When Choice Is The Problem: On OSC and Ender’s Game

Being able to make a choice is what our societies and cultures are about in this day and age. It is a basic right, to have the choice between two (or more) options. To be miserly or generous. To watch a movie or not watch a movie. To buy a novel instead of going out to a restaurant. To eat a burger instead of a pizza. To wake up early on the weekend or sleep in till late. To have a grand affair wedding or something simple and personal. To have a job we like or one we hate. And so on.

Choice is what we are about. Without choice, there really is nothing.

We go through life making choice after choice.

Choice is what often gets us into trouble, small, medium or large. Ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices and every now and then there a comes a time when we have to qualify and defend that choice. We make particular choices for particular reasons and being able to defend that choice, whether justified or not, is part of our life.

Orson Scott Card, a world-renowned author with several bestselling books to his name, made a choice long-ago that he was going to promote and support anti-gay speech and anti-gay activism.

He made his choice.

I’m making mine: to not watch the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game when it comes out, despite the fact that the film stars one of my favourite actors (Harrison Ford), and that I really liked the trailer.

I love science fiction movies. I love to watch starships fighting it out on the big screen while heroes and heroines race around trying to save the day, whether with brain or brawn or whatever mix thereof. I would love to watch Ender’s Game because the trailer I’ve seen makes it look like a movie that I would enjoy, much as I enjoyed (mostly) all the Star Trek and Star Wars movies, or Stargate, or whatever else.

But, I just cannot find it in me to support someone who so actively promotes hate speech, someone who is a major leader of an organisation that supported the horrifying “Kill The Gays” bill in Uganda recently.

I’ve been proud to call a few LGBTQ people my friends over the years, and none of them deserve the kind of vitriol and hate that Orson Scott Card promotes. Or any other kind of hate for that matter. They are as much human beings as I am. They go through life the same as any of us (with added… discomforts the likes of which we cannot really imagine or can ever experience first-hand). They are not freaks of nature or genetic defects. They are a part and parcel of our society and their existence promotes diversity, free-thinking, and equality of rights, among other things.

When I read the first novel of the Formic War series last year, Earth Unaware, I had no inkling that Orson Scott Card was such a… homophobe. I read it because people kept recommending Ender’s Game to me and this novel was part of a prequel series that laid the ground for what happens in that classic of SF fiction. Thinking back about it, I’m saddened that I reviewed the novel and thus contributed that tiny bit to Orson Scott Card’s popularity. It was a choice I made without proper context, and like many other such that I’ve made over the years, I regret it.

But that then is the rub: how much should readers know about the personal beliefs and views of authors before reading their novels?

I knew full well when I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn: The Final Empire that the author was anti-gay and that he had some strong views on the topic. But that was balanced out by the fact that he had attempted to engage with the other side and that he had sought a greater understanding of this minority in our global society. This knowledge did not hamper my reading experience of the novel, and never did I feel that through the novel the author was reaching out and promoting his views to me.

People talk often about the separation of artist from art, that whatever beliefs and views the artist holds should not in any way get in between the enjoyment of the art that said artist creates. In the case of Mistborn: The Final Empire, I am glad that I was able to maintain that distance.

I did not have any knowledge when I started reading Isaac Asimov back in high school that he used to have inappropriate contact with women at conventions and other places. I hold Asimov to be a cornerstone of SF fiction, a true classic writer who is a must read if someone wants to really experience the grandiosity and adventure inherent in a lot of the “classic” SF fiction. Discovering that the man I held on so high a pedestal was part of an ongoing problem within the industry, a problem that persists to this day and has only gotten worse over the years, was not something I found easy to deal with.

I’ve read a lot of hate speech directed at Asimov since then and I reluctantly find myself agreeing with some of it. But then I think about it, considering whether or not I can still appreciate Asimov as much as I used to, and I realise that my feelings on his work haven’t changed in any shape or form. The big reason for that is that (as far as I am aware, so feel free to correct me and provide evidence), Asimov did not go around telling men that they should smack women’s butts whenever they wanted, that a man had every right to fondle a woman’s breasts in public as he wanted. Asimov did not promote these ideas and he was not a part of an organisation that did the same either. Asimov did not contribute any kind of money or time to such an organisation either.

Yes, his actions allowed the problem to persist and formed a sad template of reactions that have been willingly or unwillingly perpetuated since then, but going back to the separation of artist and art? I have no problem with it in this case and I am able to respect the man solely on the basis of his work.

The recent SFWA controversies have brought to my attention an author named Theodore Beale who recently participated in the election for SFWA President. He also goes by the name Vox Day and has published a few works under said name. TB/VD is one of the most hateful and disgusting men I’ve had the misfortune of being aware of within the publishing industry. The guy spews hate and vitriol like its bread and butter. His views on diversity of any kind and people who promote diversity and acceptance are toxic enough to make me wish I could take a cricket bat to his hide. He is one of those people that I would love to see being tied upside down above a pit full of poisonous snakes and scorpions. That’s the kind of “hate” that I have of this man.

I’m really thankful that I’ve never had the chance to come across his works. I would probably consider myself horribly tainted by the association. TB/BD has every right to engage in freedom of speech, since he lives in a country where that is a basic right (as is the case in most of the world) and because his primary vehicle of promotion is his own blog, which is sadly (but unsurprisingly) frequented by people who have beliefs and views that mesh with his own.

