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  • Raised by opera-loving parents in a rock ’n’ roll world, Rich Copley has parlayed his broad interests into his career writing about arts and entertainment. Since 1998, he has covered performing arts, film and faith-based popular culture for the Lexington Herald-Leader, the daily newspaper in Lexington, Ky. It’s a pretty broad beat, but Rich delights in finding influences of the past in the present and showing fine arts fans the value of pop culture, and vice versa. ~ Copious Notes is a blog covering that broad spectrum. If you want to read about specific areas of interest, such as theater or opera, click on one of the categories to the right and you will be whisked away to all posts in that category. Also, look around the blog for links; multimedia items such as photo albums, videos, and interviews with artists; and other nuggets. Have fun, and thanks for dropping in. The header for this blog was designed by Danny Kelly and the illustration was drawn by Camille Weber.

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December 09, 2007


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GodInterview Mike

Very interesting. I have read all three Pullman books, aloud, to my 9-year old son; we also saw the movie. To me, Mr. Pullman seems to be strongly opposed to the fact that a lot of evil deeds are done by folks who call themself "Christian". IMHO, the problem with all organised religion is that it gets MISUSED as an instrument of power - here I totally agree with Mr. Pullman. Sure, those poor people who have given up their own free judgement will be uncomfortable with "The Golden Compass".

There is an alternative, a more esoteric spirituality. Take for instance the "Conversations With God" books by Neale Walsch. There's even a screensaver inspired by these books, found at:

Dan Butts

I have known Devin since we were teenagers. The one thing I have always liked about him was the way he spoke and wrote. He never talked above your head and he always wrote what he felt in plain and simple terms that every one could understand and relate to. Considering he has had a 4.0 grade average since he began school and if they had higher averages his would still be at the top, the man has never made me or any one else I know, feel beneath him. You can take him at his word and know that it is spoken from the heart. I was honored many years ago when he wrote a poem about me. Danny Lonely, Danny Wild. Thank you Devin for being my friend.


Mr. Brooks

a) accusing someone of trying to deceitfully indoctinate children is fear mongering any way you slice it. That's not lying, that's calling a spade a spade.

b)The ability to reread your blather on this post doesn't make your statement true. Talk about a logical fallacy. I can read Freud (or see a movie) and be acutely aware of his (or Pullman's) position on Religion and still have my own faith and beliefs. Are you telling me I don't have that ability?

Have you ever read Freud? What makes you an expert on its perils to Christianity if you don't read such drivel? Or have you read it, and deemed it unworthy for other Christians to read in order to protect them and their faith. Do you claim to have such an unshakeable faith that you can read such works and not be in danger! I can see why Pullman bothers you so much, he's talking directly at people like yourself.

Sadly, there is not much point in continuing this debate. It's not possible to debate the merits of something with someone who thinks we shouldn't challenge our faith to begin with.

Rich Copley has covered this topic superbly with his article and blog post. Nice work, Rich!

Jack Brooks

Rick and Nominal's posts are brilliant examples of how someone can evade AND lie at the same time. Which is pretty poor strategy, since people can read my original post and see that (a) there's not a bit of fear-mongering, just harsh criticism; (b) My statement that anyone who claims that Christianity should find nothing objectionable in Freudianism or Marxism must be ignorant of all three is a true statement; (c) but let me add "C", which is: Atheism is irrationality posing as logic, and magic pretending to be science. I urge people to reject these books and this movie for the same reason I urge people not to the Ebola virus. It would be wrong not to raise an alarm, no matter how many jeers spring up.

So if you don't think well of Stalin's gulags, the slaughter of the students of Tienemmen Square, the piles of human skulls in the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, the stinking prisons of Castro, and the idiot dictatorship of Hugo Chavez, then don't support Phillip Pullman or the Golden Compass either, since he preaches the atheism that they all put into action!


DB's comment "the church he's against is a church we should all be against," is true. Being against this church in the movie is no more anti-christian than being against the Westboro Baptist Church for their hate.

The problem I have with the book (and movie) is that it is a poor work riding the coat tails of far superior fantasy novels that have been made into movies recently.

