Friday, October 23, 2009

Where Were You At The Time?

About Dan Brown and his books...I read them. There's usually something educational in them and I like being able to speak with first-hand knowledge around the water cooler so I read them. I am not, however, a huge fan. I like that he made a special effort to give back to his home community but, having been a part of his home community, I also know a little bit about his pre-famous past, which helps to keep me from putting him on a pedestal (Did you click on that link? He doesn't need my puny pedestal. "The Official Web Site of Bestselling Author Dan Brown" has clearly built a nosebleed quality pedestal for him already). Oh, and I read Digital Fortress. If the way he wrote that female protagonist doesn't make you want to kick his balls up through the top of his head nothing will.

I'm not very far into the new book, less than 100 pages, but he's officially lost me. I don't think what I'm going to share here is spoilery in any way. It's a bit of exposition, a bit of officious, ignorant exposition.

"In 2001, in the hours following the horrifying events of September 11...[f]our scientists discovered that as the frightened world came together and focused in shared grief on the single tragedy..."

"The frightened world came together" can only be something dreamed up by someone who only watches nothing but US-produced news and has taken care not to speak to citizens of other countries for the past 8 years. Yes, many people around the world were kind to Americans and lent their support. Many people of different nations were killed and many people from different nations had compassion for those who experienced this tragedy. However, there were dances of joy in some countries. It was not uncommon to hear, "That's terrible but, really, what did you expect?" or, "Given what you've been doing it's lucky it wasn't a lot worse." or my personal favorite, "Where were you people during the blitz?"

The world did not come together in support of America (aside: why the fuck should it?) and if that's what you were getting out of what was going on at that point then you just weren't paying attention. Where do you think the colossally stupid Freedom Fries bullshit came from?

Less than 30 pages later there's already been another heavy handed 9/11 reference. I can tell it's going to be his thing for this book. Since he's set it in Washington, DC I guess it's no surprise but it's making my foot itch to kick him in the crotch like never before. Of course, despite the great strides I have made lately in weaning myself off of language (not ideas, language) that does nothing but make my blood boil I'm going to keep reading. I'll probably like a lot of it and I know I'll be really glad to be able to speak with authority about it even (especially) the parts that piss me off.

Which I guess makes this nothing more than a warning: Be ye prepared, ranting to come!


  1. your crotch kicking rants are something even Julia Sugarbaker stands in awe of.

    I await.

    and ps. have not read the book. I dont love him. I think he's a better researcher than a writer.

  2. I wasn't planning on reading it, so I probably won't be tempted now. I never could get into his writing. I am one of the few who hated The DaVinci code because of some plot inconsistencies. It just drove me nutty from a logistical perspective!

    I need something good and new to read. Nothing on the best-sellers list is tempting me.

  3. I tried to read Angels and Demons several years ago and got about five pages into it before I wanted to throw it into the fireplace.

    I HATE bad writing. I especially hate bad writing that manages to become a bestseller.

    There's a detective series that I used to love - turns out the first dozen or so books were written by a ghostwriter, and he and the nominal author had a falling out. So for the next book, the author hired a new ghost. It was such horrendous dreck. Reading the first new-ghost book was a strange experience - it was like - where are the characters I love and what have you done with them? Now, some 6 new-ghost books later, it feels like the characters I loved died.

    Not only was the writing horrible, approaching grotesque sometimes, but also the characters morphed into horrible people.

  4. I've read Dan Brown and pretty much feel the same way. I was purchasing something at a bookstore just before the release of his latest. The check-out girl asked me if I wanted to reserve my copy. I think I visibly cringed because she gave me this odd look as I tried to politely say "no thank you". The very idea of reading his newest make me shudder and not in a good way.