Thursday, August 15, 2013

Orson Scott Card, censorship, and questionable morality

Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game is finally going to be made into a movie. I could not be more excited. I might have had a barely contained squeal in the theater the first time I saw a trailer. Love those books. I've loved most everything I've read by Orson Scott Card and I've read most of his works that aren't barely disguised allegories for Mormon theology.

Oh yeah, Orson Scott Card is a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religion not known for its tolerance. And he was a board member of the National Organization for Marriage until very recently. And by marriage, that group means only heterosexual marriage.

For this and similar reasons, a group of LGBTQ geeks has organized a boycott of Ender's Game called Skip Ender's Game.

I agree with their sentiments, mostly. The New York Times has an editorial that explains it better than I probably will. Basically this is a bit different than the Chik-Fil-A boycott. Their profits were being directly funneled into anti-gay causes. And creators have throughout history had crazy opinions separate from their creations.

That said, it is possible I am making excuses because I really want to see this movie. I don't know. Perhaps the best reason to boycott it is the likelihood it will be a disappointment. I should keep Petra, Ender, Bean, and all my other battleschool friends the way they look in my head.

I could not watch it in theaters and grab the DVD from the library (the library will buy the number of copies it does based on other factors, not my borrowing habits) for free instead of giving it money directly at the theater or indirectly through Netflix.

And it wouldn't end my life to skip it entirely. I'm just not sure that it will make any difference. Do you know what makes a difference in these types of social issues? For every loud mouth bigot, that there are 10 or 100 people quietly living their lives. Because when you know a couple who has been together, committed and in love for years but able to have any legal protections, your mind starts to change. When you realize that it is fine for your church to not perform the marriage, but that has nothing to do with the state defined contract of marriage and those protections, your mind changes. (For example the Catholic church wouldn't marry my husband and I because neither of us are Catholic or willing to raise children Catholic, but they have no problem with the state of Alaska recognizing our marriage.) And when people in the public eye, quietly come out, newscasters and sports figures, actors, child stars, and singers, that is when mind changes. Honestly, I'm not sure Card has as much influence here.

Orson Scott Card has a vivid imagination. Too bad he doesn't stick to science fiction, but instead uses it to imagine that Obama is recruiting an army of urban gang members. Too bad he has some views that I hate. But does that invalidate all of his contributions in terms of artistic merit? As the Times article linked above is this a form of blacklisting because we don't like his politics? Didn't we (rightfully) hate on McCarthy for doing the same thing? Ender's Game has nothing to do with gay marriage, so why can't we enjoy it for what it is?

What is a socially conscious geek girl to do?

1 comment:

Remy @MLISunderstanding said...

This was a tough decision for me and my wife, too. We're NOT interested in supporting OSC or his bigotry, but we loved the Ender's Game stories (read before we knew about the author's political activism). We decided together that we would watch the film, but would also donate at least the amount of full-price movie theater tickets to a pro-LGBT organization (even if we go on $5 Movie Day or wait to borrow a library copy). It's an offset, not a total solution, but considering we're also supporting same-sex marriage by, well, being married, it's a workaround that works for us.