Tuesday, November 27, 2007

All Against Authority

Remember how the Harry Potter books were supposed to inspire 10 years-olds to do drugs, have sex, murder their parents and, perhaps worst of all, practice witchcraft? I've always had the sneaking suspicion that this debate helped greenlight the awful live action version of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- which was no where near as good as the original BBC cartoon. Some Hollywood mogul probably got the not necessarily incorrect notion that there was a market for veiled Christian allegories wrapped in fantasies and -- voila! -- a special effects laden dud with hastened character development that made it difficult to for the audience to devote much emotional attachment to the players and their roles.

Now it would appear as if the pendulum is swinging back the other way with the release of the Golden Compass, which was originally a series of fantasy novels for children written specifically to be a kind of anti-Chronicles of Narnia. There are some absolutely fascinating issues involved here that will likely be fleshed out in further detail in the weeks to come, but if the debate is anything like the argument made below, we'd be better served to just skip it entirely.

Eric Lombardi writes a column for the Marquette Tribune in which he makes the following claim while discussing the opening of the Golden Compass:

I'm a fan of challenging the authorities that be. If you can't question what you believe in then it's probably not worth believing in.

Good! That's a noble sentiment! It's also a little edgy ... a little rebellious ... dangerous even. I bet chicks really dig the lonely writer out to expose the dryness of conventional thinking ...

But the very next thing he writes is:

But to try to use the power of words to persuade unknowing children against Christianity and the existence of God is not something we should endorse.


You can't celebrate comprehensive critical inquiry and then say "well, up to a point," which is exactly what Lombardi does here. If Lombardi wanted to do something really courageous he would have used his real estate at Catholic university's student newspaper to say, "Go see the movie, challenge what you you've learned here, and I bet you'll still come out of the theater with your faith intact."

Instead, he pandered to the very "authorities that be" that he says deserve questioning.

I just wanted to point that out. There's enough grossly contradictory behavior in this world. We don't need anymore.

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