22 February 2005

Favorite rant

Maud relates how Disney is walking on eggshells with their Narnia adaptation, frightened of alienating the "Christian fan base" by their more "secular" slant. (Nevermind that I'm wondering what the hell that means. Will they simply remove the climax of the book?)

She goes on to point out:

Leaving aside the fact that the film will almost certainly butcher all that is unique and good about The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, there's no question that the Narnia books appeal to more Evangelicals than the Harry Potter series.

She's right, and it's a blatant double-standard.

But Disney and Kehr may not realize that the Lewis fables, although conscious Christ allegories, enrage many members of the Left Behind set -- my mother included.

Then she includes some tragically funny examples (such as "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the first in this 'Christian' series of occult books for children. The title, itself, should be a tip off to a discerning Christian. How can a Christian book have such an occult label?").

Even the most faithful adaptation of the novels would highlight the White Witch and magic, and enrage a fair number of Potter-shunning Christians who don't know or have forgotten about these plot elements.

So while some Evangelical Narnia fans will continue to see a distinction between Rowling's books and Lewis', many won't.

Disney might as well just brace itself for the shitstorm. It's always pretty entertaining. Unless you grew up with it.

For the record, there is no "distinction between Rowling's books and Lewis'"--Christians who pick and choose simply because Lewis later admitted to allegorical aspects (which were Tolkien's pet peeve) either don't know or choose to ignore the fact that Lewis and Rowling draw on the same source material of myth, legend, and magic. Also, he did not set out to write a Christian propaganda piece for children:

Some people seem to think [when I wrote The Chronicles of Narnia] that I began by asking myself how I could say something about Christianity to children; then fixed on the fairy tale as an instrument; then collected information about child-psychology and decided what age-group I'd write for; then drew up a list of basic Christian truths and hammered out 'allegories' to embody them. This is all pure moonshine. I couldn't write in that way at all. Everything began with images; a faun carrying an umbrella, a queen on a sledge, a magnificent lion. At first there wasn't even anything Christian about them; that element pushed itself in of its own accord. It was part of the bubbling.

The images came first and were his chief interest and priority. The Narnia books are good because they are creative works of literary art, not products of a preconceived agenda. If you're going to burn Rowling's books, you may as well toss in books by Lewis, Tolkien, Travers, Milne, Barrie, MacDonald, Dahl, Carroll, Lang, Nesbit, and Grahame as well. It's one thing to be a myopic religious fanatic, it's quite another to be a hypocritical one.

(See her original post for all of the enlightening links.)

1 comment:

molrendiel said...

well put, every word! And as long as we're being completely objective, let's burn some videos, as well: for violence-hating evangelicals, The Passion of the Christ has to flair up side-by-side with The Matrix. Seriously, what jackass said allegory/myth/imagination were only valid if they came with Christian labels?