Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Reality vs. Fiction In All-Out Megabrawl

From the BBC: Muslims join Da Vinci criticism

I completely don't understand this.

Years ago, there was an episode of Columbo where the murderer was a world-ranked chess player. All the other chess players on that episode were a little nutzo too. Should I, as a chess player, have been mortally offended by this?

I've only read one Dan Brown book, Digital Fortress. The plot involved computer security and cryptography, and a reader with even a layman's understanding of those issues could recognize that it was mostly nonsense. That's no big deal, though, because the story and characters were fictional. Like in completely made up. That is the fiction writer's job, to make up stuff, tell you it's made up, and then somehow get you to care about it anyway.

That's what Brown did when he wrote The Da Vinci Code, which, like his other books, is made up. Some people are still, at this late date, having trouble grasping the concept. They're saying the movie and book are "blasphemous," offensive and filled with lies. Well, yeah, maybe so. Novels and movies are by definition filled with lies. What part of "fictional" don't they understand?

Trying to get the book or movie banned gives either one way too much credit. Sure, some people will see the movie or read the book and take the whole thing way too seriously, just like some people take Star Trek, or The Lord of the Rings, or TV shows like Lost or 24 way too seriously.

Maybe the church is hyper-sensitive to criticism of any kind because so much of theirs over the years has turned out to be totally well-founded. Maybe the church has grown unbelievably thin-skinned over the years. They'll just have to get over it. Today even many of the authors are themselves fictional characters, and even a good portion of the non-fiction section can't be taken seriously any more. Getting all aerated over a work of dramatic fiction is foolishness, and trying to get other people upset about it is a waste of everybody's time.


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