Rick St. Peter

Mr. Brooks-

I would ask why a book that preaches "atheism" is considered "hateful" to those of Christian beliefs? Do you feel that "The Passion of the Christ" (talk about "torture porn") is "hateful" to non-Christians? Freud and Marx have avowedly un-Christian that I say, "So what?!?" Don't read them...Anyone who can have their faith shaken or destroyed by reading a book or seeing a movie doesn't have much faith to begin with... I also think Phillip Pullman overtly stating his belief or lack of belief is one of the worst examples of "deceitful intent" I have ever heard of. You would think someone who wanted to indoctrinate your already brainwashed kids would do so in a bit more stealthy manner than say, readily admitting to their own beliefs and ideas...Mr. Pullman's deceitful intent is about as deceitful as the Creation Museum...speaking of ridiculous!

Rick St. Peter


Congratulations to the Mr. Brooks' of the world. They've likely done a sufficient enough job so far of fear mongering to ensure the rest of the series won't be made into movies. Well done sir.

The worst of your comment was to call into question the level of commitment one has to their faith on the basis of what they find "questionable", as if the act of reading the work itself ingrains an impurity that the reader can't cleanse through some sort of self-reflection as to whether or not it is "questionable". Fortunately, we have you here to tell us.

--Nominally Adherent Christian


Rich, I'm so glad you tackled this topic; last week I tried (again) to read The Golden Compass so I could see what all the fuss was about.

Trouble is, I barely got through the second chapter before falling asleep. Which is exactly one chapter further than I got the first time I tried to read it.

Forget the atheism issue; I'd be a lot more worried that my kids would conclude that reading in general is boring after slogging through that ponderous pile of steampunk.

Old Blue Eyes

How are the public schools here in Fayette County dealing with this issue? Is it really a problem?

Rich replies: Amy Wilson wrote about the schools issue in the Dec. 2 Herald-Leader. There's a link to that story at the bottom of this post. Here's the graph about Fayette:

"Jack Hayes, director of student achievement for Fayette County schools, says his office has not received any complaints about the book and that any decision about pulling a book would not be the district's but the individual school's."

The degree to which it is an issue seems to vary from place to place, and with the movie having a less-than-stellar opening weekend, it is an issue that may fade fairly quickly.

S, Combs

I haven't read the book, but did see the movie. Though I wasn't wowed by it, I found it enjoyable and viewed it as the good vs. evil of childhood fairy tales. Actually, I saw it more as a commmentary on the molding of minds, the suppression of knowledge and imagination, and how this leads to indecision and free will. Maybe it's really a thinking society that these people fear.

Jack Brooks

The three books should be taken as a three parts of a single unit. Just because the most hate-filled portions of the series don't emerge in book 1 doesn't absolve book 1 of the atheistic hatefulness of the complete series.

This principle is no different from those who raise questions about Narnia because of the odd, somewhat distasteful depiction of Eastern foreigners in The Horse and His Boy.

Devin Brown certainly sanitizes Phillip Pullman's words and stated agenda -- and then sets up some insulting straw men, as if everyone critical of the series is a hysterical woman with irrational fears.

Brown also misrepresents people's concerns. This isn't about adults responding to the book or the movie. It's about the deceitful intent of this series to indoctrinate children under the guise of a LOTR-type fantasy.

Anyone who believes that there's nothing spiritually objectionable in Sigmund Freud or Karl Marx is either ignorant of the Christian faith (and/or of Freud, and Marx), or only a nominal adherent of the Christian faith.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Twitter Notes

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    Questapalooza 2008

    • Twilight
      In it's third edition, Questapalooza attracted 6,500 people to Quest Community Church in Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 31, 2008. The music lineup was Kirk Franklin, Kutless and needtobreathe. In addition to the tunes, festival goers enjoyed carnival attractions, contests, heard a sermon and witnessed baptisms.

