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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Da Hoopla Over Da Vinci

Dan Brown's fictitious mega-seller book "The Da Vinci Code" gets a B grade as a mystery novel, in my opinion. It's like reading a Miss Marple mystery and nearly as boring.

Therefore, I'm absolutely astounded - just shocked - by the hoopla this story continues to garner because it's based upon a riveting myth.

In short, author Brown builds his murder mystery around a secret society whose only purpose in the universe is to preserve the identity of the progeny of Jesus. Did Saint Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth parent a child? Oh, but wait, there's still more! If they did have a child, is the progeny of their offspring still walking among us today?

"Da hoopla" over this ho-hum Da Vinci Code plot is premised by the sensational concept of a divine progeny. It's an absolutely preposterous idea because there's virtually no way a secret of this "magnitude-10 variety" could remain hidden for two-thousand years, regardless of how many Knights Templar are guarding the evidence.

Furthermore, Brown's uninspiring story spins the sub-culture of the Roman Catholic Church as to mislead readers into actually believing "da falderal" of "Da Vinci's" crazy progeny plot.

Now, that said, I'm as anxious as most other movie goers to see the star Tom Hanks perform the lead role as Robert Langdon, the central character in "Da Vinci - Da-Moooovie". Langdon is the investigator called in by sleuths who show up at the Louvre Musée in Paris, France, to solve a bizarre murder.

By the way, Langdon happens to stumble upon the best kept secret of all time while gum-shoeing his way around Europe. Yes, there's also a girl in the story as well.
Hanks should have little complicated acting to do given the shallow depth of Langdon's character; because, the Brown story is about intrigue rather than character development. It's "da-story", stupid!!! It's about Jesus and his offspring

You see, "da hoopla" in "Da Vinci" is hype over a tale with 2000 year old "legs". Surely, the 12 disciples who followed Jesus of Nazareth somehow germinated this story - or, at least, they didn't squash it.

Those 12 New Testament men disciples were nobody's fools, after all. They observed a lot by "just watching" while Jesus and Mary Magdalene got to know one another. It's written about in the New Testament for everybody to read. In fact, before anybody else saw him, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene after his Resurrection. Obviously, Mary Magdalene was chosen - indeed, singled out - for this awesome honor of seeing the resurrected Jesus. She was special in the heart of Jesus.

There's simply no doubt whatsoever about the close relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus of Nazareth. Actually, there are Biblical scholars who anoint Mary Magdalene as the 13th Disciple because she shared equal status with the other guys. Unfortunately, Saint Mary Magdalene carries the burden of being an equal among her peers, poor lady. Roman Catholics call her "Saint" Mary Magdalene, an honor she rightly deserves.

Brown's use of Leonardo Da Vinci's name as a headline grabber is based upon another myth whereby the famous Italian artist was supposed to be among The Knights Templar involved in this concocted secrecy of the progeny. Oh, well, somebody had to do it - why not Leonardo?

Certainly, I enjoy reading a good mystery story, but da-hoopla over Da-Vinci just doesn't resonate as one of the big who-dun-its with me. Divine progeny is a sensational idea, if only Brown was the first one to think it up, but he wasn't. Of course, Brown didn't plagiarize his novel or the characters he writes about - but he did copy his ideas from lots of other places. Yet, block-buster movies of the past have been made with even less material to work with - take "Titanic", for example. Who'd-a-thought a story with such a sad and predictable ending - the ship does sink - would continue to pack movie theaters, like Titanic did.

Surely, my husband and I will be among the first in line to see Tom Hanks walk his way through "The Da Vinci Code" as Langdon. Maybe, Hanks and his magnetic screen image can even generate some authentic hoopla about Brown's story. It would be a real "hoopla" to see movie going fans, like me, going back into theaters again.

