Monthly Archives: August 2013

My God, Dan Brown

This post is not a book review, per se.  But I would like to offer a brief rant about Dan Brown’s latest literary crack output, titled Inferno.

So spoiler alert–I’m going to discuss the ending, and the basic premise of the book, which happens to be a perfect fit for Pop! Atrocity! in that you don’t get an author more pop than Danny B. who, having exhausted the baddies of the Vatican in previous works, turns his gaze in this most recent work to consider, nay contemplate, the End of Days.  And what, this genocide scholar asks, is more fitting for your airport layover, than mulling over the total destruction of mankind? I really couldn’t say.

So Inferno’s basic premise is that overpopulation is a big deal that most of us don’t care enough about (along with a lot of esoteric facts about Dante–always an education, that Dan Brown!)  And that, given the way of things, there are really only two solutions to the world’s massively threatening overpopulation: 1) mass murder, and 2) mass disease, a.k.a. the Plague.  The Black Death.  (check your pits!)

As a caveat, and a wink to the NT “rational” personality types among us, the first solution actually proves that genocide has its benefits–an ethically dubious fact not lost on the likes of Brown who makes reference to such an uptick in our ultimate annihilation through the mad ranting of the evil genius villain/savior of mankind who serves as both Brown’s protagonist and antagonist, as it were. “Let the killers kill them all, because that means less stress on the earth! Sustainability, people, ultimately requires less of you, not more.”

So if it’s not immediately obvious here’s the problem with Brown’s ultimate solution to the crisis of too many mouths to feed.  He lets the evil genius create a virus that randomly makes a third of the population sterile.  Think the lighter, brighter side of eugenics.  The “good guys,” namely Langdon and random attractive yet sexually sterile female character ultimately shrug–they weren’t going to forget and have kids anyway.

This final solution is given the big “meh.”

And therein betrays the lazy thinking on the part of Brown–because it’s easy for an American white man puffed with agency to write a character who uncannily resembles himself, able to make the unilateral decision about the reproductive choices of the entire world.  (Convenient!) The offense, if we are bored enough to take any, is the fact that this option is touted positively in the novel.

Perhaps, and to give Brown the benefit of the doubt (I don’t know why)…maybe such an ending is supposed to disgust us so much with its utter uncreativity and arrogant hegemony that we literally spit such nonsense out of our mouths and actually start thinking of some real solutions to the world’s problems.  I really couldn’t say.