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Ralsina.Me — Roberto Alsina's website

Well, I didn't know that!

As ev­ery­one knows, the Da Vin­ci Code is about to be pre­miered world­wide.

I will prob­a­bly see it. By chance I ran in­to the plot syn­op­sis in the site of Dan Brown (the au­thor of the book).

Hm­m­m­m... in­ter­est­ing.

For ex­am­ple, it de­scribes Opus Dei as

Opus Dei [is a] clan­des­tine, Vat­i­can-­sanc­tioned Catholic sect be­lieved to have long plot­ted to seize the Pri­o­ry's se­cret.

Whoa.... Opus Dei is a clan­des­tine sec­t! I must say I dis­like the guys (and I know at least 4 of them), but they are about as clan­des­tine as the Bap­tists. And much less so than the Uni­tar­i­ans.

Not to men­tion that (I've heard) much of the plot re­volves around clues left "hid­den" in things like Da Vin­ci's paint­ings.

You know, if I were the Pri­o­ry of Sion, and had a se­cret... sure, I would hide the keys to the se­cret in world-­fa­mous pieces ev­ery­one sees. Or maybe I would ... hide them? You know, as in not telling any­one about them. As if it was a se­cret?

What would you choose? Any­one? Any­one? Bueller?

On the oth­er hand... the good guys are the ones (the Pri­o­ry) that have the se­cret and the bad guys are an­oth­er se­cre­tive or­ga­ni­za­tion (O­pus Dei) that wants to get the se­cret?

Well... col­or me unim­pressed, but what the hell does ei­ther one hav­ing the se­cret mat­ter? If it is a se­cret, and noone should know about it, why not give it to the guys at Opus and let them keep it? They don't in­tend to an­nounce it ei­ther.

Then the nice fel­las at the Pri­o­ry can go to the beach or some­thing.

But who cares. They are all the same to kdap­tists.

Andras Mantia / 2006-05-15 20:04:

Unitarians being clandestine... they are quite some unitarians in Transylvania, including complete villages. The village where I live is mostly of Unitarian religion. For Hungarian people its a common religion. The "historical" religions here are: Catholic, Calvinist, Lutheran and Unitarian. The latter mostly live in Transylvania (now part of Romania), and AFAIK there are related churches in the USA.
But it should be noted that Unitarianism is not considered to be a Christian church by the other 3. The reason is self-explaining from the name...

PS: I'm Calvinist. ;-)

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-15 20:19:

Andras: I know [ No, not that there are unitarian villages in Transylvania, I know that unitarians are not clandestine ], I was being silly :-)

Janne / 2006-05-16 07:32:

Well, I believe that Opus Dei are "clandestine" in the book. And the website you linked to is describing the plot of the book, it's not describing real life. Repeat after me: Da Vinci Code is a FICTIONAL book. And in that Da Vinci Code we have a "clandestine" organisation called Opus Dei. It's modeled after the real Opus Dei, but that does not mean that the real Opus Dei is anything like the one in the book.

ryan / 2006-05-16 11:01:

Nice to know that not reading the book doesnt stop you from commenting on its key plot elements...

spoiler warning: the (fictional group) the priory wants to release the secret some time in the future, when "mankind is ready". the bad guys just want to kill those who know it/can prove its true, so that the lie will become history.

(not that I actually the book, I just dislike intellectual laziness)

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-16 13:55:

Janne: that makes no sense whatsoever.

Ryan: This is nothing. I wrote an essay about a book I had not read in highschool and got a 9 out of 10, all based on hearsay!.

That "when mankind is ready" is a canard. It's the kind of excuse an author uses when he can't figure out a real motivation for a character.

Janne / 2006-05-16 18:28:

"Janne: that makes no sense whatsoever."

Huh? Like I said, Da Vinci Code is fiction. It is not historically nor factually accurate (since it's fiction). In the book Opus Dei are "the bad guys". But that does NOT mean that they are tat in real life. Hell, it doesn't even have to mean that the author is implying anything of the sort.

you ironically comment that "I didn't know opus Dei is a clandestine sect!". Well, you are talking about real-life Opus Dei and comparing it to an organisation in a FICTIONAL book! Sheesh.

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-16 18:37:

Janne: it still makes no sense.

Suppose I write a book about a woman called Janne. She has your exact same name, works at the exact same place you do, has a family formed by people with the exact same names you do, and she is a vicious murderer.

