I’ve been seeing some buzz flying around about the new Pullman movie, and ended up writing an essay about censorship and the like. This probably isn’t an issue for many of you, but remember that I live in a very conservative part of the world, and the Pullman books can spark a lot of controversy. I’ve seen far more outrage over these than the Dumbledore thing, about which I already sounded off.
The prompting for this was a mass email I got urging a boycott of The Golden Compass Movie. And so, I decided to write an open letter as a response to this email. It’s enough of an issue nationwide that Snopes has an article on it, affirming some of the email’s allegations.
I find myself in a curious position. On one hand, I’m not terribly fond of the way Mr. Pullman is dealing with some of this. He seems to enjoy stirring the pot, so to speak, and prodding people to get up in arms.
More disappointing to me is the fact that, from some of what I’ve read, he falls into the ‘Self-hating fantasy camp’ with Rowling and Goodkind—that being fantasy authors who don’t like the fantasy genre, and wish that they weren’t associated in everyone’s minds with what they consider to be crap. (Pullman said at one point something to the effect of (not a direct quote) “Why does everyone compare me to Tolkien? Why not compare me to authors who are actually good, like writers of classic literature?”)
And yet, I do think his books are exceptional—particularly the first—and well worth reading. I hope his movie does very well, as the source material deserves an excellent adaptation. I don’t agree with his philosophies—and think he goes a little too far in the way he attacks religion to get his point across. However, I disagree more strongly with those who think the best way to deal with the issue is to suppress or oppress those who think differently from themselves.
And so, here’s my take on it—in the form of an open letter responding to the email I got.