Stupid Sentences of the Day from Dan Brown, II

We’re still at the beginning of the book:

The decisions of the provost’s past had put him in a position to negotiate almost any minefield and always come out on top.

Excuse me, Danny, but the “past” can’t make decisions.  I think you meant, “The decisions the provost had made.”  And Danny, “almost” any minefield?  If you walk into a minefield and you DON’T find your way through it, that means that you step on a mine and blow yourself up.  Is that what you mean by “coming out on top”?  Think, Dan, think—a minefield—bombs hidden underground—you DON’T want to be, er, elevated…

Still at the beginning of the book:

As Langdon stared into his own weary eyes, he half wondered if he might at any moment wake up in his reading chair at home, clutching an empty martini glass and a copy of Dead Souls, only to remind himself that Bombay Sapphire and Gogol should never be mixed.

Um…what?  One should never read a satirical Russian novel while drinking a martini?  That makes sense…it should be gin and tonic?  Wait—gin and tonic are for reading Alessandro Manzoni.  Everybody knows that!  Let’s see—now, if you are reading an American humorist like Mark Twain, you should never mix that with orange juice—ha, ha, how silly some people are!  Imagine reading Mark Twain while drinking orange juice!  Or—wait—here’s something more absurd!  How about reading Turgenev while eating a sandwich!  I am convulsed with laughter over that one!  Why, that’s as absurd as, as, as listening to Bach at two in the afternoon!  As reciting a poem by Eliot while the dog is taking a nap!  As reading Dan Brown, while breathing!

 We are still in Chapter One:

Outside his window, hidden in the shadows of the Via Torregalli, a powerfully built woman effortlessly unstraddled her BMW motorcycle and advanced with the intensity of a panther stalking its prey.

“Unstraddle that bike,” said the policeman, effortlessly writing out a ticket.

“Why should I unstraddle it?” the powerfully built woman retorted, with the intensity of a mule in the middle of the set of the Gunsmoke television show, refusing to move.

“All bikes have to be unstraddled in the shadows of the Via Torregalli,” said the policeman, with the intensity of an oak tree whose roots delve thirty feet down into the earth beneath a BMW factory in West Germany.  “Don’t you see the sign?  ‘No un-unstraddled bikes allowed.’”

Damn cops, she thought effortlessly, with the intensity of a powerfully built lady of the evening swearing at a cop.  Always making you unstraddle!


Dr. Marconi lay motionless on the floor, blood gushing from his chest . . .

Eyes wild with fear, Dr. Brooks immediately spun and crouched beside her blood-soaked colleague, searching for a pulse. Dr. Marconi coughed up a mouthful of blood, which dribbled down his cheek across his thick beard. Then he fell limp.

Excuse me, Danny, but what is a doctor doing searching for a pulse, while blood is gushing out of the man’s chest?  Wouldn’t that be a stupid and pointless thing to do?  Wouldn’t she be trying to stanch the wound?  Wouldn’t she be yelling for assistance?  Is she still searching for a pulse while he’s coughing?  If he isn’t limp, doesn’t that mean that he is still alive?  Did he lie motionless, and then sit up for a moment before he fell limp?

“Are you all right, are you all right, my Robespierre?” cried the tyrant’s mistress, cradling his severed head in her hands.


Related: Stupid Sentences of the Day from Dan Brown

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About Anthony Esolen 20 Articles
Anthony Esolen is a lecturer, translator, and writer. His latest books are Ten Ways to Destroy the Imagination of Your Child and Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture. He also translated Dante's Divine Comedy for Modern Library Classics. He is a professor and writer in residence at Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, in Warner, New Hampshire.