Author Topic: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship  (Read 12206 times)

Loud_G

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2007, 07:36:23 PM »
The Pulman series is a very interesting one. I don't think it should be censored, just that people should know what they are getting into when they read it. Honestly, it is fiction and while the atheist dogma is preached rather loudly in the second and third books, there are a lot of really neat ideas buried in there.

I think that there-in lies the true tragedy of the books. Not that they are atheist in nature but that the true story gets lost in the self-righteous preaching of atheism. Many times it comes off as forced and random. For example, *spoilers*
the mass of spirits in the underworld who are there together with their family, friends and loved ones, would rather cease to exist, than live with each other.  and the end of the series in the forest with Lyra, what the author wanted you to think happen, could not have happened because it went against the characters' personality. Also the death of the strawman god was just kind of random, had no energy behind it.
* end spoilers*

The first book had no offensive things happen. The second didn't REALLY until the very end. The third was full blown on the rebellion against god idea though. His world is very intriguing and well done, I think he just got side tracked with his own personal crusade and I think the quality of the book suffered for it.

Wow, talk about side tracked. I think I just got side tracked.

Censorship. Right. No, we should not censor it from the populace as a whole just for its atheist content. We should understand the content though and explain to the children. My sister ( we are mormons) read this when she was around 12 I think(before anyone really knew about it in the Christian community) and she came to my mother with questions about it and my mother basically told her. "Look, the god they present in that book, isn't really God." In other words, it is just fiction.  I think that is how it should be really.  The books don't tell you not to believe in God. They posit a fictional universe where Free Agency is being undermined and the resultant rebellion against Tyranny.  This is not the case of the real world. I am sorry if Mr Pullman misunderstands God's nature enough to equate Him with a tyrant, but seeing how certain religions act, I can understand where Pullman might have got the idea.

Free Agency is the theme, and as a theme is actually a pretty good one. I don't agree with his development of the story (I read it about 2 years ago) but the non preachy parts and very well written and marvolously evoccative.

So, yeah. Censor not, think, judge, and make informed decisions. I agree definitely that many subjects are not for children but it is up to the individual parent to make that decision. It would help if there were ratings on books like on movies. (I myself have had to put down a number of books that I couldn't stomache) Those ratings would help everyone make informed decisions. Protecting children is a good idea. Restricting the flow of information is generally tricky and can lead to problems down the road. I do think that a pivately owned theatre or bookstore has the right to choose what to offer in terms of entertainment. That is their perogative.

Anyway...I've typed too much and probably tangled up my argument in so many knots that it is useless.... :D
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Ratlord12

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #46 on: December 22, 2007, 08:51:18 PM »
Silly rabbits, censorship is not for kids (or anybody else). When you censor, you are saying "reality is too harsh, let's sugar-coat life by making the bad parts disappear."

Reality IS harsh. Deal with it. Contrary to popular belief, your kids won't die if they see a slit throat or a poster that says "F**k Jesus".

We descended from cave people. I hear they used to smash little animals with their bare hands and consume the flesh raw (before the discovery of fire).

Reality is harsh. Suck it up, marshmallows.

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #47 on: December 26, 2007, 02:41:36 PM »
I can see that ratlord is not going to earn friends very quickly on this forum

believe it or not, there are people who bridle at the sentiment you expressed with your inelegantly censored explitive.

That's not about censorship, it's about consideration for the feelings of those around you. You know, acting like a civilized human.

Also, I'm not very sure what smashing little animals has to do with either of the things you said. If you want to present an argument against censorship, perhaps you should try using a little bit of this logic that you've touted elsewhere.

Ratlord12

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #48 on: December 26, 2007, 07:01:08 PM »
The censored j-man poster was sarcasm.

My arguement is simply that humans didn't conquer the food chain by being nice. We are brutal. I think people should stop romanticizing mankind and look at the facts: sex and violence are major parts of who we are. When you use censorship or claim divinity created us, you are disrespecting everyone with a lie.

I don't consider 'civilized' an honorary term, so I tend not to act "like a civilized human". Folks might perceive me as a bit rough around the edges, but that's on them.

« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 07:02:45 PM by Ratlord12:Lazy Xmas Edition »

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #49 on: December 27, 2007, 02:09:05 PM »
The censored j-man poster was sarcasm.

if anything, that makes it more offensive.

see, you're still lacking logic, there. The fact that sex and violence are part of us doesn't make it follow that a) there's no divinity, b) that they should be out in front of everyone, c) that they shouldn't be controlled.

You might want to consider not hanging out with people if you don't want to have any consideration for their feelings. Seriously. Consider it a warning, if you want to deliberately throw things out there that will piss people off, I will start coming down hard on you.

That doesn't mean not to express your feelings. Simply to realize that there is benefit to being just a little sensitive to what other people might feel, and to express yourself in a way that doesn't deliberately offend.

