Saturday, April 08, 2006

Da Vinci Codswallop

Yes, as =] so succinctly put it:

Dan Brown 1, Baigent and Leigh 0

Across the Atlantic though, Lewis Purdue is fighting on, and I wish him luck.

The judge ruled that novelists "remain free to draw in ideas and historical research". I'm glad of that, though I do not feel like popping the cork of a bottle of champagne to celebrate Brown's victory. We know he took the easy way out, swiped fascinating material and churned out (and this is really what can't forgive him for) a third-rate novel that all the marginal readers of the world applaud as if it were in itself some kind of holy grail.

And he didn't even do his own research as it turns out ... it was his wife who downloaded stuff from the internet for him (often without the sources being clearly noted).

Don't know about you but I have no respect for writers who don't get their own hands dirty with digging up the facts ...

Related post:

Holy Plagiarised Madonnas (1/3/06)

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

What's sadder (is that a word ?) is that he made so much from it. It makes you wonder.

thewailer said...

if his sources were weak, his flair at clouding any doubts among the general readers was strong...and yes, dollars too :P

Yvonne Foong said...

U know they say, a wife must support her husband! so naturally, she also does part of his work. ok just joking. hehe...

saras said...

Ah, no, sharon. Dan Brown isn't a third rate writer. I read Da Vinci at one sitting, putting everything else in my life on hold until I finished it. Sure, the novel started a little weakly (the first couple of pages) but once Brown got into the swing, the novel, ran, jumped, leaped and raced, gripping the reader's attention all the way. Of course the theme of the story helped - the premise about Jesus is irresistible although not new. But no amount of fascinating subject matter could have held interest for long if the writing were flawed. And Brown's isn't. That I read the illustrated version helped of course, linking location and images to plotline.
Dan Brown deserves his best-seller listing for Da Vinci. It's a gripping read.

=] said...

I'll have to admit that I liked the book too... But I guess it was more because of locations and historical ideas. No wonder he had so much material to write the book - nothing much escapes the notice of a woman =]

BawangMerah said...

It was nice while it lasted. I don't feel like reading it again after I had finished it. A good books makes you want to read from the start just to savour the moments again.

bibliobibuli said...

sorry saras ... got a bit carried away. truth is i also found it quite a lark while reading it ... especially solving the codes ahead of the dimwitted protagonist ... but what actually is interesting about the book is the research taken from other sources and i was fascinated by the theories and the locations ... but i felt the novel to be a real cheap shot, creating artificial climaxes to keep the reader reading, stretching credibility beyond breaking point ... and the characters have no more personality than goldfish ...

still the fun of books is to argue about them and i can see that as a thriller it's pretty much okay ... but that isn't a genre i enjoy unless the writing is does more to me ... a story ain't enough for me ...

i guess waht really gets up my nose are the readers who think it's amazing because it's the only novel they've read in the last thirty years ... met several of them when i went back home ...

bawangmerah - i chucked my copy away when i'd read it and don't miss it ...

bibliobibuli said...

sorry to all who love the book - i am a big-mouthed biggot of a booksnob ...

The Visitor said...

i think Francois Miterrand should sue Dan Brown too. the Louvre does not contain 666 panels of glass!

Brown took a lot of liberties like this, and implicates real people too. he should have his underwear sued off him.

i once found this excellent website that exposed pretty much all of the inaccuracies in the book. if only i could remember the URL!

anyway, the book's opening claims that "all descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate".

now if that doesn't make you want to kick Dan Brown in the nuts ...

Sufian said...

If a book is good who cares how it was written or who wrote it or how accurate it was?

and Sharon,

"i guess waht really gets up my nose are the readers who think it's amazing because it's the only novel they've read in the last thirty years"

Not really fair, yes? How many books must one read for him/her to be able to say so-and-so book is good (or bad)?

The Visitor said...

Sufian,

1. Da Vinci Code is NOT a good book.

2. even if a book is well-written, accuracy is important, as well as respect for information sources and references to real people and places.

3. if you're in the desert and have not had anything to drink or eat for a long time, and i give you toothpaste, you'd think you were having the greatest meal on earth.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, The visitor, but I think Francois Mitterand has been dead for a while... It is Jacques Chirac, now, in charge of France interests.

bibliobibuli said...

suffian, visitor - "good" is a judgement to be made by the reader alone ... actually many friends whose opinion i respect (most of my reading group members) enjoyed this ...

... and when i say good or bad i speak from my own perspective ... and although i can argue my point (and have fun doing so) i have no right to insist anyone shares my view ...

but i think that so many folks who raved about it weren't readers before picking it up (it's good then that mr. brown can demonstrate that there is pleasure in fiction) ... but how sad if they don't explore further ...

another thought for saras - i think i'd have enjoyed the illustrated version better ... but then that doesn't have anything to do w. mr. brown's writing ...

bibliobibuli said...

suffian - If a book is good who cares how it was written or who wrote it or how accurate it was?

good point ... i think i'd have forgiven it everything if the writing was better and it had in any sense moved me ...

How many books must one read for him/her to be able to say so-and-so book is good (or bad)?

a very good question ... but of course i think you can answer it too ... the more you read the more you have a measure to judge writing (inc. your own) by ...

but then not everyone wants to be able to judge ... just want to be entertained ...

am not going to be a booksnob no more

The Visitor said...

alamak, Anon, ur right! i forgot he's dead! (red-faced)

The Visitor said...

