Momhood

Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Weighing in on The Code

Unless you’ve been living on that remote island from the TV Show “Survivor,” chances are you’ve heard at least a tiny bit of the hype surrounding the May 19th nationwide premier of the movie “The Da Vinci Code.” The movie, of course, is based on the mega-blockbuster book by Dan Brown which has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for over 3 years. It would not be an exaggeration to say it’s become a literary phenomenon.

I did read The Da Vinci Code a couple of years ago and I really, really enjoyed it. Sure, the writing was as predictable as a Grisham novel and the hero and heroine were practically superhuman, but it was one of those books I couldn’t put down, and for me, that’s a great read, and a great escape.

Of course the controversy over the movie and the book stems from some of the religious claims made in the story. I won’t get into explaining them, refuting them or defending them. I honestly understand the opinions on both sides and I won’t say which team I’m on.

I will, however, defend one very important thing that the book and now the movie have made us do: It has prompted discussion of the Christian religion. As a Roman Catholic, I understand why many eyebrows were raised when this book was published, but I can’t help but think that anything that gets us to stop, think, listen and talk about our faith is a good thing. A very good thing. We may not agree with the theories presented by the author in this work of fiction, but for many of us, it has caused us to reexamine and, perhaps, renew our faith. In today’s culture of mass media and cynicism, I see this as a positive. For me, that’s the key to The Da Vinci Code.

40 Comments:

At 9:54 AM , Blogger Andy Mackay said...

Still to read it, myself. But from what I've heard I do totally agree with you. Anything that makes people talk about God and the church must be a good thing.

Besides just because there are ideas featured in a movie - doesnt mean these ideas are true.

 
At 9:57 AM , Blogger Wordnerd said...

Excellent analysis. I'm glad Michele sent me your way...I'll be back.

 
At 2:40 PM , Blogger kenju said...

Wow, you may be the only Catholic who hasn't lambasted the book all to hell and back. My husband, who has not read it and refuses to, has condemned it as being too convincing to all the gullible people out there who might believe the theories advanced. So I asked him if he thought no one should ever write a book with unproven theories in it - lest some dull normal misunderstand. That got him for a while.

 
At 3:24 PM , Blogger ma said...

Agree. Anything that makes us think is a good thing. I heard somewhere that we are "living in an age of offence," where it is becoming difficult to discus anything without offending someone. Religion has always been a touchy subject, guess it's started a war of two, but none of us are going to get any better at having the potentially difficult conversations that can lead to better understanding if we don't stop tip- toeing around.

 
At 11:01 PM , Blogger kenju said...

Michele sent me back, Karen. I just watched a good program on A&E about the filming of the Da Vinci Code, which I found very interesting.

 
At 7:42 AM , Blogger Just a trumpet player said...

Very well said !

Michele sent me...

 
At 7:55 AM , Blogger Robin said...

I think you are absolutely right...and this is probably the crux of MOST fiction; Not to rewrite or retell events, but to play out hypotheticals. I listened to the audiobook, then listened to his other books, which were all intriguing and suspenseful, but pretty 'figureoutable'! After you've seen one SURPRISE character being the bad guy, it isn't too hard to 'see' the rest. This guy must have a very strong background in cryptology...most of his books deal with it...very very interesting.

 
At 8:27 AM , Blogger Just a trumpet player said...

DaVinci Code will probably turn out to be one of those movies : the same people that love to hate it will be the first to see it...

In their controversy, the book and the movie have done a very considerable thing: they have sparked a discusion about faith and religion, subjects that remains tabboo in our society...

Michele sent me... Have a great weekend !

 
At 11:45 AM , Blogger Dave said...

I read it last year and enjoyed it a lot. It's not the greatest book ever written but then it doesn't puport to be. It's just a good story. I fully expect to enjoy the film as well but I'm not expecting a great film just a typical overhyped blockbuster. Nothing wrong with that.

We need to be very afraid, very very afraid about not reading or seeing things that are either contentious or offending to some.

Here from Michele's this evening.

 
At 12:49 PM , Blogger Prego said...

At the risk of offending anyone, this film is the best thing that has happened to Roman Catholocism. It is at least taking some of the attention away from the plethora of cases of diddled kids at the hands of the clergy.

Here via Michele today.
p

 
At 1:06 PM , Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Hi Karen...Thanks for the visit...
I haven't read this book and I will probably see the movie but I'll have to wait for it to come out on DVD...I think what you had to say about the book/story, was very interesting and I appreciate your point of view, a lot. I get, from what you said that you are open to a different point of view just on the basis that it makes you re-examine your own. I love that. Why do you think so many people seem 'threatened' by this book? As I said, I haven't read it, so maybe I would be threatened, too..but I would hope not.

 
At 2:16 PM , Anonymous Erin said...

Hello from your fellow Wisconsinite! I read the book a few years ago too and really enjoyed it - I'm Christian but am not angered by the claims in the book. I, like you, think it's a good thing to get people talking and examining their faith. My fiance wants to see it so we'll probably go - I don't particularly want to but we'll see how it goes!

 
At 2:17 PM , Anonymous Erin said...

Oh yeah, and I was here from Michele Karen! :)

 
At 3:56 PM , Blogger Yo Tambien Te Mando Besos said...

I agree with you Karen. Although it may be somewhat dangerous that people forget this is fiction and start to think it is real. That's how the whole Holy Grial thing started and it got to be a right good excuse for some medieval abuses. I recommend you also read Baudolino by Umberto Eco.

 
At 4:18 PM , Anonymous Maryanne said...

Hi Karen. I couldn't agree with you more. The book is fiction and yet religious leaders are afraid it will replace the doctrines Christians have been raised on over the centuries. Brown created a story based on the possibility that these doctrines were man made and innacurate. It's up to the reader to take it from there. I read it last year along with many of my friends and adult children. We've had a good time sharing our views and ideas over it.

 
At 5:21 PM , Blogger The Flamingess said...

Hi from Michele's place.

Much of the hoopla over the DaVinci Code makes me want to shout "It's a NOVEL!! Get a grip!" And I agree that it's great that it has some many people talking.

 
At 5:21 PM , Blogger Paige said...

Very well said. Hi here from Michele's today.

 
At 5:21 PM , Blogger sage said...

Here from Michele's... I haven't read Brown's book, but read a lot about it... It's fiction, but some seem to ignore that.

 
At 8:50 PM , Blogger Sissy B. said...

Amen!!

 
At 6:17 AM , Blogger rashbre said...

I suspect the marketeers know how to whip up controversy / column inches too.

I enjoyed the book as a good (airport) read and liked the plotline. The other one Angels and Demons has a similar storyline and is mainly set in/around the Vatican and Roma.

Written earlier, you'd spot the emerging ideas for DVC in it.

rashbre

 
At 6:31 AM , Blogger craziequeen said...

I SO agree with the last paragraph.....and that is the secret to all Dan Brown's books - they make us ask 'How?' 'Why?' and 'Wow - never thought of that!'...

I'm off to see the film tomorrow. Love Tom Hanks, love Jean Reno, love Al Molina, and well, Ron Howard - say no more..... :-)

cq
Michele sent me to see you again, Karen... :-)

 
At 7:39 AM , Blogger srp said...

I haven't read it and probably won't or see the movie. Mainly because I have so much else to read and I hardly ever go to movies. I spent so many years reading only the necessary medical journals and texts that there are libraries full of the classics I want to read. I read To Kill a Mockingbird again last summer and am working on several right now including "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter" by Carson McCullars and a book with a compilation of Southern Women's Writing.

The extent of my movie going this year has been Narnia and Ice Age 2. Yes, the daughter is grown but loves the squirrel.

 
At 7:40 AM , Blogger srp said...

I may have forgotten to say:"Here from Michele." Hmm. I always get the feeling that a band will start to play and the SNL players will run on stage when I type that.

 
At 7:42 AM , Blogger srp said...

I may have forgotten to say:"Here from Michele." Hmm. I always get the feeling that a band will start to play and the SNL players will run on stage when I type that.

 
At 8:39 AM , Blogger craziequeen said...