But then, it sounds like you've rationalized away any personal responsibility enough that you honestly think you needn't have any, so maybe you won't understand what I'm saying here.

Skar

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #50 on: December 27, 2007, 07:43:14 PM »
I actually find RatLord's comments to be more amusing than offensive.  It's always funny to watch someone try and impress strangers with their badassery on an internet message board.

*audience squeals "ooh, ooh, I hope I never meet ratlord in a dark alley!  I'd be really afraid!  He must be so tough, look at what he wrote on the internet!" squeal!

LOL
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Ratlord12

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #51 on: December 28, 2007, 10:03:19 PM »
*blows kisses to the audience* "Thank you, thank you. You're too kind".

But seriously:

You're going to start coming down hard on me? I'm not even sure what that means. If it means ban me, I certainly don't want that to happen, but if you were to "start coming" that implies you would begin a series of something, in which case I wouldn't be banned because I would have to be a member of the forum (because we all know nobody wants to visit a site they're banned from) to actually see your hard-comings-down-on-me. So it doesn't sound like banning me and coming down hard on me are related. What would you do then? Insult me?

Once again, I'll attempt to explain myself: I don't mean to offend anyone. Yes, my ideals tend to be misanthropic, but if you get offended at what I'm saying that's your fault, not mine. I'm simply expressing my views the same as everyone else around here. I think the only way to disrespect someone is to lie to or about them, though I'm not against that either (a discussion for Ratlord's Pot of Volatile Opionions). Anyway, I don't feel like I have disrespected anyone on the forum because I have been honest in all my posts so far.

I encourage you to adopt Skar's approach. Viewing my posts as some loser's petty vanity might make them seem less offensive. If you already do see my posts that way, then good for you. But can't you be a bit more cheery about it? The main reason I visit this site is for the goofiness. I live to laugh. Everyone should.  :)
« Last Edit: December 28, 2007, 10:16:44 PM by Ratlord12:Lazy Xmas Edition »

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #52 on: December 29, 2007, 01:21:11 AM »
if you get offended at what I'm saying that's your fault, not mine. I'm simply expressing my views the same as everyone else around here...I think the only way to disrespect someone is to lie to or about them

My issue is with that statement. It's not true. You can be insulting without lying. Respect involves much more than honesty. You are *not* simply expressing your views. You're doing so in a way that is deliberately contentious and aggressive. That is not respectful.

What I am asking is that you would please stop trying to excuse yourself and start trying to express your views, whatever they be in a way that does not imply that people are idiots if they deviate the slightest from your point of view. i know plenty of atheists, I know many aggressive atheists, in fact, who are not so self-absorbed that they think they should present their views in the most inconsiderate manner they can think of.

So, in short, yes, I will start talking about banning you if you don't get off your trip that you can do no wrong and start being respectful of the views of others around you.

I'm glad Skar has taken it more light hearted than me, but I'm certain that, allowed to continue, it's going to irritate a lot more people than are enlightened by what you think is lightheartedness. What you're doing is inappropriate, disrespectful, and, quite frankly, infantile. Please shape up.

Shrain

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #53 on: December 29, 2007, 05:20:58 AM »
if you get offended at what I'm saying that's your fault, not mine. I'm simply expressing my views the same as everyone else around here...I think the only way to disrespect someone is to lie to or about them

My issue is with that statement. It's not true. You can be insulting without lying. Respect involves much more than honesty.

Well put, SE. Respect isn't merely a matter of truth or untruth. How respectful is it, say, for a group of teenagers to sit in the back of a theater and then swear and talk loudly through the whole thing? No lies, but certainly no respect for the other movie goers. I could give more extreme examples, but I think this makes the point.

What bothers me most is the bully mentality in your posts, Ratlord. The taunting overtones are hard to miss. Instead of trying to understand others or their viewpoints, you " live to laugh" at them. Why do you feel the need to taunt SE about what he may or may not do based on your behavior--especially when he is one of the people who started this site in the first place? He has the forums' best interest in mind. Yet your reaction sounds so very much like a bully who stands there asking, "Whatcha gonna do about it, huh, huh?" Not very respectful, if you ask me. 
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 05:23:01 AM by All of the other shraindeer »
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Ratlord12

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #54 on: January 02, 2008, 06:44:02 PM »
Relax, guys. The other day I had an epiphany: yes, the world is full of evil things like oppression and religion, but there is very little I can due to change the corrupt nature of life.

So here's my fresh tact: From now on, bad things don't exist. In Ratlord12's new reality, everything is perfect. If it's evil, it doesn't exist in my book. I'll be spending the rest of my days in ignorant bliss. Logic is subjective.

I haven't decided what to name this philosophy yet, but maybe somebody else invented it before I did. Maybe 'subjectivism' or 'nonreflectivism'. 


