You've read the book, now play in the website!
August 10, 2004 11:17 AM   Subscribe

The Davinci Code website hasn't been linked on the front page! Check it out and have fun with codes, conspiracies, art and a challenge. Good fun that might also make you go "hmmmm".
posted by ashbury (47 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm always happy when obscure writers' works are brought to my attention
posted by matteo at 11:19 AM on August 10, 2004

Also see Da Vinci Hoax for a scholarly -- though Catholically slanted -- debunk of Dan Brown's rather shaky grasp of history.
posted by brownpau at 11:22 AM on August 10, 2004

what matteo said. read some real holy words, friends. you could do worse with your life than to dedicate it reading Joyce.

BAAAAAAAAH. After DaVinci Code I read the new Bourne movie book! Did you know it was a book!? Oh its SOO good.

Mefi shouldnt spread sheep feces that are already well accounted for. South Beach Diets gonna make you sexually (and intellecually) attractive... Atkins was just a work in progess.... theyve FINALLY mastered the secret to being lazy AND thin. FOREVER!!!!
posted by Satapher at 11:29 AM on August 10, 2004

All New Testament references to the woman from Magdala

Why Jesus Didn't Marry
Given that Jesus was not married, the question becomes 'why not?' A look at some of the possibilities.
By John Dominic Crossan

Mary, Mary, Extraordinary
She was an important disciple and witness for Jesus, but there is no historical evidence for a more intimate relationship.
By Ben Witherington III

Was Jesus Married?

A new novel forces people to confront a biblical puzzle. Was Mary Magdalene Mrs. Jesus?
By Deborah Caldwell

Fact Flirts With Fiction in `The Da Vinci Code'
How much of the novel's cloak-and-dagger detail is true and how much is a good story?
posted by matteo at 11:44 AM on August 10, 2004

Fact and Fiction in The DaVinci Code audiobook lecture: "two free, 30-minute lectures on "Fact and Fiction in The DaVinci Code" from biblical expert Professor Bart D. Ehrman of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. One of our most popular professors, Professor Ehrman (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary)"
posted by turbodog at 11:45 AM on August 10, 2004

(via Beliefnet)
posted by matteo at 11:45 AM on August 10, 2004

For some real Da Vinci Code related entertainment, the Language Log review never fails to disappoint.
posted by brownpau at 11:46 AM on August 10, 2004

No no no no, you guys have got it all wrong: I'm NOT pimping the book - if you read the title this page, it says "you've read the book, now..." I'm pimping the WEBSITE which I think is kind of cool and can easily stand alone from the book. (Did you even take a look at the site, satapher and matteo?)
posted by ashbury at 11:52 AM on August 10, 2004

I haven't read The DaVinci Code—am I correct in understanding it to be Foucault's Pendulum Lite?
posted by kenko at 11:53 AM on August 10, 2004

From brownpau's link: "Brown's writing is not just bad; it is staggeringly, clumsily, thoughtlessly, almost ingeniously bad." That's true, but the book still is a page-turner and should make a good movie.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:55 AM on August 10, 2004

(Did you even take a look at the site, satapher and matteo?)

yeah, about six months ago, actually
posted by matteo at 12:00 PM on August 10, 2004

Is it time to make funny references to Pepsi Blue?
posted by bshort at 12:06 PM on August 10, 2004

matteo, i had no problem with your comment, it was more satapher's that bugged me, and since he mentioned you, i did too. Pretend I didn't use your name.
posted by ashbury at 12:06 PM on August 10, 2004

Kenko: I think its The Name of the Rose Lite, but i havnt read Pendulum yet.
posted by lkc at 12:10 PM on August 10, 2004

You're not pimping the book, just a site that has no other purpose (or interest IMO) than pimping the book.
Metapimping , no?
I can't decide if you're naive, disingenous or both.
posted by signal at 12:14 PM on August 10, 2004

Dan Brown has no narrative voice. Consequently, reading The Da Vinci Code was roughly equivalent to watching someone dumber than you play a computer adventure game:

"It's 'APPLE' you fucking moron! How can you not see that it's 'APPLE'?"

