Saturday, June 03, 2006

But its just fiction!

Ok, I thought I had said enough about the bloody DaVinci Code, but something’s just rankling me about the franchise. Ok yes, religious groups have called for a boycott of the movie. Sure, why not, they can do that, no big deal. The response to that has been a loud cry of “but its just fiction, why are you getting all uptight about it? You silly religious people!” That makes me rub my temples for a little bit and sigh. Ok, yes, it is “just fiction.” I think we can all agree on that. However, it is a fictitious novel that bases its claims and information on “facts” that are suspect at best and outright disproved by historical evidence at worst. A non-fiction book, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail,” is given a lot of publicity and credibility by the characters of the book. Characters toss off lines of questionable historical authenticity as though they were common knowledge. So yes, the book is fiction because it revolves around characters that don’t exist (ie. Fictional) in events that didn’t happen (the curator of the Lourve hasn’t been murdered by a crazed albino). Just because a book is fiction, doesn’t mean it can go around contradicting historical facts. Tom Clancy fills his fictional characters with constant realistic touches about military equipment and doctrine. He does his homework meticulously. He doesn’t go around saying that Igor Sikorsky was not the first man to get a helicopter flying reliably.

Let’s get hypothetical. Say I want to write a fiction thriller. Completely fictional characters and plot. Let’s see, some schmuck gets murdered and its up to a, oh, I don’t know, political scientist to solve the crime. Now let’s say that this political scientist, our hero, says in a completely offhand manner, like it was absolutely true, that the Holocaust never happened. And he repeats this several times. No publisher would touch that book. There would be no summer “blockbuster” directed by Ron Howard. How can you possibly defend that kind of writing by saying “But its just fiction”? There is no such thing as “just fiction” and there never was.

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