May 27, 2006

DaVinci Code Film Review
— Ace

It's about as decent a movie as could be made from the book, which is to say, not terribly good at all.

The movie is not terribly offensive -- its anti-Christian zealotry has been greatly toned down by the art-by-committee system that is Hollywood. That doesn't mean it's a good movie, or interesting, or fun, or exciting, or stimulating, or even something you should pay $4 to see on DVD. You probably shouldn't. But it is far less offensive to Christians than the book it's based on.

This review is, as usual, way too long and disorganized. I've put the theology stuff first because that's what I figure most people care about. I've probably spent too many words comparing the book and the movie, but I just experienced both, so, well, that's what I was mostly taking note of.
The film takes great pains to avoid offending anyone. Including albinos. For all the albino anger about yet another albino villain, Paul Bettany does not appear to be a true albino in the movie. His skin is pale and his hair is white blonde, but his eyes are quite clearly light gray-blue. The film almost seems to go out of its way to show us his light gray-blue eyes, to underscore the point This is not a true albino, just a pale featured man. So, don't get angry at us. The pink/red eyes of classic albinism -- repeatedly mentioned in the book -- are nowhere to be seen.

Nor is he ever called an albino by anyone on screen.

As for the film's theology, again, Ron Howard and Akiva Goldsman go out of their way to not offend Christians or Catholics, and do the best they can, given the book they've adapted. There's no way to get a pro-Christian or pro-Catholic story out of the book, but they do their level best to make it as anondyne as possible. They even contrive a (very vaguely) pro-Christian message near the end of the film. Like the non-albino albino, it's a wishy-washy whitewash of the adapted subject matter, but they do try.

The book is decidedly anti-Christian and anti-Catholic specifically, and decidedly pro-pagan and pro-goddess-worship. The movie-- not so much. In the book, Dan Brown presents only one view of history (alternate history masquerading as actual history); here, Dan Brown's perspective is represented by Leigh Teabing (Ian McKellan), but a critical perspective of Dan Brown's beliefs is provided by Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks).

The book has Teabing, Langdon, and Brown all on the same side, all stating the same basic message: Christ was a counterfeit; Christianity is built upon a colossal lie; the Catholic Church has murdered throughout history to suppress the truth of its fundamental falsity. That's in the movie, too, but only from Ian McKellan's mouth. Tom Hanks argues a number of basic points with him in The Great Big Exposition Scene At The Villa, and plays the Scientifically-Minded Skeptic to McKellan's Fire-Breathing True Believer. Yup-- the movie doubly subverts Dan Brown's neo-pagan, pooterocentric theology, first by changing Teabing from an enlightened seeker of truth to an anti-Christian zealot who uses vague clues and dubious evidence as proof positive of his theories, and second by using Dan Brown's fictional stand-in to take potshots at Dan Brown's own zany pseudoreligion.

For example, in the book, it was basically presented as The Uncontrovertible Historical Record that Jesus' divinity was concocted by Emperor Constantine as a political ploy to keep his Empire intact. "Jesus was made divine by a vote!" someone says in the book (probably Teabing), and is not contradicted. In the movie, Teabing says this, but Langdon immediately objects that many/most Christians already considered Jesus divine, and this vote merely confirmed what was assumed to be fact by most Christians. Teabing rejoins that some Christians didn't think Jesus was divine; Langdon insists that while that's true enough, but that most did.

"Many Christians woke up one day to find that Christ had become divine overnight," Teabing says (approximately).

"For many Christians, his divinity was enhanced," Langdon responds, but I think what is meant is "his divinity was confirmed." Hey, no one's ever accused Akiva Goldsman of being a great writer.

Similarly, in an earlier exchange, Teabing announces that Christians were tearing up the Empire by ruthlessly attacking pagains; Langdon objects that it might just as easily have been pagans attacking Christians, and the historical record is unclear as to "who started it."

Dan Brown's laughably crank figure of "five million" women burned as witches in the Middle Ages by the Church is revised by Howard/Goldsman to a more plausible (but still absurd) figure of "fifty thousand," with Teabing left to insist upon Dan Brown's original figure, muttering "It may have been many more than that... maybe millions!"

When Teabing announces that Mary Magdalene wrote her own Gospel, Langdon again plays skeptic, stating "She may or may not have." He later states that the apocryphal Gospel's mention of Mary as Jesus' "companion" is meant to read as "spouse," but, as he's already called the providence of the alleged gospel into doubt, it's not really a full endorsement of Teabing's theories.

This sort of dynamic continues throughout most of The Great Big Exposition Scene, until an exasperated Langdon says, "You're just seizing upon anything at all that advances your agenda!" Which is, of course, what many people thought of Dan Brown himself. So they'll be happy to hear Dan Brown's alter ego level that criticism.

Even Dan Brown's pet "fact" -- that the Priory of Sion documents are genuine -- is knocked down. Sophie, I think, says "Weren't they proven to be forgeries?" To which, of course, Teabing says "That's what they want you to think." But still, the movie tries to be a little less gung-ho true believer about this balderdash than Brown's book.

This isn't to say that there isn't an awful lot here that Christians and especially Catholics will be bothered by. Dan Brown is given the sop of having Teabing's statement that Christianity has viciously oppressed women throughout history go unchallenged at all -- that of course is Dan Brown's biggest gripe, it seems, and so I guess they felt they had to toss the dope a bone on this point.

And of course there's still all those murders being committed left and right by the Chruch.

But it's made more explicit here that those people are just the proverbial "few bad apples" in an otherwise (basically) innocent organization. The cabal of Catholic conspirators is even given a goofy name -- "The Council of Shadows" -- and its membership seems to be fairly limited. Hell, even Opus Dei is (mostly) absolved of craziness.

Finally, Dan Brown's thesis was 1, that Jesus coupled with Mary Magdalene and sired a royal bloodline, and 2, this proves conclusively that he was not divine, and that Christianity is based on a great lie. The movie keeps the first prong of that thesis intact -- how could it not? -- but disposes of the second in a summing-up by Langdon at the film's end. As Langdon and Sophie discuss the implications of her identity as Jesus' heir, and what effect that will have on faith in the world, Langdon says, basically, that even if Jesus had a child, that doesn't mean he couldn't have done "all those great things" mentioned in the Bible, by which he means miracles, thus suggesting that the Jesus-as-Baby-Daddy theory doesn't really prove anything about his divinity either way.

Incidentally, one conservative reviewer -- I think maybe at NRO -- found this final summing-up to be a gob of spit in the face of Christians. I think that's overstated. Yes, Langdon does offer the cop-out answer of "It only matters what you believe," but:

1) Virtually Hollywood movie about religion cops out as regards "The Truth" in the end. "It only matters what you believe" is probably the take-away from 90% of movies about religion. Oh, God pretty much had the same wishy-washy fake theology, but few considered that to actually offensive.

2) In this case, Howard and Goldsman are doing Christians a favor by copping out, because in the book, Dan Brown didn't cop out at all. He was pretty firm on the "facts" that Christ was just a nice Jewish boy, Christianity is an oppressive lie, and the Roman Catholic Church has forgotten more about killing people than Murder, Inc. ever knew.

3) And finally, in context, Landon's cop-out line about "what you believe" is meant to be just another way of saying "Blood-line or no blood-line, it doesn't prove or disprove Christ's divinity either way, it just depends on how you look at it." As he says, suppose Christ's heir announced herself tomorrow-- would this decrease or increase faith? So it's really not meant in the standard "Believe in whatever you want, the important thing is just to believe" kind of cop-out way. Although, frankly, it does sound like that.

