Boycotts, Creators and Me

I’m getting pinged by folks who want to know what my position is regarding the boycott of Ender’s Game movie by people repelled by author Orson Scott Card’s social and political stances and actions regarding gays and lesbians and in particular his stance on same-sex marriage. With the notation that I am not in the least a disinterested party here (one, I’ve met Card and had a very pleasant time in his company; two, I have a book being adapted to film, for which I strongly suspect the performance of Ender’s Game at the box office will be relevant to any eventual green light), here’s my position:

If your conscience tells you to boycott or avoid the film because of Card’s positions on the rights of gays and lesbians, then, you know, do it. Card is entitled to speak his mind on gays and lesbians and same-sex marriage. You are equally entitled, on the basis of that speech and his political efforts, to decide not to support him or a film based on his work. That’s entirely fair.

On a related topic, in the future, if Old Man’s War is made into a film, if your conscience tells you to boycott or avoid the film because of my (largely opposing to Card’s) positions on the rights of gays and lesbians, then do that. I am entitled to speak my mind on gays and lesbians and same-sex marriage. You are equally entitled, on the basis of that speech and my political efforts, to decide not to support me or a films based on my work. That is also entirely fair.

(Mind you, I don’t suspect on this particular topic, any boycotts of Card or me would overlap.)

In a larger sense, look: Art originates from people. People have opinions and thoughts and actions, many of which are largely unrelated to their art. In learning about those largely unrelated opinions, thoughts and actions, you may find some of them, some the people they are coming out of, offensive, obnoxious, insulting or even dangerous. They may eventually keep you from being able to enjoy the art these people produce.

When and if that happens, that’s fine. If it doesn’t happen — if you can totally divorce the art from the human who created it — that’s fine, too. Everyone has their own dividing line for this, contingent on factors that are unique to them, and unique to the creator in question. Mind you, I personally think it’s good to give some serious reflection as to why some particular creator has crossed that line for you, on the grounds that it’s always good to know why you think or do anything. But at the end of the day, when you get to the point where you think, I’m done with this jerk, then that’s it, you’re done.

Personally speaking, I have a pretty high tolerance for artists and creators being obnoxious/offensive/flawed/assholes/otherwise seriously imperfect. This is partly because I believe art is a highly composed, refined, edited and intentional end result of a process that takes place in a mind which can be almost anything. The only thing creators fundamentally have in common is the ability to create, and to shape their creations to speak to others.

This is why, for example, bigots and cretins through the ages could create works of art that exhibit gorgeous empathy for the other, despite their personal issues: They have time to perfect their creations, and have an understanding of what an audience will respond to emotionally. You could argue that art is the better self of every creator, but I don’t know if that’s accurate. Art isn’t what the creator could be, any more than a 100 mile an hour fastball is what an athlete could be. Art is what we can do. That fact shapes the life of the creator, to be sure, just like that fastball shapes the life of that athlete. But there’s a whole lot of other influences that shape the creator’s life, too. Not all of those get into the art, because they’re not directly relevant to what the art is. They do show up in the person who makes the art.

So, yeah, I can put up with a lot when it comes to creators. It’s not usually  the art’s fault the brain it came out of is directly connected to an asshole.

However, I am also aware this is a luxury I can afford, for my own reasons. Other people can put up with less, for reasons of their own. I may think these are valid reasons, or not, but these people don’t need my approval to think what they want and act on what they think, and anyway I could be wrong, so there.

There are lots of creators I don’t support because I just don’t like their work. This should not be a surprise. There are a (very) few creators I choose not to support for personal reasons that are unrelated to the quality of their output. No, I won’t tell you who they are. The reasons are personal and therefore not relevant to anyone else. I don’t tend to think of these choices as anything formal as a boycott. I just don’t do business with these people anymore. I don’t generally do it for any larger goal, like social change or to hurt the creator economically. I do it because my own personal sense of morality tells me not to have anything to do with them. Other people in other circumstances feel the need to be more public about their actions, and have a goal beyond their own personal disengagement. Again: It’s their right to do it, and there’s no reason they shouldn’t.

I should note that questions of boycotts are not an entirely theoretical exercise for me. I am on at least one boycott list that I know of, albeit one that I think has been spectacularly ineffective; every once in a while I’ll see my name pop up on a list of authors that someone thinks should be boycotted or otherwise economically punished for opining in public in a manner unrelated to science fiction books. Recently these people are dudes who think I am a traitor to straight white males everywhere.

My opinion about these boycotts, proposed or otherwise, tends to be, one, fuck you, I’m going to say what I want, and two, if the end result of speaking my mind is that someone decides to boycott me, then fine, they should boycott me and tell whoever they like to boycott me, too. I think a lot of other creators in a similar position are perfectly fine with the “fuck you, I’ll say what I want” part, but get confused or truculent about the “if that means you’re going to boycott me, that’s fine” part, and this is where the problem lies.

But if you want the first, you should be a grown-up and accept that the second part is also part of the package deal. As I’ve noted before, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. Suggesting or demanding that you should have freedom from consequence from what you say, or (related to this) that tolerance of your freedom to speak equates to bland murmuring politeness from those who oppose your speech, indicates that ultimately you don’t understand how freedom of speech works.

So, to recap: Boycotts a perfectly valid exercise of political speech, participate in one if you think it’s necessary. I don’t tend to boycott creators but don’t mind if you do, even if that creator happens to be me. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence and everyone should remember that, especially folks who’ve spent a while pissing off a bunch of folks.

I think that covers it.

547 thoughts on “Boycotts, Creators and Me

  1. Notes:

    I suspect a lot of people will want to kvetch about Card personally in the comment thread. My advice is to stick to the facts of the things he’s written and avoid speculation on why he writes them. Specifically, I’m not interested in whether you think he’s closeted or not, and also, as someone who knows rather a lot of LDS folk who are for the rights of gays and lesbians, I suggest you skip any generalized LDS-bashing, please.

    Also for those who need it explicitly stated: I think Card’s positions on same-sex marriage and most other topics relating to gays and lesbians that I’ve read him express to be completely, totally and egregiously wrong, and am delighted to be on the opposite side of him on these issues. Yes, I found him to be excellent company when we met, and I like much of his fiction work. It doesn’t mean he’s not wrong on this stuff. And no, when we met we didn’t talk politics.

    To those who read the entry and ask “Yeah, but are you going to see Ender’s Game?: I haven’t decided. I have to say the trailer I saw for it didn’t really excite me. I’d be interested in seeing some reviews of the film before I plunk down my cash. I will say that, as someone who prefers Speaker for the Dead, I’m fairly certain we’ll never get a movie of that book (not enough LASER ACTION), and that’s the film I would actually want to see.

    Finally: Yes, of course, the Mallet is in play for this comment thread, why do you ask? If you’re new here, I seriously suggest looking at the comment policy before posting.

  2. Boycotting the film probably won’t hurt Card. I doubt that he has a share of the gross. He will probably have received a rights fee, and that’s all he’ll get, whether the movie hits or tanks. So boycotting the film means hurting the studio and its investors, and any of the talent that has a piece of the pie.

  3. Well, there is some potential overlap :you could boycott films by authors who have opinions on gay marriage.

  4. Just. So. Reasonable. I will indeed be stealing “Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence”, which sums up everything I try to (very inelegantly) say when trying to explain that you’re not being oppressed if someone disagrees with your personal viewpoints and stands against your stand.

  5. I’ve always been a fan of books, not authors. A book is it’s own being, and I don’t want to blame one for the flaws I perceive in its author. I loved “Ender’s Game” and that won’t change because of what I now know about Card. His opinions didn’t make me stop loving his book, they just made me sad and angry.

  6. Once, a while back, an author on my “faves” list called my requests for eBooks a “hobbyhorse.” I haven’t been able to bring myself to read or buy his stuff since.

    Willfully pissing people off is not a good lifestyle.

  7. I am looking forward to seeing the movie being a fan of the book. I’m mostly hoping they don’t screw it up.

    If I were to boycott every artist I disagreed with I would not be enjoying much in the way of movies or books or music.

    Folks have a right to disagree with me. In fact I encourage it.

  8. “As I’ve noted before, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. Suggesting or demanding that you should have freedom from consequence from what you say, or (related) that tolerance of your freedom to speak equates to bland murmuring politeness from those who oppose your speech, indicates that ultimately you don’t understand how freedom of speech works.”

    I wish that paragraph could be automatically posted at the beginning of every thread of discussion on this sort of topic. The number of people I see every year posting something along the lines of “you’re infringing on (name’s) freedom of speech by (not buying a product, posting an alternate viewpoint, being angry, etc)” kind of blows my mind.

  9. In general, I don’t boycott authors because I disagree with their politics. In this specific case, I don’t spend money on anything related to Card, not because of what he says, but because of what he *does*. Specifically, his use of money he gets to fund really dangerous propaganda that gets people killed. That’s a little too direct a chain from my money to harm done for me to be okay with it.

  10. I am not likely to be able to afford to see Ender’s Game regardless of my decision to boycott. However, the reason I boycott anything Card does is not because of what he says, but what he does. He is part of an organization that actively tries to stop anyone from marrying who is not a man and a woman. This crosses a line for me. Free speech is one thing, but actions are another and that is not an action I’m willing to support.

  11. Seebs: exactly. I happily read/watch/play/buy things from people whose opinions I disagree with. But when they are actively using their money in ways I find destructive, I feel like I should avoid giving them any of my money.

  12. I have no confidence that boycotts work. You have said yourself that some of the ones featuring you are spectacularly ineffective and I actually think most of them are. The quickest way to make something popular is to ban it. Boycotts achieve much the same effect. Frankly (and I hope I do not have to hand in my geek card for this) I only heard that someone was doing a film of Ender’s game because of the people talking about the boycott… that to me seems a little too close to free publicity for my liking.

    Or maybe not free publicity… maybe I am paranoid but it would not surprise me if someone somewhere in the advertising business thought to use someone’s well known political and social views to publicise something. Controversy is big news, especially on the internet where you can create a scandal from nothing that spreads around the world In minutes. Sure, some people will be strong enough in their principles to follow the boycott but I reckon you suck in a hell of a lot of people who agree with the controversial opinions but who may not have heard of this film.

    Oh, and a ‘traitor to straight white males’? Hmmm… well, I think I am in that camp with you, along with a hell of a lot of other traitors like us. Not sure you can be called a traitor if you are in the majority of a demographic :)

  13. In the particular case of Card, the issue isn’t just his odious opinions. The issue is his position as an executive of NOM.

    NOM does what some (myself included) consider to be real-world harm. If Card is funneling any of his personal income into NOM, then funding Card’s revenue streams is funding real-world harm. If Card uses any of his personal celebrity to support NOM, then bolstering Card’s personal celebrity is bolstering real-world harm.

    Mr. Scalzi isn’t the first to make the point in my hearing about the likely effect Ender’s Game will have on the prospects of movie adaptations of his and others’ work, and for that reason, my current plan is: pay to see the movie, then make a donation to a pro-LGBT charity.

  14. I would not boycott [a work] on the basis of [the author's opinion]. I would definitely, however, refrain from giving [an author] money if I know [he/she] gives [his/her] money to [a cause I find odious]. In practice, I don’t go digging to find these things, but if I find out about something like this, then any consumption of [a work] will be from the library, Netflix, etc. where I’m not directly funding [odiousness]. Yeah, this isn’t a perfect system, but it’s one that keeps me feeling good enough about myself.

  15. “Personally speaking, I have a pretty high tolerance for artists and creators being obnoxious/offensive/flawed/assholes/otherwise seriously imperfect”

    *Whew*

  16. I finished your Old Man’s War last week. I enjoyed it very much (and I recommended it to my brother-in-law; he purchased it and the last I heard was on Chapter 2), but as much as I did I will not go see a movie that is made from it, not because I don’t appreciate your political views but because the deaths in that book are pretty gruesome and while I can read about them, I wouldn’t have the stomach to watch them on the screen.

    Having said that, I won’t go see Ender’s Game either, until it leaves the theaters and comes to cable or Netflix. I don’t go looking for this kind of thing, but if I become aware of it and if it bothers me enough I will refrain from supporting the person expressing them. His views are his prerogative, and my views are my prerogative.

  17. That’s a very good approach.

    what has vexed me about Card’s response is his decision to label those boycotting his film, and trying to convince others to do likewise, as intolerant of his intolerance.

    He has demanded freedom of consequence for his speech and actions. That doesn’t fly.

  18. I agree that boycotting Card probably won’t hurt him financially, but wonder if anyone with actual inside knowledge of the film industry (not naming names here) might comment to that. That doesn’t make boycotting futile, insofar as (if enough people do it, and if it generates enough media coverage), it’s a method of airing a viewpoint and possibly getting others to think about issues they may not have considered, or how their consumption affects others in a way that isn’t readily apparent.

    The “good art from a terrible artist” phenomenon is nothing new. Many Jews of European extraction will have nothing to do with Wagner. I’m sure there are parallel examples all the way back to the Epic of Gilgamesh. The decision of what to do with your knowledge of an artist’s terribleness has to be your own.

    Myself, I’m taking a middle road. I no longer directly purchase anything I know Card had a hand in, but I have found myself taking his stuff out of the library from time to time…thus doing my part to increase his demand at the library, influencing them to buy more of his stuff. I’ll probably do something similar with the Ender’s Game movie, waiting for it to come out on a subscription streaming service (since my library doesn’t have a good movie selection, I don’t expect to get it from there). So, no direct money to the artist, but some minuscule portion of my general support of a service (via either taxes or subscription fees) almost certainly trickles into his pocket.

  19. I will be boycotting the film, even though I did like the book when it came out. Much as I boycott Chik-fil-A for the Cathy family’s views on gay marriage, I feel strongly enough to deny myself access to a product I like in order to let the creator know that my dollars will not be added to support someone who uses their wealth, power, or position in the media to try to take my rights away.

  20. I usually separate the art from the artist. If I have to evaluate every artist’s personal public statements before experiencing their work I’ll go nuts, especially when there are dozens of people involved in a movie. The next step is to apply that standard to every individual and business I interact with. That’s just not a good way to experience the world.

    I make an exception is when the artist’s repellent ideas seem to influence the art or become a part of the art or, especially, when the art is designed to promote those ideas. Then I have to walk away from the artist and all his future works, though I might stay connected to earlier work. So while I didn’t avoid Mel Gibson for being a raging anti-semite, I walked away when he embedded his hate into a movie. I’ll still watch “Lethal Weapon” if it comes on TV when I’m sufficiently bored.

  21. Well put, and pretty much how I feel personally about whether or not to boycott something. I too have a pretty high tolerance of people in general (even jackasses, all though there are a few people in Congress that need a good swift kick in the nads) (ANYWAY..!), but for the most part I’ve just REALLY disliked experiencing someone’s work of art with the sole purpose of prejudging it. Not just analyzing it to find allegory or what have you, but also trying to find the creator’s agenda.

    That, and I guess I just have too much else on my mind to feel Righteous Indignation about things. We’re all imperfect in one way or another…I haven’t read the Ender series myself, but I am curious, considering how many people have enjoyed it in the past. Card’s politics aren’t going to stop me from checking out at least the first book at some point when I have the time.

  22. Mr. Scalzi, it would be very interesting to hear your perspective, as someone who’s currently going through the movie-option fandango and has a decent amount of experience with Hollywood processes in general, on Matthew Hughes’ comment regarding what Card likely stands to earn (or not) if the Ender’s Game movie is successful.

  23. I stopped reading Card coming up on 20 years ago. I find his opinions repugnant, but I am sufficiently able to divorce a creator from their art that if I liked his writing, I might be irritated at him and do things like buy at used bookstores etc, but I would still read him. However, stylistically I think he’s nothing special and content-wise, well, I also find his writings kind of gross. There are a couple of authors I’ve stopped reading because of what they write. They could be the nicest folks in the world in person but either their content is offensive or their style is like nails on a chalkboard.

    But at the end of the day, you gotta do what you gotta do, which means some people need to boycott and talk about the fact that they do so and make a big deal about it, and some people don’t. It’s all okay by me.

  24. Although I think you cover it in your post, I’m going to rephrase. The reason *why* these cretins making art is not a huge deal to you is that you’re playing on the lowest dificulty setting. Someone on the board of NOM having the money truck back up into their yard won’t hurt you as much.

  25. “…boycotting the film means hurting the studio and its investors, and any of the talent that has a piece of the pie.”

    Which would be an instructive lesson in the consequences of doing business with egregious homophobes who advocate not only the treatment of gay and lesbian people as second-class citizens, but the (possibly violent) overthrow of a government that chooses NOT to treat them as such.

    I saw an op-ed earlier this week that basically boiled down to “In America, we hear everybody out, and boycotting just isn’t NICE,” and I just couldn’t disagree with it more — because seeing or not seeing Ender’s Game has nothing to do “hearing Orson Scott Card out.” He’s said his piece, repeatedly, and he’s acted on his beliefs. Once he’s done that, “I hate Orson Scott Card’s politics” is as valid a reason not to see Ender’s Game as “Wow, that trailer looked awful.”

    Consumers make “irrational” economic decisions all the time. That’s the beauty of free market capitalism, folks!

  26. I fall along much the same lines. It’s a rare thing to find a piece of art that speaks to you and makes you love it with a passion. Ender’s Game was The Book of my childhood, and I love it dearly. It’s natural to want the creator of your favorite art to also be your new best friend, but to expect it seems…greedy, somehow.

    If you go through life only consuming art by people qualified to be your BFF, you’re not going to consume much art. I disagree with Card vehemently and I would never, say, pay to attend his writing workshop or pay him to come speak at an event. But Ender’s Game as art is already out there, and punishing the work won’t punish the creator at this point.

    It’s a thorny issue, and I still go back forth on it a lot.

  27. I’ve found that this is one of those areas where ignorance is bliss. Take any movie, and probably any book, and there is most likely someone profiting from it who has views that will shock and outrage a portion of their audience, if not most of it.

    Do you try and stay away from the ones like OSC, but keep your blinders on to the rest? Is it different from authors and creators known to be creepers or jackasses? What about work inspired by works of bigots, creepers, and idiots? I’ve never been able to find the black line.

  28. My personal two cents/pfennig/sous/bitcoins on this:

    Not all that long ago, I knew precisely bupkes about authors’/artists’ personal lives. And, frankly, I didn’t care. All I cared about was reading the stuff. But then I went to my first convention and met my first real live author… and *liked* the guy. Not as a public persona, not as an entertaining voice at the mic, but as an actual person who was friendly, open and far kinder than he needed to be, in a private situation where he would’ve lost zero public cred for being a diva.

    That I thought was likely an aberration; after all, aren’t all popular/successful people self-centered divas who put on a pretty, fake face for the public? I really couldn’t have been more wrong. Since that first time, I have had the full pleasure of getting to know a number of authors personally… and very much liking the PEOPLE they are. Straight-up good folks. The kind you’d want at your side, your back or wherever they wanted to be, because you *know* they’d be doing good things. With some of them, I’ve had the singularly great good fortune to come to be able to call them friends.

    During that time, I found that I was increasingly *adding* support where possible to authors who were genuinely good people. Actively boosting signal whenever I could. Throwing in the little things I could do to personally help them, to the point of actually volunteering to help some directly now and then. You know what? It feels GOOD to work hard to support good people.

    And with my experience with those people on my mind, I find it increasingly difficult to support those few (happily, they ARE few) who are consistently jerks, whether in general or just to one group, no matter how good their art may or may not be. I have found myself willing to put my “life, fortune and sacred honor” (no, not an exaggeration) on the line for the good ones; conversely, I do everything in my power to make sure that not one red cent of mine goes to support those who actively pursue the denigration or outright criminalization of innocent others, and I try my best to point out to friends what they’d be funding if they supported those people. I won’t ORDER them not to support the jerks, but I put the information out there and let them decide for themselves (given that they’re the kind of people I like in the first place, they tend to agree on things like this that I feel important).

    I won’t give funding, whether directly or indirectly, to those who stand a good chance of using it to campaign actively to deny other people their freedoms and/or rights.

  29. “Mind you, I personally think it’s good to give some serious reflection as to why some particular creator has crossed that line for you, on the grounds that it’s always good to know why you think or do anything.”

    A great suggestion. I think in my case and perhaps in many others the reason this instance is crossing whatever line is this. Ender’s Game holds a special place in the hearts of people that have read it. To know that you love something that came from someone that holds opinions you disagree with (mildly put for some) can be unsettling. It’s hard to reconcile those conflicting feelings.

    At least that’s what came to me after thinking about it.

  30. Everyone else here has pretty much summed up why I probably won’t be seeing it in the theaters. This leaves me to comment on my surprise and delight that someone else enjoyed Speaker For the Dead more than Ender’s Game.

  31. Apparently I have been unconsciously boycotting Mr. Card for a couple of decades now.

    Also, the trailer? Did not entice me. And I am something of a Harrison Ford fan.

    As for NOM, I bury them in litter with my hind paws

  32. I LOVE the Ender’s Game book. I don’t have high hopes the movie will be done well. Or maybe the trailer I saw was just craptastic.

    I have no problem reading Card. I generally enjoy his work. I do have a problem with giving him my money, that he can then pass along to whatever anti-gay organization he wants. I’m really torn on watching the movie, though realistically I’d bet he’s not getting a share of movie profits.

    I’ll probably Redbox it.

  33. First of all, I’ll probably see this film as I’m a sucker for anything SF/F.

    Second of all, Card has continued to revise his position as ‘prevailing opinion’ has shifted. In the 1990, he called for banning same-sex marriage and acts. By 2011, he’d shifted to “I learned that being homosexual does not destroy a person’s talent or deny those aspects of their character that I had already come to love and admire” and “I have no interest in criminalizing homosexual acts and would never call for such a thing, any more than I wanted such laws enforced back when they were still on the books.” And last week, he wrote “With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.”

    He does not see LGBT as being compatible with the LDS faith. He no longer seeks to enforce that faith-based opinion on others through law, so it only affects that small segment of the population that is both gay and Mormon. Personally, I believe that his opinion of the LGBT community skewed in that while a significant part of its member’s lives, it is not the single dominate force within it. It is only when you take the implicit assumption of hetero-lifestyle that the actions of LGBT-lifestyle stand out. Both groups conduct the same activities, just with different partners. This is something all faiths will have to address eventually. The only problem is that religion is even slower to change than government.

    @Timid Atheist, Card resigned from the “National Organization for Marriage” this year prior to the Supreme Court DOMA ruling.

    That all said, I do not believe the movie deserves a boycott.

  34. Well shit, the government at all levels does at least something that actively uses my money in ways I find destructive, and I don’t stop paying taxes because of it…

  35. Meh. Regardless of Card’s personal views, “Ender’s Game” did nothing for me. I do not get what people think is so great about the story.

    ….

    hm. Have we passed the point of needing to avoid spoilers for the book?

    cause I have serious “WHAT THE FUCK?” issues with that story that I’ve never gotten properly answered.

    gur vqrn gung n puvyq vf gur jbeyq’f terngrfg zvyvgnel fgengrtvfg vf whfg… obttyvatyl qhzo. Lrf, gurer ner lbhat zvyvgnel travhfrf. Nyrknaqre gur Terng pbadhrerq gur xabja jbeyq ng n engure lbhat ntr, ohg ur jnf envfrq ol n xvat, ghgberq ol zbgure-shpxvat Nevfgbgyr uvzfrys, naq unq n qrpnqr bs genvavat orsber ur jnf rire chg va punetr bs zra ba gur onggyrsvryq.

    http://www.rot13.com/index.php

  36. This entire issue, and many others like / similar to it always make me think of conductor Herbert Von Karijan, who happily went on writing, conducting and performing during the Nazi regime in Germany during WW II. Many music people simply can’t separate the actions of the man from the artistic talent. Bah. I figure if I looked hard enough I could probably find SOMETHING about nearly everyone that I disagree with, even if it were to be Coke vs. Pepsi. I say value the skill and artistic talent and skip the personal issues. If I like the book, music, painting, poetry or whatever, I really don’t care what color socks the person wears, nor how vocal that person happens to be about it.

  37. Just want to say ditto on wanting Speaker for the Dead. I liked Ender’s Game, but I loved Speaker. I may have to go do a re-read now. It’s been a couple decades.

  38. Like some have said above, there is a dividing line between espousing opinions and working to bring those opinions into law, as OSC does. And as someone who is LGBT, I feel that, as much as I liked Ender’s Game (and Speaker for the Dead is one of my favorite books), I don’t feel I can support going to the film. It’d be contributing money towards a man that seeks to actively oppress me, which strikes me as a poor use of what little spending money I have to begin with. But that is my personal view, and while I might discuss this with others, I respect others’ decisions.

    And as Shecky said above, I agree – I prefer to use my time and effort to signal boost people who are not only good artists but genuinely awesome people. John Scalzi is on my list (I still remember how nice you were at Worldcon), as are people like Diane Duane, Seanan McGuire, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Howard Tayler, etc. It does feel good to promote and support good people, especially when said people are also promoting good changes in the world.

  39. I am going to boycott the film, but not because OSC is a homophobe. Instead, I am going to be boycotting the film because it appears that the studio has taken a morally gray, thought-provoking, dystopian novel and turned it into yet another coming-of-age child “morality porn” story. This, in my opinion is an inexcusable violation of the work of art that is most of “Ender’s Game”.

    OSC is entitled to be an asshole. Boycotting the movie is not going to hurt or affect him. Boycotting the movie may hurt the potential for an OMW movie, though…damn it, I’m still in two minds about the whole thing. I’ll be back with more coherent thoughts after I’m done shopping.

  40. I’m pretty sure if all writers/actors/directors et al were thoroughly interviewed as to their views on a wide variety of subjects, every reader/viewer would discover they disagree with a whole lot of them on a whole lot of issues. Boycotting everybody one disagrees with would be too much work, and would deprive said boycotters of a lot of art/entertainment they might enjoy.

    That said, boycotting actions is somewhat different than boycotting an opinion. In my case I’ve drawn the line at watching the films of a particular director who married his daughter. Never mind that he wasn’t the biological father, he was her father for all intents and purposes. I don’t care how critically lauded he is, I will never see one of his movies again. He seems to be doing well without my box office pennies. I also take issue with a director whose actions killed three people (2 children, 1 adult) on one of his movie sets. To this day he has never accepted culpability for their gruesome deaths. Fortunately he doesn’t seem to be making many movies these days. I’m good with that. Every time I hear his name I think of those three people. Thinking about this, it’s not just the actions, it’s that neither one of them perceived his action as wrong.

    I can’t think of any current writers who have committed acts quite like these.

  41. I will likely skip Ender’s game–I fall closer to the judge the art rather than the artist camp–but I am fairly good about boycotting stupid movies without heart.

    I have seen little in the trailer that reached out to me and said I will relate as a human being.

    I rather not mar the memories of an excellent book.

  42. So John Scalzi is Ken White if Scalzi had stayed in California and became a lawyer? Or have you not seen the popehate post saying pretty much the exact same thing.

