tag : bright yellow-green apples: fashoned some new

"I see little point in persisting in a discussion with one so obstinate as you" Martin White

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

fashoned some new



figure 2.3. double edged

The walk was, as I hope Ken and Ruth Ann also found, a very stimulating experience. We went round with Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Christian Scientists, and Jews. I don't know enough of the discussions and politics of it but - in spite of, or maybe perhaps because of, the majority of us being liberalish Christians - there was a distinct hole where a mainstream denomination might have been. It certainly seemed an oversight, by any estimation. There was some wonderful food shared, and things expressed. The highlight for me was such a small thing, in a way. We were in a Hindu temple, and while the talk was being given they were decrepitly trying to find someone from the community to play drums while a prayerful song was sung. In the end, a Sikh guy went up and obliged - providing expert accompaniment, apparently off the cuff. It seemed like such a good metaphorical lesson for religion in general, such instinctive harmony alongside distinctiveness.

On to less sentimental gushing. On the train journey back today I read the second of the Philip Pullman books. It was better than the first in many ways, as a story it had more racy umph and more varied telling - yet tighter. I suppose we're now more familiar with the story's background. He's got a good eye for bringing in whole swaths of interesting creatures and ideas and figures into the stories, adapting them with a sharp edge of new motives. It would almost seem churlish to point out how formulaic he sometimes is. We have segments where one person enters, does thier thing for a while, and then leaves suddenly - according to thier plot usefulness, rather than a real drive. As the comments here have indicated, he's pretty clear and unambiguous that the Church is bad and the pagans good. That if God is done away with, bad stuff will stop. When he puts so much into drawing such brilliantly compromised characters, to find such an easy underlying polemic is a tad disappointing. But I hope and pray that the last instalment'll salve my fears of a wasted new mythology.

3 Comments:

Blogger ash said...

you ain't seen nothing yet boyo! the last of the three, which I am currently engaged with, takes leaves out of all the best literary styles! The chapters start with Eliot-esque quotes from other literature (lots from Milton) instead of those little pictures he has used in the earlier books.

And more and more differet things get introduced as we go through...

I'm not sure about how far I agree that the Church is wholly negative. The Church, in the books, is not of this world. It is of the world of pre-reformation history, and the time of the Inquisition, as we would call it, but trying to impose this, and a feudal system, onto a technologically modern world. To that end, it works well.

There is no real mention of the Church of our world, yet, and thus i think the criticisms of the Church stand: this is, clearly, one of the darkest chapters in the history of the Church, and that is the focus; not out modern and openly inclusive breeds (which is probably as well given the converse side of the metaphorical coin)...

2:16 PM  
Blogger postliberal said...

I've nearlly finished the book, so will give a fuller comment on the whole thing - and certain aspects, like his depiction of the Church, that merit special consideration - then. But there's a lot of potential sources of meditation, with new layers of character and allegory intordiced almost every other minute.

12:48 AM  
Blogger ken said...

The link to RA's site has changed. In accordance with the anonymizing power of not using your name (so that potential employers aren't put off by searching the interweb for for), she's moved.

To here.

Take care.
love K3n.

2:20 PM  

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