Monday, December 10, 2007

Review of Phillip Pulman

Latest update: the film bombs with the critics and at the box office. Shades of Jerry Springer: Christianophobic bile is not enough in the entertainment industry. H-T to Fr Finnigan and 'American Papist'.

Update 06/12/07:
the Pullman film has gained the approval of the US Bishops' Conference. This says a lot about that Conference, alas; but read this (hat-tip to Fr Ray Blake; quote taken from Bonfire of the Vanities):
The film is based on the works of author Phil Pullman, who has written a series of entertaining stories called "His Dark Materials." In his own words: "‘I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief,’ says Pullman. ‘Mr. Lewis [C.S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia] would think I was doing the devil's work’" (from the Washington Post, Feb. 19, 2001). And, "I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak…. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God" (from the Sydney Morning Herald, Dec. 13, 2003). Now that he is getting criticism, Mr. Pullman is telling a very different story.
Original post (15/10/07): Local action as appropriate: it is staggering that Pullman's books keep appearing in 'Christian' schools, public libraries and on the BBC. It is hard to imagine a similar attack on any other religion being tolerated in this way.

From CFNews (from The Wanderer): He is Britain's second-most popular author of books marketed to young people. He has won the Carnegie medal, received strong reviews from The New York Times and other major daily newspapers, and the book I am reviewing has been declared an American Library Association Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. Hollywood has just finished a film adaptation to this same book, and the previews are already being marketed to children and fans of the fantasy genre as on the same level as Tolkien.

Far from it. Philip Pullman and his literature are evil. Not ordinary evil like coarse language and embellishing one's resume, but evil on a level that surpasses the actions of Henry Morgentaler - Canada's most infamous abortionist. For what Morgentaler does to the bodies of little children. Pullman does to their souls. His books attack God and the Church, encouraging atheism as the alternative. Perhaps this is why Rowan Williams is the only major Christian leader to embrace Pullman's work: as Anglican archbishop of Canterbury. Williams heads the first Protestant institution to accept divorce, contraception, and abortion.

Having forewarned the reader, here are the specific titles that I forced myself to read. The first is The Golden Compass (previously title Northern Lights), which is now being turned into a movie starring Nicole Kidman. The next two books are The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Together, these three books are known as the His Dark Materials trilogy.

I really did not want to read any of these books. However, they are popping up all over on book lists aimed at young people. Thus during the Harry Potter debate, more than one parent asked me whether Pullman's works were as blasphemous as being claimed, or whether this was simply a matter of differing interpretations.

From the start it was clear that Pullman really does not like the Church. He portrays it as oppressive and power hungry. Lest the reader wonder which Church is being targeted for Pullman's contempt, the Church in Pullman's alternate universe boasts a college of cardinals, a college of bishops, priests, nuns, and a Magisterium.

Secondly, Pullman does not appear to like children either. This probably explains why he would exert so much energy trying to lure children away from their belief in God. After all, if you don't believe something exists, why take the time needed to write three novels disproving something in which you profess no belief? Thus the children in Pullman's world are kidnapped, drugged, murdered. mutilated, abandoned, used for occult scientific experiments, and severed from their souls as part of a ritual to open up gateways between worlds. Most of these actions take place at the hands of Church officials, with the Church's official blessing. Pullman is detailed enough in many cases to leave little to the imagination.

Yet none of the aforementioned is as objectionable (and as obscene) as the blasphemy central to the story's plot. Pullman describes God as a liar and a mere creature. The story claims our Lord was a mere angel who evolved from dust. This supposed angel then lied to all the angels who followed by claiming to be their creator. To avoid any confusion as to the God of which Pullman speaks, the author borrows all of God the Father's names and titles from Holy Scripture.

Had I not forced myself to read these books. I never would have believed that blasphemy now constitutes award-winning children's literature. Pullman is proof that our culture deserves a millstone and another flood. How dare Hollywood and the publishing industry insult God in such a manner. How dare they corrupt our children and prey upon unsuspecting Christian parents by comparing Pullman to Tolkien.

No child should be permitted near these books. I also don't recommend them to parents. unless absolutely necessary to protect their children from the books' dark influence. An example is a father who discovers his child reading these books as part of a school list. He should probably have some firsthand experience with the book before confronting the school and attempting to undo any harm done to his child. Yet then he should only read these books after much prayer and careful consultation with his spiritual director. And for goodness' sake, don't let your children see the movie.

Having now read the books. I can attest that Pullman's work is as diabolical as other Christian critics warn. Don't buy the books, don't let your children bring the books home, and don't see the movie. For Philip Pullman is the pied piper of the Devil.


Anonymous said...

For goodness' sake, overreaction or what?
It seems to me that if you're really so insecure in your faith that you can't allow yourself or your children to read a few books without succumbing to the so-called "Satanistic" message within them then there's clearly something wrong there, and you need to rethink things.
I am a fan of the books and am getting really annoyed at all this talk of watering the films down to appeal to a larger audience. There doesn't seem to be any room for new opinions or even a choice here, especially for children of strongly religious families. Surely if they do believe in their faith themselves, without merely being brainwashed by their families, then the books and films will have no effect on their beliefs. It seems that theists are just scared that they will, because they themselves are unsure of their faith.
Sure, if you really don't want to, no one is forcing you to go read or watch the trilogy, but don't stop others from doing so if they are curious. Allow freedom of speech and free will.

Webmaster said...

Dear Anonymous, no one is trying to stop anyone reading or watching anything - except in the normal way of parents taking seriously their obligations towards their children. The Pulman books present two different problems: First, these anti-Catholic rants are being promoted by the publicly funded broadcaster, the BBC, which is a misuse of our money; second, the books do not mount any rational critique of Catholicism, but seek to establish, in their readers, negative associations with Catholic institutions, ideas, and terminology. Now who was talking about brainwashing?

megs23 said...

I find it sad that we apart of the free world societies cannot read criticisms about our beliefs, no matter what they are, without considering such criticisms an attack or "brainwashing". Our duty as responsible parents is to help our children become critical thinkers of their own, not simply transmit our opinions, beliefs, and fears. Heaven forbid we have a diverse society!

Webmaster said...

What is it about Pullman that makes people so protective? If you don't want to read criticisms, don't read reviews! See the update.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen