Thursday, July 11, 2013

What A Card or End This Game

The gay organization Geeks OUT is calling for a boycott of Ender's Game, the big-budget science fiction movie, because of the views on homosexuality of author Orson Scott Card:

Do not buy a ticket at the theater, do not purchase the DVD, do not watch it on-demand. Ignore all merchandise and toys. However much you may have admired his books, keep your money out of Orson Scott Card’s pockets.

I've never read Ender's Game or any other Card stuff, and don't really know much about his politics, though apparently he's a practicing Mormon who has spoken out against homosexuality.  Regarding same-sex marriage, he's written "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."

Card has responded to the call for a boycott:

"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 first point seems relevant, but I'm not sure how much his interpretation of the Supreme Court opinion matters--the boycott is about his views on homosexuals, not whether the gay marriage issue is still alive.

But the real question is should you boycott someone's work if he has ugly views?  Everyone has to answer that individually, but in general it bothers me when someone isn't allowed to work based on his politics. (And this isn't the first time for Card--he's been dropped from a DC Comics project as well.) This is the essence of the McCarthyism, after all, and I thought we were opposed to that.

It wasn't that long ago just being gay was frowned upon.  Would Geeks OUT have thought it fair play to organize a boycott of gay authors?  And if they respond that's different, that was bad intolerance, I can only say they must be pretty confident their views will always win the day.

People believe different things, sometimes things we can't stand.  But I don't see the need to find out everyone's politics before I decide whether or not to buy their products.  For that matter, I often purchase (well, did before the internet) newspapers and magazines that publish pieces I find hateful--if we all followed Geeks OUT's philosophy, would we have to refuse to buy any periodical we don't already agree with?

I doubt this boycott will have much effect on the box office of Ender's Game.  And, for that matter, the success or failure of the movie will have little to say about the issues that interest Geeks OUT. After people see the film, they're certainly free to protest Card's views as much as they like.  He seems to be losing, by the way, so it shouldn't be that hard to be gracious.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

calling for a boycott based on views is very different from being not "allowed to work based on his politics"

Private boycotts are the essence of free speech. I have read and enjoyed Card's work until he started getting political and oddly so in "Empire" (e.g. Bill O'Reilly is the only real centrist media commentator who can bridge the ideological divide). I think I may still read things here and there but he's become like Mel Gibson

4:03 AM, July 11, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I'm tired of this fake disinction. The idea of the boycott is he won't be allowed to make any money because we don't like his politics. Don't buy his books, don't see his movies, don't buy chicken from any restaurant he invests in, etc. And then there are the secondary boycotts you start getting--don't buy anything from anyone who hires him.

And they're not punishing his speech, they're punishing the man because they don't like his speech. This isn't about how we should stop reading him because his work is getting boring, or we should stop watching his TV show because he keeps inserting in his own stupid politics and destroying the drama. Really this is even worse than McCarthyism since at least they pretended the communists (and there really were communists--not people who were partaking in a national debate, but secretly conspiring to subvert the United States--not that it matters for this argument) were putting messages in their work. Back then, people wanted lists of suspected communists so they couldn't get employment. If it was bad then, I don't see how it's any better today.

9:57 AM, July 11, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hard to enjoy the fruits of a free speech regime if one side is threatened out of talking.

10:05 AM, July 12, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not allowing Card to make any money is exactly what the LGBT community wants. Is it okay only because it's unlikely they'll be able to achieve their goals? Also, if Card becomes bankrupt thanks to their actions, will they also request he be denied government assistance since he doesn't deserve that either?

2:52 PM, July 12, 2013  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't help smiling to myself when a read a Mormon's definition of marriage. Great blog, by the way :-)

2:07 PM, July 19, 2013  

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