"Da Vinci" and Dixie Chicks

In this week's New Yorker, my sweet Anthony eviscerates "The Da Vinci Code," book and film:

>> There has been much debate over Dan Brown’s novel ever since it was published, in 2003, but no question has been more contentious than this: if a person of sound mind begins reading the book at ten o’clock in the morning, at what time will he or she come to the realization that it is unmitigated junk? The answer, in my case, was 10:00.03, shortly after I read the opening sentence: “Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery.” With that one word, “renowned,” Brown proves that he hails from the school of elbow-joggers—nervy, worrisome authors who can’t stop shoving us along with jabs of information and opinion that we don’t yet require. (Buried far below this tic is an author’s fear that his command of basic, unadorned English will not do the job; in the case of Brown, he’s right.) You could dismiss that first stumble as a blip, but consider this, discovered on a random skim through the book: “Prominent New York editor Jonas Faukman tugged nervously at his goatee.” What is more, he does so over “a half-eaten power lunch,” one of the saddest phrases I have ever heard. <<

I love Anthony Lane. What I especially love here is his critique of that first sentence -- he is so right, and writers tell like that in commercial fiction all the time, and it has always annoyed me vaguely but I have never had a term for it, and now every time I see it I will think "Ha! Elbow-jogger!" As he goes on to note, it's a forgivable sin if the action is good, but it better be good to make up for the forced characters.

And I can be a prominent New York editor without a goatee, right? I do enjoy power lunches (which I always finish), and I can just tug nervously on my hair instead.


Rarely do I go out and purchase an album as soon as it's released, and rarely does buying an album feel like a political act. But I'd been planning to get the new Dixie Chicks CD ever since I heard it was coming out this spring -- and after I read this article in Time (only a partial available online, sorry, though it's more or less the same content here), I would have bought it even if I didn't like the music, just to support the Chicks' sales and the bravery of their songs and actions. They stick to their principles, make terrific music, and loathe President Bush -- my heroines! Get the album here.