False erudition

A Jay Nordlinger reader exposes Dan Brown yet again:

My colleague Christopher Howse has pointed out that you can tell that The Da Vinci Code is rubbish just by its name. Students of art refer to the man in question as ‘Leonardo’, ‘Da Vinci’ being simply the identifier of his town of origin. So Dan Brown’s title is the equivalent of a book about Jesus being called Of Nazareth. [That is much better than my “of Orange” example.] To be fair, though, these things do not follow a common rule. A friend of mine who had done a thesis on Correggio applied for an art history fellowship at a well-known university. One of those interviewing him for the post asked, ‘So where did Correggio come from?’ My friend replied truthfully, ‘From Correggio.’ He sensed at once that he should have spared his questioner’s blushes. He failed to get the fellowship.

I never consciously thought about it that way, but it might be one reason why I could never bring myself to bother reading The Da Vinci Code despite the fact that I’ll cheerfully plow through the complete John Norman or Patrick O’Brien in a matter of weeks. I’m no literary snob, but one does have to draw a line somewhere… although I rather feel as if I’m biting the hand that doesn’t exactly feed me, but does toss me a few treats now and then, considering that Pocket has amassed a fair amount of the coin of the realm thanks to Mr. Brown.