Friday, June 24, 2005

She's Baaack

The Joy of Knitting has returned. She was down for awhile due to the fact that her computer room was being repainted. When she first went off line, I thought it would be a few days, perhaps a week at the most. But it was almost a month -- oh, I forgot: these were Italian painters. They're probably much like French plumbers, about whom I've read horror stories. Americans living in France have learned to do their own plumbing -- which is illegal, of course.
Her latest post is devoted to her sad experience of reading one of the da Vinci code books (and no, I'm not going to link to the darn book. I don't link to trash, you have to work for it yourself).

As I did, Joy figured if so many people were reading and talking about a book, it must be good, right? Suuure...was it H.L. Mencken who cautioned us about never underestimating general intelligence? The Da Vinci Code is a prime example of that adage.

Fortunately, I never had to buy it. In my weekly visits to the Blue Town nearest us (if NYC is the Big Apple, this place is the Little Kumquat: sweet on the outside, seedy and sour in the middle) a stop at Barnes and Noble to see what's new and what's being pushed, one couldn't avoid "Da Code." So up it went into my stack for the toddle over to the Starbucks for a peruse -- as I remember, it joined some political essays, a new Elmore Leonard, an old Billy Collins, and a nicely bound Jane Austen.

After getting my latte and settling into the booth, the first book up was da Vinci. Yak! Hex sign. What drivel, what fourth rate sloppy writing. We're back to the Goddess, folks. The suppressed Goddess of course. Egad, more Pope Joan gar-bage. I thought that was done after Mary Daley went away. And guess who's to blame for this state of affairs? Why the mean and evil Catholic Church and those nasty men who run it. Were it not for them, we'd still be in Eden, worshipping Herself and lazing around chewing apples and medlar fruit.

Spare me. Or rather, despair is can my fellow women fall for this stuff, over and over? Buncha hennie pennies, too: I'll bet the same niche in the market who actually reads this stuff believes in global warming and oil for blood, or whatever the tinfoil term for the Iraq War is. Tell me there aren't any men buying this thing? Oh Lord, a man actually wrote it.

I felt like such a feminist after looking that book over. I felt like what's-her-name -- the one who had to flee the room during Larry Summer's remarks about math and gender correlations. Such was my distress, I didn't know whether to throw up or come down with a case of the vapors...I must say I didn't run from the room, though. I stopped on the way out to pay for Elmore and Billy's books.

Joy actually got through the whole thing, which is more than I (or what's-her-name at Harvard with Larry Summers)could do. Here's part of her experience:’s the mother of all disappointments. For one thing, the writing is sloppy to say the least. I’m a non-native speaker but I’ve read a lot of books in English in my life, and I’ve never found such a repetitive, unimaginative use of the English language. The characters are made of cardboard, all built with tired clichés. Faint attempts at characterization here and there made my eyes water. The plot never really takes off the ground, it’s utterly non-sensational twist after non-sensational twist, all predictable and boring. Yet, reading the excerpts from the rave reviews quoted in the first few pages you’d think the critics had had one too many or had been smoking some mysterious substance. They even went so far as praising the author’s erudition and scholarship, and for “incorporating massive amounts of historical and academic information”. If there’s anything academic in this book, the world of academe has gone down the drain. Actually, “The Da Vinci Code” is based on an extraordinary feat of bad research....
She gives you the spoiler, which will save you the trouble of having to actually look at the book.

I must admit that so far the only boughten copies I've seen sit on the coffee tables and bookshelves of my liberal friends. I shall have to say something tactful should one of them ask me if I've read the book. Having reached my mature years I cannot say what is in my heart, which is : ARE YOU TOTALLY INSANE, WOMAN? YOU HAVE A LAW DEGREE, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE. SURELY YOU KNOW SOME HISTORY? DON'T TELL ME -- YOU SLEEP UNDER A PYRAMID. In this scenario, I'd run from the room, screaming.

Nah. I'll just point at her philodendron and ask her how she keeps her plants so healthy. Or something.


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