What Pullman encourages is unmediated, critical thinking – the only antidote to the mental stupor that today's culture cultivates in young people. And Pullman does so in multiple ways. For example, by turning the familiar story lines of Genesis, Narnia, and the like, on their heads – thereby prompting the reader to reimagine those stories for him- or herself. In short, Pullman doesn't tell his readers what to think, but how to think. And to think, period. This, I suspect, is what Pullman's critics really find unnerving.
Friday, December 07, 2007
I haven't read the Golden Compass books and don't intend to -- too many other books sitting by my bed right now. But it's been hard to avoid the controversy stirring over the new film adaptation that opens today. It seems that some Christian critics are afraid that this film, based on a series of fantasy novels by an avowed atheist and critic of Christianity, will turn some young viewers into atheists. I wasn't paying that close of attention, but did a lot of kids convert to Christianity after watching the Narnia movie?
The Christian Science Monitor offers a thoughtful analysis of the controversy here. It seems, according to their critic, that the worst influence the books and movie might have on youth is that they encourage young people to actually THINK: