The DaVinci Code has loaded
At least that’s what Sony’s movie website says once you click through to it. Judging from the proliferation of websites and other promotional vehicles saturating the internet and television with DaVinciana, its probably more accurate to say that Sony is loaded, or will be by the time the cash registers stop ringing. Bookstores are cashing in on the new paperback, travel agents are booking “DaVinci Code” tours, and, of course, Michael Baigent generated more publicity for his book in the last two months than in all of the previous twenty years plus years it has been in print.
The Baigent v. Brown case underscores a very important piece of Sony’s DaVinci Code marketing strategy; the Code is not just a blockbuster movie and publishing phenomenon, it is also a provocative CONTROVERSY! As the Christian Science Monitor reports, Christian groups have organized ‘truth squads’ to educate the public upon the release of the movie and “hope to use the film as a ‘teachable moment.’”
Some say Mr. Brown’s controversial approach to history plays on people’s limited knowledge.
“One reason it works so well on readers is that he tends to begin with a kernel of something historical and then quickly spins off into fiction – or you could say falsehood, since he represents it as something researched,” says Timothy Beal, professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
Sony has embraced the controversy by sponsoring a separate website to encourage “dialogue” about the facts in the movie: www.thedavincidialogue.com. The ponderously long list of (unpaid) experts begs the question, where is the other side of this dialogue?
Seems like a lopsided affair to us and we don’t mean to pile on, but we’d like to submit our own expert, Bart Ehrman, the best-selling author of Misquoting Jesus. In his latest book, Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene, Ehrman gives a full account of one of the most mysterious disciples and the woman at the root of Dan Brown’s conspiracy. Check out all of Ehrman’s books at his new website, www.bartehrmanbooks.com.