24 May, 2006

The Real DaVinci Con

Although, generally speaking, any movie directed by Ron Howard and starring Tom Hanks is sure to get me to the theatre ten minutes after it opens, I plan to pass on The DaVinci Code. Not because it is blaphemous—which it isn’t. Not because it is controversial. And, CERTAINLY not because it attacks the Christian church—which it doesn’t. I’m passing because I read the book and it was poorly written. By the time I was about a quarter through it I was waiting to see what stroke of absolute luck was going to get the protagonists out of the latest jam they’d gotten themselves into. I generally enjoy novels that have some sort of nodding acquaintance with reality and, in this case, I just got bored with the fantasy.

The facts that have recently come to light: that Mary Magdalen was not a prostitute; that she was, in fact, a disciple of Joshua Bar Joseph and very likely bankrolled his mission; that the other disciples were jealous of her standing--primarily because she was a woman--etc. are worthy of further study. And this [ I can’t stress this enough] work of fiction does nothing to further thoughtful investigation of those facts.

Meanwhile, it seems everyone wants to cash in on the controversy. Hollywood does, of course. That’s Hollywood’s job. It’s not, so far as I know, the job of religion to do the same—and that, among other things, is what is happening.

Also, the conservative newsletter I’ve been reading lately is pushing a book that is [ostensibly] not a work of fiction. It says it’s ‘unmasking Hollywood’s plot to undermine religion.’ Now, WHY would anyone in Hollywood want to do that? Why would they want to stem the flow of all the lovely money that every movie since silent film that has included a religious theme has generated? Hollywood execs are a lot of things, but I don’t think anyone can claim they’re stupid.
They're also not that powerful. The religions of the world have been around a lot longer than Hollywood has. And they'll be here long after it has fallen into the San Andreas Fault.

So, wait for it folks: we haven’t heard the end of the controversy—not by a long shot. As long as there’s a dime to be made out of all the ballyhooing from the rooftops about this novel, this film, this or that critic’s take on the book and the film, this or that church’s views on the book and the film, etc. etc. ad nauseum, we’ll just keep hearing about it.

1 comment:

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