I hate to repeat myself, but just to be clear, this is still not exactly a Christian-friendly film.

Nor is it viewer-friendly. It clocks in at two and a half hours, and it feels more like three and a half.

Howard and Goldsman have done Brown a favor that he should have done himself-- they've edited him. Had the book been a swiftly moving 250 pages rather than a tedious 450, I might have been less angered by it, if simply for wasting less of my time. Howard and Goldsman cut most of the fat from Brown's book, and good riddance to it. The book was marked by endless repetitions and re-visitations; the movie has far fewer of them.

For example: In the book, Langdon looks down at the body of the dead Louvre official and goes on and on about (if I recall correctly) his arms and legs being arrayed to look like the "blade" and "chalice" signs for man and woman, and how this is intended to mean something about the Sacred Feminine, and the suppression of the goddess-figure in monotheistic religion, and et cetera. And then, ten teeth-grinding pages later, he realizes the body is actually posed to look like DaVinci's Vituverian Man, which is the clue that is actually helpful. The book attempts to claim that Langdon's initial pontifications and the simple Vituverian Man solution were both right, that it had a double-meaning, that it was a "coherent symblolic set," and bullshit like that, but-- give me a break. Neither clue is really terribly helpful at all (the actual clue is contained in the anagrams, not the posing of the body), but, to the extent that either bears on the problem at hand, it's the Vituverian Man clue that suggests DaVinci, which is the actual clue. So a lot of wasted pages there.

In the movie, Langdon just looks down at the body and says "The Vituverian Man" immediately, sparing us a dissertation on the male and female elements of the unified unisexual divine.

In the book, Langdon similarly goes on and on about the meaning of "So Dark the Con of Man," how Men have conned the world into thinking God is male, etc., before finally realizing it's another anagram. In the movie, he immediately jumps to guessing it's an anagram, and solves it in a few seconds. (Here, Howard and Goldsman re-use the "lighting-up" of characters as a code is deciphered, as they previously used in A Beautiful Mind. Which is apropos, because this whole venture seems like a paranoid schizophrenic 's fever-dream.)

A revisitation happens in the book fifty pages after that. First Sophie goes to the Madonna on the Rocks painting and finds a key; then Langdon joins her there, examines it himself, and finds another clue. In the movie, they just go there together, look at the thing once, and get the friggin' key.

In the book, we have to read about a character arguing with his pilot about making an unscheduled landing in London not once, but twice. First Teabing bickers with and bribes his pilot to do so; then we have to sit through the same basic bicker/bribe scene with Agrinossa and his pilot a second time. The movie, thankfully, doesn't bother trying thrill us with negotiations with pilots over flight-plans.

And most of the boring crap with the cops, the bishop, and Silas has been cut.

That said, the movie still feels bloated. We have to sit through a lot of unnecessary flashbacks. Why do we have a flashback of Silas' past? Does it really matter what the freaky-looking monk-assassin's backstory is? If you read the book, you know his backstory. If you didn't-- who cares? I don't think James Bond movies ever bothered to explain why Oddjob favored a bowler as a weapon, or how Jaws got his stainless-steel teeth.

On the other hand, Sophie's flashbacks about discovering her grandfather in flagrante divinatio are mercifully short and vague. And we are spared Langdon lecturing us on the perfectly healthy tradition of boinking a stranger as a form of prayer. In fact, the movie never actually specifies what it is Sophie saw, other than noting it was a "ritual" of some kind.

The movie lacks a real sense of fun and excitement. Howard has shown himself to be deft with a mystery/thriller before (The Paper is a fave I have on DVD), and of course his Apollo 13 was just well-crafted crackerjack entertainment. But this film really fails to capture any sense of mystery or awe or excitement in its various locations. The Louvre just looks like a dark museum. For both the Temple Church in London and the Roslyn Church, Howard's big trick in trying to make them seem spooky is to have Sophie look up at the carved faces along the ceiling. But the faces aren't really very scary-looking, and Howard is unable to imbue them with any sense of menace. Paris and London seem as about as mysterious and ancient as a nice suburb of Columbus, Ohio. So, despite what should be an Indiana Jones-ish bit of tomb-raiding fun, the movie just looks like well-shot home movies of a family's trip to Europe. I think European Vacation did a better job of presenting the cities as ominous and dangerous. "Big Ben, Parliament!" Hey, the man was trapped, wasn't he?

The film opens by intercutting between the murder at the Louvre and Robert Landon's, umm, lecture or something. I realize it's a conceit of the book that Robert Langdon is some kind of academic "rock star." There are academics we call "rock stars" in a way, but I'm pretty sure they don't really fill up enormous venues like Def Leppard in their heydey, thrillingcrowds of giddy young girls just moments away from tossing their panties on to the lectern. But Howard follows this absurd conceit, and it looks even sillier on film than it seemed in the book. As Langdon shows various objets d'art, he asks the crowd to identify them, and they're just too eager to shout out "The Devil's pitchfork!" before Langdon makes them look like idiots by showing it's really Poseidon's trident. He does this to them three times, and these retards aren't even hip to the trick the third time around. As he shows them a statue of a woman with a child, they're still gushing to shout out "the Madonna and baby Jesus!" Like, hey, Morons? First of all, he just burned you twice before; are you really this gluttonous for punishment? Second of all, it's a woman with a child -- there have been, you know, quite a few mother and child pairings throughout history besides Mary and Jesus. Like, maybe, I don't know, a couple of dozen billion? Are you really going to be that sure that this particular mother and child is the Madonna and Jesus?

I wished at that moment that Peter Venkman from Ghostbusters would walk out and deadpan, "Yes, it must be Mary and Jesus, because no normal human could hold a child like this."

Langdon concludes his speech by noting the search for symbology is the search for "the truth." Really? I would think it was a search for what our distant ancestors believed, how they viewed their world, etc., not for "the truth." We can learn "the truth" about our distant ancestors, but we can't really learn "the truth" from them, as in "the truth about how the world really works," because they were, how do I put this?, friggin' retards. They thought lightning was made by Thor and disease caused by little gnomes living in your snot. These are the people we're supposed to learn "the truth" from, through their symbology?

That line contrasts in all the wrong ways with Indiana Jones' observation that archeology is the search for fact, not truth, and if you want "truth," you should go down the hall to the philosophy class. That line of Jones' marked him as a scientifically-minded sort of guy, whereas Langdon's pronouncement about the search for "the truth" reveals him to be a pop-religion huckster like Depak Chopra. Or at least a guy peddling a book. (Which he is; here, his manuscript about the sacred feminine has already been published, and he's signing copies of it as the cops request his presence at the Louvre.)

Son of a Bitch: I just finished the review but I lost my wireless connection and lost 1200 or so words. I'm just not writing them all again. The movie hardly warrants an in-depth examination once, let alone twice.

So, I'm sorry, but the review is going to be left uncompleted.

Suffice to say it's dreary, dumb, and mostly bloodless, humorless, and lifeless.

Posted by: Ace at 04:54 PM | Comments (97)
Post contains 2956 words, total size 17 kb.

1 I am so sorry you felt the need to sit through this. Best 2 u Ace

Posted by: dawnsblood at May 27, 2006 06:43 PM (jR/wP)

2 "For many Christians, his divinity was enhanced," Langdon responds, but I think what is meant is "his divinity was confirmed." Hey, no one's ever accused Akiva Goldsman of being a great writer."

Have neither read book nor seen movie, but this sounds like an attempt to be quite a bit more accurate about the actual debate at the Council of Nicea. Arians did not argue that Jesus lacked divinity, only that it was a lesser order of divinity than God the Father's. The Nicene holding repudiated this by asserting that the divinity of Jesus is exactly the same with the divinity of the Father. So, in that sense, "divinity was enhanced" is accurate. "Divinity was confirmed" is less so because the contending parties did not disagree on the basic question of divinity: yes or no?

This is probably useless because you are already aware of it.

Posted by: Slacker at May 27, 2006 06:49 PM (n/bPi)

3 even if Jesus had a child, that doesn't mean he couldn't have done "all those great things" mentioned in the Bible, by which he means miracles, thus suggesting that the Jesus-as-Baby-Daddy theory doesn't really prove anything about his divinity either way.

This is certainly true and has always struck me as odd about the insinuations in the book (which I still have not read). Catholic and Orthodox doctrines explicitly reject that Jesus had exclusively divine will, a doctrine called monthelitism, which was repudiated at the 3rd Council of Constantinople in 681. The holding at that council was that Jesus not only had both human and (fully) divine natures, but that Jesus had both human and divine will as well. Even if he did have a bloodline it would not affect any of the holdings of Nicea; it would simply have been an act of his human will.

Posted by: Slacker at May 27, 2006 07:01 PM (n/bPi)

4 This is probably useless because you are already aware of it.

Not with the specificity you provide. However, as the book sets it up, the big question is about his divinity, not how much divinity he had. The book sides with those who thought he had no divinity whatsoever-- the Gnostics, I think? The Gnostic Heresy?

I don't know if that's what the Gnostics believed or not, but that's what the book had them as believing. And the book strongly implied that the Gnostic Heresy wasn't even a heresy at the time, but rather the prevailing view, the unofficial orthodoxy, and the Council of Nicea just fabricated a divine Christ (of any level of divinity) for political purposes.

Posted by: ace at May 27, 2006 07:08 PM (h7Mal)

5 Yup-- the movie doubly subverts Dan Brown's neo-pagan, pooterocentric theology

Pooterocentric, thats going in my "words that don't exist but really should" dictionary.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 27, 2006 07:28 PM (QTv8u)

6 Nicea didn't really deal with Gnostics, it dealt with Arians, followers of an Alexandrian bishop/presbyter. They all agreed the Gnostics were goofballs. The Arians propounded a 'homoiousian' doctrine of Christ ("of like substance"), whereas what became the 'orthodox' view was the 'homoousian' doctrine ("of one substance"). The Arians held that Jesus was created by the father and therefore of a lesser status, but existed before creation and was the vehicle through which the Father created earth. This is why the Apostle's Creed in a Catholic mass makes such a big deal out of Jesus having been "begotten" and so forth; that's the Nicene part of the creed.

It is certainly a fabrication that Arianism (much less Gnosticism) was the dominant or true faith before Nicea. There were contending factions before the council and after it, but the bigger one was very probably the one that won out. And, it probably won out because it had the better argument; as Saint Athanasius (the "hero" of the winning side at Nicea) had it, in a nutshell: we know Jesus saves, and we know only God can save. Therefore Jesus is God, and Arian proof-texts have other interpretations perfectly consistent with this formulation. Ultimately, this battle was won not at Nicea but in congregations all over the Chrisian world, by the open debate of ideas, and that is the basic flaw in the Da Vinci Code story.

The Council of Nicea did not come close to putting an end to Arianism, which was more popular in the Eastern part of the Roman empire than the West. Two of Constantine's successors (Constantius II and Julian the Apostate) were much more supportive of Arianism. Moreover, when Teutonic tribes converted to Christianity it was typically (or at least very often) Arianism. The successor kingdoms of the Roman Empire in the West were therefore run by Arians, and it persisted for several hundred years after Nicea. The "orthodox" Nicene version of Christianity was not solidified in the Roman empire until Theodosius the Great made it a priority in 380, because of his personal faith committment.

There were people who denied the divinity of Jesus but still afforded him a crucial role in salvation, thus falling under the aegis of Christianity. But they were always fringe elements. You give the sects a name and it makes it sound like a movement.

Also (and I am sure you are well aware of this) there was not really any one Gnostic heresy. Gnosticism is implicated in a lot of heresies that church councils have dealt with over the years but the big ones were never really set up to deal with Gnosticism as such.

Posted by: Slacker at May 27, 2006 07:29 PM (n/bPi)

7 (and I am sure you are well aware of this)

It's nice you keep saying that, but I'm not really aware of any of this. I have only a very spotty knowledge of Christianity to begin with. As for early Christian doctrine, it's almost zero.

Posted by: ace at May 27, 2006 07:33 PM (h7Mal)

8 Well -- in that case.

Nicea made it orthodox that Jesus was fully divine, in exactly the same sense as the Father. (Actually Jehova's Witnesses do not accept this holding, for a contemporary example.)

The Council of Ephesus in 431 made it orthodox that Christ had two natures, human and divine, and had them both in their complete fullness and so forth (whatever that means). This was a repudiation of a doctrine called Nestorianism, propounded in the wake of Nicea, that Christ's nature was not really human at all.

The Council of Chalcedon in 451 made it orthodox that Christ's two natures were eternally commingled and completely fused in the person of Christ. This was a repudiation of a doctrine called Monophysitism, which held that a wall separated the human and divine aspects of Jesus.

Both Ephesus and Chalcedon relate to some Gnostic beliefs. For example, a common Gnostic idea is that God came to earth as some sort of divine vapor and adopted personhood as sort of a cloak to get around on earth, and in doing so, became Christ. That is a Nicene version of Gnosticism, in that Christ would be fully divine because Christ is just God the Father wearing a jacket.

Point being that Gnosticism is diverse and amorphous. Some formulations would deny any divinity of Christ, and are rejected by the Nicene holding. Some are consistent with Nicea and are rejected by later holdings.

Posted by: Slacker at May 27, 2006 07:45 PM (n/bPi)

9 And we are spared Langdon lecturing us on the perfectly healthy tradition of boinking a stranger as a form of prayer.

Her grampy wasn't wasn't nailing a stranger. The woman he was banging was his wife, who he isolated himself from after the death of their children (sophie's parents) to protect the secret. With the reveal of grammy being alive near the end of the book, that horror show of old people flesh should have been clarified.

After all sonnier was the blade, and his wife the chalice. Since it is a dynasty that originated with christ and mary, and was always symbolized with both the male and the female, with the female being dominant, thats why it was the grammy that was protected above all others. Which brings in one more prollem with danny's plot development, it starts with sonniers thought process of how noone carries the secret, and it will die with him. Thats why he had to make the annagrams. But that is not true, his wife knew.

That book sucked on so many levels, Jenna Jameson uses it as guide to fellatio.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 27, 2006 07:55 PM (QTv8u)

10 I agree with Wickedpinto--"pooterocentric" is classic.

Posted by: Sean M. at May 27, 2006 07:55 PM (dc5zY)

11 I'm plowing my way through the book right now. I'm to the part where they're on the plane escaping to the UK.

Although I have to admit, I think it's a page turner, the whole book is pretty silly. Forget the stuff about the divinity of Christ, the "Priory of Sion" is b.s. Since the movie has been released the Discovery and History Channels have been running documentaries about the TDVC. The Priory of Sion was a hoax created by some pranksters in France in the 1960s. Yet Dan Brown asserts it really exists, as do the characters in the book.

And I'm with Ace on one thing that struck me...the "five million" women killed in the Middle Ages by the Church. That can't possibly be correct. The largest cities at the time had less than a 100,000 people.