Yes that's a spoiler, but only if you're stupid.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:34 PM on August 10, 2004

i *loved* Foucault's Pendulum when i read it in high school. it will definitely take a little longer than the 3-4 days required for DVC, but far more worth your time.

That's true, but the book still is a page-turner and should make a good movie.

agreed. i read it in 3 days, not even pushing that hard. i kept thinking, "this was written just for the movie rights."
posted by mrgrimm at 12:42 PM on August 10, 2004

people pimp movies all the time, even though they are at best lamed-down books for the moronic masses, posturing as some sort of artistic acheivement themselves. so why not pimp a web site about a book as if it were some sort of artistic acheivment itself?
posted by quonsar at 12:56 PM on August 10, 2004

oh man, you know what's even better?

try knowing a little bit about computers and crypto and trying to read "digital fortress" without wincing.

that's the book that really tipped me off that dan brown's full of shit.
posted by Veritron at 12:57 PM on August 10, 2004

I vote for "The Name of the Rose" lite.
posted by nofundy at 12:58 PM on August 10, 2004

Also, what veritron just said. So true.
posted by nofundy at 12:59 PM on August 10, 2004

signal, I may be naive and/or disingenous but the point of the post was to show that some fun and interesting times could be had at the site. Knowing full well that the site also pimps the book, I was hoping that most people had already read the book but not seen the site, therefor not really pimping the book, if that makes any sense.

A person can enjoy the fruits of pepsi blue without actually drinking the damn stuff.

Anyway, I'm done defending myself, specially since I don't think there's any need to do so.
posted by ashbury at 1:02 PM on August 10, 2004

Kenko: Da Vinci Code is to Foucault's Pendulum as Kryptonite is to Superman. Judging from the relative popularity of these two books, the kryptonite is winning.

Foucault's Pendulum mocks the credulity of people who see mystically meaningful coincidences under every rock; Da Vinci Code is the credulity of someone who sees mystically meaningful coincidences under every rock. If Dan Brown had to footnote his work, his notes would probably reveal that he gets most of his "facts" from Gene Ray and his ilk.
posted by adamrice at 1:47 PM on August 10, 2004

AdamRice, I love your second paragraph on the diff. between FP and DVC.

The first, though, I'm not buying. If FP is Superman, DVC is more like one of those supercrappy sixth-string superheroes like "Booster Gold", if "Booster Gold" suddenly became really popular for some reason.

I also have no patience for DVC because I read all this nonsense in Holy Blood, Holy Grail already, and Dan Brown's "prose style" and "characterization" don't add anything to the crazy conspiracy theories.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:58 PM on August 10, 2004

I'm pimping the WEBSITE which I think is kind of cool and can easily stand alone from the book.

Actually you won't get far in playing with the fun parts of the website without a physical copy of the book in hand, as I discovered (several months ago) after I had already loaned my copy of the book out.

I agree with PinkStainlessTail's conclusion ("It's apple, dammit!") but don't see what the relationship is between way-too-simple riddles and a lack of a narrative voice.

As someone who rarely reads thrillers, though, I ate it up with a spoon. Very fun to read when not waiting for the characters to catch up.
posted by obloquy at 1:59 PM on August 10, 2004

I enjoyed DaVinci, but what really bothers me about Dan Brown's books is how horribly exactly-the-same they all are. Every damn one (of the three I've read, I should say) has some unbelievably gorgeous smart woman (who, by the way, asks INCREDIBLY stupid questions about their field, or to further the plot) and a fairly good-looking guy. The bad guy is always a good authority figure. Boy and girl spend the entire book running between places, pausing from running only to explain the plot to us. Say, a few paragraphs on cryptography, or some lessons on mary magdalene.

