Thursday, November 05, 2009


First, read Roy here.

SHORTER ROD DREHER. The Mad Men in my head, where they all get AIDS and die, is so much better than the real one, don't you think? Too bad liberals don't get it -- they see it smugly, whereas conservatives see the [deep, quavering voice] traaagedy. [brightly] Did I ever tell you I met a color -- er, black gentlemen who said segregation wasn't so bad?

OK, don't forget to read the comments too. Then hop on over and read Amanda here.

Dreher’s main thrust as a conservative is to be a religious conservative, i.e. invested in the idea of shoving women into the kitchen while being open to the idea that teaching women to read was a mistake. So I’ll bet that he dislikes watching Betty onscreen. She’s what conservatives fantasize about---a woman that’s completely and uncomplainingly absorbed the idea that her job is to live for her husband, to obey his every wish, to be sexually available and ready with a drink and dinner when you get home, no matter what hour it is---and here the writers are asking you to care about her feelings. That’s beside the point! The whole point of having women in that role is so that you don’t have to care or worry about how they’re doing. The whole point of constructing that role for women is so they chirpily make like they love their lot in life, so you the man can feel satisfied about your magnanimity while your slippers are being fetched for you. Don and Betty’s marriage is exactly what the Rod Dreher’s of the world want for all of us, including the way that Don allows Betty to have control over little things so he can feel like they have some kind of partnership. (She gets to decorate! And, as we learn, she really wishes that responsibilities at home were a shared thing.) How dare the show suggest that this arrangement makes people unhappy, and women especially so?
Read the whole thing but then go here and dive a little deeper into the psycho-drama that is Christian thought on the whole question of the "sufferings of others"--in this case, we can look at how Christians legitimize torture (and here)

The outcome of the study was intriguing. Specifically, subjects who where told that the story above came from the bible were more aggressive than those told the story came from an extra-biblical scroll. Apparently, if violence is in the bible this seems to sanction the use of violence. This trend was confirmed in that those who read that God sanctioned the violence in the story (i.e., read the inserted text) were more aggressive than those who did not read about God commanding the retaliatory violence.

And then go over and laugh yourself silly reading Fred Clark's piece on the "inaction heroes" of the Left Behind Series.

Buck Williams is sitting just outside of the Antichrist's office.

He imagines he can feel the supernatural evil emanating from the next room. He desperately prays for divine protection, for deliverance, because he knows he's in extreme danger. Nicolae Carpathia has power over the minds of men and unless Buck is somehow able to convince him that he, too, is under his spell, that office may be the last room that Buck ever sees.

Buck has taken a terrible chance coming here, accepting this invitation to New York for a rendezvous with pure evil. But he had to come. For Hattie.

She had come to him for help and in return he had, unwittingly, put her immortal soul in danger. Buck had introduced her to Nicolae Carpathia, the Antichrist himself. He may as well have sold her into slavery.

Buck feels responsible for Hattie. He is responsible for the perilous new life she has begun. He talked about this endlessly with Rayford Steele and with Bruce Barnes, agonizing over how "every day" it gnaws at him that he put Hattie into harm's way and then just left her behind. In several long and repetitive conversations, both Bruce and Rayford warned him of the dangers of coming here, but he knew this was his only chance -- the only way he might perhaps reach Hattie, find some way to take her to somewhere it was safe to talk so that he could tell her about the truth he had found and that truth could set her free.

That was the reason he was here, the only reason. He was here in New York, in the dragon's lair, to rescue the damsel in distress. He was here to save Hattie Durham.

Hattie Durham approached Buck and Chaim Rosenzweig, and they both stood. "Mr. Williams!" she said, embracing him. "I haven't seen you since I took this job."

Yes you have, Buck thought, you just don't remember.

"The secretary-general and Mr. Plank will see you now," she told Buck.

And that's it.

That is the entire extent of Buck's conversation with Hattie Durham during this trip to New York. She greets him warmly and he responds, as he did when greeted by Rosenzweig, without saying anything, absorbed in thoughts of how cool it is that they've been deceived and he hasn't. (He does the same thing yet again when Steve greets him on the next page.)

Hattie leads Buck down a long hall, but he doesn't say a word to her, taking the opportunity instead to check out her outfit:

... he realized he had never seen her out of uniform. Today she wore a tailored suit that made her look like a classy, wealthy, sophisticated woman. The look only enhanced her stunning beauty. Even her speech seemed more cultured than he remembered. Her exposure to Nicolae Carpathia seemed to have improved her presence.

Buck spends the rest of the afternoon there in the same set of offices as Hattie, but he never speaks to her again before flying back to Chicago. He never even tries to speak to her.

Take a moment to savor this marvelously weird fumble here by Jerry Jenkins. He spent several chapters setting this up, with three separate conversations in which Buck agonized over whether or not to make this trip, weighing the immense danger against his overriding sense of obligation to undo the damage he had done to Hattie.

And then, abruptly, Buck and Jenkins both just forget all about it. Once Mr. McGillicuddy gets on the plane for New York, he abandons every thought of trying to save Hattie Durham.

Again, the comments section is well worth reading as the commenters explore the idea of the "inaction hero" who is witness to, but powerless to affect, the great struggle between God and the Anti-Christ, or God and fallen humanity, that the "Real True Christians" describe in the Left Behind books.

The more you read this stuff the more you see that Rod Dreher has to dislike Betty Draper--Betty is a loser, an unbeliever, a listless, miserable, atheist in the Rod's imaginary, religiously suffused world of kinder, kuche, kirche. When the end times come and Rod's big daddy returning Jesus comes back Betty is going to be left behind. And probably anyone who sympathizes with her. And that's probably just as true for black people! They wanted all that political freedom--as messy as sexual freedom and probably caused by the same lack of control--and look what they did with it! When daddy comes back he's going to be mad--mad with all the liberals and the women and the lazy black people. They'll just long for those anti-deluvian days then. The Garden of Eden that was the fifties. Even if they have rejected its scripture: Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and etc...

Conclusion: American Evangelical Christianism is the most immoral, soul destroying, form of passive aggressive, kiss up-kick down, hate-thy-neighbor ever constructed.

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