Posted by: huck at May 27, 2006 07:57 PM (NqM1E)

12 Ace, by what I can discern from actual witchcraft trial records - I reference Robbins' Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, particularly - approximately 100,000 people died as witches. The absolute upper limit, between 1450 and 1750 is 300,000.

Frankly, 50,000 is too low by half. Some of the witchhunts in Germany were particularly egregious.

Posted by: Dianna at May 27, 2006 08:03 PM (ql6J6)

13 Ace,

forget all this junk about Codes and Sacred Feminine and such. The most important thing of the weekend happened while I was watching a preview during the X-Men 3 movie. I saw the next summer blockbuster preview. I recommend everyone go whereever they can find it. I can't find it online at the moment, but I'm sure it'll be all over in a day or 2. It makes fun of all of the mega movies out this summer... X-Men, DaVinci Code, etc. It's the preview for the next mega hit...

Snakes on a Plane

Posted by: NJRob at May 27, 2006 09:04 PM (7BbGm)

14 i couldn't understand just how they were planning on proving that anyone was a decendent of jesus. from what i understood, all these clues lead to 2 meaningful things: the body of mary magdalene, and the identity of her living decendent. so the only thing i could figure which made any sense, is that they could presumably do a DNA test or something, and prove that sophie was related to mary magdalene. but proving a bloodline from mary magdalene doesn't prove anything about jesus' bloodline unless you agree to all the assumption that are made about jesus and mary being married. so even after all of this the truth still lies on what you think the word "companion" means. this is supposed to turn religion on it's head?

i believe there was also something about some sort of records that were supposedly kept along with mary's remains, but with all the cover ups and everything that were apparently going on, it seems like it would be real hard to prove a 2000 year old document wasn't a forgery.

am i just way off base with this whole thing? i'm not trying to pretend that i really knew what was going on in this movie, but i really tried my best.

Posted by: ramms at May 27, 2006 09:28 PM (zj6xd)

15 NJRob,
Dude, where have you been?

Posted by: Sean M. at May 27, 2006 10:04 PM (dc5zY)

16 Ace -

I'll throw in a few more explanations with Slacker's.

On the Council of Nicea - Brown asserts that the Catholic Church was able to cement it's control over Christian doctrine at that time. The kicker there is this - the Pope (who at that time was known only as the Bishop of Rome, one of several large-city bishops) wasn't at that council, nor at any of the succeeding six. Rome was much further away from all the other major Christian cities, and didn't participate much in doctrinal formation until many centuries later (at Nicea, there were two representatives from Rome that may or may not have been speaking for the Pope, although all we know for sure is that they were from Rome). The idea that the Pope is the head of the Church didn't come about until centuries later, when the Pope began disagreeing with several of the other bishops (some people think this is because Rome was so far away; being so, the Bishop of Rome had to make his own rules many a time, and began to believe he was Peter's heir in a sense that gave him the final word on doctrine. Obviously, the other bishops disagreed).

In short, Brown asserts that the Catholic Church was cementing its hold on Christian docrtine from Nicea on down. In truth, the Catholic Church as we know it didn't even exist then - what did exist was more like the Orthodox Church we still have - lots of bishops debate doctrine, but none of them have the final word over the other. The Catholic Church as we know it today didn't start to come into existence until after most of the original seven councils were finished (the first seven nail down most of the doctrinal points of Christianity). Hardly the kind of "control" Brown is looking for, given that it's hard to control doctrinal formation when you don't exist yet.

Ironically enough, I'm not even a Christian. I just studied the history a lot in college.

Posted by: Nathan Wazoo at May 27, 2006 10:10 PM (XxEd0)

17 Ace is worried about offending...

A. his conservative Christian readers
B. his atheist porn-wanker readers
C. Opus Dei
D. while he's still on probation

Posted by: sandy burger at May 27, 2006 10:36 PM (Epllv)

18 Hey, remember AoS HQ back in the good old days?

A. I Dream of Dusty
B. Not so clearly; it's all a blur
C. Yeah, but then Ace like totally sold out, man
D. They were good?

Posted by: sandy burger at May 27, 2006 10:45 PM (Epllv)

19 I'd say the comics series 'Preacher' had a better handling of the Jesus bloodline. The bad guys knew who the descendents were because they'd been keeping and breeding them in secret for millenia. As a result of carefully isolating the kids from all others, the divine bloodline consisted of severely defective inbreds by the 20th Century.

This was satirizing storyline that have been around for decades, despite so many people thinking Brown came up with something shockingly original.

Posted by: epobirs at May 27, 2006 11:49 PM (8y04C)

20 Ref number of Witch Killings.
50,000 is a reasonable number - perhaps on the low side. One reference, "extraordinary popular delusions and the madness of crowds" concludes it's witch chapter with an estimate of "tens of thousands" of executions for witchcraft (not all of which were by burning) but many of the sources quoted about local trials said there were too many executions to count. One German witch-hunter, Sprenger, did 500 executions in one year. In England, between 1600 and 1680, there were about 500 executions for witchcraft a year!

Posted by: Arthur at May 27, 2006 11:57 PM (Dr1+1)

21 Piss off, ace.

Posted by: Vituperian Man at May 28, 2006 12:37 AM (PcDvW)

22 the "five million" women killed in the Middle Ages by the Church. That can't possibly be correct. The largest cities at the time had less than a 100,000 people.

You're not getting the message: Church == Hitler/Nazis

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 28, 2006 12:55 AM (gf5iT)

23 fwiw, that 5,000,000 figure is more like 15-20,000,000 if you include all the women who died during childbirth.

Had the Catholic Church not actively prevented research into anatomy and healthcare, the advances made by Galen, a closeted Pythagorian Ba'alist, might have lead to doctors washing their hands before sticking them up a woman's pooter during childbirth back in the 1300s rather than the 1800s.


Posted by: BumperStickerist at May 28, 2006 01:03 AM (PcDvW)

24 Had the Catholic Church not actively prevented research into anatomy and healthcare, the advances made by Galen, a closeted Pythagorian Ba'alist, might have lead to doctors washing their hands before sticking them up a woman's pooter during childbirth back in the 1300s rather than the 1800s.

I just love the use of pooter.

But? this is sarcastic right? and by galen you mean the guy thought to be the "bones" of the roman empire? or the "technomage" with the english accent?

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 01:21 AM (QTv8u)

25 Big fan of pootercentric -- the word, not necessarily the meaing.

That's why I keep reading, Ace.

Thanks man.

Hope you enjoy Boston as much as I did.

Posted by: Birkel at May 28, 2006 01:44 AM (YfkBe)

26 Well as a book it was entertaining in the sense of airport/airline literature...

You know something to read to occupy your time while you are on a flight or waiting for a connection...

Dale Brown's original claim to fame is the, "techno-thriller" (all decent, entertaining reads) type of book and his branching out into something like the DaVinci Code was inspiring for him since he's making more money on that one book than all his previous books combined...

None the less if Brown's previous history in writting is anything to go by he'll never be accused of writting the great American masterpiece...

Posted by: juandos at May 28, 2006 01:53 AM (JfbHV)

27 OH! another religion related thing about Dan Browns dislike of religion that doesn't pray through exhibitionism.

He isn't just insulting the catholic church or christians, he is also insulting Judaism. After all, the star of david was born out of the combination of the two opposed triangles, one representing the masculine, and the other the feminine, as he defines by the paving excentricity in . . . .I think it's roslyn chapel.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 01:59 AM (QTv8u)

28 Good review.
It made me Grin.

Posted by: Retired Geezer at May 28, 2006 03:53 AM (A6u5v)

29 What the hell were men doing being involved in childbirth from 1300s - 1800s? It wasn't until later in history that the medicalization of birth pushed out the midwives and brought in all those male doctors with their pooter-contaminating practices.

