Warning, I think as I re-read that this may have turned into a bit of a rant.
I just have to say that Philip Pullman totally rocks. I am a big fan of the radical, whether I agree with that radical notion or not. People must at least try to envision what that outer limit of acceptability is and then decide how close to sit to the edge. I appreciate those visionaries that sit out there so that the rest of us can remain safe, if we choose. That is why, while not a vegan, I appreciate PETA. I say, go on out there and be completely far out. It is awesome.
My blog was recently cited on one of the local home school lists as (maybe? maybe it was confused with Joyce's Joyfully Rejoycing site?) radical. Somehow, even in writing that came across as a slam. Of course, this is the homeschooling list I left because of a forwarded message from HSLDA that endorsed hitting your child with sticks ("the rod"). But, that is okay. I don't mind being radical. There are far too few of us being radical these days. Jesus was a radical, as was Buddha. But I digress.
Who knows if Philip Pullman set out to be a radical, and I think that the ideas that he allegorically uses in his books are not that far out there (or maybe that is just from where I sit). However, I think that he has exposed the radical other end of the spectrum and its influence. Or, I guess exposed it to anyone who is looking.
He said the following about the current teaching of literature. Hopefully, children can still read his books and access them in libraries. He definitely is clued in to the fact that children are not encouraged to be free thinkers in today's world.
"What concerns me here is the relationship this sets up between child and book, between children and stories. Stories are written to beguile, to entertain, to amuse, to move, to enchant, to horrify, to delight, to anger, to make us wonder. They are not written so that we can make a fifty word summary of the whole plot, or find five synonyms for the descriptive words. That sort of thing would make you hate reading, and turn away from such a futile activity with disgust. In the words of Ruskin, it's "slaves' work, unredeemed.”- Isis Lecture, Tuesday 1 April, 2003
He clearly doesn't mind ruffling a few feathers.
And ruffle them he did with the movie The Golden Compass.
Well, I say that was a good thing. It was so interesting to me that I had to drive to Cambridge (anyone see the connections there?) to *see* the movie, as it FLEW out of theaters. Anyone who thinks that our current economic disparities and recessions is not influencing the ways in which we can express our rights is living in a fantasy world.
In fact the movie was pretty good, too. The special effects were awesome, and it wasn't even as disturbing as the book at the end. It didn't at all make me think that there was no God (even in the movie world). In fact, I saw the dust as an embodiment of the Holy Spirit as I understand it. Also, the discussion of Free Will was an interesting one, and I thought the idea of children expressing pure free will or being altered in such a damaging way that they cannot choose to be one with the Dust (Holy Spirit) was very stimulating.
Do we damage our child out of their ability to make free choices? Do we *really* support our children to be themselves or are we more repressive and comformist than we acknowledge?
Why is discussion of free will being shut down by members of some church groups? It seems so un-American to me. I may see the movie again, just to prove to myself that I still can see free expressions of different visions of the divine. I'll definitely buy the DVD. And maybe join PETA while I still can.
Oh, and by the way, my daemon is a crow named Apolonious according to the movie website. Modest, it says, and flexible, shy, assertive and competitive. Hmmmm...maybe so.