The separation of artist and art? It is just not possible where someone like TB/VD is concerned. If it were up to him, the publishing industry would no doubt be full of people (like 100%) who are white males. His defense of the contents of the controversial recent SFWA Bulletin issues and his vitriolic condemnation of N. K. Jemisin’s Continuum Guest of Honour speech was quite shocking and I’m surprised that someone could be so blind to the realities of modern societies, that someone could so extoll the “virtues” of a bygone era redolent with misogyny, discrimination and hate. The publishing industry has made some strides towards the right direction in recent years but it is because of people like TB/VD that the problems continue to exist.

And this brings me back to Orson Scott Card.

Just as I cannot maintain the separation of artist and art with Theodore Beale/Vox Day, so it is with Orson Scott Card. These are men who would regress all the progress that has been made globally towards a much more inclusive society and culture where minorities are not discriminated against, in any shape or form. I have no sympathy of any kind for men, or women for that matter, who would restrict society so that there was a lack of acceptance and diversity in it.

For fuck’s sakes, Orson Scott Card proclaimed a violent overthrow of the US government should same-sex marriage ever be legalised.

Orson Scott Card uses his money to fund the activities of the National Organisation for Marriage, which is the organisation of which he is a board member and which serves as a platform for his anti-gay hate speech.

How can I, or anyone else really, support this kind of a man?

And in light of that, how can we as people support something that he has been a part of?

I am boycotting Ender’s Game because I do not want to Orson Scott Card to go on and earn money for his anti-gay activism. It is my choice to do so, and I’m exercising my right to that choice. Just as he is exercising his right to talk shit about people who are different than him. If he did not support his views with his money (and on such a level at that!), then I might have been able to maintain that separation. I stress the word might there. But it is just not possible.

Yes, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people involved in the making of the movie adaptation of Ender’s Game and most of them undoubtedly do not support Card’s views. But, there is enough support for him that the movie to have been optioned and made in the first place. Lionsgate recently delivered a fairly well-written statement that distanced them from Card with respect to the author’s views, but the facts are immutable. And frankly, this comes far too late.

The film was made. It saddens me that Harrison Ford is a part of this. It saddens me that Ben Kingsley is a part of this. I wish that they had declined the film. But that is not so. They made their choice, and I’m making mine.

I will not be seeing the film when it hits the screens later this year. I will not being getting the DVD either. Nor will I be watching it free on the television when it is eventually screened.

At some point, a symbolic choice such as this needs to be made. I support the boycott because I hope that enough people will join in and send Hollywood a message that shit like this just doesn’t fly. The situation that Lionsgate has created, whether through arrogance or indifference or greed or whatever, it is the same situation as the one DC created earlier this year when they announced that Orson Scott Card would contribute a short comic to their brand-new Adventures of Superman digital series. DC was hoping to cash in on Card’s popularity as an SFF writer to bring some star-power to their biggest superhero brand, but the miscalculation on all levels was just horrendous.

Superman is a character who stands for freedom of all kinds and who is an inspiration to others to do the right thing. Orson Scott Card as a person is none of those things. His views do not reflect that mindset either. How can a person who sponsors anti-gay activism ever write a story about a global icon who embodies the very qualities of acceptance and diversity?

Or, let me rephrase that: How can a person full of hate against a societal minority, a minority that he considers to be genetic freaks, write a story about an alien who is, by all standards of our own, a genetic freak and who proves that nurture wins over nature, that the upbringing of a child is what defines him or her, no matter what their past?

I am sorry, but I cannot trust in Card to ever write a story that will embody who and what Superman is, not unless he writes a generic story about him and that in itself is a disappointment.

People, readers and comics store owners, were justified in their decision to not buy and stock that specific issue of Adventures of Superman when it would come out in print.

Our boycott of Card’s work, or anything else associated with him, is not meant to be a situation where we trample all over Card’s rights to free speech. We are not telling Card how to live his life or what to believe either.

We are saying that he is a hateful, disgusting bigot of a man and that we will not support him in any way. He can carry on believing what he wants, doing what he wants. He just won’t find as big an audience as he imagines he can get.

The world is wiser today. Which is why when Card makes the following claim, we know that he is spewing nothing but bullshit:

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984. With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state. Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

The man who promotes intolerance towards gay people is asking them to be tolerant of him? What sweet irony! Just go to Google and you will find ample responses calling Card out on his words here. The topic has been widely discussed.

Perhaps he has dreams of an Ender-verse movie franchise and he fears that the boycott might cause a big enough dent in those plans? Well, honestly, I hope it does.

Thpeople have a much more interactive level of choice than was possible until a few years ago.

We are only exercising our right to a choice.

A choice to not support people who endorse hatred against societal minorities.

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Posted on July 14, 2013, in Editorial and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 78 Comments.

  1. Perfect. Small error at the bottom but the overall feeling is right on the money. Well done and well said.

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    • Heh, thanks for that correction! My laptop’s touch pad is a tad too sensitive or something and the cursor jumps around a lot when I’m typing.