Posted by: meep at May 28, 2006 04:12 AM (GqHvA)

30 COCK-nazi hunting- Durbin is defending the senate imigration bill, and he says "good fences make for good neighbors" but didn't he support the senate bill?

This guy defines hypocrite.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 04:22 AM (QTv8u)

31 Cock Durbin "this is the first president to propose a tax cut during a time of war" this is also the first president to preside over a war, during a time of economic growth.

Can Cock Durbin, excercise some BROAD understanding rather than finite quotes?

Really if these fuckers are supposed to represent us, shouldn't be they be among the more informed groups of the nation? I'm a highschool drop-out with less than a semester of college (not cuz I was dumb, I enlisted, and was at MEPS for 3 of my 7 finals, though I wouldn't have done well in 2 of my semester finals, I freely admit. That is another trait of real conservatives, we ADMIT our failings, rather than building them up as triple ninja, double samurai ass fucks who fabricate science degree's like AL fucking GORE! who thinks he has a doctorate in climatology, correction, who thinks he EARNED a doctorate in climatology. FUCK THEM!)

Sorry, just got pissed off about FNS. Cuz Durbin was on. If illinois re-elects Durbin, which WILL happen, but that district should be ASHAMED, and reminded of it, every day during the election. (I live NEAR Durbins district, though I'm a hoosier)

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 04:33 AM (QTv8u)

32 Ace of Spades! It's like Sundy School--with a twist!

Hey everybody, Check out the big Biblical brain on slacker!!

Can we get back to making fun of Chris Klein now?

Posted by: Reddish Jode at May 28, 2006 04:44 AM (VG7V9)

33 To me, the religious aspect of the book was like the wallpaper of the scenes in which the thriller fiction occurred. I enjoyed the book and didn't allow it to be any influence on my religiousness - it was a fun-to-read fiction novel. I've been out of town on vacation for the last 2 weeks, so I've been reading the movie reviews for insight. Yours presents a common thread that the movie is less than a blockbuster.

One reviewer I liked called the movie "Opie's Day" in reference to director Howard's Mayberry character, and as a pun on Opus Dei.

Posted by: JerryK at May 28, 2006 04:49 AM (3V5hi)

34 What I want to know from Ace, or anyone else: why has this story been such a blockbuster. The book sucks, and is offensive to the majority of the US, and the movie's not much better, yet everyone is eating it up. Why?

Also, pooterocentric . . . classic. Ace, that word may just be your legacy.

Posted by: adolfo velasquez at May 28, 2006 05:02 AM (YhEq5)

35 Well I, for one, would be fascinated to learn how/why Jaws got his steel teeth.

Posted by: DB at May 28, 2006 05:36 AM (eBZwF)

36 I want to hear ace use the word "pootercentric" on his radio show. And if he doesn't, I think the rest of us should hijack every comment thread with clucking and chicken noises until he does.

Posted by: OregonMuse at May 28, 2006 05:57 AM (OktGL)

37 Oh, God pretty much had the same wishy-washy fake theology, but few considered that to actually offensive.

No, when those movies came out Christians and churches considered them wholly blasphemous and inaccurate.

What I want to know from Ace, or anyone else: why has this story been such a blockbuster. The book sucks, and is offensive to the majority of the US, and the movie's not much better, yet everyone is eating it up. Why?

Are they? It's trendy, but how many of the people who buy this book actually read it? I don't know as people love the book so much as they hear lots of buzz about it and figure they ought to read it, this happens a lot with big best sellers. Stephen Hawkings' book (that he later retracted and contradicted portions of) was a best seller, but almost nobody actually read the thing.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2006 06:22 AM (1Vbso)

38 Ace, great review. I read the book quite a while ago and saw the movie just yesterday, so there were quite a few things, particularly in the Big Exposition scene, that I thought were not in the book but I wasn't sure about. Your review cleared that up nicely.

Great comments, Slacker.

Personally, I really enjoyed the book a lot. I know a bit about religious history, so I knew most of the facts were total nonsense, and the writing is not very high-quality, and a lot of the action is contrived and unrealistic, but...despite all that, I found it to be a real page-turner and couldn't put it down.

I thought the movie was pretty good, although I personally probably got most of the entertainment value out of seeing how they'd adapted the book, what they'd changed. Hollywood movies are usually brain-dead, messing up facts and history left and right, and clearly not understanding basic science, but they look pretty, and that's what matters. I was pleasantly surprised here to find a pretty smart rewrite of the religious issues, with both sides given a hearing. Langdon actually had all the fact-based responses to the book's wacky claims put in his mouth. (Of course it doesn't actually make sense for Langdon to be the one defending the Church, since he's the author of the book about the sacred feminine, but let's just put that aside.) It makes me wonder if there isn't some truth to the claims that the film is getting panned for not being the full-out attack on Christianity that was hoped for.

And I about fell off my seat when it was mentioned that the Priory documents were forgeries. This is well-known in the world of reality (and the forger admitted to his deed in a court case), but the whole Mary-Magdalene-conspiracy crowd as far as I've seen never, ever acknowledges this, even to attempt to refute it. They just pretend they never heard of any such accusation and keep citing the documents in question.

Ace, you mentioned that Langdon agreeing with "companion" meaning "spouse" doesn't mean he necessarily agrees with the claim since he'd previously cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. The "companion" line, however, is from the Gospel of Philip, so perhaps not. I think the movie got the gospels right, but I think (not sure) that the book actually messed that up.

You also said that in the movie we never find out what the ritual Sophie saw involved, but that's not correct. The very last flashback of the ritual reveals two people in the center of the group clearly naked and going it at as everyone surrounds them watching. It was very quick, so perhaps you were checking your watch at that moment.

Posted by: Bob at May 28, 2006 06:24 AM (9ANE9)

39 Seeing this as a movie did seem to bring up more plot holes than I'd noticed when reading it.

Wickedpinto mentions that the grandfather was having sex not with a stranger but with the grandmother, and that the grandmother was isolated after the car accident, which is revealed at the end of the movie. This doesn't make sense, though, since we also find out that the guy is actually not Sophie's grandfather, so presumably the woman would be no relation as well, so why would there be a need to isolate her?

Also, this woman refers to Sophie as "family", but didn't we just learn that Sophie is the only living descendant of Jesus?

Worse, the whole premise collapses on itself when the big group gathers to meet Sophie at the end. The whole point of the movie is that the Priory was keeping this secret and had been wiped out, and now everything hinged on whether a dying man's attempt to pass on the secret would succeed. Then we find out that there is a whole group of people that know the secret after all. So what exactly would have been lost now? Presumably word would reach them at some point that the Priory had been wiped out, and they'd simply establish a new Priory to keep watch over Sophie, right?

Not only that, but the hidden, secret proof of all this is stored in a Knights Templar church that would about the first place anybody would look. And it's stored in an area accessible to anybody willing to step over a single chain blocking off a hallway. (Not to mention that these documents dating back to the time of Christ are just kept in some open-air boxes.)

