So here’s what happened. My friend from work and I were walking towards the AMC Empire Theater in Times Square around 4:15 p.m., plenty of time, we hoped, to scope out what was happening with the lines in front of the respective screens for Over the Hedge and The Da Vinci Code before our film’s 4:50 showing. We had to make our way through the usual huge Saturday afternoon crowds of tourists, and were so deep in conversation that we didn’t notice the man distributing leaflets in front of the theater until we were past him. My friend hurried back to take one. It was put out by St. Michael’s World Apostolate, and read on top,”Why Protest the Da Vinci Code?” and had a headline from a newspaper on the bottom,”Poll: Book turns Christians into ‘Code’ clods.” The report was about a Reuters poll stating that 60 percent of Code readers believed after reading the book that Jesus and Mary Magdalen had children together. (The report didn’t say how many had changed their minds about the divinity of Jesus – the media often don’t get that this is the part that upsets us most).
After we got our tickets for OTH and went upstairs, we saw that our film was playing just a couple of doors down from the DVC. There was a huge line waiting for DVC. We went to our theater, where there was a long bench in front of the entrance, and only 2 or 3 families with kids sitting there. Then they suddenly left , and my heart sank. There went my plan of finding out how many in line were “Othercotting” – there was no line! No one else came, and after a while I want to look at the DVC line again. I found out that they were waiting for the 1:55 showing to end. Probably they had been certain the show would sell out if they didn’t get there early.
I went back to our bench, and my friend and I began discussing the actual date of composition of the Gospels. . . then a couple with kids came out of our theater and headed toward the restroom, and it finally dawned on me where all our audience was – already inside! Evidently parents just want to corral their kids in their seats as early as possible – and maybe keep them from running up and down the escalators. So we went in, and the theater was more than half full, but still not crowded. But by the time the previews were over, most of the seats had been filled.
The film? Not a timeless classic, but cute and enjoyable. We giggled throughout and had a great time, though I don’t think we two adult professional women were anywhere near the target audience for the film. The family crowd especially the kids, loved it. We both agreed we’d gladly see it again – for Steve Carrell’s hyperactive squirrel alone!
My friend unfortunately had another appointment, so I was going to have dinner alone. When we got down to the sidewalk, we stopped so I could take her picture with my new Palm Treo (the coolest cell phone/handheld computer /digital camera on the planet). We walked on and said goodbye some distance from the theater, and I decided to turn back and see whether the man was still distributing leaflets, so I could get a picture of him.
When I arrived back in front of the theater, the lone man had been replaced by a group who had set up posters saying “The Da Vinci Code is Hate Crime.” They were earnestly praying the rosary. A writer – someone from a newspaper, I think — was interviewing one of them, whose name was Jeffrey Smith.
When the writer left, I told Mr. Smith (on the left in the picture) about my support and our participation in the “Othercott.” He looked happy about that, but was still weary and upset. “We are a whole nation of robots who will line up automatically for anything Hollywood puts out,” he said. “They wouldn’t dare do this to Islamics, they wouldn’t dare do this to Jews — why do they think they can do it to us?”
Was our protest a better way to answer this madness and injustice, or was his? All the Christians there today spoke out in some way or another — that’s what really counts.