Meanwhile, this cautionary message is for readers and movie goers everywhere: "The Da Vinci Code", by author Dan Brown, is fiction. In other words, it's not based upon facts. Simply put, da-hoopla about Da-Vinci is entirely about publishing profit and big money movies. It's entertainment. And "dat's-da truth"!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahoney and American Immigration Policy

A recent CBS television interview with Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles, California, clearly reported an ethnic bias accusing the Roman Catholic Church of pandering to Hispanic immigrants because these devout people are filling up increasingly empty church pews.

In other words, critics of the Cardinal are setting him up, as though his passion for supporting immigrants in need had something to do with church attendance rather than moral principles.

Now, I totally support the rights of American immigrants - whether they are illegal or legal.

As a Roman Catholic woman, I can clearly see how wrong minded people are who accuse the Roman Catholic Church and Cardinal Mahoney, in particular, with being "political" rather than moral on the immigration issue. Frankly, it's about time the Roman Catholic clergy comes out of their shelters to fight for people who need their unwavering support - like immigrants.

If Roman Catholic cardinals of the church wanted to fill up their pews, they'd consider pandering more to women more often. Indeed, it's positively ridiculous to intimate an association between caring for immigrants who need support and nurturing as though they will make a difference in declining church attendance.

People who are opposed to the current status quo called "US immigration policy" are clearly oblivious of their own origins as American citizens. This includes the popular CNN anchor Lou Dobbs, who rails relentlessly about illegal immigration like he's some sort of a self proclaimed prophet on the issue. Perhaps Mr. Dobbs is an anamoly. Maybe his fair headed caucasian genetic makeup isn't what it appears to be on television - i.e., the ancestor of a US immigrant.

Moreover, immigration is a two way highway - people reluctantly leave their home land by the tens of thousands to relocate in another county if there is nothing to hold on to where they are.

Another interview on the "News Hour With Jim Lehrer", with immigration policy scholars, revealed how many Mexican families will be thrown into abject poverty and even starvation if the United States clamps down on illegal immigration. This reverse economic devastation will be caused by the disruption of money the immigrants send home to their families in Mexico, Central America and other countries.

Yes, immigration policy is a two way highway - one way supports the United States economy and the opposite road sustains families in the countries of origin.

It was the same for French-Canadians who immigrated by the thousands from Quebec during the 19th and 20th centuries into New England's industrial cities - when the Irish workers could not maintain a large enough work force to keep textile factories prosperous. Protestant New Englanders didn't much care for the French, who didn't speak English and who took jobs nobody else wanted. Yet, the French-Canadians who immigrated to New England, despite horrible conditions in the mills, didn't leave their homes willingly. Rather, they left because there was nothing to hold them on their meager Quebec farms. Sadly, many poor families were on the verge of starving to death without the influx of money mill workers sent back home to Quebec.

Thank God the Roman Catholic clergy is finally standing up for something worthwhile, like immigrants rights. Cardinal Mahoney is even calling for civil disobedience if the US government creates laws forbidding the aid and assistance of immigrants.

I applaud Cardinal Mahoney for thinking out of the box and supporting those immigrants who are here to help themselves and our US economy in the meantime.

Perhaps the Roman Catholic hierarchy in countries like Mexico and in Central America can, likewise, support better conditions and more pay for workers in their own countries; thereby, lessening the traffic on immigration routes and preventing those ugly American "bubba" vigilante groups from rounding the desperate refugees up like cattle.

Those audacious people who think the Roman Catholic Church is supporting immigrants out of a need to fill church pews should "get a life". Instead, they might do better to meditate on the reasons why they (and all of us) are fortunate enough to be Americans.

We are all immigrants in an alien country.

Our natural born American citizens were Native Americans. Their tribal attempts to keep us illegals out of their home failed miserably. Given the history of immigration policy failure, I suspect there is probably no satisfactory solution to the illegal immigration issue.

Cardinal Mahoney is just plain right when it comes to facing down critics while reaching out to help immigrants. Immigration policy is not a matter of politics - its about compassion.

Thank God Cardinal Mahoney is taking a moral stand.