Ramms brings up a good point, that really none of this could be proved in the movie's own context, since as far as we know the sum total of the proof is the body of Mary Magdalene, a DNA match with Sophie proving she's a descendant, and a bunch of documents claiming that Mary Magdalene only had one child that was conceived with Jesus. Not exactly rock solid proof. I think in the book they assume the documentary evidence is beyond question, so there will be no dispute that a descendant of Mary Magdalene is also a descendant of Jesus. For that matter, the book also has talked itself into believing that anyone that looks at the "facts" would already actually believe in the equality or superiority of Mary Magdalene anyway, so a descendant of hers would be special in itself. The movie kind of weakens the whole chain by not fully buying into the book's views on Mary Magdalene.

Posted by: Bob at May 28, 2006 06:25 AM (9ANE9)

40 I stopped reading when Ace said "pooterocentric." I haven't bothered to read this thread. I just knew it couldn't get any better than that.

Instead of reading further, I googled "pooterocentric" and the search returned no results.

Ladies and gentlemen, I believe we have witnessed linguistic history being made today.

Posted by: Michael at May 28, 2006 06:44 AM (pRtzm)

41 I haven't read the book and have no intention of seeing the movie. However, many people are going to see the movie. It suggests that they like it for whatever reason. So, what's the problem? Why can't people use their own money to catch a bit of entertainment with out their choice being criticized ad nauseum? I admit to getting secret pleasure from the fact so many critics panned it and were subsequently ignored by the populace.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 06:47 AM (cqSDI)

42 Breaking news:

Hillary Rodham Clinton is a direct descendant of Judas Iscariot.

Stay tuned.

Posted by: BFD at May 28, 2006 06:49 AM (Xw6tq)

43 What I want to know from Ace, or anyone else: why has this story been such a blockbuster.

What a question. Why is it a hit?

Because it has high-brow art (sort-of) and pretend scholarship , and it takes place in all those cool European places that the newly-minted Middle Class have visited or want to visit. And at the szme time, it is about as hard to read (and about as well crafted) as a Hardy Boys book.

It is something that goes down like sugar, but you can pretend it's much deeper, more complex and substantive.

It is the perfect book for the pretentious bourgesois--which is pretty much all of us Middle Class Americans right now.

Posted by: Reddish Jode at May 28, 2006 06:58 AM (VG7V9)

44 Juandos: Dale Brown (the Clancy-esqe techno-thriller guy) and Dan Brown are two completely different people, FYI.

Posted by: RDub at May 28, 2006 07:04 AM (mSuqN)

45 Sure, it's a hit like Milli Vanilli was a hit.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2006 07:06 AM (1Vbso)

46 Didn't read book. Saw movie. Thought it was pretty good, but was dissappointed in Hanks. Doesn't matter what anyone thinks, since no one can prove anything!

Posted by: USMC Pilot at May 28, 2006 07:13 AM (ePxTc)

47 It is the perfect book for the pretentious bourgesois--which is pretty much all of us Middle Class Americans right now.

Well, I'm glad you included yourself in there. lol ! I just see a lot of the criticism as snobbery. I understand how serious Christians might be offended, but the majority of people seeing it are Christians. And, as I heard some of them say, it's only a movie and they do not see it as a threat to their beliefs. Personally, I found that all but two of the Star Wars movies sucked and all of the LOTR movies. Just not into it. But, if other people enjoy it, it seems like I would just be a big party pooper to rag on and on about their tastes simply because they are different then mine. And to liven up the debate, let's just say I objected to the Star Wars series and LOTR because they were insufficiently "pootercentrific. "

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 07:21 AM (cqSDI)

48 I was most offended by Brown's prose. Good Lord, the man writes like an 8th grader.

I won't watch LOTR. because it goes against my belief that Elves are intrinsicly evil!

Posted by: Reddish Jode at May 28, 2006 07:44 AM (VG7V9)

49 I was most offended by Brown's prose. Good Lord, the man writes like an 8th grader.

So, he was trying to reach the largest audience. The man made a gazillion dollars! Hello! That's not something to scoff at. I thought we were all capitalists here.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 07:54 AM (cqSDI)

50 Shawn,

You're with the Elves, aren't you?

Posted by: Reddish Jode at May 28, 2006 08:04 AM (KeOQp)

51 Doesn't matter what anyone thinks, since no one can prove anything!

Well, it's pretty easy to prove that many of the historical points that Dan Brown suggests are a violent rape of reality and history. But I do find the position that if something can't be proven scientifically it doesn't matter an odd one to take, to say the least.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2006 08:05 AM (1Vbso)

52 Hey, if somebody wants to bend history to spin a good yarn, more power to them, and if they create something valuable enough that people will part with $22.95 + S/H to read it, doubly so. And of course Dan Brown is free to believe what he wants, true or otherwise.

The only problem comes in when a reader takes the story as remotely authoritative history, but that is not Dan Brown's fault or problem.

Posted by: Slacker at May 28, 2006 08:14 AM (n/bPi)

53 I'd argue that a writer has a responsibility not to misrepresent his work, especially in the press. Historical novels are generally presumed to be based on careful study of history - especially ones with tons of preachy "history" in them telling everyone how things actually happened. If your book is not a historical novel at all, but rather a fantasy, it ought to be made clear so that it doesn't mislead people.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 28, 2006 08:30 AM (1Vbso)

54 "Pieces of silver", and all, right? And I'm guessing the majority of us knuckle-dragging Christians are a little disapointed in the dissing of the Resurrection thing...

Posted by: nikkolai at May 28, 2006 08:30 AM (70wcC)

55 You're with the Elves, aren't you?

Sure. Knock it all you want but if any no talent hack could write a best seller and be a gazillionaire, I would be writing my 10th book.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 08:33 AM (cqSDI)

56 I want my Daddy's records!

Posted by: Blind Mellow Jesus at May 28, 2006 09:05 AM (BPhem)

57 "good fences make for good neighbors"

Overwhelming firepower makes for even better neighbors. Nobody messes with a heavily armed nut.

Posted by: Purple Avenger at May 28, 2006 09:07 AM (gf5iT)

58 I don't know if the book goes on and on about the mad monks red eyes, because I mised out on the DVC book club.

FWIW, though, most albinos don't have red eyes. So Howard et al appear to have opted for realism in their depiction of an actual albino.

I think laser eyes would have been more fun, though.

Posted by: SarahW at May 28, 2006 09:12 AM (mZUFb)

59 There are many different types of albinism, depending on the amount of melanin in a person's eyes. While some people have the fabled red or violet colored eyes, most albinos have blue eyes. Even fewer have hazel, brown or gray eyes. These discrepancies between reality and the red-eyed albino myth are the reason that most albinos do not even realize that they have a form of albinism.

I don't know how to interpret that last sentence except that you are all albinos and probably don't know it. Kidding aside, when I was an undergrad, there was a black albino student. I don't remember the color of his eyes, but he was really really white. I have to admit I felt for the kid.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 09:21 AM (cqSDI)

60 Slacker, good historical recap. The Nicene council merely confirmed (in a 318-2 vote, although some witnesses put the count at just over 250) what the church had been teaching for 300 years. We have that evidence from letters from prior Bishops such as Ignatius of Antioch who 200 years earlier wrote letters that Jesus was fully divine, Melito of Sardis ca. 190, Tertullian ca. 200 and others all confirmed the same understanding. This wasn't a new idea.

Keep in mind the church until a few years before the Council of Nicea was convened had been outlawed, and the Bishops did much of their communicating by letters, not get togethers.

Posted by: Dave in Texas at May 28, 2006 09:27 AM (hoE4E)

61 It's the pink/red eyes that mark someone as definitely albino, though, and not just pale-featured.

And Brown goes on and on about the pink/red eyes in the book.