At least he's getting better as he goes...
The pretty, smart-yet-stupid girl thing really gets to me though.
posted by graventy at 2:06 PM on August 10, 2004

I agree with PinkStainlessTail's conclusion... but don't see what the relationship is between way-too-simple riddles and a lack of a narrative voice.

I guess my point was that it could have been an interesting book and still have way-too-simple riddles. The Raffles and Lupin stories jump to mind, or the tv show Monk if you prefer a more modern example: not particularly brilliant mysteries and puzzles, but the characters are wonderful.

As it was, the book was just a dull exercise with utterly forgettable characters and writing.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:06 PM on August 10, 2004

The Seville Communion by Arturo Pérez-Reverte ought to be a thinking man's DVC, while still being a quick read. I haven't, though.
posted by ikalliom at 2:22 PM on August 10, 2004

pfft. I just finished it. It's a fun little action story, good light summer reading.

If you can't enjoy something because it's popular or fun, then I feel sorry for you.
posted by Capn at 2:23 PM on August 10, 2004

I found The Da Vinci Code fun in a reading a text adventure walk-through kind of way, even if advancing the contents of Holy Blood, Holy Grail as something all real historians knew and believed was grating.

Angels & Daemons on the other hand, I threw across the room after 70 pages. At least TDVC didn't pretend not to be contrived.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 2:34 PM on August 10, 2004

Capn, those of us who were already familiar with the whole "Merovingian" theory from earlier books (Holy Blood, Holy Grail or Foucault's Pendulum) couldn't find much to entertain us in The DaVinci Code.

Shirley you're not going to argue that Brown's writing or characterization is anything other than wooden. The book succeeds as far as it does because of the wacky plot. If you already know the wacky plot, all you're left with is dull writing and unconvincing characters.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:59 PM on August 10, 2004

A friend of mine had not read a novel (non-fiction only, mostly self-help) in 20 years. She chose DVC as her return to the land of fiction on her daughter's recommendation. She enjoyed the book and asked me to suggest others like it. Since I hadn't read DVC, I decided to do so in order to see what it was about.

The most interesting part was seeing how many pages there were until the next howling error. (The first one I remember was about 25 pages in where the girl explains to the guy that he has a tracking device on him that sends signals to GPS satellites....right.) My favorite was Brown's florid description of the pope dumping the ashes of the Templars into the Tiber -- never mind that the pope was in Avignon at the time.
posted by joaquim at 4:10 PM on August 10, 2004

If you can't enjoy something because it's popular or fun, then I feel sorry for you.

I couldn't enjoy TDVC because it was braindead and boring as hell.
Foucault's Pendulum and the Name of the Rose are popular and fun.
posted by signal at 4:23 PM on August 10, 2004

I found a million irritating plot/characterization/rhythm holes too, and Brown really needs to look up what the word "burgeoning" means pronto, but what's the problem with a GPS tracker? /luddite
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:41 PM on August 10, 2004

CunningLinguist: GPS satellites are emitters. The only signals they receive from earth are under very strict US control. GPS receivers on Earth work by triangulation -- they receive signals from satellites in view and use the delay between the signals to calculate the receiver's exact position.

Strictly speaking, that's all a GPS receiver does. Mapping, navigation, etc., are all done by other equipment (or other circuitry contained in the same box as the GPS receiver). It's possible to transmit the output of the GPS receiver to another (non-GPS) receiver and perform a tracking function, but receivers down here don't send signals to the GPS satellites.
posted by joaquim at 7:53 PM on August 10, 2004

ah. gracias.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:32 PM on August 10, 2004

Did you even take a look at the site, satapher?

I looked at the URI ;)
posted by Satapher at 8:38 PM on August 10, 2004

I like to tell Dan Brown's groupies that they have horrible taste in what some might call literature.

Fuckin' tools!
posted by blasdelf at 10:19 PM on August 10, 2004

The thing that got to me was Brown's switching back and forth between referring to a person named da Vinci and a person named Leonardo. Maybe The Leonardo Code just doesn't have the same ring to it, and maybe more people are familiar with "da Vinci" than Leonardo, but it's just irresponsible.

That said, I've read that one, Angels & Demons and Digital Fortress and was able to look past the inconsistencies and formulaic-ness to enjoy the books for what they were—page-turners.

I'm still upset that my sister's school has put TDC on her summer reading list, though. That's just sad.
posted by emelenjr at 10:35 PM on August 10, 2004

Hell, the blurb on the back of "Digital Fortress" turned me off of Brown's work, and I didn't even have to read any:
When the NSA's invincible code-breaking machine encounters a mysterious code it cannot break, the agency calls its head cryptographer, Susan Fletcher, a brilliant and beautiful mathematician. What she uncovers sends shock waves through the corridors of power. The NSA is being held hostage . . . not by guns or bombs, but by a code so ingeniously complex that if released would cripple U.S. intelligence. Caught in an accelerating tempest of secrecy and lies, Fletcher battles to save the agency she believes in. Betrayed on all sides, she finds herself fighting not only for her country but for her life, and in the end, for the life of the man she loves.
And I made the mistake of reading "Deception Point", and damn near did throw it across the room after a hundred pages or so. I don't need strict realism in my fiction, but the depths of Brown's ignorance were appalling.

To wit: the US can essentially invade Canada, but no one notices? Washington, DC's geography is reversed? The highest-rated show on TV is a documentary about the oceans?

And product placement? In a novel? Ye gods.
posted by Vidiot at 10:40 PM on August 10, 2004

A person can enjoy the fruits of pepsi blue without actually drinking the damn stuff.

Fruit can often be healthy and delicious.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 AM on August 11, 2004

Umberto Eco is a scholar. Brown merely an entertainer. Even mentioning these two in a same sentence insults the former.

I wouldn't call "the Seville Communion" a thinking man's DVC - there's not enough mystery/conspiracy-crap included. But a thinking (wo)man's book it surely is - damn, I did not know catholic fathers could be sooooooooooo hot!
posted by inkeri at 5:10 AM on August 11, 2004

If you can't enjoy something because it's popular or fun, then I feel sorry for you.

Now tell me what I have in my pockets, Kreskin.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:02 AM on August 11, 2004

I've given up on trying to convince the world at large that the man who painted the Mona Lisa was named "Leonardo", not "da Vinci".

But just in case anyone cares, his name was "Leonardo". "da Vinci" was a cognomen, not a last name; it indicated that he came from the town of Vinci. Leonardo did not have a last name as we understand them today.

Calling a book about coded messages in Leonardo's paintings "The Da Vinci Code" makes approximately as much sense as calling a book about the colonizing of Greenland by Erik the Red "The The Red Journeys".
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:50 AM on August 11, 2004

Leonardo of Vinci.

The of Vinci Code.

Anyway, why waste time reading crap when there are so many good books out there? A good summer read: McCullough's First Man in Rome series. A nice blend of fact and fiction. Very readable, very well-written, very interesting. Pelle the Conqueror, an incredible story of Scandinavian hardship, sorrow, and triumph. Gone with the Wind, an excellent classic. Or, for that matter, the Little House on the Prairie series, which is of course dead easy to read, yet also amusing and astounding.

So many books, so little time: why waste it?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:38 AM on August 11, 2004

funny coincidence, I just finished reading TDVC today... it was definitely a page-turner, but the writing was crap. My main thought while reading it was about what lines and characters would have to be removed to make the screenplay, which is pretty much 100% going to happen.
posted by krunk at 5:54 PM on August 11, 2004

fff, w00t to McCullough's Rome series. That she seems to have a massive crush on her idealized vision of Julius Caesar only makes it better.
posted by brownpau at 6:26 AM on August 12, 2004

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