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.

3 thoughts on “My God, Dan Brown

  1. parmanifesto says:

    As a gay man who does not read Dan Brown, I hereby give the big “meh” to overpopulation and Inferno.

  2. Achim Wolf says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Scientists warn of a rapid collapse of the Earth’s ecosystem.
    The ecological balance is under threat: climate change, population growth and environmental degradation could lead even in this century an irreversible collapse of the global ecosystem.


    The cardinal reason is the sudden development of human population that threatens to devour all our resources.

    Since 21 August there is therefore a petition at for the introduction of global birth-controls, also in HINDI!

    If you want to support this or publish it on your website, here is the link:

    Please continue to spread the link or the petition as possible to all interested people, organisations etc.

    Thank you and best regards
    Achim Wolf, Germany

  3. Bob Deahl says:

    I am new to your blog…it strikes me that if you were alive several hundred years ago, this blog would be about the discrete atrocities quietly put forth by the Roman Catholic Church in the name of ‘protecting the faith’ and ‘upholding the truth’ so that ‘God’s will’ might be done. There was surely a grand intersection of pop and vulgar culture and the mighty institution of the church safeguarding church teaching, orthodoxy, and the authority of the pope. Think Inquisition among other historically based cultural phenomenon. Of course that has been superseded in our day by the various ‘fundamentalisms’ that insist, even, in the extreme, to the point of oppression, imprisonment, and death, on the absolute adherence to the literal truths and teachings espoused by the various ‘holy’ books of the various traditions, be it the Bible, the Koran, etc. How do we tolerate intolerance? So it is….

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