[sheepish grin]

me again, Karen....blame Michele!

I SO must put you on my blogroll!

cq

 
At 8:48 AM , Blogger keda said...

i haven't read it or seen the film. i do eventually plan to do both but so many good books so little time!

i completely agree with what you said! and i also agreed wholeheartedly with sir ian mckellan who said:

"Well, I've often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. I mean, walking on water, it takes an act of faith. And I have faith in this movie. Not that it's true, not that it's factual, but that it's a jolly good story. And I think audiences are clever enough and bright enough to separate out fact and fiction, and discuss the thing after they've seen it."

if the church are afraid that their followers are that stupid to believe whatever they read its a good idea to shake them up a little. think people think!

here via michele's. liked the post below too*

 
At 11:40 AM , Anonymous Becky said...

Here From Micheles, but I've been here before, I especially liked your post on the 'deconstructed' look in clothing which I read some time ago!

 
At 7:41 AM , Blogger panthergirl said...

I couldn't get past chapter 2 in the book. I hated the writing...and when I tried to listen to the audiobook, that was even WORSE! The narrator sounded like Inspector Clouseau.

If the movie had gotten great reviews I'd want to see it (hoping that the screenplay might be better than the novel), but now I'm not too interested.

I agree with the commenter who said you are the first Catholic who didn't hate the book (my aunt is on a crusade about it, as well as her contention that Catholic-bashing has become the new national pastime). Good for you for acknowledging that a work of fiction can serve as a catalyst for discussion!

Here via michele today.

 
At 9:49 AM , Blogger Daughter In Law said...

Thanks for dropping by. I got several folks including my father (who doesn't read ANYTHING anymore) to pick up and read the book. I completely agree for all the reasons you have mentioned.

 
At 3:59 PM , Blogger Shane said...

i agree - controversy is a good thing - it can also stir reexamination of what is good to see if it can be made better.

michele sent my philosophical arse here

 
At 4:09 PM , Blogger Crayonsetc said...

See, I totally agree... anything that makes us think and talk about our faith is a GOOD thing :)

Stopping by this afternoon via Michele to say Hello!!

 
At 5:17 PM , Blogger craziequeen said...

Saw it, liked it, reviewed it on my blog....

Good adaptation of a controversial book....

cq

 
At 7:24 PM , Anonymous Laura said...

I agree, the controversy that will make us wake up and question our own ideals is a good thing. If your faith is unshakeable, where is the harm? If your faith is loosely tied, then maybe it's a real good thing that you're questioning your religion. To paraphrase Mother Teresa, in the end, it's not between the reader or movie viewer or even Dan Brown himself. It's all between you and God.

 
At 10:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now, I don't want to start a big controversy or anything...I am a Christian and I hold firm in my faith. But, if the church leaders are so afraid of what we gain from reading a book....what does that say about what we gain from reading the Bible. It's a book, isn't it?

 
At 3:19 PM , Blogger Marisa said...

Well said. That's the same sentiment I shared when I read it a couple years ago for a bookclub. Talk about heated discussions!

 
At 6:55 AM , Blogger Star said...

I agree with your take on the issue. It is, after all, presented as a work of fiction. hTe people who are rallying so hard against it are only bringing more into the public consiouness. Left alone it would become a non issue faster. Michele sent me today, but I come by anyway.

 
At 1:23 PM , Blogger Jolie said...

A very good point you make.

 
At 7:00 AM , Blogger Janet said...

I really enjoyed reading The Da Vinci Code; of course, because of that, I figured I'd read his other books as well. Imagine my shock when I picked up Angels & Demons...not quite so good...but stupid me, I picked up another...and never finished it, it was that bad.

Kinda like Grisham, only in reverse.

 
At 7:00 AM , Blogger Janet said...

crap...I meant to say, Hi, Michele sent me :-)

 
At 6:44 AM , Blogger shpprgrl said...

Hey Karen! I've not read or seen it. But I have heard all the hoopla because I haven't been on a remote island. ;) Not sure whether I'll see it, I've been known to tag along for just about anything just for the popcorn! Thanks for visiting me yesterday!

 

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