OH MY GOD! They Killed God! Those Bastards!November 12, 2007
Well, that’s it then. We should all gather in the town square to burn the books as we dance naked around the flames. Information is dangerous! If people have information, then they might start to think, and to question and then HOLY SHIT PEOPLE! Are you even remotely aware of what would happen if everyone were an independent thinker? If everyone was given all the information they needed to make decisions FOR THEMSELVES (and not as part of some collective hive-mind)? It’s getting harder and harder to oppress the unwashed masses as it is!
You know what’s worse than a book with information that endangers the world as we know it? A MOVIE BASED ON THAT BOOK. You know what’s even worse? If the people who made the movie TONED DOWN some of the book’s heretical messages so that people will be TRICKED INTO BUYING AND POSSIBLY READING THE BOOK. The world as we know it could end on or around December 7th 2007 (depending on how long it will take the unwashed masses to read Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Personally, it took me 4 days, but I’m a pretty fast reader. I wouldn’t seriously worry until at least a week later).
Christians like feeling persecuted. Trust me, we do. It makes us feel better that there are a great many forces out there that disadvantage us. Plus, there is a certain romantic passion that comes with facing down our enemies as a united mass. That universal yearn to be martyred (without the attendant inconvenience of death) is fuelling an email campaign against Nicole Kidman’s latest outing to the silver screen. The two emails (sourced from snopes.com) currently making the rounds are below the cut.
[Collected via e-mail, October 2007]
There will be a new Children’s movie out in December called THE GOLDEN COMPASS. It is written by Phillip Pullman, a proud athiest who belongs to secular humanist societies. He hates C. S. Lewis’s Chronical’s of Narnia and has written a trilogy to show the other side. The movie has been dumbed down to fool kids and their parents in the hope that they will buy his trilogy where in the end the children kill God and everyone can do as they please. Nicole Kidman stars in the movie so it will probably be advertised a lot. This is just a friendly warning that you sure won’t hear on the regular TV.
[Collected via e-mail, October 2007]
I don’t just generally dismiss a movie or book just because someone ‘says’ it’s meant to be something else…but this is worth knowing if you plan to see it (or plan to take your kids).
“Hi! I just wanted to inform you what I just learned about a movie that is coming out December 7, during the Christmas season, which is entitled THE GOLDEN COMPASS. It stars Nicole Kidman and it is directed toward children. What is disturbing to me is that this movie is based on the first of a trilogy of books for children called HIS DARK MATERIALS written by Philip Pullman of England.
He’s an atheist and his objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism. I heard that he has made remarks that he wants to kill God in the minds of children, and that’s what his books are all about. He despises C.S. Lewis and Narnia, etc. An article written about him said “this is the most dangerous author in Britain” and that Pullman would be the writer “the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed.” Pullman said he doesn’t think it is possible that there is a God and he has great difficulty understanding the words “spiritual” and “spirituality.” What I thought was important to communicate is what part of the agenda is for making this picture. This movie is a watered down version of the first book, which is the least offensive of the three books. The second book of the trilogy is THE SUBTLE KNIFE and the third book is THE AMBER SPYGLASS. Each book gets worse and worse regarding Pullman’s hatred of God. In the trilogy, a young girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle against a nefarious Church known as the Magisterium. Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as “a very powerful and convincing mistake.” As I understand it, in the last book, a boy and girl are depicted representing Adam and Eve and they kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH (which is definitely not Allah). Since the movie would seem mild if you viewed it, that’s been done on purpose.
They are hoping that unsuspecting parents will take their children to See the movie, that they will enjoy the movie and then the children will want the books for Christmas. That’s the hook. Pullman says he wants the children to read the books and decide against God and the kingdom of heaven.
If you decide that you do not want to support something like this, I suggest that you boycott the movie and the books. I googled a synopsis of THE GOLDEN COMPASS. As I skimmed it, I couldn’t believe that in a children’s book part of the story is about castration and female circumcision.
I’m just going to deal with the bit about castration and female circumcision first. There is nothing in the books about genital mutilation. None. What this is is a stunning example of the non-ability to read a large body of text. (Seriously American public school system, WTF is wrong with you guys?!) After a quick Google, I’ve found the reference to castration and female circumcision. The numbnut who penned the second email – well, they skimmed the SparkNotes version of the trilogy. And, I quote:
Lyra [the protagonist]’s discovery of Tony Makarios helps her to understand that the Gobblers are cutting children’s daemons away from them in a procedure they call Intercision. Intercision is like castration, in which a young boy’s testicles are cut off so that he never reaches male maturity. Intercision also recalls female circumcision, in which a girl’s clitoris is removed so that she cannot experience the full intensity of sexual pleasure. Both castration and female circumcision are religious in origin. Both practices respond to a religious demand that some natural part of a person be removed in order to prevent sexual pleasure. Intercision is also religious and anti-sexual. It is performed by the General Oblation Board, which is a branch of the Church in Lyra’s world, and it is intended to prevent the onset of “upsetting emotions” and allow children to grow up without ever feeling passion. Lyra knows Intercision is wrong, although she isn’t exactly sure why it’s wrong. For Pullman, sexual experience is an essential part of becoming a full-grown human, despite the confusion and pain it can cause.
