The Sword and Laser discussion

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I need to talk about OSC

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message 1: by Daniel (last edited Feb 18, 2013 01:46PM) (new)

Daniel Eavenson (DannyEaves) | 107 comments So I don't want to talk about the real issue at the heart of the Orson Scott Card (OSC) controversy. Everyone has their own opinion on it and I don't think this is the place to try and reach hearts and minds.

Two things I'm currently trying to figure out about OSC:
1. Is there anyway to see the Ender Game movie and divorce it from the current controversy? Mostly on the monetary level. Can you watch that movie and still say you don't support OSC's "other activities"? Ender's Game is a HUGE part of my transformative years and I don't know that I'm going to be able to NOT see that movie.

2. This one has a bit of a lead in. One of my favorite series as a teenager was the Homecoming Saga by OSC. I loved it in the way that people talk about the Dark Tower Series. Everyone had Ender's Game, but there were only a few of us who had found this series and we could scoff at those who stopped with Ender's Game. At the time I didn't really understand the analogies to the Book of Mormon, mostly cause I didn't know what the Book of Mormon was. Realizing now that the books offered more then I was aware of when I first read the saga is what concerns me.

Anyway, in that story there is this character Zdorab who is homosexual. In the story he is one of a few humans to colonize a new world, and he's confronted with the idea that he's the only gay person on this colony and the need to populate the colony means he needs to marry a woman and procreate with her. The character relates several stories of persecution and some very real reflections of "in the closet" lifestyles that are happening in the very orthodox religious society of the homeworld of the human colonists. I found it to be an incredibly interesting and fascinating look at homosexuality in science fiction in a way that I never had before. It cultivated in me a sense of both the reality of the awful choice that we force on LGBT people in our society, and sympathy for this people group that before that I hadn't really even considered or taken notice of.

How do I match up that postitive experience with the comments of OSC on the topic of homosexuality? He seems so hateful on the topic now to me. I can't match up what I remember about this character to what the author has to say, and he was saying it back in the 90's when I was getting into this saga. Am I just looking at it through rose glasses, and this character is really something awful? I hope not. I'd go back and re-read the series but I don't own the books and right now I don't want to give OSC any more money, so I turn to you guys. Help me out please.

(edited for your pleasure; now with more carriage returns)


message 2: by Kate (last edited Feb 18, 2013 01:59PM) (new)

Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments I doubt OSC has a revenue sharing deal for the movie. I'm sure the terms of his deal for the movie aren't public, but sure you can tell yourself that he's already been paid and you buying a ticket isn't going to garner him more money to spend on his loony tunes agenda.

check his books out of a library if you live in a country where authors aren't paid by libraries 'per check out'. Or get them second hand.

Ethics advice. I am finally using my philosophy degree.


Rick 1. Find out if he has a rev share deal or not. If he does, don't see the movie unles you're comfortable with some share of your money going to him.

2. WALL OF TEXT CRITS YOU FOR 1 MILLION. Seriously, paragraphs are your friend.


Robert of Dale (R_Dale) | 185 comments It's possible that he's re-thought his stance on homosexuality and has become more extreme since he wrote the homecoming series. It's also possible that he thought that the character was essentially "cured" of his homosexuality by getting married and having sex with a woman, therefore redeeming a "flawed" character.

Either way, I can sympathize with your dilemma. Note that the success of a movie is judged by the first week's box office gross. So if you must see it, hold off until week 2 or 3.


message 5: by Rick (last edited Feb 18, 2013 02:37PM) (new)

Rick I actually don't think this is a hard dilemma. If an issue is really important to you and the creator of some work has a stance on that issue that's odious to you, you don't support them. Period. You don't try to weasel out of it, you keep to your principles.

At the end of the day, you need to decide how important the issue is to you and make your choice. Just don't try to excuse supporting OSC by saying something like "well the money from my ticket isn't much..." if his homophobia really is repellent to you.

Obviously there are ways to read the work of an author like this or to see movies based on it... you can pirate them, borrow them from the library, wait until the movie is on TV, etc. Whether those are OK with you is your choice.


message 6: by Daran (last edited Feb 18, 2013 06:27PM) (new)

Daran | 534 comments Regarding 1: If you loved Ender's Game, and the Homecoming trilogy I wonder at how much enjoyment your going to get out of the movie version.

