Friday, December 7, 2007

A Call To Arms

Today, I read in the Newark Star Ledger about the movie "The Golden Compass." Apparently, " the conservative watchdog Catholic League and the evangelical-activist group Focus on the Family both loudly urge parents to boycott the movie and ban the books."

To me, any book that has religious watchdog groups and activist groups asking for it to be banned should be bought by every right-thinking human being out there - particularly if the book is being banned for being potentially "satannic." The book from which the movie was made, "The Northern Lights," comes from a series ("His Dark Materials") written by a British man, Phillip Pullman. The book explores other realities, the nature of divinity and grand quests and such. Fairly standard, really - it seems like a reasonably well-written science fiction / fantasy series written for children & young adults.

But, these idiots called for banning are lumping it in with Harry Potter and To Kill A Mockingbird - which, to me, puts it in very good company. Keep in mind that, apparently, this book & series has won numerous MAJOR awards for literary excellence. After all, any book that causes people to think and to reconsider "standard" philosophy is an immediate threat to a group of people that pride themselves on ignorance and complete lack of individual thought and idea.

One would think that, in this day and age, the idea of banning a book would be considered ludicrous and ignorant. I would think that we would have learned from such accepting and socially beneficial groups as the Nazi party, that we would have learned to be open to new ideas and to find reasonable and rational ways to deal with people who disagree with our personal philosophies. It seems to me that a better response would be to read the frakking book or to watch the movie, and to figure out the following:

#1: does the book / movie ACTUALLY say anything subversive and / or destructive in it? And, if so, how is it destructive?

#2: does the book / movie function as an exercise in imagination and fantasy, in the same style as the nursery rhymes and fairy tales that we've entertained children with for centuries, or is the movie designed to attack religion?

For instance, look at the Lord of the Rings. We have a quest where a small group of underpowered individuals face off against a much larger, more powerful enemy in a world-sweeping quest to destroy the enemy's real power. The quest involves magic, magical races and creatues and a great darkness spreading across the land.

Harry Potter? A small group of underpowered individuals, facing off against a much larger and more powerful enemy in a Britain-sweeping quest to destroy the enemy. The quest involves magic, magical creatures, a magical school and a darkness spreading across the land.

So, why is one hailed as a great work of literature & an Academy Award winning movie, and the other as dangerous?

More later. The baby is waking.

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