  43. I’m with the folks who differentiate between words and deeds. I won’t boycott an artist (or sportsperson, or…) because of what they say. But when they do something I find offensive, destructive, or just plain wrong, I’m outta there. Too bad, because I really enjoyed Ender’s Game as a novel.

  44. November 1st looks likes it going to be a total dead zone and a bad day to open a new movie. (It’s between a bunch of Halloween horror movies and Thor 2: Mjolnirboo which opens on the 8th.) I’m confident it will fail on its own without any help from me.

  45. I find Card’s views to be wrong and his suggestion that those who are boycotting are intolerant to be obnoxious – which makes me more prone to considering the boycott – not simply because of his views, but because of his suggestion that those boycotting are morally in the wrong.

    Alas, however, I cannot boycott the film for these reasons as I have already decided not to see it both because it doesn’t look great and because I am already boycotting all movies that appear to have been made out of studio desperation for a franchise and a craven desire to bilk fans out of their money, rather than for the sake of telling a great story on screen.

    Honestly, at this point, all Ender’s Game has going for it is the boycott. They’ve done a shitastic job marketing it otherwise, and the boycott is the most high profile thing they’ve managed to have articles written about the film for. Plus, now they have a very public (and apparently too dumb to say “no comment”) author that they can plausibly blame the failure of the film on.

  46. Seems to be working again for me. Anyway….

    @ian

    If you go through life only consuming art by people qualified to be your BFF, you’re not going to consume much art. I disagree with Card vehemently and I would never, say, pay to attend his writing workshop or pay him to come speak at an event. But Ender’s Game as art is already out there, and punishing the work won’t punish the creator at this point.

    It isn’t about what Card says, it about what he DOES. Namely, provide substantial financial resources to a cause I find repellent. As to this not punishing him because the work is already out there, I disagree. The movies as the potential to sell significantly more copies of his books, thereby generating more money to be spent on a cause I find repellent. See the LOTR movies for an example. This is one I won’t be seeing.

  47. Card is on the Board of the National Organization for Marriage – which is enough for me to Damn Him For All Time. It’s one thing to admit to being homophobic (given his age, that was what passed for “normal” when he was young) – it’s quite another to ruin women’s and gays’ lives with your money and full-throated support.

    More Significantly – I never liked him as a writer anyway (I tried reading ENDER’S GAME some years back, and damned if I know what all the fuss is about), and from the trailer ENDER’S GAME looks about as enticing as GREEN LANTERN starring Ryan Douchenozzle. Even Harrison Ford looks bored to be there….

  48. I’m finding myself repeating what others have said above, more or less, but I think it’s worth repeating just for the sake of getting more data.

    I can and will consume media by people or groups whose beliefs I find objectionable, within reason. What I won’t do is consume media by people who engage in behaviour that harms others, when my consumption will contribute towards it.

    OSC can believe that queer folk like me are the scourge of the planet for all I care. But I won’t give my money to him or in support of his works on the off chance that even a fraction of that money will go towards NOM or organisations like them.

    It’s this crucial point that allows me to, say, enjoy Lovecraft’s work in spite of the horrendous racism, or enjoy Asimov in spite of his issues with women. There are limits, of course, and there’s a point at which I find the creator’s stance so objectionable that it sours their body of work for me, but…

    I don’t go digging deep into the secret history of every creator I like just in case they did something I disagree with, but if they’re vocal enough for the general public to be aware of their stance, I figure I have the right to make decisions based on what they chose to share publicly.

  49. @Logophage asked: “I agree that boycotting Card probably won’t hurt him financially, but wonder if anyone with actual inside knowledge of the film industry (not naming names here) might comment to that.”

    Well, I’m not in the film industry, but I have read the excellent book “The Hollywood Economist” by Vanity Fair’s Edward Jay Epstein, which discusses the financial workings of the movie industry to an illuminating depth. And put simply, Card has mostly likely already made most of the money he stands to get from this film already. In large part he’ll have gotten it from Options for the property (basically money paid to guarantee the rights for a period of time to make a movie of a property) and in a pre-paid sum for the rights once the option is actually exercised.

    If Card has a VERY good entertainment lawyer or excellent contract, he might get a meager percentage of the film’s gross…this will work out to virtually nothing in practical terms. This is why many authors try to get Executive Producer credits. Even a writer credit on a movie is worth some cash, but not a ton. Many SF authors get a regular income from options…just ask Fred Saberhagen how much money his Dracula books have pulled in over the years for films that have never been made of them. :)

    All that said, a successful movie pays off in many other ways for an author. Sales of an author’s books can rise significantly following a successful adaption to the screen, with a lesser long tail on the rest of his catalog. How many people moved on to ‘Angels and Demons’ after reading the DaVinci Code, for example? I think boycotts have merit, but I also think that they only push edge cases one way or the other. Would a boycott of Ender’s Game hurt Card financially? Possibly, but I suspect not nearly as significantly as it will some of the producers. But to be clear, it is almost a certainty that the movie has ALREADY broken even. Keep in mind that these days, the actual theatrical run of a movie accounts for only SEVENTEEN PERCENT of a movie’s actual gross.

    If you really want to hurt the movie, you’d be better served telling Walmart, Target, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Starz and others that you don’t want them carrying it. Whether or not they’d listen is another affair entirely.

  50. I’m not sure the point of the boycott is to “work”–in other words, to make sure the movie tanks financially. I don’t think anyone has the illusion that they can have that much power with a boycott. It’s hard to go against the Hollywood marketing machine. Rather, it’s more likely just to give people information so they can decide for themselves whether or not to pay money to see the movie.

    I only read part of one of Card’s books and put it down because I didn’t care for his attitude towards women. I had no idea of either his religion or politics until some time after that.

    I won’t be seeing the movie, but I also won’t judge others if they see it. I do, however, judge Card for his self-serving and dishonest statement, which virtually commanded that people be tolerant of his intolerance. Phooey on that.

  51. I do “vote with my wallet”. If someone is espousing or worse using money to harm someone’s rights I’m not giving them my dollars. Maybe the issue is different for me as a woman whose been abused by men so its harder for me to separate the artist from the art? Or maybe its the really offensive anti-women “classics” or “important literature” I was forced to read in high school.

    I frequently make decisions not to buy, watch, or borrow books, movies, music by sexist, racist, bigoted people. There is so much good work by people I respect who respect the class/gender/race I’m in that I won’t have time to get to all of it. Why would I give my money to someone who thinks as a woman I’m a second class person or as a Jew I’m not human? Or that family members who happen to be gay should be killed or are aberrations?

    I don’t go out of my way to research artist so they have to do some really big stuff to hit my radar. I don’t read/watch the news either. So unless friends in the blogsphere or my husband are talking about the issue I might never know.

  52. If I’d never heard of any of Orson Scott Card’s social views, I would have been very interested in seeing the movie, as I remember enjoying the book a very long time ago. Now? Not interested. I know too many people directly hurt by the policies he supports and promotes so publicly. He is decidedly intolerable in his views.

    On a related note, I’ve seen the trailer. It killed any sense of loss I may have felt about not seeing the movie due to the views and actions of the originator of the story. I don’t remember Ender wrinkling his face up and scream-shouting “NOWWWWW!” in the book. Boy, that looked dumb on the big screen.

  53. I’d edit my comment but I can’t, so let me add the bit I forgot to type before here.

    There’s also the simple fact that we’re living in a world of riches. There are so many artists, writers and creators out there that it’s actually not possible for one person to consume all the media that exists TODAY in their lifetime, let alone anything that is created during their life.

    There are so many amazing authors living and writing today who AREN’T doing things I find reprehensible, why would I ever feel the need to give my limited time on this world to the ones that do?

  54. Timeliebe, et al.:

    It was noted upward in the thread, but worth repeating that apparently Card is no longer on the board of NOM (cite). I have no idea whether he still is active with organization or contributes time/money to it.

  55. Specifically, his use of money he gets to fund really dangerous propaganda that gets people killed. That’s a little too direct a chain from my money to harm done for me to be okay with it.

    I think people boycotting this aren’t using logic much and that their actions are approaching hypocritical if they only boycott him and his creations. Allow me to explain.

    When I pay someone for a creation of theirs…whether it be a meal, a shirt, an art, a craft, a novel, whatever…my culpability ENDS after the transaction. When I pay them, I’m paying them for the item I got in said transaction. Nothing more. What they do after the fact has nothing to do with me.

    I know some are going to need an example of this so here it is…Imagine if you owned your own business and paid your employees and then found out that one of them was a bigot. Does that mean you’ve now inherited the guilt because you gave him money which allowed him to support his habit and/or donate to hate groups? Of course not. The same logic applies here.

    Now if people want to boycott him and his creation…great. Go for it. But you need to continue to research other films, other books, other works of art…and when you find someone that has a similar belief or who is a member of similar groups…you need to dump that person as well and boycott everything and anything they’re a part of. It’s an all or nothing thing in my opinion…otherwise, you’re singling out Card and being hypocritical about everything and everyone else.

  56. Sometimes boycotts backfire and deliver more press and therefore cash to the very event or entity the boycott was suppose to hurt.

  57. devnet:

    “It’s an all or nothing thing in my opinion…otherwise, you’re singling out Card and being hypocritical about everything and everyone else.”

    Well, no. If someone see what they perceive to be an injustice, they are no required to research every other possible act of injustice before they act on the one that has their immediate attention. That’s a fine way to have no injustice ever addressed.

    This also works to deny individuals their agency, i.e., the ability to determine whether or not a specific incident merits their attention, while other, superficially similar cases don’t.

  58. @ Richard: “If I like the book, music, painting, poetry or whatever, I really don’t care what color socks the person wears, nor how vocal that person happens to be about it.”

    Did you *really* just compare negative reactions to someone with a sock-color preference to negative reactions to someone who has actively worked to support discrimination? “Coke vs Pepsi”, really?

    Wow.

    And as for all of the folks who claim that if they avoided the works of artists who behave terribly, they’d miss out on a lot, I have to say I’m dubious. There is far, far more good art being made by good people — or at least people who are not actively dickish — than I will ever have the time to keep up with. I am no poorer for losing my appreciation of OSC’s work and gaining appreciation of, say, John Scalzi’s work.

  59. Thank you for commenting on this issue. As I hoped, you’ve given a different way of looking at things.

    I am done with Card as an author because his politics/religion have too much bleed through into his fiction now. I’m unable to separate the man from the art. Frankly, I think he’s choosing to use his fiction as a platform for his beliefs much more than he used to, but that’s just me.

    I love the book Ender’s Game (although I also like Speaker for the Dead more – you other Speaker lovers should be sure to check out The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell). But unlike some of you, the trailer for the movie made the hair on my arms stand on end. The draw of the art is overwhelming my dislike of the artist.

    I am leaning toward seeing the movie for $5 on a Sunday morning, and making a rather more substantial contribution to the Human Rights Campaign in an attempt to offset any financial benefit that Card receives from my ticket.

    I don’t think there’s a perfect answer to this, but I always value the quality of the discussion here. Thank you again.

  60. devnet, I don’t think they’re talking about feeling guilty. I think it’s more the prospect of their money, which they spent on someone’s product, being used to fund an organization that is repellent or threatening to them. They aren’t saying they would feel guilty about the funding but that they don’t want to provide that person with any funds that the person could contribute. If I find an organization repellent or threatening and it’s within my power to withhold money that another person might spend to forward that organization’s cause (or spend on food or other things, freeing up another chunk of the person’s money for the repellent organization, then withholding the money might very well be the right and moral choice for me.

    In other words, it’s about concrete actions, not feelings of guilt.

    “when you find someone that has a similar belief or who is a member of similar groups…you need to dump that person as well and boycott everything and anything they’re a part of.”

    That’s much too black-and-white a way of thinking for me to agree with. Not everyone considers it an all-or-nothing proposition. There is a lot of room in the middle, IMO.

  61. This is a paraphrase via Steve Brust via Dave von Ronk, but “Good lefties don’t blacklist.” That pretty much describes how I feel about boycotting Card’s movie. Seems like the only difference between a blacklist and a boycott is how effective you are.

    That said, I probably won’t see the movie for a few reasons. First and foremost, I only see a few movies a year, and this one just doesn’t seem that great,

    But also, I *lurved* Ender’s Game when I read it as a kid. Then I read it to my kids, and actually had to pay attention to it and think about it. I found it very disturbing. Ender does some things that would be considered evil by most people. (Forgetting about xeno/genocide, he kills a number of his classmates. That’s…pretty bad.) But we know he isn’t evil…because Card tells us so. Umm…that doesn’t work for me, and it jibes very closely with some stuff Card has said.

    Paraphrasing again, but he said he didn’t think much of the idea of “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” He believes that good people usually wind up doing good. The problem is when evil people try to do good. So good people are inherently good. Good things are done by good people. Whereas bad things are done by bad people. *Even when they are trying to do good, bad people are incapable of it, because they are inherently bad.*

    Nuh uh. That doesn’t work for me. And that really made it hard for me to like Ender’s Game.

  62. I don’t generally boycott art because of the creator’s views or actions. I do “boycott” coffee producers that don’t pay their farmers enough (by buying fair trade coffee), and I “boycott” manufacturers whose products contribute too much carbon (with a very vague sense of “too much”). If I’m pressed to reconcile these views… I can’t. My brain is a complicated and confusing place, and as much as I’d like to think that my actions all flow from a consistent worldview and set of values, it’s pretty clear to me that they don’t.

  63. Regarding the question of wheather the boycott would directly hurt Card financially, yes it probably would.

    If he was simply the author of the book that was being adapted, then it would be true that his money would have already been made.

    However, he’s also being credited as a producer and has been noticeably involved with the production, so it’s very likely that he has some form of additional compensation.

  64. I didn’t actually get to the bottom of the thread before jumping down to leave a comment, and I believe this is the first time I’ve left a comment here.

    What I wanted to mention from my view, is that as much as you may or may not want to contribute financially to the movie that Orson Scott Card is involved with. He is decidedly not the only one involved in the movie. The studio actors and all the staff also share in the success of the movie and damning everyone involved for one person’s views seems a little harsh to me. If you are concerned about your contribution funding Orson Scott Card’s influence elsewhere contribute a countering influence in the ways you can.

  65. Hmm wizardru said pretty much what I wanted to say about the effectiveness of the boycott. At this point, pretty much all the money has been spent, and a poor showing at the box office mainly hurts those who get paid on the back end, which I imagine is the director and the above-the-line actors… and possibly stops the next Card film from being made, but except maybe for Lost Boys I’m not sure any of them are begging to be adapted for film.

    This isn’t Card’s first controversy: a decade or two ago, he’d been criticized for his stories being misogynist, something I don’t see. Yes, there are some stories that have terribly cruel things happen to women, but his stories are pretty much “terribly cruel things happen to people” (with a few exceptions, especially in recent years). It’s Card’s #1 trope for evoking a reaction in his reader, but I’d say he’s an equal opportunity provocateur /in his fiction/. Although kids get the bulk of the damage in his early works, you can probably say the same thing about Stephen King.

    So am I going to see the film? Probably, assuming the critics don’t hate all over it before I get to it. “The enemy’s gate is down” is something I want plastered 70 feet wide in front of me.

  66. Devnet if I hired a bigot chances are good that said bigot is going to act in such a manner on the job that I will need to fire the bigot before my company ends up in an ugly & expensive lawsuit.

    As Mr. Scalzi mentioned I’m not a hypocrite just because I don’t go out of my way to research every single artist before purchasing/borrowing/watching their work. I am a hypocrite if I know x is doing the same things as y but I only personally boycott y.

  67. There are boycotts with a “big B” and then there are boycotts with a “little B.”

    Certainly, if I were Jewish, I would find it disconcerting to discover that an artist I like was in real life, anti-Semitic (Even if I wasn’t Jewish, but I’m veering off course).

    To know than by patronizing an event or person that would help fund in even some small part the suppression of my own civil rights and liberties is and has been an issue for people, well, for about as long as there has been money. Ask anyone from Belfast over the age of 40 if they would go into just any shop to buy say, a soda, not knowing if the owners were Catholic or Protestant.

    In New York and other major cities across the US in the first half of the 20th century, there was a concerted if clandestine effort to ensure that as little of what precious few dollars one had to spend were spent on those who who were race-neutral or race-positive, and to avoid –at times without drawing attention to yourself for doing so– businesses that supported Jim Crow. It wasn’t easy then, it isn’t easy now.

  68. Generally, and for all the reasons you’ve stated, I’ll only boycott creators if I judge them to be morally repugnant individuals. I guess basically, if I dismiss a person, I dismiss their work, on the grounds that it came from someone who I no longer wish to acknowledge. For example, I wouldn’t read Theodore Beale no matter the quality of his books.

    This is pretty rare (I think that most people are fundamentally good) and it’s distinct from someone who holds a few positions that that I find repugnant. Card is one of the latter- I think his views on homosexuality are wrong, but it’s not enough (nor nearly enough, actually) for me to write him off as a person.

  69. “Suggesting or demanding that you should have freedom from consequence from what you say, or (related to this) that tolerance of your freedom to speak equates to bland murmuring politeness from those who oppose your speech, indicates that ultimately you don’t understand how freedom of speech works.”

    This is very much on my mind right now. Kind of a long comment, so skip if you don’t have time to read.

    I’m getting some flack for saying things in an intemperate way on a blog I frequent; I maintain the position that I’m free to tell someone to shut up if I think they should shut up, just like that person is free to counter with, “No, YOU shut up” etc. etc. ad nauseum. I’m fine with that flack. I can totally understand how someone would get their feelings hurt by being told to shut up; it does suck.

    (It doesn’t help that I was telling this person to shut up because he was derailing the conversation in a way that I interpreted as silencing to women who have been sexually harassed: that immediately opened me up to charges of hypocrisy, but I stand by my position that silencing a frequently-silenced minority does not have the same weight as that frequently-silenced minority turning around and saying, “No, you know what, I’m going to say shut up to you instead of just accepting this.”)

    Accepting the flack is part and parcel of saying the words. I’m fine with the flack, and rational people should be fine with the flack too, IMO.

    This is completely separate from whether you’re violating the rules of the blog by saying shut up. One of the contributors of the blog said “not cool” and I immediately apologized for breaking the rules of the blog and took his suggestion to take a break, which I interpreted as “if you’re going to tell people to shut up in an irate fashion, stop posting.” (It turns out he did not mean this, but he wanted me to take a closer look at what I was saying and be more careful in the future.) He was right to do that, it’s his blog. I stopped when he asked and apologized for crossing his line. My consequence of telling another person to shut up was that the owner of the space (essentially) asked me to modify my behavior and go cool off for a while, and that’s his right.

    The takeaway, for me: I’ve found that people tend to have a very fundamentalist stance on free speech which does not adequately account for “shut up” as a valid form of speech. Person A is free to act in manners that encourage you to shut up or to tell you directly that you need to be quiet. Person B is free to turn around, tell you that you’re being a dick, and request that you shut up (they don’t have to be nice about it, either). Person C who owns the space is free to tell Person B that they are no longer welcome there or they need to simmer down because they told Person A to shut up. Person B should respect Person C’s wishes as the owner of that space.

    “You shouldn’t say that” is a valid form of speech. More hyperbolic iterations of the same speech are also valid, although they carry a risk of the speaker being dismissed/told to be quiet/asked to leave where applicable. Ultimately, someone saying “shut up” to you is painful, yes, but that person is also engaging in setting general societal rules, which necessarily include dialogue about things that should NOT be said/done. (But, the owner of the space gets to set those rules and they should be considered stone solid. By doing so, the owner does open him/herself up to potential criticism; all the same, it’s his/her right to set rules and enforce them.)

    If anybody actually stuck with me through that long comment, kudos and thanks. I appreciate any thoughts you have.

  70. As anyone who knows me will have guessed, I have very strong opinions about this.

    I stopped reading Card after Songmaster, which has yet another torture-killing of a gay man in it (he chokes himself to death on his bedsheets), and because Card has arranged things so that for the main character to have sex causes life-threatening agony.

    It wasn’t the first time. Every time a gay man appears in Card (tbf up to and including Songmaster) he’s made to suffer a horrific death. I’m not going to say why I think this is; I will say that I would not feel safe being alone with Card in an isolated place.

    If it were only his external views—well, to be honest I’d probably be boycotting anyway. But it isn’t like Baum (whose rabid racism, demanding the complete extermination of American Indians, is not at all evident in The Wizard of Oz or any of the other Oz books). He writes his homophobia into the story.

    I haven’t read Ender’s Game, nor do I intend to, so with apologies I’m basing what follows on descriptions from others. First of all, it’s war porn. I’m told it glorifies child soldiers and genocide while paying lip service to deploring them. But the key thing from my perspective is this: the evil insectoid aliens who Ender wipes out of the universe are called the Buggers.

    Seriously. There are people who claim this is because they’re insectoid. Say that to me and I will laugh in your face (I might not if Card hadn’t proved himself virulently anti-gay in the past). It’s perfectly obvious what Card is saying here: Buggers (that is, gay men) should be exterminated. Put another way: I might believe that another author called some aliens “Buggers” without intending a reference to gay men, but not Card, who has shown repeatedly how much he hates us.

    Card isn’t just a guy with views opposing marriage equality. He is a man who wants me and my friends dead.

    On the issue of Card’s money for the film: I don’t know whether he has a piece of the pie or not. If so, part of your money is funding his anti-gay activities pretty directly. If not, it strikes me that Hollywood needs to hear the message about this jerk, and if the people who dealt with him lose money, maybe they won’t deal with him and similar jerks in the future. And if the aliens are still called Buggers in the movie (I don’t know; it’s the kind of thing the studios sometimes change), the movie itself has a violently anti-gay subtext.

    And “buying an offset” (seeing the movie but contributing to an LGBT organization) doesn’t really make it, either, though it’s better than nothing. It still gives Card money and/or encourages further investment in him.

    Btw, Card may have resigned from the board of NOM, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be giving them money; if he’d really changed his views he’d be saying so, not “pleading for tolerance” of his evil bigotry. And jackholes like SM Stirling are going right along with him.

    I won’t be seeing this movie. If you do, you should probably expect your gay male friends (if you have them) to be a bit frosty with you for some time afterward.

  71. @ Jon Marcus: “Seems like the only difference between a blacklist and a boycott is how effective you are.”

    Um, no. Among other differences, the former is run from the top down, the latter is usually run and always powered from the bottom up.

  72. Jon: Seems like the only difference between a blacklist and a boycott is how effective you are.

    A blacklist is top-down. People in power deciding who they’ll hire. A boycott is bottom up. Consumers deciding where to put their money.

    When MLK got people to stop riding segregated busses? That was a boycott, not a blacklist. When the government puts you on a no-fly list because they don’t like your politics? That’s a blacklist, not a boycott.

    The direction of power matters.

    Put another way, don’t punch down.

    boycotts punch up. blacklists punch down.

  73. For me art is separate from the artist (until any money I spend on the aret is used by the artist for things I do not approve of) – in any case I will not be going to see Enders Game or any other movie made by Hollywood from a book I’ve enjoyed – they always, without fail, screw it up. It;s the nature of the beast – books require an active imagination to take the limited descriptive (leaving aside such as J. Joyce and M. Proust :) ) passages and visualize them. Film takes all of that away and sets in stone (or celluloid if you prefer) for you what a character looks and sounds like etc. In many ways it robs you of the memories you have of reading the book for the first time.

  74. @Xopher, I don’t disagree with you about Card’s views. I will say that I think you are seriously misinterpreting the book Ender’s Game. Without discussing the plot in detail, it suffices to say that if Card actually intended the Buggers to be a stand-in for gay men, the book would be a powerful statement about intolerance and the need for empathy with those that society has deemed Other. Which is why I seriously doubt that Card intended Buggers to represent gay men.

    Again, I’m not defending Card or his works; I just think you’ve gotten the wrong impression about Ender’s Game.

  75. @Kat in general I don’t think it’s ok to tell commenters on someone’s blog to shut-up unless that seems to be the blogs policy (spoken or unspoken). On most blogs telling others what to do/not do regarding commenting should be left for the blog owner. I’ve found it’s better to contact the blog owner if you think a commenter is behaving badly. Here we generally know the mallet of loving correction will be used shortly and know to ignore troll like behavior. We also try to notice when we are getting overheated and maybe need to take a break before Mr. Scalzi has to mallet us.

  76. Wow, the “Buggers” thing went right over my head. That’s a little bit surreal. My guess is that the movie will refer to them as the Formics, which is their “formal” name in the books.

  77. I don’t make an effort to figure out what the “creative types” (actors, writers, musicians, etc) believe, so normally it doesn’t impact my purchases at all. For the most part, I just judge on the content they produce. However, if their opinion crosses my path – almost always because they put a great deal of effort into spreading that opinion – it does become an issue. I’ve yet to have to decide between someone who believe abhorrent things that makes work I love; so far it’s been dropping the meh for being merely offensive.

    For example – Chick fil a. It was never a first choice, but it used to be an occasional change of pace. Then they decided to make a huge public show of their bigotry, and that was enough to knock them off my list.

    Or, for a (very) recent example, S.M. Stirling. I’ve enjoyed several of his earlier works, but other books just didn’t work for me at all. This had placed him into a limbo state – I wasn’t looking for his books, but if I didn’t have something to hand, he might serve as a fallback. Then, while i was reading this thread, I hopped over to the Kirk Cameron thread, where he made at least one “liberal media and elites persecuting the christian majority” whines. I find those particularly annoying, and that was enough to tip him into the “don’t purchase” list.

  78. Well, no. If someone see what they perceive to be an injustice, they are no required to research every other possible act of injustice before they act on the one that has their immediate attention. That’s a fine way to have no injustice ever addressed.

    This also works to deny individuals their agency, i.e., the ability to determine whether or not a specific incident merits their attention, while other, superficially similar cases don’t.

    I agree that they don’t HAVE to research every other possible act of injustice…but if they perceive the injustice of one act but either ignore other acts or claim ignorance of other acts, that makes their actions hypocritical….specifically with choices of entertainment. If I say I hate violence but watch True Blood, my actions speak volumes to others. If people say they can’t abide OSC but

    As an example If I tell everyone to boycott Kathy Lee’s sweatshop clothes but continue to shop at a store and purchasing sweat shop clothes, I’m a hypocrite…and many would see me as a hypocrite who has it out for Kathy Lee. It wouldn’t matter if I claimed ignorance to the fact or not, perception would brand me as one.

    Maybe I’m off in left field here…but I honestly see things that way.

    devnet, I don’t think they’re talking about feeling guilty. I think it’s more the prospect of their money, which they spent on someone’s product, being used to fund an organization that is repellent or threatening to them.

    I’ve addressed this in my original post. Please re-read the post.

  79. I for one will be seeing the movie. I view those that are boycotting no different than those who boycott Chick-Fil-A, Disney, Apple, etc. Silly, but if course I respect their freedom to do what they want.

  80. Xopher: I haven’t read Ender’s Game, nor do I intend to, so with apologies I’m basing what follows on descriptions from others. First of all, it’s war porn. I’m told it glorifies child soldiers and genocide while paying lip service to deploring them.

