Sunday, February 19, 2006
Applegate on The Da Vinci Code
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Are you waiting in long lines at the toll booth while other drivers are zipping past and floating through the EZ Pass lanes? Maybe those other drivers are worshipping bored gods who have more time to make things happen!
I'm your host today. Lucifer, the Angel of Darkness.
Gosh, that monniker sounds like a B-movie starring some poor schmuck who'll spend the rest of his life signing autographs at horrror conventions.
Please call me "Mr. Applegate." It's so warm and fuzzy.
If you prefer, you can use my corporate title: Secretary of Underground Operations. Except that makes me sound like James Bond, doesn't it?
There's this book, The Da Vinci Code, and it's been at the top of the bestseller list for, like, two whole years. How could it be this way? Couldn't every doggone American in the country have read it by now?
My guess is that people just don't buy books like they used to.
I read the book awhile back. I thought the writing was pedestrian and the plot ridiculous. But there's no one better than me to address the central (hardly stunning) revelation in the novel.
Stop here if you're the only American who hasn't read The Da Vinci Code. There's an episode of SpongeBob on that you might have missed.
In The Da Vinci Code, the characters discover that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had children. And that after Jesus (my boss) did his heaven miracle, Mary and the kids took it on the lam. Eventually (like, 1500 years later) the descendants of this happy couple found protection by a group of free-thinkers in Italy, one of them being Leonardo da Vinci.
Okay, in prior posts I have established that my boss decided he wanted to understand his praise and worship team better, and simultaneously soften his message and make it more user-friendly. So he put on human clothes, chose an impoverished desert province ruled by a vast, brutal, imperial empire, and did his person gig.
One thing he didn't do was write down any of his adventures first-hand. I think he got that advice from Queen Brighid the Bright. But in his case it didn't work out, because the second-hand authors picked and chose a bit. They got the gist of some of his user-friendly statements, but in other cases they editorialized. You know, a cut here, an embellishment there.
Then the Romans jumped in and chose what they wanted to go into the Bible, and the editorial process became even murkier.
Aren't you glad you have me to set the record straight?
The boss was a Jew. Jewish men are expected to marry. He married Mary Magdalene at the age most men married in his day, 16.
They were happy together.
By the time the boss began his ministry, his children were nearly old enough to marry. At any rate, the younger ones were considered too young to trek across the countryside and were left with relatives.
As I predicted, the boss ran afoul not only of some of his own praise and worship team (who found him in violation of the Holy Scriptures), but also - more dangerously - the Roman Empire. The Romans didn't believe in freedom of speech or freedom of assembly, and they thought all charismatic religious leaders were enemies of the state.
You know the rest. If you don't, you might not even be ready for SpongeBob.
Now here's the deal. You recall how the Beatles all got along until Yoko came into the picture? Well, that's how some of those Disciples felt about Mary. She was a woman, Jesus favored her, and she knew him better than any of them. (Hence she was the first one to see him on Easter morning.)
In the wake of Easter 1, the Disciples reminded Mary that she had matriarchal duties she'd been neglecting, and that she might be in danger, so off she went to collect the kids and live quietly with a kindly old uncle. It wouldn't do to tell your teenaged offspring that they were half god, on dad's side of the family. Then the Romans would be after them too. And none of them showed the boss's talents for healing or preaching. (They could build good houses, though.)
And just like Paul McCartney and Wings, the Disciples got even with Mary by (almost) writing her out of the story. By the time they did it, she was dead anyway, so she couldn't complain.
Nowadays you can hire a genealogist who will go back through Medieval tax records and prove that you were the illegitimate offspring of King Robert the Bruce. But descend into the Dark Ages, and the paper trail just fades away.
To make a long story short, some enterprising minor gentry in the early Middle Ages concocted a genealogy going back to my boss, totally fictitious, and people have been believing it ever since.
It makes for a great bestseller. Here's a secret: Anne has dabbled with the topic herself.
Now this is no secret. The boss (meaning Jesus, not the Big Guy) considers everyone his children, so he's not partial to his bloodline descendants. He doesn't give them preferential treatment. And that's rare in any industry, especially godding. So I admire him for that.
If you haven't read The Da Vinci Code, I don't recommend you rush out to buy it. Try something that will make you think, like Oliver Twist, Les Miserables, or The Grapes of Wrath.
Personally I like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (the book, not the movie), but I've just become twisted from doing this job so long.
See you soon,