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  2. Don’t you fear you may be shorting your self? I don’t I agree with a lot of celebs, musicians, artists, and the likes say or believe but i don’t let that get in the way of what brings me joy

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    • There’s no fear involved of any kind. There are far too many books to read out there. Ender’s Game is just part of that variety. I am totally fine with skipping Ender’s Game. And once again, I’m making the choice that I don’t want to support a bigot like Card. Staying true to your own morals is not something that is easily achievable, but here in this case, it is a fairly easy choice.

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  3. Didn’t read the whole thing, got to “He made his choice.” so keep that in mind when reading my comment.
    You realize that almost every author has some sort of issue right?
    William shakespear and hemmingway are considered misogynists by some people but that doesn’t make them less of a writer.
    If anything you should read books by people who have different views than you.

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    • You missed the entire point of the article. Think about it this way. Your best friend since college, going on for about seven years now, has an LGBTQ identity. You enjoy going to movies with this friend, eating out, hanging out at the beach, knocking back a few beers at the club, and is the best man/bridesmaid at your wedding. What Orson Scott Card is telling YOU is that this friend is unnatural. That this friend has no right to exist. How do you feel about that? You want to give your money willingly and in full knowledge to a man who wants to essentially prison camp your friend? That is what this is about.

      And once more, the NOM helped to push through the Ugandan “Kill the Gays” bill. Its a great thing that the bill is still in discussion and is not a law yet.

      I refuse to support art that enriches such hateful people. I KNOW these people are close-minded, hateful, and propose violent responses towards MY friends. Why the hell should I support them in any way? I’m not going to sacrifice my morals just for the “enrichment” of art.

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  4. I understand that a film adaptation of the same name directed by Gavin Hood and starring Asa Butterfield as Ender is planned for release on November 1, 2013. This should be interesting don’t you think?

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  5. I do not support Card or his views, but that’s not why I’m not going to see Ender’s Game. The only reason I’m reading it will be for a class this fall that examines sci-fi and fantasy literature. Even if I like the book, I doubt I’ll read the sequels or see the movie. Just doesn’t seem to impress me.

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  6. I’ve struggled a lot with the seperation of artist and art (I had a long rant about it on my blog some time ago, interestingly enough also about OSC and his policies), and ultimately came to the conclusion that I can like a person’s art, but that doesn’t mean I have to support it when supporting it means supporting them. Can Card write a good book? Yes. He sure can. And you’ll probably never hear me denying that. Will I ever spend money on those books? Not a cent. Because those cents will find their way back to him, and I don’t want to help pay the bills of people who spout BS about how some of my closest friends are unnatural and don’t deserve rights.

    I will not be seeing the movie. I want to see it, because I think it will be awesome. But I am not going to stand in the crowd of people turning a blind eye to bigotry in the name of a few hours of entertainment. It’s not worth the cost, not to me. I will regret not seeing it. I will probably think many times that maybe, just maybe, I should cave and see if I can borrow someone’s copy when it comes out on DVD, just so I can say I’ve seen it. But I want to be part of the crowd who stands up and says, “I’m not supporting your art, Card, because I don’t support your ideals.” I want to be one of the people who makes it clear that his behaviour isn’t tolerable, and that he is going to suffer in some way for it, to demonstrate the people won’t put up with that stuff any more and he’ll feel the pinch because of it. As you say, he made his choice. And I’ve made mine.

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  7. I read and thoroughly enjoyed Ender’s Game, and was quite disheartened to hear of Card’s views. It is such a shame that writers are sometimes not of the same caliber as the worlds they create. I often wonder how he could have created such a psychologically deep and philosophically complex story (that, for the most part, resonated with me), and yet come to some extremely hateful conclusions.
    I’m still up in the air about whether to see the movie. As long as Card isn’t getting gross points, then I probably will. It feels as if the damage is probably already done as far as him getting paid.

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  8. I agree completely. I make decisions not to buy books, music, see movies based on certain artists behavior and hate. I don’t feel the need to give anti-women, anti-Jews, anti-gays, anti-minorities, obnoxious sexist my money. There is too much good stuff out there for me to support by people I respect and who in a general way respect me. I’ve had to give up reading/watching some things I was enjoying but once I found out what they thought about me/people like me, my friends, and family I could no longer enjoy their work as the comments/actions would pop into my mind & I’d wonder why I was financing hate/intolerance.

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    • Very much so! The decision is easy to make on the basis of interest when we don’t know the artist’s views and beliefs. That knowledge really isn’t all that important to have. But people like Card go out of their way to make themselves heard and they just cannot be ignored. If, say, Brandon Sanderson comes out tomorrow and says he is going to join the NOM or whatever, I will be the first in line to make the promise that I will boycott all his novels and any derivative work based on those books. But unless Sanderson goes that bat-shit crazy, or any other author that I know of, I’m going to carry on as normal as far as they are concerned.

      Hope that makes sense!

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      • Exactly. So far as I know Sanderson has not called for taking up arms against the US government if gay marriage is made legal. Nor has he financially supported a law that went into affect in Uganda that makes it a killing offense to be a homosexual.

        Someone being a bigot I can deal with. Someone funneling money and/or heading organizations to take down my government or advocating people based on gender, race, sexual preference is a different story.

