Friday, September 18, 2009

A Deeper Shade of Brown?

Books of The Times - ‘The Lost Symbol’ by Dan Brown - Baddies and Brainiacs and the Secrets of Freemasonry - Review -

"Also, the author uses so many italics that even brilliant experts wind up sounding like teenage girls. And Mr. Brown would face an interesting creative challenge if the phrases “What the hell...?,” “Who the hell ... ?” and “Why the hell ... ?” were made unavailable to him. The surprises here are so fast and furious that those phrases get quite the workout.

Then again, Mr. Brown’s excitable, hyperbolic tone is one the guilty pleasures of his books. (“ ‘Actually, Katherine, it’s not gibberish.’ His eyes brightened again with the thrill of discovery. ‘It’s ... Latin.’ ”)"
This cracked me up--particularly the second paragraph quoted above. Brown's condescension knows the same bounds as Kanye West's or Mr. Wilson's propriety [assuming that "Katherine" is unable to recognize the language that gave us all these lovely root words, but the intellectualissimo Langdon does--and the narrator is trying to wow us with his acuity on a point that the reader is not assumed to have recognized unaided].
This sounds exactly like something I already made up in my post on Brown's Angels & Demons--as a parody. Am I just getting old, assuming that anyone with any amount of high school education (required by law in the US in most cases, as far as I know now) would recognized Latin? Of course, I have not read the book or the whole passage that the Times quotes; it may be Latin in code or in disguise or something. . .but the decontextualized quote is just delicious. Thanks, Janet Maslin!!

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