July 2006
On the Edge of Common Sense


by Baxter Black, DVM

"President Kennedy’s assassination was a government cover up," pronounces conspiracy theorists.

"I made it up,’ shouts Oliver Stone.

"I can actually speak Wookie," proclaims a dedicated Star Wars fan.

"I made it up!" shouts George Lucas.

"The Da Vinci Code, a saga that plays at the heart of western religion," opines one reviewer.

"I made it up," shouts Dan Brown.

Although I congratulate Mr. Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code, for writing such an appealing book, I am stunned that so many ignore him and take it seriously.  Reporters and commentators pose questions with the gravity normally reserved for the North Korean nuclear threat or a coalmine cave in;

"Is it possible the Apostle John was really a woman?

"Is it true Constantine invented the genuflect?"

"Did Da Vinci really paint the face on the barroom floor?"

"Who left the tip at the Last Supper?"

To see the covers of U.S. News and World Report, Time and Newsweek promoting "The Da Vinci Code" as if it were a subject deserving the profound dissection of a new DNA discovery leaves me baffled.  Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park and Peter Pan received magazine covers and extensive analysis by reviewers, but I never got the feeling the reporter actually believed Tinker Bell was a reincarnation of the Tooth Fairy.

"An intriguing mystery," "A puzzle," "Based on historical premises," "Fun to read," "Engrossing."  But a threat to the Catholic Church and Christianity as we know it?

"I made it up!" shouts Dan Brown.

I hope the movie does well and stimulates more book sales, and that Dan goes on to write other books that capture our imagination.  Some Christians might be concerned that Dan’s presentation of Jesus having married a prostitute and having had kids is blasphemy.  But I would guess that if Dan is a Christian, he’s hoping God has a sense of humor.  Only time will tell.

The fact that intelligent people brush off the author’s proclamation that the book is fiction, and treat it as a historical tome leads me to believe it is the greatest example of "The Emperor’s New Clothes" since the Silicon Valley NASDAQ stock market implosion or War of the Worlds.

What’s next, Dan? Moses was really Luke Skywalker’s illegitimate son?

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.