Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Da Vinci Joke

I realize the reason why Da Vinci Code, the movie and the book, has been getting more flak than, say, The God Who Wasn’t There, is because it actually dignifies the belief that there was indeed somebody named Jesus Christ who once existed.

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It’s okay if you’d just dismiss the whole Christian thing in the same way grown-ups dismiss Santa Claus. Nobody would mind if you’d assert that Pastafarianism is “more real” than what Paul supposedly met on the road to Damascus—but you’d be opening the gates of hell if you’d bend over, pick up the core dogma of Christianity, and sink your dirty fingers into its butt and weave a novel out of it.

The faithful are furious. I can imagine people having the same fury if a Santa Claus movie fleshed out the idea that the old guy molested his daughter and the daughter grew up to become Martha Stewart. And who would forget the rage and mindless violence that inspired the burning of embassies and the boycotting of sumptuous Danish dairy goods—all because a bunch of cartoonists tried to equate Muhammad with the high-faluting, unforgiveable infidel concept of “humor.”

But it’s all so amusing. It’s fun to hear the god-folk say big words like, “crumbling,” “eruption” or “battling the onslaught of…” Those are words you hear in Star Trek or the Star Wars, usually when there’s an empire crumbling behind the lead characters, or there’s a green blob with hairy nostrils swallowing a girl. Only in this case, we’re talking about a movie that says Jesus was horny enough to have been human (or human enough to have been horny) and to have had a wife. And that, says the nice neighborhood schoolmarm, is bad.

But I think it’s exciting. To be fair, if anybody would take Dan Brown really, really seriously, who allegedly once said (I’m using “allegedly” because you can’t afford not to be paranoid, these days, can you?) that he wrote Da Vinci Code not to blaspheme but to inspire "discussion and debate" that will ultimately lead to a more solidly defended faith—all while earning millions off the little yarn—then the faithful should in fact be thankful.

After all, Brown himself is a self-proclaimed Christian.

But you might be thinking, “But you’re missing the point of the protests. Who cares about that bastard? We’re talking about Jesus Christ having kids LOL!!!”

This very well reminds me of the same public outcry over The Last Temptation of Christ about two decades ago. And the funny thing is that Last Temptation author Nikos Kazantzakis was a man more religious than the common Bible-toter—he spent years and years trying to understand what God really meant in people’s lives. He actually thought through it, rather than just accepting at face value the comforting sureties invented at the so-called First Council of Nicea.

I can understand the protesters, but theirs is a laughably losing game. I feel that they know that; that this protest is simply nominal, like those Japanese who one morning looked up the sky and saw the atomic bomb gliding down and all they could do was point at the bomb and ask, “Wasn’t that the Emperor?”

The movie opens in theaters today. Nothing cerebral, nothing earth-shaking, just one of those things you’ll forget afterwards. But it’s presumably a good hell of a ride. So stop being such a grim-faced lot and just enjoy it, okay? I’m sure your God will understand.

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[Pope: "Hmmm. That naughty Danny boy deserves a good spanking."]


winterBomb said...

well, the only reason i watched da vinci code is audrey tautou...

john said...

just last night on the local news, i heard of a group threatening to sue MTRCB for allowing the release of The Da Vinci Code here, and cursing Dan Brown, Columbia Pictures, etc. shouldn't they have protested the release of the book, which naturally contains the arguments in greater detail? i don't get it.

and: i've never seen a more sinister Pope.

Mike said...

I hear the movie's boring...