Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunday News Round-Up

Prominently featured on the front page of today's New York Times : 1) a story about the most recently negotiated cease-fire in Darfur being just as meaningless as every previous cease-fire, as evidenced by Thursday's attack in which one woman was killed and 15 were raped by janjaweed militiamen; 2) an account of Southeast Asia's successful efforts to combat the avian flu; and 3) a story about post-9/11 conflicts between the NSA and VP Cheney over the constitutionality of intercepting domestic phone calls without warrants to do so (crazy-ass Cheney, as one might expect, contends that there's nothing in the Constitution to suggest this might not be permissible).

Prominently featured on the front page of today's Washington Post: 1) a story about the US Border Patrol's ineffective "catch-and-release" approach to curbing non-Mexican illegal immigration, and 2) a touching compilation of interviews with Iraq war veterans that details the difficulty of readjusting to life at home in the face of our indifference. (This story brought tears to my eyes. Read it!)

Prominently featured on the front page of today's Virginian Pilot: a story about the film version of The Da Vinci Code coming out on Friday, and how some religious people won't touch it with a ten foot pole while others are pleased that it provides them with an opportunity to promote traditional Christian beliefs in the face of such blasphemy. You know, just in case you hadn't heard about that yet. Thanks, Virginian Pilot, for that bit of hard-hitting reporting on a topic of such global importance.

To be fair, the Pilot is an excellent local paper, and it did run the NYT's Darfur story on page A3, their avian flu story on page A22, and the Post's immigration story on page A11. But The Da Vinci Code as front page Sunday news?! Come on.

The Da Vinci Code, by the way, is complete crap as far as literature goes. The writing is terrible and the plot is even worse. What makes The Da Vinci Code interesting (and what I suspect explains its 159 weeks on the bestseller list) is its exploration of the historical suppression of the divine feminine. There's a whole body of reputable nonfiction on this fascinating subject, starting with Holy Blood, Holy Grail, the authors of which sued Dan Brown (and lost) for plagiarizing their work. For those interested in the religious aspects of The Da Vinci Code, I offer. . .

Five Books to Read Instead of The (Stupid) Da Vinci Code:

  1. Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln
  2. The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler
  3. The Woman with the Alabaster Jar by Margaret Starbird
  4. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  5. The Gospels of Mary by Marvin Meyer

Or, if you like crap, just wait a few days and go see the movie.


Brian said...

The Literature Nazi returns!

Melissa said...

That article was touching, but sometimes I feel torn about the reactions given to the soldiers. Because, I mean, they VOLUNTARILY enlisted in the armed forces, knowing there is always a chance for war. It's sometimes hard to feel sympathy for someone who goes into something that they know could be really terrible. But of course, in the end, I feel horrible for what they've had to witness and experience.

On another note, I liked The Da Vinci Code, and not because I think it's a beautiful example of literature, but simply because I am a sucker for a secret-codes-murder-mysteries-thriller.

Megan said...

I think what did it for me is that I'm SO angry about the war. You're right, people do voluntarily sign up for this, but I think they do so with the expectation that they'll be defending their country and not someone else's oil. It makes me sad that they're voluntarily experiencing terrible things for no fucking reason, and by and large, Americans are just going about their happy little lives driving their Hummers and it doesn't even register.

And hell, I couldn't put the Da Vinci Code down (literally), but literature it's not. And we all know I'm the Literature Nazi.

Brian said...

Oh yeah...way to ride my flavor, on several things.