Monday, June 05, 2006

Leonardo et al

Of course, I like everyone else have heard all the rap, hype, hew and cry about The DaVinci Code. As a Christian, and a writer of sorts, I'd resolved not to get involved. Wasn't gonna read it, didn't want to see the flick, just leavin' it be...
Then our 15 year old came along with the book and handed it to me and said, "You need to read this..." Now, his opinion I truly respect, in fact much more than the media hype, so I cracked 'er open.

Now, I'm a lover of a good mystery, but I'm also a snob - I like Hillerman, old Clancy, Le Carre, Dame Agatha, P.D. James, and the like; so Mr. Brown was about to be stacked up against pretty hefty competition.

I read it. In fact, I picked it up on Friday, and finished it Saturday morning, because I didn't do much of anything but read that whole time. It's a page turner, a great mystery, indeed.

Dan, from a writer wanna be to a real writer - Thank you, that was great fun!

I consider myself pretty sharp in discerning the intricacies of a good mystery. As an Ex-Detective, (And a pretty damn good one if I do say so myself), I can usually stay one step ahead of the game. This one got me in the end - And it wasn't cheap shot tricks, it was honest to goodness, well thought out plot twists - And Brown, like other great mystery writers, had left the clues there, if you were paying attention - Nonetheless, he slid a couple by me and I admire the heck out of that.

And then there's the whole faith thang... After reading it, I really don't see what all the fuss is about - Sure, it looks superficially as if he's taking big nasty swipes at Catholicism, Opus Dei, and the Priory of Sion, but I didn't see it that way - It's a work of fiction, and what he did was use very socially-charged entities and issues to spin a great murder mystery, and that's that. What he used was humans succumbing to human weaknesses, which is always plausible. That's not passing judgement on factions and faithes, that's simply a sublime choice of subject matter and crackerjack writing... I don't think the book actually demonizes anything or anyone - It does use populist opinion, supposition, and theory, and uses it as a very powerful vehicle.

As a character in the book noted, most people of faith are realistic about the facts and myths of their faith; I certainly am anyway. Nothing posited in the Da Vinci Code is going to change my mind about my faith or my church, and again, I don't think it's intended to do that anyway, it's intended to spin a good yarn.
And even if the various concepts within the story line were intended to sway opinion, what would it say about one's faith if it did?

I'd state without hesitation that if you or your faith can't handle hard questions, wild accusations, interesting possibilities, or negative press, you're probably in the wrong church, and they're in the wrong business. This is after all, religion we're talking about, and little to do with that topic is simple, now is it?

So, take my advice:
If you like a great mystery, read it -
And what the hell,
I love Tom hanks,
so I'm gonna see the flick after all...

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