Get Yer Golden Compass Daemon while they’re hot

The Golden Compass, a movie based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy is scheduled to open tomorrow. In the meantime, you can go to and get your own daemon. “In Lyra’s world,” the website informs us, “a person’s soul lives on the outside of their body in the form of a daemon…”

My daemon is a tiger named Arion.

As you can see, the code meant to imbed the flash video in MySpace didn’t work too well for me here:

<object width=”450″ height=”400″><param name=”movie” value=”″></param><embed src=”; type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” menu=”false” width=”450″ height=”400″></embed></object>

But this is what my daemon Arion looks like:


Oh yes, there is supposedly a controversy about the film.

The Catholic League, which has an office inside the headquarters of the Archdiocese of New York, says author Philip Pullman is a “militant atheist” with an anti-Catholic agenda for teaching children atheism.

On the other hand, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, considers Pullman to be part of the tradition of “protest atheism”, or “the mythological theme of revolt against God”. Williams groups Pullman with Bertrand Russell, Shelley, and Blake, and has advocated teaching His Dark Materials as a required part of religious education for schoolchildren.

Read Pullman’s own words about religion in an interview about C.S Lewis and Narnia and in a 1993 interview about His Dark Materials.

In general I enjoy reading banned books, but from past experience, I would not say that just because the Catholic League doesn’t like something that I will automatically like it. A few years back, they were warning people about a film called The Last Temptation of Christ. The film was recommended to me for a writing assignment, but when I rented the video, I couldn’t make anything out of it. It had nice cinematography, and some gratuitous nudity, but I really couldn’t find enough to write even a few paragraphs about.  I ended up choosing a different topic to write about.

So will I see The Golden Compass, should I wait for the video, or do I forget about it completely? I’m still trying to decide.

Care Bears in Sudan–“Punish with Bullets”

A friend of mine once nearly triggered an international incident when he put children named Saddam and Mohammed in a wastebasket to demonstrate the preposition “in”. The administrator stuck up for him–after all, he was wearing traditional robes in the classroom–and it all blew over.

Sudan is not quite so unemotional. Knife-brandishing crowds, demonstrating, when else–on Friday–demanded a British teacher whose students named a teddy bear “Mohammed” be executed by shooting. Uh, don’t you shoot people with guns?

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