I think Howard's choice to give him light gray-blue eyes is not a nod to realism -- as there are pink-eyed albinos, it wouldn't be "unrealistic" to have them in an albino character anyway -- but just his Nice Boy Who Doesn't Want To Offend Anyone Journeyman Middlebrow Director persona coming through.

The film only strongly deviates from Brown's book as regards elements likely to give offense to people. In all other ways, it's pretty faithful --reverential, even, as if this is Ron Howard's version of The Passion.

Posted by: ace at May 28, 2006 09:35 AM (h7Mal)

62 If you had an albino with little to no eye pigment at all, besides the actor having to wear contacts, wouldn't they also have to bleach their eyelashes? Might be too much trouble and still not look right. Going digital might be too expensive for such a small detail. Write Ron Howard and ask him.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 09:47 AM (cqSDI)

63 Bob,

I was talking about the book, not the movie. I would sooner donate urine to be splattered on anyone who puts themselves up on a cross (for the purposes of assisting in the creation of "art") than I am to piss away one cent more on anything that dan brown has a proffit motive in.

as far as the albino's, I have to support greg giraldo's summary after the release of Matrix Re-loaded and the subsequent outcry about albino's always being badguys. "It's fiction and you have to accept it so, after all most everyone knows that albino's use their super powers for the purposes of good"

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 11:31 AM (QTv8u)

64 Why was it, the movie and the book, a hit? Because people love conspiracy theories. Hee, hee, the Christian church is pulling a fast one on us by proclaiming Christ to be divine.

Look at the conspiracy theories around the 9/11 targets, the Pentagon and the WTC. Lots of stuff written about the Pentagon being hit by a missile and WTC blown up by planted explosives. Real surprised that Hollywood hasn't made a movie about that fiction.

Posted by: docdave at May 28, 2006 11:36 AM (wR2t6)

65 You're not getting the message: Church == Hitler/Nazis

So Bush is the Pope? That explains ... well, nothing, actually. Never mind.

Posted by: VRWC Agent at May 28, 2006 12:16 PM (Z3AmO)

66 The really cool thing about growing up Catholic is that you got to buy pagan babies. Do they still do that?

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 01:22 PM (cqSDI)

67 The really cool thing about growing up Catholic is that you got to buy pagan babies. Do they still do that?

Posted by shawn at May 28, 2006 06:22 PM

Yeah thats funny but I can't take part. The Purges in Australia are a travesty, and while they became non-violent in the last century, the "stolen generation" reaches into the 60's, and I don't know if I would rather be killed, or usurped by patrimonial omniscience.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 02:14 PM (QTv8u)

68 Goldman was the man who penned by Committee such classic films as Lost in Space and Batman and Robin.

They let him write for such a High Profile film as the Da Vinci Code.

I know what the real Da VInici Code is it is ...

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Posted by: GTBurns at May 28, 2006 02:49 PM (iInYK)

69 Though I never read the book, I was at first going to see the movie. I thought it to be an interesting story. However, I then reminded myself of the hypocrisy where people are falling over themselves not to insult Islam, cumulating with Comedy Central's censorship of South Park (a show I don't even watch) yet Christianity/Catholicism gets badgered day by day by day. I'm not going to contribute to it. I will not see the movie.

Posted by: hadsil at May 28, 2006 03:28 PM (QTpM5)

70 Gosh, GTBurns, I thought it was Left, Up-left, Up, Up-right, Right, Down-right, Down, Down-left, Left.

Posted by: Mrs. Peel at May 28, 2006 03:47 PM (BYnc6)

71 If you actually take a minute and think about it, the whole "bloodline of Jesus" thing is nonsense anyway.

Mary M lived 2000 years ago. Call it 100 generations. That means that Jesus represents 1/100th of Sophie's ancestry.

Big deal! If Mary M and her daughter came to Europe 2000 years ago, odd are most people of European descent would have at least that much genetic ancestry from her.

So, even if you ignore the many historical errors, the defamation of Christianity, and the bad writing, even on it's own terms the book makes no sense.

Posted by: Jay at May 28, 2006 03:55 PM (rD+kE)

72 After all the pub about symbology, I'm now anxious for the film version of "Godel, Escher Bach"

The tortoise realized by Billy Bob Thorton
Achilles played by Tobey Maguire

It'd be huge, I tells ya'


Posted by: BumperStickerist at May 28, 2006 03:58 PM (PcDvW)

73 I'm an Atheist.

Christ prolly fucked the shit out of mary.

that doesn't disserve the identitify of christiantity, after all, Jews were polygamous, it isn't unreasonable fore christ to fuck one hot chick.

Also the supposed history of lady magdalene is that she was a roman woman, a widow, and an influential one.

What better way to hit the top but to MARRY BIG!!!!

Also, I HATE the devinci code, cuz it it is idiotic, if you wanna challenge christ do it in a LOGICAL way.


2 thousand years ago? "Carpenters" were the equivalent of programmers. Carpentry was THE skilled workforce that everyone loves. You think that Josef came back to Israel (which he didn't, he had a thriving business in egypt, REALLY FUCKERS READ THE BIBLE)

Christ was a proffitable character, and Mary, supposedly is the widow of a wealthy roman.

Jesus rich, Mary Rich and popular.

Every day now we deal with politics, but we are supposed to ignore the politics of the idiotic foundation that is trying to CONTROL, not just influence, but CONTROL my nation?

I'm an atheist, and I don't care what you think, but if you THINK I should be a serf to christ, I will most rick and tick kill you.

Posted by: Wickedpinto at May 28, 2006 04:13 PM (QTv8u)

74 Well, Jay, if Sophie is descended from Mary Magdalene in direct line of female descent, that would be extra-special. Sort of like Aragorn being the last in direct line of male descent from Elendil.

Posted by: Mrs. Peel at May 28, 2006 04:23 PM (BYnc6)

75 In the sequel, we'll find out that divinity (Christitude), much like jedidom, is passed on in the mitochondria. This not only explains the emphasis on maternal lineage, but also sets the stage for the third book, The Christ Wars.

In the third book, The Christ Wars, samples of Sophie's mitochondria are stolen by Opus Dei, with help from various unscrupulous patriarchical governments. This divine mitochondria is cloned and injected into regular zygotes, replacing the weaker non-divine mitochondria, giving Vatican scientists the means to mass-produce divine beings; the perfect soldiers. These armies of Christs are nearly invincible, and the whole world plunges into holy war.

Spoiler alert: the third book will also contain lots of hot grandpa on grandma action. I like big chalices and I cannot lie.

Posted by: sandy burger at May 28, 2006 05:16 PM (swufr)

76 Spoiler alert: the third book will also contain lots of hot grandpa on grandma action. I like big chalices and I cannot lie.

I guess we just learned something new about our old pal, Sandy.

Posted by: shawn at May 28, 2006 05:37 PM (cqSDI)

77 Sacred Feminine crap: the REAL pagans Christianity replaced were not much on the feminine. Druids who practiced ritual sacrifice, and various Norse Gods in one form or another who's followers also practiced sacrifice of people etc. Not to mention the Roman and Greek Gods who's idea of feminism was literally barefoot and pregnant fertility goddesses, sex goddesses who looked like Marilyn Monroe or Scarlett Johansson, and virginal hunting goddesses.

No sacred feminism there, just extremely limited social structures for women, female infanticide, etc. Christianity gave women a much better shake; sex ratios equalized and men could only legally have one wife not many, unlike in Paganism. And as for the Catholic Church the central reason for Martin Luther and other Protestant's break from Rome was the idea that far too much of paganism survived in the Catholic Church. Too many old Gods and Goddesses thinly disguised as Saints, pagan rituals, etc. As for Gnosticism, it explicitly rejected the physical present in favor of the afterlife. Rather icky if you ask me. Descartes's wager seems more of a better deal if you ask me.