    I’d say that’s an accurate report.

    It’s perfectly obvious what Card is saying here: Buggers (that is, gay men) should be exterminated.

    I might say its ambiguous whether this was intentional in Ender’s Game. Starship Troopers called them “bugs”, and everyone wants to make an homage to ST. I haven’t read any of OSC’s other books, but if the gay deaths in those books occur as you say, then the ambiguity is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter what the “buggers” represent, because he shows gay men dying horrible deaths in explicit detail in other stories.

  81. As I’ve said, I’m basing my impression on what I’ve heard from others. Unfortunately checking what you’ve said (and what they’ve said) would require reading the book, which I can’t, for my mental health, do.

    I do appreciate the feedback though. You apparently also think he’s not glorifying genocide under a veil of deploring it? How that comes out is critical.

    And of course Hollywood has a long history of making movies whose thematic content is the very opposite of the book they come from. I, Robot is perhaps the best-known example, though in that case almost nothing was kept from the book except character names and the fact that there were robots.

    And I see no reason not to spoiler the book, nearly three decades after it came out. But then if it ruins the movie for anyone that’s also good from my POV, so take that with appropriate salt grains!

  82. @aetherize, I agree with you, but also, the name could be just Card snickering. I’m not saying Xopher is right, but it’s definitely striking.

  83. Sorry John. Won’t do it again. aetherize, ignore my last comment with respect to spoilers.

  84. @ Xopher:

    Aetherize already said this, but you’re seriously missing the point of Ender’s Game. The thing that I find interesting about the book is that this homophobic jackass can write such a compelling message of tolerance.

    Part of why I don’t want to see the movie (and I predict that it will bomb with or without my help) is that it appears to take the entire subplot about fear of differences and replaces it with a boilerplate coming-of-age plot. Doing so is wrong, artistically and morally.

  85. that makes their actions hypocritical

    Welcome to the real world, where people can be uncomfortable with consumerism without having to go live in the woods as hunter-gatherers.

    If I say I hate violence but watch True Blood, my actions speak volumes to others.

    Fiction is not equivalent to reality. In fiction, no one was actually slaughtered by a vampire/werewolf/werelama/wereferret/werewhateverCharlaineHarrishascomeupwiththisweek. In reality, the dead people are actually dead (although, we would hope not by wererabbits). That’s all the difference in the world.

  86. @Tasha Turner: That is fair. Blog owner’s blog, blog owner’s rules, and I crossed a line. I did apologize and asked what I could do to make the situation better, if that helps. :)

  87. xopher: You apparently also think he’s not glorifying genocide under a veil of deploring it?

    Not sure if the “you” was me. If so, the short of it is I think Ender’s Game, the novel, makes a point to portray the enemy in as inhuman of a form as possible so as to dehumanize them to minimize the moral effects of killing them. And then at the end, after wiping out millions? of the enemy, Ender has a weird “change of heart” that I would summarize as “golly, war is bad. wish I hadn’t had to kill all those mindless, heartless, soulless mother fuckers.”

    That might be exaggerating a bit. But Ender is no Ashoka the Great, that’s for sure.

  88. devnet, I reread your post, and the points that you made seemed to be about guilt and culpability. I agree with you on those points, but that wasn’t what I was talking about and not what I understood the earlier posters to be talking about either, though I could be wrong about that. So it seems that you and I were addressing different aspects of the issue, in which case we’re talking past each other. That’s likely to be nothing but frustrating for both of us. Peace.

  89. What I find interesting is this demonizing of people who speak their mind about certain topics.
    If an LGBT supporter espouses their opinions in a public forum, it’s all “Freedom of speech” and “They have a right to their opinion/choice/lifestyle” and no one really thinks twice about it.
    When someone like Card espouses their beliefs, most of which stem from hundreds (if not thousands) of years of tradition, all I hear is “Crucify him!!” and “Everything vaguely associated with this person is anathema!”
    It seems to me that people looking for acceptance of their alternative choices would be MORE understanding and accepting of others, not less. That seems to be more and more the case, however, and it makes me really sad.

    As far as Ender’s Game goes, I loved the book. It is not “war porn” (seriously?) and is not about the exploitation of children. It is a story about one boy changing the course of human history and the effect that it has on him. It is a deeply personal story about growing up and understanding your own abilities and beliefs, reflected on a sci-fi setting. The enemy is never anything more than images produced by a computer for the entire length of the book, until the very end. When Ender discovers the true nature of the war that he fought, he takes the tiniest seed of his defeated enemy and cares for it, unwilling to let that life be extinguished, because he has grown to understand them.

    Does that sound particularly hateful to you?

  90. Greg, actually that was intended for aetherize, but I’m glad to hear your point of view as well.

    aetherize, do you disagree with Greg on that?

    John, I’m hoping this doesn’t cross the line into a critical exegesis. The empathy or lack of same expressed toward the Buggers is key to understanding whether the homophobia is actually written into the book, so I’m thinking that’s on topic. Please let me know if that’s wrong and I’ll drop it like a hot potato.

  91. I don’t have problems with someone’s morals or political positions in general. What I do have a problem with is this: Card is on the board of an organization whose purpose is to deny equal rights to a select group of individuals (NOM) and has advocated the (if needed) violent other throw of the US Government if gays get equal rights. It was his hateful screed on gays he wrote a few years back that got me to boycott him, it’s these two facts that make tell others to boycott him and his work. Card is a hateful man who deserves ZERO attention.

  92. @BW,

    Well I wasn’t specifically worrying about guilt (as a notion of innocence vs guilt) per se…what I meant was that if you pick one action to rally against and then either ignore others who perform that action, you’re showing that you are guilty of being a hypocrite.

    An example might be politicians out there who constantly cry that homosexuality is a crime and then are found to be homosexual or performing acts that are homosexual.

    What I’m getting at is that if people want to boycott Card, I sure hope they don’t stop the boycott there. I know ignorance is bliss but there are a whole lot of authors those boycotting need to address as well as movie producers, movie directors and artists.

  93. ryantaurant, if there were any evidence that CARD had any such epiphany about the humanity of LGBT people, that might carry more weight. And it really seems there are two interpretations of the ending.

  94. Floored, which comment/commenter are you referring to? This is going really fast, so I’m not sure.

  95. Xopher, at the end of Ender’s Game, Ender learns that he and the other kids weren’t just playing training games but were actually conducting war operations and that he was responsible for all but exterminating the Buggers (which, by the way, I connected with a childhood slang term that, in our case, had absolutely nothing to do with sexuality of any kind, but I can understand your reaction). It shatters him, and he devotes his life to enabling the last vestige of the alien race to find a peaceful place to reproduce.

  96. What I really appreciate about this blog, John, is that you say what you think and promote rational discussion about it.

    I read “Ender’s Game” and a number of other OSC books long before I knew anything about his personal politics and his position on gay rights, etc. I find his opinions to be wrong, as you do, and his stories to be good as you do (well, “Ender’s Game” and “Speaker for the Dead” at least, other works seemed to lose the plot for me).

    Whether I go see the movie … Similarly, I saw a preview and it didn’t send me. Too much of today’s science fiction movies are all about ridiculous explosions and fancy graphics, lacking plot and purpose. Like the difference between “Moon” and “Oblivion” … the latter was far more polished in graphics, but did it really add anything to the intense, emotional, psychological work that was “Moon”? Yeah, I saw both … I think Tom Cruise is a major jerk but he does occasionally put in good performance worth watching. So should I boycott “Ender’s Game” because I think OSC is a jackass politically? I doubt that it makes sense, so it’s an emotional decision. I haven’t made up my mind yet.

    But I have to say, I appreciate your thoughts and the ensuing discussion here.

    Being gay to me doesn’t mean always just following the latest fad that other people think is right to represent “the gay position” (whatever that means), or bashing everyone who doesn’t think the same as you do because they’re not gay. It’s simply being human, with all the shit, stupidity, suffering, and joy that that entails, and, in the course of that, preferring your partner in love and sex to be the same gender as you are.

    What harm there is in that, and why it is such a source of fear and loathing for so many, continues to mystify me every day. It doesn’t make any sense, so it’s an emotional decision …

  97. Card is on the board of an organization whose purpose is to deny equal rights to a select group of individuals (NOM) and has advocated the (if needed) violent other throw of the US Government if gays get equal rights.

    I think Scalzi said that he no longer is on that board and I think another poster said that the comments were done in the 1990’s. I know that might not change your views of him or his works but I just wanted to make sure you were aware.

    I hope people don’t judge me by what I said and did in the 1990’s lol!

  98. The problem, Xopher, is that you’re making this about LGBT.
    Why is it that I’ve read that book a dozen times and never gotten anything but a sense of empathy for all life, regardless if it was the bully beating the crap out of Ender in the very beginning of the book, or the military leadership that used Ender and kids like him, or the completely alien enemy that mankind has been fighting for centuries? Ender isn’t happy about destroying anything.

  99. I’ve been arguing this issue a fair amount recently, because (a) i’m gay and some people in gay spaces have a high expectation that this means I will boycott, but (b) Ender’s game was an extremely important book to me emotionally when I was in my early 20s, and so a movie adaptation of it has been on my “must see opening night” list for years.

    In the end i’ve basically come to the conclusion that I’ll go see it and then donate an offset to a pro-SSM activist organization that I wouldn’t otherwise have donated to at that time.

  100. This: “I may think these are valid reasons, or not, but these people don’t need my approval to think what they want and act on what they think, and anyway I could be wrong, so there” is why I’m a faithful reader of your blog. I wish we could all agree on that. i don’t always agree with you, but I always find your opinion interesting and thought-provoking. If everyone thought exactly the same as I did, the internet and the world would be a very boring place.

  101. @Devnet from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orson_Scott_Card says he resigned from the board (no mention if he’s still a member) in 2013. Correct me if I’m wrong but its 2013 now…

    In 2009, Card became a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to maintain the traditional definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman.[34] Card resigned from the Board sometime in 2013.[35]

  102. @Tasha

    I was going by what Scalzi just said in previous comments. If you have a problem with that info, take it up with him.

  103. Kilroy:

    So John Scalzi is Ken White if Scalzi had stayed in California and became a lawyer? Or have you not seen the popehate post saying pretty much the exact same thing.

    They both said that speech has consequences. Beyond that, Ken’s take was rather different than John’s.

    Wizardru:

    All that said, a successful movie pays off in many other ways for an author.

    What he said. Boycotting Ender’s Game may or may not harm Card much financially for this movie; but if it doesn’t do well, there won’t be the next movie. Or the merchandising. And people will be far more hesitant to work with Card on commercial projects. His Batman project already tanked. If this movie tanks, too, I think more people will hesitate to have his name associated with theirs.

    Chris:

    He is decidedly not the only one involved in the movie. The studio actors and all the staff also share in the success of the movie and damning everyone involved for one person’s views seems a little harsh to me.

    The studio and the staff chose to be involved with a movie based on a book by a hatemonger. Most of the crew have already been paid anyway. It’s the movers and shakers and people who chose to fund this movie who stand to lose money. If the boycott of Card’s book splashes on them, too, that’s a foreseeable consequence of standing next to a corrosive pool of hate.

    I’ve got limited time and money to spend on watching movies. I’m not going to dole that out supporting people who actively work to hurt me and my friends.

  104. I’m not going to see it but mostly because I get to see about three movies a year and I try not to waste the babysitting on movies that fail the Bechdel test. That means I’m avoiding it on its own merits. If it passes the Bechdel test… I shall be mightily surprised.

  105. I will not be seeing the film.

    I do not care what Card’s opinions are. I do care that he puts his money and life energy into legal and political advocacy to deprive me of my legal rights. He has never expressed one bit of remorse over the harm he has done to GLBT people. There is every reason in the world to believe that once his film is out and the spotlight is off of him he will continue to advocate for the oppression of gay people.

  106. @Devnet I did a two minute search. Reread what Scalzi wrote. He does not disagree with me. Certain statements OSC made were in 2009. He is no longer on the board as of 2013. And there is no evidence he is no longer a member of the organization so my guess is he still is or it would be mentioned.

    I don’t need to take anything up with Scalzi. You read more into what he wrote. I researched the issue to confirm dates for different events based on numerous articles I’ve been reading trying to get the timeline in my mind sorted out. Google, Wiki, and doing research does wonders for getting all the facts out.

    The only facts I’ve not been able to find out is how much OSC was paid for the film option, when the movie was given the green light, and his gross % as a producer.

  107. I agree with what John said here and I really like (and will shamelessly steal^wborrow the phrase “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence”) but I also agree with Seebs in that there is a difference between consuming art produced by someone heinous who is long dead and not going to profit from my consumption, and consuming art from someone who is still alive and who will gain from my patronage. Gain either monetarily or in reputation is not something I really want to give to someone I personally find despicable. So I will never even sit in the same room where a movie by Victor Salva is playing, but I will read and buy Lewis Carroll’s books. (Not that I am equating those two, Salva is by far the more despicable.)

    In addition, there is the added dilemma of what to do about artists who not only held repugnant viewpoints but who also actively benefitted from abusing other people in the making of their art AND who are also long dead. I never have really reconciled what I like to call the Leni Riefenstahl dilemma. If anyone has suggestions, I’m listening.

  108. I’m not going to see the movie as I’m pissed off at Card for being such a reactionary ass, not only for his opposition to equality for same-sex couples but for being a denialist about global warming as well. I rarely boycott anything, but Card has it coming.

  109. Now that I’ve looked through the synopses of EG and subsequent books on Wikipedia, it looks like there’s a lot more complexity there than I thought. But seriously, “Buggers”? Hopefully they’ll stick to “Formics” in the movie.

    I still won’t see it.

  110. VERY well put. There are too many friends I know who plan to see this and think I’m being an ass for NOT going. My position is if a microcent of my cash goes to Card, I’m encouraging him.
    They claim a high Box Office open gets more flicks, like Old Man’s War, the go ahead.

    Honestly Scalzi… if you make it Pre-teen’s War, you’d already have seen the third film in the trilogy… now with more angst!

  111. @SarahM

    I also agree with Seebs in that there is a difference between consuming art produced by someone heinous who is long dead and not going to profit from my consumption, and consuming art from someone who is still alive and who will gain from my patronage.

    I take that point, but think it’s a little more complicated than that. I think T.S. Eliot is (arguably) the greatest English language poet and critic of the 20th century. The fact that he’s long dead doesn’t make a string of blatantly anti-Semitic comments in his essays any less foul, simply because the person cashing his royalty checks is his second wife.

    @ryantaurant
    What I find interesting is this demonizing of people who speak their mind about certain topics.
    If an LGBT supporter espouses their opinions in a public forum, it’s all “Freedom of speech” and “They have a right to their opinion/choice/lifestyle” and no one really thinks twice about it.
    When someone like Card espouses their beliefs, most of which stem from hundreds (if not thousands) of years of tradition, all I hear is “Crucify him!!” and “Everything vaguely associated with this person is anathema!”

    First, Ryantaurant, may I suggest you do some more research? I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful, nuanced and mutually respectful debate I’ve found on-line both pro- and anti-boycotting Ender’s Game. Sorry, but you caricature doesn’t reflect my reality. (BTW, I’ve long upheld the right of orgs like NOM and Focus on the Family to call on their members and supporters to boycott companies like Disney that offer spousal benefits to same-sex partners of their employees. So there.)

    Where the quality of my patience gets most strained his hearing people like Card demand “tolerance” from GLBT folks. You know, the people they’ve equated with rapists, child molesters and practitioners of bestiality? Whose families need to be destroyed by any means possible to protect children from this vile abuse? Who are sub-humans totally undeserving of any civil or human rights whatsoever?

    I will defend the right of homophobic bigots to spew their utter contempt on me and mine; but please don’t expect me to show “tolerance” by STFU and going away. Card is not the only person here who enjoys freedoms of speech, assembly, political and religious expression and association in a free society and free market.

  112. DameB – I cannot imagine that it would pass the Bechdel test. The book certainly doesn’t.

  113. It’s not just that I don’t agree with his POV, there are plenty of authors on my shelves whom I don’t agree with on one social issue or another including same sex marriage, it’s that he actually goes so far as to incite violent revolution “to protect the institution of marriage”. That’s just straight into crackpot territory.

    “Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

    By Orson Scott Card , Deseret News
    Published: Thursday, July 24 2008 12:01 a.m. MDT

    I don’t support Crackpot. IMO he isn’t any better than Racist Homophobic Sexist Dipshit. At least that one amuses me.

    To be honest the trailers haven’t done anything to make me interested in the Ender’s Game film, so chances are I wouldn’t have gone to see it anyway. If, however, a boycott like this would deter studios from spending money on creators with such an outspoken anti-gay standpoint I’m not going to lose sleep over it.

  114. And, ryantaurant, if all you hear about Card is “Crucify him!!” and “Everything vaguely associated with this person is anathema!” then you apparently didn’t read the post at the very top of this thread, not to mention the range of opinions in the comment section, most of which don’t say anything of the kind. Perhaps you’re seeing what you’re looking for and filtering out what doesn’t fit your expectations?

  115. Look, I will be the first one to state that Card’s beliefs are horrible and that he has spent time and money to threaten the safety of my friends. I have read everything that the man has written and I started using the library years ago because I didn’t want to support the man. His personal belief system has been bleeding into his books for years and it is one of the reasons that his more recent books, frankly, are not well written.

    However, as a kid growing up, Ender’s Game helped save my life. That book helped me to understand the world and how to set up my own ethics in a world that didn’t value me or ethics in general. The entire book is a study in surviving powerlessness, valuing others, and tolerance. I have felt for years that Card needs to go back and reread his own book! Even if the movie is flat out horrible, I will see it to honor the impact it had in my life. I still hand that book (used) out to kids that I know are super intelligent, bully bait in order to give them hope. Ender’s Game is an amazing book that deserves a better author.

    I will pay to see it and even though I don’t know how much money he gets from it I will be donating an equal amount of the entire movie experience to GLBT Host Home Program for homeless GLBT teens and young adults here in MN. I will be choosing to make something positive happen instead of boycotting the movie because of one little, weak, man’s beliefs.

    I will also be stealing “Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence”, thanks!

  116. “Personally speaking, I have a pretty high tolerance for artists and creators being obnoxious/offensive/flawed/assholes/otherwise seriously imperfect

    See Pound, Ezra; Pollock, Jackson; Zevon, Warren; etc.

  117. “Seems like the only difference between a blacklist and a boycott is how effective you are.”

    Several people have pointed out a significant error in that assumption — blacklists are top-down, boycotts are bottom-up — but there’s another one worth addressing: A boycott like this one isn’t asserting an absolute rejection of the right to make and distribute films like Ender’s Game; it’s simply saying that, if you make and distribute a film like Ender’s Game, many of us will refuse to see it for a very specific reason. A blacklist actively denies its targets the ability to participate AT ALL in whatever realm it covers.

    In the same op-ed I mentioned in my previous comment, the writer argued that talk of an Ender’s Game boycott angered him the same way the Last Temptation boycott did back in ’89. But they’re NOT the same. People didn’t just boycott Last Temptation; they actively sought to suppress it. Nobody I’ve seen is actively seeking to suppress Ender’s Game.

  118. @BW

    Likewise, if ryantaurant actually believes “no one really thinks twice about it” when someone publicly supports LGBT equal rights, then s/he’s led a very sheltered life. Or an obliviously privileged one.

  119. I’m still trying to process how I feel about Asimov after finding out he pinched women’s rears. After I figure that out, maybe I can move on to OSC. (I liked Ender’s Game as a kid, I suspect I would find it disturbing now.)

  120. Card still supports the other throw of the US Government if same sex marriage is legalized. That still makes him a worthless human being. I am pro nuclear power but I wouldn’t advocate revolution if it was mad illegal.

  121. I personally dislike the notion that artists are/should be somehow more exempt from judgment than people in other professions. I’m not going to hire a known homophobe to fix my car, so why should I hire one to entertain me? Life’s short, and there are hundreds of other stories told by not-reprehensible people. There are in fact some truly amazing people creating art who could use the patronage one might otherwise spend on a jerk.

    That said, I do think there are degrees (at least for me.) I’m willing to grant exceptions for people whose icky words/acts are based in ignorance, accident, culture/era or undue outside influence, particularly if said words/acts are well outweighed by other things. I forgive some of the racist elements in Tolkien’s works, for instance, because in context, I think it’s clear that they were not intentional, and were instead subconscious cultural conditioning that at the time had not yet been challenged enough for him to have gotten the “that’s wrong” message.

    But people who are actively awful, and know they’re being actively awful? No. Perfect example: Adam Baldwin. He’s a giant assgasket, knows it, and is utterly unrepentant about it. I refuse to watch anything with him in it because I don’t want to further his career and therefore his disproportionately large soapbox. Likewise Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, Mel Gibson, Patricia Heaton, etc. These people know better, and thus have no excuse for their horrid behavior. I’m also incensed by people who frame themselves as paragons of progressive anti-bigotry who get defensive when called on bad acts. Merely being, say, a champion of LGBT rights doesn’t give someone carte blanche to use bigoted language of other kinds. The honorable thing to do when called on that stuff is to apologize and learn from it, not pitch a toddler tantrum because you should be above judgment because of the nice things you do.

    It’s inevitable that everyone screws up now and then. I was a registered libertarian when I was 19 and clueless. I used racist epithets when I was a kid. I’m currently trying to condition myself out of the deeply ingrained habit of casual ableist language (and the fact that I use it is all the more wrong because I’m subject to ableism myself!) What matters isn’t the mistakes you make, but how you react to people pointing out that you made them. Doubling down on bigotry, as Card does under critcism? Inexcusable. The man will never, ever get my money no matter how “good” his art is. I’d much rather read more LeGuin.

  122. (John: As a parenthetical request in response to the parenthetical part of your first paragraph, please let us know if there’s some other way that mere mortals can encourage the greenlighting of an OMW movie.)

  123. @Ron Hogan:

    That’s a distinction a lot of advocates of boycotting Ender’s Game have been very careful to make. Card is not the Mormon Salman Rushdie facing a radical homosexual fatwa, no matter how many people would like to reframe things that way.

  124. I spent years in the theatre and ran into a few raging insecure asses. My take, then and now, is that the world is full of asses, so if I meet one who provides some light and beauty in the form of art, I am inclined to cut some slack. That said, OSC hasn’t provided either light or beauty in many years, to my mind.
    I will ‘boycott’ the film for the same reasons many here have given – it takes a great deal of enticing to get me into a movie theater these days and the trailer for this one does not entice.

  125. Also, re: blacklisting, free speech, censorship, all that: allow me to put on my Media Law Nerd hat and point something out:

    The First Amendment only guarantees that the government will not prevent you from issuing words in a publicly owned space, or in a space that you personally own. (A.K.A. Prior Restraint.) Even within this, however, there are exceptions (national security, for instance.)

    Consequences for speech after the fact are a different kettle of onions. You can, for instance, be legally punished for libel or slander, copyright or trademark infringement, etc.

    And–this is the big thing–private individuals may issue consequences for your speech all they like (so long as they’re not violating other laws.) If you own a bar and want to kick out anyone who makes a racist joke, you are well within your rights to do so; the person telling that joke has no cause to complain. If the net effect of such ejections is that the racist joker feels he can no longer tell racist jokes in bars, so be it. That’s not censorship. That’s the simple cause and effect of public opinion.

    In other words: If you’re mad that people give you shit for being a bigoted ass, then stop being a bigoted ass. You otherwise have no redress (save complaining about it.) If you’re not being thrown in jail or fined for what you say, then you’re not actually being censored in violation of the Constitution. You’re just being judged by the rest of us for your crappy behavior. Sorry, Sparky, but the Constitution doesn’t protect you from that.

  126. Does boycotting make any sense when this country is so evenly split? Last summer there was a Chick-fil-A boycott. They made record profits. Announce a boycott of Ender’s Game and Card will make even more money off the publicity.

    And I do hope that Old Man’s War makes it to the screen. If it’s quality, I’ll buy a ticket no matter what your politics.

  127. I’ll probably wait for Ender’s game to hit On Demand or something, but if Old Man’s War gets adapted I’ll be in line at the theater.

  128. I find Mr. Card’s views on gays rather repugnant, but that has nothing to do with the reason I won’t see the film. Mr. Card is a skillful writer, but I thought the book’s moralism was simplistic, inconsistent and a little hypocritical. The “twist” at the end was pretty ham-fisted and contrived. For me it’s one of those “See everyone! Sci-fi can be relevant if it has an important message!” kind of books. From the preview I saw, the movie looks even more dumbed down. I know a lot of people are making the argument that the failure of Ender’s Game could make it more difficult for other intelligent, or “grown up”, sci-fi projects to get made, but since it doesn’t actually operate on that level I don’t think that will be an issue. Those kinds of projects are and will always be few and far between no matter what happens with Ender’s Game.

  129. Thank you; I think this is really well written.

    I don’t have a problem with people boycotting Card, but I am nervous about those who want to be upset that another person won’t. I mean – you can be a bit upset, sure. You might hope I’d join the boycott, and think I’m the kind of person who would, and be upset that I didn’t live up to your expectations if I refuse.

    But in a weird sense, I feel that some of what people want to do is make Orson Scott Card the sum total of his (in their minds, and mine) vile opinions about gay people. But he’s not.

    He’s a human being. He’s got stuff about him a person might hate; he has other stuff the same person might love. He’s complicated, just like we all are.

    To say that I should let that opinion be the sum total of him is veering into really dangerous territory. It’s dehumanization, of a sort, to say I can’t view him as a human who has a quality I dislike, but others I’m okay with. It’s not the same thing as his bigotry about gay people, but it’s in the same family, and could become a blood relative under the right circumstances.

  130. I cannot imagine that it would pass the Bechdel test. The book certainly doesn’t.

    Apparently Card was initially going to change Graff to a female for the movie, and it would if he had. He didn’t.

  131. 1. I certainly used the phrase “little bugger” as a child, long before I ever heard the word “buggery”. I have afterward as well. I don’t really connect the two. I sometimes use other curses that have literal meanings that are quite different from what I intend. I’ve also noticed that many people regard “friggin'” as a made up word that they might feel more free to utter at work, without being aware that it isn’t made up.

    2. I’d hate to have every book, movie, or album disappear from my library because the creators believe in, or contribute to causes of which I do not approve. I generally don’t consider

    One exception is a band that made it very clear in their liner notes that a percentage of each sale went to groups I wouldn’t support. That really rubbed me the wrong way, even though they are perfectly free to spend the money they earn on what they like. They went out of their way to emphasize the “benefit” of my support.

    I generally don’t boycott stuff because of the values of the creators, but I won’t make an absolute rule about it; it may happen someday. I did once buy the book of an author who I wouldn’t otherwise have read because of how she was treated in fandom.

  132. Sorry, this comment could not be posted.

    ?

    T he only person whose work I’m boycotting at the moment is Roman Polanski. I’ve done so for a very long time and it does not appear to have affected him. It does not seem to be an effective tactic; I doubt I’ll add others.