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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #55 on: January 02, 2008, 10:17:43 PM »
see, that's the kind of back handed comment that is rude. Seriously, you should probably shut up now. I *am* and admin and I am *not* amused by your snarkiness on this point. Decide to be respectful, or decide to not participate.

dawncawley

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2008, 08:34:19 PM »
Wow. This thread is a lot to take in. To respond to the original topic of the thread, I have mixed feelings on this issue.

First, as was stated earlier in the thread, I don't have to see a certain type of movie to know that it isn't something I want to see, or that I want my kids to see. But, if asked by my kids, or others, about this decision I do not have to be emotionally vested, I can calmly and rationally explain my point of view on it.  For instance, I don't watch horror movies because they give me nightmares, and choose not to allow my kids to watch them because at their ages, 7 and 4 years old, I don't think that they can fully understand that what they are seeing isn't real on some level. I am not telling you you can't allow your children to watch them, just that you can't allow MY children to watch them. I am also not telling you that you don't have a right to enjoy them, just that I don't. In this case, meaning as it pertains to The Golden Compass, it is a matter of religious preference, and that is also your choice. But, please don't presume to tell me what my choice should be, just as I won't tell you what yours should be.

Secondly, I think censorship occurs every day, that is a fact. Whether it is government, or otherwise, it is censorship if you keep someone from seeing, reading, or hearing a certain kind of literature, movie, or argument. That being said, I believe that censorship is not inherently evil. Parents who decide not to allow children to see a certain movie, read a certain book, or listen to certain types of talk shows or music, are within their rights as parents to choose what their child reads, sees or hears. I would hope as the child grows what the parent is tolerant of grows as well, but that again, is their choice. They should be prepared to answer for it in a way a little bit more logical than simply, "Because I said so." I do not think that a publisher refusing to publish a book is necessarily a form of censorship, they do have a business to run after all. I do think that a mass picketing of the author and anyone trying to sell, read, or otherwise enjoy the printed works is an attempted form of "public" censorship. This may not keep me from getting said book, but it is an attempt by a group of people to keep me from getting it. And really, who do they think they are to be my moral compass? As an adult, I have a right to my opinions, even if they are different than yours, and I have a right to enjoy a book, movie, or any other form of entertainment, whether you think I should or not. *You* doesn't mean anyone on this forum, by the way.

Hopefully, this isn't a precursor to enforced reading by the government, or enforced censorship by the government. Free speech doesn't mean I HAVE to read what you write, or listen to what you say, but I should have the CHOICE.

I don't know if that made much sense, but it was the best way I could think of to express it. 
« Last Edit: January 03, 2008, 08:37:06 PM by dawncawley »

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #57 on: January 25, 2008, 05:41:25 PM »
Huh, well, ah, how to descibe my own views and takes on things without sounding like an uneducated prawn next to everyone else's stimulating and articulating comments...

I don't believe the His Dark Materials trilogy is child friendly- I really have to wonder about the author when I read his series, the underage drinking, smoking, the protaginist's warped attraction to father figures and murderers? I found it rather distasteful and disappointing myself even though I'm a flexible minded functioning aethiest*.

 (*who is still spiritual, believes that things like god/s and past lives may exist but mainly just follows ideals like zen and keeing karma good)

I think Pullman's own creator and church themes completly overwhelmed the trilogy. Even if the themes had been completely pro-god or pro-church (which wouldn't have bothered me either way but might have appeased more people) I think they occupied a completly disproportionate amount of words in the novel when you consider how his literary focus could (possibly) have been better spent.

All in all, my whole experience reading the trilogy, while it did have some interesting points, was a general feeling left in the wake of  "What the h---?*"                                 (*I promise you, those bleeps say "eck"~!)

I mean, it was just very frustrating to me the way the books seemed to hop from point-to-point like a flea on little blood-borne-crack or whatever, erratically zig-zagging about from one fantastical course of action to the next testosterone filled leap.

There really is no "putting things into perspective" in terms of giving, say, Asriel a backstory as to why he is suddenly able to take on someone with a Diety-ic like army.

How did he get his prince-level wealth way back when? Did he general holy orders of soldiers, thereby leaving him with fantastical tactical experience and also insight into the heart of bonafide spiritualness or whatever? What is it that drives him to go so far over the top anarchist-style and where did he manage to pick up the practical know-how to go about demi-god toppling anyway?

I assume there wasn't a course on that, as there seemed to be only one deity-like-figure so he could have hardly had practice. There's not even a logical explanation provided, like, he slew his way through a long line of the angels throughout some period of time, a la, woking his way up to the top by smiting the big-bosses of each level.  - Not that people need to always work their way up from the bottom, but it might've been a bit more logical that he, maybe, started figting from a level of a *few* pegs from the top, maybe?

There are just many points where things happen, or a character does something, or is in a situation and there seems to be no logical explanation of why they act or respond to something in a certain way.

