Thursday, May 18, 2006

Cheerios and DaVinci Codes

I woke up this morning to a bowl of cherrios and the New York Times review of the upcoming summer blockbuster, The DaVinci Code. I expected the critic's opinion of the film to be less than stellar, but what I truly reveled in was his unabashed attack of Dan Brown's novel, "the movie that inspired the book."
Of course Mr. Brown's novel was a screenplay before it was ever a novel, and this seems glaringly obvious as one reads this atrocity of a work of fiction.

A few months ago, I was reading an interview with Mr. Brown in which he stated that on beginning a day of work, he and his wife (who apparently is also a novelist, please please let her be a better one than her husband) begin the day with breakfast, yoga, and then continue on into their four to five hours of writing. FOUR TO FIVE HOURS? It takes him FOUR TO FIVE HOURS to produce something that lousy???

Granted, I never finished The DaVinci Code. I couldn't. I literally (ha ha) couldn't make it through the thing. Apologetically, I do make concessions to those who looooove the book, as it is a piece of entertainment, and I give it to Mr. Brown: there are certainly less interesting narratives. BUT THE WRITING IS UNFORGIVABLE.

So my question is, what the hell is America's obsession with mediocrity in the arts? We certainly don't praise mediocrity in any other arena, namely in business or economic matters we are over-producers, stellar workers, we take pride in what we do. Right? Then again, maybe not. Our President was a C average student and we're damn proud of that, capisce? Or are we too afraid to admit to ourselves that we truly are mediocre? Or, is it the opposite? Do we love being mediocre--is that why we classify any artistic effort that soars above our heads to be snobby or inaccessible?

Of course I will go see this movie about Jesus gettin' it on with Mary M. I have to, right? Otherwise, how could I have a conversation with anyone for the next month? Also, if the movie is good it's good, but if it's bad, that's a month I can spend tearing it to pieces. Isn't that what's so wonderful about art? That we have standards we can hold our choice of pleasure up to? I haven't quite mastered the art of applying this same dedication to greatness to my personal life, but when I have figured it out, I'll surely let you know.


terrette said...

Maybe it because many Americans do things out of a false sense of obligation that they end up "celebrating mediocrity," as you say.

Do you really need to see a hyped-up, surely not-worth-a-crap movie based upon a hyped-up, shoddily written piece of airport trash just to "have a conversation"?

Snobber said...

False sense of obligation - I think you're right. Sort of the Puritan Work Ethic? Also, I know many people claim to have stress-filled lives, and the last thing they want out of a movie or a book is to be challenged or stressed.

Do I really need to see the DaVinci code? Of course not. And I haven't; I hear it's horrible.