Now, this is a title that most surely draws attention, a veritable scrittura
telenovelistico that could produce a couple of waves here and
there - wouldn't you say? To tell the whole story though, such a publicity
stunt could account for no more than 5 per cent of the success Dan Brown's
"The Da Vinci Code" has achieved thus far. What exactly is this
success? Well, as stated on the author's webpage, "the #1 worldwide
phenomenon". Oh yes, this is one of the most read books in history,
presumably surpassed only by the Bible. And so it happens that I somehow
found the strength to finish reading both.
Brown's novel has a lot of action, quite intensely built, and with obvious
intellectualistic claims. I could hardly call it a brain stimulating thriller
though, rather more like a novel people could enjoy to stay awake between
a football game and a new telenovela series. Many popular U.S. writers
and literary critics were quick to acclaim Dan Brown, a perfect Mr. Nobody
popped out of nowhere on a sudden struck of brilliancy enabling him to
produce the best novel of all times. We could skip the aforementioned
acclaims since U.S. is less about quality and more about kitsch-sellers.
Fact remains that the book sold big and still does, filling up a lot of
pockets. It's only natural to ask yourself why. The core idea is quite
simplistic, too simplistic I should say, namely Jesus having had sex and
a baby with Mary of Bethany, otherwise known as Mary Magdalene. So what?
There's nothing unusual since he was a man, he had balls, as well as natural
needs and impulses. The obvious assumption that Jesus the real-time historical
figure has nothing to do with his statues and the myth created around
him is clearly belaboring. Christianity per se is emperor
Constatine the Great's attempt to save a disintegrating empire and Christian
Churches are really built on fantasy - the kind of fantasy it takes to
write a novel, such as Brown's, from historical data, folklore and mythological
analyses. All the 'sparkling' details, facts or ideas pieced together
quite roughly in the book represent other people's professional work whether
historians, mythologists or self-driven researchers. The only thing original
is their piecing together. Add up a couple of high intensity murder scenes,
fabulous escapes and incredible turns of events and you have a bestseller.
And here is a key concept: nothing sells like controversy. At least this
is the official outlook on things. On the other hand, I can't help thinking
it's quite hilarious that a novel piling up information from many other
rather scientific or nonfiction books sells tremendously and scandalizes
the globe 200.000 times more fiercely - this is the only controversial
side of things in my view.
Since it appeared in 2003, Brown's novel has been benefiting from backstage
publicity mainly, and, what a big surprise, Christian militant sites are
the key contributors to the subject. The title itself makes an understatedly
reference to the European cultural code, which is fundamentally
Christian but completely lay. It would be a blasphemy to assume Christian
leading religious figures are so idiotic as to promote debates on such
topics since they are appalled at them - if you want to bury something,
you most certainly don't brag about it, but rather ignore as best as you
can. Christian Churches proclaimed themselves cornered by this novel,
although it is not about them basically, but about Christ. The Vatican
seat appeared more then offended. And again, Churches cannot possibly
stand out and defend a mythical Christ from a historical or fictional
Jesus, as they do not stand out against gold-platinum multikarat stone
incrusted images of the mythical Christ worn by drug dealers or hanging
in jewelry shop windows, because it's simply out of this millennium and
pointless ad nauseam. So, what is all the fuss about?
Since western civilization is 95 per cent lay, with at least 10.000 catholic
priests leaving the office yearly, with churches turned into restaurants,
the fuss is pretty big. I cannot forget the radical spectacles late John
Paul II performed whenever he got the chance - whipping his guts out at
Auschwitz or at the Jerusalem wall, pardoning for many of the monstrous
Christian deeds in the past, visiting Muslim sacred sights, and even reaching
out for Christian unity (as if it were realistic!), in an attempt to promote
life and not abortion, heterosexual love and marriage, male supremacy
especially where religious offices are concerned, and so on. What's there
to say about the Church of Satan and La Vey's publicity via Vatican channels?
It would be no surprise if Brown's "sensational" book turned
out to be another Vatican prank under John Paul II and the more flat Benedict
XVI, since the biggest winner of this whole fuss is the Catholic Church:
get a really modest writer to put up a fiction script on real facts (thus
having a chance to mock at them as well), promote it for free and get
billions in return, thus wearing the most comfortable victim clothes to
generate intellectualistic debates everywhere and, hopefully, drawing
a huge wave of political sympathy and social support to the cause.
Dan Brown wrote nothing spectacular, nothing of a certain novelty or value,
and, just like Sandra Brown, he lacks ingenuity completely. "The
Da Vinci Code" is, in a very Freudian approach, sexual oriented as
the whole book is based on the presumed sexual escapades performed by
Jesus Christ. Turning the Holy Grail into a pile of bones, however, is
quite an old story told over and over again that one in two people must
have heard it already. Had the secret Grail consisted in the actual mortified
testicles of Christ, this would have turned everything around - I mean
Dan Brown into a really witted writer and "The Da Vinci Code"
into a book with balls.