Strange Connections

(Note: I am in a cafe that is playing their 'worst of the 80s' cd so I apologize for any errors. My brain is melting!)

I am in a cafe because I need caffeine. I was up late watching a show on the History Channel called something like 'Beyond the Da Vinci Code' or 'Tantalizing enough to keep you awake until 2am'. Anyway, the show systematically debunked the interesting little stories and clues in the book (soon to be movie) The Da Vinci Code.

For those of you that don't know the premise of the book, the mystery centers around a search for the holy grail. The 'san graal' or holy grail, as author Dan Brown tells us, is actually 'sang raal' (royal blood) and the book provides a complex story about how the templar knights and a secret sect called the Priory of Scion (to which Leonardo Da Vinci, in the book, belongs) protect the secret that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalen and that they had a child (a girl named Sarah). Supposedly, Mary stole away to France where the holy blood line continued with the Merovingian royal family. The decendents of Jesus, following logic, went on to produce such rich cultural treasures as the Sophie Marceau teen flick 'La Boum' and the Citroen Deux Cheveaux.

Regardless, historians believe that Jesus could've been married to Mary as it was not unusual, at the time, for Jewish men to have arranged marriages in their 20s. And there is evidence that Mary did indeed escape to Egypt then to the south of France.

While this is all interesting in itself, I find a metareading of the Da Vinci phenomenon fascinating especially in light of several recent books: Everything Bad is Good for You and The Goddess and the Alphabet.

Let me explain: All these text, Da Vinci Code included, toy with the idea that there are fundamental ways of viewing the world (through Patriarchical and Matriarchical lenses is the most facile description of these viewpoints). Leonard Shlain's Goddess follows an argument that has more holes in it than a Fallujah Islamists' hideout but the central tenet that we privilege the written word and rationality to the point that disables the feminine in much of our lives. In The Da Vinci Code the Priory of Scion also believes that the story of Jesus and Mary is one more egalitarian than the church wanted. Da Vinci's symbology, Brown asserts, reaffirms the feminine in religious texts.

What does this have to do with Everything Bad, you ask? We often equate visual media as emotional (read not rational) and author Steven Johnson makes the argument that all sorts of visual media is not mindless but that is actually quite complex thus making us smarter. To me, I see this argument as part of the broader acceptance of the visual and, possible, a move from patriarchy-enabling rationalization toward more emotive egalitarian modes of thought. (note: insert tongue in cheek)

Then again my whole argument could just be result of my emotional state after be subjected to Kenny Logins' 'Footloose'.
gregory turner-rahman