My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

Relevant links:

Archive

hiking in LA (and The Golden Compass)

Having not left the house or gotten out of my PJs all week (except for one short scavenging of food a few blocks away), G decided that I needed a change of scenery before embarking on another week of head-down data analysis. After breakfast on the beach, we went up to Topanga for a nice hike. One of my favorite things about LA is that there is so much hiking really close by. At the same time, I kinda suspect that I don’t know all of the good spots. What are other good trails in LA and the neighboring counties?

Oh, and post-hike, we decided to go see The Golden Compass which was surprisingly good. (I was terrified of the potential for a dreadful adaptation.) I wanted to make sure that I saw it opening weekend since the Catholic church is urging people to boycott it. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Pullman’s Dark Materials series. I love the fact that the protagonist is a young girl and I love that the whole series questions the relationship between science in religion (which is, of course, the reason that the Catholic church hates it). Having grown up on loads of super-Christian texts (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, Wrinkle In Time, etc.), I’m stoked to see young reader’s texts that have a more critical view of religion.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 comments to hiking in LA (and The Golden Compass)

  • Topanga Canyon is always great, but try Malibu Canyon next time, there are some great viewpoints near Las Virgenes road ! I miss California these days…

  • Don’t confuse:

    – the Catholic church who though the Golden Compass was a “lavish, well-acted and fast-paced adaptation”,
    (http://www.usccb.org/movies/g/thegoldencompass.shtml)
    a “tepid endorsment” indeed,
    (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-compass8dec08,0,7431269.story?coll=la-news-comment-editorials)
    but no boycott; a gesture of respect I would say considering the original book is an open charge against the Church;

    with distint organisations, “catholic” only by name, like:

    – the Catholic League, an association who openly doesn’t endorse key elements of the Gospel, like Matthew 5 (“If someone hits you on the left cheek [. . .]”);

    – or the American Catholic Church of the United States: “catholic” meaning universal, either they never heard of Christopher Colombus or Pax Americana is a lot more based on colonialism then what I though.

    Should one accept that fascists like the C. League steal the name of a proeminent association and spread hateful lies about the key values of one billion people? – Not unlike what you went through when the BBC “reused” you thoughts on MySpace, Facebook & classes and forced you into justifications about things that you could never have said. – The answer has been no, clearly but with clemence. Because Bishops wanted to be clear, they seperated themselves from liars: they took the right to say who was following the key aspects and who was out.
    This authority can be a threat, and was criticized by authors like Pullman or Luther, sometimes with fairness. I don’t think their are only two sides in this debate – but I do beleive that people who encourage confusion are on the wrong path. But I do beleive that behind the PR stunts, there are important aspects about self-representation: if I say that I am part of a religion, how can I disagree with it’s authority? Can I speak in their name?

  • Just to clear up, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops actually kind of liked the movie (http://www.usccb.org/movies/g/thegoldencompass.shtml). It is the Catholic League, a Catholic “civil rights” organization, that was organizing the boycott. The Catholic League is neither the official Catholic church, nor does it always support the view of the church.

  • I liked the Golden Compass myself. (I hope you had the regular sort when you were hiking!)

    I couldn’t help being reminded of Cruella de-Ville when I saw Mrs Coultard though, even though Cruella never seemed nice for even the smallest moment.

    I have to confess, though, that the kids accents rather grated on me; they sounded as if they were put on. (I imagine they were!), but maybe that’s only because I’m from the UK. Perhaps to someone from California they sounded more authentic.

    Good luck with the data analysis – and I hope that you get out of the house a bit more this week.

  • I’m so psyched to see the movie myself– a retelling of Paradise Lost (Milton) for kids? Rock on. I bet the UK would just eat this movie up– and I’m hoping that it does well enough (regardless of the church) so the two follow up books will be adapted. When I lived in Wales people raved about this book series more than HP. So, fingers crossed for Mr. Pullman.

    p.s. This weekend was gorgeous in LA! I walked the beach coast from Marina Del Rey to the start of Malibu. Soooo lovely.

    Enjoy the week, Danah!

  • I chose to hear the accents not as British but as random other world accent that isn’t American or British. Hearing it that way was much more sanity pleasing.

  • Cheryl Morris

    It has been years since I hiked in the areas above Pasadena and Altadena, but I recall the route up Mt. Lowe as fascinating — so is its history. There are also some neat trails in back of JPL — or used to be.

    Ventura County has some great hiking in its foothills and along the beach.

  • Rich Williams

    “Golden Compass” was a very good movie; I too, did see it because of the uproar by various religious groups about seeing it.

    I haven’t read the Dark Materials book series and now I want to. The movie seemed like the Da Vinci Code – the book was pretty good, but the movie didn’t do justice to the background information. I feel that I’ll learn quite a bit by reading the Dark Materials.

    Anyone have any advice about this? Thanks,

    Rich