Thursday, February 15, 2007

Chapter 20

Brown has set himself a tough task. He wants to write a book that's both accessible (a mainstream thriller, with lots of thrills and cliffhangers) and didactic (even if the stuff he's teaching us is bollocks, he's still going to teach it).

He's done OK so far, slipping the Gnostic theology and Renaissance aesthetics into conversations between the principles, but now we've got a problem. He wants to explain the Divine Proportion. Langdon knows all about it. But so does Sophie. And they're both rather too preoccupied to go over old ground at the moment.

Langdon: Sophie, did you know that the Divine Proportion, or phi, is 1.618?

Sophie: Yes.

Langdon: Oh.

So, what the hell, if you're going to attempt to educate the audience, why not take advantage of the fact that your hero is an educator? Cue flashback, to Langdon teaching at Harvard. And a couple of things emerge.

1. Harvard students are, despite the global reputation that the institution holds, a bit thick.

2. Langdon is the sort of academic who reckons he can get down with the kids by quoting Wayne's World at them.

Oh, yeah. Those funny words. They're anagrams. Or, as Sophie puts it, for the benefit of the really slow readers who had trouble with all that Divine Proportion malarkey, "Like a word jumble from a newspaper."

Oh, and Louvre staff are on strike. Maybe they're looking for danger money, because of the risk of being shot by pink-eyed monks.


Blogger Billy said...

The divine proportion or "golden ratio" used to be called the "mean and extreme ratio".

If only it was mean and extreme - to the max! Wayne of World fame would have like that.

10:53 am  
Blogger Tim Footman said...

Bob and Soph's excellent adventure.

6:37 am  
Blogger Spinsterella said...

Are we supposed to believe here that two incredibly intelligent people, a crytpologyst and a symbology expert, failed to recognise a couple of basic frigging anagrams?

Someone made the point earlier that they don't have cryptic crosswords in the US - perhaps they don't have anagrams either?

1:22 pm  

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