Monday, September 29, 2008

Philip Pullman: Controversy Drives Sales

Philip Pullman is the author of The Golden Compass, which (aside from its popularity) can mostly be noted for being banned for Christian blasphemy without any direct Christian characters in it (it's one thing to call sexually-active Jesus blasphemous, yet another to call a little girl with a talking-polar-bear-friend such). In yesterday's Guardian, Pullman looks at the US' book-banning efforts with his droll UK sensibility. His response: zealots, keep it up — book sales couldn't be better now that he's climbing the challenged book lists. His best response, which applies to far more than just banning books:
In fact, when it comes to banning books, religion is the worst reason of the lot. Religion, uncontaminated by power, can be the source of a great deal of private solace, artistic inspiration, and moral wisdom. But when it gets its hands on the levers of political or social authority, it goes rotten very quickly indeed. The rank stench of oppression wafts from every authoritarian church, chapel, temple, mosque, or synagogue – from every place of worship where the priests have the power to meddle in the social and intellectual lives of their flocks, from every presidential palace or prime ministerial office where civil leaders have to pander to religious ones.

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