Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Out of Their Minds
...some pithy and spot on followup to "TDVC"

Here are some very insightful words about The Da Vinci Code movie and its message from two of my favorite journalists today: Daniel Henninger and Peggy Noonan. Enjoy!

Holy Sepulcre!
"The Da Vinci Code" shows that conspiracy theories have no limits.

by Daniel Henninger (Wall Street Journal)

Here's my theory of "The Da Vinci Code."

Dan Brown was sitting one night at the monthly meeting of his local secret society, listening to a lecture on the 65th gospel, and he got to thinking: "I wonder if there's any limit to what people are willing to believe these days about a conspiracy theory. Let's say I wrote a book that said Jesus was married. To Mary Magdalene. Who was pregnant at the Crucifixion. And she is the Holy Grail. Jesus wanted her to run the church as a global sex society called Heiros Gamos, but Peter elbowed her out of the job. Her daughter was the beginning of the Merovingian dynasty of France. Jesus' family is still alive. There were 80 gospels, not four. Leonardo DiCaprio, I mean da Vinci, knew all this. The 'Mona Lisa' is Leonardo's painting of himself in drag. Da Vinci's secret was kept alive by future members of 'the brotherhood,' including Isaac Newton, Claude Debussy and Victor Hugo. The Catholic Church is covering all this up."

Then Dan Brown said softly, "Would anyone buy into a plot so preposterous and fantastic?" Then he started writing.

The real accomplishment of "The Da Vinci Code" is that Dan Brown has proven that the theory of conspiracy theories is totally elastic, it has no limits. The genre's future is limitless, with the following obvious plots:

Bill Clinton is directly descended from Henry VIII; Hillary is his third cousin. Jack Ruby was Ronald Reagan's half-brother. Dick Cheney has been dead for five years; the vice president is a clone created by Halliburton in 1998. The Laffer Curve is the secret sign of the Carlyle Group. Michael Moore is the founder of the Carlyle Group, which started World War I. The New York Times is secretly run by the Rosicrucians (this is revealed on the first page of Chapter 47 of "The Da Vinci Code" if you look at the 23rd line through a kaleidoscope). Jacques Chirac is descended from Judas.
None of this strikes me as the least bit implausible, especially the latter. I'd better get started.

Mr. Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. His column appears Fridays in the Journal and on

Out of Touch
by Peggy Noonan (Wall Street Journal)

Speaking of the detachment of the elites, the second big news of the week--in some ways it may be bigger--is the apparent critical failure of "The DaVinci Code." After its first screening in Cannes, critics and observers called it tedious, painfully long, bloated, grim, so-so, a jumble, lifeless and talky.

There is a God.

Or, as a sophisticated Christian pointed out yesterday, there is an Evil One, and this may be proof he was an uncredited co-producer. The devil loves the common, the stale. He can't use beauty; it undermines him. "Banality is his calling card."

I do not understand the thinking of a studio that would make, for the amusement of a nation 85% to 90% of whose people identify themselves as Christian, a major movie aimed at attacking the central tenets of that faith, and insulting as poor fools its gulled adherents. Why would Tom Hanks lend his prestige to such a film? Why would Ron Howard? They're both already rich and relevant. A desire to seem fresh and in the middle of a big national conversation? But they don't seem young, they seem immature and destructive. And ungracious. They've been given so much by their country and era, such rich rewards and adulation throughout their long careers. This was no way to say thanks.

I don't really understand why we live in an age in which we feel compelled to spoof the beliefs of the followers of the great religions. Why are we doing that? Why does Hollywood consider this progressive as opposed to primitive...?

"The DaVinci Code" could still triumph at the box office, but it has lost its cachet, and the air of expectation that surrounded it. Its creators have not been rewarded but embarrassed. Good. They should be.

Ms. Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal.
Her column appears Thursdays.


Terry Rayburn said...

If there are any Don Knotts fans, the following is dedicated to his comedic memory:

The Norman Rockwell Code

Terry Rayburn said...

By the way, in case you are 5 minutes into The Norman Rockwell Code, tapping your foot restlessly, as if you were watching a Google Video clip, wondering when it's going to end, so you can get on with your life...

the movie is 32 minutes long.

littlegal_66 said...

Cute, Terry. :-)

Campi-I had read/linked Ms. Noonan's column over the weekend, but hadn't read Henninger's--thanks for that! (I'll be watching for trailers of "The Judas Code," in a few months). ;-)

4given said...

I LIKE Ms. Noonan's writing style. That woman is just dead-on and doesn't hold back.
Henniger's take was a hoot.

donsands said...

"He [the devil] can't use beauty, it undermines him"

I understand what she's saying about the Evil One. But it's funny, a friend of mine came back from Rome not to long ago, and he was saying how incredibly beautiful the Vatican is. The granduer and the splendour of all that is there takes the breath away.
This is Satan, the angel of light in form.
The Da Vinci Code is him as well, but not as subtle and as deceiving I would think.