The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Lyra Potter and the Golden Wardrobe of Fire

After posting on the fabrication of 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' controversy recently, and how the Christian themes of the series are pretty irrelevant next to the Hollywood campaign to sell, sell, sell its most promising new franchise (to the credit of some Christian blogs, they're uncomfortable with aggressive Hollywood marketing in churches) , I'm beginning to realize just how significant this movie has become for America's fundamentalists.

After taking a look at some recent posts on the issue, it appears as though the fundies have swallowed the 'Culture War' meme hook, line, and sinker. And sadly, we're going to have another media feeding frenzy (by which I mean ratings war) that will last for years and produce countless "sizzling media exposes" a la Geraldo.

Why? For one reason, there's another series of children's literature that's undergoing the move from the page to the big screen-- Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. As works of literature, they blow the doors off of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Harry Potter books. As for religious content, Pullman created an incredibly complex and thoughtful examination of religion and non-religion that also blows the doors off of any other attempt ostensibly aimed at a youthful audience. Simply put, they're phenomenal examples of literate writing for adults that also appeal to young readers-- and they deserve every last bit of their critical and popular success. (I regard Harry Potter and Narnia books as the opposite-- children's literature with some appeal to adults.)

But I was surprised to see that the battle lines have been drawn by the fundamentalists a full two years before the first novel in Pullman's trilogy "The Golden Compass," (or "The Northern Lights" depending on your country of origin) is even set to hit theaters. And some are even writing articles pitting its theology against the second projected Narnia installment, "Prince Caspian."

Incredibly, ugly, and taking place before our very eyes. To quote an entirely unrelated author of fantasy novels: "Winter is coming."