Friday, December 28, 2007

Update on Golden Compass

I just read this interesting article / interview by Hanna Rosen about The Golden Compass and author Phillip Pullman from The Atlantic, on the question of whether or not the books and film are or are not about killing God and I wanted to update my post of Dec 19. See what they say.

Says Rosen:
When pressed, Pullman grants that he’s not really trying to kill God, but rather the outdated idea of God as an old guy with a beard in the sky. In his novels, he replaces the idea of God with “Dust,” made up of invisible particles that begin to cluster around people when they hit puberty. The Church believes Dust to be the physical evidence of original sin and hopes to eradicate it. But over the course of the series, Pullman reveals it to be the opposite: evidence of human consciousness, a kind of godlike energy that surrounds everyone. People accumulate Dust by “thinking and feeling and reflecting, by gaining wisdom and passing it on.” It starts to build up around puberty because, for Pullman, sexual awakening triggers the beginning of self-knowledge and intellectual curiosity. To him, the loss of sexual innocence is not a tragedy; it’s the springboard to a productive and virtuous adulthood.
So maybe protesters are jumping the gun or painting a broad brush. Not using a "subtle knife" to make a joke. Nevertheless, I stick by my original assessment that the film lacks a sense of love and compassion, and that I did not find the heroine Lyra to be likable.


Blogger Claire said...

I'd read another article about Pullman's views, albeit from a pretty conservative source, but they quoted Pullman as saying several things, including "William Blake said that Milton was a true poet and of the Devil's party without knowing it. I am of the Devil's party and know it." Very provocative! And maybe I don't know enough about the original "Devil's party" reference to catch any nuances of meaning other than the obvious one.

They also quote him from an interview with the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph saying: "Atheism suggests a degree of certainty that I'm not quite willing to accede. I suppose technically, you'd have to put me down as an agnostic. But if there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against. As you look back over the history of the Christian church, it's a record of terrible infamy and cruelty and persecution and tyranny. How they have the bloody nerve to go on Thought for the Day and tell us all to be good when, given the slightest chance, they'd be hanging the rest of us and flogging the homosexuals and persecuting the witches." A bit of overgeneralizing, but also interesting.

The article I got these quotes from can be found here: Much of the language of the article is obviously aimed to inflame and incite, and the author overreacts and reads into things in many places. But the quotes from Pullman still seem to be pretty anti-Christian and clearly intended to be provocative. He also is quoted talking about how he hates Lewis, etc....

1:06 PM  

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