Regarding 2: I think that it is necessary to remember that many authors explore religious themes when they write. Sometimes we agree with them, and sometimes we don't. I suggest that you take the messages that spoke to you, and try to acknowledge and move past that which makes you uncomfortable/don't agree with.

Honestly, I don't know what happened to Scott Card. I didn't think anything past Ender's Game was that great, but his last few books, like Empire, mostly just right-wing hysteria. Even Ender's Game is very Libertarian ("The greatest thing anyone can be called is Third," etc), but it asked some real questions. Where's that author now?


Phil | 389 comments I've read biographies of several writers and other artists (Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, C.S.Lewis, Charles Schultz, George Carlin) whose work I love and admire and they uniformly come off as freaks and/or assholes. I may not have liked them in real life and they may not have liked me but that doesn't keep me from enjoying their work. I also don't care if my butcher is a jerk as long as I get good value for my money.


meagh | 33 comments You do not need to like or agree with an author or artist to appreciate and enjoy the art they create. - M.


Erin (NerdMommie) | 15 comments I agree with Daran and Meagh. Many of the stories, music or art that I loved, was enchanted with or truly spoke to me when I was younger, were created by not so great humans.
(I haven't read much Orson Scott Card, but the Ender's series has been highly recommended to me.)

I think the important thing here is that whatever your experience of his work was, hang on to that and try to keep the information you currently have from spoiling those memories and feelings. It seems like whatever OSC's intention was when writing the Homecoming trilogy, what you took away from it was very positive. That insight and compassion is what's important.
(If you would like to re-read them, try the library or befriend a pirate.)

And finally, for the movie issue, that's really a soul searcher and it's very personal. It is hard for me to go and support the movie (comic book, other books, etc) now, knowing what I know. If curiosity gets the best of me, I'll just wait it out, rent them from the library (or I have a pirate associate).

You really have to decide where your personal line is on issues like these and then do the honorable thing and stick to your decision.
(Yes, I am aware that talking about personal integrity after suggesting pirating others intellectual property is a little ironic, but everyone has their own moral compass.)

I do sympathize, it's not easy to make these kind of calls about art of any kind, mostly because everyone perceives art, music, books in their own way and it's not always tied to how the artist intended the work to be viewed or taken.

How do you reconcile your own personal experience of that work with the person who creates it? Does that necessarily make you complacent in the artist's own personal agendas? Or does art create it's own dictum based on how it's appreciated?


Daran | 534 comments Phil wrote: "I've read biographies of several writers and other artists (Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, C.S.Lewis, Charles Schultz, George Carlin) whose work I love and admire and they uniformly come off as fre..."

Okay, I get everyone else, but Charles Schultz? I've always thought of him and his works as akin to oatmeal--heart-warming, but bland. If it's not too persona;, how did he earn your enmity?


Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 1724 comments Daran wrote: "Okay, I get everyone else, but Charles Schultz? I've always thought of him and his works as akin to oatmeal--heart-warming, but bland. "

Huh? Peanuts is a dark tale of existential angst in the face of a cold, uncaring universe. There's absolutely nothing heartwarming about it.


Daniel Eavenson (DannyEaves) | 107 comments The man invented a tree that eats kites. Does it need kites to live? no. It eats kites because F you Charlie Brown that's why. None of the kids even have imaginations. Only the dog. Shit makes me cry.


Jim Heivilin | 33 comments Dang that's harsh. I never looked at Peanuts as a dark comedy (the football thing aside).


Nathan (Tenebrous) | 269 comments Sean wrote: "Daran wrote: "Okay, I get everyone else, but Charles Schultz? I've always thought of him and his works as akin to oatmeal--heart-warming, but bland. "

Huh? Peanuts is a dark tale of existential angst in the face of a cold, uncaring universe. There's absolutely nothing heartwarming about it."


Lucy = Cthulhu


Robert of Dale (R_Dale) | 185 comments Please don't pirate. Not liking the person who produces something you want does not justify stealing from them. He's free to have his opinions and to create (or have created) great things, just as are you. Imagine if your friend didn't like your favorite author's publicly expressed opinions, and stated that they're going to pirate his or her works. Does that seem right?


Adrian Pienaru (adi_pie) | 124 comments I agree with meagh, I usually separate a person's creative or scientific achievements from his personal views, I'll certainly discuss them and voice my opposition or support for them, but that won't stop me from enjoying their works.


