Friday, September 17, 2004

Da Veni, Da Vidi, Da Vinci

You can hardly open a newspaper these days without reading another article about The Da Vinci code by, er, Dan Brown. Had to think there for a minute, because the name didn't exactly spring to mind.

Now here's a funny thing. Well, actually it's not funny, but it's just about worth reporting. I read this book about six months ago (it was published in the UK in March 2003) and I thought it was an OK sort of a novel. If you're on a plane or the beach, that is. I read all the way through it without experiencing an urge to heave it into a far corner of the room and piss on it, as Stephen King is wont to say.

But the funny thing is this. This morning I find yet another reference to the work on book2book, whom the gods preserve, and I realised that I couldn't remember a damn thing about the plot. Not a thing! What's it about, I asked myself. And the answer was, well, it's about the Mona Lisa, I think. Which was painted by, er, Whatsisname. And it's in the, er, the Louvre, innit? And the plot revolves around, um, some sort of code. And the protagonist is, lemme see -- well it's either a bloke or a woman. One of the two.

So, at least as far as I'm concerned, The Da Vinci Code is not exactly memorable. For me it lasted about as long as a Chinese meal.

One thing I do remember, sort of, is that the Roman Catholic Church is kind of covering things up. Well, if truth be told I don't actually remember that from Dan Brown's book. It's something I know because that's more or less standard operating procedure in the RC church, isn't it? Sorry if that offends all you good RC folk out there, but that is sure the way it looks from here.

Anyway, the b2b bit reminds me that The Da Vinci Code alleges that Jesus Christ fathered a child by Mary Magdalene. Which is not an original idea. It is to be found in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail (1996) by Michael Baigent et al. And probably in lots of other places as well, dating back centuries.

It now turns out that this idea is so offensive to Christians in Lebanon that they have ordered the book to be pulled from the shelves of local bookshops. The end result of this futile effort will, of course, be a flood of free publicity for a book which is otherwise totally forgettable. With enemies like these, Brown and his publishers don't need any highly paid p.r. persons.

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