It's like Pullman was so busy trying to march out these characters into this gradoise play and forgetting in his haste to include the basic character structuring tidbit here and there, that if he'd slipped in could maybe have better smoothed through the major action-point zig-zags.


At the end of the day I just wouldn't recommend this series to children anyway because there are just so many other books out there that would be not only a little less ("I have a daddy complex and like murderers too *especially*, because my absentee-uncle-cum-absentee-father is a jerk and acts in unexplainable ways...") but also just more lovingly sculpted, with more fleshed out characters.


Sorry if I caused any raised eyebrows or pluffed up feathers, tried to keep it clean and coherently typo-free.
Have a nice day~!  :-* And may you all get into even more intellectually satisfying discussions!  :D

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Bryant

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #58 on: January 29, 2008, 02:54:37 PM »
I'll preface my post with this: I am an atheist. I am not even a "spiritual" atheist, as friend White is. Largely, I simply don't understand the concept of religion, beyond that it offers hope. The trappings included, as well as the certain moral dogmas involved are really beyond my comprehension. However, I believe that people will follow a religion that closely matches their moral compass, rather than following a religion first, without forming a moral compass of their own. In this, I can see why someone would choose a specific religion over another, but not as to why to worship in the first place.


I mention these things not to spur a religious debate - they often turn ugly, and while I may not understand why you follow your beliefs, I certainly respect them, and don't wish to demean the discussion by arguing over who is right about the existence of a Supreme Being. I was raised religious, so I doubt I will be converted by any arguments made, and by the same token, I doubt anything I say would cause you to turn to an atheistic viewpoint. -  but rather to let you understand where my perspective comes from.


Now, for the issue at hand, I certainly believe that parents should be informed about the content of what their children might watch. It is a parent's right to raise their children as they see fit - regardless of whether or not others agree with their parenting decisions (Within reason, of course. Abuse, etc, is obviously not something that falls under the discretion of parenthood).


However, I disagree highly with calls to remove the books from library shelves, etc. With libraries in specific - I am a tax paying member of society, and as such it is a resource available to myself, as well as practicing members of various religions. As an atheist, I do not feel books containing quasi-atheistic ideals (And I would argue that the "theology" that Pullman portrays is a hyperbolic caricature of real atheism) are fit to be removed. If I had children, I would not feel that that would be a sufficient reason for them to have a chance to pick up the books and read them while browsing. Municipal libraries are a government entity, and as such, should not exclude content because of religious context. The separation of church and state exists for many reasons (Including protecting the Church from the Government, which has shown itself to not exactly be a stable and well performing force over the past decade!), and is quite applicable when dealing with a government funded library.


Part of it is a personal opinion, as well. I believe that most children who will read books for entertainment are the more intelligent of the crop, and are likely able to make informed decisions for themselves long before we believe them to be capable of doing so. I do not believe that any child secure in their faith is going to be converting to atheism after reading a fantasy novel. If reading a story, even a well written one, is enough to cause the conversion, than undoubtedly other factors could easily sway them as well, ones that they are likely exposed to on a daily basis. I myself turned from Christianity to Atheism during junior high, while attending a humanities class. The teacher was very devout, and never pushed any students towards atheism, but our studies were heavily focused on religion, both today and in ancient culture. I came to a personal conclusion that, fundamentally, Christianity is no different than the worship of Ra, Zeus, or Quetzacolt. This conclusion was not the result of the teacher pushing us in that direction, or some novel espousing atheism. It was made based on opinions I had formed from many sources over several years. I would highly suggest that we give more credit to the children that would be reading these books in the first place - I would argue that they are not going to change faith based on a fantasy novel.


I also disagree with the call to remove it from book store shelves. By all means, call for a boycott of the book, refuse to buy it, etc - but also be courteous and realize that other people who do now follow the same belief system as you could want to buy the book, and having it removed is an inconvenience to said people. At the age where you would be censoring your child's input, you should be there to buy their books with them. You should know what they're reading, and understand what is in it. Calling for a blanket ban on the book, in my opinion, is shirking your responsibility as a parent, removing yourself from a personal inconvenience directly dealing to raising your child, and then forcing it upon everyone else. We are uninvolved in what beliefs you would like to teach your child, and whatever censoring you would like to place upon the material they read, and as such, it should not become a matter where we have to deal with these issues. If you do not believe that your child should read these books, then it is a matter that you should enforce, rather than trying to have it enforced on everyone.



Ultimately, I just feel that trying to have the book removed from libraries and stores is an extremist reaction to  something, and that instead it should be a personal decision: Do you let your child read the books/watch the movie? If not, that is your own prerogative.

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Re: column: EUOLogy: On Pullman and Censorship
« Reply #59 on: January 29, 2008, 03:21:10 PM »
Amen!  ;D
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