Good Pullman profile in NYer
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- Whether it's a "good" Pullman profile depends, I suppose, on the definition of "good" in connection with Pullman. But I should note that the same issue of The New Yorker, dated 26 Dec., has several letters (I haven't checked to see if they're on the website) refuting errors in Adam Gopnik's 21 Nov. article on Lewis, some of which were, I recall, also discussed here. One of these letters bears the impressive signature "The Reverend Dr. Michael Ward, Chaplain, Peterhouse, Cambridge University." This would be the same Michael Ward who showed me around The Kilns when he was living there eight years ago as a grad student, and I came to Oxford to do some research at the Bodleian. Interesting to run into him again this way.
----- Original Message -----
From: "David Bratman" <dbratman@...>
> Whether it's a "good" Pullman profile depends, I suppose, on the
> definition of "good" in connection with Pullman.
I think I meant, it doesn't puff him up or tear him down, it goes into his
ideas in depth, shows where he's coming from, tells a bit about him as a man
and how he lives. Not apparently an anti-Lewis axe-grinding piece, either,
it simply quotes Pullman's reprehensible opinions on that subject :) Isn't
he even harder on Tolkien? I know how you love that, David.
- Stolzi wrote:
>I think I meant, it doesn't puff him up or tear him down, it goes into hisWell, I may be getting dangerously offtopic here, but this is what Ross Douthat says about it at http://www.andrewsullivan.com:
>ideas in depth, shows where he's coming from, tells a bit about him as a man
>and how he lives. Not apparently an anti-Lewis axe-grinding piece, either,
>it simply quotes Pullman's reprehensible opinions on that subject
>Why profile Pullman, an author whose last book was released three years ago?And Merry Christmas to you as well. I don't go along with Douthat's following generalization of this as an example of the "culture wars," because I'm supposed to be on Pullman's side of this but I reject him as a spokesman for any cause of mine. And the piece is by the same Laura Miller who was bloviating so ignorantly on Salon about Lewis a couple weeks ago (<http://www.salon.com/ent/movies/feature/2005/12/07/narnia/index.html>), not on secularist grounds but by having bought into the Puritan fundamentalism of John Goldthwaite, the man who rejects fantasy as inconsistent with Christian theology. (Read the letters attached to the article, which amount to an advanced course in what's wrong with Goldthwaite, but I doubt Miller paid any attention.)
>Because he hates C.S. Lewis's Narnia, of course - or rather, Narnia
>specifically and Christianity generally - and because Narnia and its themes
>are on everyone's lips these days. Inevitably, the profile is glowing, if
>not worshipful: Pullman's assertions go unchallenged, his motivations go
>unplumbed, and there's no hint that his militant atheism lends his fiction
>precisely the lecturing, bullying, force-feeding quality that he claims to
>dislike so much in the Narnia books. (And who, after all, could object to a
>writer whose "fundamental objection is to ideological tyranny"?) Whereas of
>course when the New Yorker dealt with poor benighted Lewis a few weeks ago,
>the essay was all about how nice and swell the Narnia books are, but how
>much better they would have been if it hadn't been for all that annoying
>dogmatic stuff - and by the way, did we mention that Lewis had a "weird and
>complicated sex life"? Oh, and Merry Christmas.