Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The "Da Vinci Code" doesn't travel well..?

I've actually been reading the DV code thingy (my daughter got the book on loan) - must admit it's kinda-fun in its video-game way but historically off the wall. What most surprised me, as I've never read anyone pointing out this particular aspect of the book, is that it also contains a whole series of rabidly anti-French US-chauvinist assertions. For instance, France is known throughout the world for what in DB's american-provincial gothic view? For "the shortness of its rulers from Pepin le Bref to Napoleon, and mistresses" !! Ah yeah...?? Not in Italy it ain't, nor elsewhere in Europe... let alone in Asia, Africa or the ME, far as I know?. Some like France, some don't - but those who don't mostly pigeonhole it as the most politically artful of the neocolonialist "big guys", not in terms of an alleged image-stereotype of "short rulers and mistresses"... which in the "real world" can only have been originally derived from a mixture of sexual jealously and imperialist rivalry on the part of maritally-frustrated UK/US puritan traders some time back in the late 18-somethings? Fascinating query, someone should check it out. Re Napoleon, DB also appears unaware that he was Corsican ergo ethnic-Italian (Genoese/Pisan stock) not French-proper. And De Gaulle was of course notoriously pintsized no less than Chirac, and so were all crowned french heads from Charlemagne to Sun King and Louis XVI??? ... ..

More seriously, re "what France is best known for" - guess wherever DB comes from they've never even heard of the French revolution that destroyed feudalism and asserted the principles of liberté egalité fraternité, of which his vision of history appears entirely ignorant?? Not altogether surprising however, seeing as the preceding US rev-thingy stuck at "liberté", never took the next steps towards "égalité" and "fraternité" as those principles aren't/weren't exactly where the US elite is/was "at" -so in the US anyone asserting the principles of "egalitarianism" and "brotherhood" gets marginalized, asserting that kind of "idealism" being left to the likes of the Reverend Jackson??

DB's other US-chauvinist anti-French grotesqueries include imagining a Paris police-chief who apparently spends his time and energies - this in a major world capital with a population of around 10 million not exceptionally law-abiding people!!! - trying, of all things, to keep in jail the occasional US tourists who get arrested for minor offences (disorderly drunks etc) and preventing the almighty US Embassy (whose extraterritoriality evokes peans of US-exceptionalism-worship from the poor guy as he appears to believe extraterritoriality is an imperial boon enjoyed uniquely by the US's diplomatic missions, not a right enjoyed by all embassies of all nations, all over the world...) from assisting their return to their country of origin by providing the usual legal assistance all embassies/consolates give - or are supposed to give - to their nationals when in difficulties overseas.. ...

And he also states the French system of justice is designed to "protect the POLICE" whereas the US one is ... "designed to protect citizens from the police" [sic]... LOL!! the EU justice and human rights commissions must be hysterical with laughter, ditto the US's own human rights organisations...!!... and guess DB must have kinda-missed the US's recent Patriot Acts???

Plus on the Catholic church in the Renaissance and Leonardo's relations with it he seems to think renaissance popes and cardinals were as theologically straitlaced, as fundamentalist and scandalized by pagan imagery and symbolism as the US bible-bashers in his down-home suburb??

Someone should take him on a tour of the Vatican (the apartments of Alexander VI are adorned with multiple images of Isis, Osiris, Apis and Hermes Trismegistus) and the villas of Italy's renaissance cardinals - foir instance, the gardens of Villa d'Este , built by Cardinal Ippolito II d'Este in Tivoli, on the outskirts of Rome, include all kinds of esoteric renaissance imagery, including the most startling goddess image I have ever seen: the Diana of Ephesus.

The crypto-hokum about the name "Mona Lisa" being Leonardo da Vinci's secret anagram for "Amon l'Isa" (Amon and Isis) is at least as off the wall as the rest. Leonardo himself named his painting - executed between 1503 and 1506 - not "Mona Lisa" but "La Gioconda" - simply because the woman depicted (née Lisa Gherardini, married name Lisa Del Giocondo) was the wife of a minor rural aristo called Francesco Del Giocondo... "La Gioconda" being a familiar way of calling her the "Giocondo Lady" (literal meaning of the surname is "jocund" = merry, mirthful). The picture got nicknamed "Monna Lisa" much later - by art historian Vasari in 1550, a full 30 years after Leonardo's death! "Monna" being short for "madonna" meaning My Lady i.e. simply means Madame, the courteous form of address for married ladies of good social standing. "Mona" instead of "Monna" is a spelling-mistake introduced by foreign art-fanciers - NO Italian would spell it that way as with that spelling it becomes a very rude word: a well-known sexual obscenity in Venetian and some other Northern Italian dialects, that is also widely used as an insult to indicate that the person concerned is totally moronic. So pop goes the great Da Vinci cryptogram!...

I won't even go into DB's fantasizings on the Council of Nicea and its theological/historical context as I'd be here until tomorrow straightening out his errors/ignorance of pre-Nicean sources - ditto on his "highly selective" quotes from the gnostic "Gospel of Mary Magdalen", of which I just happen to have a copy - full text - along with that of all the Nag Hammadi "gospels", whose version of Christ is in fact far less "human" than that of the canonical gospels ... but have to stop somewhere.

'Course all that won't bother his fans... ... including a cretinous, pig-ignorant American "college professor" no less (but dunno in what field? - at that general-knowledge level I'd guess it must be business studies??) whom the Italian press reports has suddenly, at the last moment, broken off his engagement with an Italian graduate research-student because after seeing the film he "discovered he didn't feel good about Catholicism" and she's a devout Catholic. So she's suing him for her down-payments on the wedding banquet etc. But I think breaking off such a mésaillance is cheap at the price, she should be down on her knees lighting candles to thank all the merciful Madonnas and benevolent female saints in the Catholic pantheon for ridding her of such an idiot.

1 comment:

Dwayne said...

Hi Parvati,

Noticed you're linking of the da Vinci Code with Hermeticism. Wonder if you have seen the totally Hermetic alternative explanation of Leonardo's symbolism including the alchemical androgyne and the up-pointed finger of Mercury/Hermes? It is posted on the altreligion site of the NY Times as "A Different da Vinci Code" here:

If you like it, don't miss the lively Forum discussion "X-rated gesture by da Vinci?"'s an eye opener suggesting Leonardo had a great sense of humor.