Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Phillip Pullman: "No one has the right to live without being shocked"

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This video of Phillip Pullman speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival is doing the internet rounds this morning, as well it might. Challenged by a Christian audience member on the "offensive" title of his new book The Good Man Jesus and the Scounderel Christ, Pullman delivers a wonderfully succinct explanation of what freedom of speech is all about:


Anonymous said...

Try shocking Muslims for a change.
Of course not, that takes larger stones than you have.

Anonymous said...

Christianity is the religion he's had experience with, why should he write about anything else?

If you look at Pullman's Q&A section you'll see that he's answered questions on this already.

AT said...

Is it really material which religion he lampoons? He's thick and a bad writer.

Word on the street is he pals around with Dan Brown. They bake batches of cookies together in New Hampshire. Acted as each other's best man. Compete by the fireside with poorly-conceived ghost stories.

Anonymous said...

It just seems to me that Christians can be disrespected (not shocked,mind you) with impunity since Christians pose no threat, thanks to the internalized and civilizing influence of the teachings of Jesus (I am a secular humanist myself BTW). The threat to freethinking and free speech these days is not from Christians, but from Islam and the radical political left.

Let's spend our energies combating these. If we have the balls, of course.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean that he should have written instead "The Good Mohammed, The Profligate Prophet"?

Nah. He's a pussy.

Gordon Goblin said...

hey Anonymous, your fatwah envy is showing

Anders Tornblad said...

How is it that some people always manage to make pretty much anything into a christianity - islam issue? The issue at hand has nothing to do with any particular religion.

Whether or not Pullman is a bad writer also has nothing to do with this.

I have not read anything by Pullman, but the things he says in this video is remarkably concise and to the point about what freedom of speech is all about.

Pablo said...

Anonymous #1, it doesn't take stones to shock Muslims, it takes either stupidity or the willingness to spend possibly the rest of your life in hiding and surrounded by bodyguards.

Christianity is not harmless. Muslim terrorists may blow hundreds of people up, but Christian fundamentalists in or near power can fuck things up for millions.

tryana said...

It's like a smoker (Christian) criticizing a non-smoker (non-theistic writer) for saying few words about the danger of smoking! Who has the right to what?! Apart form being a cruel ideology, religion has used an intriguing fiction for centuries but we need new writing now, desperately. So thank you, Mr Pullman!

And Muslims should be shocked by their own post-Muslim brothers/sisters, otherwise it looks like patronising them. And when these ex-Muslims appear in larger and larger numbers we could start a dialogue about the post-religious world we all NEED to live in, the one that places value on the human, not on their (suspected,imagined and described by previous humans)'creator'.

Alice said...

He sounds like God; telling us what our rights are.