Tuesday, December 04, 2007

He's Not A Compass

What a strange day. I should be in bed. Instead, I posted pics over at the photoblog, and then I went around to most of my "regular" blogs to get caught up.

Jordan texted me (and apparently everyone in her directory) this morning, and that confused me. I now find myself on what I would have, at one point, considered to be the wrong side of the digital divide. But I refuse to text on anything more than an occasional basis. It's how I'm wired.

Anyway, I was checking blogs, and found this post over on Andy's blog, and thought I'd link to it, for those of you who don't normally go over to see what Andy has had to say lately. I liked it. The comment section is less fun, and makes me want to post counterpoints, but down that road lies insanity and general irritation.

Before I did the blog thing, I got an e-mail forward (my FAVORITE thing in the world... the digital equivalent of ripping something out of the paper, making a kerjillion copies of it, slapping a stamp on each one, including no personal comments, and mailing a copy to a kerjillion of your "close, personal friends") that I received at school a few weeks ago. This version was a much-watered-down version of the one I got at school... but this one called for a boycott.

When I receive junk like this at school, I immediately go to Snopes to see what they have to say as to the validity of the claims. I used to do this at home, and then--on an as-needed basis--reply back to the sender with the debunking, ask them to forward my e-mail to everyone they forwarded the other one to, and ask them to forward it back to whoever sent the b.s. to them in the first place. But, apparently this is rude or offensive in some way.

So, when I got this e-mail at school, I read up on it at Snopes. What they had to say was enough to make me think, "Okay, this is a little over-the-top in the reaction department..."

Yes, atheist/agnostic author; yes, the god of this fictional world doesn't come off looking so good; yes, people on this planet often don't have the same opinion/beliefs about the world around them. Yes, snopes confirms, yes, yes.

But as for "Hollywood" wanting to take over the work of schools, offices, and Studio City... well, I'm thinking it's more about, "Hey, here's an award-winning children's book... perhaps we could make a movie out of it."

So I went out and bought the book, The Golden Compass.

I won't repeat the original e-mail against this book/movie here. The short version is something along the lines of, "Either we don't have actual conversations with our kids about what they see and read, or we're afraid other parents aren't raising their kids the way we think they should, and thus WE need to look out for what they see and read until the time their parents come around."

Okay, the mid-range version was that. The short version is "Censorship: Hurray!"

Not that there is any out-and-out censorship involved in the e-mail, I guess, but there's use of some of the familiar censorship tools: Give others your interpretation of the work while discouraging them from reading/seeing it for themselves, assign questionable motives to ordinary actions, and so forth.

You can find the version I first got if you go to Snopes.

So, anyway, I'm reading the book.

First impression: Children's book? What kid is going to read this? Maybe if he or she is pushing twenty. MAYBE. I mean, yeah, there are kids who would read something this... I guess "complicated" or "wordy" is what I'm looking for here. But I'm willing to bet those kids have already done a lot of thinking about the world and how it works. I doubt a fantasy/sci-fi/whatever-the-heck-this-qualifies-as book would turn them upside-down.

From what I can tell, this book doesn't even take place in our reality. Am I missing something here? If a series of books ended with Zeus being proved to be a fraud, would these folks be getting their panties in a twist?

Or, even if you don't agree with the message, how about read the book with your kids, then sit down and have a discussion about it? Wacky crazy idea, that.

I'm only partway through the book. I should be upstairs reading it right now, but here I sit typing about it.

The worst part is, I don't have time to go see a movie this weekend, but this most recent e-mail calls for a boycott of movies this weekend! How am I gonna find time to watch like 15 movies this weekend?

Next week: I name a teddy bear "Jesus".


Andy B. said...

For real, actual Bible reference follows:

In Matthew 15, Jesus says that it isn't the input that "defiles" a person, it's the output. In other words, reading an atheistic idea won't make you an atheist. Not believing in God is what does that.

To me it seems like people who are scared of books/movies like this are openly admitting to the world that their faith is just too fragile to withstand anything different, and they need help.

EyeRytStuf said...

Thank you! As I was heading upstairs, computer all shut down and me too tired to do anything about it (or go back and spell check--if you got to read the first version of this thing you probably noticed that) I started wondering if people who get all in a twist about this are giving the world a peek of their own insecurities about their faith.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Andy rocks!