Oddly, Pullman and I make the same points -- it's the calling a spade a spade that got to me, the need to deceive and cloak words in a story already rife with metaphor.
Other interesting news from that essay -- no more Chris Weitz. Which may or may not be a good thing. It's good that he knows his limits, sure, but who are they going to replace him with? That's the question that keeps you up nights.