Hey, maybe Philip Pullman should talk to that Philip Pullman guy...
"I think they use that [word] in order to avoid calling what they do by its proper name."
Who wants to take the Philip Pullman challenge: Can somebody—anybody!—put gender ideology in terms Pullman can understand?
It’s funny because I half-remember this series of children’s fantasy novels from the late 1990s where a bunch of ideologues operating under the guise of protecting children ran horrifying medical experiments on them to assuage adult anxieties about children’s pubertal development… I do remember the author talking about his keen interest in “the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organisation, which wants to stifle speculation and enquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free.”
Pity the author’s name escapes me.
Frances Weetman 🇺🇦 @francesweetmanPhillip Pullman wrote a trilogy of novels in which kids are taken from their parents by the authorities to have their souls rendered in a zombie like state in an attempt to prevent the onset of puberty. And yet…
Oh, right, Philip Pullman! Whatever happened to that guy?
“Darling, no one would ever dream of performing an operation on a child without testing it first. And no one in a thousand years would take a child's daemon away altogether! All that happens is a little cut, and then everything's peaceful. Forever! You see, your daemon's a wonderful friend and companion when you're young, but at the age we call puberty, the age you're coming to very soon, darling, daemons bring all sort of troublesome thoughts and feelings, and that's what lets Dust in. A quick little operation before that, and you're never troubled again. And your daemon stays with you, only...just not connected. Like a... like a wonderful pet, if you like. The best pet in the world! Wouldn't you like that?”
“But they were cutting—” Lyra couldn’t bring herself to say it; the words choked in her mouth. “You know what they were doing! Why did the Church let them do anything like that?”
‘There was a precedent. Something like it had happened before. Do you know what the word castration means? It means removing the sexual organs of a boy so that he never develops the characteristics or a man. A castrato keeps his high treble voice all his life, which is why the Church allowed it: so useful in Church music. Some castrati became great singers, wonderful artists. Many just became fat spoiled half-men. Some died from the effects of the operation. But the Church wouldn’t flinch at the idea of a little cut, you see the Church wouldn’t flinch at the idea of a little cut, you see. There was a precedent. And this would be so much more hygienic than the old methods, when they didn’t have anesthetic or sterile bandages or proper nursing care. It would be gentle by comparison.”
“lt isn’t!” Lyra said fiercely. “It isn’t!’
“No. Of course not. That’s why they had to hide away in the far North, in darkness and obscurity. And why the Church was glad to have someone like your mother in charge. Who could doubt someone so charming, so well-connected, so sweet and reasonable? But because it was an obscure and unofficial kind of operation, she was someone the Magisterium could deny if they needed to, as well.”
“But whose idea was it to do that cutting in the first place?”
“It was hers. She guessed that the two things that happen at adolescence might be connected: the change in one’s daemon and the fact that Dust began to settle. Perhaps if the daemon were separated from the body, we might never be subject to Dust—to original sin. The question was whether it was possible to separate daemon and body without killing the person. But she’s traveled in many places and seen all kinds of things. She’s traveled in Africa, for instance. The Africans have a way of making a slave called a zombi. It has no will of its own; it will work day and night without ever running away or complaining."
“It’s a person without their daemon!”
“Exactly. So she found out that it was possible to separate them.”
The consul said, “I have heard the phrase the Maystadt process in connection with this matter. I think they use that in order to avoid calling what they do by its proper name. I have also heard the word intercision, but what it refers to I could not say.”
Men and women are moved by tides much fiercer than you can imagine, and they sweep us all up into the current.
But then maybe that’s what happened to Pullman, who now seems pale beside his characters and all those words he once put on the page.