Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The DaVinci Debate

I've been reading the DaVinci Code for a little over a week now. I found the book on sale at a local grocery story, and decided that I wanted to read it before the movie came out. I read Angels & Demons by Dan Brown last year and it captured my attention immediately. And, from what I'd heard about the DaVinci Code, it had promise to do the same.

It did not let me down.

I'm not a "big reader". I AM an avid TV and movie watcher, but to read? It has to be particularly captivating for me to stay interested, especially fiction. For example, I recently purchased two classics that either, 1) I've never read, or 2) had to read for school when I was young and have no recollection of it. Those two classics are The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye. I chose these two on purpose. I mean, for one, they are classics and I've never read them! What kind of loser must I be?! And also, I could be missing all kinds of references to these books and/or characters when I'm watching TV or a movie! Needless to say, these two books have both been started and not finished, a couple of times now. I just can't stay "in" them.

So, what's different about the aforementioned two books compared to the classics? It is the historical references, the alternative theory, the critical thought about times long since past. It's about believing that no account of our, or anyone's, history is complete truth. It is only one's perception of it, their side. That there could be a thousand other tellings of the same incident, with a thousand differences among them. That is very intriguing to me.

Later last night, I was talking with my father and he had asked what I'd been up to. The usual, work work work, playing x-box, supervised an MCAT Saturday, blah blah blah, oh and I've been reading the DaVinci Code. "That book's a bunch of crap", he starts in, "that stuff he's written in that book isn't true, somebody was just talkin' about that the other day."

Now, you have to understand, first, I love my father very much. However, he's the type of person who asks you a question only to completely ignore what you have to say. I guess he figures if you're talking, he doesn't have to. ... or something like that. That is, until he has an opinion on something, at which point, you can bet your life that he's gonna let it be known that he (thinks he) has some kind of authority on the matter. Case in point, this book.

I was almost laughing before he finished his schpiel on how untrue the book is. My first question was Have you read it? Of course, the answer to that was No. I was dying to get into a debate with him on this, like by asking, "Who was telling you how untrue it was? What kind of credibility do they have? Are they some kind of authority on the details in the book?!" But, I did not allow myself to get into it with him, as I had no intention of debating the accuracy of the DaVinci Code.

I did let him babble on a minute about what he was trying to tell me was inaccurate, misrepresentations of the events described to take place in the 5th century, that actually occured in the 11th century, or so he'd been told. Until he became tongue-tied and announced that he really didn't know enough about it to talk about it. I told him I found it interesting, the critical thought, the possibility that things are not necessarily the way they seem. He responded defensively, as if I had just slapped him across the face, and said, "even it goes against what you believe?"

I had to stop the flow of illogical assumptions being drawn. I mean, my parents are well aware that I do not agree with them or we do not see eye-to-eye on many things in this world. However, that being said, it doesn't mean I take a fictional work of literature and assume it is true, regardless of whether it supports my theory or not. I'm not a blind sheep.

So, to wit, I responded that it only matters what the book says if you assume it to be true. Brown prefaces DaVinci Code with a statement that many of the historical elements mentioned in the book are true. I don't recall him specifically identifying which ones are true, and which are made up. That is left to the reader. In any case, it is a work of FICTION! And, just because I read it, does not mean I take it as truth.

It seems so many people have forgotten this small fact about this book. Regardless, I recommend it. It's adventurous, fast-paced, suspenseful, and full of historical references about Jesus' time and the centuries that followed that may or may not have occured just as he wrote it. As I told my father, I wasn't there, he wasn't there, and most stories about that time are written long after the fact. It's as true as the writer believed it to be, but could be argued from many positions.


Pickalish said...

Hi, I know I'm on your blogroll, but I've had to change names, and blog addresses...sort of a witness protection thing...anyhow, I'm not P.L.U.M. anymore...I'm now pickalish, and my blog is Pickled Tink. Just wanted to give you a heads up!

Seven Star Hand said...

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