Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Sullivan vs. The Da Vinci Code

Andrew Sullivan mourns the fact that Ron Howard, director of The Da Vinci Code, has declined to succumb to pressure from Opus Dei to put a disclaimer on the film spelling out that it is a work of fiction. Everything Sullivan says about the book/film is true ("It's hack fiction.... it's fictional dreck and Hollywood hooey"), but I wonder at his reasoning behind favoring the disclaimer.

It's particularly puzzling given two topics that Sullivan has had on his radar screen a whole lot lately. First, he rightfully decries attempts from the right and the left to create a "nanny state". Banging people over the head with a disclaimer that lays out what every thinking person should know as a matter of course has a strong whiff of that stale-diaper nanny smell to it. It's a Tom Hanks blockbuster, for chrissakes (so to speak).

Second, he has spoken out in no uncertain terms against attempts by Tom Cruise and the Scientologists to censor and otherwise mess with South Park for its "Trapped in the Closet" episode. But now he sympathizes with another religious organization's efforts to muck about with Hollywood? When Isaac Hayes left South Park, Sullivan excoriated him for the hypocrisy of tolerating affronts to some religions, but not his own. There's something uncomfortably similar about this situation.

Sullivan then sidles into a by now almost obligatory swipe at Islamists, who would never tolerate such a film if it were made about the Koran. This is undoubtedly true, and if such a film ever does appear, one can assume that Sullivan would deal swiftly with any opposition to it or, say, attempts by Muslim groups to put a disclaimer on it.
Listed on BlogShares