A recent search engine phrase brought a reader here. The search phrase was from the Ursula Le Guin pro-fantasy manifesto: “Why Are Americans So Afraid of Dragons?”
Of course I had to look this up as well and found an article that was more appealing titled “Why Are Americans So Afraid of The Golden Compass?” which had more interest for me. (read article here)
The Golden Compass is movie adapted from a trilogy of novels by author Philip Pullman called “The Dark Materials.” Philip Pullman is a self-proclaimed atheist, [big deal] and his trilogy published by Random House is categorized as “juvenile fiction.” So why are so many people getting their proverbial panties in a bunch over this movie and the books?
This is the intent of Philip Pullman to further his money making machine. What’s wrong with making money? Nothing. Mr Pullman has sold over 15 million copies of his trilogy “The Golden Compass”, “The Subtle Knife”, and “The Amber Spyglass” world wide. Since it is common for books to become movies, the first book was released as a watered down version movie on Dec 7th, 2007. So far nothing is wrong with this activity.
Mr Pullman claims to be an atheist but his writings and interviews touting his atheism is severely contradicted by the fact that you can’t attack or kill something you believe doesn’t exist. Pullman represents God as a decrepit and perverse angel in his novels, who captures the dead in a “prison camp” afterlife. one character, a fallen angel, tells another character in the book “The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful…”
Pullman’s writings contradict himself as we all know the first angel, the most powerful, was cast out of heaven and was known by many names, the most common ones being Satan and Lucifer. In later interviews with Pullman he states that two characters in his last book [The Amber Spyglass] kill God. The contradictions are endless as the two characters in the last book kill the fallen angel, the most powerful angel, which was in actuality, not God.
Books of the trilogy have sold more than 15 million copies around the world, with Northern Lights [released in the US as “The Golden Compass”] winning the Carnegie Medal for Children’s Literature in 1995 and in 2007 being awarded the ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’ for the best children’s book of the past 70 years. The Amber Spyglass, the final book of the series, won The Whitbread Prize in 2001, making it the first children’s book to do so.
In conclusion, what do we have? We have a guy who writes books, who claims to be one thing, then contradicts himself in writing and interviews, trying to make as much money as he can using the resources at hand such as capitalism, commercialism, controversy and press, and trying not to be a “has been” overshadowed by the works of J.K.Rowling in the mean time. All summed up, big deal.
Editorial comment: As the author of this blog, it is my firm belief that parents have always been and always will be responsible for how their children are raised and their development into adulthood. Pullman is not breaking the law, and he isn’t forcing anyone to buy his writings. Many Christian and non-Christian groups are advocating not patronizing Pullman with a boycott of his materials which only blinds us to the nature and content of his material which reduces our understanding and knowledge of what is good or bad about the content. How can an individual say something is good or bad unless they have taken the time to read or view it for them self and make an informed decision on their own about the information?
My belief is if you decide to read or view the material or allow your children to do so, then it is our obligation as good parents to be fully involved in the comprehension and understanding of the material and to use the material as a teaching tool for whatever your values and morals prescribe. If some people decide to blind them self and/or their children from the content, then that is perfectly fine as we all should be doing as we believe. One of the great things about America is having that right to choose as we wish.