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  9. Agreed, AJ. There are plenty of wonderful books to read, and amazing movies to watch. I don’t expect my political or social views always line up with those of the writers, producers or artists who bring them to us. But as you said, there is plenty of choice out there, and when someone spews that kind of hatred about a group of people, it makes sense that we may lose all interest in seeing their creative side. It’s not like I’m losing Star Wars. 🙂 I am happy to skip his game myself.

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  10. very nice post. I find OSC’s work to be rather meh. I read Ender’s Game the novella a long while ago and it was nothing unique, just a variation on Hour of the Horde, Starship Troopers with a dash of Lord of the Flies, and when it was made into books, a dash of messianic nonsense, appropriate for someone who believes he will get a planet of his own when he dies. As has been said, there is better stuff out there by people whom I respect. I’ll spend my time and money on that, rather than someone who wants to be free to remove the rights of everyone who isn’t him and then whines about others “possibly” doing that when he rightly sees that his ignorant views will fail in the end.

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  11. It’s very difficult to find out that someone with whose work I’ve connected and in many ways, with whom I grew up, is such an asshole. Interestingly, I find myself more inclined to defend Asimov and his (completely inappropriate) antics, as a product of his time and a victim of his own issues. Maybe that understanding can extend to OSC, but maybe not. Eventually it all comes down to choice, as you so eloquently say.

    OSC may someday be remembered in the way that I currently excuse Asimov, a product of the bigotry and misunderstanding of his time.

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    • Lesson to be learned from Asimov: the industry itself tolerated his behaviour. Had the situation been otherwise, we would have had a better treatment of women in comics and the general publishing industry today, especially at cons and as relates to cosplayers.

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      • Well, it’s a bit difficult to divorce the overall comic and general publishing industry from the cultural attitudes of society at large. Easy for us to look back and say, yeah, they should have been different! If they hadn’t been such jerks, we wouldn’t be jerks now!

        There is a larger problem in general society related to women’s “places” and how they ought to look that comes out in the specific sections of society you mention. I doubt the greater issues expressed toward women in publishing, comics, cons, and cosplay are Asimov’s fault.

        And in that case it begs the question: why are these industries *still* tolerating similar behaviour today?

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        • You are completely correct. But look at how Asimov was treated and tolerated with respect to sexual harassment. And then look at how a Tor editor recently got kicked out of his job when he was out as a serial sexual harasser at cons. It sends a message to the rest of the community. I could have phrased the previous comment better. My intention was that the tolerance of Asimov’s behaviour encouraged such instances in the future. “It happens right? Just stay with it”. And once again, you are absolutely right that the larger problem is one that affects society and culture.

          But, we cannot tackle the problem at the macro level. The less James Frenkels and Isaac Asimovs are tolerated, the better we move forward in making sure that we treat women and (perceived/actual) minorities with respect.

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          • Absolutely. And that’s why OSC’s call for tolerance of his intolerance is so misguided. I hope that the pendulum is swinging further toward intolerance of sexual harassment in all communities, but that may be too big a hope. Thanks for the follow-up.

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          • Not a problem. I made the point poorly and a clarification was indeed called for.

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  12. Oh you got me in a conundrum! I have and always will come across stupid bigots, why do we tolerate when they do not?

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  13. That’s pretty sad. In this day and age, gay people shouldn’t have to face extreme prejudice like this, and for someone who has a pretty big profile and who could potentially make a different, it’s sad that he is making the choice to support something so horrific.
    Good on you for the boycott, I certainly have decided not to support this movie either.

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  14. Ender’s Game… I loved that book, I got it from my grandmother’s library when I was a teen. I didn’t know Card was so against homosexuality. Which really is upsetting since I am bi, and thus fall into the shouldn’t exist category apparently. I wasn’t planning on seeing the movie simply because of my appreciation for the book and how there were too many things that I know they couldn’t get right. Now I’m not seeing the movie and not buying any other products involving him. I hope that some day he will see the error of his ways, or at least become a little more tolerant of others that are different. He has my pity, somewhat, because he doesn’t know the wonderful friends he is missing out on.

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  15. The book is awesome. But Card is not.

    Still – he’s perhaps not as extreme as other creatives types – Normal Mailer tried to kill his wife. TS Eliot anti-Semitic. Picasso a well know misogynist. People whose behaviors and views you may see as reprehensible are still capable of creating things of beauty – perhaps separating the art from the artist is hard, but i think the world is a better with the Wasteland and Guernica than without it.

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    • I don’t know who Normal Mailer is, or TS Eliot. Let me ask you a few questions:

      – Does Mailer sponsor wife-beating and is he a member of an organisation that does?
      – Does TS Eliot sponsor anti-Semitism and is he a member of an organisation that does?
      – Did Picasso sponsor misogyny and was he a member of an organisation that did?

      If the answer to either of these three is no, then Card is far more extreme than that individual. Otherwise, they are just as bad.

      And just because the “world is a better place with the Wasteland and Guernica than without it”, as you put it, doesn’t mean I should support either of them.

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      • Sorry – I wasn’t asking you to support Card, or any other person who behaves in a way so obviously bigoted – I certainly don’t.

        I was just trying speak a little to the general point touched on in your post about the contradiction of beautiful things being created by less than beautiful people. The whole separation of art from artist thing is something I find interesting in terms of how the brain works.