    I may not go to the movie anyway; I thought the short story was much better than the novel, and the trailer seems to have missed the point of both. Maybe the bargain theatre if it has great effects.

  133. @A Mediated Life:

    Well said. It’s also worth noting the considerable irony of certain people who make a fetish object of the unrestrained free market who cry foul when… well, the wrong kind of people decide to play along.

    @Colin Garbarino:

    Does boycotting make any sense when this country is so evenly split? Last summer there was a Chick-fil-A boycott. They made record profits. Announce a boycott of Ender’s Game and Card will make even more money off the publicity.

    This is intended as a serious question not mallet-bait. On the evening of December 1, 1955, would you have told the Women’s Political Council of Montgomery, Alabama not to call for a boycott of the buses following the arrest of Rosa Parks because it would just put money in the pockets of the National City Lines? Remember, we’re talking about the Jim Crow South where the “split” was nowhere near even.

    The thing is, the bottom line of National City Lines was never the point. If you’re going to spend your life on your knees, don’t be surprised when when every day starts with your face in the dirt and ends with the same old boot in your arse.

  134. Does “Ender’s Game” promote Card’s religious/moral views? That’s the important question for me. I’d have to say no, it doesn’t. In fact, Heinlein’s “Starship Trooper” has more going on in that regard than “Ender’s Game.” And, as an interesting twist to that example, Heinlein also wrote “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

    Unless it’s outright propaganda (and I’ve read my share of Soviet military memoirs, I’ll tell you), I tend to take a piece of work on its own merits. So, if I do or don’t go to “Ender’s Game” it’ll be because I don’t think the film is very good, not because I didn’t agree with the worldview of its author.

  135. I’m happy to align my decision not to see this movie with an OSC boycott, but I think the movie looks dreadful anyway. I’m not sure how much of that is projecting my distaste for Card onto the movie, but I don’t think Harrison Ford’s been any good since the 90s and I’m irritated to see Ben Kingsley tick off another box on his Ethnicity Bingo card. Even if I’d never heard of the author I doubt I could muster more than cautious optimism for this one.

    My distaste for Card is kind of personal, in a weird way. When I was a teenager, he was my favorite author. I was also very engaged with conservative politics, and considered a lot of the homophobic stuff in his work A-OK (The Homecoming series comes to mind). So my dislike for him now is bound up in my dislike of my previous ideological conceits.

  136. MRAL: i’m not convinced it would have passed; does Graff ever talk to a woman about anything other than Ender?

  137. ryantaurant: It is not “war porn” (seriously?)

    War, even for the “good” guys, even if the good guys “win”, carries a massive, terrible, cost. War requires a sacrifice of those who fight and the nation who support it. Any story that wants to realistically portray war needs to portray the sacrifice it requires.

    Any story that fails to adequately portray the cost of war borne by those who wage it, even the “good” guys, even when the good guys “win”, is writing war porn.

    There is no cost portrayed in Enders Game. The war is portrayed as game until the Shyamalan-like “twist” at the end where we find out the “game” is real war.

    The other major sign of war porn, btw: whether or not it shows the real, human, cost of the war that is inflicted on the enemy. Or whether it portrays the enemy as non-thinking, non-sentient, bugs that can be killed with as much moral weight as swatting a fly. Ender’s Game kills the “buggers” like swatting hive-minded flies.

    That OSC is a homophobic bigot actually makes sense for someone who wrote the war porn that is Ender’s Game. To be a homophobic bigot requires demonizing and othering gays to the point that they are nonhuman, to the point that one can wage a war-porn version of “war” against gays and pretend that there is no cost. Bigots pay the price of losing their humanity. Gays pay the cost of discrimination.

    What I find interesting is this demonizing of people who speak their mind about certain topics.

    First of all, the question was whether to boycott his movie or not. If boycotts are “demonizing” in your world, I can only imagine you thought Martin Luther King Jr. was the devil himself.

    Second of all, I’d be much more inclined to believe this isn’t first grade bullshit if you could provide a link where you similarly strenuously object on OSC’s blog or some other homophobe’s blog and chastize them for, you know, demonizing gay people. Because, that’s what homophobes do.

    When someone like Card espouses their beliefs, most of which stem from hundreds (if not thousands) of years of tradition

    Ah, well, I see part of the problem is you don’t know what “demonizing” means. Demonizing means portraying someone as less than equally human. That’s what homophobes do to gay people. Homophobes demonize gay people by trying to portray them as less than human. Even if homophobes are trying to convince everyone that gays aren’t equal humans with equal rights while hiding behind “thousands) of years of tradition”, they’re still demonizing gays.

    You appear to think that “demonize” means something along the lines of “someone who strongly refutes what I agree with”.

  138. @aphrael, Major Anderson is a female, and Graff has a good bit of dialogue with her. Most of it is about Ender, but I think they also talk a little about “humanity” and “the war” more generally.

  139. Agreed with everyone who pointed out that we don’t care that he’s a homophobic asshat. Indeed, part of the greatness of America is that you can say whatever you want. But, you also need to be ready for people to be against it and not whine about being persecuted.

    And the money thing is just unconscionable. He’s got a producer credit, which means he’s going to get more money, and odds are he’s going to give that money to organizations which have caused demonstrative harm to people worldwide (The US, Uganda, etc.). Not to mention costing a lot of money in elections and litigation that takes taxpayer money everywhere NOM, et al, have raised their evil, petty heads. It really is about the money here. I don’t go around giving money to people in the KKK either.

    Also, I don’t believe in giving money to people who advocate an armed overthrow of the US government, whatever their politics may be, left or right.

    Also also, the movie looks shitty and considering even matinees in my neck of the woods are north of $7, it ain’t happening. I like Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, but it doesn’t look like they can save this turkey.

  140. Boycotting is not demonizing, I agree. It is a personal decision and does not reflect on the object of the boycott. It was nice reading some Scalzi non-fiction I agree with. Personal responsibility is a very conservative value. Saying “That OSC is a homophobic bigot”, that is demonizing. I disagree with OSC and I think he is wrong but unless and until he infringes on the rights of others, he is certainly welcome to his opinions and diverse thoughts.

    I have not read the book in years but I thought one of the main points was to explore the separation of the reality of war from the skills of war. It was the stark comparison at the end that was my take away. The success was deadened by the reality.

  141. I knew someone who was on a hair-trigger as regards boycotts – wouldn’t go see a Tom Cruise movie because she didn’t like Scientology; wouldn’t go to see a movie with James Franco in it because he expressed a belief in God; wouldn’t read this author or that author because she found their books too Christian, that sort of thing. She had a habit of running through friends and dropping them as soon as she disagreed with anything they said. That’s not a good way to live.

    Having said that, I decided a while back never to buy from one US author (*) after he seriously commentated on the Usenet that people who were Communists should be executed if there was a chance of them getting any political power in another country’s democratic system. Seriously – he would have been advocating that MPs in the Green Party here be assassinated because they have Parliamentary representation.

    (*) and let’s be blunt, said author is Steve Stirling.

  142. MRAL, fair point. given the context of the program and the fact that they’re *primarily* talking about Ender, i’m not sure I’d consider it a pass.

  143. Not so many years ago, I would have been in 100% agreement with Scalzi here. I’m big on separating the art from the artist, and there are many artists whose work I greatly enjoy even though I very much dislike the artist as a human being. For years, Card was in this category for me, but at some point, not too long ago, he just crossed a line for me, and I was no longer able to view his works dispassionately. I can no longer bring myself to support his work with my hard-earned money.

    Where I am in absolute agreement with Scalzi, though, is that everyone needs to determine where this line is (or even if it exists) for themselves.

  144. Rod Rupert: I’m curious: OSC chaired NOM (a position he held for several years but, as has been pointed out, does no longer) an organization whose continuing mission is to demonize gay people — remember that ‘The Coming Storm’ ad? — and which has encouraged and praised legislation in Uganda that makes homosexuality a crime you can be killed for. Would you call being the chair of such an organization ‘infringing on the rights of others?’ Just wondering; I’d be curious as to why-or-why-not.

  145. (Hastily pointing out that I’m not trying to ask a ‘gotcha’ question. I really do want to hear what Rod Rupert has to say on this, and if he’s seeing a difference that I’m not.)

  146. MNmom: However, as a kid growing up, Ender’s Game helped save my life. That book helped me to understand the world and how to set up my own ethics in a world that didn’t value me or ethics in general. The entire book is a study in surviving powerlessness, valuing others, and tolerance.

    I’m sorry living in a world that didn’t value you was your experience growing up.

    But that doesn’t make Ender’s Game either a good book or a book about valuing people. The character Ender is a gary stu on several levels. He is morally better than everyone and everyone tortures him for no reason just to show how immoral they are compared to him. He is strategically and tactically smarter than everyone, but everyone ignores him. Until the very end, where folks finally realize how much better Ender is than everyone else and he alone saves the human race. That’ll show them.

    There is a reason children’s books place the protagonist in the cupboard under the stairs of their Aunt and Uncle’s house, after their parents are killed in the backstory. It is the sort of thing that appeals to children. There’s a reason children’s books place a magically imbued child in the home of muggles who not only hate magic but are also rude, opinionated, cruel, and neglectful of them. It is the sort of thing that children identify with.

    The mantra of a child was perfectly captured by Will Smith’s “parents just don’t understand”. And the thing that parents don’t understand? Just how unfair life is, how unfair their life is. The main thing a children’s book provides is an understanding voice. It can’t fix anything. It can’t change anything. But it can show someone like Ender who is shown to be morally better than and smarter than everyone around him, get abused, misused, mistreated, misunderstood, and neglected.

    There isn’t any moral lesson in Enders Game that children don’t already know. Rather what Ender’s Game provides is a character that children can identify with as being a situation similar to their own (life is unfair and parents/adults just don’t understand that), and then have that character overcome their scenario.

    The thing is, Ender overcomes his situation as a result of his status as a Gary Stu. He really is smarter than everyone. He really is morally superior to everyone.

    Compare this to something like, say, Harry Potter, where Harry starts out as special (*the boy who lived”) and eventually finds out that the reason he lived had nothign to do with him being more special than anyone else, but rather due to his mother’s love for him. Potter doesn’t win over Voldermort because he is the smartest/bestest wizard in the world. Potter wins because he shows kindness sometimes even to his enemies and this comes back to him when he needs it. Potter wins because the people he surrounds himself with are smarter than he is.

    Harry Potter starts off with pretty standard Gary Stu “Woe is me” stuff, but eventually comes around to a much more adult ending.

    Ender’s Game starts of with Gary Stu “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m going to eat some worms”, and reaches its finale by having Ender simply be the emodiment of that childhood fantasy that he really is smarter, better than everyone else.

    I’m not saying the book didn’t help you in a time of need. But that doesn’t mean that the book is an adult book wiht adult notions of empathy and adult solutions to problems and so on.

  147. @MRAL @aetherize, I agree with you, but also, the name could be just Card snickering. I’m not saying Xopher is right, but it’s definitely striking.

    I don’t think Xopher’s right, for the reasons JS has stated are irrelevant to the thread, but Card’s choice as the term “Bugger” is telling in that it is a substitute for words such as “gook”, “chink” or “nip”. He’s showing dehumanization through what he assumes is a universal antipathy to anal (i.e. male gay) sex.

    @Greg: That might be exaggerating a bit. But Ender is no Ashoka the Great, that’s for sure.

    Really? – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalinga_War

    The parallel seems striking.

  148. Rod: Saying “That OSC is a homophobic bigot”, that is demonizing.

    Right, well, the only real problem with “OSC is a bigot” is that you can’t tell a bigot they’re a bigot. If you do, they blow a fucking gasket. What you have to is say That thing you said sounded racist.

    Because bigots have feelings.

    Angry. Judgemental. Hateful. Feelings.

  149. @Greg

    World English Dictionary
    demonize or demonise (ˈdiːməˌnaɪz)
    — vb
    1. to make into or like a demon
    2. to subject to demonic influence
    3. to mark out or describe as evil or culpable

    I don’t really see any particular meaning of the word “demonize” that means “make less than human.” I could check a few more dictionaries, if you like. Is there a special one for people trying to push their own agenda?
    In most cultures, demons were creatures of magic or fallen divinity. Making them, technically, superhuman/supernatural. My use of demonize was “to mark out or describe as evil or culpable” and is exactly what I meant.

    The demonization that I spoke of was in a general sense, anyway. Speaking out against LGBT rights, or defaming someone who is a minority race, or espousing a belief that abortion is wrong is a surefire way to suffer backlash from any and every group that thinks it is in the tiniest bit slighted by the comment.
    “Paula Deen said the n-word 15 years ago? Pull all her product lines off the shelf!!”
    “OSC doesn’t think LGBT should be allowed to marry? Boycott a movie based on a book he wrote 30 years ago!!”

    You simply don’t see that reaction from the majority of people.
    “Freddie Mercury is homosexual? Boycott the song Bohemian Rhapsody!!”
    “Mel Brooks is a Jew? Destroy all the copies of Spaceballs!!”
    Sounds a little ridiculous, doesn’t it?

    I’m not saying that there are not civil, intelligent conversations being had about these subjects. What I was doing was lamenting the fact that there are people who take things too far, who act like mob justice is the way, or that ostracizing someone for their opinion is the appropriate reaction. In the LGBT discussion, they are the polar opposites of the homophobes, the “everyone who isn’t with me is WRONG!” kind. Fringe people that are better off at the edges of the discussion, not trying to get into the middle of it.

  150. SarahM : I agree with what John said here and I really like (and will shamelessly steal^wborrow the phrase “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence”) but I also agree with Seebs in that there is a difference between consuming art produced by someone heinous who is long dead and not going to profit from my consumption, and consuming art from someone who is still alive and who will gain from my patronage.

    So where do you stand on consuming art from organisations such as film studios that contribute to heinous causes?

  151. The demonization that I spoke of was in a general sense, anyway.

    I think you’re diluting the meaning of the term doing it that way. And I think it runs afoul of the avoiding consequences thing Scalzi was talking about by oversimplifying the positions you seem to be opposed to. (For example, I’d opposed Paula Dean not for saying the n-word, but for try to TREAT black employees like dirt).

  152. MNMom I have read everything that the man has written and I started using the library years ago because I didn’t want to support the man.

    Alas, librarians use usage statistics as a very important indicator in making buying decisions. If Card’s books are well used by people who won’t buy them themselves, your library will tend to buy every new book by Card that comes out. So, better than buying it yourself, but not perfect.

    And note that as a librarian, I’d have a professional obligation to buy and represent within the collection opinions I disagreed with – to give an example, a good library should reflect the anti-gay marriage case as well as the pro-gay marriage case, preferably by choosing the best and most rational works advocating either.

  153. Ryantaurant:

    As a procedural note, bringing in a dictionary definition and acting as if it is prescriptive rather than descriptive is not the winning strategy you think it is.

    Likewise your examples there are not working as you would like them to; what they are mostly doing is showing that your understanding of the issue is rather shallow, and that you like constructing less than useful strawmen in lieu of a cogent argument.

    Finally, you don’t seem to understand some of the words you are using, which is ironic when you are bringing dictionary definitions into your arguments. For example, if one is in fact defaming someone who is a minority, why should one expect anything other than backlash? You’re slandering someone when you defame them. That is precisely the sort of speech which merits backlash.

    In short: You’re not in any way successfully making the argument you wish to make.

  154. ryantaurant: What I was doing was lamenting the fact that there are people who take things too far, who act like mob justice is the way,

    See that? What you’re doing is demonizing what is really going on here. And by demonizing I mean you’re taking a rather muted conversation about possibly boycotting a movie and trying to pretend it fits the definition of “mob justice”. And then you’re “lamenting” the fact that this “mob justice” is happening. Right here. On this thread. This very moment.

    I have one question for you, ryantaurant, and this is the only question that will prevent me from assuming you’re nothing but a troll: Was MLK boycotting the busses in Montgomery “mob justice”?

    Because this isn’t even nearly organized as MLK. It’s a loose conversation and some people aren’t sure what they’re going to do. And the post at the top of this thread by Scalzi says he is NOT going to boycott the movie. So, this whole “mob justice” “fact” that you say you’re “lamenting”? Not seeing it.

    Seem to me you’re just demonizing something you don’t agree with. Unless of course, you think MLK’s bus boycot was “mob justice”, in which case, you’re a fool, but at least you’re a consistent fool.

  155. @Ryantaurant:

    I totally co-sign what John Scalzi just said. One other modest suggest; You might want to dial all the way back on the tone policing. Intentionally or not, it’s a bog standard derailing tactic and a massively provocative one that just ends up with our host swinging the mallet, getting all stabby with the delete button and generally grumpy. That’s no fun, and even less use.

  156. I’m an author, and a person with very strong, very loud opinions, so I get ‘boycotted’ all the time. People ‘threaten’ me regularly with never buying my books because I’ve offended them. And to them I say, fine. I don’t care. I *really* don’t care. (A former editor got pretty damn angry at me for saying that in public. How exactly am I supposed to respond to that kind of threat? Roll over and show my belly?)

    People can boycott me for my views, and they do. That’s fair because I am the boycott queen. My list of authors I will read in my genre is very very short indeed because I won’t read books by authors whose views I abhor, or by their supporting friends. I won’t read books by authors who are jackasses. I won’t buy books by homophobes, racists, sexists, or right wing republicans. I won’t read books by authors who shit on their readers, and I won’t read books by authors who defend those authors or the shitting on of readers.

    I have two reasons for ‘boycotting’ these authors. One, I don’t want to give them my money. Two, I don’t want to be surprised in the text by hate speech (which is why I won’t even borrow their books from the library.) Much as Xopher is sick of reading books where gay people die horribly, I don’t want to find casual racism, or women being slut shamed (or murdered gratuitously), and I certainly don’t want to find a sympathetic character espousing transphobia or homophobia.

    A lot of you say you can separate art from the artist. But I’m an author. I know how this writing thing works. We dredge our experiences, our thoughts, our opinions – other people’s experiences, thoughts and opinions – and distill them into something new and hopefully wonderful. But like the notes in wine and whiskey, the terroir will show through, influencing all. When you read a book, you are getting a little piece of the author with it – and like a turd in a bottle of scotch, it doesn’t matter how little of that piece is there if I vehemently loathe the author’s actions or opinions. It will out.

    Boycotts can be for any reason the consumer chooses: for something as trivial as the fact a writer uses first person, or as wrongheaded as a company using mixed race models in advertising, or as serious as Nestlé marketing expensive baby formula to women in the third world causing women to mal and mis nourish their babies while throwing their healthy breast milk away.

    The right to create is built on the right to refuse to consume, and to be discriminating in our tastes. It makes me angry to see creators chastise those who want to boycott this film, or any artistic creation. It’s disrespectful to the concept of freedom of thought and action.

    “So John Scalzi is Ken White if Scalzi had stayed in California and became a lawyer? ”

    Scalzi is what Ken White should hope to be when he grows up.

  157. @ Ann Somerville:

    “””Scalzi is what Ken White should hope to be when he grows up.”””

    Niiiiiiice. I should totally have thought of that.

  158. “Scalzi is what Ken White should hope to be when he grows up.”

    I don’t think it’s a competition.

  159. @Anne Sommerville

    People can boycott me for my views, and they do. That’s fair because I am the boycott queen. My list of authors I will read in my genre is very very short indeed because I won’t read books by authors whose views I abhor, or by their supporting friends. I won’t read books by authors who are jackasses. I won’t buy books by homophobes, racists, sexists, or right wing republicans. I won’t read books by authors who shit on their readers, and I won’t read books by authors who defend those authors or the shitting on of readers.

    Does this list really exclude the majority of authors in your genre? What sort of things count as shitting on readers?

  160. …late to the party I know…

    Separating the art from the artist is moot (might as well use Card’s language) when Card also wrote Hamlet’s Father, a horrible novella resetting Hamlet with King Hamlet (the titular father) as a pedophile who turned all the men around him gay.

  161. I enjoyed EG the story much more than EG, the novel. Since moves tend to be short stories at best, it could come out well. (It could also suck big-time) Will I go? Probably, but if not, it may not be a boycott as much as finding it available when I’m in the mood for it.

  162. Though I fully disagree with Mr Card’s position on LGBT issues, and think he is thoroughly misguided in imposing theocratic values on a secular society, I did enjoy the book and will not be part of the boycott but respect those who choose to support it.
    Mr Card forgets that it is a secular society which supports his freedom to worship as he chooses. Historically in Europe, the role of the state was to uphold and defend the interest of the Catholic Church, not the interest of its citizens. Does he really wish to go back to theocratic values? I can only hope that through dialogue, he sees the error in his position.

  163. [Deleted because we know better than to get snippy at the other people for no particularly useful purpose - JS]

  164. You’ve said it very well, I think. Beyond the free speech element, though, is the fact that, even if I were to boycott a writer’s books for moral reasons, boycotting a movie of their book does not affect only them, but also hundreds of cast and crew, office workers, caterers, trainers, and who knows what all else in the production chain who have had nothing to do with the author. Boycotting a movie punishes countless innocents along with the original creator, many of whom would support the opinion that you are boycotting their work for. Still, if one feels morally obligated to boycott a movie because they feel the original source was created by a jerk, that’s fine, go for it.

  165. I enjoy a lot of work from artists I don’t personally agree with on various subjects, whether it be singing, writing, acting, etc.

    If I find something I don’t care for or not all that interesting to me, I tend to move on. But that is based on the content of the work.

    But I have no problem with people using other criteria for their support or non-support of artists. As Mr. Scalzi says, it is up to the individual. I agree.

  166. [Deleted because it's not your job here to tell people to shut up, Floored - JS]

  167. @Tammy J Rizzo:

    Beyond the free speech element, though, is the fact that, even if I were to boycott a writer’s books for moral reasons, boycotting a movie of their book does not affect only them, but also hundreds of cast and crew, office workers, caterers, trainers, and who knows what all else in the production chain who have had nothing to do with the author. Boycotting a movie punishes countless innocents along with the original creator, many of whom would support the opinion that you are boycotting their work for.

    That’s absolute nonsense unless everyone involved in Ender’s Game have deferred all payments for back-end points on net gross. I not only find that extremely implausible, but am wondering why every labour union and trade association in Hollywood hasn’t raised unholy hell about this unorthodox form of compensation.

    And if the boycott actually turned Ender’s Game into a bigger flop than The Lone Ranger? Well, if having an unsuccessful project on your resume made you unemployable in the motion picture biz, Hollywood wouldn’t only have the highest unemployment rate in the Western World, it would also be suffering from the mother of all skills shortages.

  168. @Ann So no Shakespeare? Mark Twain? Mary Shelley? Jane Austen? Conrad? Rex Stout?

    It does sound a bit tiresome, actually.

  169. given the context of the program and the fact that they’re *primarily* talking about Ender, i’m not sure I’d consider it a pass.

    Eh, I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of the test, though. If you’re really determined you can find a way to discount anything. I remember one time someone said that Black Swan didn’t pass because Swan Lake (the play) was originally written by a man. Uh, no.

  170. Eh, I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of the test, though.

    I think that it falls perfectly within the spirit of the Bechdel test, actually. The point of the Bechdel test is that the female characters must have interactions with each other that don’t revolve around a male character — one throwaway line (or two) in a conversation or series of conversations that is otherwise *all about* a male character is some slight relief, but doesn’t really lift the work out of the trend that the Bechdel test was devised to point out and try to amend.

  171. A vital part of any boycott having any effect is to inform the person or institution most likely to be affected–in this case, the studio. Otherwise, they may interpret the numbers as something other than what you intended. You can certainly tell them that you’re an avid consumer of science fiction films, but are choosing not to participate in this one because…

  172. There are many authors I disagree with that I have no problem buying their books. Some just keep their obnoxious views to themselves. Others use their works to frame interesting and heterodox questions, that’s fine too. If my own views are legitimate, they are available for discussion and challenge.I can think of a couple whose in-story views (pro-rape or gun-nut) are sufficiently obnoxious that I skip buying their works, but my personal political preferences do not rise to the level of boycott.

    Card is several steps over this line, mainly because he uses the revenue from his writing to fund anti-human rights campaigns that adversely affect real people (like the Californians denied equality because of the NOM Proposition 8 campaign).

    Lions Gate (which I have invested in) and Harrison Ford may lose some money on this project. They’ll move onto the next. I hope a boycott makes a financial difference, it may not. But the next time Card goes to Hollywood, or DC Comics, or wherever, people thinking about doing business with him will think about the possibility of a future boycott and bad publicity for them. And, more importantly, they’ll think about why a boycott happens, because of the real human beings who are denied equal rights in the United States and elsewhere because bigotry was normal in the past. The intent is to educate people.

    Card is free to say and write what he wishes and to market his works to his chosen audience of bigots. He is never required to cater to my preferences as a consumer, citizen, and human being. Unfortunately the question is bigger than mere free speech, because he uses his money to restrict the equal rights of others. Insofar as it’s up to me, his money doesn’t come from me.

  173. I really haven’t thought much about whether I will see Ender’s Game, but I suspect that it will depend on the reviews and whether they can adequately bring to the screen the null-g war games and less on Card’s political beliefs and actions. I personally suspect that he’ll make less from this movie than he does from many of his books.

    I don’t consider this a boycott, but I find it hard to pay to see Tom Cruise in a movie, mostly because of his prominence in the Church of Scientology and his obnoxious behavior related to it. I suspect his off-screen antics may have colored my opinions of some of his on-screen performances (for example I thought the MI movies sucked).

  174. Some of my friends that I’ve reconnected with on social sites such as FB have shown a worrisome trend toward uber-conservative viewpoints. That doesn’t mean I throw them away or condemn them. I remember why I was drawn to them back in high school or college or wherever. That’s the way I feel about Card and other authors whose views often stagnated or calcified as they aged. I’ll see the movie for sure and not worry about the wider global / social implications.

  175. “It’s wrong to boycott artists” is definitely an idea that doesn’t understand art much less the concept of free speech. I don’t have to buy anything I don’t want to, end of story. I can comment on any art or artist I want to, end of story. Boycotts are often effective with businesses, but that’s not really the goal of this boycott. It’s simply to protest or to act on conscience, which we all have as much right to do as Card does to write a novel. When you write a novel, or make a film, no one is under any obligation to sample it ever, not even your mother, or to talk about the work or you nicely. Likewise, anyone who wants to go to the film has every right to do so. That’s what a free country means.

    I was given Ender’s Game and liked it, read Speaker for the Dead and really liked it, read Xenocide and thought it flawed, but it completed the trilogy. I sampled a few other of his works and found that they ranged from okay to awful. So I stopped reading him. He also wrote a pretty solid short non-fiction book on characterization for Writer’s Digest which I found useful enough to recommend, so I sent money to his pocket. During that time I didn’t know a lot about him, which is not uncommon with authors.

