the telegraph tells it how it is

September 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm (this and that)

The last time I was all flippant and stuff about a famous author’s writing I got in a wee bit of trouble (Hello Mr. Gaiman! I’m disappointed you won’t be at World Fantasy Con, according to your blog, as I wanted to get your autograph and introduce myself as “that blogger who called you a misogynistic butthole”), but I can’t pass up posting this article from the Telegraph calling out Dan Browne for murdering English prose.

Full disclosure: I read The Da Vinci Code. I read it for one reason, which was that it came out when I was majoring in Art History at Rollins, and roughly 463 people (including my parents) asked me if I had read it, and when I said no, each and every one would proceed to tell me all about Leonardo Da Vinci and how he was (spoilers, I guess) really a cultist who believed Jesus put a baby in Mary and painted her into The Last Supper and blah blah blah. At some point I realized it would take less time for me to just read the damn book and tell people “Yes, I didn’t care for it” so I did. It was horrible. I know it’s old news to report on just how awful The Da Vinci Code is (it is so, so bad), but now that Dan Browne has released OMG MASONS IN WASHINGTON D.C.! or whatever the title of his latest book actually is, it’s open season again on his terrible, terrible writing, and justifiably so.

I actually have more of a problem with the plotting in The Da Vinci Code than anything else (characters are so implausibly motivated I think I laughed out loud at their actions more than once) but Browne’s actual word-smithery is just as noxious. Even worse– somehow– than the part of The Da Vinci Code when Plucky French Orphan Lady (who will remain nameless because I don’t feel like Wiki-ing her name) admits that she broke with her dead curator grandfather just because she walked in on his kinky sex club (Really? I would just be like “Ew! Lock the door please Gramps! Can I borrow that mask for the Halloween party next week?” but I am not. . . French? Maybe?) is this actual line from the actual book, unadulterated by cowed editors who I assume saw this and just said “fuck it, it’s Dan Browne, it will sell a gajillion copies because it is about Jesus having sex and conspiracies”:

“The Knights Templar were warriors,” Teabing reminded, the sound of his aluminum crutches echoing in this reverberant space.

The Telegraph, because they are British, follow up this monstrosity by reminding us that “Remind” is a transitive verb – you need to remind someone of something. You can’t just remind. And if the crutches echo, we know the space is reverberant.

Thank you.

See that, and 19 other pieces of some of the worst writing in the English language here.

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