        Apologies if I offended.

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        • Its not about offense. Its about placing Card’s views and beliefs in the context of his actions when compared with other reprehensible people.

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        • For me it has to do with if they are alive or not as well as if I think I’ll find the art itself offensive.

          Man tries to murder his wife then I won’t be buying his art/work while he is alive so Norman Mailer would not have gotten any money from me. If his wife outlived him and got his royalties after he died I’d be buying his work to support her.

          I’m not going to read T.S. Elliot because his art is as offensive as his personal beliefs.

          Picasso is dead and I don’t think his art is easy to see his misogynist opinions so I wouldn’t be buying his art simply because it doesn’t speak to me and I don’t have that kind of money.

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  16. Your concerns about OSC are inappropriately vague. Why no citations, quotes, anything? Clearly you’re angry, but I’m not sure why. That’s not right, it doesn’t seem fair to avoid stating this part of your case. What do you mean by ‘anti-gay’. Does OSC oppose same-sex marriage or does he hate LGBT people? Do you consider those two things to be synonymous?

    On the other hand you’re very clear with your accusations. You maintain that OSC is anti-gay, hateful, a bigot, a promoter of vitriol and so on. Your recommendations are pretty clear too in that you intend to boycott this person’s products, attack his character and encourage others to do the same.

    I think there is some irony here. Your approach to OSC appears to be a carbon copy of what you are accusing OSC of. Is it that you consider the LGBT community an inappropriate target and those you consider bigots appropriate targets for this sort of behaviour?

    I agree with Dustin Lance Black, this whole thing is misguided, you’d harm all of the people involved in the movie in an effort to harm OSC? Where’s your contribution, all you’re doing at the moment is getting more traffic by talking about such a popular issue. Look at how many times you’ve mention the name of the movie.

    I support same-sex marriage, but those who don’t support this vital equality need to be disagreed with, cajoled, entreated, persuaded, engaged with. We’re in this thing together. Even bigotry against bigots needs to stop.

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    • If you have to ASK what OSC’s views are, then you really need to get a reality-check. I make it plain what his views are. What kind of an organisation I support, the kind of views he promotes. And really? Me targeting bigots is the same thing as the bigots targeting the people they promote hate against? What is this? Mansplaining? “Won’t someone think of the majority!”? “Conan gets to go around buck-naked so Red Sonja should as well”? I mean, that’s the kind of ridiculousness I read in your assertion.

      OSC has proved in the past that he can’t be reasoned with. He promised to violently overthrow the American government if same-sex marriage was ever legalised. How the hell do you reason with an idiot like that? What he’s been saying is quite close to actual treason. At the very least, he is promoting an insurrection against a lawful government. You want me to support that kind of a man in any way?

      And what is unclear about me saying that OSC considers LGBTQ people genetic defects and freaks? As has been said all over the internet in recent days, freedom of speech DOES NOT EQUAL freedom from consequence. People like OSC and unfortunately Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley need to be shown what happens when activist bigots are supported by the people in authority. That’s what this boycott is about.

      This blogpost was not about me educating the potential reader of the blog on OSC’s views. It was about my stance on whether or not I will be going to see a movie based on a book he wrote. I am not advocating that people SHOULD boycott the movie or not. I am saying that I will and these are my reasons. Whether or not other people boycott is up to them and their own conscience and at the cost of their own morals.

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      • FTR I didn’t ask what OSC’s views are, nor did I dispute your interpretation of them in my original comment. What I did do was point out that you haven’t referred to anything, not a single quote, news report, nothing. Not even the famous alleged quote from 1990.

        I’m not asking you to educate your audience, but to share enough of your opinion to allow us to understand why you have formed that opinion.

        With regard to bigotry, yes, I think becoming a bigot yourself is a poor approach to dealing with bigots. I suggest that bigotry is generally founded upon ignorance and addressing the underlying ignorance can stop bigoted behaviour more effectively than trying to harm those you consider bigots.

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        • Ok, clearly the subtext did not reach you. Partly my fault, fair enough.

          The reasons I didn’t link to anything, despite having a wealth of such at hand, are many: one, I have no inclination to link to his views myself; and two, the information is already out there and me not linking to any of it is a somewhat subtle way of having the uninformed reader go and do some research hirself.

          Your comments about bigotry against bigots fall under what is called in some circles idealism. Feel free to explain to me how I should deal with Orson Scott Card by NOT boycotting his work or anything associated with him. Unlike Card, I’m NOT smothering his right to free speech. I’m NOT advocating that he be classified as a genetic freak. I’m NOT saying that he is mentally sick. I’m NOT denying him the right to have a profession because I’m not telling people to go boycott his work. I’m NOT saying that I will overthrow the American government should same-sex marriage be legalised (which it was a few days ago). I’m NOT saying that I will join an organisation that will promote, support, and sponsor a bill in Uganda that will legalise the murder of all anti-gay people. In short, I’m not promoting any kind of hate against Card.

          Feel free to elaborate. And I don’t CONSIDER Card to be a bigot. He IS a bigot. That is a fact.

          Let me try another tactic. Here’s a quoted comment from a friend who read your comment:

          “Even bigotry against bigots needs to stop.”

