Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Fiction != Lies

Hopefully the new "ecumenical breakthrough" and idiotic protests over The Da Vinci Code movie will make Andrew Sullivan rethink his earlier silliness on the matter:
No Da Vinci Disclaimer: A pity, I think. It's hack fiction. People might actually believe it.... But on its own, it's fictional dreck and Hollywood hooey.
No kidding! Of course it's fictional dreck (full disclosure: I listened to The Da Vinci Code on audiobook on the long roadtrips between L.A. and Phoenix and L.A. and S.F.). So why does it need a disclaimer? Its very existence is its own disclaimer.

People might actually believe the story laid out in the book and movie? Then those people are stupid.

People might actually claim that it is "'blasphemous' because it spreads 'lies' about Jesus Christ"? To some, it's "lies," to others it's "fiction."

"One Roman Catholic activist has gone on what he says is a 'hunger strike until death' unless the film is banned." You know what? That's his business. I'm offended by the sentiment expressed in the Left Behind books, but I'm not going to go on hunger strike until Tim Lahaye and Kurt Cameron are banned from polite society. Do you know why? Because I AM NOT AN IDIOT. And if you are not an idiot, you do not need a disclaimer to distinguish fiction from lies. You don't have to read the book. You don't have to watch the movie. You don't have to listen to the heated blathering of some fool who uses the material as the launching point for his own fevered conspiracy theories. You are completely free to ignore anything and everything to do with the material! And this does not require a disclaimer so that you can determine once and for all whether or not the work in question is a silly summer beach read or the recounting of a sinister historical plot.

A novel does not require a disclaimer distinguishing it from reality. And the novel's relative literary quality (or lack thereof) plays absolutely no part in whether it needs to distinguish itself for people. Shame on Sullivan for siding with morons and zealots and suggesting otherwise.

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