Miss Biblio,

i think whether a book is enjoyableor not sometimes has nothing to do with whether it is good or well-written.

i sometimes enjoy some mindless pulp, which are badly written. but i wouldn't go on to praise the book as "good" or "great."

Dan Brown's writing is "lazy" - he uses lazy techniques to create suspense, and i even spotted a few grammatical mistakes, for which the editor should be blamed too.

if someone else enjoyed his book, then fine. but calling it a good book would be bad judgement. i would not dispute anyone's enjoyment of the book, but i would dispute their over-praising of it.

Anonymous said...

I just read A&D, and it was.. bad. At the end of the book, I still didn't know what he looked like. The romance (if it was a romance) between what could be arguably called the female lead (or not) is sketchy. In fact, the whole novel is sketchy. It relies on "flash" and gimmicks to sell, it's all marketing. It's like a TV movie, except in prose form.

And in spite of that, in sold more than a lot of more deserving books. Is this where we're headed ?

Spot said...

"if someone else enjoyed his book, then fine. but calling it a good book would be bad judgement."

But Visitor, surely any person who enjoyed something would consider that something "good". Not only because judgement is inherently subjective, it's also a logical conclusion.

I thought it was a good book. Maybe having the illustrated version helped, but I unabashedly say - it was gripping, stupid cliffhangers and elementary puzzles aside.

However, it wasn't good enough to make me want to run out and buy the DB box set. Or even to read another of his books.

I just took Da Vinci Code as a good yarn. Like how some idiotic TV comedies are good, in that you can't help watching anyway. Because it entertains.

It all comes down to being entertained. DVC was a not so much a "good" book, but good entertainment.

Most people these days have short attention spans. DVC is the music video to the BBC's Pride & Prejudice TV series.

On the copyright issue, the law is clear. There can be no copyright in ideas. DB may have lifted the idea but his style of writing, the delivery of the idea, is evidently so different from that of the other two authors as to appeal to the masses.

Call it writing style, dose of imagination or cover version; it's all about interpretation. Taking an idea and running with it.

The literary world would be a wasteland if we couldn't run with an idea, albeit someone else's.

The Visitor said...

hi Spot,

"Like how some idiotic TV comedies are good, in that you can't help watching anyway."

i think that's an oxymoron (am i using this correctly?). idiotic and good don't go together in one sentence.

i enjoy a lot of stupid comedies too, but that's just me and my escapism needs. but i know based on technicalities and other yardsticks, that those movies aren't good.

i find that a lot of times, ppl are unable to evaluate something objectively. something that entertains isn't necessarily a work of art.

here's an example:

the Mr Bean series.

hey, i laugh like crazy when i see it. and i know it takes a certain comedic skill and timing to do what Atkinson does so effectively. but i also recognise the fact that it is not intellectual comedy.

it is just like how some ppl revere the Star Wars series so much that they claim it as the greatest films ever made. to me, they're enjoyable pulp, but upon closer scrutiny, they're not even politically correct, badly acted, badly plotted, and aren't very original.

Seth Gecko said...

I for one am as pleased as punch that Leigh and Baigent had to eat crow and go home with their academic tails tucked beween their legs.As a book,DVC fulfilled most major requirements for a thriller although it's pedestrian writing and colourless characters left me cold.But more to the point of this discussion:Ideas presented in DVC,whether packaged haphazardly within a routine run-of-the mill thriller(as what was done by Dan Brown),or woven seamlessly into a exciting tension-filled plot with superior writing by a more accomplished practisioner of the craft,have been floating about in academic and religious texts for decades.What I'm sure irked Mr.Leigh and Mr.Baigent and a good many other people I reckon is the fact that their "academic" work using the Grail theory was moderately successful while Brown's packaging of it has netted him the GDP of a small nation!Leigh and Baigent wanted a piece of the lucrative Da Vinci pie.Can't blame them.Who wouldn't?But to tar Mr.Brown with the plagiarist's brush for ideas long floating in the public domain is a tad too much.Anyway,thanks to the publicity surrounding this case,the plaintiffs should see sales of their books increasing substantially,just in time to pay
their lawyers!

Spot said...

"idiotic and good don't go together in one sentence."

In the world of The Three Stooges, they do. :)

My fault, I admit. I meant that idiotic comedies are good entertainment. I certainly don't think they're intellectual comedy, but does that mean that I can't describe their comedic/entertainment value as good?

I totally understand the condescension with which people who think that Dan Brown and DVC are divine gifts borne from Mt. Sinai by Moses ought to be looked upon. I too, am a snob.

But the equally disproportionate intensity of one's condemnation and dismissal of others' preferences AND of Dan Brown's incredible success, might give the impression,, however erroneously, that one's grapes are turning to vinegar.

P/s - Because it is so easy to ruffle feathers via emotionless words, I state for the record that the last para does not come with a sarcastic tone:)

The Visitor said...

snobs of the world unite!!!

woo hoo!

Greenbottle said...

i think if dan brown is reading all this... he'll be laughing his head off... it's precisely because of you guys who succumb to hype that writers like him are the ones that laugh all the way to the bank... hype works!!! otherwise how can you explain reasonably mature people (above eighteen) going bonkers over jk rowling and mr brown??..i detest hype...hence i won't be reading any of these books for quite a while at least...

Anonymous said...

We should all just hire PR firms and be part-time cartoonists. :)

bibliobibuli said...

i'm laughing here ... when other bloggers want lots of posts they start a blog war or threaten to pack in the blogging thing

i just mention dan brown