    But then he went fully public with his views in the time of the Internet. Card is not a dead author who cannot change, an author who lived in the 19th century or the 16th, effected by the views and societies of his time. He’s a living author in the last part of the 20th century and the early 21st, an American living in a democracy. And his virulent views are not simply a matter of hatred for gays, but of expressed contempt for the idea of any civil rights and equality, an advocacy for an authoritarian theocracy and forced worship over a secular democracy, and a call to violence, from everything from revolution and jailing gays to supporting Uganda in drafting a bill to execute gays through NOM, as well as extensive activism to accomplish these goals. In short, Card supports a world that in Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead he protested as an evil. That’s his choice. Mine is not to support him in goals that are not only aimed at gay people, but at anyone who disagrees with him and the very conservative sector of his church. Even if I love Harrison Ford and have been deeply impressed by Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin. I’m the same about Roman Polanski and Woody Allen, also alive and of this time.

    I do not take any umbrage towards DC Comics or Lionsgate for choosing to work with Card. I certainly have no anger at Tor, who didn’t sign up for the problem when they originally published him. But if you choose to work with or continue to work with someone who is actively and publicly trying to harm others, you are taking the risk of the consequences of that with the work — just as gay artists, etc., take the risk of trying to do their art when some audience sectors will be hostile to them. And the inept, poor responses of DC and Lionsgate at those consequences are highly annoying.

    But the worst was Card’s temper tantrum to Entertainment Weekly, in which he posited that the minor but important victories with the U.S. Supreme Court means everyone should be nice to him now or be intolerant. The contempt, arrogance and callousness towards people he harmed that his short statement showed certainly wiped any hesitation I might have had about seeing the movie. I do not wish the film well or ill. I do not mind anyone reading his books. But I’m not giving the film my money.

  176. if I were to boycott a writer’s books for moral reasons, boycotting a movie of their book does not affect only them, but also hundreds of cast and crew, office workers, caterers, trainers, and who knows what all else in the production chain who have had nothing to do with the author.

    I think now would be a good time to remind folks that I had friends on that death star.

    (tear)

  177. Also, points to JS for noting the distinction between “prescriptive” and “descriptive” uses of dictionaries. I make the same point when I make up words. ;)

  178. I don’t see the value of potentially endangering the livelihood of a whole bunch of people (director, script writers, actors, crews, theaters, investors, etc) to “punish” one man. Especially when the film does not endorse or support his views.

    Take some concrete action, instead. Write an opinion piece, donate to a worthwhile organization, or write to your elected representatives, write a letter to a paper . . . all constructive things instead of being a petulant quasi-grown-up.

  179. I don’t see the value of potentially endangering the livelihood of a whole bunch of people

    I think this is a bit of a disgression and values the well being of these others over those of the person who dislikes the work. Remember, a viewer is not obligated to buy and watch any specific piece of work. After all, you could say you are disregarding and belittling the stands of the boycotters. That’s not very grown up either.

  180. I respect Mr. Scalzi’s position and would agree with it but for one thing. As a matter of fact I used to think that I did agree with it, and thought that for decades on end. But advancing age has ripped the scales from my eyes and made it clear to me that I am an ideologue. I hear political overtones in everything and I’m more concerned about Power than Art.

    The thing which keeps me from agreeing with Mr. Scalzi is that so many works contain a strong element of propaganda. Some of these strongly propagandistic works are among the great books of the world (witness Uncle Tom’s Cabin) and others, though they aren’t very good as books, are over-represented among the works which catch people at exactly those times in their lives when they have just about given up hope, and virtually save their lives. As a result these are the books, which, disproportionately, mean so much to some of the people who have read them that some, again, of those people will go to any lengths to defend the books which have, as they conceive it, done such wonders for them (while others move on after their lives have been saved and will often regard their earlier smittenness with puzzlement). These are the books which are catchers of souls. Atlas Shrugged is one of these books, and so is Ender’s Game.

    You see what the problem is. These are books which were written primarily not to entertain but to instruct. They’re pervaded by a strong political agenda from the start. They’re not about artistry, they’re about a successfully transmitted message. The message is indispensable to the book and the book can’t be evaluated without it. So that a reader is really up a mortal stump if he or she can’t line up behind the message. A person has to be willing to entertain the message at least theoretically, otherwise the book falls to the ground for him or her. I believe this is why I was unresponsive to Ender’s Game (other than that I was too old when I read it): I had no patience with the message I found there.

    None of this has anything to do with who should or should not see the movie version and why. I’m probably not going to see it, not out of any kind of political conviction but because so far as I can find out it promises to be a pretty bad movie. I really don’t have much of an opinion on that score. But I part company with Mr. Scalzi at the point at which he proposes that it’s my duty to give everything a chance: not everything wants to be given a chance, not by everybody, and many a message marks itself out by virtue of that audience which it takes pains to exclude. My own approach to this is to take the position that persons who have already been excluded are not being unjust when they stay away or stay home. They’re doing as they’ve been told. It’s undignified to run after those who think little of you. So I expect I’d be sympathetic in fact to a stay-away policy, even if I couldn’t justify it to myself in theory.

  181. The message is indispensable to the book and the book can’t be evaluated without it. So that a reader is really up a mortal stump if he or she can’t line up behind the message

    I can’t read Mein Kampf without “lin[ing] up behind the message?”

  182. @dispenser I don’t have access to unlimited funds. Those of us with problems with OSC are taking concrete actions by voting with our dollars and not buying anything with his name on it. Many of us are donating ticket price to organizations

    Believe it or not having conversations like this on a blog that gets as many views as this one does and having a polite discussion about reasons why some of are or are not or are debating whether to see the movie is taking concrete action. It’s letting movie producers, book publishers, and others know that they might need to change their thinking and include an artist behavior in their decision making. This blog has been part of a number of changes just by us having discussions.

    It’s unlikely the movie production company will go out of business if this one movie flops. If it does that is due to poor management. The only people hurt if the movie flops are the people who are at the top of the food chain and make a percent off the ticket sales. They will think twice in the future about whose work to get behind. That is capitalism at work.

    I’m not sure what writing to my congressmen would do. He’s not breaking any laws. When he advocated taking arms up against the US government if certain laws passed he was not breaking any laws.

    But I suspect malleting will be happening soon as we are getting off topic.

  183. I’m heading to bed and this is the sort of topic that will sprout trolls overnight, so I’m turning off the comments for the evening. They’ll be open again in the morning, after I wake up. Night, all!

    Update, 9:52am: Comments back on. Sorry, I slept in.

  184. @Ron, Bearpaw & Greg: I like Greg’s definition of a boycott as punching up, and a blacklist as punching down. That’s helpful. Thing is, I don’t see Card as being “above” me. At best, boycotting him is punching sideways.

    @Kat, I think there’s a significant difference between boycotting and “voting with your feet.” By not going to see Ender’s Game, I’m gonna be doing the latter. An organized boycott is not just saying “Eh, I don’t feel like paying for this,” or even “I won’t give money to support this.” It’s trying to convince enough people to agree with you that the project will fail.

    To go back to Greg’s metaphor, voting with your feet isn’t “punching” but a boycott definitely is.

    @All who have pointed out that Ender doesn’t know he’s destroying the Buggers/Formics: Yeah, Card carefully sets it up so that Ender is “totally innocent.” But I don’t buy it. He believes he’s only practising at deploying a Doomsday weapon to destroy an alien race. So that makes it okay? Even if you accept Card’s manipulations, that seems a pretty thin justification.

  185. I plan on making a donation to a pro-LGBT organization to assuage my guilt; because I really liked reading the book in high school, and the trailer does interest me. I wonder if I can donate on Cards behalf? I think that would be a nice, and vindictive, touch.

  186. @Timid Atheist

    However, the reason I boycott anything Card does is not because of what he says, but what he does. He is part of an organization that actively tries to stop anyone from marrying who is not a man and a woman. This crosses a line for me. Free speech is one thing, but actions are another and that is not an action I’m willing to support.

    Well, yes, but they do so through speech. If they were putting on Swastikas and breaking windows then I’d agree that their actions were more coercive than what they said as individuals. But speaking as an organization which hires others to speak on their behalf is merely another form of free speech. Mind you, I’m not defending Card’s stance on LGBT rights (I find it abhorrent); I’m only noting that membership in anti-equality advocacy groups is an extension of that stance to organized speech. If you’re going to boycott Card on the basis of his group activism then it’s only consistent to do the same based on his purely individual activism. Put another way, the harm done by NOM comes from it’s speech, which is louder only by degree, not method, than Card’s own personal espousal of those same views.

    @ucblockhead

    Seebs: exactly. I happily read/watch/play/buy things from people whose opinions I disagree with. But when they are actively using their money in ways I find destructive, I feel like I should avoid giving them any of my money.

    Time is money. For instance, my ability to take the time to type this, to say nothing of the time I’ve spent critically reading to develop the skill of clear writing, is a direct result of having made enough money to have leisure time. Nor is this unique to me as someone who’s done rather well. No matter how financially secure someone is, they still have a finite amount of leisure time which they must choose to apportion as they see fit.

    @David M. Perry

    what has vexed me about Card’s response is his decision to label those boycotting his film, and trying to convince others to do likewise, as intolerant of his intolerance.

    He has demanded freedom of consequence for his speech and actions. That doesn’t fly.

    I was with you ’till the second paragraph. Calling other people intolerant, whether correct or not (I’m proud to be intolerant of bigotry), isn’t the same as making a demand. It is, in fact, the third stage in the exercise of free speech before the loop begins again.

    @Logophage

    The “good art from a terrible artist” phenomenon is nothing new. Many Jews of European extraction will have nothing to do with Wagner.

    True, but many also claim to hear antisemitism in Wagner’s music, just as many claim to be able to see Card’s prejudices in his writing. They may or may not be correct, but many consider that the personal views do make into the art. Some would even hold that as inevitable (though this is a nonfalsafiable proposition). It is, however, less neatly compartmentalized than Scalzi seems to make it out to be.

    @Patrick Cleary

    Much as I boycott Chik-fil-A for the Cathy family’s views on gay marriage,

    I’ve never patronized a Chik-fil-A, nor do I imagine it likely I ever will, but I found that boycott a bit odd given that it’s a franchise. The Cathy family (at least those involved in the business) get paid either way. The same is true in a sense of this movie. Card’s already been paid. At most, in the unlikely event of a successful boycott, he’ll loose out on future film right’s sales. Given how few authors, even as a percentage of those that see their works brought to the cinema, ever see a sequel anyway unless they are personally involved in the film industry as screenwriters of directors, this seems like an implausibility stacked on an unlikelihood. But I could be wrong. Maybe no one will touch him with a ten meter pole after this.

    @DPWally

    The next step is to apply that standard to every individual and business I interact with. That’s just not a good way to experience the world.

    Some do try. But since that would require insisting others also boycott the same individuals and businesses as a condition to having anything to do with them, one would rather quickly narrow one’s prospective pool of friends and associates. As with all things ideological, a lack of pragmatism is often self-defeating. People who really go for it usually wind up trying to resign from society.

    But I suspect that for most people it’s the signal that has value. Saying they won’t see a film may not really hurt the artist, and it may even deprive others of making money – though I doubt it in this case and, even it did, no one, from movie studio grips to fry cooks, is entitled to a spender’s money – but it gives them a cause to critically spotlight the artist’s views. As a chance to be heard by people asking why so and so is boycotting such and such, it’s an entirely valid exercise and has a better chance of achieving the desired goal of criticism than the ostensible goal of defunding. Even in boycotts that do impact the pocket book, publicity is still achieved. The big risk is, of course, the Streisand effect, where boycotts become free publicity for the studio to people who would never have known about the movie if someone hadn’t told them about the boycott.

    @josh jasper

    Although I think you cover it in your post, I’m going to rephrase. The reason *why* these cretins making art is not a huge deal to you is that you’re playing on the lowest dificulty setting.

    This presupposes the boycott to be effective. I think some are. I have doubts this one will be.

    @Ron Hogan

    Which would be an instructive lesson in the consequences of doing business with egregious homophobes

    Are you sure you’ve never done business with a homophobe? Have you ever worked for a company where not working with a homophobe was not an option if you wanted to keep you job? Can you or your family afford for you to quit jobs when it turns out someone your employer works with is a homophobe? Certainly no one is entitled to your money, but not everyone has the privilege of deciding with whom they can or will do business. The people who can least afford to lose a job are usually the same people with the least discretion in who they and their employer work with. I’m not saying give your money to Lionsgate. I’m saying it’s silly to lay blame at the feet of everyone in any way tangentially doing business with Card.

    @Shecky

    That I thought was likely an aberration; after all, aren’t all popular/successful people self-centered divas who put on a pretty, fake face for the public?

    Gratuitously alienating fans is rarely a good idea, especially for any artist less than mega-famous.

    @Mapleson

    Second of all, Card has continued to revise his position as ‘prevailing opinion’ has shifted.

    Apologist! Just kidding. Card is one of those people whom I vehemently disagree with on most points, but who I read because I like to know my ideological opponents, and I cannot stand the likes of Rush Limbaugh. They both have repugnant stances, but the latter is repugnant in personality and has fewer redeeming characteristics. Then again, there are undoubtedly those who cannot abide Card, so I recognize that this is a very personal choice. But as a litmus test of the socially conservative mindset, Card is useful to me.

    @coo1b1ue

    Well shit, the government at all levels does at least something that actively uses my money in ways I find destructive, and I don’t stop paying taxes because of it…

    If there’s an enforceable way to stipulate where my tax money goes, please tell me.

    @Floored

    Instead, I am going to be boycotting the film because it appears that the studio has taken a morally gray, thought-provoking, dystopian novel and turned it into yet another coming-of-age child “morality porn” story.

    I got the same vibe. At the same time, I’ve seen some horrible trailers for excellent movies, and I’ve seen a lot of tantalizing trailers for movies that turned out to be craptacular. I’m with Scalzi, I’ll wait to see the reviews. Trailers just can’t be trusted any more. I remember back in the good old days when trailers were paragons of movie quality prognostication, but I’m pretty sure that’s just ’cause I’m going senile.

    @catfriend

    In my case I’ve drawn the line at watching the films of a particular director who married his daughter. Never mind that he wasn’t the biological father, he was her father for all intents and purposes.

    While I can’t get exercised over what goes on between consenting adults who don’t endanger the genepool, your comment made me think of this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VxLQZPqI2M

    @Kilroy

    Or have you not seen the popehate post saying pretty much the exact same thing.

    Typo? Or is Ken White really that unpopular?

    @Debbie

    I do, however, judge Card for his self-serving and dishonest statement, which virtually commanded that people be tolerant of his intolerance.

    Over whom does Card enjoy command, virtually or actually? That seems like making the same mistake Card is, conflating criticism with censorship.

    @joelfinkle

    Yes, there are some stories that have terribly cruel things happen to women, but his stories are pretty much “terribly cruel things happen to people” (with a few exceptions, especially in recent years).

    I haven’t read any of Card’s more recent fare, nor am I likely for simple reasons having to do with inhabiting a finite spacetime continuum. However, I’d go a step further and suggest that excluding women from the same things that happen to men in stories is sexist, unless the world depicted is deliberately set up that way, or vice versa. But if it just happens for no apparent reason that group X is spared purely by authorial omission, that goes beyond depicting bigotry to writing it. Conversely, depiction is not endorsement.

    My guess (and a guess is all it is) would be that most people who see misogyny are referring to his fantasy which, I understand from others who’ve read it, depicts invented societies that are sexist. My own favorite Card work is The Worthing Saga, and that includes one protagonist building a society modeled after Old Testament mores. While I suspect Card does (or least least did) agree with some of those mores, I don’t interpret protagonists as authorial mouthpieces because not only can one never be sure, but the mere fact that it’s fiction gives the author plausible deniability, making remote psychoanalysis through manuscript an exercise in futility. Card himself may believe writers will infuse any story with their true beliefs even and especially if they don’t try – and I sort of agree, insofar as the story told has anything to do with what the author believes (Philip K. Dick famously used chance to plot some of his later stories) – but exactly what those moral instructions are is open to wide interpretation. There exist multiple perfectly consistent interpretations of Ender’s Game. What’s the use of bothering to try to tease out which one reflects the author’s inner voice when the author has already quite publicly proclaimed his beliefs and clearly not in a way to curry favor?

    That said, I can totally see how someone who is a member of X group might not enjoy reading about a society that systematically tortures and kills X group, and that’s a legitimate objection. No one is obligated to like what’s depicted. Moreover, if you know from other non-fiction writings and activism that the author is, if not sympathetic with the treatment they depict, at least aligned against the rights of group X, I can see how it could get distracting if you had a hard time forgetting about the author while reading the work. And I can see why some may simply not want to.

    @Mark Halie

    Ask anyone from Belfast over the age of 40 if they would go into just any shop to buy say, a soda, not knowing if the owners were Catholic or Protestant.

    What would that have to do with funding suppression of one’s own civil rights? Being Catholic or Protestant doesn’t mean you participated in the Troubles or support terrorism (or state-sponsored terrorism). The analogy to Jim Crow works, but the analogy to sectarianism fails. Sectarianism is bigotry.

    @Kat

    If anybody actually stuck with me through that long comment, kudos and thanks. I appreciate any thoughts you have.

    I agree completely. Free speech includes being able to make proclamations one has no way of enforcing. It may or may not be hurtful to the person being told to STFU, but it always makes the person saying it seem unrealistic (unless they’re the proprietor). Of course anyone tells anyone to STFU at the pleasure of the proprietor. There are times when I have to check myself and remember that a blogger’s blog is his (or her) castle (or dungeon, to extend the tortured metaphor). There are times when Scalzi seems to explicitly raise a topic and then discourage discussing aspects that are directly part and parcel of it. That’s his prerogative.

    @Bearpaw

    Um, no. Among other differences, the former is run from the top down, the latter is usually run and always powered from the bottom up.

    Not entirely accurate. Say someone creates a blacklist of people to rent affordable housing to (for, say, sexual orientation), and others join in by refusing to rent to the people on the list. The blacklist’s author isn’t over the other landlords. Government blacklists are a very specific subtype. Which is not to say that all successful boycotts are therefor blacklists, just that not all blacklists are not also boycotts. The most insidious blacklists work precisely because there is no one ordering them followed, just a collusion to ostracize.

    @Xopher

    I’m told it glorifies child soldiers and genocide while paying lip service to deploring them.

    One could compellingly argue Old Man’s War glorifies war and genocide while paying lip service to deploring them. In fact, Greg has done just that on his website. But I’ll bet you and he would agree with me that Scalzi doesn’t actually endorse that viewpoint. Card might (I doubt it, though he explicitly endorses plenty of awful stuff whether he endorses that or not), but if depiction it is endorsement then the same must be said of OWM. Unless Card actually has explicitly endorsed child soldiers and genocide somewhere I’m unaware of, which is entirely possible. Basically I’m arguing that what is or isn’t lip service in fiction isn’t really knowable from the fiction alone.

    @DAVID

    In reality, the dead people are actually dead (although, we would hope not by wererabbits).

    You’re just as dead whether your killed by a silver bullet or a wererabbit. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    I can’t read Mein Kampf without “lin[ing] up behind the message?”

    I think bekabot may be (admittedly unclearly) saying that you can’t temporarily suspend disbelief if you can’t buy into whatever of the author’s worldview makes it into the book. I strongly disagree. I can indeed temporarily suspend disbelief no matter how abhorrent the world, characters or acts depicted are. That’s no guarantee I’ll like it, but but I can absolutely fully imagine it. Why bekabot thinks one must line up behind the message to evaluate it escapes me.

    @Greg

    And then at the end, after wiping out millions? of the enemy, Ender has a weird “change of heart” that I would summarize as “golly, war is bad. wish I hadn’t had to kill all those mindless, heartless, soulless mother fuckers.”

    Er, that sort of skip’s a key plot point.

    There is no cost portrayed in Enders Game. The war is portrayed as game until the Shyamalan-like “twist” at the end where we find out the “game” is real war.

    Well, except that the whole setting is predicated on humanity being nearly wiped out in the first Formic war. I’d conceded the second criteria if the whole point of the twist (to say nothing of the sequel) wasn’t to undermine the dehumanization realistically depicted (that being exactly what war leaders often do). Whether the twist is an effective piece of writing is debatable (as is much of the book’s absurdly stretched plausibility), but to say that Card didn’t really mean it rings hollow. He’s never minced words elsewhere. Why would he do it there?

    That might be exaggerating a bit. But Ender is no Ashoka the Great, that’s for sure.

    Actually, he kinda is.

    @ryantaurant

    If an LGBT supporter espouses their opinions in a public forum, it’s all “Freedom of speech” and “They have a right to their opinion/choice/lifestyle” and no one really thinks twice about it.
    When someone like Card espouses their beliefs, most of which stem from hundreds (if not thousands) of years of tradition, all I hear is “Crucify him!!” and “Everything vaguely associated with this person is anathema!”

    I’d see a doctor about that hearing.

    It seems to me that people looking for acceptance of their alternative choices would be MORE understanding and accepting of others, not less.

    Firstly, the Left has it’s hypocrites just as the Right does. That doesn’t mean that everyone who doesn’t accept Card’s politics is a hypocrite, or even that they don’t understand. Secondly, there is a big frakking difference between understanding and accepting what someone does in their own life, and lobbying for laws to restrict what others do in theirs. One is advocating for an infringement of liberty; I’ll leave it to you to work out which one it is. Advocating they can do, just as I can lobby the government to burn down every forest in the United States. Neither they nor I, however, should expect others to sit quietly by while we try to convince the government to do harm to our fellow citizens.

    @Sarah M.

    I never have really reconciled what I like to call the Leni Riefenstahl dilemma. If anyone has suggestions, I’m listening.

    Observing history, even the history of fascist propaganda, isn’t tantamount to supporting it. And I guarantee you that any future fascists will not care whether you watched Triumph of the Will. Appreciating Riefenstahl’s talent isn’t the same as appreciating her message, IMO.

    @cranapia

    I take that point, but think it’s a little more complicated than that. I think T.S. Eliot is (arguably) the greatest English language poet and critic of the 20th century. The fact that he’s long dead doesn’t make a string of blatantly anti-Semitic comments in his essays any less foul, simply because the person cashing his royalty checks is his second wife.

    I think Sarah M was only saying that you can appreciate T.S. Elliot’s work without worrying that you’re funding his antisemitism. I suppose the argument could be made that reading his poetry encourages it’s continued publication, antisemitism and all. But to quote Santayana, those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    @nicoleandmaggie

    I’m still trying to process how I feel about Asimov after finding out he pinched women’s rears. After I figure that out, maybe I can move on to OSC. (I liked Ender’s Game as a kid, I suspect I would find it disturbing now.)

    Unlike the case with Card, I don’t know if the stories about Asimov are true, but I’m glad I read every work of fiction I care to from either a decade ago. That said, Asimov’s Guide to the Bible has a permanent place on my bookshelf, even if it turns out he was the reincarnation of Genghis Khan.

    @A Mediated Life

    I’d much rather read more LeGuin.

    You can’t go wrong with LeGuin.

    @LongHairedWeirdo

    To say that I should let that opinion be the sum total of him is veering into really dangerous territory.

    If someone tries to take away my rights, I don’t want to know the sum total of them. They’ve told me all I need to know about them, that they’re the enemy of my freedom. That’s not a judgment of their full character. I don’t have time to judge the character of everyone I encounter during my life.

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans

    She had a habit of running through friends and dropping them as soon as she disagreed with anything they said. That’s not a good way to live.

    Worked well for the friends. In the words of Joan Jett, you don’t lose when you lose fake frineds.

    Having said that, I decided a while back never to buy from one US author (*) after he seriously commentated on the Usenet that people who were Communists should be executed if there was a chance of them getting any political power in another country’s democratic system.

    Weird. I used to read a lot of alt history and I got the impression S.M. Stirling and Eric Flint were friends. Flint’s a Trotskyist.

    @bekabot

    You see what the problem is. These are books which were written primarily not to entertain but to instruct. They’re pervaded by a strong political agenda from the start. They’re not about artistry, they’re about a successfully transmitted message.

    The two are not mutually exclusive.

    I’ve noticed that some older acquaintances of mine seem, as they get older, to worry more about what younger people are reading. Sometimes they seem not to trust the younger generations to exercise the same good judgment as they did when they read whatever and weren’t immediately turned to the dark side. And sometimes they seem to almost be deploying a false-consciousness argument, that the kids are being suckered in and brainwashed because they don’t see everything as politics. This cuts both ways as younger generations often seem to simply assume older generations must be a product of their times. I suspect this this is because they believe they must judge anyone who thinks for themselves. But I’m less interested in judging the past than learning from it. I judge people only insofar as I need to determine how I’ll interact with them, and for most people on planet Earth that’s a moot point.

    Also, realize that there’s a difference between not seeing everything as politics, and not seeing politics in everything. Someone can watch Triumph of the Will and simultaneously appreciate the cinematic skill while see the message for the evil that it is. It’s even possible where the juxtaposition is less stark.

    Major Spoiler’s Ahead →

    @Jon Marcus

    Yeah, Card carefully sets it up so that Ender is “totally innocent.” But I don’t buy it. He believes he’s only practising at deploying a Doomsday weapon to destroy an alien race.

    Point of detail, he was tricked into committing xenocide by instructors who were the culpable killers. The problem was his information was insufficient to make a moral choice because of what was deliberately hidden from him, and it’s strongly indicated that it was hidden from him because the instructor’s weren’t confident he would choose to commit xenocide given knowledge of what he was really doing. Ultimately, Ender was reduced to a tool. Despite the message Card seems to be promulgating in Ender’s Game and Speaker of the Dead, Ender’s motives in the xenocide are actually irrelevant. He was deliberately deprived of actually making a choice. If he had known what he was doing, we could debate deontology versus consequentialism, but he didn’t. This is not to say whether Ender was a morally good being – a compelling argument could be made that he was molded by monsters to be a monster – only that the xenocide was made outside his control through calculated deception by the adults who knew the score. If I hand you a video game and later tell you it set off an H-bomb when you won, no rational person would mistake my guilt for yours, or imagine that you chose to nuke anyone, even if I told you that I wanted you to master the game so you could go nuke someone later. A ridiculously improbable scenario? Obviously. But the one presented in the novel nonetheless, and the novel is not the real world.

    It’s possible Card was excusing the intentions of the instructors as moral, suggesting the good of what they did outweighed the bad, but I’m skeptical of interpreting exposition as endorsement. Not because I think Card would disagree with the instructors’ decisions (though I have my doubts he’d agree with the decisions of the original colonists who provoked the Formics or the subsequent regime that covered it up), but because if an author wants to tell me what s/he thinks is moral or immoral, s/he can just tell me. If I wanted to try to tease it out of their metaphorical subtext, I’d just go read tea leaves and save projecting my own biases into the work. Literary interpretation is something I frequently indulge in, but I have no illusions that I can distill authorial intent. I recognize that the interpretations are mine. To do otherwise seems like a complicated way to arrive at unwarranted assumptions, IMHO.

    Accurately interpreting the author’s own literary subtext requires two things: unusually astute self-awareness and comprehensively perceptive insight into the author’s own thoughts at the time of writing. Even among those that have the first, rare is it that they have the second.

    A work of fiction comes with the license to interpret and evaluate independently of the author’s own moral calculus. All of which is to say that while I find the book deeply disturbing, I don’t dislike it for that. If I only read books that unambiguously broadcast a black-and-white moral, that would be the greater fiction, since reality simply is not so. Likewise, if I was thinking about what books to introduce young children to, I would celebrate an opportunity to discuss the problematic aspects. YMMV, and not telling you how to raise your kids.

    For the record, I think it’s a decent but highly overrated book. After all the hype, I was sufficiently disappointed that it took me a long time to read Speaker for the Dead, which is a somewhat better novel. I then went on to read Xenocide and Children of the Mind, which were merely okay. A little later I read Ender’s Shadow on the recommendation of my then girlfriend. It was an interesting literary experiment, but didn’t hold my attention enough to read the other Shadow books. The last thing I read by Card was The Worthing Saga which, while not as well crafted as the other stuff, worked from a much more interesting premise.

  187. @Kat, I think there’s a significant difference between boycotting and “voting with your feet.” By not going to see Ender’s Game, I’m gonna be doing the latter. An organized boycott is not just saying “Eh, I don’t feel like paying for this,” or even “I won’t give money to support this.” It’s trying to convince enough people to agree with you that the project will fail.

    Yes? And?

    At heart, that is a one-to-one operation. You have to persuade individuals with individuals talking to them. It is entirely within the realm of the marketplace of ideas, and everyone is pretty much on an equal footing there. I can advocate not buying a book; you can ignore me or agree with me.

    The point here is that individuals still have choices.

  188. @Ron Marcus I agree with you 100% about the conclusion of Ender’s Game, but the novel does more than just let Ender off the hook – EVERYONE gets off the hook for genocide. The Formics get off the hook because it was all just a big misunderstanding (“Whoopsie, we thought exterminating the human race was OK. Our bad.”) The adult humans are probably the most “evil” part of the equation because of what they did to manipulate Ender and the other children (and because they go back to killing each other once the Formic threat is eliminated) but by the Formic Queen’s own admission they couldn’t communicate their mistake to the human’s to put an end to hostilities. So ultimately, though their methods and tactics were morally reprehensible, their goal was justifiable. So we just reduce the machinations of war to “good vs. evil” or “oops”, and what is Ender’s solution to this problem? How do we prevent something this horrible from ever happening again? Answer: start a new religion. If we unite the everyone under the same set of values and edicts, there will be no more war.
    I’m not saying that Card is a fascist, or that this interpretation is what he “intended”, but either way that was the outcome, and it’s disturbing. Fascism usually reduces the world’s problems, like war, to the simplest possible explanations, and then proposes the most convenient solution to eradicate them – namely that everyone needs to do things “our way” so there will be no more conflict or strife. It comes as no surprise to me that someone who views the world this way would also hold reactionary views about social progress and civil rights.
    I haven’t specifically asked any of my LGBT friends if they are going to boycott the movie, but under the assumption that they will, I support them fully. But my decision to not see the movie is because I think it’s a crappy book and I expect the movie to be at least as crappy, so I’m not going to waste my time or money on it.

  189. Kuangning, yeah, you’ve stated my point better than I did. A conversation between two female superiors *about Ender*, in which the reason they’re conferring is to discuss Ender and his role in the program, and during which they digress into other things, strikes me as not passing because it’s still ultimately two women talking about a boy, with some other stuff that isn’t actually the focus of their conversation thrown in.

    That said, for me, the Bechdel test is a *guide*, not a universal bar. It’s more interesting as an aggregate statistic applied to the industry as a whole than it is to individual movies, which can have perfectly good reasons for not passing the Bechdel test.

    Bekabot,

    > As a result these are the books, which, disproportionately, mean so much to some of the people who have read them that some, again, of those people will go to any lengths to defend the books which have, as they conceive it, done such wonders for them (while others move on after their lives have been saved and will often regard their earlier smittenness with puzzlement).

    I find this interesting.

    I reread Ender’s Game earlier this year, for the first time in more than a decade and a half. It certainly doesn’t *move* me the way it did when I read it in college; I don’t emotionally associate with Ender the way I did then, for example, and of course the ending is a move-me-once kind of event anyhow. I’m in a different place in my life and have a different understanding of the world around me, and so it doesn’t resonate in quite the same way.

    And yet i’m not *puzzled*. I remember the feelings the book induced, and I understand *why* I would have felt them then and not now; and I still honor and respect both my earlier self and the book which so deeply influenced me.


    [NOTE: spoilers]

    Gulliver,

    one of the most powerful things about the endind of the book, for me, was my realization that *because I had empathized with Ender throughout the book*, not only had I been tricked, too … but that if I followed the logic of the empathy, what the book was saying was that I would be just as capable of committing the atrocity as he was. This was a staggering blow; it really forced me to re-evaluate the kind of trust I place in the people around me, and my sense of my own goodness.

    It was an important lesson, I think, and really helped bring me down a few notches from the arrogant self-righteous smart kid I had been.

  190. Gulliver: I have to give kudos for that post. That was impressive… most impressive!

    But there’s one thing I’d like to query on: While OSC was chairman of NOM, the organization sent numerous delegations to Uganda. As a direct result of these delegations, Uganda has passed a law making homosexuality a capital crime — you can and, under the law, will be killed for being gay. While in the United States they have the freedom of speech, and I would not want to see that freedom abridged, they have caused, however indirectly, provable harm to others, harm that has resulted in deaths. Do you have a different view of this?

  191. I’m boycotting the movie because I oppose terrible movie versions of books. I also think Card needs to grow up a bit. I don’t automatically refuse to give my money to terrible people-after all, I pay taxes! Card’s rather childish reaction to the consequences of his open-mouth policy make me dislike him enough to do it, though. He needs to sit in a corner with Paula Deen and think about his actions.

  192. @Gulliver:
    “Are you sure you’ve never done business with a homophobe?”

    Well, let’s be specific: I said “egregious homophobe.” And, yes, I’d no sooner do business with a blatant, obvious homophobe than I’d do it with a blatant, obvious racist, misogynist, or anti-Semite.

    But you’re asking if I’ve done business with a not-so-obvious homophobe — and, of course, the answer is that I don’t know everything that’s in another person’s heart. But the people I’ve published with are all pretty well known, so if you don’t like their stance on LGBT rights or any other issue, feel free to boycott them, hang the consequence to me. Heck, you might even be bringing something to my attention that would convince ME never to do business with them again.

    “…Not everyone has the privilege of deciding with whom they can or will do business. The people who can least afford to lose a job are usually the same people with the least discretion in who they and their employer work with… it’s silly to lay blame at the feet of everyone in any way tangentially doing business with Card.”

    The crew of Ender’s Game have presumably already been compensated for their work on that picture. Am I to assume that I’m endangering their ability to get a job on the remake of Ender’s Game if I don’t help the first version succeed at the box office? And would Lionsgate have been incapable of making other movies those crew members might have worked on had the studio decided working on Ender’s Game wasn’t a good idea?

    Or are you suggesting that Lionsgate’s executive leadership is so hard up that they have no choice but to go into business with Orson Scott Card? That Harrison Ford, Viola Davis, and Ben Kingsley can’t get any other work in showbiz?

  193. @ Gulliver: Impressive. Most impressive. I think that my computer would die if I tried to post a comment like that.

    @ Mr. Scalzi: I apologize for telling the troll to shut up. My emotions got the better of me; it won’t happen again.

  194. @vmlink

    Do you have a different view of this?

    For me it would depend at least in part on whether NOM limited itself to counseling the Ugandans or their government, or engaged in things like bribes. But say for the sake of argument that all they did was organize a show of support for their fellow bigots in Uganda. That would ultimately be a form of speech. If it’s not okay, then that begs the question of what alternative would be. As a society, it seems to me that we have basically two options (I’m open to ideas I’ve missed). Let them speak their piece and be publicly criticized for what they say in the ultimate hope that it’s our best means of winning hearts and minds, or silence them through force of law in the immediate hope that other bigots might not go through with abhorrent legislation anyway.

    For me, my default position is that actual censorship is both counterproductive and a greater evil than the possibility governments might listen to repugnant ideas. People will wonder why you don’t trust them to hear the message you’ve heard, they’ll wonder what you’re trying to hide from them, and the communication will find a way anyway. And once you’ve opened the censorship can of worms, you’ll have a devil of a time trying to rebottle it, or even stop it from being used against you by your ideological opponents. It’s a weapon of political warfare that should be shunned from square one by all civilized peoples. I maintain that the best imperfect bulwark against tyranny is not censorship, but opprobrium. I understand the urge to stamp out repugnant political positions as hate speech, but I believe both that it won’t work the way people expect it to, that it will be abused by the censors to attack people critical of them, and that it will ultimately hurt the body politic’s trust in the open democratic process and the marketplace of ideas.

    Phoenician mentioned above that S.M. Stirling has called for the criminalization of public officials expressing communist ideals. Others have mentioned their unease at the notion of people who advocate the overthrow of government. But if communists manage to take over the government through Constitutional means, the problem then is not the communists but the government which will have proven it cannot stop its legal perversion. The Founders built into the Constitution all the tools to utterly transform it, and, even though I’m uncompromisingly anti-communist, I support that because I support the self-determination of the republic by its people.

    While I’m sure it’s not what you meant, there’s also a certain subtle colonialism implicit in not trusting other cultures to hear and judge the same things we trust our own to hear and judge, and I think that’s dangerous. Consider: although the Uganda criminalization of homosexuality is far more severe than DOMA or Prop 8, all are basically in the same vein of depriving people of basic human rights and equal protection under the law.

    There is absolutely a cost to the freedoms of expression and assembly, just not as high a cost as their abridgment.

    @Ron Hogan

    The crew of Ender’s Game have presumably already been compensated for their work on that picture. Am I to assume that I’m endangering their ability to get a job on the remake of Ender’s Game if I don’t help the first version succeed at the box office?

    Not at all. And I don’t think you’re going to successfully punish anyone by boycotting the film, should you so choose. I was responding specifically to your reply to Matthew Hughes:

    Which would be an instructive lesson in the consequences of doing business with egregious homophobes

    …where you seemed to think that anyone who got paid from Ender’s Game needed to learn a lesson about their own guilt. Perhaps I misunderstood you.

  195. Jon Marcus: Thing is, I don’t see Card as being “above” me. At best, boycotting him is punching sideways.

    Generally speaking, members of the minority groups have less power than members of groups that comprise the majority. Straights have a lot more real electoral power than gays in America simply because of the numbers. OSC’s bigotry towards gays is punching down. Someone who is already in a majority is trying to keep a minority in a powerless state.

    [Ender] believes he’s only practising at deploying a Doomsday weapon to destroy an alien race. So that makes it okay?

    Actually this isn’t the case in the real world. If you are a survivalist and you’ve stockpiled weapons and you’re practicing generic troop maneuvars with other survivalists and whatnot, what you’re doing is legal. If you’re practicing maneuvars that are specificly designed to invade Washington DC, you’re breaking the law.

    Gulliver: One could compellingly argue Old Man’s War glorifies war and genocide while paying lip service to deploring them. In fact, Greg has done just that on his website.

    http://www.warhw.com/2012/04/11/old-mans-war-novel/

    I cannot stress this enough. Heinlein said he wrote “Starship Troopers” in response to SANE calling for an end to nuclear bomb testing. Heinlein wrote “Starship Troopers” as a polemic to show that we needed the bomb to protect ourselves from the communist bugs. Two years after writing “Starship Troopers”, Heinlein told people at a sci-fi convention that nuclear war was coming soon, build a bomb shelter, stock up on food and unregistered guns, and go out in a blaze of glory.

    Scalzi does not appear to have any political/military axe to grind here. He seems heavily influenced by “Starship Troopers” and seems to rack up a number of war handwavium points simply because he is following “Starship Troopers” in *form*. But “Old Man’s War” doesn’t make a point to make polemics or to justify a military worldvie

    There’s a really weird scene in there where the OMW protagonist, Perry, wonders if he’s become a “monster” as he is stepping on aliens that are one inch tall like some Godzilla character. And then he decides, essentially, that since humans can do horrendously despicable things that he is human after all, not a monster. There is a chapter and a character in OMW that appear to be specifically designed to completely mock diplomacy instead of war. And the tactics used by the people fighting appear to be based on tactics appropriate during 1776.

    But the “no polemics” makes the book a whole lot different than Starship Troopers in terms of glorifying war.

    Greg: “Ender is no Ashoka the Great, that’s for sure.”

    Actually, he kinda is.

    No. No. No. and NO. Fuck no.

    Ashoka got his hands bloody, he lead troops in war, he waged war purely for power and personal gain. And then he finally realizes just how wrong, just how immoral his actions are, and he dedicates his life to nonviolence. He does it out of humility.

    Ender is a fucking gary stu. Ender is always innocent. Because Ender DIDN”T KNOW that he was actually killing the enemy, his hands are bloodless. He remains superior to everyone around from beginning to end. And in the end, when Ender wipes out the enemy, everyone aroudn him cheers. When Ender decides to save the alien egg, he does it because he is better than everyone around him. When the aliens talk to him in his dreams it is because he is better than everyone around him. What Ender does at the end is the child finally getting to show the adults just how wrong they all have been just how right Ender has been from the beginning and how right Ender still is at the end of the book.

    Ashoka did what he did because he realized he had been wrong.

    Ender did what he did because he is right.

    Saying Ender is like Ashoka is fucking insulting.

  196. I shall be “Lauracotting” Enders Game.
    I think everyone should follow their instincts on financially supporting organizations (and in this, I am calling the act of making a movie an organization) whose money goes to things that hurt me or Mine. Category Mine contains a great many things, including Jonathan Coulton vs. Glee.

    But as to participating in a boycott, if I am not seeing/buying/doing a thing, it is my action in play, even if thousands are or no one is joining me. I think boycotts provide information to people who might not want to give money or time to something if they knew more details about it. And clearly, based on Card’s whiny press release about tolerance and the film co. response as well, they do care that they might not make a crap ton of money. and movies seem to think that making a ton of money is no good if you WANT to make a crap ton of it. (See recent blockbuster examples that ‘only’ made 150 million dollars when they were expecting 200 million)

    I will be seeing Old Man’s War and taking my science-fiction disliking, legally binding, heterosexual marriage destroying wife with me, probably kicking and screaming. BECAUSE John wrote it. I mean really, I barely go to a movie theater anymore…….

  197. Greg, I didn’t read the book that way at all. What I see at the end of the book is that Ender *himself* doesn’t think he’s innocent. The last chapter is suffused with his sense of guilt *which others are trying unsuccessfully to talk him out of*, and the character he becomes in the sequels is driven above all by the need to expiate and atone for his guilt.

  198. @ David

    I know I didn’t make it clear, but I was talking about fiction. Fiction can be a great persuader because in order for the fiction-trick to work, you, as a reader, have to let your guard down and let the author in and help him build his world inside your head. (This is true even of fiction which pretends to portray the “real” and not an “imaginary” world.) If Ayn Rand were alive today no doubt she’d admit that she won more converts with Anthem and Atlas Shrugged than she would have by talking about her epistemology.

  199. John Marcus: “An organized boycott is not just saying “Eh, I don’t feel like paying for this,” or even “I won’t give money to support this.” It’s trying to convince enough people to agree with you that the project will fail.”

    And this is not free speech how exactly? (I realize you were addressing the other Kat.) As gwangung pointed out, individuals have choices. Saying, “I am boycotting this film for X reasons. Do you agree? If so, then come join us in our protest” is pretty much the bedrock of democracy. If white supremacists want to have a parade, they get to have one under free speech. If black people want to march in protest of the Zimmerman verdict, that’s free speech. Political parties are groups exercising free speech. Charities, school bake sales in support of the basketball team or the drama club. The basketball team and the drama club themselves, and certainly the debating team. Protests of segregation, apartheid, social services cuts, restaurants, events, marriage equality, Obama, gun control, etc. — all free speech, whether individual or organized group.

    What the Card boycott is doing is a protest. It’s getting the message out there — hey, we’re upset about this for these reasons and we want people to know about it, think about it, and talk about it. This won’t necessarily cause a project to fail. It does start a conversation. And at its end, it is still simply a group of people who are voting with their feet and being vocal about it.

    Nothing is inviolate from free speech, and art most of all. Protesting the existence of a boycott — which is a protest — is basically asserting that you have the right to protest and other folk don’t. Much as we would like to deprive some people whose views we disagree with or see as actively trying to harm us of free speech, the whole principle of free speech is that we cannot do that; that they and we have equal rights, even if they believe we should not all have equal rights. Card has had his time to speak. The Geeks Out folk have an equal right to do so. As they themselves say in response to Card’s testy plea:

    “The Bill of Rights protects your freedom of speech but it does not protect your right to a blockbuster opening weekend…There’s nothing more democratic and tolerant than a consumer boycott, rooted in the ideas of free market accountability. Skip Ender’s Game is about doing what all of us do every day—use facts to determine who and what to support with our money. Orson Scott Card, we can tolerate your anti-gay activism, your right-wing extremism, your campaign of fear-mongering and insults, but we’re not going to pay you for it. You’ve got the right to express your opinions and beliefs any way you choose—but you don’t have a right to our money.”

    That about sums it up. You cannot force people to go to and pay for a movie. You cannot stop them from talking, often in groups, about a movie, its producers and creators, and ditto a novel. You cannot stop them from feeling that personal politics and legislative agendas are a factor in determining what art they consume.

    And for the record, Card stands to make a mint off this movie, just like World War Z, Life of Pi and The Hunger Games, and is already doing so. Ender’s Game is number 10 on the NYTimes mass market paperback bestseller list. Which is why Card is so worried, despite thousands, millions potentially buying the book who will never have heard of this boycott. But if media mentions it enough and why it exists, he perhaps won’t be able to maximize returns. He does not want us talking about his views and using our free speech to disagree with them. He does not want to face any consequences or criticism for his speech or his anti-democratic activism. While we can sympathize with the people who work with him and invested in him, that doesn’t mean that we need to roll over and keep silent on our own free speech. It does not mean that we need to help him succeed. And it certainly doesn’t mean we have to buy his stuff.

  200. @Greg

    Ender is a fucking gary stu.

    Eh, I don’t buy that he is innocent. Others say he is, but the protagonist and never claims to be innocent. Which does the author think is right, the adults that covered up the cause of the war, or the hero that starts a religion and assumes the moral authority to blame himself? I think it’s unclear, and I suspect people who are so sure it’s one or the other have decided because they want to see the author as excusing or condemning genocide.

    You’re interpreting a moral stance on several specific incidents based on conflicting character viewpoints, which is dodgy at best. That’s the central pitfall of assuming any particular characters or narrative speak for the author of a work of fiction. You might be right, but you really have no way of knowing unless the author tells you. Card has said he wrote a story about a boy who’s tricked into committing genocide. He goes so far as to admit it flies in the face of historical precedent. Maybe he’s lying. So what? It doesn’t change what’s between the covers.

    I also get a big yawn out of allegations of Mary Sue or Gary Stu. It presupposes the character is merely a vehicle for the author’s wish fulfillment, which in turn presumes knowledge of the author’s wishes. It makes the criticism about how the author feels about the work rather than the work itself, which is just silly.

    Saying Ender is like Ashoka is fucking insulting.

    Okay, I’ll half give you that. Ashoka got a lot more blood on his hands, though Ender personally “ended” two other children in the course of the book, did eventually discover he’d killed them, and cited that as part of the reason for his religious awakening in the sequel.

    But I suggest we agree to disagree and get back to discussing the boycott, not the content which isn’t even the reason for the boycott. I think I heard some sort of hammer swinging in the distance.

  201. I shall now refer to this post as the [Ray Liotta Voice] “Fuck You, Boycott me!” post.

    Well done John!

    (I am not even attempting to read the comments as I would need a three day weekend for that, but hopefully my attempt a brevity is not entirely classless.)

  202. Fiction can be a great persuader because in order for the fiction-trick to work, you, as a reader, have to let your guard down and let the author in and help him build his world inside your head.

    So if I read Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, I’ll be irresistibly convinced of the rightness of divine monarchs?

  203. @Gulliver: I also get a big yawn out of allegations of Mary Sue or Gary Stu. It presupposes the character is merely a vehicle for the author’s wish fulfillment,

    No. A Mary Sue and a Gary Stu are types of characters that don’t have to have anything to do with the author. There are rather long tests one can apply to a character and many of the questions don’t require any knowledge of the author at all.

    For example, this has a test here:

    http://www.springhole.net/writing/marysue.htm

    The first three are about the author.

    #4 asks: Is the character exceptionally beautiful?
    then a bunch focus on how the character looks.

    Then we get to something like #29:

    29.If your character is openly defiant or disrespectful toward authority figures, is your character always justified and in the right?
    30.Are any other actions that get your character into trouble with authority always justified from your point of view?
    31.Do authority figures punish your character more harshly than they would have punished his or her peers under the same circumstances?

    34.Are The Rules of the universe bent or broken for your character? (Like joining a group despite being too old or too young.) (Do not click if the rules catch up to your character and xe does not find a way to permanently cheat or circumvent them.)
    35.Does your character have any of the following psychological disorders or conditions for the following reasons?
    a.Antisocial Personality Disorder – to explain your character’s Jerkass Loner personality?

    41.Does your character habitually share profound wisdom and knowledge?
    45.Is your character unusually accomplished for xir age, time period, place, occupation, and/or social status?
    46.Does your character pick up new skills and/or gain ranks unusually fast during the course of the story?
    47.Is your character simply the best or among the best among xir peer group?
    61.Do the first plans, strategies, ideas, etc. your character comes up with always (or nearly always) work?
    74.Is your character undeservingly despised and/or outcast by most people?

    75.Is your character some kind of ‘chosen one’ and/or a major part of a prophecy?
    a.Does it involve saving the world/realm?
    b.Does it involve becoming a great leader?

    77.Does your character manage to become friends with a villain, and through this friendship cause the villain to become reformed?

    86.If your character has to prove xirself, does xe completely pwn everyone else and make them look like buffoons in the process?

    Ender is a Gary Stu because of the way the character operates in “Ender’s Game”. How Ender may or may not be like OSC is irrelevant to whether the character is a Gary Stu.

    @Aphrael: Ender *himself* doesn’t think he’s innocent

    But he IS innocent. That is a huge fundamental difference. You as the reader have been presented with a scenario designed by OSC such that you do not feel Ender did anything wrong. The people the reader is meant to blame are the adults who tricked Ender and lied to him.

    Ender feeling guilty when he did nothing wrong is just another Gary Stu maneuvar to get the reader to feel sorry for Ender, not unlike having Ender be a good kid and everyone around him is mean, or having Ender be smarter than everyone but no one listens to him. Everything about Ender’s Game is designed to make the reader think one thing: “Poor Ender”.

    The difference is sort of captured at the end of Eastwood’s movie “Unforgiven”. Eastwood and Freeman’s characters know they’re a couple of murdering bastards from beginning to end. The kid who tags along with them thinking being a cold-hearted killer is all badass finds out the hard way what it’s really like in the end. You don’t feel sorry for them, but you understand them and maybe get Eastwood’s character was trying to give up the life when he left town.

    A similar thing happens in the Magnificent Seven. Some of the 7 are just hired guns. And one of them is a kid who thinks killing will make him a badass.But at least one of the 7 decides to fight for what’s right even if it doesn’t pay. But they’re not innocent the way Ender is innocent.

    You don’t feel sorry for Eastwoods killer in Unforgiven and you don’t feel sorry for the Seven the way OSC designs EG to make you feel sorry for Ender. Ender really is innocent. Even when he commits genocide, his hands are ultimately clean because he didn’t know it was real. No one can hold that against him. He is a child, whereas the characters in Unforgiven and Seven are adults, and you can forgive or overlook a child making mistakes more than most people will overlook an adult screwing up.

    The thing that Ashoka and Unforgiven and Seven show is someone who realizes he made a terrible, blood on their hands, mistake. And admit it to themselves and everyone around them.

    Ender never has to admit he made a mistake. Even if he feels guilty, the people in the world around him don’t see him as doing anything wrong, and the reader doesn’t see him as doing anything wrong.

    Compare that to Ashoka who waged war for his own profit having to walk around in a world where everyone knows that’s what he did. Imagine Eastwood’s hired killer character walking around in a world knowing that he used to be a hired killer.

    Eastwood’s character is a retired killer for hire. Do you feel sorry for him the way you feel sorry for Ender? If you were walking down the street and ran into Eastwood’s retired-killer character, would you feel the same way if you walked down the street and met Ender?

    Absolutely not.

    Most people would fear Eastwood’s character. They might understand he’s trygin to reform himself. And they might feel some pity for him for what he’s put himself through. But most people would fear him.

    The reader wouldn’t fear Ender if they ran into him on the street. They’d want to pick him up and hug the poor, misunderstood, innocent, boy.

    And OSC designed it exactly that way.

  204. Gulliver: Thanks for the reply! I appreciate it, and I understand better what you were talking about. =) Regarding colonialism, that’s definitely something I should be careful about suggesting in asking that question, so I appreciate you pointing that out. I will have to consider the issue a bit more carefully.

  205. > You as the reader have been presented with a scenario designed by OSC such that you do not feel Ender did anything wrong.

    Aha! This is probably the gist of my disagreement with you.

    When I read the book, I emphathized with Ender. Which meant that at the end of the book, I empathized both with his sense of betrayal *and* his sense of overwhelming guilt. I think it was set up intending that; Ender is the emotional focal point of the book – in some sense, the only character who is even remotely fully fleshed out – and everything is set up to make the reader put themselves *in Ender’s shoes*.

    Whether Ender is or is not *actually* innocent is an interesting debate; but I think it’s somewhat orthogonal to the point of the book.

  206. Still undecided on whether or not I’m watching the movie. But thing that I noticed in the trailer is that aside from Asa Butterfield who plays Ender, every actor featured in the trailer has the fact they were an Oscar nominee (or winner in Kingsley’s case) mentioned before their name.

    Like others here have mentioned, I enjoyed both the original Ender story and Speaker and occasionally reread them, though it has been a decade since I reread either story.

  207. Well, yeah, because Ender is a child whose choices are made for him, not an adult who goes around shooting people for profit. What’s the point in comparing the two?

    Also, I could make an interminable list of possible character qualities and proclaim that meeting however many makes xir a Mary Sue. Doesn’t really mean anything. And a lot of the subjective questions are only answerable by the author, which again makes it about what the reader assumes the author thinks about what they wrote. What that site’s done is take a whole bunch of valid questions about creating character which an author should be thinking about anyway if for no other reason than to understand how the character fits into the tapestry, and a whole bunch of irrelevant ones about how the author feels about this or that, and slapped a nebulous term on the score metric that (according to Wikipedia) started out because a Star Trek fanficcer wrote an unusually transparent wish fulfillment fantasy. How is that a useful critical theory?

