Anthony Burgess

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Letter: Intelligence and religion are not incompatible

From Sam Vicchrilli, Salt Lake City, UT:

As much as I typically despise letters to the editor, I would like to write a few words to you about your blog on "The Da Vinci Code."

I have not read Brown's book. I read the first several chapters and thought the writing was pedestrian and the mystery too obviously teased out. There is a stack of books I wish to read before returning to that bit of fiction. But I have heard about the book endlessly from my mother who adores it. We are Mormon. While it has not deterred our religiosity (rather it drove us to the bible for clarification on doctrinal points), I can understand why Christians around the world are questioning themselves due to this piece of pulp fiction. I think part of it is that they are unaware of what the bible says and how it was put together, as you have suggested. Moreover, I think most people are not very bright to begin with.

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Pauline Kael: On art & trash, life & lice

It's a notion that takes some growing used to, but Pauline Kael makes her case persuasively: "Almost every interesting American movie in the past few years has been directed by a Catholic." And then she names the three directors she feels are making the most exciting movies right now: Francis Ford Coppola, an Italian-American; Martin Scorsese, who grew up in New York's Little Italy with a Sicilian background; and, above all, Robert Altman, a German-American Catholic from Kansas City.