Now, is that ok, because it's a novel? Maybe. But it is obvious that I intend to say something about you, the real Janne.

It makes no sense whatsoever to create a fictional entity with the name of a easily recognizable, real entity, assign it nefarious characteristics, then hide behind a "it's a novel" excuse.

I mean, it may make sense to do it, if you intend to difame said organization, but it makes no sense to accept said explanation at face value.

Janne / 2006-05-16 20:17:

"Janne: it still makes no sense."

You REALLY don't understand that Da Vinci Code is fiction? Do you think that it's meant to be taken as a factual book that tells how things "really are"? You are just like those people looking for traces of the Grail using Da Vinci Code as a guide. Only difference is that you disagree with what the book says. But you and those Grail-seekers both seem to think that Da Vinci Code is real or tries to pass as real. Same coin, different sides.

"Suppose I write a book about a woman called Janne."

You are now comparing an organisation to a single person. So you are comparing apples to oranges. And besides, I'm not a woman ;).

"It makes no sense whatsoever to create a fictional entity with the name of a easily recognizable, real entity"

The Opus dei in the book is clearly based on the "real" Opus Dei. Think of it like this: Da Vinci Code is a kinda of "What if"-book. "What if Opus Dei is really this clandestine oraginsation bent of world domination?". That does not have to mean that they really are something like that.

If you read Harry Turtledove's "Worldwar"-series, will you start ranting that "Well, I didn't know that aliens invaded Earth during WW2! Clearly, this book is crap!".

There are lots of books based on such "what if"-ideas. What if UN is planning to take over the world? What if Hitler survived WW2? What if Germany had won the WW2? What if Opus Dei is a secret-society bent on world-domination?

It's fiction. Don't take it so damn seriously. I guess that if you read "Fatherland" one day, you start complaining that "hey, wait a second... Germany didn't win the Second World War!! What kind of crap is this book trying to push?".

Are you religious by any chance?

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-16 20:26:

Janne, are you actually reading what I write?

I have read fatherland. I have read many many books in the same vein. This is the first time I see someone mentioning this book as being in that theme. News to me. Good thing I have not read it yet!

I have not read the Da Vinci Code. I even said so. I was simply making fun of what the description in the author's page said.

Why are you taking **that** so seriously?

Suppose, again, I write a book about this person Janne, who is just like you, but a vicious murderer. It's just a novel about what would happen if you were a vicious murderer. Same thing.

As for being religious... sure. I am a staunch follower of the invisible pink unicorn (google it).

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-16 20:27:

BTW: I thought a blog entry mentioning Baptists as a clandestine sect would be obviously tongue-in-cheek.

I suppose I should be even more obvious next time?

Janne / 2006-05-17 07:03:

"Janne, are you actually reading what I write?"

Yes. You have a problem with the way Opus Dei is shown in the book. And like I have repeatedly said, the book is fiction. sure, you say that you make "fun" of it. But there seems to be more than that to it.

"I have not read the Da Vinci Code. I even said so. I was simply making fun of what the description in the author's page said."

When someone reads what you write, it might seem that you are just "making fun" of it. But it's quite apparent that you have some kind of issue with how Opus Dei is shown in the book. Maybe you are just annoyed that some real-life organisation is shown to be something else than they appear to be in real life. Well, that's what makes it interesting, IMO. I find it interesting that Brown chose Opus Dei as the "bad guys", instead of some fictional organisation called "The red metal hand of the Pope". It's interesting because Brown chose the Priory of Sion as the "good guys", instead of some fictional organisation called "Secret Order of the eternal flame" or something. By using real-life organisations, the book has a sense of realism in it.

In real life the Priory and Opus Dei are not like they are shown in the book. But the fact that they really exist makes the book more interesting.

I guess that's why Brown is a rich and famous author, whereas you or I are not ;)?

If someone wrote a book with a person similar to me as the main character, I would not be annoyed. I might want some royalties, but I wouldn't be annoyed ;).

I'm actually in the middle of reading Da Vinci code as we speak. As I read it, I can understand why it's so popular. But I personally find it rather mediocre and "annoying" at places (all kinds of esoteric clues that the characters solve just like that etc. etc.). But I have no issues with how Opus Dei is shown in the book.

Roberto Alsina / 2006-05-17 12:04:

Well, Janne, you find that interesting. I find it uninteresting, annoying and underhanded.

Horses for courses.

And the Priory of Sion is fictional head to toe.