  208. People who object to boycotts on principle are basically saying “you can do whatever you want as an individual, but ORGANIZING is wrong.” I mumble “…the right of the people peaceably to assemble…metaphorically…” and walk away from you, shaking my head. Or maybe I’ll look you right in the eye and say “Anything I have a right to do I also have a right to encourage others to do.”

    Phoenician, thanks. I knew Steve Stirling was being a whiny jerk about Card, but I didn’t know he was a fascist asshole. Definitely someone whose work and person I should avoid.

    And also, useful information about libraries. I did not know that. I will stop advocating reading Card from the library, and concentrate on used-book stores and borrowing from friends who’ve already made the mistaken purchase.

    Saying “That OSC is a homophobic bigot”, that is demonizing.

    Now THAT is bullshit of the purest kind. You obviously have had no experience of being demonized. Yeah, there are people who believe that homosexuals are not actually human beings, but are duppie spirits left over from Sodom and Gomorrah (I understand some Rastafarians have been taught this). THAT’s demonizing.

    Which is not to say that there aren’t lesser degrees of demonization. “Card is a homophobic bigot”? Calling that demonizing is WEAK SAUCE.

    Gulliver, I’m stunned. That was hugegantic. I did not, however, read all of it. Sorry.

  209. Argh, my copy-and-paste missed this bit. Sorry.

    ryantaurant, What Scalzi said. Also, you’d agree that Card has been demonizing gays? “Mark out or describe as evil or culpable,” yep, definitely been saying that about us. So (accepting this definition) why isn’t turnabout fair play?

  210. @Greg: Okay, I’ll buy that Card is punching down at gays. But does that mean that it’s okay to punch at anyone who’s punching down, regardless of their power relative to you? Seems like that slope can get a little slippery.

    @Kat: I didn’t say it’s not free speech. It is. But it’s also using your free speech to (try to) silence or quiet the speech of others. And for most, the motivation is that they disagree with Card’s other speech, not with this work in particular I’m not an absolutist on the subject, but doing that does seem…iffy anyway. Enough that I’m not willing to embrace it.

    Which I admit is a distinction very little difference. I’m not going to see it anyway. But unless my opinion were solicited, I wouldn’t try to dissuade others.

  211. aphrael: I empathized both with his sense of betrayal *and* his sense of overwhelming guilt.

    But FEELING GUILTY isn’t the same as BEING GUILTY.

    That the book focuses primarily on how Ender feels is more a marker that its a children’s book than a book for adults.

    A children’s book will have evil stepmothers who are cruel to their stepdaughter. And, this is the important thing, the stepdaughter never does anything morally wrong to the stepmother ever. Real life starts out with a stepmother who is mean to her stepdaughter, but generally speaking, what usually happens is the child ends up doing things that are intentionally mean to the mother.

    Ender’s Game is a children’s book. Nothing wrong with children’s books per se, but children’s books like Ender’s Game don’t represent the difficulties of realities. What they often do is appeal to the child feeling misunderstood by everyone around them. They appeal to the child’s feelings of being right, innocent, and morally clean, while everyone aroudn them is wrong, guilty, and immoral. They appeal to the notion that someone would have their nephew living in a cupboard under the stairs. The difference between a childrens book like Ender’s Game and a children’s book like Harry Potter is that by the end of the Harry Potter series, Harry has to face that his ideas of himself and his parents and the world as a whole are entirely fucked up. Ender on the other hand, by the end of the book only has to face up to the notion that he was right about everyone all along. Certainly he didn’t know the adults were lying to him about hte simulation, but he knows from early on, and children characters keep pointing out along the way, that the adults are lying to the kids a LOT.

    Gulliver: , I could make an interminable list of possible character qualities and proclaim that meeting however many makes xir a Mary Sue. Doesn’t really mean anything

    Dude. “mary stu” is a real word with real meanings. Just because you want to dismiss it and just because you don’t like the idea of it, doesn’t mean you get to get all humpty dumpty about it and define it to be meaningless.

    You can disagree about whether Ender is a Gary Stu character or not. But if you’re seriously going to attack a valid term of evalutating a work of writing, then I’m not playing your game. Yes, one could come up with various tests for whether a work is a “romance” genre novel or not. And that would prove that the edge cases, the boundaries, are actually blurry, but anyone suggesting that the notion of “Gary Stu” is meaningless might as well suggest that the notion of “Romance” as a genre doesn’t mean anything.

  212. Dude. “mary stu” is a real word with real meanings. Just because you want to dismiss it and just because you don’t like the idea of it, doesn’t mean you get to get all humpty dumpty about it and define it to be meaningless

    GULLIVER, YOU WILL ACCEPT WHATEVER RANDOM WEB SITE GREG POSTS AS EVIDENCE.

    A Mary Sue and a Gary Stu are types of characters that don’t have to have anything to do with the author

    Since when? I always understood the two be to authorial stand-ins.

  213. DAVID, that’s one kind. They’re USUALLY authorial stand-ins, but they have many other characteristics in common, and authorial self-insertion isn’t, by itself, enough to make a character a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

    I once inserted myself into a story as an 80-something fussy old man (yeah, he had a brownstone, but I’m entitled to a little self-indulgence). The main characters knew he’d been kidnapped when they found a book open pages-down on a chair, something Old Christopher would never tolerate for a moment. That wasn’t a Gary Stu, not least because he was a very minor character, but also because self-parody precludes that label.

  214. Okay, I’ll buy that Card is punching down at gays. But does that mean that it’s okay to punch at anyone who’s punching down, regardless of their power relative to you? Seems like that slope can get a little slippery.

    Absolutely not. The whole point of the free market of ideas is that you’re on equal standing and you COMPETE. You want to take away a tool of competition, the tool of persuasion of others.

    That, in a lot of ways, is anti-democratic and anti-free speech.

  215. DAVID, that’s one kind. They’re USUALLY authorial stand-ins, but they have many other characteristics in common, and authorial self-insertion isn’t, by itself, enough to make a character a Mary Sue/Gary Stu.

    I’m sorry, I should have been clearer: I had always understood MS/GS as being authorial stand-ins of a certain kind. That is, you could have an authorial stand-in that wasn’t an MS/GS, but you couldn’t have an MS/GS that wasn’t an authorial stand-in.

  216. @Greg

    Just because you want to dismiss it and just because you don’t like the idea of it, doesn’t mean you get to get all humpty dumpty about it and define it to be meaningless.

    But genres grow organically from other genres. Defining a Mary Sue beyond the basic wish-fulfillment vehicle seems like an invention from whole cloth around an essentially offhanded term. Since you were stating rather strongly Ender’s Gary Stu status as fact, I figured you’d have more to back it up than this is how a fraction of people have chosen to define and measure it. I’m not saying your definition is invalid; I’m saying it isn’t especially objective in a common use sense. I might be more sympathetic to the elaborated definition if it seemed to be built around a coherent literary theory, but that site you linked to seems to basically make a mishmash of it with the barest outline of an plan to their evaluation and a load of subjectivity. I don’t so much like or dislike the idea of a Mary Sue as I find the way in which it’s most commonly used to be be a bit of a cop out. Sorry if it seems like I’m playing a game, but that’s my take on it.

    @DAVID

    GULLIVER, YOU WILL ACCEPT WHATEVER RANDOM WEB SITE GREG POSTS AS EVIDENCE.

    Sorry, Greg, but DAVID’s commend actually made me laugh out loud :)

    @Xopher

    That wasn’t a Gary Stu, not least because he was a very minor character, but also because self-parody precludes that label.

    Heh, good point. I’d say wish fullfillment would be another basic criteria, at least as I understand it’s use to refer to the original fanfic that inspired the term.

    Gotta run, guys and gals, class to teach.

  217. Yeah, the brownstone was a little GSish. But the rest of the story made fun of him until it ignored him (he was the author of the fantasy novel the characters came out of…it was complicated and not at all like Inkheart.)

  218. @Gulliver: Flint’s a Trotskyist? That takes guts, esp. in his genre. I am now more interested in his work. I hadn’t heard that before.

    It is possible to separate some parts of the work from the author, or even the content. Triumph of the Will does have beautiful sequences, and Birth of a Nation is a cracking good action film, years ahead of its time.

    But.

    I can watch TotW and still be chilled by what it represents. BoaN is all about glorifying the KKK, and the racist parts are so fucking scary that in my “History of Film” class, the black students were excused if they wanted to be and weren’t marked down as absent. Watching those movies today doesn’t fund Hitler or the KKK

    But paying to see “Ender’s Game” means money will directly go towards funding people who think gays should not be allowed to marry at best, (here in the USofA, and particularly in my home state of California, where they cost all us taxpayers a bunch of money we didn’t have) or at worst, be executed (Uganda).

    I will not knowingly contribute even a fraction of a penny to people who block human rights and encourage murder.

  219. Old, old problem, distinguishing between the art and the artist. When I saw this predella by Uccello in the museum in Urbino, I was overcome with its beauty. And then I read the descriptive text. The paintings are as beautiful as ever but will never be the same for me.

    On a lighter note, this cartoon by Jon Rosenberg.

  220. DAVID, your grudges are boring.

    Gulliver: I’m saying it isn’t especially objective

    How could anything describing fiction ever be objective? Mary Sue is a term that talks about something that only occurs in something that isn’t real. How many feet in a Mary Sue? How many pounds in a Mary Sue? What does “objective” even mean when talking about a work of fiction???? Dig down that hole far enough and you get into “what is satori? Six pounds of flax.” in a bad way.

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MarySue

    TV Tropes points out that the definiton is not something people agree on. So, they describe it thusly:

    the best way to describe the phenomenon is by example of the kind of character pretty much everyone could agree to be a Mary Sue. These traits usually reference the character’s perceived importance in the story, their physical design and an irrelevantly over-skilled or over-idealized nature.

    Ender saves the world, is smarter than anyone, and entirely innocent. I don’t recall what he looks like, but right off the bat, he’s got 3 out of 4 of the main traits.

  221. How long AFTER John asked us to wrap up the exegetic subthread are we going to keep arguing about whether Ender is a Gary Stu?

  222. @Aunti Laura, @Ann Somerville, @Kat Goodwin: I love you all. In a sisterly, sisterhood, sisters are doin’ it for themselves sort of way.

    (Unless any of you are gorgeous slim yet busty redheads, who are the only women who keep me from being an absolute Kinsey-Zero. And even then, I’m only about a 0.2)

    And geez, everyone here can imagine my fright when Scalzi’s comment popped up directly after mine, and my relief when I realized it wasn’t directed at me. I felt the Mallet go whoosh.

  223. @Gulliver: Phoenician mentioned above that S.M. Stirling has called for the criminalization of public officials expressing communist ideals.

    No – he called for the mass execution of communists when it looked like they might get some power through democratic means. The context was a discussion on Suharto and Indonesia.

    Mass murder, not criminalization.

  224. The way I usually figure these things, I’m giving them money for a product that I want (a good book or movie, a chicken sandwich, etc.). After that transaction is over, it’s not my money anymore, it’s their money, and what they do with it is their business. They weren’t selling me their morality, they were selling me entertainment (or a chicken sandwich).

    From somewhere near the top of this comment thread: I’ve always been a fan of books, not authors.

    That’s how I view it too. I gather that I’m rather unusual for doing it that way. If I like a book, and it’s part of a series, I’ll have to know who the author is to find the rest of the series. But it doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll read anything else they wrote. So for example, I’ve read most of the Ender/Bean books but have no real interest in looking up anything else by Orson Scott Card – not because of who he is as a person, just that the descriptions of his other work don’t catch my interest.

    Will I see this movie? I might at some point eventually. I rarely go to theaters for movies anymore, but if a bunch of friends all wanted to see it, I’d go along.

  225. Let me just first say I support gay marriage.

    Having said that, I’m not going to let Orson Scott Card’s weird, religiously-based beliefs deprive me of enjoying his storytelling.

    Just like I’m not going to let John Scalzi’s weird, factless, quasi-religiously-based (and false) beliefs that “white male is life’s easy setting” and in “white” or “male” privilege deny me of enjoying his storytelling.

    You have to try to separate some author’s idiosyncrasies from their talent.

  226. @Gulliver:

    But I suspect that for most people it’s the signal that has value. Saying they won’t see a film may not really hurt the artist [...] but it gives them a cause to critically spotlight the artist’s views. As a chance to be heard by people asking why so and so is boycotting such and such, it’s an entirely valid exercise and has a better chance of achieving the desired goal of criticism than the ostensible goal of defunding.

    Hear, hear. There’s an awful lot of noise (both within this thread and elsewhere) about the financial impact or lack thereof on the various parties involved — but the real impact of a boycott such as this is in the realm of awareness.
    Really. Think of the Venn diagram of “A = people who would go see a SF blockbuster” and “B = people sufficiently supportive of LGBT issues to vote with their pocketbooks”. Even if the boycott is so successful that all the “A AND B” group boycott and only the “A NOT B” group go to see the film, it’ll earn out and then some. The only question is whether Card is gonna make a big pile of money, or a bigger pile.
    However, the point of the boycott as I see it is less to deny Card his money, and more to out the man as a rabid homophobic mess. Whether it succeeds in this endeavor will have a lot to do with how much media attention the movement gets.

  227. *types up flaming rant*

    *rereads comment that prompted rant*

    *thinks*

    *deletes rant, waits for Mallet to lovingly correct offending comment*

  228. As someone who took a class from Card once (many, many, MANY years ago), there is more to him than simply one stand on one aspect of something nobody ever agrees on anyway. I even say this as someone on the complete opposite stance of his political choices–the old “I don’t agree with you but I’ll defend your right to say it” bit. Going to see the movie–or not–should be like deciding to read his books–or not. Do they look interesting? Will it capture my attention? All this other stuff is–not immaterial, because we do vote with our pocketbooks–but at least, not relevant. He doesn’t (much) push his beliefs on other people, and he has a life of his own that is his to manage as he sees fit. As do those of us who support gay rights and myriad other tolerances.

  229. What sort of things count as shitting on readers?

    Things like insulting, attacking, abusing, stalking, doxxing, mocking, suing or threatening to prosecute readers for not liking the author’s books, or being insufficiently enthusiastic about them.

    Not intended to be an exhaustive list, of course.

    So no Shakespeare? Mark Twain? Mary Shelley? Jane Austen? Conrad? Rex Stout?

    I had to read Shakespeare at school, but he’s not a novelist….

    Shakespeare’s problematic content is both well known and a product of the age in which he lived. He’s not maintaining a position which is unjustified by history as it was known to him at that time. He was a racist, anti-Semite and sexist, but so were all the other Elizabethans.

    We now look at Shakespeare’s work through a modern lens. We acknowledge the problematic things and address them. We don’t stage “Merchant of Venice” without addressing the no-longer acceptable as it was written character of Skylock, and “Othello” demands we look at the role of racism in the play, and society now and then. Any production which didn’t do this, would have very little validity now. We don’t pretend the author has written things we don’t want to promote in the modern age.

    Even with all that, I have no issue with anyone who refuses to watch Shakespeare because of the bad stuff. Everyone is entitled to protect themselves, and to know where their personal line is drawn. I saw “Hamlet” on stage when I was seventeen, and was swept away by the beauty and power of the language. But I wouldn’t sit through it now at fifty because I can’t handwave the misogyny in the play and of the character. (Modern life offers me more than enough chances to be told I suck because I’m female. Also, Hamlet really is a bit of a dick.) It’s just not entertainment to sit gritting my teeth through a play, or a movie or a book.

    Conrad – I was forced to read him at university, and I was glad when I finished that unit to never have to read another word by the tedious bastard again. Even if he wasn’t troubling in his take on colonialism, he’s still as enjoyable as dentistry. I’m ‘boycotting’ Conrad because he’s dull.

    Stout – never heard of, never read, not interested in finding out why I should have. (Okay, he wrote the Nero Wolfe stories. Must have missed him while I was reading Margery Allingham, Dorothy L Sayers and Agatha Christie.)

    Mark Twain – I read ‘Tom Sawyer’ as a kid, and it was okay as a kid’s book. Have tried a number of times to read ‘Huckleberry Finn’, and it’s just not for me. Since I’m old enough to read solely for pleasure after many years of reading out of duty, Mr Clemens and I have agreed I’m better off ignoring Mark Twain. (Also, he was rude about Jane Austen and no one gets away with that!)

    But why would I want to avoid him, or Stout? Mary Shelley – what’s wrong with her? And I’ve read every novel of Jane Austen’s and never found anything to trouble me. Why are they on your list?

    At the heart of your question is a troubling assumption that there is a set of authors one must read to be happy or fulfilled, a set of qualifications to receive approval from some imaginary intellectual gatekeeper. There is no canonical list of art that must be consumed for a person to claim full equity in society. Your list consists entirely of dead white English language (mostly male) authors. The assumption that these are essential for any literate person to read is based on your own history and culture, which many educated people around the globe, including myself, don’t share. Knowing whether I have or haven’t read books by writers on that narrow list of yours tells you exactly nothing about me, nor would it tell you anything useful about anyone else.

    It does sound a bit tiresome

    I refer you to Josh Jasper’s comment above as to why you and I might have different attitudes on this. (Your site’s not loading but I assume you’re a straight white man because of the little clues in your author list.) Tiresome to me is reading stuff and having to wince over the author’s Id showing through, or reading stuff I don’t like just because someone says I ought to. Life is more exhausting if you’re not a SWM. Those of us who aren’t, don’t necessarily feel we should spend our limited energy on stuff which is going to piss us off.

    Trust me, evicting Joseph Conrad from your TBR will improve the quality of your life immensely.

    I part company with Mr. Scalzi at the point at which he proposes that it’s my duty to give everything a chance

    He’s said nothing of the sort. He specifically allows everyone the right to avoid things that offend them, or that are made by people who offend them.

    Consumers make “irrational” economic decisions all the time. That’s the beauty of free market capitalism, folks!

    Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness == the freedom not to spend money or time on crappy products and worse people.

  230. @Gulliver:
    “…you seemed to think that anyone who got paid from Ender’s Game needed to learn a lesson about their own guilt.”

    Ahhhhh, gotcha. I think it would probably be more accurate to say I think anyone who INVESTED in Ender’s Game (the motion picture) could stand to learn a lesson about the consequences of doing business with egregious homophobes.

    And, as you say, those consequences may not amount to all that much. Who knows? But if I can’t have a massive social impact, I’ll settle for minimal social impact and the personal inspiration to take the next step, and the step after that.

    A boycott does at least as much to clarify the moral philosophy of the boycotter as it does to affect the material conditions of the boycotted.

  231. The way I usually figure these things, I’m giving them money for a product that I want (a good book or movie, a chicken sandwich, etc.). After that transaction is over, it’s not my money anymore, it’s their money, and what they do with it is their business. They weren’t selling me their morality, they were selling me entertainment (or a chicken sandwich).

    This is either naïve morality or a Libertarian perspective.

    Oh, wait.

    scorpius…

    *sigh*

    He doesn’t (much) push his beliefs on other people, and he has a life of his own that is his to manage as he sees fit.

    Excuse me? He contributes money to (and has served on the board of) an organization whose sole reason for being is to impose his most pernicious beliefs on me. How is that not pushing his beliefs on others?

  232. I wonder if people realize exactly how much privilege they have when they go on about agreeing to disagree, or “looking past” someone’s bigotry. Some of us, my dears, don’t have the luxury of détente with people who are actively trying to deprive us of basic human rights.

  233. @ Greg: DO NOT LINK TO TVTROPES!!!!! TVTropes will ruin your life! I almost failed my history class last year because I got lost in the “Self-Demonstrating: Doctor Doom” article for weeks on end. Please, don’t subject anyone else to the land of the lotus eaters that is TVTropes.

  234. AML, exactly so. My human rights are not “questions on which reasonable people can disagree.”

  235. @scalzi – You’re right, I was not making my point in the right way. I certainly was not attempting to troll, and I apologize if it came across that way.

    @xopher – Oh, Card’s an a$$hole, no doubt. I never contested that. He has demonized the LGBT community. The problem is that by doing the same thing back to him, you are bringing yourself down to his level. Would you rather win the argument by being the bigger person, or act like a hate filled savage to prove that you are right?

    @gulliver – I don’t have a constructive way to respond to that, and out of respect to this forum, I won’t.

  236. @Theophylact (which one are you?) thanks for reminding me of “Scenes From A Multiverse” and thus prompting me to finally subscribe. Such a good comic.

  237. “Would you rather win the argument by being the bigger person, or act like a hate filled savage to prove that you are right?”

    Golly. I’m so glad those aren’t the only two choices. There’s a name for that rhetorical device, and it’s not much respected around here.

    ryantaurant, even if you believe that Card is a hate-filled savage (which I don’t), it doesn’t seem to me that boycotting a movie made from his novel and criticizing Card in strong terms on the basis of his public statements and actions, in itself, are hateful or savage actions. Strong disapproval and disgust are not the same as hatred.

    Also, it’s not clear to me, given how ineffective your use of hyperbole apparently was in conveying your meaning in earlier posts, why you would continue to use that mode of discourse in this place. I think it may be why some folks apparently mistook your post for trolling.

  238. The problem is that by doing the same thing back to him

    The problem is that you’re doing false equivalency here.

    You refuse to admit that “homophobic bigot” can be anything other than a demonization. Why can’t you? Why is this not an accurate description of Card in light of his actions?

  239. At the heart of your question is a troubling assumption that there is a set of authors one must read to be happy or fulfilled, a set of qualifications to receive approval from some imaginary intellectual gatekeeper.

    I’m not assuming that at all. In fact, I was rather taken aback at what I took to be your idea that you can’t read a book if it will make you unhappy or feel unfulfilled. That seems to me to eliminate all sorts of books that you might want to read for reasons other than feeling happy and fulfilled. One potential motive would be to understand books & authors that are perceived (rightly or wrongly) as part of a western canon (and was the one I was thinking of), but there could be other reasons. I suspect that reading Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones is not going to make me feel happy or fulfilled, but it’s on my pile nonetheless. I know that reading McEwan’s Atonement made me desperately annoyed, but I don’t regret doing it.

    There is no canonical list of art that must be consumed for a person to claim full equity in society. Your list consists entirely of dead white English language (mostly male) authors. The assumption that these are essential for any literate person to read is based on your own history and culture, which many educated people around the globe, including myself, don’t share. Knowing whether I have or haven’t read books by writers on that narrow list of yours tells you exactly nothing about me, nor would it tell you anything useful about anyone else.

    It’s good that I’m not making that argument, then, isn’t it? If you like, I can substitute Soyinka, Dinesen, Woolf, and Akhmatova, but what I’m asking is more generic: if you read only books that don’t bother you, then doesn’t that leave out quite a few books that would be worth reading?

    while I was reading…Agatha Christie

    Who quite happily published a book called “Ten Little Niggers” and strewed racist remarks through many of her books. I’m not sure I see how that fits your approach.

    And I’ve read every novel of Jane Austen’s and never found anything to trouble me. Why are they on your list?

    Happy imperialist that she was? Edward Said spends a fair bit of time on the colonialist underpinnings in Mansfield Park. All those lovely English manor houses, paid for by semi-feudal labor in England and slave labor in the Caribbean.

  240. “Doing the same thing back to him” would be saying that heterosexuals, or Mormons, or some other class of people to which Card belongs, are not entitled to civil rights; for example, saying that $CLASS should not be allowed to marry as they wish, but MUST marry, if they marry at all, in ways that are not compatible with $CLASS.

    “Doing the same thing back to him” would be encouraging laws in other countries that outlaw $CLASS and provide death as a penalty.

    “Doing the same thing back to him” would be advocating that $CLASS should be jailed.

    If you think a boycott is equivalent to any of these things, you are simply wrong.

  241. Happy imperialist that she was? Edward Said spends a fair bit of time on the colonialist underpinnings in Mansfield Park. All those lovely English manor houses, paid for by semi-feudal labor in England and slave labor in the Caribbean.

    Since we’re talking about an author’s offensive beliefs I’d just like to point out that we shouldn’t put much stock into one of the fathers of left-wing antisemitism namely Edward Said.

  242. @Gulliver: “But say for the sake of argument that all they did was organize a show of support for their fellow bigots in Uganda. That would ultimately be a form of speech. If it’s not okay, then that begs the question of what alternative would be. As a society, it seems to me that we have basically two options (I’m open to ideas I’ve missed). Let them speak their piece and be publicly criticized for what they say in the ultimate hope that it’s our best means of winning hearts and minds, or silence them through force of law in the immediate hope that other bigots might not go through with abhorrent legislation anyway.”

    It’s worth noting two things here. One, there are limits to free speech. Threatening someone (which is ultimately a form a speech) is a crime, even if the threat isn’t carried out. Telling someone to harm someone else is a crime. After the Rwandan genocide, the ICC determined that those who went on the radio to broadcast hate-speech and encourage the genocide were guilty of war crimes. So the fact that it’s “ultimately a form of speech” doesn’t, I think, let those in Uganda off the hook. The line between protected speech and criminal speech is a tough one.

    Two, and I think this was a big part of the original post, it’s perfectly compatible to believe that the government should not censor certain speech, while believing that such speech is morally wrong and should be stopped (through non-government-censorship avenues). I don’t think the government should stop my 13 year old daughter from lying to me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t go to quite a bit of effort to ensure she doesn’t.

  243. Ann Somerville

    The tricky thing about dismissing ‘The Merchant of Venice’ is that the role of Shylock is the one that actors want to play; he gets all the best lines, and all the best scenes, which is the usual reason why actors want to play a particular character. Shakespeare was an actor as well as a playwright; he knew exactly what he was doing when he reversed the moral weight of Marlowe’s ‘Jew of Malta’ so that Shylock becomes the oppressed, not the oppressor.

    After all, Shakespeare’s own father had been convicted for offences under the usury laws; his audience was perfectly well aware that the Christian who didn’t charge interest was a fantasy figure. You are, of course, perfectly free to argue that no-one should go and see ‘The Merchant of Venice’ for whatever reasons you care to advance but others are equally free to point out that you don’t seem to be familiar with the play or the society that it was created in…

  244. One of the reasons I generally separate the creator from the work I’m consuming (though I’m willing on occasion to make exceptions) is how annoying and petty the arguments over whose favourite authors have held more objectionable views get…

  245. Who quite happily published a book called “Ten Little Niggers” and strewed racist remarks through many of her books. I’m not sure I see how that fits your approach.

    Fair point, though I never read that book (in fact I’ve only read a couple of hers). I read what I did read of Christie in my twenties, before I’d left Australia, and before I became politically and socially aware of a lot of things. (I grew up on Enid Blyton, and I’m sure you know she has racist content as well.) I wouldn’t read Christie now for all kinds of reasons. I don’t reread much because I’m sure most of the books I enjoyed back then wouldn’t stand up to my consciousness now. *Now* I won’t read books as I mentioned. *Now* I am a much more critical and discriminatory – and knowledgeable reader. I stated my position as it is *now*.

    BTW, I mentioned those female mystery writers because you were trying to shame me for not reading an American male who’s hardly of the literary status of the other authors you mention, as if he was part of a secret code I had to utter to enter the approved temple. (You might ask yourself why you mentioned Stout and not Christie, in fact, when she’s a far bigger name in that genre.)

