Sometimes it is very good to speak out about your opinions to the public sphere: even if someone is able to show you another angle that makes you reconsider your whole position. For me, that is what social media and the Internet are all about. They help me to learn and to grow as an individual person and a social being.
The other day… well, Tuesday… I discovered that “Ender’s Game”, one of my favourite books written by a still living author (sigh, all my favourite authors have died…) is slated for release in theatres in only a couple of weeks. (‘Fraid I’m less than “up” on the current entertainment biz.) I almost exploded with anticipation: I’ve been waiting for this since I first read the book, 25 years ago. But I was almost immediately slammed back into a mental corner; much though I love the writing of the author, I also recognize that he is a religious, bigoted homophobe (Salon, 2013). Twenty-five years ago this was not an issue; I had just graduated Bible College, was still deep in the closet, homosexuality was still illegal in most of the U.S. and Orson Scott Card’s views on the subject were happily buried in his writings. Most of those have evolved since then: resulting in enormous internal conflict on the subject of “Ender’s Game”. I moved from Arkansas back to Toronto seven years ago in order to marry my husband: so the fact that Mr. Card so disrespects our relationship, and has gone public with his detraction, is deeply angering to me.
To be honest, I find this noticeable in his writing. One of the reasons I enjoyed Ender’s Game so much is that it was so challenging to generally held perspectives, so logical, so well written. And it said nothing about either his religion or his homophobia. About a year ago I read “Hamlet’s Father”, a retelling of the story of Shakespeare’s Hamlet with a Cardian, bigoted twist. As I said in my review (Goodreads, 2013), “Considering how much Mr. Card knows about physics, computer science and psychology, his understanding of homosexuality is… based on Mormon hearsay and propaganda, not the well-researched science that I expect out of him.” It’s quality is a shadow of his other work.
I boycott Chick-Fil-A when I’m down south (Bowles, 2012) and I was afraid I might have to boycott “Ender’s Game” as well. It would not be too difficult; anything that has to do with Mr. Card these days has something of a bad taste in my mouth, if only because I know how much he hates those like me. (Isn’t that reason enough?). So I posted (Wednesday, the day after this all came up) that I was “considering” the boycott on social media. And I got one response on Google+ that I just had to respond to (thus this post) (Bowles & Sevrens on Google+, 2013):
> This is very misguided…
No, I’d disagree. Overzealous, perhaps. Exaggerated, maybe. But misguided? Absolutely not. Mr. Card is using his position as a popular artist to justify and propagate the abuse and mistreatment of a substantial class of human beings. In this day and age, something has to be said. Sure he might be “tired” of being “picked on” (The Stranger, 2013)… but that’s pretty much how I felt for three decades, and had to move to another country to even hope to get away from being “picked on” by his ilk. Should I accept his half-hearted apology for working tirelessly to punish my brethren in the U.S. for loving someone whom Mr. Card feels is wrong, just so that he can brush aside the bad publicity? I will happily add to that publicity as much as I can, with respect to this issue.
>…OSC wasn’t involved in the production at all…
Not sure I can believe that. OSC wrote the original book and will receive royalties for that, no matter how small (and I rather doubt that they’re small). I disagree with any of my money going to a man who is so small-minded and who has worked so actively to oppress others. That being said, normally I know it happens without my knowledge; but in this case Mr. Card’s activity is front and central. He may not have been involved in this particular production very much, but he laid the foundation and is receiving benefits.
>… If you want something to boycott, boycott Ender’s Game Alive…
Perfect. This is the bit of information I was lacking, and which I appreciate. I did not know that this existed; as I said, I’m hardly “up” on entertainment, even the stuff I like. I couldn’t find anything that confirmed that it is, in fact, being produced “in opposition to the film”, but it is sufficiently different to meet my need to speak out against Mr. Card’s beliefs. Indeed, I will feel much more comfortable going to “Ender’s Game” (the movie) in a couple of weeks, precisely because I can refuse to participate in the more Cardian version, and because I can go on the record with my reason for refusing to participate.