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Fond Thoughts For The Da Vinci Code

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I tried to read The Da Vinci Code, really I did. I mean, who could say no to a thriller incorporating blasphemy, sacrilege, conspiratorial theories about Catholic doctrine multiple murders, and art criticism? But after a couple of tries, it always ran out of steam around page 20 or so. I had to admit I was licked. Acres of dull, expository dialogue written with all the flair of a fortune-cookie message do that to me. If I’ve ever read a worse-written book than The Da Vinci Code, I can only assume the memory is buried under multiple layers of psychological scar tissue, a trauma to be recovered only through years of hypnotic therapy that I will never have. It’s one thing to be puzzled about how a book could become a bestseller; it’s another to put a book down wondering how it even got published.

But now that the movie is out and breaking the bank worldwide, I’ve grown rather fond of The Da Vinci Code, if only because it has the fundies and the wingers in such a tizzy:

The battle is radicalizing. Big Love and The Da Vinci Code are far more direct and brazen attacks on tradition than we might have anticipated just a few years ago. Conservatives are the targets, and Hollywood is aiming and shooting repeatedly. Give credit to Tom Hanks, by the way. As producer of Big Love and star of The Da Vinci Code, he is clearly one of the captains of the not-so-secret conspiracy.

Whoa! Stanley Kurtz (quoted via Andrew Sullivan) writes almost as badly as Dan Brown and may even exceed him at devising rat’s nest plotlines of tangled conspiracies. To the Christianist hysterics — the ones who screech about persecution because the eagle on the national seal hasn’t been replaced with a 3-D image of Jesus — The Da Vinci Code is the latest and most insidious attack on religion from the left. How long before Pat Robertson starts calling on God to lob a few lightning bolts at Dan Brown and Ron Howard?

I think lefties should do everything possible to encourage this hysteria. If MoveOn.org could endorse a claptrap film like The Day After Tomorrow, then let it take the lead in sponsoring weekly bus trips to local cineplexes just to bump up the box office for The Da Vinci Code and see if we can knock The Passion of the Christ out of the Top 10 moneymakers chart. Now that’s a culture war I can really get behind!

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