Da Vinci Cult

There is obvious fascination with Dan Brown's novel, "The Da Vinci Code." I read it and thoroughly enjoyed the tale of murder, mystery, puzzles, and suspense. It was rivetting. When I finished the novel, however, I had no trouble putting on back on the shelf (proverbially, I think I actually loaned it to a friend), and never giving another thought the the conspiratorial musings of a work of fiction.

But I guess some people are having trouble with its 813 dewey decimal number. Other books have been written defending Catholicism from this 'heresy'. Cultists wonder about the secret societies and whether Jesus really procreated with Mary and founded the Merovingian dynasty (did nobody else find that incredibly funny but me?). Articles debunking Dan Brown abound, including now TWO in my favourite magazine, Skeptic.

For five whole pages of this quarterly, an author goes into great detail describing how the Da Vinci code is, surprise!, a work of fiction. And why does this author go to so much trouble? Because Dan Brown, inside the novel, says that some of the material is based on real life events and people. Well exuse me for just a minute, but just because Dan says so, DOESN'T MEAN IT IS SO! I mean, come on here people. Here's a simple test to determine how much of a book, if any, should be take seriously. Is it filed in the library under fiction or non-fiction? "The Da Vinci Code" is fiction, pure and simple.

I can put whatever I want inside a novel. I can state that it is a veritable fact that the King of France is bald and that Martians have been known to raid my refridgerator. I'll even put it in the intro to ensure that people believe it's true.

It's a great psychological device to say this story is "based on true events" but nothing inside a work of fiction required that even that statement be true. Michael Crichton pulls this trick all the time in his intros and afterwards, even signing his initials to give it an ounce of authenticity. It's still fiction. Sorry folks that you were duped, but if you're that gullible, maybe you shouldn't be reading fiction.

7 Comments:

At 9/28/05, 5:17 PM, Anonymous Saar Drimer said...

Hey, don't get too excited. I doubt any of your readers thought it was anything but fiction...
I enjoyed the book for it's content, but not much for the style of writing. The "suspense-making" (any literary term for that?) was too artificial, I thought.

I found the whole buzz around this book amusing. They are making a movie with Tom Hanks based on the book. I wonder how many changes they will have to make to make it digestible for the mass population that does not like to hear/see anything but mainstream, especially when it comes to religion.

Crichton is my favorite author. Most of his fiction is followed by an extensive (scientific) bibliography... which is impressive. He certainly does his research, even though it is fiction. Can't say much of that about Mr. Brown.

 
At 9/29/05, 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't read it but i heard about this stuff. You know the gospels were written 40 years after Christ so what can we really know? I saw a great show on CBS about Christ's life. As with anything much of his story is politicized, like the miracles may have been added at the time as a political statement cause at the time it was thought only Roman's could do miracles.

It is though widely accepted he was an amazing man and did die for his convictions, which today SEEMS like a miracle. But details are sketchy. And of course we know there is skant proof Mary was a hooker.

-Carol

 
At 9/29/05, 2:23 PM, Blogger Crinis said...

Both Brown and Crichton do their homework, but they know how to use the "based on a true story" line to hype up their work. Good for them. I'm not really upset at them as authors. I'm just ranting about how people take Brown's work (and I've even heard of someone taking Crichton's work) as something other than what it is: an entertaining work of fiction.

As for the historocity of the Christ... well Brown's book is no authority since it is fiction. Don't know if I trust a CBS show either.

Actually, I have an opinion of whether or not Christ lived, and perhaps that should be saved for another entry.

 
At 9/30/05, 1:31 AM, Anonymous Saar Drimer said...

OK, I probably misspoke about Brown's research, but as I recall there is no bibliography at the end of The DC.

Good point: I'll believe Brown/Crichton before anything I see on CBS/NBC/CNN/ABC/FOX/Comedy Central. (actually, for years my source of news was the "daily Show." Really.)

 
At 9/30/05, 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well the CBS show had both philosophers, historirians a wide range so I tend to listen. And the consensus was Christ lived but was basically a fish story, in that he probably didn't have a big following but was killed by the Romans and then embellished later for political purposes.

-Carol

 
At 9/30/05, 10:55 AM, Blogger Crinis said...

The daily show is best news program on the air, goddamnit! (And I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing)

Fish story, good one. I like that ;-)

 
At 9/30/05, 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have cable but I did rent
Daily show DVD's, they were quite funny. I remember Jon in the 80's/90's when he was a
fill in for late night talk shows and not much else, I always liked him.

I do get worried when people only get their news from him, but then again he is a liberal so I guess its not so bad. I mean I watched his Indecision 04 and it was so obvious where their slant is.

I know no one has faith in CBS, but really this Christ documentary was great. I recommend it, it dispelled some myths but it also made you fascinated by the whole thing. You can rent it, I got it on netflix. I do think Christ lived, and had a following and was a very enlightened person. But yeah a fish story in that it was over blown to make a point. I do think he died an awful death. But no probably not a virgin birth (common myth, Buddah was too) Probably not born in Bethlehem etc.

-Carol

 

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