People love beautiful lies (3)
Archived Articles 16 Jun 2006 I.R. LiscinskiEWR
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It is amazing how gullible people are even in the twenty-first century and believe all sorts of lies. How they rush to the movies to see The Da Vinci Code as if it was a wonder of wonders.

Two years ago I borrowed this Dan Brown hullabaloo book from a young mining engineer and when I returned it, I said: “This book is full of baloney and has no historical value.”

This blunt statement went down very badly, the engineer was very offended. Apparently he had swallowed the legend about Jesus, Mary Magdalene and their baby along with the hook and sinker. I was annoyed. I couldn't believe that an intelligent, well-educated man was so gullible. I was even more annoyed because the engineer's mother is an Estonian and his father is Welsh.

The reader might wonder that mining engineers are usually up in the mulga (Acacia woodlands known as mulga cover over 20% of the Australian continent - ed. note). How did I come across one in Brisbane? This is true enough, but the mining companies have their offices and headquarters in capital cities, and Brisbane is the capital of Queensland. I add here, that I am a dispenser of free Estonian lessons with coffee, rye sandwiches and cake thrown in. Thus I had wasted my time and energy on him for more than a year. I had taken him to be smarter than he really was and this was hurting my pride. How could a son of a Welshman not be familiar with Gaelic legends? I could have told him about the matriarchal Queen Meave of Cruachan, who told her husband, that he was ‘a petticoat pensioner’ and that she had the right to give her ‘shadow man my own upper thighs’, but this would have offended the engineer even more.

Granted, Hollywood creates legends by the thousands every single day, but this isn't an original idea. In classical literature where the past is often linked with the present it is the oldest form of story telling. A good example is Publius Vergilius Naso born 70 B.C. He is generally known as Virgil, the author of an epic called The Aeneid where he tied the blood of the Troyans with the blood of the Romans. His literary hero Aeneas fled the burning Troy and became the legendary founder of the city of Rome. All complete fiction.

In spite of that the French were so carried away that they created a legend around the person of Virgil. They adopted him and believed that Virgil was born in Ardennes, studied in Toledo, fell in love with Sultan of Babylon's daughter and founded the city of Naples. All beautiful lies!

In the Middle Ages France was full of legends. In 1485 Malory translated Morte d’Arthur from French into English and the great body of Arthurian romance of the sublime was very popular, so all embracing that as late as 1877-1882 Richard Wagner built his last opera, Parsifal, on the legend of the Holy Grail. Parsifal is the pure Grail hero.

What is interesting is the fact that the Grail material was derieved in the main from Celtic myths, largely of MANANNA MAC LIR and in Welsh counterpart, BRAN the BLESSED the “RICH FISHER”. This shows that literary borrowings do not have national borders, that there is great migration of ideas, great enriching of cultures.

I have to come back to the scribbling iconoclast, Dan Brown, who has cashed in on a 1956 French forgery. It was many years ago when I came across some sensational stories about some secret gospels hidden under an altar, but I never bothered to follow it up in some library. Today I can state according to our best newspaper that it was a Frenchman, Pierre Plantard, a small-time confidence man, and a minor player in both the French fascist and occult underground, who created this legend that Jesus Christ didn't die on the cross, was the husband of Mary Magdalene and escaped with their baby to France. It was all based on his 1956 forgery. Plantard died in 2000, or he might have taken Dan Brown to a French court accusing him of plagiarism. The English court saw the case lately as a fine recycling of an old tale.

Dan Brown has been very smart. He outdoes Freud in psychology.
 
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