Wednesday, September 08, 2004

"DaVinci Code" my rear end!

Are you guys kidding me with this or what? I finally bothered to go see what all the fuss is about, and the thing is not only heretical (which went without saying), it's not even an interesting read!

Huw was way ahead of me with that one actually:
... has any one noted that there tends to be just REALLY bad writing in Spiritual
deception? Look at The choppy Gospel of Thomas. Look at the oddly writen
Celestine Prophecy series. Look at the Book of the Law or the Book of Mormon
with their pseudo-KJV language. What is it with the evil one and bad writing?

I'm put in mind that in an Orthodox online article on demonology (which I now can't find anywhere -- talk about a conspiracy!), I read that the reason that someone possessed can't speak in a normal voice is that the demon can't fully control their voice and has to settle for giving a demonic imitation. Maybe it's overstating things in this case, but I wonder if something like that is in effect with writers who dabble with things they can't understand or control.

In any case, to bring things out of the realms that I don't understand, let me just say that anyone who wants to read something interesting about the addictive and multiplicative qualities of conspiracies should read (or re-read) "Foucault's Pendulum" by Umberto Eco. It's a wonderful antidote for Dan Brown's blithering repetition of overpublished "secrets" (Knights Templar, Jewish Kaballah, Freemasonry, etc. etc. etc). In "Pendulum" a few Italian scholars decide to start constructing an utterly preposterous conspiracy that ties together everything conspiracy theorists love, and find that their fabrication is somehow being broadcast about and believed.

Unlike "DaVinci", this one is no light read -- like Eco's magnum opus "Name of the Rose", this one is a showcase for his unbelievable wealth of knowledge of medieval history. And I don't want to mislead anyone that it's always good Orthodox fare; it's got a couple obligatory sex scenes and a somewhat grotty view of life in general. But if you can make it just about to the end, Chapter 118 has a payoff that should be mandatory reading for conspiracy nuts. I don't want to give a spoiler, but I think I can get away with saying that the quote that starts off that chapter:
The conspiracy theory of society ... comes from abandoning God and then
asking, 'Who is in His place?' -- Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations,


Blogger Hannah said...

I completely agree with you about The DaVinci Code; it is rubbish, not to mention disturbing. In fact, after I finished reading it I got so creeped out that I had to go read something Orthodox before I went to bed so that I wouldn't get nightmares.

September 8, 2004 at 6:56 PM  
Blogger Huw Raphael said...

Grace - I love Eco's Pendulum!

I think you've hit on something important, here! You are very right: I think that's the clue. You can construct a conspiracy anywhere you want (I did it last night, proving as if from a leftie, that Bush is throwin storms at florida in order to swing the election) the problem is when people start acting as if the conspiracy is true.

So, Dan Brown is like the bored psuedo-conspirators in Pendulum: lo, many are too easy to fool, and the masses need you to keep feeding them more.

We are watching the Pendulum play out in real life.

September 9, 2004 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger Grace said...

Hannah & Huw:
You guys made it through that book? I confess I didn't have the fortitude. I was muttering like a crazy old lady after perusing the first five or ten chapters in Barnes & Noble.

On the strength of the other two books by Eco, I read "Baudalino" which seemed like it should have been great, and was very disappointed.

As for modern "enlightened" people being a caricature of themselves: I couldn't agree more. I've got an evil twin blog at that allows me to try to imitate all the worst of the raving fringe types. The problem with it as several people have attested is that no matter how hard I try, there are people that would read it and never get that I was kidding.

September 9, 2004 at 2:54 PM  

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