The Golden Compass opens today. You may wonder why I am squawking about this movie so much. Well, for starters, it is one of my favourite fantasies (of the epic sort) ever. Much better than the thin, silly Christian propaganda of C.S. Lewis and, let's admit it, derivative and just-as-religious and authoritarian dream of J.R.R. Tolkien (although Tolkien holds a special dear place in my heart for his linguistic prowess and consequent palpably real sense of place and time). But Pullman is smarter, more interesting and certainly more original and iconoclastic than either of them. And I would rather have my child be exposed to fantasy fiction via Pullman than Lewis, or even "The Hobbit". There; I've said it. The above sentence is precisely the reason why all the totalitarian-in-disguise religionists are foaming at the mouth in their trembling lust to denounce this movie. Yeah, check out some of these (and that's just this morning's crop of articles; some more balanced than others, and some quotes more idiotic than others, but that's the way the world is, after all):

PREACHING ATHEISM. I love the quote from Father Michael Okere, whoever he is: ""The motive of this movie, it has been noted, is to sway innocent children to derail from their faith.". Probalby not quite true (the original message of the book has, reputedly, been diluted to the point of inoffensiveness), but of course even if it were so, I'd say more power to them! That kind of innocence needs to be derailed. Is it OK to brainwash children? It is, however, OK to teach them how to think for themselves, which is what Pullman's books, and, hopefully, the movie, are doing. And one of the final quotes in this article is telling: ""Christians need to be careful about what they let their families see." Isn't that lovely? I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

The Golden Compass raises Some Eyebrows.

Is 'Compass' fantasy adventure or atheism for kids? (I like that title; I hope it's both! ;))

Parents decry reading of controversial book to Shallowater third-graders. Some real side-splitting idiocy there; but this piece of news is from Texas, after all, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised...;)

Compass points: Catholic and atheist (That's BBC for you, huh!)

'Compass' author's atheism stirs debate on film's message Some interesting stuff here; apparently many people miss the point of the books, which is a bad thing, I suppose. Or is it? There are some great quotes from Pullman himself towards the end of the article.

Oh, fuck it: too much shite to wade through, and I must go to work now. Too bad. I think I'll go see it tonight, after work; i am also organizing a group outing Sunday or Monday for several shots of whiskey, a matinee and a chance to laugh at christian protesters, should there be any.

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