OK, so I’m reading Angels and Demons, and plan on reading The Da Vinci Code afterwards. In A&D the anti-Catholicism drips from almost every page. Either from what I know from history, or from what I’ve heard/read about errors Dan Brown committed, most of his “liberties” I can spot as they come up. But once in a while something is said that I have to go look up.
I am at the part where they head off to the pantheon, and Langdon makes a statement about the Vatican having destroyed all the statues in the late 1800’s. I can’t seem to find anything about this one way or the other. Does anyone know?
Also, is there really anything of importance that Dan Brown actually got right? It seem like every little detail has some anti-Catholic twist to it (i.e. there is a dress code for St. Peter’s Basillica, but Brown keeps harping on a dress code for the Vatican as a whole) and I’m having a hard time really seeing if any of it has any accuracy at all.
What part did he get right? The formula for a smashingly successful pile of pandering!
And he S-P-E-L-L-S it out right in the book! This comes from p 40 of the paperback edition I read:
“Conspiracy buffs,” Langdon replied. He had always been annoyed by the plethora of conspiracy theories that circulated in modern pop culture. The media craved apocalyptic headlines, and self-proclaimed “cult specialists” were still cashing in on millennium hype with fabricated stories that the illuminati were alive and well and organizing their New World Order. Recently the *New York Times *had reported the eerie Masonic ties of countless famous men – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the Duke of Kent, Peter Sellers, Irving Berlin, Prince Philip, Louis Armstrong, as well as a pantheon of well-known modern-day industrialists and banking magnates.
Who secretly wishes Peter Sellers or Louis Armstrong would have seized world domination when he’d had the chance
A novel with plenty of bad Catholic characters is not saying the same thing as a serious book which sets out to show that Catholicism is a Bad Thing.
It’s a normal everyday distinction. “Braveheart” is rubbish in its historical detail; but it’s not “anti-English”; it’s a (heavily Gibsonised & fictionalised) version of the career of Sir William Wallace. The fact that it contains plenty of anti-English material, is part of the story - but that fact tells one absolutely nothing about the personal attitudes of Gibson, of any other of the actors involved, of the director, producer, script-writer, or anybody else.
What people seem to be doing is, mistaking the attitudes of** authors**, for the attitudes they give their characters. That is like saying that because Homer Simpson is 39, fat, lazy, drunken & dishonest, so must his creator Matt Groening be. Since his creator has created many other characters very different from Homer, one would also have to suppose that Matt Groening is female, has blue hair, has spikey yellow hair, has bouffant black hair, is aged 102, is a science-fiction loving lesbian, & lives in a “Retirement Castle” - just because these are qualities of some of his characters.
The problem with Dan Brown is his lack of ability to tell a story - his attitudes are not the problem; I have no idea what they are. He makes his archaeologist rely on a version of Church History which sounds as though it is straight from Jack Chick: Brown, who inhabits the same world as Chick, in that neither is a fiction & both are real beings, may have borrowed from Chick: but it does not follow that his fictional archaeologist has. Fictional people don’t exist in the same reality as those who make up them & their opinions; so it is not clear that the fictional character’s opinions are those of his author.
Was Agatha Christie “anti-Catholic” in making the murderer in “4.50 from Paddington” a Catholic ? Hercule Poirot, her detective in many of her stories, is a Belgian Catholic. Catholics have value for fictions - if a one-legged Buddhist had suited her fictions better, presumably she would have introduced one. That would not be evidence of her being a Buddhist.
I just don’t bother to read any of this trash, because I have better and more interesting things to do. I can’t understand why anybody, knowing these books are anti-Catholic ahead of time, would go ahead and spend good money on them. Instead, donate the money to a worthy cause, such as the religious’ retirement fund. As far as what he got right, he must have hired the right publisher and distribution company. You see the books everywhere.
If you don’t read it, how do you know? And how can you speak intelligently against it when someone says “Well, Dan Brown says…”? They don’t even take long to read (I am a self-confessed slow reader, and it doesn’t take me more than a day – I would be surprised if it took my speedy reading bride or daughter more than an hour or so)
Somebody must have bought them, else they wouldn’t have been best sellers. As far as not reading them, I took the word of quite a few Bishops and clergy, that said it wasn’'t worth the time and money. I have very little time to read, even a good book, so I spend my time wisely.
While his books are fiction, the human response from them are not fiction. Some actually believe some of the bad things he puts into text. So I think it’s useful for some people to know how to dispute what he says when others bring their misunderstands with them.
There is a market out there for books that trash the Catholic Church. Many encourage authors like Brown because they know people are gullible, and know little about the history of the Church, including most Catholics.
Dan Brown gets very little right, not even his writing. His publishers should also be sacked for publishing such terribly-written text. And I’m even getting into the story and its context. Structurally, Dan Brown writes very badly.
For a very humorous destruction of Brown’s skills as a writer, see the Language Logs blog, starting at this link (look for related stories as links at the bottom of each page).
I’ve read Brown’s three most popular books: “Demons”, “Code” and “Deception Point.” That was before I was Catholic–and apparently also before I had better taste and discernment of what makes a decent novel. This site humbled me–when I could stop laughing.
I’m personally trying to answer the call for a good “can’t-put-down” mystery/thriller novel by writing one myself. (Actually, a three-book series.) Keep me in your prayers; we’ll soon get to read something that’s Catholic-friendly without necessarily beating you over the head with theology unnecessary for the plot–and even makes the priest a Good Guy again (as they ever were).