The real awful message of Da Vinci Code is that the most important thing about Christ is NOT that he died and was resurrected for mankind's sins, and that believers can find immortality of a sort by embracing his message. No it's that he sired a child who was destined to produce offspring to rule the world with their magic bloodline. It's Divine Right of Kings squared.

Used to be that old-school leftists from Twain to Anatole France derided the very idea of religion, in all forms. Here we have Brown and Ron Howard embracing religion in a debased form and suggesting that we would be better off ruled by some magical super-power laying on of hands descendant of Christ. Ugh.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at May 28, 2006 05:54 PM (4878o)

78 Wickedpinto,

Take a breath, dude.

Unlike Muslims, virtually all Christians accept that Christian belief is meaningless unless it's freely chosen. It's one of the central concepts of the religion.

I suppose there are some, but I don't know of any Christians who would disagree.

Posted by: Brett Bullington at May 28, 2006 06:04 PM (/QYGF)

79 I know what the real Da VInici Code is it is ...

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right B A Start

Fuck yeah! I beat the hell out of Contra the day someone told me that cheat code. The best part was that it pretty much worked for all games made by Konami: Galaga, Life Force, Jackal, etc.

Fifth grade kicked so much ass.

Posted by: Andrew at May 28, 2006 06:09 PM (zixKX)

80 You need more exclamation points after FACT if you're going to make it true that people in ancient times who owned no land, hence resorted to carpentry, were wealthy.

Posted by: Dave Munger at May 28, 2006 07:58 PM (8dpsl)

81 Thanks Ace for not going nuts over this movie, like so many friggin nutty nuts!


It present a (to date) fictional theory that many have expanded on...

much like...

Passion Of The Christ

Get a grip people. (again) IT'S A MOVIE!

Posted by: Lesbiencestmoi at May 28, 2006 08:34 PM (ISaXE)

82 Sandy Burger:

I like big chalices and I cannot lie.

That's right up there with "pooterocentric" for me.

Posted by: NathanWazoo at May 28, 2006 08:43 PM (XxEd0)

83 Ace - any news on the Lovecraft links front?

Posted by: Master Tang at May 28, 2006 09:24 PM (+DMjG)

84 "IT'S A MOVIE!"

Uncle Tom's Cabin was just a book. like it or not, media can affect society.

Posted by: rammsar at May 28, 2006 09:42 PM (zj6xd)

85 I don't know why people would get so het up about the racism in Birth of a Nation. It was only a movie.

Posted by: meep at May 28, 2006 10:22 PM (GqHvA)

86 Slacker wrote:

The only problem comes in when a reader takes the story as remotely authoritative history, but that is not Dan Brown's fault or problem.

I'd have to disagree here, as I did in an earlier thread, because Dan Brown at the beginning of the book goes out of his way to say that all the documents and history in the book are factual. Since this is not presented as part of the story but as an author's note, to me that is not "fiction", it is a lie, and I think Dan Brown bears some responsibility for people believing his lie.

As I said, I enjoyed reading the book, but I do have a problem with the factual claims it makes. If Dan Brown had just left that off I can't image that it wouldn't have sold just as well, but then he wouldn't be responsible for causing confusion about history.

Posted by: Bob at May 29, 2006 04:33 AM (9ANE9)

87 Wickedpinto wrote:

I was talking about the book, not the movie.

So is the book different in that regard? In the book is the guy her real grandfather?

When I saw the movie and it was revealed that he was not her real grandfather, I didn't remember that from the book. But then it's a few years since I've read it. Maybe Ace or someone who's read it more recently can answer this.

Posted by: Bob at May 29, 2006 04:38 AM (9ANE9)

88 Who broke the blog???

Posted by: at May 29, 2006 06:15 AM (RbKI9)

89 sandy burger: "Spoiler alert: the third book will also contain lots of hot grandpa on grandma action:"

"I have had a better dating life since I have been here than I have ever had," retiree Franklin said.

"All I can repeat are the things I have heard which are things like, 'Should I bring the little blue pills over tonight?'" community singles group president Richard Matwyshen said.

no wonder sandy seems to be in a good mood lately ;-)

Posted by: alessandra at May 29, 2006 06:22 AM (n/PLG)

90 Remeber this comes from the same tinsle town reptiles that made THE LAST TEMTATION OF CHRIST and that more resent crap HOOT

Posted by: spurwing plover at May 29, 2006 08:17 AM (D9h75)

91 Bob, Chris, and others:

Dan Brown at the beginning of the book goes out of his way to say that all the documents and history in the book are factual. Since this is not presented as part of the story but as an author's note, to me that is not "fiction", it is a lie...

"Fiction" and "lie" do not span the entire range of false's not a lie if you believe it.

When Dan Brown says "the following is all true...", what can that possibly mean except that he believes it to be true? He is not the universal arbiter of fact, and cannot make the determination of truth by himself. He can only give his reading of it. He doesn't need to say this when representing something as a fact, because it's inherent in the act of representing. It's impossible to represent something as a fact in any other way.

That being the case, when someone believes Dan Brown's representation of things, they make Dan Brown their agent for deciding the facts. They are delegating to him the determination of what is true in this area. His book has accepted all responsibility he can or should in this regard, by representing things as he understands them.

When you delegate to an agent who performs as promised but nevertheless is wrong or errant in some way, you are at fault, not the agent.

Posted by: Slacker at May 29, 2006 11:12 AM (n/bPi)

92 No, I'm sorry when someone writes a historical novel then puts "this stuff is true" in it, he doesn't have to be the ultimate arbiter of all truth in order to be misleading people.

Posted by: Christopher Taylor at May 29, 2006 12:28 PM (1Vbso)

93 No, I'm sorry when someone writes a historical novel then puts "this stuff is true" in it, he doesn't have to be the ultimate arbiter of all truth in order to be misleading people.

well, I agree; it would be misleading if he didn't actually believe it was true. But that does not appear to be at issue; nobody thinks Dan Brown doesn't believe these things.

But he's not misleading anyone just by saying things that are false but saying they're true. That doesn't mean they're really true; it means he thinks they're true. It can never mean anything else. It's impossible. If you trust his thoughts and adopt them as your own, and they're false, you have nobody to blame but yourself. He lived up to his end by saying things he thought were true. His end of the bargain is not to say things that are true, it is to say things that he thinks are true.

Posted by: Slacker at May 29, 2006 01:23 PM (n/bPi)

94 Wickedpinto:

I've always thought you were "prolly" a fucking moron.

Your 9:13 post proves it.

Posted by: BFD at May 29, 2006 03:19 PM (B9/Kq)

95 Wickedpinto: Remember this moment when your on your knee, bowing to Jesus. It will be one that haunts you in hell.

By the by, we Christians believe in peace. However, if you want to "rick and tick," as you put it, I'll be your huckleberry.

Posted by: Pixelflash at May 30, 2006 07:38 AM (O+1/6)

96 Why do people bother making the contribution to a discussion about a movie that "it's only a movie"? No shit.

Posted by: Dave Munger at May 30, 2006 03:32 PM (8dpsl)

97 It's only a comment.

Posted by: sandy burger at May 30, 2006 03:38 PM (K2rlS)

Hide Comments | Add Comment

Comments are disabled. Post is locked.
152kb generated in CPU 2.58, elapsed 3.3994 seconds.
62 queries taking 3.2368 seconds, 333 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.