THE PLANK SEPTEMBER 10, 2009
The countdown has begun:
In just six days, residents will awaken to find themselves in a changed city. One invaded by Founding Fathers scandal, by fictitious Harvard symbologists, by very short chapters ending in cliffhangers and exclamation points! One to which the tourists will flock, brandishing conspiracy theories. We want the real story, they'll say to helpless docents at the Smithsonian, perhaps, or the Scottish Rite Masonic temple. This is the real story, docents will reply. No, the reeeeal story. Wink wink.
Washington is about to be Dan Browned.
The Washington Post explains what we can look forward to:
In "The Lost Symbol," [Brown protagonist Robert] Langdon will be back again, this time racing through Washington..... When Dan Brown comes to town, things get a little bit nutty. Just ask Colin Glynne-Percy, director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, the rural Scottish church featured in "The Da Vinci Code," which Langdon believed to be the location of the Holy Grail.
"Before the book came out, we had about 40,000 visitors a year," Glynne-Percy says. "It went to 80,000. Then to 120,000. Then to 175,000. We had very small facilities. We had only two restrooms. We could survive on that for 40,000 but . . ." They've put in temporary bathrooms and added several new staff members....
In Italy, more of the same. One Roman tour guide describes how her tours of the Colosseum were so frequently interrupted by tourists more interested in "Angels & Demons" faux-history that she had to create a special tour for them.
The Post has more gory details here. Sounds like an excellent time to leave town, for perhaps ten or fifteen years.