Thursday, July 01, 2004

Top Four Words I Have Learned...

...from watching French* Subtitles for Gilmore Girls: Complete First Season.

1) Desole -- Sorry
2) dingue -- Crazy
3) Fou -- Crazy
4) Tu plaisantes! -- You're kidding!

Okay. So it isn't /French/ French. It's Quebecois. But now I can be quirky in Montreal AND Paris.

Also, I picked up a copy of The Da Vinci Code last week at the used bookstore on Franklin Street. My god, is it awful. The writing is about on par with a talented fourth grader's. Rather than artfully slip in exposition (and there's a lot that needs to be), Dan Brown hammers it in clunky, completely unbelievable dialogue. The prolixity is in humourous contrast to the elementary French spoken by the French characters.
This is aside from the incredible thickness of the protaganists (It's an anagram, dammit, just like the first fourteen clues were!) -- the world's least convincing Art Historian and cryptologist.
Then again, if you can tell them apart, you've done better than I: the author does little work in making them believable as characters or even noticeably different from each other.
You may also want to ignore the research the author did -- apparently consisting solely of cracking open a used copy of Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Which he cites in the story (authenticity or lack of creativity -- you be the judge!) and whose authors are condensed into another unbelievable character (he's British 'cause he's stuffy!) with a name that's another tired anagram. It is Sir Leigh Teabing, which comes from Richard Leigh, one author of the Holy Blood book and Michael Baginet, the other.
And since he's English, he must like TEA.
The book's overweaning feature is its cocky assurance that this sort of juvenile thinking isn't just clever, it's genius. Of Da Vinci stature. It isn't. It gets a lot plain wrong (the word for a papal bull in French would never create a pun for a bullish person, since the words are different bulle and taureau where we have just 'bull') and a lot close to.
If this is the work of genius it commonly ascribed to be, we're all in a lot of trouble.

I did get on the same trip a compilation of pre-Shakespearean English drama -- it includes Gammer Gurton's Needle, The Shoemaker's Holiday and some liturgical plays. Actual clever stuff and worth reading.

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