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Doctor recommended for optimal cerebral hygiene 

Blurry Fiction

Monday, November 15, 2004

I haven't read The Da Vinci Code. There. I said it. Sue me.

I know people who have taken this book very seriously. For instance, I know Catholics who, after reading it, no longer consider themselves Catholics. I'd call that serious, if a bit nutty. After all, it's a novel, and the last I checked The American Heritage Dictionary, via Dictionary.com, it said (my emphasis added for obvious, I-told-you-so reasons):
novĀ·el n. A fictional prose narrative of considerable length, typically having a plot that is unfolded by the actions, speech, and thoughts of the characters.
So, what's the deal? A friend of mine, someone who is admittedly prone to conspiracy theories, explained to me how the author, Dan Brown, knew he'd get more readers if he published it as a novel, rather than as a dry, academic piece of non-fiction. The idea is that Brown believes that the information in The Da Vinci Code is so important, that he needed to get as many people as possible to read it, and so it was necessary to dress it as a novel to get the word out.

Sorry, I just don't buy it. While I have been assured by folks who have read the book, that Brown's research is clearly cited and that his sources are sound, I have heard from just as many people that Brown's other work is, well, just plain awful. What does his past work have to do with this book? Well, it makes me feel good to cut him down, I admit it. A book this popular always has me suspicious.

Remember Daniel Quinn's Ishmael? That was a novel too, and all across the country, "study groups" were formed to discuss the book and explore the spiritual issues raised by it. You know what? I didn't read that book either. And not one of those people who supposedly acheived some degree of enlightment from having read it ever reached out to me with an invitation to one of their godamned groups! How enlightened is that?

And now Tom Hanks is going to be in the Da Vinci Code movie. Might as well just skip the discussion groups. Who has time for that anyway?