          Uh … huh …

          So … what he’s saying is that even entities such as regimes that go in for ‘ethnic cleansing’ should be free of persecution … because we should be tolerant of intolerance?

          My very first question would be ‘why?’

          Because unless the answer to that question is as airtight as an astronaut’s underpants then the historic examples of what happens when bigotry is allowed to thrive unopposed are both damning and conclusive.

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          • You recognise that citing what you are referring to makes sense below.

            Why do you think I’m trying to persuade you that OSC isn’t a bigot?

            Why does bigotry need to stop?

            I think your friend asks an awesome question.

            Bigotry is a behaviour associated with a personal or group prejudice. Prejudice is a set of usually negative preconceptions associated with a characteristic or behaviour.

            Many people with a prejudice are convinced it is valid. OSC is a classic example of this, it’s pretty clear that he believes in what he says and really feels that he needs to defend the historic version of marriage.

            In this sense and in the more classical sense prejudice means not fully addressing the facts. It means taking a step back from logical and rational analysis of facts and a shift towards the use of preconceptions as the basis for behaviour. It is often accompanied by vilification or dehumanisation which are tools used to reduce the socially normalised guilt that should be associated with the improper treatment of others.

            I think that is counter-productive and irrational and should therefore stop.

            I’m not clear as to why this would lead to inaction?

            I’m calling for a rational response to bigotry. In essence I think we should examine the things people say or do. If they are inappropriate, take steps to stop/prevent and preferably correct that behaviour and the prejudices underlying it.

            This does not involve forming a set of preconceptions about the person but rather a rational response to the act(s) themselves.

            Looking at ethnic cleansing as an example? Appropriate responses might include economic and political sanctions, UN or other multinational peace keeping efforts, independent inspections or policing.

            But that’s not enough, ethnic cleansing is almost certainly based on misconceptions and prejudices. These need to be tackled and that means investing in education, breaking down myths and exposing realities to the public view. People usually aren’t inclined to invest in groups they are prejudiced against which then extends the poor behaviour and the circle continues.

            Like

        • “With regard to bigotry, yes, I think becoming a bigot yourself is a poor approach to dealing with bigots. I suggest that bigotry is generally founded upon ignorance and addressing the underlying ignorance can stop bigoted behaviour more effectively than trying to harm those you consider bigots.”

          Could you expand a bit on this? Having issues with people who are calling for your (family/friends) death or who treat you as a second-hand citizen or refer to you as an animal is not being a bigot IMHO. Nor is refusing to put money in their pockets or publicizing their own bigoted words.

          I don’t think there is much that can be done to help OSC stop being a bigot. I do believe it is possible to shame him enough that he stops supporting causes calling for harm to me (his opinion on women is not overly enlightened nor on Jews) or other human beings. I have no problems with him praying for “aberrations/others/non-beievers” to die. I do have problems with him spending money and using organizations and his access to large media outlets to call for the same things.

          Heck he can write books on those topics although it might cause me to stop supporting his publishers but he could easily self-publish, he has the money and can hire individuals to do the editing, covers, formatting, uploading, PR, etc.

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          • Another comment of gold! People keep failing to see how extreme Card’s views are, and how he supports these views with money he earns from his work. I have every right to deny him any of MY money for his hateful causes.

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          • Sure.

            The definition of bigotry I’m running with here is “treating another person with contempt, hatred, or intolerance as a result of one’s prejudices.”

            So, broadly speaking, I take the view that treating others with contempt, hatred, or intolerance (CH or I) is morally wrong and not justified by the nature/validity of the prejudice.

            OSC’s views on marriage may be reprehensible, but this does not make it somehow good or right to treat him with CH or I.

            Or to put it another way, he’s wrong, but that doesn’t make him a monster, it just makes him wrong. I think it is possible to do everything in your power to stop someone, undo their work, and fight against their views while all the while treating them with respect.

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          • Wow man…. you think that a man who calls my friends genetic freaks and would deny them basic human rights is not a monster? By the way, what do you think of the Ugandans who want to actively kill all the gay people in the country? Not monsters? The skinheads in UK who go around trashing the homes and livelihoods of non-white people (specifically brown)?

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          • “Or to put it another way, he’s wrong, but that doesn’t make him a monster, it just makes him wrong. I think it is possible to do everything in your power to stop someone, undo their work, and fight against their views while all the while treating them with respect.”

            Umm I’m sorry but a man who calls for killing people because they are gay and who puts money, time, and helps create (and at times run) an organization to work towards that goal internationally is a monster. I’m not sure what part of ADVOCATES KILLING PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR BEING GAY AND FUNDS CAUSES TO HELP MAKE SUCH A THING LAW you are not getting. Please help me understand.

            Would you consider Hitler a monster, a bigot, or just a misguided man?

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      • Hope you don’t mind my giving a couple links to educate…

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    • Also, asking for bigotry against bigots needing to stop. Thanks for siding with OSC there! Even he is asking for tolerance from those against whom he has displayed zero tolerance! That’s how the world should function right? Some pumped up shit with influences promotes hate against someone and the world should just say: Don’t worry, let the hate flow through you and into an abyss, we are all just friends here, aren’t we?

