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The Mystical, the mysterious…. Attie Awards

October 13, 2009

attie_1x600I was talking to someone the other day about this week’s Attie award winner. He couldn’t understand my feelings about this guy. My friend basically said, “Dude, it’s just a book, why are you so worked up about it?”

See, that’s just the point. As someone who wants to be a published writer and who knows some first class writers who haven’t been published, the fact that this guy is a block buster seller is just too much to handle.

So, Dan Brown, step up and get your Attie.

Look, you can say what you want, but nothing is just a book or a movie or a song. There is always a point behind it, no matter how cagey artists try to be, or chant the stupid mantra, “it’s what ever you want it to mean”. This statement is such a postmodern load. Every artist has their worldview.

And, you know what? There is nothing wrong with this.

Dan Brown obviously has the worldview that all religions are the same and if we could all realize that fact, we would be enlightened. He makes this clear when he writes in the words of one of the heroes in his latest book, The Lost Symbol, “We’ve lost the word and yet it’s true meaning is still within reach, right before our eyes. It exists in all the enduring texts from the Bible to the Bhagavad Gita to the Koran and beyond. All of these texts are revered upon the alters of Freemasonary because Masons udnerstand what the world seems to forgotten that each of these texts, in it’s own way, is quietly whispering the exact same message, “Know ye not that ye are gods?”

It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s skubulos for a number of different reasons. I know that Brown thinks he is doing religion a service by saying we all mean the same things when we talk about God, etc and so. But, it’s actually highly insulting. While what he is saying is true on a superficial level, at their core, religions do say fundementally different things about many issues. It’s condescending and insulting to Buddhism to say that it’s basically the same as Christianity, and vice versa. It fails to take either seriously by patting them on the hand and saying, “I know better than you.”

Guess what, Dan? The solution to our problems is NOT to say that everyone, deep down, we all agree with each other. We don’t. The solution is to be able  to tolerate everyone’s differences and not kill them for it. It’s just that simple. While I will grant you that there is much about our fundemntal humanity we agree on, our answers to the deep questions are often vastly different.

Plus, look, while Brown can tell a story and keep you reading, he is a BAD writer. Not because he is a popular writer. There are many popular writers who are actually good. I have said on my Facebook page that I’m going to create a drinking game for those who read this book. Take one drink everytime a woman swoons over Langdon’s scholarly good looks. Take two every time Langdon reflects lovingly over someone’s eyes. Take three everytime Langdon’s cleverness is displayed and solves what everyone else deems unsolvable. You won’t make it through the book.

So, Dan, step up and get your Attie your forgetable attempt at trying to bring us all together in perfect harmony. If Coke couldn’t do it, what makes you think you could?

St. Thomas, release the literary hounds.

PS- Dan Brown is going to be interviewed by Matt Lauer on the Today Show. I’m not going to watch it because I don’t think my tv could stand that much D-baggery. It could possibly explode.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Richard Eis permalink
    October 13, 2009 1:25 pm

    I read the da Vinci code. It was alright, but I already had heard the story (the one i heard had vampires in it feeding off the Jesus lineage to stay alive) but his characters were breathlessly unexciting and his style of writing was rather basic.

    Doesn’t the bible say that we are made in God’s image? I mean if we aren’t special, why does he fuss around us so? I thought that was the main point of most religions. To make you feel special (or one with the universe…or whatever)

  2. AdamK permalink
    October 13, 2009 2:20 pm

    Thank you. Another spot-on Attie award. That’s two in a row.

    I can’t wait to read your book. What’s wrong with that publisher anyway? Don’t they know about your hordes of clamoring fans?

  3. October 13, 2009 2:58 pm

    The da Vinci Code was OK, but Angels and Demons was better. I am advised that The Lost Symbol isn’t worth reading.

    Fortunately dogs can’t read, so the hounds should be safe. 😉

  4. Ms. Crazy Pants permalink
    October 13, 2009 3:58 pm

    Actually, the one key element that I have found across most religions is the idea that one becomes better, closer to god, or enlightened by transcending the self. Granted, after that, everyone takes a different route, but I’d say on that one point they are pretty much the same.

  5. Matheus permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:20 pm

    Remembers me of the countless discussions I have had with people who take seriously the historical claims made in the Da Vince Code. Good reading material to counter them with is found here: http://historyversusthedavincicode.com/
    Glad the hype on that one is over 😉

  6. Andrew permalink
    October 13, 2009 4:56 pm

    To quote TVTropes:

    Some authors and writers will admit that they’re producing fiction; that they take advantage of Acceptable Breaks From Reality, the Rule Of Cool, the Rule Of Funny or any of the other Rules of Whatever. Some acknowledge freely that Reality Is Unrealistic, which affects the choices they make in their works.

    Others like to claim that what they produce is factually accurate, thinking that this somehow gives them more status, or will increase their sales.

    But what happens when a creator has been making noticeable claims — or simply strongly implying — that their work is highly researched and as correct as they can make it, only for you to quickly discover it to be a big pile of pants? When that happens, you’ve been Dan Browned.

  7. October 14, 2009 10:20 am

    @ Tomato Addict – Could not disagree more. 🙂

    I enjoyed DaVinci code, even though I agree with Richard that the writing was pretty basic (and, admittedly, on at least one or two points, fairly hacky). But the story was good. Who knew that Dan Brown had actually greatly improved as a writer from the abysmally written Angels & Demons. A&D actually has a better story premise, to me. But it is written as just a string of literary cliches.

    I will say that the books are actually better as audiobooks than to actually sit and read. Perhaps that is just a reflection of the reader, but I think it is because they flow better as spoken language – simple, non-literary. I have The Lost Symbol, but haven’t cracked it open yet. Been too busy working my way through The Greatest Show On Earth, Your Inner Fish, Evolution: A Remarkable History and another run through Origin to round it off.

  8. October 14, 2009 12:09 pm

    Finally, although even an award of disgrace seems to be too good for Mr. Brown.

  9. Richard Eis permalink
    October 14, 2009 2:45 pm

    Inner Fish is ace.
    Funnily enough I still need to finish the last chapter of origin and then will crack open greatest show on earth.

  10. Richard Eis permalink
    October 14, 2009 2:56 pm

    Has johnathan cracked open “the origin” (cue scary music) yet?

  11. October 16, 2009 10:17 am

    Agreed, Inner Fish is top notch – well written and fascinating information. The Evolution: History, however, is my favorite so far – I think I had some idea in my head that it had been a fairly linear line of acceptance in regard to Darwin’s idea of natural selection, but the book was quite a revelation as to what a truly rich history the theory has had. An excellent dissection of the progression of the theory from bold and controversial (and almost rejected) hypothesis to dominant theory as supporting evidence continued to accumulate.

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