Wednesday, May 17, 2006

More on Da Vinci

I read this today-

HOLLYWOOD HERESY Marketing "The Da Vinci Code" to Christians

It's long, but has bunches of good information.


Bill Donohue, the president of the Catholic League, and a usually reliable volunteer in the culture conflicts, decided early on that he was not going to participate in any boycott of the film. "First of all, it's a useless exercise," he says. "The movie's going to be a box-office extravaganza the first weekend or two. After that, if it's a good movie it'll continue; if not, it'll fail." Donohue says that he is galled by Dan Brown's insistence on the book's factuality, and that he has asked Sony and Ron Howard to add a disclaimer to the film, labelling it as fiction. He says, "I have to be prudent. I want to win. This book has sold forty million copies. It's got Tom Hanks, Sony behind it, Ron Howard. To the extent that we can get the word out--'Look, go and be entertained, this is good fun, but this movie is a fable'--to that extent, that's about as good as I can get."

This from the group that had brochures in Churches across America decrying the film Dogma (which also says that Jesus was married and had kids, but no one took it seriously) several years ago. I guess they're finally learning to not give films like this the extra publicity.

The theme of engagement has come to define the Christian response to "The Da Vinci Code" well beyond the Sony discourse. Ministers across the country have arranged discussion groups and courses of instruction tied to the questions raised by Brown's work, and even Opus Dei leaders now speak of it as a "teaching moment." Sony is undoubtedly pleased by this outcome. If Christian leaders are speaking of "dialogue" and "engagement," they are not saying, "Don't see this film." In the realm of damage control, that may be a serviceable definition of controlling the controversy.

Well, SOME folks are still saying "don't see this film", but we're doing so quietly, so as not to give Sony any publicity about it. Christians can't ignore this film (and book) because too many people DO take the claims seriously, so we MUST engage the culture in discussions and 'teaching moments'. We must be prepared to, as St. Peter says, "Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame." (1 Peter 3:15-16 NAB)

As it happens, the "Da Vinci Code" experience has provided Opus Dei itself with a valuable marketing tutorial. After initially considering a lawsuit against Brown or Sony, the prelature decided instead to take advantage of the publicity. The red brick building at Thirty-fourth and Lexington has been opened to reporters, and so many tourists stop by that the prelature began leaving recruitment literature by the front entrance. Opus Dei redesigned its Web site, making it more user-friendly, and has posted a list of "Da Vinci Code" corrections. (Regarding Opus Dei "monks," such as Silas, the prelature notes, "Like all Catholics, Opus Dei members have great appreciation for monks, but in fact there are no monks in Opus Dei.") The Web site has received more than three million visitors, and Peter Bancroft, Opus Dei's national communications director, says that some of the curious have now become members. The Silas wannabes are generally screened out.

So, good is coming from this and I support all the efforts to educate both Christians and non-Christians on the issues that the book/movie bring up.

But I still don't have to support the film with my money.

Oh, by the way, here's Opus Dei's website, just in case you are interested! ;)

Opus Dei

UPDATE- Then again, maybe we won't have to worry too much aboutit after all- 'Da Vinci Code' Misses the Mark for Critics But we're still off to see Over the Hedge this weekend!


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