Shaina (ShainaEG) | 156 comments I completely understand your dilema as a huge fan of OSC's work.

I would also like to add Songmaster as an interesting portrayal of a gay character in his work. When I first read Songmaster as a kid, I was impressed by his inclusion of a gay character and his ability to understand how a gay character would think since his politics seem so harsh. Rereading Songmaster this past year I was surprised to find a portrayal that I remembered as being positive having a dark/negative undertone.

I haven't read the Homecoming saga since high school when I knew it was supposed to be vaguely mormon, but knowing nothing about mormonism I didn't see any of it while reading. I would recommend finding a way to reread Homecoming if you're really interested in it to see if you read it in a different way. It was also written over 20 years ago before he was quite as famous as he is now, so he may have become more outspoken now.

Ultimately it's your choice, but in my opinion it would be hard to avoid all commercial art that is in some way supporting someone with a political view you disagree with. There are also likely a lot of people with views you agree with who worked on the film.


Nathan (Tenebrous) | 269 comments If you really wanted to see the film but OSC got a cut, you could make a donation matching OSC's cut of your ticket price to a cause of your choice to offset it.


Robert of Dale (R_Dale) | 185 comments Nathan: that's a neat idea. Kind of a carbon offset for social justice.


Sarah | 24 comments Daniel, I don't think you should stress about going and seeing the movie, or otherwise spending money that could somehow end up in OSC's pocket. The first reason is purely utilitarian, I admit, and maybe not the kind of principled response you are looking for :P. But there is no way that you are not now financially supporting in some way a person whose political views you do not agree with, and may be using that money to do something you don't like. The movie alone has far more people than OSC that are or will be getting paid for it, and some of them may hold opinions you find deeply offensive. This is something that was easy for me to come to terms with, since as someone with very minority political views, I can get offended at pretty much anything any public figure says on the topic of politics :P. You just can't feasibly live your life in a way where your every purchase makes a political statement.

The second reason is that I think you shouldn't WANT to live that way, even if it was possible. It's a fact of life that people have widely varying opinions, personalities, etc, and it is also a fact of life that you need to cooperate and compromise with many other people in society if you wish to live above a purely self-sustaining level. You can enjoy the artistic or material work of people you may find personally repellent without ever getting offended BECAUSE money doesn't make a personal or political statement; it just says you value what you paid for. It makes the blunt act professionally, the grumpy act friendly, the bigot work for those they are bigoted against. If OSC makes a bunch of money off the Ender's Game movie, it makes the statement that people like Ender's Game, and that people prefer OSC spend his time making good sci-fi, rather than handing out political opinions. Most won't know his views on homosexuality when they watch the movie, and he'd be delusional to think that most consumers do and that any financial success is because of that. He will see it as indication that people like Ender's Game. I say send the message that it'd be in his best interest if he focused on the things that have brought a lot of enjoyment to people of all sorts of political ideologies. And don't give his views more publicity than they deserve, because if it blows up to Chik Fil A proportions or something, then you'll get people spending money on the movie just to defend him, and people that just want to enjoy his work like us will be out of luck :(.

Also, I would encourage you to read the Homecoming Saga again... but don't forget what you got out of it the first time. My advice is to not let outside rumors of the author's intentions poison you against getting what you want from the book, gaining what insights you can. I had that problem when I read Ursula LeGuin's The Dispossessed. I went into the book with knowledge of its reputation as a book sympathetic with political and philosophical ideas I really don't agree with. Heck, I decided to read it BECAUSE of this, and as I read through I would get more and more offended and annoyed at the speculations and reasoning in the book. It pretty much guaranteed that I didn't enjoy it, because I took that critical perspective for granted on my first readthrough, and didn't give myself a chance to get something different out of it, or have a more personal first readthrough to get out of it what I would. I recognized this after finishing the book and forced myself to calm down and get all AP English on it, and realize that I had just read it through one lens, and one based on just a reputation at that :P. When I stopped being on the lookout for "sneaky motives" of the author, I got a lot more out of the book, had some great discussions about it, and ended up having a much more rewarding experience. I understand it's legit to take what you know about the author into account when analyzing a book, but realize that most of us don't have enough knowledge to do that for most books we read, and yet we gain insights, enjoy ourselves, and generally get something out of the experience. It helped me de-stress to remember that :P.


