Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Golden Compass controversy

Read this article!

It hasn't been released yet, but "The Golden Compass" and its author Philip Pullman have already been accused of atheistic propaganda, vicious hidden messages aimed at children before Christmas,of secretly campaigning to overthrow the power of the Christian Church...
I knew this was going to happen. It's a big American production and you can't do or say anything against the Church there without being eaten alive (metaphorically of course), especially if children are involved. But when I read this article I HAD to say something in my own little blog. BECAUSE THIS PEOPLE HAVEN'T EVEN READ THE BOOKS! It makes me so angry that they can stir such a commotion, promote a a boycott, tell so so many people not to judge with their own minds, when they don't even know what they're talking about. This subject really touches me, because since I read it, His Dark Materials trilogy became one of my absolutely favourites. So I know that (and don't read on if you don't want to spoil the plot...) it's untrue what they say about God being killed by a child. In The Amber Spyglass God is dying because of his own frailty. the children don't have anything to do with it. They notice an old man on a litter passing by and they even feel pity for him but they can't do anything. They have their own mission to accomplish.

There is a message in the book,of course there is. And it's a message of love, and tolerance, and friendship. For century the Church, in all its forms, have been the denial of all this. I'm speaking about the Church with a capital C, which involves power and repression. If the books are anti-religious is because religion is always been accompanied by this. But it's in no way immoral, or even anti-spiritual. Think about what Dust is: a self-aware flow of energy that keeps the universe together and speaks to us of only we know how to listen. I love this idea, it's always been my idea of how the universe works, with or without a God, and Pullman managed to use it so beautifully in the best form: storytelling.
Unfortunately, in our world, people don't want to be challenged. Who has power wants to hold on to that power. But it's sad that they feel that they can be threatened by a film, or a book.

I hope the Golden Compass will be a success despite of or thanks to all this (and I'm REALLY looking forward to its release this week!!!).
But it is disappointing that in order to reach Hollywood books still have to go through this kind of censoring sieve.


LisaMM said...

You know, I was prepared to keep my kids away from this movie based on the hype, but now I think I'll pick the books up first and possibly view the movie alone before deciding if my kids can see it. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I just bought the book without knowing much about it at all - only because I like to read books that are turned into movies... Thank you for this exposure to the ban - silliness, all of it! I, too, look forward to this book and the movie. - BkClubCare .wordpress

valentina said...

Lisa, I think your kids will enjoy this movie,so I won't be afraid to let them see it. It's fantasy, adventures, fun! If you're a religious family it might raise questions, but it could be a good opportunity to talk to them and see what they feel about it.

Anonymous reader: I hope you like the book, it's a bit slow at the beginning but then after a while it starts to kick in, so be prepared for a great adventure!

Freddie Sirmans said...

Just browsing the internet. Very, very interesting blog.

Nymeth said...

Like you, I feared this would happen. I seriously don't understand reactions like this. How are these books "propaganda"? Okay, Philip Pullman is an atheist and he makes no secret of it, and certainly there is an atheistic world view reflected in the books, but then again, books written by religious authors often reflect the world view of their religion, and we don't see often them being labelled as propaganda.

Also, it really upsets me when people equate atheism with a complete lack of values and with moral anarchy. Like you said, the books are full of examples of tolerance, friendship, love, and a deep awareness of just how precious life is. I just don't see how a message like that could be considered questionable.

Em said...

Thanks for the great post, Valentina! His Dark Materials is one of my favorite series of all time. I think that we need books like this - they help us to question our values and they cultivate discussion.

valentina said...

thanks Freddie,hope to see you here often:)

Nymeth,that's exactly what I mean. let's hope people won't be fooled by these attacks and will enjoy the books/film for what they are.

Thanks Em. We do need books like these so much, especially in children's literature!

Ladytink_534 said...

I've actually never gotten around to reading this. I'm still hoping to before I see the movie

raidergirl3 said...

I read the series, and I didn't pick up on the fact that Pullman was an athiest. I thought it had a lot ot say about religion, but not necessarily bad, just a critical look at some aspects.
People who promote bans without having read the book drive me nuts!

aloi said...

i've never read "his dark materials" trilogy, but i watched The Golden Compass this weekend ... and loved the effects and the general treatment. though everything seemed really rushed, i was quite taken by the concept of "dust." ooh, wasn't nicole kidman scary!

bans, smans. i don't understand the controversy AT ALL. anything that captures the imagination seems to spark SOMEONE'S ire. heck, no one can please everyone. i mean, harry potter books are among the most successful controversial books around.

valentina said...

aloi: I'd say it should read the books to understand all the fuss. You can understand a bit in the movie that the Magisterium represents the Church in our world. They are controlling, powerful and repressive, and don't want people to know what Dust is, cause that would make them loose power over them. And that's why it bothers so many people. It challenges so many concepts and beliefs.
I don't want to give too much away because the books are really good reads! I think you should go and get them asap:)

Yes,Nicole Kidman was perfect!!! and Lyra too, considering it's her first movie.

Ladytink: let me know what you think of them when you do read them!

raidergirl: that's it. Pullman says he's an atheist and that's because he doesn't believe in the existence of one god. But that doesn't mean he doesn't believe in anything!He also did a lot of research before writing these books. It gives you a lot to think about, another perspective maybe, some very interesting ideas. But in the end it's fiction, and it should be enjoyed for what it is!

A Magical Whimsy said...

I need to re-read the books. And yes, I totally agree with your synopsis of what the capital 'C' Church today is not doing about love and tolerance and friendship and acceptance. Some more liberal churches are trying to make a difference to help young people, and those with addictions with acceptance and love. The books did have kind of a creepiness to them, but a sad kind of creepy, a lonely creepy where you wanted to reach out and help the main characters.