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Philip Pullman on Being Offended and Free Speech

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Happy Birthday, April Fools! And for the birthday cake, we have a short YouTube video of Philip Pullman, author of the the novel The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. On March 28th, he was addressing an audience in Oxford. Here’s how Mr Pullman replied to one person’s charge that the title of the book to an ordinary Christian was offensive.

For the record, here’s the transcript (via BoingBoing):

It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That’s all I have to say on that subject.

Hear, hear!

Thank you, Mr Pullman. That needed to be said.

Related Post: The Freedom to be Offended. Feb 2006

  • rishi

    And that’s all I have to say on that subject.

  • surya

    converting dirtpoor hindus and buddhists, promising them a new life and instigating the converted to demonise the buddhists and hindus is the norm for evangelists.Sadly, the monies come from so called civilized lands. The end result is creation of a dichotomy in the age old communities of Asia. Rwanda is a catholic nation today, thanks to evangelists, the genocide is ongoing unabted and some priests are involved in it massively.Conversions dont bring in peace at all, instead passions are roused and nations become retrogressive. See what happened to Pakistan a nayion formed on the basis of religion.