apology to Philip Pullman

In an article I wrote some years ago about Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy — I linked to it in a previous post — I wrote: "His heroine Lyra, though everyone she meets calls her 'innocent,' almost always saves the day with lies, and if in this final installment her lies get her into trouble, the lesson is certainly not that lying doesn’t pay but rather that lying doesn’t always pay."

Re-reading the books now, I see that I wasn't fair. Lyra is made to repent of her habitual lying and to learn the power of truthful storytelling. The situation remains complex, because Lyra's lies often do save the day; but my general condemnation was too harsh. My dislike of where Pullman was taking his story in its third volume led me to a lack of charity, and that lack of charity led me — as it so often the case — to inaccuracy. My bad.

One of the benefits to a future of largely online publication, I think, is the possibility of correcting one's errors and repenting of one's shortcomings. It's likely that I will spend the last decade or two of my life making up for all the crap I published in the previous half-century. Hey, if it's good enough for Chaucer it ought to be good enough for me.