Bryek | 271 comments Just see it without paying for it (and before the idealists jump down my throat, that does not mean you have to steal it). I haven't read his books so I have no want to really see the movie. I have been told that its a really good book but I can't make myself pay for something written by someone who dislikes a part of me I cannot change and a part of me that I am proud of.


Kevin | 485 comments Sarah wrote: "Daniel, I don't think you should stress about going and seeing the movie, or otherwise spending money that could somehow end up in OSC's pocket. The first reason is purely utilitarian, I admit, an..."

Great post. I fully agree, even though I'll never spend money on OSC books since his special kind of bigotry bothers me more than usual. (I am, as a counter example, a big fan of Brandon Sanderson and he's a Mormon too (which is one religious denomination I just cannot comprehend). He's just not an unrepentant a-hole about his believes.)

Now I can't help but be intrigued by your "very minority political views". I tried to deduct it from your read list but that didn't get me anywhere. :p


Bryek | 271 comments Sarah wrote: "The second reason is that I think you shouldn't WANT to live that way, even if it was possible."

This is terrible. You are telling him that he shouldn't stand for his principles? yes people have negative views but supporting him because you can willingly turn a blind eye because other people also have negative views of other things you might dislike but not know?

I would rather WANT to live "that" way. Be true to myself to the best of my knowledge at all times. does it always happen? No. But it is a great ideal to live up to.


P. Aaron Potter (PAaronPotter) | 585 comments I was able to separate Card's art from his politics for much of his career. Then, happily, his art turned to utter crap, so I don't have to make such moral compromises any more.

Srsly, I can't predict they'll manage to capture the depth of Ender's Game in a movie. The fact that Card gleefully tweeted that they're incorporating bits of his later cash-in, Ender's Shadow, certainly suggests this is going to be a train wreck. The greatest likelihood is that they'll turn it into an action-adventure romp for tweens, with token gestures at the moral ambiguity of the text. I'll catch it when it hits Netflix.


Ruth (till-tab) | 1098 comments Erm...can I ask WHAT the controversy is? It sounds like some big news story or something has broken, but please don't assume everyone has heard it. I'm not looking for juicy titbits of gossip here, just the basic story so that I can understand this thread. Thanks.


Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments Ruth wrote: "Erm...can I ask WHAT the controversy is? It sounds like some big news story or something has broken, but please don't assume everyone has heard it. I'm not looking for juicy titbits of gossip here,..."

Nothing new.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Sc...


Michal (MichaltheAssistantPigkeeper) | 244 comments I had a really bad reaction to his writing (Going through Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card and Seventh Son), and *then* I found out about his views, so there's no real struggle on my part.


Dara (hd2185) | 1070 comments KevinB wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Daniel, I don't think you should stress about going and seeing the movie, or otherwise spending money that could somehow end up in OSC's pocket. The first reason is purely utilitaria..."

That's how I feel about it too. Having never read OSC and already knowing about his views on homosexuality, I could never enjoy his work. Even if I had read his books then found out, I don't think I could go back to his work and enjoy it.


Sarah | 24 comments Bryek wrote: "Sarah wrote: "The second reason is that I think you shouldn't WANT to live that way, even if it was possible."

This is terrible. You are telling him that he shouldn't stand for his principles? yes..."


My point wasn't that he "shouldn't stand up for his principles," my point was that the beauty of the general marketplace for goods is that it's not personal, and it encourages people to cooperate regardless of what opinions they have about the world and each other. Going and seeing Ender's Game is not the same as spending money or casting a vote to ban gay marriage, or do something that truly could bring about changes that are against your principles; of course I don't encourage that. I understand I'm having trouble articulating what I mean, and maybe you'll take that as a weakness of my reasoning, but when you spend money on something, the only signal you are sending is that you like that something. OSC can spend all his time and money he already has writing manifestos and policy suggestions; he is already free to do this. But he'll enjoy much more public acclaim, and financial benefit, if he writes more great science fiction, and spends his time and money bringing what he's already created to more people for them to enjoy. And paying to see the movie or buy his books tells him this, not that you think he's a cool guy and you want to hang out :P. This is what I meant by not WANTING to live in a way where you inextricably tie up a person's work with their personal beliefs; it's pretty much a condemnation that the work, no matter how great, of a person you do not like should not be experienced or supported. That a cancer treatment developed by a neo-Nazi scientist shouldn't be financially supported. That people in your neighborhood shouldn't hire a talented gardener to make them a beautiful garden because he called your wife fat at a party once. So what I meant by "I don't WANT to live my life that way" is that I would prefer the world gets as many amazing works of art, science, and engineering as possible, understanding that some of these will necessarily be made by, and financially benefit, people that hold opinions I find repulsive.

