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What would Of Nazareth do?

Those of you irritated beyond measure by The Da Vinci Code really must have a look at this installment of The Language Log. 'Tis quite funny.

You know I can't do without an excerpt, so here goes:

Geoffrey K. Pullum writes:

Done forever with my reading of The Da Vinci Code, I had to find a way of disposing of the offending object. (Even the title contains a linguistic error, Adam Gopnik points out in this week's issue of The New Yorker. Leonardo came from Vinci. Da Vinci is not a name. It's a prepositional phrase, like of Nazareth in Jesus of Nazareth. What would Of Nazareth do?)

But clogged recycling centers are now refusing to accept copies of Brown's book, and libraries are closing their after-hours book drops to avoid having people getting rid of them that way by night. So (I'm a cruel father, but fair) I hit upon the idea of sending the book on to my son Calvin, who I recently learned had not read it. Within a day or two after the package reached him I got an email:

The Da Vinci Code, page 30:
"Five months ago, the kaleidoscope of power had been shaken, and Aringarosa was still reeling from the blow."
What the fuck does that even mean?
Perhaps he meant something like: "The kaleidoscope of power had been shaken and the orange-green pattern of courage had been consumed by the yellow-red jumble of fear"?


(It goes on, too. Follow the links within that entry. Almost as fun as lampooning J.K. Rowling's misplaced modifiers!)


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 18th, 2005 05:14 pm (UTC)
*pets Special Illustrated Edition of The From Vinci Code*
Jan. 18th, 2005 09:08 pm (UTC)
Eee hee hee. This is terrific. Unfortunately I think he's right about Dan Brown; the plot is fun, but at the sentence level -- sigh. Problems galore.
Jan. 19th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
Yeah - when I read The Da Vinci Code, I basically thought, "This is cheesy, but would make a good adventure movie." I noticed some of the stylistic issues, but not all of them; mostly because the book wasn't being talked about by everyone yet at the time I read it. When I read books that I know to be wildly best-selling, I tend to pay more attention to style, so that I can either say, "Hey, the people have good taste; that's refreshing," or, "Ugh; the people have mediocre taste. Don't they see the problems?" :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )