Fantasy Book Club discussion

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General group discussions > Easy on the eyes authors?




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Joshua Simon (JoshuaPSimon) | 48 comments Leah wrote: "So, I'll answer the original question...I think Joshua P. Simon is hot. But I might be biased since he's my husband!

:)"


:) lol.


Kernos | 393 comments RIght up there with Jacqueline Susann—The greats, to paraphrase our favorite Captain.


message 115: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) Kernos wrote: "...Back to the original question are there any really sexy male authors?"

None of them do a thing for me. Margaret Mitchell was pretty hot, though...
;-)


Kernos | 393 comments Jim wrote: "I thought he was clear - the religion doesn't make the man.

Clap, clap, clap...

Genetic predisposition is interesting. There is a lot of our behavior that we're genetically predisposed to, but our environment also..."

There are also epigenetic effects in which external factors can change how genes are expressed, by turning them on or off, sometimes permanently, changing the regulation of proteins etc. There's a recent Scientific American summary on this process.

Back to the original question are there any really sexy male authors?


Celine | 17 comments Jim wrote: "From the quotes in the blog I linked to, it sounds as if good looking authors do have an advantage.

"...the publishing industry has made a point of effusively courting good-looking male authors”..."


I don't know, I will always just read a book because of the story, not because of how the author looks or comes across on TV.

But then I've never liked hyped up things; Harry Potter is not the best character and Twilight didn't change my life.

The best way to get rid of these things is to boycott them. Just don't text, or even watch the channel any more if they add a text comments bar.


message 112: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) From the quotes in the blog I linked to, it sounds as if good looking authors do have an advantage.

"...the publishing industry has made a point of effusively courting good-looking male authors” (and attractive female authors too), according to reporter Sharon Steel in a cover story in “The Boston Phoenix.”

I quite often hear authors say how hard it is to get published. A good bio & picture seem to be a must. I wonder if authors are going to start dressing & acting to suit their audience. I think so. An author is much more involved with their audience now. All of them seem to have blogs, web pages & such. Most Twitter or Facebook.

I know some of us said we don't want to know, but I'd guess the trend to 'know the author better' will continue. Look at TV now. Back in the 70's, there might have been one show that had people call in to decide something & it was a huge deal, a real gimmick. (Don't recall what it was. Anyone?)

Now it is commonplace. We were watching "House" the other night & there was a message to text for House updates & exclusive videos. Other shows have people texting in to decide things constantly. One channel - G4 - is horrible for having text comments & crap all over the screen.

Marketing & advertising is all about getting the consumer's attention. There are more books out there than ever, more choices of how to get them & read them. A lot more authors, too. I think we're going to see more 'author personalities' emerge as they vie for attention. It won't just be good looking ones, but weird ones. I don't think I'm looking forward to that.


message 111: by Celine (last edited Nov 30, 2011 11:10AM) (new)

Celine | 17 comments Mach wrote: "I have always wondered whether people are born gay or not, i believe they are genetically disposed to like people of the same sex, maybe someone gay can answer and tell us a little about how they f..."

If people are born gay... Yes, probably. Just like two people with brown eyes can get a baby with blue eyes, two heterosexual people can get a gay child. That's the way I see it at least.


Christopher Bunn | 43 comments Thought-provoking thread (and fascinating to watch how it evolved away from the original question...almost quicker than a game of Telephone).

One comment that struck me (can't remember who wrote it) was about how commitment to faith tends to close the mind. In certain parts of history, that can be seen with predictable and sad consequences, yes, but in other portions of history, it doesn't play out so neatly. In the area of art, many of the innovators and pioneers who created the monolithic works were also committed to the christian faith. However, the cutting edge of their creativity simply does not support the assumption that faith equals a closed mind. Bach, Handel, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Durer, Donne, Milton, Samuel Johnson, etc. In their days, these were the leaders in their fields. Did such innovation and creativity spring from closed minds? Perhaps the problem is more with the definition of "closed mind." I might not understand how it is being defined in this thread.

As far as modern creatives with carefully defined commitment to faith, Makoto Fujimura springs to mind. His works are staggering, yet he seems to operate from a very precise faith.


message 109: by Kate (new)

Kate | 54 comments Good answer Leah :)


message 108: by Leah (new)

Leah (LeahSimon) | 11 comments So, I'll answer the original question...I think Joshua P. Simon is hot. But I might be biased since he's my husband!

:)


Traci I think image can impact sales. For example a youthful looking author probably sells more young adult books than not. An athletic outdoorsmen looking author probably sells more thrillers. Etc. Not so much how attractive an author is or isn't but how much the target audience can relate.


message 106: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) Actually on topic, I found this blog & thought it was interesting. Do 'hot' authors make better sales?
http://www.randysusanmeyers.com/blog/...


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments Nope, not getting sucked in. As your moniker suggests, I am sure you had time to research who the missing Mormons are in the film industry but I will keep my opinions to myself about them and whether they are worthy artists.

"Whether you believe in, pray to or worship a god is unimportant. What is important is what you do in your one and only life. Are you lawful? Responsible? Making a contribution? Giving as much as you take? Those are the important questions, not what faith you do or do not follow."