Heck, if you really want to get serious about the principle of your money not possibly going to support whatever "marriage protection group of blah" that OSC is on, you'd have to make sure you don't spend money supporting someone who might turn around and buy Ender's Game, or go see the movie. Basically, you'd have to remove yourself from the net of impersonal cooperation that makes a high standard of living possible, just because you made it personal. The cashier you pay at the store doesn't regale you with the opinions of the CEOs of the companies whose products you are buying, and you don't ask the cashier where they intend to spend their paycheck this Friday. The cashier just wants to help you buy your food, and it doesn't matter if you are perfect political opposites, you can have a pleasant interaction with them and cooperate to get your shopping done and get on your way.


Bryek | 271 comments Sarah, is it safe to assume you have never had to fight for something that everyone around you gets by just being themselves? because it might change your view of things if you have. I boycott OSC because he wants to limit the rights of people like me. It isnt about the money and it isnt about what other people do. I can say my piece but that does not give me the right to act as he does.
My refusal to spend money on his work would be just like your refusal to support a man who wishes to return women to the 18th century. And yes, spending money on someones work gives them the abilty to continue their work. Validates their words. Card has many examples in his work where he shows his distain for homosexuality and I see no proof of that changing in the near future.
As for your cancer debate. Completely different. Medical treatments are above such ethical debates. As a medic I will use whatever I can to. treat my patients if the treatment benefits them. Life of another is above the ethical debate of supporting hate. Will your neo-nazi kill some? Maybe. But lets be honest. Neo nazis are rarely that smart and pharmacutical companies would buy the patent and the neo nazi would really not get all that much money


Sarah | 24 comments It's not safe for you to say that my rights are not limited by other people in society, people that have used my money to actively limit them. I care a great deal about many political topics on principle, but I show my support or protest against them by being active politically and philosophically. I spend money every day that supports people that not only hold opinions that I don't agree with, but actively donate to causes or vote for things that have a direct negative impact on my life. My own money, through taxes, is directly spent on things that I think are wrong, and have an impact on me personally. The ugliness resides in politics, in the fact that people CAN do these things to you with a flick of a pen or a phonecall to a government worker. My position is simply to not drag that ugliness into a place it doesn't need to be, a place where people create for and serve and help others without a care in the world for their political, religious, or personal views. I wouldn't refuse to spend money to buy something from a man that wants to return women to the 18th century, because I want to enjoy what he's created, and make it known that his time is far more valued creating this thing than it is hurting others. I want him to deal with the fact that he is supported by class of people that he doesn't think should have the means to buy his work.


Bryek | 271 comments I am sorry if you have ever had to feel what most gay people have felt at one time in their life. I cannot believe that by buying their work will encourage them to write better and challange their views. If you trully believe that is the true moral highroad I will not argue it but I am not of the same cloth. I think that taking a stand is the right thing to do. Would I condemn or think down on people who go see it and automatically assume they are against me? No. Will it sadden me a bit if my family and friends go? Probably. But I won't go because it is my moral highroad. Why should i support people who wish to take away or keep away the rights of people like me (I'm canadian so I have had protection by the law and the right to marry for 8 years).


Alan (ProfessorAlan) | 72 comments If I had to screen out authors who did not share my worldview (politically, sociologically, theologically) I would have a very short reading list.

I get bummed out when my worldview is ridiculed or mocked in print, which happens in books that I like, but I try to separate. Unless it is very overt in the manuscript, I try to not let the political leanings of the author bother me. But I also give grace to people who get upset by that, and hope that they give me the same consideration.


Kate O'Hanlon (kateohanlon) | 769 comments It's not like OSC just 'has a view that's different to mine', he's on the board of the National Organization for Marriage actively using his money and fame to campaigning for things I think are terrible.