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    • If you need a citation or two check out (hope these help, google can be your friend.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Scott_Card : Card has disapproved of same-sex sexual relations and of same-sex marriage,[32] stating in 2009 that homosexual individuals “suffer from tragic genetic mixups,” and that the term “homophobe” is used in order to imply that opponents of the “homosexual activist agenda” are mentally ill. Card stated in 2008 that “[t]here is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage,”[33] and in 2009 became a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.[34] Card resigned from the Board sometime in 2013.[35]

      And from http://laist.com/2008/08/01/orson_scott_card_scifi_writer_will.php sorry links didn’t transfer so you’ll have to go to the source link to click on the actual links in the article which take you to his own words or the words of the boards he was on at the time the statements were made

      Looks like Orson Scott Card (notably, the author of Ender’s Game) wants to pull the right of revolution (the right and duty to “throw off” government) card from the Declaration of Independence. Usually, it’s cited in liberal texts, but in a conservative op-ed in the Mormon Times has him ready to take direct action if Prop 8, which seeks to eliminate gay marriage, fails:

      How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

      Box Turtle Bulletin notes that he is, at least, consistent in thought. In 2004, he wrote a lengthy manifesto on the subject, which was similar to his 1990 rant.

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      • I appreciated the Google comment, I sort of expected all of your links to be to lmgtfy links!

        I wasn’t looking to be educated, merely to highlight the value and efficacy of citing your reasons for a conclusion when presenting an argument. Both yourself and AJ appear to recognise that including references is both a) typical and b) sensible further up in the thread.

        Can I take that as agreement?

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        • I never have a problem providing sources. But I also tend to believe in people’s ability to do a simple google search to get facts.

          Since you weren’t looking to be educated all you’ve done is waste our time which screams troll trying to use derailing technique. Good for you. Don’t you feel better now?

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  17. Reblogged this on Joanne Hall and commented:
    Excellent article on the Orson Scott Card / Ender’s Game boycott. I confess I’ve never read Card, but I would have been interested in seeing a movie of Ender’s Game. However, if it puts money in the pocket of a man who contributes to and supports a philosophy that I’m deeply ideologically opposed to, then no way. There are lots of brilliant books and brilliant movies created by people who are not bigots, and I’d rather put my money where their mouth is.

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  18. I just want to say I’m enjoying this post and the comments. I’m really baffled by people seeming to feel I have no right to decide where to spend my money. I know for a fact that when suggestions are made that people should broaden their reading they get in an uproar (read chuck Wendig or John scalzi’s … Or is it jim c. Hines? Blogs on the topic) when its suggested that people purposely pick up books written by women, minorities, homosexuals in their genre people go rabid. So why don’t I have the same right to choose not to spend my money on art done by a man who spews hate? I just don’t get it.

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    • Because these people are in denial, plain and simple. They don’t want to acknowledge that they are biased.

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    • I second your first sentiment, this is a really engaging topic.

      I admit I smiled a bit about your second thought.

      “I’m really baffled by people seeming to feel I have no right to decide where to spend my money”

      The OP, which I think you and I agree with, quite pointedly states that Card is wrong to spend his money in certain ways and promotes taking action to punish his decision.

      The notion that it’s your money and you can do what you want with it just doesn’t stand up. We are social creatures and our decisions affect those around us. Sure you can make a choice, but the consequences will follow.

      “We make particular choices for particular reasons and being able to defend that choice, whether justified or not, is part of our life.”

      Very few people, I’m looking at you Tax Collector, can tell you what to do with your money. But I think part of the premise AJ’s setting out is that it’s legitimate for people to challenge each other’s decisions and hold them to account for them.

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      • Excuse me. The OP explains why HE is not spending his money on OSC and why he supports others who are not giving money to OSC projects.

        OSC can spend his money any way he wants. There are consequences to our actions. If OSC spends his money on hateful hurtful causes a number of us will not spend our money on him. Now if OSC wants to turn around and stop funding those organizations and instead send triple the amount he has spent on those on causes to help those he has hurt maybe some of us would reconsider our stance as well as sincere apologies and lots of community service repairing damage done…

        I don’t personally care where you spend your money. Nor am I or the OP telling you where to spend it.

        Taxes are different from my disposable income. This discussion is based around where we choose to spend our disposable income. Any chance you could stay on topic?

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  19. It’s true! I don’t think people are monsters.

    People sometimes do monstrous things, but they’re still people and people are of worth.

    I thought OSC considered homosexuality more of a nurture thing. I stand corrected.

    But with regard to your question, I don’t agree with the actions you set out as examples, I think they should be prevented and/or sanctioned, but I also don’t think it’s right to dehumanise the perpetrators.

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    • So hitler was not a monster he just did monstrous things by attempting genocide of the Jews, pretty much successful genocide of gypsies, and torturing and murdering some 14 million people. And so if he were alive today I should treat him with respect while he is try to wipe entire types of people off the earth?

      Seriously?

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    • Respect: Noun A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. (Google search)

      This requires someone do something worthy of my respect. Respect must be earned its not automatically given. Maybe you meant “polite” or “civil”? And in a way we are respecting him. If he were not so famous and powerful we’d be ignoring him because he would not have come to our attention or been much of a threat. Look at that – more respect of his power.

      de·hu·man·ize (d-hym-nz) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/dehumanize
      tr.v. de·hu·man·ized, de·hu·man·iz·ing, de·hu·man·iz·es
      1. To deprive of human qualities such as individuality, compassion, or civility: slaves who had been dehumanized by their abysmal condition.
      2. To render mechanical and routine.

