i'm going to have to start a collection of favorite reactions to the golden compass (hitting theaters this very minute - why am i at work again?). what was that delicious phrase of hannah's? causin more family feuds than richard dawkins - how i love philip pullman. from today's houston chronicle, "does film compass steer kids in wrong direction?" -
"If parents see (the movie) they might think, 'What a great Christmas gift idea? [sic] Why don't I get little Johnny or Sally the trilogy?' But if that happens, then little Johnny or Sally will wake up Christmas morning to a candy-coated message of atheism," [a spokeswoman for the Catholic League] said.*
is "candy-coated message of atheism" a memoir or a garage band? can it be both?

in other news, i found a stimulating survey about which presidential candidates would put the most thought into buying holiday gifts, according to american women. the top five for each party:

31% hillary clinton
14% john edwards
11% barack obama
3% bill richardson
3% joe biden

18% rudy giuliani
13% john mccain
8% fred thompson
6% mitt romney
5% mike huckabee

having spent time with people who have received gifts from some of the above, i can say that one frontrunner sounds right and the other is intensely amusing. personally, i'd want a christmas present from dennis kucinich (2%, the poor guy).

*my favorite comment on that story: If your beliefs are so flimsy that they are swayed by a movie with a talking polar bear, you should probably stay home and shut off the electricity.


Hannah said...

Ladies of America! Rudy Giuliani? For serious? He would give you the same inappropriate gift two years in a row! He would make his secretary buy it! Giuliani's spot at the head of the republican race (er, the real one) makes me doubt all those theories that Americans will vote for the guy they think would be most fun to hang out with, because you can totally tell he's the type to go to the bathroom right before the check comes, and it's never his turn to buy a round.

Meg said...

Not so good with the gifts, that guy (or lady? I'm vauge...)? Not too shocking. I couldn't watch Meet the Press this weekend, even, because someone was screwing up my Sunday ritual. Argh.

Anyway, tuned in to see what you thought about THEGOLDENCOMPASS, so I won't spoil. The papers said they'd toned down the atheism, but I donno about all that... who cares though. Get those kids a thinking!

Meg said...

** Note: not that I'm a atheist, at all, but I enjoy pushing the kids envelopes. Much as I enjoyed having my envelope pushed, at that age.

lauren said...

i...was pretty disappointed, i have to say. pullman's texts are pretty lush, and i think a director more seasoned in the genre (NOT necessarily peter jackson - comparing the golden compass to his lord of the rings movies is already old) might have done a better job of shoveling in all of that info without seeming clinical. then again, one of the best things about the books - the human/daemon relationship - doesn't lend itself to film, i think. i sobbed when i read the lyra/pan...trauma sequence,* and in the movie it came and went with hardly a shiver. no matter how skilled one is with the CGI, talking animals look goofy.

or, as my mother put it:

One of the worst lines: (after our heroine, little lost Lyra, finds her way to a thousands-of-miles-from-anywhere Jules-Verne-ish laboratory set in a dark, icy setting that we are led to believe is so far off the beaten path as to be reachable only by riding the back of an armored, recovering-alcoholic polar bear, a dirigible pieced together of spit and old car parts and piloted by a swaggering cowboy, and a band of gypsies who have access to a Santa-Maria style wooden ship, is confronted by the doorman of the aforementioned laboratory who inquires as to how she got there)

"I got lost in the snow."

*i'm a wuss. i know.

lauren said...

...and yes, they toned the religious discussion way down (but for a veiled link between dust and original sin), which made me very sad. i was hoping little johnny and sally would wake up godless, or at least existential. it would only be fair, given the crap i had to take from c.s. lewis at a tender age.

pica said...

I have no Pullman experience of any kind, but I did think M. Burstein's post on the film was fascinating -- curious to hear your thoughts:


lauren said...

it's been a very, very long time since i've dealt with the protestant world view, and my religious scholarship was...limited, but i think i agree with the idea that the anti-magisterium stuff overlaps with protestants' beefs with catholicism. on the other hand,

If anything, Lyra's position as a savior figure, foretold in the witches' prophecies, implies the existence of an alternative religious structure--not the opposition of religion to no religion at all.

...not so much. lyra can read the alethiometer not because she's been "chosen," but because she's both innocent and defiant. her actions' significance is exaggerated because, well, she's the main character (and the reader experiences her world through her) - in the absence of an interpersonal religious structure, she has to be jesus. i always read the ripple effect of her actions (in the books, anyway) as pullman's existentialism for tots: wow, your actions led to something awful/epic and no one's going to tell you why or what to do. better make something up. does that make sense?

Meg said...

Ok, I heard about how it was all toned down, but I was very amused that the magisterium outfits looked just like cardinal clothes. Subtle. Well, apparently it *was* subtle, since the critics missed it.
Our reaction was the same as yours. I cringed leading up to the shack in the snow, and started shaking a bit, but it was kinda nothing. And how come they missed the burial and putting the little fur bit in, on Pan's insistence? That was what made me sob (ok, ok, a la Dobby's funeral)
And hey, as a kid, I read the Alana series (read it? AWESOME) which has lots of sex and goddess worship. Best books everever.