The managing editor of “First Things” is Anthony Sacramone, a Missouri Synod Lutheran, who channeled Martin Luther in his immitable blog Luther at the Movies, which I have been inspecting every week to see if it has come back from its health-imposed hiatus. Now I see that the Doktor’s execrable assistant, the aforementioned managing editor, is taking up partial blogging responsibilities at the First Things blog and so is putting Luther at the Movies to bed. (You will want, however, to go to that site to read Doktor Luther’s farewell.)
Anyway, the spirit and prose stylings of Luther at the Movies remains, and Mr. Sacramone has to be one of the best writers on the web (of whom there are untold millions). Here is a sampling of what he says about “The Golden Compass,” the movie version of Philip Pullman’s anti-Christian fantasy:
It is typical to give Pullman high marks for some of his more inventive gimmicks, like the daemons. Frankly, they wore thin by the second book. Just more talking animals. The author’s inversion of, and therefore dependence on, C.S. Lewis is as subtle as a colonoscopy, but he also owes a debt to Madeleine L’Engle, it seems to me. And then there are all those witches, the single most boring group of preternatural creatures ever concocted. In the second book, they just go on and on until you realize why the Puritans finally burned them at the stake–it was the only way to make them stop talking.
I couldn’t stomach the whole trilogy, frankly, because Pullman’s muse is fueled by one thing and one thing only: hate. And the object of that hate is not just obscurantism or authoritarianism or clericalism. EVERY LAST CHRISTIAN, EVERY LAST PERSON CONNECTED WITH THE CHURCH, IS EVIL. When Pullman was called on this in an interview, he replied that it probably bespoke a lack of art on his part. No, it bespoke the focused intention of the author: To vilify Christians and Christianity.
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So if little Robespierre comes up to you with his little mopey face and pleads, “But the Hitlers next door let their kids see The Golden Compass,” you just reply, “And that’s because Arthur and Eva are horrible parents with a penchant for movies about blonde-haired, blue-eyed people trampling northern lands by aid of the occult and gimcrack science. Now go back to your alcove and finish reading The Gulag Archipelago and learn what a real atheist alternative universe is all about.”
Read the whole thing, which also ridicules some Christian groups and publications that PRAISED the movie (which, by the way, is bombing at the box office–it cost as much to make as two of the Lord of the Rings movies, but it is not making its expenses, putting the plan to film the other two books of the trilogy in jeopardy). I’m making the First Things blog with Anthony Sacramone an honorary member of Cranach’s blog roll.