      The OP and I assume OSC has free will and treated him as an individual. In comments above we’ve said he can do what he wants with his money & his time (unless its illegal) it just has consequences because we can also do what we want with our time & money. OSC has shown a lack of compassion to others with his own words and actions. Quoting those are not depriving him of compassion. A boycott is not showing a lack of compassion IMHO. I’ve never met OSC so I have no idea whether he & I would be civil to each other. It would depend on the circumstances. If its a SFF con I’m sure we’d be civil as long as we did not talk politics, social issues, religion, but stayed on really safe topics. Like the weather, the con facilities, maybe the con itself.

      Maybe you want to point out exactly how we have dehumanized him sticking to the definition and on topic?

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  20. Having read much of Card’s work over the years, I feel compelled to defend him a bit. Believing that homosexuality is a “tragic genetic mixup” is a far cry from hating or fearing those who are GLBT. Perhaps the worst I could say of his views, based on his books, short stories and blog, is that he pities those who are GLBT. And no one likes to be pitied.

    But in his novels I really felt a sense of compassion for people, including those who are GLBT. Even in the 70’s and 80’s when homophobia was pervasive, he did not shy away from writing characters who were gay and showing their struggles in a compassionate light.
    As for the gay marriage issue. There are some who oppose gay marriage out of hate and fear, this is true. But there are also those who strongly believe that marriage is NOT about who you are attracted to, but a divine institution meant to create the ideal situation for raising children. These people religiously believe that government should not change that definition. And believing this does not mean that they hate, despise or fear those who are not heterosexual. I firmly believe Card falls into that latter category.

    And please, don’t paint any one to be bigoted because they point out facts that you don’t like (that no branch of the US government has the authority to change marriage). Before you decide to encourage anyone to boycott anyone, be sure you hear what that person believes from their own mouth, or in this case read what he has written. It is not hard to find. It is not enough to judge him based on what others quote him as saying, as quotes are often taken out of context.

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    • Once again, like others elsewhere on the internet, and on this VERY blog post, you completely missed the point. You also make a great point about misquoting because in your own comment you are misrepresenting me. Irony much?

      Let me be clear on something, especially if you haven’t read my arguments in the comments or those by Tasha and Ria and others.

      1. Card is part of NOM which practices activism against the gay community. NOM opposes same-sex marriage.

      2. NOM tried to help push the “Kill The Gays” law in Uganda last year. The bill is still under discussion and has been stalled for the moment.

      3. Card is a BOARD MEMBER of NOM. I shall let you draw the inference yourself.

      4. Card’s views mean that he considers MY friends to be genetic freaks. As far as he is concerned, my friends should not exist.

      5. Card gives his money to NOM.
      How can anyone who call themselves supporters of same-sex marriage and the gay community support him? He is a bigot and he has shown NO tolerance towards the people he is bigoted against. Yet he has the balls to call for tolerance of his intolerance. Hypocrite much? I would be less inclined to boycott Ender’s Game if Card didn’t give his money to causes that I hate. But he does, and so I cannot support him. It is that simple.

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      • He resigned from the NOM board this year I believe someone confirmed the fact this week. He has not left the organization but officially he is no longer on the board. I believe it was bad PR and part of improving his image but I have no proof of that beyond the fact that he has not said he left the organization or made any sincere apologies related to his positions on gays.

        Like

        • I don’t ever expect him to make an apology. And regardless of whether I would accept his apology (I won’t and shouldn’t be the person to do that any way), it would be a cop out.

          Like

    • Yes I’m sure the quotes where he was suggesting a violent revolution against the American government if gay marriage were permitted was taken out of context… I’m not sure what context that would ever be considered “ok” in. And he never really has refuted his opinion. NOM is working on a constitution amendment to make same-gender marriage illegal while OSC is saying his anti-same gender marriage stance is moot because the Supreme Court upheld certain same-sex marriage rights. I believe 29 states do not have same sex marriage legal & NOM is doing what it can to make sure that they stay that way. OSC may not be on the board but he is still a member & gives money to NOM.

      While OSC was on the board he put money & resources into Uganda to make it a death sentence law to be LGBT. Executed for being gay. Killed for being gay. I’m not quite sure how to take his part in that – decision making, money, possibly choosing who to send can be taken out of contest. He simply supports gays being killed because of what they are – aberrations.

      Do you read his blog? You might find his current take on politics fascinating. Maybe you should spend more time reading what he & his church believe. His opinions are stronger than his churches (or they are better at keeping their mouths shut about the extremist opinion).

      If he were simply against gay marriage that would not be a major deal. But talking about overthrowing your country if they make it legal is a big deal. International support to countries working on creating laws to KILL gays is a big problem.

      I wish your husband much health and that your children grow up in a USA where its safe. If the government starts killing one group of people they find it easier to kill others. If they start killing people for being gay I assure you Jews, Muslims, and Mormons won’t be far behind. Next the government starts killing people who disagree with them. Where does it end?

      Like

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