The Don prevails. Pullman, despite WSJ and even Stefan Beck crowning him with literary laurels, is disappointed by the box office receipts of his "malangelistic" flick.
(I really don't understand why some of Pullman's critics find it necessary to applaud him for something, anything. WSJ's visiting quiller Leslie Baynes says that the Dark Materials trilogy is "real literature," especially when stood up against the Harry heptad. Even Stefan Beck at the New Criterion site says that Pullman's stuff is a "high profile" contribution to the national debate about religion. Mr. Beck has an understandable case of Potter fatigue: he has rechristened Rowling's series as "Harry's Dork Materials," and suggests that further spending on Harry's canon will only go toward goldleafing the authoress' loo.
(But how can one arrive at the conclusion that Pullman's material is "real literature"? First of all, what is "real literature"? Something Harold Bloom might like in the half moon library? And how is it that Pullman gets the literary nod, while Rowling gets the pinched spinster lip of librarian-reproach?
(Or -- here's my pet theory -- is it just relative? My cousin once gushed all over Frank Herbert's Dune series, and he too said that Herbert was "real literature." One must take into consideration the fact that this cousin had made the difficult leap to Herbert out of a steady adolescent diet of Robert Heinlein. I suppose that Herbert was indeed more literary, but was he literature?
(Literarily -- I guess -- can one really tell the difference between Rowling and Pullman? For plain fun, I'll take Potter any day.)
Thanks for the nod, Fr. Greg, and your spot on reportage, T. Matt.