November 16, 2007

Pullman & Gaiman

On the heels of Philip Pullman, another great fantasy writer, Neil Gaiman, gets consigned to the anti-Christian blacklist:

While the epic poem preserved the uneasy tension between the era’s Christian and pagan influences, Gaiman and Avary’s script jettisons the spiritual underpinnings of Beowulf’s quest entirely; later, he even blames "the Christ-God" for ending a glorious era of human valor. Indeed, there is no place for God in this barbaric (if highly marketable) world of sex and swordplay, where lust is an all-consuming force and graphic disembowelment is served up for the audience’s delectation.

Considering what people have been saying about The Golden Compass, I'm not exactly willing to take their word for it. Though at least in this case, the reviewer actually saw the movie, and most of the criticism is aimed at the movie's Final Fantasy failings and lowest-denominator pandering. NPR considers the movie just plain bad, with or without God.

The conservative Libertas, on the other hand, rates it an entertaining diversion worth watching (as long as faithfulness to the original material isn't a critical factor).

So Gaiman gets blamed for taking God out, and Pullman gets blamed for leaving God in. Frankly, "blaming the Christ-God for ending a glorious era of human valor" could be interpreted as a good thing, as this "glorious era of human valor" usually ended up turning soldiers into cannon fodder. God would probably not object to being literally left out of the picture in this case.

Incidentally, the silly Philip Pullman controversy made the local nightly news here in Utah. I'm beginning to think this is really one of the most effective viral marketing campaigns ever launched. I plan to have a novel coming out next year--hopefully sporting some salacious and religiously-controversial content. Whom do I contact to get one of these rumors started?

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