Now, admittedly, much of that paragraph is not going to make sense to you if you haven’t read the books. I can understand that it didn’t make much sense to the functionally illiterate drooling fool who read it either. They just saw the words “castration” and “female circumcision” and thought that it would be a good idea to raise the alarm, rather than figure out that they really do have it all wrong. See, like anyone who has had to hand in a last minute Literature assignment knows, SparkNotes not only provides a plot summary, but also highlights the central themes of the book (along with interpretation). One of the central themes of the book is how maturity and experience is demonised (pun intended, you’d get it if you’ve read the books) and how the church would go a long way to excise that which they deem wrong in any way whatsoever (you know, like how the church denies human sexuality in our world). SparkNotes is really just spelling it out for us last minute essay writers because (bless them) they know that at 3am, having powered down 16 energy drinks in the last 5 hours to stay awake, our analytical skills are not at their finest.
To be honest, my first reaction to the alarmist “our children will be exposed to issues surrounding sexual organs” was to laugh and send the link to a few friends. Then I decided to Google “female circumcision Golden Compass” to link up with others in the blogosphere who are also laughing at this stunning example of reading comprehension. What I found instead is scarier than watching the Gregory Peck version of the Omen at 5am on a winter morning buzzed on energy drinks you chugged to keep you awake so you could finish that Literature essay. The first page of the search was filled with people who were freaking out about the fact that the Golden Compass has female circumcision in it. Some of the posts (which I refuse to link to. You can Google them yourselves, hopefully THIS POST will become a top hit for those search terms and more people will be spared the my-eyes-are-bleeding-stop-please-stop horror that I had to bear witness to) babbled on about how they do not want to see a mutilated vagina on the big screen, especially not to a movie they were planning on bringing their children to. OH LIKE THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. A VAGINA IN A HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER (have you even heard the word vagina mentioned in a Hollywood blockbuster?). It’s like people see “castration” and “female circumcision” and all reason flies out the window. Oh wait, it does.
There are many things wrong with the content of the circulating emails (as well as the points raised by the talking heads) but what really sticks in my craw is the assumption that Pullman is an atheist that wants to make children kill God. While the children do eventually kill “God” (I really don’t want to spoil the book guys, so I’m doing the best I can here to dispel some of the rumours that are out there without actually talking too much about the book. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you actually read the books yourself, of course) it isn’t a malicious or targeted act. They certainly did not set out to kill God. Their quest is much more meandering and obscured as much from them as from the reader. The dangers they face are from the other characters in the book, they do not set out to destroy religion. It helps that they uncover some of the ugly truths about organized religion along the way (and that is what makes these books so fantastic and revolutionary) but these are not nihilistic little bastards. Rather, they are self-determined kids who trust their instincts in the face of adversity and opposition. Not exactly good role models for Christian sheep good Christian parents should raise, I guess.
This is a long post, and I thank you for sticking with me this far, (we all lead busy lives, I know) so I’ll just add one last point. The reason New Line took religion out of the movies was not so they could trick innocent children into reading these sacrilegious tomes. The reason they removed religion was to remove controversy and maximize box office gross. Chris Weitz of New Line has said:
“Hollywood is just terrified that anything that brings up religion or anything controversial will be disastrous.”
He goes on to mention that some religious imagery will remain in the film, however, you need a DVD player with an easy to use frame-by-frame interface as well as working knowledge of Latin to suss them out. OMG, WTF, BBQ, LOLCAT.
Is Pullman mortified? Yes. But he also knows that if he whines too much the big mean studio will pull the plug on the next two movies. Bridgetothestars.net summarizes his stand (culled from an article in Atlantic Monthly, subscription access). Pullman’s most telling quote is this:
“They do know where to put the theology, and that’s off the film.”
But no, poor, not-being-persecuted Christians (anyone think we should bring back pits of lions?) they didn’t take theology of the film to trick teh childrenz. They did it so you idiots will line their pockets this movie season. For the love of all freethinking people everywhere, go fuck yourselves.
 I have to say that I’m gravely disappointed by snopes.com this time around. They have listed these emails to be “true”. They are more like half truths, and as we know, unless it’s the whole truth, it ain’t worth jack shit.
 In the book, daemons are like a familiar that people are born with and that follow them throughout their earthly existence. If I told you more I would spoil some of the best bits in the book.
 But I will be providing a non-spoiler book review soon.
 I cannot recommend this website enough. It is a repository for news on the movie and the books. They have a link to an interview with Pullman on the nature of Dust (series of 5 videos on Youtube) that I highly recommend.