Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The cross, censorship, and The Golden Compass


Jewish date:  2 Marḥeshwan 5770 (Parashath Noaḥ).

Today’s holidays:  Birth of the Báb (Bahá’í Faith), Feast Day of Sir Richard Francis Burton (Thelema).

Worthy cause of the day:  “Keep Children Safe When They're at Child Care”.

Topic 1:  “Supreme Court debates cross”:  Seventy-five years ago, a cross was set up in memory of US soldiers killed in World War I on public land in the Mojave National Preserve.  Presumably this was done with the noblest of intentions, but considering that the cross is a specifically Christian symbol, there is naturally a valid issue of separation of church and state.  For some reason Justice Antonin Scalia does not understand or refuses to understand something which should be so obvious.

Topic 2:  “The American Library Association’s Stealth Jihad Against Free Speech”:  There is an irony in censoring someone in a celebration of Banned Book Week.

Topic 3:  I have now read chapter 12 of The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, book 1), and I am crying foul.  We finally learn what the devious, dastardly thing the Church is doing to the kidnapped children is:  intercission, which severing a human from his/her dæmon.  Why anyone would want to do such a thing is not yet revealed; I presume that Pullman will reveal that later.  But the results of intercission are inaccurate.  Intercission does not leave the human part of the victim unable to function.  In real life, a human without a soul is brain dead and may only be considered alive by technicality.  For all a human is is contained within the brain; if it were not so, then brain damage would never affect behavior and memory.  The idea of intercised children wandering around and some even surviving is therefore at best based on a bad interpretation of the soul.