It's not on the same level as simply disagreeing with his politics.


message 35: by Bryek (last edited Feb 20, 2013 10:57AM) (new)

Bryek | 271 comments Politically I don't care about the views of the authors I read. Its when they support the continuence of hate and wish to continue a society where people are second class citizens that I do take a stand. As someone who would be the second class citizen... i feel its my responsibility to take a stand.
Isnt that one of the main themes in many fantasy books anyways?

Edit: kate you said it perfectly


Sarah | 24 comments Kate wrote: "It's not like OSC just 'has a view that's different to mine', he's on the board of the National Organization for Marriage actively using his money and fame to campaigning for things I think are ter..."

I understand that OSC does more than just say he is against gay marriage, but it's safe to say you've given money to plenty of people that have voted for a ban or given money to people that work for it. He's just one you happen to know about. Like I said, I recognize that a good chunk of my money, both directly as taxes or indirectly as payments to politically active people, goes to causes I think are unethical. I recognize that I don't support those things just because my money found its way there, and I see the root of the problem in politics, not the normal cooperative interactions of society. I think we should encourage the reading and writing of as many great books as possible, instead of turning it into a political census.

But I have run into this issue before talking to my friends. They have one or two issues that they really care about, and will take extreme action for, and all other political issues are just "different," which is why they think they don't deserve the same level of support. To me they aren't different; stuff I think is wrong is wrong, harming people is harming people regardless of whatever labels they fall under. Some people care and act strongly about one or two issues and don't have energy for any others, I care strongly about many issues and don't have the energy to act on all of them besides taking a stand at what I believe is the root of the problems; and I don't think that root is buying an $8 book from authors that are going to do what they will whether I buy it or not. I don't pat myself on the back for not buying the romance novels of authors who are politically active. I'm not buying them because I don't want them, not to make a statement :P.


Sarah | 24 comments But I do want to make it clear I don't think it's BAD to not buy his books or go to his movies because you want to make a statement. I just think it's misguided, and wanted to give my arguments why, because I also don't think it's bad to buy his book even if you think his political positions are repulsive.


Robert of Dale (R_Dale) | 185 comments It comes down to this: No, you can't avoid giving money to people who think differently from you. But you can avoid giving money to those people and organizations which are very publicly working against what you strongly believe.

It's telling that if you decide that OSC is doing something morally repugnant with his fame and income, you still seek out his work so that he has more of both.

I don't care if an author votes Republican mostly, while I vote mostly Democrat. I don't care if an author is very religious, while I am not. I like it when artists are public with their views, even when those views don't align with my own. But I will never knowingly hand money directly to them if they spout racist, homophobic speech and use their money to support those views.

It's not that one should seek this information out from every person one exchanges money for goods and/or services; it is, however, incumbent on a moral person to decide where to draw the line between disagreement and hate. What you do when you notice that line being crossed is important, and should not be dismissed as a simple "disagreement".


Bryek | 271 comments The act of saying you arent going to buy them and telling others why is what is important.
I do not believe that ignoring those that are visible is redeemable because I might be giving some to those that are not. To me that is justifying wrong for the sake of easing your conscience. To me, denyong gay people human rights is wrong and those who insist it isnt wrong should ahould be made aware. Not buying his books and telling others that I do not support him is making the world aware that I do not support his ideals. Call my an idealist if you wish.


Sarah | 19 comments I think a lot of people fall into the trap of thinking that just because you can't be 100% certain some of your money isn't going to awful people, then you shouldn't care in any situation.

That seems extremely misguided to me. You can make the right decision when it's in your control. You don't have to worry about the times when it isn't. In this case, it is in your control prevent your money going to someone that is deliberately trying to make the world a worse place to live.

An imperfect action is better than no action.


Sarah | 24 comments Robert of Dale wrote: "No, you can't avoid giving money to people who think differently from you. But you can avoid giving money to those people and organizations which are very publicly working against what you strongly believe."

