Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Da Vinci Fraud


One of the most astonishing facts in the entire sequence following the publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, is the apparent conviction of the author himself that he has written a book of history rather than a book of fiction.

I read it two summers ago. It thoroughly satisfied me as an entertaining story on the beachfront, but nothing else. To any intelligent reader it is an obvious, well concocted assembly of totally fictitious events. Nothing in the book even remotely reflects anything historic, and to claim otherwise in my view can only be born out of a childish desire to believe in shere fairytales. After I finished the book, I didn’t give it a single further thought.

But then the book became a hype. I was flabbergasted. Who on earth would even contemplate to take Dan Brown’s fiction serious? Well, almost everybody.

We live in strange times. It is an ultimate madness. Why, even Discovery Channel and National Geographic spend their precious resources on the subject. Admittedly, their documentaries on the book largely declassify Dan Brown’s assertions. Still, in giving his book such sizeable attention, they at least leave us with the impression that The Da Vinci Code is serious enough for such documentaries to start with. Moreover, even when people like Tony Robinson clearly reject Dan Brown from A to Z, most individuals shown on both Discovery and NGC are allowed to brabble their nonsensical fantasies. They pollute the public’s mind with highly unfounded allusions about the history of Christendom that are fully and truly outrageous.

Why care?

Essentially I do not care about the fraud itself. But what disturbs me, is the apparent preference of many people in our present world to consume fiction as a substitute to fact. It worries me that such fiction but also the arguments which accompany it override the experience of reality so massively. It worries me that responsible TV-channels interview people like Dan Brown as an informant rather than in their true capacity of storymaker.

It is in particular in our Information and Communication Age that this tendency should cause substantial concern among people of reason and intellect, people who would like to see our world progress on the basis of our critical abilities and not on the basis of primitive emotions and stupidity.

Enough is said. Go and enjoy The Da Vinci Code. It is a good story. Go see the movie, as I will. And then forget it, as I most certainly will too.
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Post Scriptum:
So I saw the movie. Don't blame me. It was enjoyable to see it together with a good friend. How did Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen get involved in this? Anyway, it is difficult to say I disliked the movie because I read the book, or despite the fact that I did. Either way, anyone who still believes the story is about a serious subject, should by now know better. However entertaining as a book, on the screen The Da Vinci Code entirely dissembles in front of your eyes as a mediocre, superficial and stupendous tale of Agatha Christie amateurs who stumble their way through one clue after the other, each time missing the one outstanding truth: somebody got killed and we all know who did it.

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