Un-Re-Un-Debunked Dan Brown

Quick, my legions of loyal readers, set your TiVo’s on stun (though it is you who will be stunned!):

On Monday, May 23, Good Morning America, a journalistic paragon of unchallenged credentials, is going to clear up the Da Vinci Code mess once and for all. And they’re doing it with not one, not two, but three anchors, scattered across Europe. Robin Roberts in Paris at St. Sulpice, David Wright in Milan in front of the Last Supper, Bill Weir in London at the Temple Church–if ABC News can’t get to the bottom of the greatest mystery of our time through the Herculean effort of flying pretty faces out to stand in front of famous architecture, then my faith in humanity is literally going to die the metaphorical death that happens every time a child learns there’s no Shrove Tuesday Trout and that rainbows are really created by slaughtering the peaceful talking dolphins of planet Cute VII.

According to said website:

[The Da Vinci Code references] an alternative interpretation of “The Last Supper” that has Mary Magdalene — not St. John — sitting to the right of Jesus in the painting. You can follow along from home as “GMA” investigates the clues laid out in the book to find out the real truth behind the “The da Vinci Code.”

As I mentioned in a previous post, noted Arthurian Norris J. Lacy has already done a much better job than I can at debunking da Brown, but I’ll quote my favorite bit here, relating to the appearance of “St. John” in the painting:

A centerpiece of Brown’s theory is the contention that Mary Magdalene is depicted next to Jesus in Leonardo’s Last Supper. Since there are thirteen figures in the painting (Jesus and twelve others), that leaves us wondering who was absent that day. The answer is surely, ‘no one’: John was traditionally shown as a young and delicate person. And whereas Brown sees him/her with breasts, I am unable to locate them, certainly not in the customary place.

All that’s left to me is to wonder at ABCNews’ insistence on putting quotations around the name of “the Last Supper”. I understand that the AP stylebook never uses italics, because they can’t be sent over a wire, but this is the Internet! If they wanted, they could put it in flashing polka-dotted letters. More confusing is the use of quotation marks in the companion story, “The Mysteries of Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci ” Is “Jesus, Mary, and Da Vinci” a book (or short story or who knows, since they don’t use italics!) whose mysteries they’re looking into? I’d also wanted to criticize GMA for capitalizing the ‘da’ in Da Vinci, which is apparently supposed to be capitalized, and that would have shown my own ignorance and made me look bad. But thankfully, they managed to both capitalize it and not capitalize it in the same story and did my job for me. Everyone does my job for me.

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