I think you are vastly overestimating his fame, his influence, and people's knowledge of his opinions. I went a decade after reading multiple of his books before I ever even heard what his opinion was, and it was yesterday before I found out he did more than just talk about it. And this is for an author who's famous for a book that even people not into scifi have read, and yet those far more into the genre like me may never know his views, let alone the casual reader. I think it'd be a far greater blow to let his personal opinions slip into obscurity and his work into the mainstream, rather than garner him more fame by tying them together and, like I mentioned before, turning it into a Chik Fil A, where he really WOULD get money for his political views as people flock to support him as a mouthpiece, rather than him as an author. I heard about his opinions only through articles, posts, etc. pointing out and condemning them; no "Orson Scott Card said gay marriage is bad, checkmate homosexuals!!1!" I think it'd be disastrous for attendance to the Ender's Game movie, or reading of his book, to ever become a political statement, since it would give his views far more publicity than they ever would have had.

And I do wonder, for people that think buying his book is wrong, will it be ok after he is dead and receiving no money? Is his living and acting state the only reason to ask people not to read the book, and will it be ok for it to "regain" it's status as a great classic once he is dead?


Bryek | 271 comments It wouldnt matter once he is dead. Buy the books all you want then but just realize that there are very negative views on homosexuality In his works.
It won't turn into a chic fil a for the books because people would actually have to read them. With the movie, I'm not entirely sure but I don't think it would be the same. Buying chicken and watching a movie are two different things


Erin (NerdMommie) | 15 comments The level of apathy being expressed in some of the comments is a little disheartening. To say that you shouldn't do anything because it won't have an impact or because you can never know who you are supporting is a cop out.

Moral and social convictions are deeply personal and there for are subjective, however that doesn't absolve you from making decisions like these.

If you strongly believe in something, then you need to stand up for that belief, regardless of the outcome of your protest. Even if no ever knows you are doing it, you should still do the right thing (for you). Otherwise it's not really something you feel strongly about, it's not a personal conviction, it's just something you give lip service to, to feel better about yourself.

In the case of OSC, I just learned that he not only had radically different beliefs from mine, but he actively supports a group whose actions I find reprehensible. So from here on out, I'm not going to buy his books. It's important to me and I don't care that it may have little impact. I don't need to go all over social media and drum up outrage to still be doing the right thing. Doing the right thing is enough.

It's the little choices you make everyday that add to a much larger whole and that whole is what makes change possible in the grander scale. It has to start somewhere, and that place is different for everyone.

My understanding on authors who have passed is that some actually have trusts set up as endowments and that can include organizations that they worked with. So it is possible that well after an authors death the purchase of their work will still support an organization that is at odds with your personal beliefs. Look at L.Ron Hubbard, that guys been gone a while and purchasing his books definitely still supports his organization.


Sarah | 24 comments Please do not mistake my position as apathy. I've spent far more time and money standing up for things I believe in than I would lose not buying a book, doing things I DO think could actually make a change. Part of what I was getting at is that I think not buying someone's stuff based on their political beliefs is at best slacktivism, and at worst something unintentionally harmful, if done solely for the sake of drawing attention to your act and their position. Not buying a book or not seeing a movie is not exactly a tough sacrifice to make :P. Nor does it have a different result than not seeing/buying it because you simply weren't interested. Obviously it's your decision to make, but I think THAT is the action that is just lip-service, just makes you feel better about yourself without actually having done anything. I then think it can be unintentionally harmful because, if you decide to make it mean something by drawing attention to the conflict and take a stand, you just fan the flames, give more fame to the person you resent for having fame, and could politicize something that has nothing to do with the actual cause, causing a second-degree conflict that keeps focus off the actual issue. I don't argue to ignore the author's political views and focus on their positive contributions to society out of apathy, or a desire to feel better about myself. I argue because I truly think that it's the best course of action, because it applies whether you happen to learn an author's political beliefs or not, it lessens their influence, and it keeps things from devolving into absurdity, with a new set of "banned books" depending on your political beliefs, or great literature buried under the personal life of the one who wrote it.

Stand up for your beliefs by standing up for them. Argue for them, inform people, figure out how to change things. But stay focused and be realistic if you actually want something to change. I just don't think that not buying a book completely unrelated to that belief is a great way to do that, and it's certainly not because I just don't care.


Bryek | 271 comments So you think by people not going to see/buy OSC that it makes no difference? I disagree. People will ask why amd word gets around. What would you prefer over that? More flash?


message 46: by Sarah (last edited Feb 20, 2013 02:41PM) (new)

Sarah | 24 comments Bryek wrote: "So you think by people not going to see/buy OSC that it makes no difference? I disagree. People will ask why amd word gets around. What would you prefer over that? More flash?"