Wastrel | 147 comments Clark wrote: "I didn't say they had none -- I said they don't have many. I work in the film industry and can't think of any Mormon screenwriters, directors or producers who are Mormon though I am sure there are..."

Don Bluth, Jared Hess, Gary Kurtz, Glen Larson, Jerry Molen... that's a lot of famous work right there.

Of course, it's a small percentage of the film industry, but that's my point - Mormons are an extremely small minority group in the population at large, so the fact that they form an extremely small minority in any sub-population you care to name is no surprise at all, and doesn't require any special-ineptitude thesis. At most, 2% of the population is Mormon. That's by their figures, which are very generous - it's probably more like 1.0-1.5% in reality. And they're predominately found in rural areas, where they are less likely to be noticeable in national culture. And they're almost entirely absent from the whole of the east of the US, which is kind of important - they're virtually 0% of the population of New York, for instance. Even in California, a survey ten years ago said that less than 1% said they were members of the LDS (other surveys show slightly more 'identify with' mormonism - ie including 'cultural' mormons rather than only 'practicing' mormons). I mean, the percentage of Mormons is probably less than the combined percentage of oriental and eastern orthodoxy. So how many Orthodox screenwriters, novelists, pop stars, etc, can you name?


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments And that's all I am going to contribute on this thread as I am sure some people have had enough of me.


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments I didn't say they had none -- I said they don't have many. I work in the film industry and can't think of any Mormon screenwriters, directors or producers who are Mormon though I am sure there are a few. And I generally don't like the work of the few you mentioned, some of it I dislike and don't respect.


Wastrel | 147 comments Clark wrote: "Wastrel wrote: "Clark: I think you're letting your prejudices get in the way of open-mindedness.

[I'd like to mention, by the way, that disagreeing that people are 'born gay' is nothing like not b..."


I think your prejudices are showing. If you're only talking about Mormons, specifically, as being uniquely unable to produce art, shouldn't you give some reason based in something special about Mormons? The characterists you gave before are not specific to Mormons. So what is it about Mormons that stops them from being artistic, while, for instance, Catholics can be?
Alternatively, you could provide evidence that Mormons actually AREN'T very artistic. But I haven't seen any. You say that there are only a few Mormon writers you can think of - well obviously. How many American Catholic authors in English can you name - and Catholicism is the largest single religious denomination in the US! The most obvious reason why there aren't many Mormon writers is that there aren't many Mormons. Mormons represent about 2% of the population of the US. So for every 100 major US authors, 2 should be Mormon.


So, [author:Orson Scott Card|589]. Zenna Henderson (1959 Hugo nominee). Tracy Hickman(Dragonlance, Deathgate, etc). Glen A. Larson(Battlestar Galactica, Knight rider, The Six Million Dollar Man, etc). Anne Perry (best known as a deranged murderer while still a child (cf. 'Heavenly Creatures'), since then a bestselling murder-mystery novelist who has more recently turned to fantasy novels). Dave Wolverton/David Farland (numerous series - Nebula nominee, bestseller, etc). Brandon Sanderson.Stephenie Meyer.

OK, that's 8 Mormons, which should be 2% of the population. [Anne Perry wasn't born in America, but she moved there]. So you name the 396 non-Mormons to go along with them. If anything, Mormons over-produce in fantasy and sci-fi. I mean, take the total copies sold by Sanderson, Card, Meyer, and Hickman, and tell me that's 2% of the US fantasy market!

Of course, we also have to bear in mind that Mormons are not equally distributed across the country. This explains, for instance, why Mormons aren't very notable in the hip hop genre. Utah in general is probably - and I'm not an American so i'm guessing here - not famed for its hip-hop subculture.

Oh, and you wanted composers? Well, Leigh Harline was a Mormon composer who won two Oscars and was nominated for a further five - he most famously scored many of the early Disney films, including writing such songs as "When You Wish Upon a Star", "Whistle While You Work", "Heigh-Ho", and "Someday My Prince Will Come", though he did a lot of other films as well. The Osmond Family were pretty darn successful in a more popular genre.


----

On your last line: well, I'm not religious, but as someone brought up in a Catholic background, I have to say: nonsense. As far as I've been taught, faith includes a faith in the faculties that God gave to mankind. Catholicism is big on the idea of natural law - which is the thesis that the universe, both moral and scientific, can be understood through reason alone (revelation acts as a shortcut, since in practice hardly anyone, if anyone at all, is able to reach the truth through reason alone. But they can do, and are encouraged to try to do so. In Catholicism, reason is an important faculty in interpreting revelation itself). It is an important credo in Catholicism that we must keep our minds open for further knowledge about God and the world - indeed, that it is, as it were, our job to continually inquire - and although it also preaches that we have arrived at certain certitudes, it always in practice enjoins caution whenever anybody claims to fully understand and be certain about what is known. Indeed, the current Pope has defined Catholicism as "the religion of reason". He's a former academic professor, he frequently quotes Socrates and other philosophers in his speeches, and on the specific topic you raise, evolution, he's said that the truth of the theory of evolution is "virtually certain". He's said that above all Christians must live according to reason and be open to all that is truly rational. And indeed, without Catholicism, we would not have modern science. While the institution of the church, and many individuals within it, may not always have lived up to its ideals, those ideals completely contradict the picture of faith you propose. From the Catholic perspective, closing the mind to new ideas is tantamount to despair - i.e. losing faith.

For a more nuanced exploration of the 'open' and 'closed' dimensions of faith, I'd suggest another genre novel by a Catholic writer: A Canticle for Leibowitz


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments This is all getting far afield from a discussion of books and authors, but here is an easy to read, current and comprehensive article about homosexual behavior in other species at good ol' Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexu...

Years ago I read an interesting account of homosexual behavior among blue whales that was something like an orgy.

Yes, in my anthropology classes in college, we were all riveted by a book called Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia if I remember the title right. The Melanesians were fiercely warlike tribes, most of them cannibals, and their erotic behavior was only with other males. They believed a boy could not become a man unless he was the sexual recipient of other men. They mated with women only for reasons of procreation and the erotic lives of the women were found in each other.


Wastrel | 147 comments Actually, so far as I'm aware, homosexuality in the 20th century sense (as an essential state of character, in which an individual has an exclusive or at least near-exclusive attraction only to individuals of the same sex, throughout their adult life) has been observed in only a very few species, outside of captivity (captivity does weird things to sex drives and preferences in many animals - in this as in many other things, it's often wisest to just assume that captivity drives animals insane). Same-sex intercourse, of course, is virtually universal, same-sex 'romantic' pairings are common, and temporary periods of same-sex attraction are not unusual - but the school of thought that says 'see, that species has homosexuality!' every time they see a little zoological sodomy is as wrongheaded as the 'it's only in humans' crowd. As far as I'm aware, gay sex in animals is much like interspecies sex in animals, if a little more common.
But, I'm willing to be shown wrong.

-----------

Not directly related to anything, but when discussing the connection between sexuality and genes, it's important to notice that different societies have different rates of homosexual activity. Now, if a society seems to have less gay sex than us, it's easy to say they're repressed and/or oppressive. However, some societies have or have had MORE gay sex than us. The classic (no pun intended) example is ancient greece, in which it was entirely de rigeur for men not only to sodomise adolescent boys, but also to wax lyrical about their love for and attraction to those boys. Greece isn't the extreme, either. In some societies, homosexual romance has been the default, or even universal - I'm thinking here of a tribe from New Guinea, in which there was such a taboo against heterosexual relationships that almost all the tribe's growth came from stealing babies from other tribes [iirc, the 'tribe' was more like two linked tribes - the hunter-gatherer men and the gardening women, who hated each other but could trade in certain circumstances]. It's common world-wide for sodomy to be associated with fertility, to the extent that homosexual relationships are mandatory, so that the family's crops can grow.

We're forced to conclude, therefore, one of three things:
a) huge numbers of very intelligent and self-analytical people in 'high-homosexuality' cultures believe themselves to have powerful emotions and attractions that they do not actually have
b) high-homosexuality cultures are/were right - Western culture massively understates how many people are gay, or at least actively bisexual
c) the prevalence of homosexuality varies with the culture.

Option a) seems rather strange - it's hard enough to accept that huges swathes of people convince themselves that they AREN'T attracted to people when they are, but it's very hard indeed to accept that even huger swathes of people have been convincing themselves that they ARE deeply and physically attracted to people when they aren't! What's more, accepting this undermines the political position of the gay lobby, since if Socrates et al could be wrong, surely modern gay people could also be wrong? Option b), meanwhile, is rather radical and involves most people in the world being wrong, and so is only held by the most fanatical gay activists. So I think that leaves option c) as the most likely. This means that sexuality is not purely a matter of genetics. Which should be no surprise, as virtually no psychological characteristics ARE purely genetic.


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments One thing to consider is that homosexuality is found in nearly all mammalian species and some non-mammalian. If you've ever owned a male dog you've seen it for yourself. Evolutionary biologists see homosexuality as a varying expression of our innate tendency to create hierarchies, to work as a group. All of us are inclined to lead and all of us must submit to a leader (or occasionally to our spouses). If all of us were born as alpha males and only acted like that, we would not have cooperative societies, hunting bands, armies or families. People who are more or less exclusively homosexual are expressing the farthest end of this natural inclination -- it is a residual outcome of an important survival mechanism. Latent same sex attraction surfaces in all male and occasionally all female environments like prison. Interestingly, this theory is also connected to that of man's religious nature, that we are born with an innate desire to submit to something greater, to a superior being. Muslims speak of submission to Allah and bow to him, many Christians kneel to God, Hindus actually worship a phallus in the Shiva lingum.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) Mach wrote: "I have always wondered whether people are born gay or not, i believe they are genetically disposed to like people of the same sex, maybe someone gay can answer and tell us a little about how they f..."

It's probably like being an alcoholic. It runs in some families, other times pops up out of the blue. A friend of mine who is gay is the only one in his family & it's a pretty big, extended one. He caught a lot of grief for it. A gal I know has a straight mother, but her parents are now divorced because her father is gay, as is she & her 3 brothers.

I've heard about a study done where twins of alcoholic & non-alcoholic parents were adopted out. One went to an alcoholic household, another non-alcoholic. If they came from an alcoholic family & raised by one, 95% became alcoholics. The same was true of the opposite. In mixed cases, it was about 50-50.

I've never been able to confirm this study & kind of doubt it was ever done. What agency would give a kid to a practicing alcoholic? Well, supposedly it was done in the 50's & 60's, so maybe. Still, I think it's more of an AA legend, but possibly hits close to the mark.


Mach | 149 comments I have always wondered whether people are born gay or not, i believe they are genetically disposed to like people of the same sex, maybe someone gay can answer and tell us a little about how they found out about their sexuality?


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments Wastrel wrote: "Clark: I think you're letting your prejudices get in the way of open-mindedness.

[I'd like to mention, by the way, that disagreeing that people are 'born gay' is nothing like not believing in evol..."


Wastrel, I am in total agreement with you that abundant numbers of people of faith have created great works of art, and some of those are even religiously inspired, but I am not talking about the Catholics etc. I am talking about the Mormons. I am sure there are some other interesting LDS writers besides Card but they are not very prominent other than Stephanie M. whose popularity cannot be denied (but her talent is questionable). Musically, the only famous Mormons I can think of are the Osmonds, The King Family, The New Ambassadors and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and all of that is awful and extremely conventional. If any Mormons are great classical artists, jazz musicians or rock innovators, they are unknown to me, and they certainly have no one famous in hip hop or rap. I am an art freak and an amateur painter and cannot think of a single famous LDS painter or sculptor -- or a comedian. As a teen I lived among this community and they are overly conventional, perhaps compensating for years of being considered a radical fringe. I am glad that Melani is one who is open minded about gay rights and other issues and I hope that more like her are opening the minds of other Mormons. Over the years, Mormons have abandoned polygamy and some of their racist precepts and I have hopes that they will make more and greater changes. It is encouraging that the former governor of Utah, John Huntsman, is the only Republican presidential candidate who will acknowledge human caused climate change and evolution.

A rigid commitment to faith involves closing the mind, not opening it.


Jim (JimMacLachlan) I thought he was clear - the religion doesn't make the man.


Genetic predisposition is interesting. There is a lot of our behavior that we're genetically predisposed to, but our environment also has a lot to do with it & it's not an easy, straightforward mix. Two seemingly identical critters can react to the same thing in completely different ways. I've seen it in a lot of animals. Humans just make it a more complicated puzzle. Gay, alcoholic, or bat-shit crazy, a lot of people have spent a lot of hours trying to figure out why we do what we do.


Traci I thought it was just me feeling lost. :)

(It is Monday morning. Lol.)


Sandra  (Sleo) | 2217 comments Celine wrote: "I'm very sorry Wastrel, I'm trying to see your point, but I really don't understand what you are trying to say here. It seems to me that you're more interested in making a lot of philosophical talk..."

LOL. I do like a plain spoken woman.


Celine | 17 comments I'm very sorry Wastrel, I'm trying to see your point, but I really don't understand what you are trying to say here. It seems to me that you're more interested in making a lot of philosophical talk than actually making a clear point.


Melani | 19 comments Clark wrote: "Melani wrote: "Clark wrote: "Yes, of course there are going to be a few artists from any group but as Mormon musicians go, you have the King Family, the Osmond brothers and the Mormon Tabernacle Ch..."

What I find most amusing about that, aside from the fact that it's nothing that hasn't been parroted at me a million times before, is the assumption that I haven't looked hard at my faith. That I haven't questioned it. I have and I do. Truthfully, quite a few of the Mormons I know do, some of them choose to leave the church and some don't. I've come to the conclusion that the LDS religion is the right one for me right now. However, those questions and seekings are personal and if I didn't think you had an agenda I would ask you to take this converstation private as this really isn't the forum to discuss religion. But, I'm done.


Wastrel | 147 comments Clark: I think you're letting your prejudices get in the way of open-mindedness.

[I'd like to mention, by the way, that disagreeing that people are 'born gay' is nothing like not believing in evolution. The 'born gay' idea rests on two purported scientific truths - that homosexuality is genetically determined, and that sexual orientation cannot be changed. Assuming that we treat orientation as something we can learn about from behaviour and reported thoughts and feelings (and if we don't, we can't hope to make scientific claims about it because they would be unfalsifiable), we know that these are both false in the strict sense, and even if we step back and add a 'generally speaking' caveat, there is no firm evidence that they are true. The best we can do, if we're being honest, is "there seem likely to be some mostly-undiscovered genetic factors that predispose to some unknown degree", and "all major proposed systematic 'treatments' that have been extensively tested have a very low level of 'success', suggesting that orientation is relatively constant, at least as regards the methods that have generally been tried". Now, from those statements, it's perfectly reasonable to draw the conclusion "until I see otherwise, I'm going to assume it's genetic and unchangeable", but it's NOT reasonable to think that anyone NOT drawing that conclusion is a bigot or an idiot. Conventional wisdom is valuable, but is not the same as actual demonstration of fact. Evolution, on the other hand, is demonstrated to such an extent that any attempt to explain observations without it necessarily involves a retreat to absurdity.
[[It's also bad politics to get into that debate at all. "Homosexuality is not a choice", whether it is true or not, is not very helpful. It answers "you've done something wrong!" with "but it wasn't my fault!", and it answers "you're sick" with "but there's no known cure!". Both answers perpetuate stigmatisation. A better answer is that it doesn't MATTER whether or not it's a choice, BECAUSE IT ISN'T A BAD THING. Insisting that people only like broccoli because of a genetic abnormality or a childhood trauma is just reinforcing the idea that there's something wrong about liking broccoli - something that needs to be explained. You don't need an excuse if you've done nothing wrong.]]]

Anyway, my point was: you seem to have a very rigid and unrealistic view of the role of faith in the lives of the individual and of the community.

To demonstrate the errors this leads you into: consider that most of what you say is equaly applicable to Catholics as to Mormons. Catholics don't allow women priests; Catholics believe all sex outside marriage is sinful, and that only heterosexual couples can get married. They believe that abortion is murder. So by your reasoning, it should be surprising to find any Catholic artists, given their rigid and moralistic faith. Certainly we wouldn't expect any catholic genre writers!

And yet, look, GK Chesteron was devoutly Catholic. Anthony Burgess was Catholic. JRR Tolkien and Gene Wolfe were Catholic, and their major works, both seminal in the genre, are both explicitly Catholic allegories. Outside the genre, Graham Greene and Ernest Hemingway both converted to Catholicism, as did Evelyn Waugh - Oscar Wilde was probably baptised Catholic, was fascinated by Catholicism throughout his life, and converted on his deathbed. Historically, Alexander Pope was almost certainly Catholic and many now believe that Shakespeare was as well. So within the hierarchical, conservative religion of Catholicism, I don't see any dearth of creativity and imagination. I can't see why one would expect it within the Mormon religion either.


Kernos | 393 comments @Wastrel No amount of rhetoric will convince me that Card and his ilk have reasonable points of view. Actually I think there's a lot of evidence from his novels that he is dealing with a conflict between suppressed romantic or lustful feelings towards other males and his religion, by becoming outspokenly antigay.

May I also remind you that being Gay is not only about sex any more than being straight is only about sex. Romance and affectional states are much more complex than mere sex.


Wastrel | 147 comments Contrarius wrote: "Just a small note --

The original "consistency" quote is actually from Ralph Waldo Emerson -- "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". :)

Also -- "Consistency is the last refuge ..."


I also like "consistency is the foible of a feeble mind" (don't know who by, it's from a commonplace book - probably derived from the emerson), and "consistency is to the intellectual what marriage is to the bachelor: an admission of defeat", by "Oscar Wilde".

I put Wilde's name in quotes, because although I've seen it credited to him, I'm not sure he ever said it. It seems to be an inversion and epigrammitisation of a line from Dorian Grey:

"My dear boy, the people who love only once in their lives are really the shallow people. What they call their loyalty, and their fidelity, I call either the lethargy of custom or their lack of imagination. Faithfulness is to the emotional life what consistency is to the life of the intellect--simply a confession of failure."

As such, I think it's something that Wilde could well have said, and have been recorded as saying (he tended to quote and paraphrase himself), but I've no evidence that he actually did.


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments Melani wrote: "Clark wrote: "Yes, of course there are going to be a few artists from any group but as Mormon musicians go, you have the King Family, the Osmond brothers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ... yeccch...."

I have worked with, will work with and be friends with Mormons or people of any faith because I'm not as concerned with someone's beliefs as I am concerned with their politics and their actions. Senator Harry Reid, someone I would vote for, is at least nominally a Mormon (actually an ethnic Jew. I am sure there are other Mormons who would describe themselves as liberals and Democrats, but they are the exception, not the rule.

Here in California we have a lot of resentment that the Church of Latter Day Saints played a starring role in the promotion, funding and passage of Yes on 8, the proposition that outlawed gay marriage for ALL Californians, not just the Mormon ones. That's one of the reasons I go out of my way to avoid patronizing Mormon businesses which include Albertsons, Marriott Hotels, Marie Calendars etc. as all Mormons are supposed to tithe ten per cent of their earnings to their Church. I also make the attempt to patronize those businesses that do not contribute to Republicans and conservative causes. It involves some flexibility, for certain.

The Mormon Church is always promoting itself, as it has the right to, and I have the right to open up the cover on its erroneous belief system. Nothing I wrote about them is untrue. I am friends with innumerable ex-Mormons and have read the Book of Mormon, and it is a poorly writeen falsehood from first page to last, a total fabrication, and parts of it are highly offensive. I still own my copy.

As kind and lawful as most Mormons are, they buy into an oppressive belief system. Importantly, Mormon women do not have the same status as Mormon males as they cannot be priests and are encouraged to take on traditional roles as mothers and home makers.It is only in the 1970s that the Mormon's living prophet finally received word from God that blacks who converted to Mormonism could also become priests. Perhaps at that time God overturned the dictum that "dark skinned people with flattened features" no longer were confined to their role of servants to the white masters.

Just as heterosexuals are born with a stronger attraction to the opposite sex, so are gay people born with an attraction to their own sex -- that cannot be changed. But the Mormon church does not accept that, just as it does not accept Evolution (John Huntsman being at least one exception). Most Mormon gays and lesbians suffer from a total lack of understanding by their original communities. Many of them are rejected by their families. I have known some who can never go home again. Others are forced into marriages which are as unfair to them as the poor men and women who marry them. Mormons have told me about something like a "secret police" that tracks and reports gay people who meet at bars and social clubs and reports them to their parents and church elders.

Just as I have been approached by Mormon missionaries (I actually took all ten lessons as a teen) so would I encourage any other Mormon on this thread to look at your religion and question it. Turnabout is fair play. I am ecumenical in my disbelief of all religions.

I think an ex-Mormon, like Neil LaBute, is a good artist. But there is a rigidity and conformity to LDS culture that does not encourage the kind of individual expression that comes through in great art. Sorry if that offends anyone on this thread but I am sincere in my response to the Osmonds, etc.

"Faith is believing what you know ain't so" - Mark Twain.


Kernos | 393 comments Traci wrote: "I used to love Card's books on Ender and Bean but the last few books have been huge disappointments. I say go ahead and wait. If it's anything like the last Ender book the wait for a used copy won'..."

Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead are great SF novels, the rest are good, IMO. I would not call them "huge disappointments", and they have some interesting ideas which could be explored, like the goddess-like sentient AI (?name). Are any authors consistently great?

Traci wrote: "So being fickle is actually a positive? I'll have to remember this argument. :)"

Interesting how connotation can be ironic. I think I would use 'teachable' or 'adaptable' rather than 'fickle'. I quite agree with Oscar a

nd Ralph and claim the right to change how I view a topic, ideas, philosophies... with more experiences. I also claim the right to contradict myself and hold seemingly contrary beliefs at the same time. I said earlier I am very liberal. At this same time I am a staunch individualist and don't find these feelings to be mutually exclusive. They do make it difficult to know who to vote for :) For me the purpose of a society to to create conditions in which the most people can self-actualize and to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, for what ever reason.


Traci So being fickle is actually a positive? I'll have to remember this argument. :)


Contrarius | 32 comments Just a small note --

The original "consistency" quote is actually from Ralph Waldo Emerson -- "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds". :)

Also -- "Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative." -- Oscar Wilde


Kernos | 393 comments Jim wrote: "...Heinlein said consistency was the bugaboo of small minds or something like that. It's very true. A monochromatic POV is too. For instance, Nixon was a good president in opening up China..."

Agreed and he also got us out of Viet Nam. A favorite quote of mine is from Babylon 5, Delenn saying, "I am Grey. I stand between the candle and the star. We are Grey. We stand between the darkness and the light."—which to me is in part a rant against dualism, a bane of Western civilization.


Traci I'm a capitalist. With little willpower. If you're selling something I want I'll buy it from you. If you're writing books I want to read I will. Will I buy another Card book? Maybe. Maybe not. But is it because of disappointment over recent titles or because I don't like the man? Or has his extreme views tainted his writing?
No one has said they don't want to read writers with different ideas and ideals than them. They don't want to read and support hate.


Melani | 19 comments Clark wrote: "Yes, of course there are going to be a few artists from any group but as Mormon musicians go, you have the King Family, the Osmond brothers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ... yeccch. As for Stephe..."

Clark, your biases are showing. And as a Mormon, I'm finding what you've written rather offensive and misinformed. Particularly the assumption that because I have a certain faith I can't be creative or an artist. Really?

As for Card, he represents a very real culture in conservative Christianity. He also happens to be LDS. He is not the only Mormon to belive so, but Mormons are hardly alone in that view. It is also not a veiw I believe in. I have no problem with gay marriage, two consenting adults should feel free to celbrate thier love in whatever fashion they want, and I know of other faithful Mormons who feel the same way I do. We're not all cut from the same cloth.

To be honest, I'm not all that fond of Card's writting. Perhaps it was reading Hart's Hope when I was 13. I find his work has an undertone of sexual violence that I really dislike and so I've stopped reading his books.


Sandra  (Sleo) | 2217 comments If I'm informed, I try not to do business with or support in any way those whose beliefs and actions I don't agree with. I don't bank at a big bank, I don't buy books at Amazon.com, I don't buy gas at BP or Exxon, I try not to shop at Walmart, etc. There are plenty of good books to read, so no, I probably won't read one by a narrow minded bigot.


James Shoop (MrTumnas) | 32 comments So...you guys who don't want to buy books from someone with different views than you...how do you engage in any commerce at all? I mean, do you ask the girl at the cash register what her views on abortion are before buying your groceries? I really don't think you should feel guilty about buying Card's books, whether or not you agree with his politics or religious ideas.

