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the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

The Dan Brown Standard

in General Rants , Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"Don't pick up this book if you are expecting a masterpiece comparable to The Da Vinci Code" says a random review trawled from Google. Well, if I was expecting a masterpiece comparable to The Da Vinci Code, I wouldn't be expecting a masterpiece. I'd be expecting a piece of sensationalist junk written by an illiterate and benefiting from a world-class marketing (I'm assuming that "comparable" is taken as meaning "of similar merit to" rather than "it is ok to compare it" ...). It seems almost impossible to find a book these days which does not feature some cover blurb about the bloody Da Vinci Code or Dan bloody Brown. "Comparable to the Da Vinci Code" .. ."If you like the Da Vinci Code, you'll love this" ... etc etc. The absolute limit is when some moron claims that Umberto Eco's "Foucault's Pendulum" is too difficult to read and not as good as the "Da Vinci Code". Listen, the Z├╝rich phone book is comparable to the Da Vinci Code, although it is more rewarding to read and is far better written. The only book that I've ever read which I would say is worse than the Da Vinci Code is, well, Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. Actually, it is more or less the same book, except it is slightly worse written (difficult to imagine, I know), and even more ludicrous. The totally unchallenged rise of absolute mediocrity puts me in mind of scenes from "Brave New World". People are becoming less and less willing to submit to any kind of intellectual challenge, to the extent of being actually terrified of any book which doesn't come with 35 how-to-read-it guides (with lots of pictures). Imagination is dead. Literal-mindedness spread by the love affair that geeks have with autism (a bit like Romantic poets and consumption), is taking over. I guess an age gets the literature it deserves. It is really ironic that Leonardo's name is associated with such tripe. Now that the literary world appears to aspire to the Dan Brown Standard, can we assume that sales of crayons and colouring books are rocketing? Pshawww.