I would prefer people realize he's just a dude whose opinions are no more important than anyone else's, and let him preach to no one. I would prefer people realize that he is not unique or extra-influential as a rich person that donates to stuff you don't like. And I would DEFINITELY prefer that his opinions never gain more notice than they already have, and that Ender's Game never becomes "that book that homophobes buy." I want to be able to read and recommend books with an open mind based their own merit, rather than as a political statement about the author.

So I guess what I mean is I would prefer less flash when it comes to OSC's work, and more flash about the actual issue. It does no one favors to drag something that brings mutual enjoyment into an area of conflict where it doesn't belong. Ender's Game is not a book about why you should be homophobic, and I think it would be a shame for the uninformed to think that.


Bryek | 271 comments I'm gay. His words actually hurt us. That is why I speak up.


message 48: by Sarah (last edited Feb 20, 2013 03:15PM) (new)

Sarah | 24 comments Does Ender's Game hurt you? If the issue never hits mainstream, would they hurt less because you saw the box office earnings from the first weekend and you could imagine they might have been higher? If the issue DOES gain traction, will they hurt less when you see the news stories of people lining up outside of theaters with signs saying "I support OSC" just to make an irrelevant point? Do his words somehow hurt less if fewer people you'll never even meet don't read his books?

Politics makes people say stupid, ugly things. It's the nasty sphere of society where people passive-aggressively threaten and belittle each other, the sphere of using money and guns anonymously without any responsibility. But despite whatever OSC thinks or says, he wrote a crapload of material that YOU can enjoy, and he spent a crapload of time doing it. People can have positive, constructive experiences brought to them by someone that may not personally give them the time of day. I don't see what is gained by dragging the same old hate and conflict into an unrelated area that actively provides incentives against it. Speak to the words that hurt you, don't make it personal.

I think marriage licenses should be abolished. I think the majority, through the government, should never again have the power to decide who can get married and who cannot, whether by race, gender, or number of people involved. Let people know it is none of their business by MAKING it none of their business in any possible way. This is how I speak up, not by boycotting Ender's Game. I speak up by talking to people I know, by suggesting books showing alternate lifestyles to them, by arguing why they should support what I do. I speak up by being involved in my local and state government, voting on party platforms to remove the bigotry from their agenda, by making calls against harmful legislation. I'm not a politician, and it takes a lot of my free time and takes me WAY outside my comfort zone, but this is how I speak up. Orson Scott Card is one man with an influence on literature, not politics. Not buying his book doesn't tell him why you aren't, or why he should change his mind. Telling people about his point of view only gets people that already believe what you believe to not buy his book, it doesn't change the minds of those that don't agree with you, or even the ones that DO and, like me, think the connection is irrelevant. I don't say don't stress buying his book because I don't think you should speak up, I'm saying if you are going to speak up, actually DO it, and don't make an ugly thing even uglier by politicizing something that has nothing to do with why you are actually angry.


Bryek | 271 comments I'm sorry but you just don't get it. without being gay and growing up afraid of being rejected by those you love and those you idolize. that is where I am coming from. By speaking up, you let the kids of today know that his views are not right. that they are not a second class citizen or a lesser human being. Gay kids still commit suicide at a disproportionate rate compared to straight kids. and I remember when I was a kid how easily my self worth was shattered by off hand opinions of my family, friends and those I idolized. Its amazing how easy it is to think you are worthless on the opinions of those who matter to you (authors included).
If I can prevent that by making people aware that its not okay? I've done some good.
even if he is a man fighting a loosing battle, kids should know that his power and his hate is fading. Soon we won't have to worry about it in the first world countries. Every year more and more states are legalizing gay marriage and once it is finished (i give it 15 years), he will be seen as a harmless conservative lost in a liberal world.


Sean O'Hara (SeanOHara) | 1724 comments Sarah wrote: "Does Ender's Game hurt you? If the issue never hits mainstream, would they hurt less because you saw the box office earnings from the first weekend and you could imagine they might have been highe..."

Please, don't tell people what they should and shouldn't be hurt over. Many of us find Card a disgusting and vile man, and we see that in all his works -- yes, even the kid's book about killing "buggers" -- and don't want our families and friends giving money to such a person.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Empire (other topics)
Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card (other topics)
Seventh Son (other topics)