Straits Times 20071114: E-mail calls for boycott of movie

Saw this article calling for the boycottof the fantasy movie, The Golden Compass, in the papers yesterday, and had to do a eye-roll.

The article highlights yet again another of the god-fearers brigade’s self-righteous actions to protect their beliefs. This follows the footsteps of such ageless issues as the Evolution debate, and more recently the Da Vinci Code brouhaha, and of course Dumbledore‘s outing by Rowling.

The movie is the first part in a 3 part trilogy adapted from a book trilogy called His Dark Materials, written by Philip Pullman. While I have yet to read the tome, I see no reason for a fuss. But I would hope that the attention will draw people to ponder the pertinent issues rather than quibble over semantics… issues like the characters in the movie relating to our reality, specifically the polar bears and our environment.

What’s not to like about efforts to help our planet? Boycott cryers ought to open their eyes and LOOK at the state of the world.

Religion is a word of POWER. It induces the lemming effect in most people, more too many in this day and age of knowledge-sharing, environmental awareness and tolerance. In times of need, it can do good and be used to mobilise resources. But too often, it is the exploitative tool to bring to bear the fruit of schemes not entirely sound or altruistic, in my view.

I can only agree with vegancat that The Godly Must Be Crazy. Let’s just take an objective view of things, rather than find personal or divine offence at every little shadow that falls our way. Secularism is looking to be the only sane voice of reason in all this theologically-inspired debate.

So I say to anyone who buys into the sort of witch-hunting behaviour displayed by the movie’s boycott advocates: if your belief is so rock-solid, why are you afraid of scrutiny or trial of your imagining? Surely it can withstand a bit of heat and enquiry.

I do hope there’s more of Ms Lee, the 37-year-old civil servant Catholic mentioned near the end of the article who said “she sometimes appreciates films that ‘make me examine my own faith’” than those who would follow blindly, in the uncomprehending name of the Divine one.

As in the Matrix, people have a choice between the blue pill or the red pill. But before you take your meds, check and double-check that you do have the pill you chose. Personally, I rather the red pill anytime – why allow your thought to be formed or manipulated by other beings, who may warp your SELF to their own thinking? I believe that if the bluepill people, the happy pill people, take a moment of silence to listen within, they’d hear something unsettling, a faint sound, minute reverberation of protest and horror in the deepest part of their souls. But remember: the warranty expires upon swallowing, and there is probably no going back.

Think your thoughts – not be fodder for the agenda of others.

Here’s the article:

The Straits Times, LIFE section

Nov 14, 2007

E-mail calls for boycott of movie

Sent from the US, it claims fantasy film The Golden Compass promotes atheism

By Douglas Tseng

SOME Singaporeans have received an e-mail calling for the boycott of an upcoming fantasy film called The Golden Compass. The e-mail, which is unsigned, argues that the film, which opens here on Dec 6, is promoting atheism – the belief that there is no God – among children.

The e-mail, in strong but not abusive words, is believed to have originated from the United States where conservative Christian groups are attacking the film’s creator, 61-year-old English author Philip Pullman.

The Golden Compass is based on Pullman’s trilogy of award-winning books called His Dark Materials. It tells the story of a girl’s adventures in a mystical parallel universe peopled by shape-shifting creatures, witches and talking polar bears.

The US$180 million (S$261 million) epic stars Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and newcomer Dakota Blue Richards.

The first volume, published in 1995, is titled Northern Lights, followed by The Subtle Knife (1997) and The Amber Spyglass (2000).

The e-mail said that Pullman is known to be an outspoken atheist whose radical views in his books have offended Christians.

Mr Lim K. Tham, general-secretary of The National Council of Churches of Singapore (NCCS) which represents the mainline Christian faith demoninations here, could not be reached for comment.

At press time, the film’s distributor here, Warner Bros Pictures, has not received a print of the movie.

A spokesman declined to comment on the e-mail, saying only that it will provide a fact sheet to ‘any party concerned with or offended by the film’s content’.

On this one-page fact sheet, prepared by New Line Cinema in the US, the producers refute allegations that the film promotes atheism.

‘The idea that it somehow promotes atheism is completely untrue. To the contrary, The Golden Compass (and the rest of the His Dark Materials trilogy) celebrates such values as love, friendship, kindness, courage and tolerance,’ the fact sheet says.

Amid the brouhaha, Mr Edmund Tan, a writer, says he is still keen on catching the movie.

‘My wife has read the book and she said she didn’t get any negative impressions from the book with respect to Christianity,’ says the 38-year-old Catholic and father of three daughters.

His view is that children should not be exposed to things that contradict what their parents have taught them.

Another Catholic, Ms Jo-Anne Lee, says she wants to read the book first to decide if it is suitable for her two children.

Nevertheless, Ms Lee, a 37-year-old civil servant, adds that she sometimes appreciates films that ‘make me examine my own faith’.

More reading references filched off singaporecommunitycats:

  • Read Golden Compass Storm Begins
  • Pullman himself is shocked by how little reaction the books and upcoming films have received thus far. Talking with the Sydney Morning Herald, he confesses, “I’ve been surprised by how little criticism I’ve got. Harry Potter’s been taking all the flak. I’m a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America’s Bible Belt—who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven’t got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.”
  • Read US Christian Groups React Strongly to Harry Potter Books’ Homosexual Character
  • Read Churches that criticized Harry Potter are rejoicing over The Lord of the Rings
  • Read The God Delusion
  • In The God Delusion, the scientist Richard Dawkins sets out to attack God “in all his forms”.
  • He argues that the rise of religious fundamentalism is dividing people around the world, while the dispute between “intelligent design” and Darwinism “is seriously undermining and restricting the teaching of science”.

One response to “Straits Times 20071114: E-mail calls for boycott of movie

  1. When one watches “Jesus Camp” and how the kids were brainwashed NOT to believe in global warming and hence to “rape the world, rape the earth”, one will not be surprised at the actions of these extremists. After all the next life is paradise and why the heck is there a need to conserve our earthen home? After all they believe he faster the world ends, the faster the prophesy of the coming of Christ to whisk off only the believers will be fulfilled.