Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Chronicles of Nausea

Aslan's no lion - he's a Republican fascist. That's just one of several things I learned from reading Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee's review of the first film installment of Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia... woops! I mean Nausea. She warns "unbelievers" to carry a sick bag with them when they see it because of the religious significance.

Another idea might be to just not see it. But I guess Ms. Toynbee was forced to. And considering she said the movie is "deeply faithful to the book's own arm-twisting emotional call to believers," I suppose she was forced to read the book as well, and forced to come to Christian conclusions about it. With all that forcing, one might suspect she has "issues," but one doesn't need to. She tells us:
"Every one of those thorns, the nuns used to tell my mother, is hammered into Jesus's holy head every day that you don't eat your greens or say your prayers when you are told."
Because Narnia awakens such unpleasant Toynbee family memories, Polly recommends as an alternative the fellow Lewis-despiser Philip Pullman's "marvelously secular trilogy His Dark Materials." Fear not Polly, you too will have your movie soon enough.

But in the meantime, she's disgruntled with her fellow Guardian reviewer Peter Bradshaw who dared to like this one. Keep in mind, this guy is actually their film reviewer, and he gave The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe five stars. Writes Bradshaw,
"There will be many adults like me, who after loving the book as children went through a long post-adolescent phase of hysterically repudiating it after the Christian-humanist parable was explained. For me, it is a phase that this movie has definitively brought to an end."
The AOL keyword there is "adult." Being an adult means forsaking the turbulent waters of post-adolescent hysterical repudiation for the harbor of rational reflection. It means mother's issues are no longer your own. And best of all, it means you can listen to perspectives that differ from your own without throwing up.

Alas, were I a better Christian I would read things like Polly's review and rather than get snippy, grieve for the inadequate witness to the real Aslan that must have somehow led to her visceral reactions to all things Christian. Perhaps I should pray for Polly, instead of pegging her which is so much easier to do.

I'm getting there. In the meantime, adulthood beckons us all.