News Today is a large English newspaper in southern India. Today it published an article that perfectly demonstrates how lazy, incorrect, and clueless some articles about The Da Vinci Code can be -- and often are. A couple of examples:
Author of the book and its upcoming big-screen adaptation from Columbia Pictures, Dan Brown, in his website, categorically explained that The Da Vinci Code is a novel and therefore a work of fiction. While the book's characters and their actions are obviously not real, the artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals depicted in this novel all exist, like the Leonardo Da Vinci's paintings.
Uh, yeah. But why not also note that the novel's "FACT" page states that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate"? And that that statement is not accurate? And that when a novelist describes historical figures and events and insists that his descriptions are accurate, he is the one who has set the bar?
Brown says that the real elements in the book have been interpreted and debated by fictional characters and each individual reader must explore these characters' viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations.
Ah, I think I understand: just because the novel's hero, Robert Langdon, makes bold assertions (including some that have been repeated by Brown in non-fictional interviews) that are clearly meant to be received sympathetically by readers, we shouldn't understand that to be an endorsement of those views. Even though Brown has admitted that Langdon was created, in large part, by drawing upon the persona and outlook of one of Brown's heroes, Joseph Campbell.
His hope was for the novel to serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history.
Yes, probably similar to how the author(s) of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" wanted that text to provide a springboard for people to discuss important ideas, such as "Are Jews controlling the world" and "What's so bad about anti-Semitism?" This particular line of "reasoning" is incredibly disingenuous because it's quite obvious that Brown is not a serious student of history, theology, or artwork. If anything, he's a student of whacky conspiracy theories rooted in unabashed anti-Catholicism.
'Anti-Christian, it is not', says Brown, in his website, stressing that it is not anti-anything in anyway. It is important to remember that a reader does not have to agree with every word in the novel to use the book as a positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of our faith.
Let's say I wrote a novel about how Judaism was founded for purely political purposes, that Abraham, Moses, and David weren't actually Hebrews/Jews, that Judaism oppresses women, and that orthodox Jewish beliefs about God are both outdated and superstitious. Let's say I crowed about how well-researched my book was. Let's say I went on national television and said that if I had to write the book as a work of non-fiction, I wouldn't change a thing. Would that provide, say, Jewish readers with a "positive catalyst for introspection and exploration of [their] faith"?
According to one critic, a historian named James Hitchcock, as quoted in the book, 'The Da Vinci Hoax', by Olson and Miesel, 'The Da Vinci Code' can be viewed as an ephemeral artifact of popular culture, but its immense sales ensure that it will have influence on people who never read serious books. Brown has found a formula for becoming rich: sensationalism, feminism, and the occult'.
Finally, something of substance! And don't pass over the FACT that Dr. James Hitchcock is an actual historian and scholar who has published numerous scholarly essays and books on matters of history. Hey, he might know what he's talking about, right? But the author of this "news piece" has a trick up the sleeve:
The fact is Brown's book is fiction. He himself says so.
Wow! Amazing! It's just fiction! Really? Well, I suppose that's why the writer just penned these words a couple of paragraphs earlier: Brown's "hope was for the novel to serve as a catalyst and a springboard for people to discuss the important topics of faith, religion, and history." But it's just fiction! But, wait, there's more: "Brown and film director Ron Howard maintain that they are simply encouraging a review of early church history and the roots of the Christian faith." But it's just fiction!
This is the sort of stupidity that makes MTV look thoughtful and People magazine read like Proust. Is this crude charade really so hard to see through? Apparently so.
Oh, by the way, this blog is fiction. I've simply eliminated the characters and plot because no one care about them anyhow.