sure as a high ranking member of the Global Community ruling cabal, he might be able to get away with it for a while (corruption is pretty much standard in most dictatorships) but the moment there was even the slightest hint of a traitor in their midst, the security forces would be tearing apart everyone’s finances looking for evidence.
    This would have been the point where, even as a kid, I would have put the book down and said “No! That’s stupid!”

    • Indeed. Buck’s lack of humility and common sense contrasts sharply with Decker’s self-realization that as a non-GIRAT reporter, he needs to actually pay his dues and do a little work to get himself assigned to write up news on something important.

      • Hell, if you’re the GIRAT then that means you’re under ten times the pressure. At that level, every time you write something that’s less then stellar, people are going to say you’re phoning it in. And every time you claim some kind of privilege, even if it’s totally justified, people are going to call you a prima donna.

      • Evil Paul said: “At that level, every time you write something that’s less then stellar, people are going to say you’re phoning it in.”

        I see what you did there! 🙂

  3. The big difference between these two characters is that you instantly like Decker. I certainly did, right from that “sweetest ‘help-me’ look” line. This is a guy I’d like to read about, and cheer on when he meets the baddies.
    Whereas, even if I had never encountered Buck before, I would still have wanted to smack that smug grin right off his self-satisfied face. Preferably with a ripped-out car phone.
    Speaking of which, wouldn’t that car-phone be perfectly traceable?

    • Yes. In fact, Buck uses the very traceability of the phone (he gets the number from the dealership when they programmed it) to call Chloe and find out where she is later on, after Disaster Number Zillion on the list of disasters to hit the Earth in LB-land.

      And it’s amazing, isn’t it, how unlikable Buck actually turns out to be.

      • And its amazing how the phones in LB-land all continue to work perfectly, whatever disasters hit!
        I imagine Jenkins/La Hay sitting alone in their respective houses each night; each clutching a mobile phone set to silent ring; each fearfully wishing, hoping that the other will ring them first and make their shiny, smooth, slick phone quiver and vibrate in their palm…..

      • Sophia8: Note that whenever LaHaye & Jenkins’ Author Self-Inserts are onstage together, it’s always a setup to a Slashfic? (Yaoi-sense Tingling…) Not only Yaoi, but always with Rayford Steele LaHaye on top as dom and Buck Jenkins bottoming as sub? Are things getting all Freudian about the power arrangement between the two co-authors? (Yaoi-sense Tingling… And it’s all Unintentional Canonical Slashfic Setup — Yaoi-sense Tingling…)

    • What got me was the “heartfelt than you” Cn you imagine Buck or Ray giving a heartfelt thank you to amyone for any reason?

  4. Is this the Land-Rover that Buck the GIRAT buys on-the-fly in the suburbs of Chicago A FEW MINUTES AFTER CHI-TOWN TAKES AT LEAST ONE MEGATON-RANGE LOW-AIRBURST NUKE? As in right in the secondary blast area (apparently even without shattered windows or EMPed-out electronics/communications), they take the Author Self-Insert’s credit card and sell him the new Product Placement on the spot as if it’s the most natural thing in the world?

        • A, B, C.

          A: Always.
          B: Be.
          C: Closing.

          Always be closing. ALWAYS! BE CLOSING!

          …Aaaaand now I want to see Stephen Baldwin, who’s on roughly the same level of Christian wingnuttery as Kirk Cameron, as Buck, and Alec Baldwin, circa Glengarry Glen Ross, as the car salesman. Just to see how badly Alec would steal the scene.

  5. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, All Deconstructions | The Slacktiverse

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