28 November 2007

You had me at “My books are about killing God”:
Phil Pullman is my new hero

The Golden Compass is a new dreamy kids flick starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Sam Elliot among others and written by 61-year-old British author Philip Pullman.

Though its being advertised quite harmlessly as "an exciting fantasy adventure" for children set in "a world where witches rule the northern skies, where ice bears are the bravest of warriors, and where every human is joined with an animal spirit who is as close to them as their own heart," the $180M Hollywood movie, which opens Dec. 7, is also drawing criticism from religious groups that describe it as "militantly atheistic," "blasphemous," "heretical," and "diabolical." And that's where it gets fun.

Ye Old Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and the American Family Association are among the groups farting for a boycott and trying to basically ruin Christmas for kids who are amped to see this movie. Like I flipped the script on ya, huh?

The controversy stems from Pullman's His Dark Materials, a series of children's fantasy novels on which The Golden Compass is based. The books in the trilogy have sold more than 14 million copies since debuting in 1995.

Pullman has described himself at various times as either an atheist or an agnostic. HOLLA! The author has made it clear that he is not happy with the way religious institutions have answered those questions.

He told the Sydney Morning Herald, for example, that "my books are about killing God," and that he was amused that American Christians have been more critical of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books than His Dark Materials.

"I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything old Harry has said," Pullman said. Ohhhh dip. We got beef in the childrens fantasy section; call store security!

He has stated a number of times that he wrote His Dark Materials in part to counter the Christian themes and values woven into C.S. Lewis' literary children's classic, The Chronicles of Narnia.

"Pullman's been pretty upfront that part of his intention is to write sort of the 'anti-Narnia' story," said Bruce Edwards, a Lewis scholar and professor of English at Bowling Green State University.

"I hate the Narnia books, and I hate them with a deep and bitter passion," Pullman says. Me, too, bro!

Stupid Chronicles of Narnia starts with a young heroine named Lucy ducking inside a wardrobe that opens into the dumb land of Narn.

In The Golden Compass, 12-year-old Lyra Belacqua hides inside a wardrobe, where she hears her uncle talking about Dust, a mysterious element that becomes a key component of the story.

Her uncle, Lord Asriel (played by Daniel Craig - James Bond, Layer Cake, Munich), is heading to the Arctic Circle to find this Dust, but the story's institutional villain, the Magisterium, desperately wants to prevent him from finding it. Not coincidentally, the Roman Catholic Church's sacred teaching authority is called the Magisterium.

Lyra has been given the last existing "alethiometer," or Golden Compass, a truth-telling device that answers questions formed in the mind, and is befriended by Nicole Kidman's character, Marisa Coulter, a scientist, world traveler, and secretly an agent for the Magisterium.

All the humans in Pullman's story are accompanied by their own personal "daemons" that take the form of animals and represent the person's soul or conscience.

Bruce, the Lewis scholar and professor of English at Bowling Green State University who I mentioned earlier, continues: "My understanding is that in the first film, the anti-religious message would be very muted," said Edwards, who is familiar with Pullman's books but had not yet seen the film. "I think the filmmakers have tried to sanitise it to give it some broader appeal."

He said the action and adventure sequences in The Golden Compass book eventually give way to "increasingly dense, thematically thick" chapters that "fall into a lot of soliloquies and speeches."

"By the third written text, it's very explicit that God needs to be 'taken out,'" Edwards said.

Compared to C.S. Lewis' skill at telling stories with spiritual metaphors, Pullman packs in his atheistic message "like a sledgehammer," he said.

Does the name Bill Donohue ring a bell? Well, it should.

Bill Donohue is the superhero / defender of evil / president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; infamous for his public statements on matters that the Catholic League believes relate to the defamation of and the civil rights of Catholics in particular and Christians in general. In doing so he has gone after a diverse array of public figures, from people like Christopher Hitchens and Bill Maher, to businesses like Abercrombie & Fitch and Miller Beer, to institutions such as Bob Jones University. The dude is a bona fide nut.

Remember Opie and Anthony and "Sex for Sam 3"? Where Paul Mecurio encouraged a trashy Virginia couple visiting Manhattan, to have sex inside St. Patrick's Cathedral. When your boy Bill Donohue learned of the incident, he immediately contacted the FCC asking that it revoke the license of WNEW. With his undeniable power and influence Donohue led the charge which would get O&A ousted and sound loudly the death knell for "hot talk" radio in New York City.

Bill Donohue has gone after everyone from obvious targets like Marilyn Manson to Kevin Smith because of that stupid Dogma movie, to South Park, Michael Savage, CSI (the show, not the college), comedian Louis CK... the list goes on and on.

Donohue even has beef with Bush! the first president to defiantly mix chocolate state with peanut butter church. After Bush used the term "Holidays" instead of "Christmas" on the White House 2005 holiday cards, Donohue stated "The Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and... they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture."

So naturally Superhero Bill Donohue, is urging Christians not to see The Golden Compass or to buy the trilogy for their children, saying that Mr. Pullman's "twin goals are to promote atheism and denigrate Christianity - to kids."

Although New Line Cinema toned down the anti-religious elements of The Golden Compass, the first book in the series is already more restrained than the second installment, The Subtle Knife, which Mr. Donohue said is "more overt in its hatred of Christianity," and the third book, The Amber Spyglass.

Mr. Donohue is urging parents to read a tract published by the Catholic League titled "The Golden Compass: Agenda Unmasked," saying that its readers "will be armed with all the ammo they need to convince friends and family members that there is nothing innocent about Pullman's agenda." Oh, shut the fuck up.

Pullman, in an online interview, said parents "should read the book and trust the book and trust your children. If you brought them up decent, open-minded, wise, and clear-sighted, you don't need to worry about them turning into little monsters or little atheists or anything."

I think that about sums it up. Donohue is the one who comes off like a lunatic. As usual.

Selected Captain Donohue quotes:

“You stuck your middle finger up at the Catholic church, and we just broke it, pal.”

“Hollywood likes anal sex. They like to see the public square without nativity scenes. I like families. I like children. They like abortions. I believe in traditional values and restraint. They believe in libertinism.”

“Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.”

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