Writing a resume is such an ordeal. Is there anything worse? Well I suppose writing the resume and then not getting the job would be worse. But let's not go there.
And no, by mentioning my resume I am not breaking my longstanding rule not to post anything that I wouldn't care if the whole world knew. Because I already told the people who will be affected if it works out. Which, cross your fingers, y'all.
But anyway, resumes. I hate them. Hate. I have a real problem talking myself up. (Talking about myself is another matter. I mean, just look at this journal.) I had the same problem writing the proposal for VRT. I just couldn't get past the feeling that my work should speak for itself and I shouldn't have to make up bullshit praise to convince a publisher that it was good. Lucky for me, Llewellyn was able to figure that out despite my incompetence at blurb-writing. Here's hoping that Nameless Large Corporation in Need of Help with Semantic Markup is also aware that skill at building web pages is not necessarily reflected in skill at writing about yourself in glowing terms.
Another thing I hate is the Left Behind series. Yes, after seven books I can describe my feeling for the series as hatred. I'm not even going to get into the theology (there's a devastating critique of it at Slacktivist). Even theology aside, there's plenty of odious worldview to go around.
For starters, the role of women. I feel a bit ridiculous even bringing this up. I mean, what did I expect? Equality and respect between the sexes? From Left Behind? Surely I jest.
Okay, so the only genuinely smart person so far is Chloe Williams, but she cheerfully submits to her husband's whim even though she's so much smarter than he is, she has to spell it out for him:
"Don't parent me, Buck. Seriously, I don't have a problem submitting to you because I know how much you love me. I'm willing to obey you even when you're wrong. But don't be unreasonable. And don't be wrong if you don't have to be."
So I guess a husband tells his wife what to do because he cares, but a parent tells his child what to do just for the hell of it. The worst part is that after this speech, Buck realizes she's right, but rather than saying so, he resolves to make her wait a few days and then "announce that he had made a decision." So she won't get any crazy ideas about having a say over her own actions. It's so appalling I can't think of anything to say.
The treatment of unbeliever Hattie Durham is even worse. (And can Jesus hurry up and gloriously appear and strike down these horrible names?) For all the believers' mewling about how much they love Hattie and how they care about her, in fact they all hate her. They loathe her. Their contempt is barely concealed. We're told by the believers that she's "ditzy," "not smart," "selfish," "ungrateful," "whiny." When in fact she seems to me no stupider than the rest of them, and one of the only characters in the whole series to display genuine emotion. Heroic asshole Rayford Steele, who was in fact looking to join the mile high club with her when the rapture struck, tsk tsks the fellow believer who has feelings for her, admonishing him that "there's nothing attractive about her." Because being poisoned by the Antichrist and suffering a miscarriage left her a wee bit haggard. When she's attacked by the plague of locusts they make her live in the shed so they won't have to listen to her screams. When they talk about loving Hattie, they sound like they want to snatch her soul for Jesus and then kick the rest of her out on the street.
And by the way, the locusts? Millions of locusts that look like tiny armored flying horses and cry "Abbadon!" while they sting unbelievers and cause them 5 months of agonizing pain, during which time they cannot die? I'm sorry, that is stupid. I don't care if it's in the Bible, it's stupid. Through that whole section I kept wondering, do the tiny horses cry the name of their demon king in tiny squeaky voices? Isn't that more silly than scary? Are they cute like the little tiny demon in that halloween episode of Buffy? And if someone who's been stung cannot die, does that mean just suicide or by any means? If you cut off their head they'd still be alive? Put them in a wood chipper?
A good fantasy/horror writer makes the impossible seem possible, and the absurd seem plausible. (See King, Stephen.) Left Behind achieves the opposite. The whole story is so ridiculous that even the trivial details seem absurd. (Of course, King also knows how to write a plot, maintain tension, and create characters who sound like real people and make the reader care about them. Skills sorely lacking in Left Behind.) When I read an adventure or fantasy book, I want to be swept up in the story. I don't want to sit there nit picking and wondering how they expect me to believe that in three and a half years the UN could change its name to "Global Community," take over all the world's governments, redivide the world into 10 regions, move the capital of the world to Babylon, convert the world to one currency, create a new religion and subsume all other religions into it, attack and destroy multiple major cities in the US and Britain, suffer a global earthquake, then rebuild Babylon after the earthquake. Not to mention the locust attack and the 200 million invisible horsemen who kill people with sulfurous smoke. I mean, come on! Three and a half years? How long did it take for the Euro to catch on?
And why is there only one sect of Christianity post-rapture? And only one Biblical scholar? (And why would a Jewish scholar who converted to Christianity sound just like a Baptist?) I guess maybe all the theologans got raptured, and then this one guy converted afterwards. But wouldn't other smart people convert too, when faced with that kind of overwhelming evidence? You'd think that in the midst of all these Biblical prophecies come to life, there would be thousands of religious bloggers out there trying to make sense of it. But according to the book, there's only the one guy acting as a Web-based pastor to every Christian in the world.
All that I could forgive, if the believers didn't turn out to be a bunch of smug bastards who drive SUVs. At one point heroic asshole Rayford Steele devotes a couple of pages to whining about having to drive a sports car, far too tiny to hold a man like him. Then when they find a new safe house in an abandoned office building, they're delighted to discover a bunch of abandoned SUVs with the keys still in them. Including a Hummer! Yay! Yes, the narrator actually mentions the Hummer by name. Because if you were living in the end times, a fugitive from the Antichrist, and you were about to be unable to buy or sell because of the mark of the beast, you would definitely want to drive around in a gas guzzling behemoth that stands out like a sore thumb.
On the bright side, the sixth book did provide the most soap opera-esque moment to date. There comes a time on every soap, about twice a year generally, when a villain starts acting extra villainous. Victimizing more people than usual, cackling with evil glee, twirling his moustache and so forth. At the same time everyone in town starts acting suspicious. Skulking, acting shifty, making vaguely threatening statements in public about said villain. At this point you know that there's about to be a big murder mystery, where we will all be on the edge of our seats (or so they hope) wondering who really killed the villain. Neither the audience nor the people in the show know, so all the characters go around trying to protect each other because they all think each other did it, muddying the water even further. And then they drag it out for months until nobody cares anymore, and the wrong person goes on trial, until finally the right person recovers from their amnesia and yells out "I did it!" in the middle of the courtroom. But they get off scot free because it was self-defense. At least that's how it works in soaps.
The funny thing is, the assassination of the Antichrist played out in the exact same way. (Except for the part about the trial and the amnesia.) I almost laughed out loud when I realized what was happening. Much of the book is spent with heroic asshole Rayford Steele and his secret plot to kill the Antichrist, but when the time comes a whole mess of random characters show up and skulk around, for no reason except to create confusion about who did it. (Which they reveal almost immediately at the start of the next book, and it was totally obvious anyway, but that's beside the point. It's usually pretty obvious on a soap too: it's either the day player they can afford to lose, or the saintly heroine who the audience won't mind seeing get away with it.)
Well I have worn myself out bitching about Left Behind. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep reading or not. I hear they continue to get worse. But then again, they are a fast read. And thanks to the library I can read them without having to give any money to those hacks. My tax dollars at work!