    Ichthus 2008

    • Casting Crowns - Mark, 'Praise You in this Storm'
      The 2008 Ichthus Festival was a roller coaster ride. The week started with the first project by Ichthus Ministries' environmental initiative: ECOS (Earth Commission, Operation Simplify). Then there was the severe thunderstorm June 9 that leveled 14 out of 19 tents at the festival site, with only two days left to open. And it did open, earlier than ever with a Thursday morning battle of the bands. That was followed by one of the hottest Ichthus days ever, and we aren't just talking about Skillet's set the night of June 12. The next day was Friday the 13th, and it turned out to be unlucky for the fest, with thunderstorms scuttling the evening lineup. But as it often has, Ichthus rallied with a fun and worshipful Saturday. The Herald-Leader crew was out there all week. Here's our photo album.

    UK Wind Ensemble goes to China

    • UK-China
      May 19 to 29, 2008, the University of Kentucky Wind Ensemble is taking a trip to China, where it is scheduled to play six concerts and visit seven cities. The tour finds China eagerly anticipating the 2008 Summer Olympics while also mourning the loss of tens of thousands of its citizens to a devastating earthquake on May 12. This photo album begins with images taken by the Herald-Leader's Whitney Waters at event's leading up to the ensemble's departure.

    Actors Guild of Lexington

    • Valentine
      Actors Guild of Lexington's early spring production is Tom Stoppard's brainy drama, Arcadia. The show is a mystery over several centuries involving math, science and literature. Here's a look at some images from the show, which runs through April 6 at the Downtown Arts Center, by Herald-Leader photographer Charles Bertram. The photos are copyrighted by the Herald-Leader.

    Winter Jam 2008 - Rupp Arena

    • MercyMe
      After years of going to -- excuse us while we clear our throats -- Louisville, Winter Jam finally came to Kentucky's true big house, Rupp Arena, March 6, 2008. That gave Lexington a heaping helping of MercyMe, BarlowGirl and Skillet, as well as others. This is a little record of the event.

    UK Opera Theatre

    • 'Hansel and Gretel' - The Witch and Hansel
      The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre is presenting its production of Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" through March 8, 2008 at the Lexington Opera House. To give more students a shot at the stage, and for the sake of the singers' voices, two casts were fielded for this production. University of Kentucky photographer Tim Collins shot both casts. Here's a selection of those images.

    Amber Rhodes

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      Lexington Native Amber Rhodes is a budding country star, shopping a hit independent release around the country, hoping to land a recording contract with a major label. To take a peek into the life of an aspiring country star, and to see how much work it is, I went down to Nashville to spend a day with Amber, as she works to get her name out there. Here are some pictures from that trip. All photos are copyrighted by the Lexington Herald-Leader.

    Summer Theatre 2007

    • Beauty & the Beast: The village
      Between June 21 and Aug. 2, eight new plays or musicals opened in the immediate Lexington area. That was an extraordinary number of shows for a summer in the Bluegrass State. Here, we offer a photo album from behind the scenes and on stage.

    Ichthus 2007

    • Switchfoot - Tim Foreman
      Ichthus 2007 took place June 14-16 at Ichthus Farm in Wilmore, Ky. Among the featured performers were Switchfoot, Relient K, Newsboys, Third Day and Phil Keaggy (photo, above).

    Laura Bell Bundy

    • Take It From the Top
      On April 29, 2007, Lexington native Laura Bell Bundy realized her dream of creating a role in a Broadway musical when she took the stage of New York's Palace Theatre playing Elle Woods in 'Legally Blonde.' It's a goal she'd been working toward since age 10, when she played monstrous child star Tina Denmark in the Off Broadway hit 'Ruthless.' Her 'Legally Blonde' performance earned Bundy a Tony Award nomination for best leading actress in a musical. Over the years, Herald-Leader photographers have chronicled Bundy's career. These are some of their best shots, along with a few other photos.

    Superchick's Generation Rising Tour in Winchester

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      Superchick's Generation Rising Tour came to Winchester's Central Baptist Church, May 11, 2007. Joining them were DecembeRadio, Krystal Meyers, Nevertheless and Group 1 Crew. Photos by Rich Copley.

    Stephanie Pistello

    • 'The Diviners,' 2002
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    The Shakespeare portraits

    • 2003: Brandon Jones as Othello
      Since 1999, the Herald-Leader has previewed the Lexington Shakespeare Festival with profiles and environmental portraits of the actors or directors involved in each show. This is a gallery of those fantastic images.

    October 2008

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