Friday, May 12, 2006

dan brown has a great idea

In case some of you have been living under a log for the last few weeks, a week from today, the most over-hyped film of the year comes out: the da vinci code. Directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks, it is based on the novel of the same name by Dan Brown.

One of the questions that comes up in talking about this film: is why bother talking about this at all? After all I don't think too many people got upset over the inaccuracies and false portrayals of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. So what makes the da vinci code different?

The problem is the quote on page 1 [emphasis is mine].
"All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate."
This statement is a masterpiece. By making this statement, before the novel begins, Brown sets the story in a different class than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade or Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And, at the same time, enables him to say - "It's just a novel."

What a wonderful tactic - you can use truth, falsehood and everything in between to present your view of history and reality, and never have to defend your beliefs. You can claim it is fiction and claim it is rooted in "truth" [that is, Brown's version of truth] all at the same time. In this sense it is truly post-modern.
Why bother with an accurate view of history if you can create your own view?
Why settle for what is documented, when you can create your own documents?

That said how do we respond to the da vinci code?
Over the next few posts, I'll post some thoughts and resources.


michael lewis said...

But, a novel is primarily fictitious. So, to use one's imagination and claim that it is accurate is not false in any way.

For the quoted stated, the word "novel" appears. And Brown claims that all descriptions are accurate, based on the fact that he's inventing it. So it's all true.

Opie directing Forest? That's got intrinsic value.

pastor mike said...

it's a great concept... invent some stuff / distort & twist other stuff... and call it all accurate.

i think i remember trying to do that in school... but even in my english lit class i couldn't get away with it :-)

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