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Friday, June 23, 2006

Interns, Heat Maps, and the Dan Brown Substitution Project

Posted by on June 23 at 14:24 PM

In the context of another conversation, co-worker just observed that “when you get on a plane, there will still be fifteen people reading the fucking Da Vinci Code.”

He’s right. It’s a scourge. And an opportunity: Ladies and gentlemen, I propose to you The Dan Brown Substitution Project. The program: (1) Always carry a few Quality Titles by Quality Authors ready to give away; (2) When you see someone reading The Fucking Da Vinci Code, rip the book from his or her hands and replace it with a Quality Title by a Quality Author; (3) Run for your life.

But what should those Quality Titles be? Something awesome, something with hooks, something to convince him or her that there is more to the reading life than Dan “I-can’t-believe-people-actually-fell-for-this-shit” Brown.

Also: Check out the Dan Brown heat map, courtesy of (A heat map being “the relative interest in an entity at every locale in the United States. We have developed a geographic model of news influence which enables us to gauge the relative amount of exposure a given entity has received as a function of location.”) And the Arnold Schwarzenegger heat map. And Ernest Hemingway. And Jimmy Buffett. (Though the Queen Latifah heat map looks a little suspicious.

Also II: Annie Wagner and I are currently accepting applications for interns who are good-humored, reliable, and available on Tuesday afternoons: and

CommentsRSS icon

You're SUPPOSED to read thoroughly mindless shit on airplanes. Who can concentrate on anything substantive when there's like 20 molecules of oxygen, all tainted with the pathogens of 200 strangers, circulating in the overheated air and a six-week old with an ear infection giving voice to her discontent immediately behind you? Not to mention the whole jesus-what-was-that-noise-are-we-crashing business.

Hey, I know, let's let people use cell phones on airplanes!

Then we can all go INSANE!

foucalt's pendulum is way better than the davinci code....


I don't see what everyone has against the Da Vinci Code. It had some interesting conspiracy theories wrapped around a decent plot.

What exactly is wrong with this book to everyone else?

it problem with the code is that it is actually a good read and a well written piece of fiction. so many people dispise and avoid the book like black death, because of its overwelming popularity.

these nay-sayers are brethre of the people who hate their favorite "indy" band once everyone else figures out, "hey these guys rock".

I second Foucault's Pendulum. A lot of the same subject matter as the DaVinci Code but exhaustingly researched and with a pretty clever take on the various conspiracy theories involved (in this case, pretty much every conspiracty theory ever.) It is slow going at first, though.

It's bad enough that people can use cell phones before taking off and after landing. If they could ever use them in flight, I would never fly again, without doubt.

As for the D.V.C., 98104, I've had several friends read it who really enjoyed the plot. But they also thought it was written at about a second-grade level, so there's that.

Being easy to read isn't a really good knock on a book, is it? It wasn't the most complicated book in the world, but did it really have to be?

The writing style made for a good pace, I think.

Dex, I haven't read it, so I really can't say. I agree that being easy to read isn't necessarily a knock, but it can be. Just depends on what you mean by "easy" -- flowing good, facile bad. (Of course, facile doesn't mean the plot can't be a crackerjack, and I admit that's its own reward some of the time.)

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