I'm a Christian, and I believe homosexuality is a sin, and that ALL sexual behavior is a choice. But, it's not a sin that trespasses on other people's rights. I think Card goes way to far by saying that a government that supports gay marriage is his "enemy". Christ said that his kingdom was not of this world. Maybe Card should be more focused on the Kingdom of God instead of how people live in their private lives here on earth. The problem I have with fundamentalists' attitudes towards homosexuals is they act like it's their responsibility to stop other people, who don't share the same religious values, from sinning.

But, Ender's Game rocks, so go read it! I actually liked Speaker for the Dead better, after that they kinda got...meh..


Traci I don't remember who mentioned it before and I don't have the exact quote but Card has stated that any government that supports gay marriage is his enemy. That seems pretty black and white to me. I think I almost can understand where you're trying to go. I come from a family of conservative republicans who vote against gay marriage rights. But they are good people. No one in my family believes gays should be punished or be treated as less than citizens (only in regards to marriage). I disagree with their views but I know it doesn't come from hate. The more I hear from Card I think it's a place of hate. I can't go along with anyone wanting to take away a groups equal rights as citizens. What if he said this about persons of a certain color? Religion? Hair color? Eye color? Weight? Gender?


Sandra  (Sleo) | 2217 comments I'm afraid I'm with Nicki on this one. I think you're splitting hairs, Wastrel (interesting moniker - are you?). It is a fine distinction, but easily made, between 'strongly dislike' and 'hate.' Seems to me that I would need to hate a group of people in order to want to take away their equal rights as citizens.


Wastrel | 147 comments I concede that Card's views may be stronger than I suggested. However, I don't accept that saying that somebody should not be considered an 'acceptable, equal citizen within a society' is the same as denying their human rights.

There is an important strain of thought within the Anglo-Saxon tradition, and within conservativism more generally (and most of all among anglo-saxon conservatives) that human rights must be distinguished from the rights of citizens. The idea is that humans may or may not have certain inalienable rights, but that above and beyond these societies and nations may choose to grant their citizens additional rights. The right to marriage ceremonies, the right to adopt children as a couple, the right to tax breaks, would all easily fall under 'the rights of citizens', and a more extreme version would even say the same of the right to not be in jail, and certainly of the right to due process.

Two examples of this in practice: in the US, the founding fathers declared that they believed in god-given rights, which some have seen as a belief in human rights rather than the Rights of Englishmen (though some of the founders explicitly said they wanted only the Rights of Englishmen); and yet the constitution itself lays down only the rights of citizens. Non-citizens are not governed by the Bill of Rights; likewise, as I understand it, minors are not considered full citizens, and not all rights apply to them. In England, meanwhile, the law prohibits prisoners from voting, as we consider voting a right of citizens, and prisoners are not considered full and equal citizens, at least in that regard. [The ECHR objects to this, as it makes no distinction between the two kinds of rights, but most UK citizens seem pretty in favour of retaining the distinction].

So, I think that "cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens" is not necessarily the same as "we can take all their money and beat them up if we feel like it". It's a pretty vague expression, and we'd need to know exactly what Card means by it, and also where he feels the rights of man end and the privileges of the 'acceptable and equal citizen' begin.

I'd also be reluctant to use that phrase as evidence of homophobia because he says he's not talking about gay people, or even people who have gay sex. He opposes using the laws "against anyone who happens to be caught violating them". Instead, he singles out this idea of responding to 'flagrant violation of society's regulation'. I think it's important what he means by that. If, on the one hand, in practice almost all gay sex counts for him as flagrant violation, then I think it would be fair to call him functionally, if not technically and psychologically, homophobic; if, on the other hand, his idea of flagrant violation is limited to people who break into news stations and broadcast themselves having gay orgies on daytime television, I think he could be called conservative but probably not functionally homophobic. There's a lot of range in how you could interpret that phrase, and I think it behooves people not to assume the worst.

[If you're thinking: why would he mean that, that would break other laws already? Well, sure, but there's quite a tradition of laws that aren't usually enforced, but that are added onto existing charges either to lengthen sentences or to symbolically label the crime. Lots of driving regulations are like that, and in many places some drug laws (eg in many places it's illegal to possess cannabis, but you'll only be charged if you've broken some other crime as well), or curfew laws. A good contemporary example is terror laws: it's illegal in the UK to possess any terrorist handbook or 'material useful for terrorism', but in practice most teenagers wouldn't be arrested for their copies of the Anarchist Cookbook. Selective enforcement and prosecutorial discretion are probably unjust, but not inherently malicious.]

Of course, Card is completely wrong. But there are many reasons why people can be wrong, and I still don't think it's fair to assume that he's wrong because he hates gay people.


Wastrel | 147 comments Althea wrote: "James wrote: "Actually I think he might have a problem with that."

You are correct. Reading further, he has indeed eschewed that word. I stand corrected. However, here's one of his quotes:

"Laws ..."


Standing up for straightforward and as-calm-as-possible usage of words: nothing he said makes him homophobic. You can want people not to do something (even want it to be illegal) without hating those who want to do it (or even those who actually do it).

One reason why many conservatives don't feel that they're inhuman monsters is that they don't accept the premise that gay sex should be viewed through the prism of "identity". Because many people DO view it in this way, attacking gay sex is attacking a certain identity, and therefore an attack on the entire being of a whole sector of society.

