Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Mr Dan Brown, looking suitably inscrutable and very happy with his 6th grade vocabulary
Dante, who need have no worries about being forgotten, unlike the gentleman pictured above
Mr Dan Brown, author of numerous books which generally have a Gunning-Fog reader index of just above the 6th Grade level, has announced that he has been inspired by no less than Dante himself when compiling his latest farrago, "Inferno".  Consider: we are asked to believe that a writer of instantly forgettable nonsense and who writes at a grammar school level is hoping we will accept him as a new Dante.  Or at least as someone who can perhaps "channel" Dante himself.


One can only pity Mr Brown.  Can self-delusion be carried any further than this?

Writing for The Guardian, Peter Conrad dismissed the book's content saying, among other things: "Inferno is also dreadful, abounding in malapropisms and solecisms, leaden restatements of the obvious and naive disinformation about the reality outside the bat-thronged belfry that is Brown's head."  Mr Conrad might be distressed to learn that this book has already become a best seller in America.  Assuming that millionaire Brown did not buy most of those books himself we must assume that the cultural level of the American public is not terribly high.

Wikipedia describes the plot:

"Harvard University professor Robert Langdon wakes up in a hospital with a head wound and no memory of the last few days. His last memory is walking on the Harvard campus, but he quickly realizes that he is now in Florence. Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors tending to him, tells him he suffered a concussion from being grazed by a bullet, and had stumbled into the emergency ward. Suddenly, Vayentha, a female assassin who has been following Robert, breaks into the hospital, shoots the doctor in charge of Robert's care, and approaches Robert's room. Sienna grabs Robert and they flee to her apartment."

That is the first paragraph.  Anyone wanting to read beyond that deserves high praise for stamina. 

And in reading this first paragraph I believe we can confidently assume that Dante need have no worries about a budding rival. 

It is always fun when these newly-hatched "best selling writers" turn up out of the ether.  Dear Kitty Muggeridge would refer to them as having "risen without trace".  True enough.  They are nonentities propped up solely by American marketing know-how and by nothing else.  And the stupider and more infantile their books are the more they are lapped up by the public, the same public that presumably follows every story about the "celebs" whose decidedly uninteresting mugs grace all the latest and greatest tabloids found at the supermarket checkout counter, or on msn, yahoo and everybody else's home pages.

What a taste we must have for the idiotic.  The movie Avatar grosses millions and the literary droolings of Mr Brown sell in the millions.  It is a bit frightening to think that those who gulp down this stuff can be our neighbors, our friends even some of our family members.  Are we really that witless of a society?

Still, all is not lost.  There are pockets of people around the world who read Dostoevsky and Chesterton instead of Brown, or see films by Jean Renoir and John Ford instead of James Cameron and whoever else has come out of nowhere to become an acclaimed movie director.  Culture will survive, in the quiet solitude of an exquisite church, in the beauty of the sounds produced by Beethoven and Palestrina or even in the simple joys of a film by Alfred Hitchcock.

Taking notice of professional amateurs like Mr Brown offers both amusement and consternation: amusement that such corny forays into his unique brand of conspiratorial literature are such easy targets for those whose minds have not been turned into wallpaper paste by multinational corporations and their media, and consternation that so many of our fellow citizens take this bilge seriously.

Yet we should not judge too harshly here.  Mr Brown's writings do have their uses particularly for those who have budgies or parrots at home. 


Anonymous said...

If it weren't for fellows here and
some other very good bloggers I'd
sometimes feel almost alone.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Brown works hard for years, living in isolation, researching relentlessly, and going places, trying to make his work of literature, a better read for us. And all you do is pour dreadful thoughts of yours upon him. What a pity? Dont like his work or him. At least lets not disrespect his hardwork.

Aged parent said...


Thank you for your comment.

You can call Mr Brown's work many things but literature it is not. The term "literature" implies careful, creative writing on subjects that can instruct, entertain, exult in the beautiful and the worthy, engage our imaginations, provoke our thoughts, lead us to better ourselves, prepare us for the travails which inevitably must come to all of us, indeed to uplift us. To think that the writings of such a hack as Mr Brown could even begin to approach these ideas is frankly ludicrous.

A hack will always be a hack and a media whore will always be a media whore. Generally they are unworthy of any comment, serious or otherwise. The arrant nonsense that flows from this man's pen is infantilism at the end of its tether and quite laughable in a pitiful sort of way. But the apparently wide acceptance it has among many is a sad picyure of the intellectual and moral decline we are witnessing all around us.

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