October 24, 2004


No books have ever been as repeatedly reviewed by Harper's as those in the apoc-o-tastic Left Behind series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.

It makes sense. The books, over the course of 12 volumes, tell the tale of the End Times as tho' it were produced by Jerry Bruckheimer ... but, you know, some gentile Jerry Bruckheimer who likes a little New World Order conspiracy mixed in with his eschatology.

Just a taste: After the righteous are raptured up to Heaven, a band of Tribulation Force warriers cruise around in suped up Range Rovers so as to do battle with the Anti-Christ ... who was also voted People's Sexiest Man of the Year. Seriously.

Left Behind is a perfect combination of American consumerism, religious fundamentalism, straight-up hypocrisy and right-wing wackiness. As a result, it not only hits the mark for its intended audience, it also provides the barrel, the fish and the arsenal to the good folks at Harper's. Which is why they've reviewed it, like, twenty times.

There's something a bit disingenuous in all this ... I mean, yeah, there's always legit critical review of the books (here's a shocker - they're not particularly well written). But the larger point is really, "Ohmi-fucking-god, can you believe this shit!"

But, who am I kidding, this is one of the chief charms of Harper's. To wit, this selection from Gene Lyons latest salvo:

LaHaye comes close to revealing his own hocus pocus. He concedes, 'No one passage of Scripture teaches the two phases of Christ's second coming separated by the Tribulation.' But he adds, 'no one passage teaches against the pre-Trib view,' either. Of course, the Bible is likewise silent on the Treaty of Versailles and the designated-hitter rule.


The books are pagan tribalism writ large, complete with soothsayers and magic spells. All of history has conspired to turn suburban Americans into apocalyptic superheroes. The end is near, and dude - you're, like, the star!

Good times.

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