Conservatives often see it differently. [And so, I would argue, should liberals (in the non-US sense of the word), but that's an argument for another day)]. One way they often see it is through the prism of public health, and specifically of addiction. So an analogy would be heroin use. Most people are probably conservatives on heroin use. They quite happily say that people shouldn't take heroin, and they mostly even say that taking heroin should be illegal. Yet they don't HATE the PEOPLE who take heroin. They're not "addictophobes" [well, actually some people ARE addictophobes, just as some conservatives are homophobes, but we can't tar them all with that brush].

On a prima facie level, it's not a ridiculous comparison. Both gay sex and heroin make people happy, neither (in general) harms anybody else... so hardline liberals are OK with both, and hardline conservatives oppose both. (also in common: both homosexual activity and opiate use clearly have genetic componants, and both are associated with identity-states (homosexuality and being an addict) that are for some people extremely difficult to change). People in between should maybe consider, when they see conservatives appalled by gay sex, why they themselves are so appalled by drug use. Even if they find good reasons why the two cases are different, common intellectual charity suggests that we see conservatives as people who have failed to realise that difference, rather than as slavering hatemongers. After all, most hardline liberals are charitable enough toward the moderates not to assume that THEY are all anti-addict hatemongers for propounding very similar arguments.

[For the record, I'm completely OK with widespread gay sex in society, and I'm 50% OK with widespread drug use in society, so I'm probably closer to liberalism than most of the people I'm arguing with. I'm not in any way trying to support Card's beliefs - I just think, as a liberal, that it's important to distinguish between people holding rational, benign, but dangerously misguided beliefs, and those who are actually malignant and driven by hate. Conflating the two is bad ethics, and it is also bad politics - by calling moderates on the other side names, you just drive them further into the arms of extremists. People have a tendency to live up to their labels, and if we tell all the conservatives that they're despicable homophobes, while still letting them feel justified, they'll come to think that being a homophobe is justified. And you won't persuade them that they're wrong unless you engage them in discussion - and if you say that their beliefs are simply due to a character flaw like homophobia, there's not a lot of room to negotiate].

So no, I wouldn't put Card's photograph next to a definition of "homophobe". I'd put a picture of the ones who beat people to death or burn people alive for being gay. The ones who call for gay people to be exterminated, and who say that gay people don't have basic human rights. I think, with respect, that it's irresponsible to conflate the two things. That's like putting up a photo of Jack the Ripper under the definition "anti-prostitution activist".
[And yeah, prostitution is another of those ill-defined conservative public health issues. So are polygamy, bestiality and necrophilia, and some forms of incest. People have the strong feeling that they're bad and that they undermine society, but struggle to identify clear victims. The rhetoric is much the same as surrounds gay sex].

...probably rambled a bit too long here and offended too many people, but there you go.


Clark Carlton (ClarkThomasCarlton) | 10 comments Yes, of course there are going to be a few artists from any group but as Mormon musicians go, you have the King Family, the Osmond brothers and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir ... yeccch. As for Stephenie Meyer, well ... I can't get past page three of any of that. Mormon food is bland and if you've ever seen any of the art in their religious places it's boring and conventional. Salt Lake City is one of the dullest, plainest cities in America. Card, I will have to concede, with Ender's Game, wrote something which is imaginative and exceptional. I will see if they have Treason at the library because I won't buy any of his books.


Contrarius | 32 comments Sandra aka Sleo wrote: "Contrarius wrote: "Jordan was NOT Mormon. He was Episcopalian.


Looks like Wikipedia agrees with you. I did read that somewhere, can't remember where."


It was probably in relation to the polyamorous situation between his main characters. But no, he wasn't Mormon.


Sandra  (Sleo) | 2217 comments Contrarius wrote: "Jordan was NOT Mormon. He was Episcopalian.


Looks like Wikipedia agrees with you. I did read that somewhere, can't remember where.


Contrarius | 32 comments Jordan was NOT Mormon. He was Episcopalian.

A few Mormon authors have included:

Anne Perry
Christine Feehan
Stephenie Meyer
Brandon Sanderson
Larry Correia
Orson Scott Card


Sandra  (Sleo) | 2217 comments Traci wrote: "I am not Morman but I have family in Utah. My family have known Mormans. They are not all like Orson Scott Card and Sister Wives. Card isn't a crackpot because he's Morman. He's a crackpot who happ..."

Yes there are many Mormon authors - Jordan and Sanderson are two major ones. Not all of them are nut cases or a$$holes.


Traci I am not Morman but I have family in Utah. My family have known Mormans. They are not all like Orson Scott Card and Sister Wives. Card isn't a crackpot because he's Morman. He's a crackpot who happens to be Morman. And he is not the only Morman author. To hint that a whole group of people cannot be artists....To differing degrees all organized religion is repressive and conforming. But for some reason Mormans have become a free for all.

As for polygamy...I should stay out of it. I agree that what is between willing parties should, within reason, stay between willing parties. But...it's not just between willing adults when there are children involved.


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