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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Golden Compass

by folkbum

Question first, for those who don't read past the first paragraph: Is there anyone who's seen the film and read the book who can tell me whether the film is worth seeing?

After Bill Donohue told me not to the read the book or see the movie, I decided that it was imperative to do so. A very nice person gave me the three-in-one package for Christmas, and I read it, much of it on a beach in the tropics.

It's easy to see why Those Who Make A Living Blowing Everything Out Of Proportion some on the Institutional Right would hate the living daylights out of Phillip Pullman's books. Without giving away anything, the books touch on the way organized religion pathologizes pleasure, the brutality and ineffectiveness of torture, the horrors of endemic poverty and class prejudice, the ugliness of bigotry, the militarization of academia, and even the effects of global warming.

What probably upsets them most is the books' ultimate take-away message: That it is critically important to be thoughtful, creative, and independent while being altruistic and giving; that the secret to eternal happiness is not rote service to the dictates of a self-interested hierarchy, but to live a robust and spirited life.

More than that, the books are good-- well-written, briskly paced and worth the read, whether or not you, like me, are predisposed to like what Bill Donohue hates.

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