It’s come to my attention that the Vatican has finally gotten down to saying something about The Da Vinci Code. Somewhat late and needless, I think, considering that the issue is already in the process of being beaten to death.
The most frequent defense of Da Vinci Code I’ve seen is that “it’s just a work of fiction,” therefore its various slams against church and art history aren’t meant to be taken seriously. The gist of the problem, however, is that Dan Brown starts with sensationalized fantasies and known hoaxes advocated by a minority of historical revisionists. He then casually attempts to pass off these fringe conspiracy theories and hoaxes as the “factual” foundation upon which his story rests. Dan Brown still insists that Da Vinci Code merely attempts to put forward these revisionist histories as a kind of “open mind” exercise, but if that’s so, then the fact that parts of the book still come off as more of an anti-Catholic propaganda hack piece is testament to the fact that he’s simply a bad writer.
More links on the matter:
- The Da Vinci Load. My original roundup.
- The Da Vinci Crock, in which Salon writer Laura Miller traces Dan Brown’s reliance on the aforementioned fringe conspiracy theory: Holy Blood, Holy Grail and the Priory of Sion.
- Facts on The Da Vinci Code, from Da Vinci Hoax authors Sandra Miesel and Carl Olson, who also wrote Dismantling the Da Vinci Code and Cracking the Anti-Catholic Code.
- Not InDaVincable. “I rather think if any genuine, academic historian made certain statements attributed to ‘Teabing,’ he would be promptly demoted to janitorial duties and remanded for training in History 101.”
- Ebert’s review of National Treasure includes a quick look at Da Vinci Code: “It is inelegant, pedestrian writing in service of a plot that sets up cliff-hangers like clockwork, resolves them with improbable escapes and leads us breathlessly to a disappointing anticlimax.”
- This is Mystery Lite. “Garbage on stilts. Hyper-garbage that invokes garbage in self-authentication.”
- The Dan Brown Code. “Brown’s writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad.” Also see “Renowned author Dan Brown staggered his through his formulaic opening sentence” and “Dan Brown still moving very briskly about.”
- A note on the Da Vinci Code appended to the Screwtape Letters. “Indeed the mystical sleight-of-hand involved in shoehorning so many cubic yards of gasbag clichees, shopworn half-truths and straightfaced howlers into a single volume simply beggars belief!”
I hear that a cinematization of “The Da Vinci Code” is in the works. I predict it will have as much impact on Christianity as did The Seventh Sign, Dogma, Stigmata, and Saved, i.e. a few more people quoting the “Lost Gospel of Thomas” (snarfle) and trying to pass off their entertainment-induced religious “education” as being of more worth than an authentic canon and centuries of tradition and literature. The hype will last a couple of years at most, at which point the self-obsolescent nature of pop culture will kick in and cause these pretensions to spirituality to fade into obscurity — till the next big anti-church book or movie comes along. Just goes to show that the gates of hell still haven’t prevailed.