    All those lovely English manor houses, paid for by semi-feudal labor in England and slave labor in the Caribbean.

    I guess you don’t want me reading “Jane Eyre” either, with St John Rivers assuming the white man’s burden and dedicating his life to improving those poor savages. And Elizabeth Gaskell, tut tut, writing about industrialisation that was also based on rampant colonialism

    Again, I read Austen at a time when I wasn’t politically aware. I would reread her because of her profoundly humane take on the world, but I would have to take note of how her times informed her writing. I wouldn’t blame her for accepting an unjust system as a given. I would blame her for being an enthusiast for slavery, for which there is no evidence. Some criticss have seen Mansfield Park as pushing the anti-slavery message, in fact. Said is not irrefutable:

    http://www.newenglishreview.org/Ibn_Warraq/Jane_Austen_and_Slavery/

    if you read only books that don’t bother you, then doesn’t that leave out quite a few books that would be worth reading?

    Of course. I also can’t read Cantonese, Finnish, Urdu, or Spanish, so think of all the masterpieces going unread there. I can’t possibly read everything, and as I get older, I refuse to even try.

    You’re still trying to shame me for not reading what you consider worthy. I am just not playing that game with you. I will set my own lines of comfort for me. Other people make their own choices. I don’t see it as a tragedy if I go to my grave not having read this or that classic book, seen or not seen this film or art work, or been to some essential place of beauty. That’s not my ambition in life.

  246. Jon Marcus: “But it’s also using your free speech to (try to) silence or quiet the speech of others.”

    No, it’s really not. Silencing Orson Scott Card’s speech would be me 1) getting a court injunction somehow that he is not legally allowed to talk about in the media or the Internet his views on gays and marriage equality; 2) being a government agency that throws him in jail for his beliefs; 3) legally blocking Lionsgate from making or releasing the movie because I control the company or companies that control what they can do. I have to be an authority to silence someone, with legal backing of some kind, and I’m not and neither is Geeks Out. Card has never been silenced in expressing his beliefs or prevented from joining NOM, etc. The movie is made and being released.

    But that doesn’t mean that others have to like it, like him, and refuse to talk to anyone else about it. You are calling for these people to silence themselves because you don’t like what they are saying. Free speech is not about only the speech you like. No one has a responsibility to make Card a wealthy success. He does not get a free pass from criticism of his views, person and works. We get to disagree with him and say that we won’t go to his movie and why, including encouraging others to think about it and join if they decide they agree. That doesn’t coerce anyone or silence anyone.

    But you know who was coerced and silenced by the law? Gay people. They were thrown in jail on laws against them. They were beaten and killed and their attackers walked free, and it still happens today. If they came out, they risked everything. And so many of them did anyway, changing the world. And Card worked to re-establish or continue laws that coerce, discriminate, jail and silence them. A protest by a few people is not at all the same thing.

    “And for most, the motivation is that they disagree with Card’s other speech, not with this work in particular I’m not an absolutist on the subject, but doing that does seem…iffy anyway. Enough that I’m not willing to embrace it.”

    Then don’t embrace it. You have the right to make your own decisions and criteria. And so do the people in the boycott. Which is essentially the point of Scalzi’s post.

    MWT: ‘From somewhere near the top of this comment thread: I’ve always been a fan of books, not authors. That’s how I view it too. I gather that I’m rather unusual for doing it that way.”

    You really aren’t unusual in that view. And there’s nothing wrong with you having it. You may encounter some people who, facing the damage of Card’s activism to their lives or loved ones, may be angry about your choice, which is their right as is yours to pursue your own choices. But I think most of us agree that it is a personal choice and don’t have a problem with it.

    For me, I don’t regret that I read what I did of his and used his non-fiction book in the past. But knowing what he has done in this time period is a drawing line for me on my spending of dollars. Card has used his wealth, influence and media platform from being a bestselling author to actively wage legislative and social war against gay people in this time period. So I’m not going to buy his stuff anymore than I would buy the novels of Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, etc., and I cannot separate the man from the sales of his work. There are so many other books out there, so many other movies this summer alone. Even if Card didn’t pursue the activism he has, I might not bother to go see the film. But he has, and some people are boycotting and talking about it and that gets equality civil rights issues further out on the table for discussion, which is a good thing.

    Ann Beardsley: I’m not entirely sure what you are trying to say here. Card has actively tried to push his beliefs not simply on other people but on the society and the law. No matter how complex the man, you can’t wish away his political history. This has made it very difficult for the many writers who know him and have been mentored by him, but don’t necessarily entirely agree with him. I think a number of those people have helped to soften his views in recent years perhaps. But he has made choices and those choices have had the consequence of harming a lot of families. While we understand that he feels likewise that gay people harm families, we cannot agree with that view. I can’t agree also with the legal implications for removing civil rights from the vast majority of people that Card’s views and activities hold. And it is serious enough, because of the legislative dangers, to be a drawing line for many people, no matter how nice he is to his friends and students. It is relevant to us and our enjoyment or not of the art. Again, none of us can dictate the criteria others should use in deciding what to buy.

    Lurkertype: Shhh, you’ll scare the lurking trolls with all that sisterhood talk and then Scalzi will have to bring out the kittens. (Also, thanks.)

  247. You are, of course, perfectly free to argue that no-one should go and see ‘The Merchant of Venice’ for whatever reasons you care to advance

    That’s the opposite of what I said, in fact. I said that people can and do stage the play while addressing the problematic content, and that’s a good thing, IMO.

    I still can’t blame a Jewish person who doesn’t want to sit through a production of it. Why the hell would I?

    You’re arguing against things I never said, never meant, and in the process making me out to be a champion of boycotting Shakespeare, for fuck’s sake. I thought I’d made it clear I’ve seen and enjoyed Shakespearean plays, and would again if there were productions worth seeing. (Except for Hamlet, ugh.)

  248. @ everyone who claims that calling Card a homophobic bigot is unfair:

    “Homophobic bigot” is a perfectly fair (if mild) description of a man who until recently sat on the board of a major homophobic hate group.

    “Raving mad gay-hating douchenozzle” is gratuitously insulting, but still within the bounds of reasonably permissible conduct in certain settings (such as minor blogs and more casual major blogs, and Yahoo comments threads).

    Claiming (in explicit terms) that Card’s homophobia is a result of him being in the closet himself and then recommending (in explicit terms) that he have anal sex is inappropriate everywhere.

    Why? Well, Orson Scott Card has proven himself to be a homophobe. Homophobes are a subset of bigots (because they are prejudiced against a minority group for no rational reason). Therefore, Orson Scott Card is a homophobic bigot.

  249. David: “In fact, I was rather taken aback at what I took to be your idea that you can’t read a book if it will make you unhappy or feel unfulfilled. That seems to me to eliminate all sorts of books that you might want to read for reasons other than feeling happy and fulfilled.”

    Given that people have all sorts of different criteria for choosing what to read and re-read, this seems very strange that you would be taken aback by the idea.

    What’s been interesting about this whole thing is how determined a lot of people seem to be to object to other people deciding to object to works of art or to artists, and trying to characterize it as a savage, dirty action because they are speaking publicly of their views. Again, you can’t force people to read books, go to movies or shut up about their views. As we see any time we participate in Scalzi’s blog. :)

  250. So if I read Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, I’ll be irresistibly convinced of the rightness of divine monarchs?

    Forget reading – play Crusader Kings enough times, and you’ll be an assassinating, conniving war-monger of a medieval tyrant before you realise it. My partner asked when I was coming to bed, and I said “As soon as I finish plotting to kill my nephew” and then wondered why she looked at me *strangely*…

  251. @scorpius, Edward Said was fairly intolerant of Anti-Semitism throughout his political writings and speeches. I suspect that you have issues with his advocacy for the Palestinian people, but that advocacy is not the equivalent of bigotry. I understand that this is a bit of a tangent, but I couldn’t allow for such a blatant falsehood go without comment

  252. We now look at Shakespeare’s work through a modern lens. We acknowledge the problematic things and address them. We don’t stage “Merchant of Venice” without addressing the no-longer acceptable as it was written character of Skylock, and “Othello” demands we look at the role of racism in the play, and society now and then.

    Heh – “The Taming of the Shrew” is a play that movie makers love to adapt. How many of them from the twentieth century on would choose to stick to the original ending speech without subverting it with heavy irony?

  253. Ann Summerville

    My apologies; I partially misread you and certainly didn’t intend to suggest that you wished people to boycott the play.

  254. I read stuff I’m not comfortable with. But that’s not the same thing as reading books by living hatemongers. I choose to read books among many genre by women, men, different races, LGBT authors.

    I do not feel the need to read books that put me down as a woman or as a Jew or frankly that put down other people due to gender, race, sexuality. I don’t care how great anyone thinks that literature is. I am not required to subject myself to emotional abuse.

    I’ve felt so strongly on this issue that over 25 years ago I wrote several papers on why I would not read past the 3rd chapter of required reading in high school English classes as well as working with my teachers to find appropriate alternatives for me to read. Yes I went to a very progress school, one that respected its students.

  255. And I’ve done a reverse Gulliver and not even managed to fully answer one poster viz, Ann Somerville.

    I am not aware of a reputable scholarly edition of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in which Shylock’s part has been rewritten.

  256. Certainly understandable.

    As to the issue of Orson Scott Card, has Card made any public statement about his resignation from NOM? That might have an impact on my position in regards to him, although I suspect I won’t see the film either way. It doesn’t look very good.

  257. robert wood, What Ann said. He certainly hasn’t retracted any of his expressed views. There’s no reason to believe he isn’t still opposed to marriage equality, just that he no longer thinks the battle can succeed (and that’s probably a lie as part of his “tolerate me!” whine). If he no longer believes I should be jailed, he hasn’t said so.

  258. how determined a lot of people seem to be to object to other people deciding to object to works of art or to artists, and trying to characterize it as a savage, dirty action because they are speaking publicly of their views.

    I’m overly familiar with the self-published author population and the rhetoric being pushed out here and on the internet against boycotting Card reminds me far too much of the whines from self-pubbers about people who won’t read their books, who read their books and won’t review them, and who review their books and review them nastily (ie with anything less than fulsome praise). They too seem to believe the act of not buying or liking a book puts a person up there solidly with Hitler and the book-burners, and the only acceptable course of action is to read ALL THE BOOKS ALL THE TIME.

    We should all live so long with so much brain space to waste on.

  259. He can’t retcon, but he could apologize in a meaningful manner. I don’t expect that he will, and I suspect that his resignation is more of a matter of getting out of the limelight than a change in heart.

  260. I pretty much stopped putting money in OSC’s pocket when he wrote “I’d rather vote for my dog than Al Gore” and then proceeded to call Mr. Gore a racist. The stuff he’s written and done since then has been MUCH worse. I’ll see Ender’s Game (and hope to hell he doesn’t have a percentage of the gross), since I’ve been waiting most of my life for the movie, hope they don’t &((% it up, and then, as someone commented above, make a larger donation to a local LGBT charity.

  261. If he no longer believes I should be jailed, he hasn’t said so.

    I gather he thinks it’s pointless to try and jail you in the USA just for existing, so he’s contenting himself with making sure black LGBT people are persecuted, terrorised, murdered and imprisoned for life.

    Can’t say that’s not fair-minded of him, can you? [/bitter sarcasm]

  262. @Robert Wood all I was able to find was he resigned from the board “sometime in 2013″. I feel certain that if he had resigned from the NOM he would have made sure that information was updated to reflect that to help his PR problems.

  263. Ann, I have to admit I haven’t heard about Card being particularly racist. Did he make statements about the Zimmerman trial or something?

  264. Ann Summerville

    What you wrote was “the no longer acceptable character as it was written of Skylock (sic)’.

    That implies that the writing has been changed, which is why I pointed out that I am not aware of any reputable scholarly edition of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ which has changed what was written.

  265. I have to admit I haven’t heard about Card being particularly racist.

    I mistyped. I meant to write ‘Black African LGBT people’.

    (Though exporting bigotry to poorer African nations is hardly the act of someone who respects black people.)

  266. @ David

    So if I read Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, I’ll be irresistibly convinced of the rightness of divine monarchs?

    Not necessarily, because Arthur’s birth is obscure. Eventually he’s tracked down and placed on the throne (‘cuz Sorcery) but Uther and Ygraine see to it that his course of true inheritance never does run smooth. Like loads of other mythic heroes (think of Hercules or Jesus) Arthur comes into the world encumbered by a Natal Stain. So, instead of thinking of his ultimate enthronement as propaganda for Divine Rightness, a person could just as easily think of it as an example of the gem-in-a-toad’s-head trope: the person who would be least likely to be thought fit to govern the realm turns out to be the One True Heir. (Isn’t it ironic…)

  267. Ann Summerville[sic]

    It’s ‘Somerville’, thanks.

    That implies that the writing has been changed

    I can see why you read what I wrote that way. I meant, “as Shakespeare (probably) intended it (probably)”.

    <blockquote I am not aware of any reputable scholarly edition of ‘The Merchant of Venice’ which has changed what was written.

    Are you aware that Shakespeare is almost never acted exactly as written (probably) by him? Just because there’s no scholarly edition, doesn’t mean that the text isn’t altered or shortened by the director or cast, nor does it mean that change or abridgment is not ‘reputable’.

    That’s after you deal with all the editing that’s gone on by Shakespearean scholars on the ‘canon’ version.

  268. It’s telling to me that a lot of people here refuse to read or watch anything written by Card but still voted for Obama even though, up till last year, both men accepted the same premise: that marriage should be narrowly defined as between one man and one woman.

    But, of course, those who do fall into this group would hem and haw and say “well, there were a lot of other, very important things that I liked about Barack”. To which I would point out there are a lot of other, very important things that I like about Card’s work, namely his storytelling and ideas.

    Or they might point out that “it’s not the same! What was I supposed to do? Not vote?” Well, yes, if marriage equality is that important to you, you shouldn’t vote when your options are two men (in 2008) who opposed gay marriage. Or maybe you should cast your vote for a third party candidate who was full-bore for marriage equality.

    But the point is you had a lot of options, but you still voted for a foe of marriage equality in 2008. So please don’t now say Card’s, who’s an author not a politician and so has far less power to effect change in any direction on the issue, position on the issue is so bad that people simply should not consume his product if they care about marriage equality.

  269. I don’t think Obama ever called for killing gays. For me that is a big difference. But then I’m not gay just in favor of gay marriage.

    On the other-hand presidential elections are about so much more than a single issue although many of my fellow Jews try to convince me that the only important issue is presidential candidates stance on Israel… I hear the mallet heading my way as we are off-topic again.

  270. It’s telling to me

    There’s not enough eyeroll in the world for your comment.

    You’re trying to equate someone who believe in ‘traditional marriage’, and someone who believe in traditional marriage and who *also* (quotes from Salon)

    1990: Card argued that states should keep sodomy laws on the books in order to punish unruly gays–presumably implying that the fear of breaking the law ought to keep most gay men in the closet where they belonged.

    2004: He claimed that most homosexuals are the self-loathing victims of child abuse, who became gay “through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse.”

    2008: In 2008, Card published his most controversial anti-gay screed yet, in the Mormon Times, where he argued that gay marriage “marks the end of democracy in America,” that homosexuality was a “tragic genetic mixup,” and that allowing courts to redefine marriage was a slippery slope towards total homosexual political rule and the classifying of anyone who disagreed as “mentally ill”

    Card went on to advocate for, literally, a straight people’s insurrection against a pro-gay government

    etc etc. You can’t say Card and Obama’s views are the same. Not *honestly*.

    Obama not only failed to agitate for discrimination against gay people and equal marriage, he actually worked to dismantle governmental discrimination.

    Card, on the other hand, has at *most* given up trying to make the laws more discriminatory in American (but not elsewhere). He remains a bigot, and his bigotry has had real world consequences of serious harm.

    I realise you’re trolling but this is pathetic stuff.

  271. Ann, DNFTT applies to scorpius. You’re just giving him what he wants. He knows all that stuff perfectly well, and he’s just drawing false equivalences because he knows it will piss us off.

  272. you were trying to shame me for not reading an American male 

    Please don’t tell me what I’m trying to do. I’m entirely sure that I get to decide what my goal is, not you. If what I’m saying comes across as shaming because I’m phrasing it badly then I apologize, but I’m categorically not 1) trying to shame you or 2) trying to assert a western canon that everyone has to read. (I picked Rex Stout because I just finished rereading all of the Nero Wolfes. Six weeks ago, it might have been Agatha Christie, as I had just finished rereading _The Murder of Roger Ackroyd_).

    I guess you don’t want me reading “Jane Eyre” either, with St John Rivers assuming the white man’s burden and dedicating his life to improving those poor savages

    *I* don’t have input on what you do or don’t do, nor do I wish to have any. I’m exploring the parameters and limits of your self-stated desire not to read anything with objectionable material or by an objectionable author. Excusing authors for being products of their time is not unusual (though in Jane Austen’s era, there was a substantial anti-colonial and anti-slavery movement, enough that the British Navy was carrying out antislavery patrols starting in 1807-08, so her time was very mixed). The Agatha Christie example is interesting, as the title was changed for the US edition because of American discomfort with that word, so certainly “her time” wasn’t quite uncomplicated in its racism. Still, I take your point about reading it at an younger age.

    I also can’t read Cantonese, Finnish, Urdu, or Spanish, so think of all the masterpieces going unread there.

    Learning a new language would require a massive investment of time and energy, so I don’t think the situations are parallel.

    I am just not playing that game with you. I will set my own lines of comfort for me.

    We’re not playing a game, and I have no desire to set your lines of comfort for you. I am still taken aback at the idea of eliminating such a massive quantity of literature from one’s life simply because it will make you uncomfortable.

    @Kat

    Given that people have all sorts of different criteria for choosing what to read and re-read, this seems very strange that you would be taken aback by the idea.

    Given that people don’t normally eliminate every bit of reading material that might make them the least bit unhappy, this seems very strange that you would be taken aback by the idea that I was taken aback by the idea.

    Are you comfortable with the idea of telling me that my reaction is illegitimate?

  273. A question: Why is an obvious troll like Scorpius still allowed to comment here? I mean, he insults Mr. Scalzi, is a jerk to everyone, and uses faulty logic at every opportunity to piss people off; all the hallmarks of a serial troll.

    Is it because his trolling is mildly amusing on occasion? Or for some other reason?

  274. @ Ann Somerville: I am NOT “trolling” and am very offended at your accusation.

    But, it seems, you and Salon don’t actually READ the links you use to slander Card as wanting to “criminalize” homosexual behavior. Quote from the LINKS YOU PROVIDED:

    Those who now use this essay to attack me as a “homophobe” deceptively ignore the context and treat the essay as if I had written it yesterday afternoon. That is absurd — now that the law has changed (the decision was overturned in 2003) I have no interest in criminalizing homosexual acts and would never call for such a thing, any more than I wanted such laws enforced back when they were still on the books. But I stand by the main points of this essay, which concerns matters internal to the Mormon Church

    So his views, like Obama’s, are “evolving” (really “changing” as that’s a better description of how Obama’s views are doing).

    But you’re being a troll yourself and I don’t expect much intellectual ability from trolls.

  275. Floored, he’s kind of the court jester, except for the being funny part. I think Scalzi let’s him stay around kind of as a homeopathic troll remedy.

  276. @Ann Somerville: Were I you, I wouldn’t take the Stout reference as obscurantism: for some odd reason, his books weren’t quite as popular in the UK and Australia as in America and elsewhere (although Ian Fleming was a definite fan – directly referenced in one James Bond book – and swiped a few of Stout’s stylistic elements.)

    Basically, Stout was the US equivalent of Christie in period, popularity and prolificity – and also in quality. (And frankly, probably the most politically/socially liberal and open-minded mystery writer of his age, 1930-odd to 1975. Racism and sexism do appear, but are slammed down regularly in one way or another; homophobia is minor, and nothing that I can’t handle given the author’s age. Certainly not as ugly in that respect as Hammett or Chandler.)

    Digression aside: when the trailers for Ender’s Game started popping up some months ago, I decided it was going to be a rental or broadcast for me. I’d like to see it – I first read/bought the novel and its two sequels in the early ’90s, and have re-read all of them at least twice in the 20+ years since – but Card gets none of my money.

    (And @Scalzi et al: have you noticed that the stories about Card resigning from NOM all lead back to one, single, ambiguously-worded and unattributed sentence in that New York Times article? Many with embellishments not contained in that article? I haven’t found anything else – not from NOM, not from Card, not from anyone – that says he’s resigned. I have found a helluva lot of reportage and comment subsequent to that article that says he’s still a board member.

    (“A lie can go around the world while the Truth is still getting its pants on. — Variously attributed to Winston Churchill, Edward R. Murrow and no doubt others.)

  277. @ Xopher: Well, homoepathy is bunk. I for one find Scorpius to be a raging asshole. If Scalzi were to Kitten him a few times and then permaban him, I would be extremely happy.

  278. If it was just his opinion on the matter, I wouldn’t boycott his movie. From what I have heard (and perhaps this is wrong, if so I’d appreciate some feedback) is that he is planning on donating profits of the movie to anti-gay coalition. I

  279. Racism and sexism do appear, but are slammed down regularly in one way or another;

    Well, there are some fairly racist parts in the early ones (written in the 1930s). They’re better in the 1950s & onward. The sexism is pretty constant, though.

  280. @DAVID: Yes. This I attribute to Stout not having yet figured out that Watson doesn’t need to be an idiot to make Holmes look good.

    (And lest we derail, I suggest anything further on that topic be directed to email.)

  281. @DAVID (crap, hit POST too quickly): Can’t agree on the sexism for the most part. Stout generally wrote intelligent (and frequently dangerous) women throughout his work (even previous to the Wolfe stories.) I have no doubt that a diligent and opinionated writer could pick out some bad examples, but on the whole I’d give a pass on that aspect.

    (Anything further, as I’ve noted before, my e-mail is not terribly hard to find.)

  282. DNFTT applies to scorpius.

    Mea culpa. As soon as I posted I realised it had been a mistake to respond.

    Please don’t tell me what I’m trying to do. I’m entirely sure that I get to decide what my goal is, not you.

    All right. But you are still pushing the notion that it’s important for me – or anyone – to read books they don’t want to, if they’re important.

    And, as an author, I am going to break with conventional wisdom and say – no book is that important. *None*. I’m glad I was forced to read books I hated at school and Uni, but had I not been (because I’d studied different things back then) I’d be no worse off, and no worse a person.

    I picked Rex Stout because I just finished rereading all of the Nero Wolfes

    Fair enough. He really was just unknown to me and I couldn’t see any good reason for including him over what, to me, was better known. (Thank you, Don HIlliard, for explaining things further, by the way.)

    I’m exploring the parameters and limits of your self-stated desire not to read anything with objectionable material or by an objectionable author.

    First of all, why do you care?

    But second, the answer lies in my increased awareness of issues I was ignorant of or blindly accepting of in my youth, as well as in becoming an an author, and becoming personally acquainted with many authors, and those authors showing their feet of clay. Suddenly the whole ‘literature is essential and important’ message I was spoon fed during my studies, had layers and exceptions to it. Suddenly I realised that the person behind the ‘great book’ was very often an arsehole. I had to confront problematic tendencies in my own writing, and I wondered why other authors in the modern age weren’t bothering to. Reading for pleasure suddenly became hard work because my critical, thinking writer brain wouldn’t stop long enough for me to ignore the flaws of craft and thinking that once, I would have excused.

    So I said, bugger that. I’m only prepared to put that kind of effort in for authors I genuinely love and I know get the things that concern me. Writers who care both about writing and about the world. And I am done, done, done, with reading what I ‘ought’ to, and books that manipulate me into misery when my real life provides too much to be sad about.

    I don’t think the situations are parallel.

    But if missing out on important writing is that serious, why wouldn’t I make that effort? If it’s not important enough to make an effort for, then why is it important at all?

    I am still taken aback at the idea of eliminating such a massive quantity of literature from one’s life simply because it will make you uncomfortable.

    How many books do you read in a year, David? How many do you buy? How many *can* you buy?

    Now how many English language fiction books are published each year?

    If we can’t read them all – and we can’t – we have to filter them somehow. I’ve chosen to filter out books that make me unhappy or angry, or by authors who I disapprove of. You must choose somehow yourself – so what criteria do you use?

    Have you for instance read all of my books? No? Because you haven’t heard of me? Because gay romantic sf/f isn’t your thing? Because I’m a literary neanderthal? Because I’m female? Australian? Too left wing? Too right wing?

    Trust me, if any of those are your reasons, I have no quarrel with them. I’ve had people refuse to read my books for far more trival reasons and that is their absolute right. The right to create is built on the right to refuse to consume, as I said above. And no book is that damn important.

    All I care about for authors is equality of access for equally skilful writers and books. Once they have a way of putting their books out there, the readers can do and say what they like with regard to them. And if they choose to ignore my books, or anyone else’s because of reasons, then that’s up to them.

  283. My personal dividing line is whether or not the artist in question actively supports the views I disagree with with the money he/she makes. In the case of Card, he actively campaigns on behalf of and gives money to organizations that actively seek to limit the participation of a minority group in society. For me, it’s easier to separate the art from the artist if they aren’t active about perpetuating the views I despise. If an artist is racist/sexist/classist, but it doesn’t show up in their work, or their money doesn’t go to organizations trying to tear people down, I’ll happily enjoy their work without ever speaking to them. If, however, I know that their money is going toward hurting groups I care about, that’s a different story.

    Also, this isn’t about differing political views (ie: I think government is responsible for the poor vs. I think the poor should be responsible for themselves). It’s about discrimination which, to me, is a moral issue, not just a political one.

  284. Floored:

    Scorpius is allowed to post here for the same reason as anyone else: Because I allow it. He’s been Malleted before, and probably will be again, but in my determination he’s not usually aiming to troll, and generally speaking he takes direction when it’s given to him, as regards leaving a topic alone.

    The best thing for you to do, if you find Scorpius’s posts trollish (or anyone else’s, for that matter) is to let them alone. If I find them trollish, I will deal with them.

  285. But you are still pushing the notion that it’s important for me – or anyone – to read books they don’t want to, if they’re important.

    Sure, because I think that’s true. That’s not the same thing as insisting you have to do that, or shaming you for not doing it. I’m not sure I see the problem in saying that I think people should read books that make them uncomfortable if they think those books are important for other reasons.

    First of all, why do you care?

    Because it’s an Internet thread. And because I think it trends perilously close to the kind of “epistemic closure” that Republicans fall prey to by watching only Fox News and listening to only Rush Limbaugh and by only reading the Wall Street Journal. And because I’m a historian, and my job includes the absolute necessity to read things that make me uncomfortable because otherwise I won’t understand the world I’m trying to understand.

    Reading for pleasure suddenly became hard work because my critical, thinking writer brain wouldn’t stop long enough for me to ignore the flaws of craft and thinking that once, I would have excused.

    So I said, bugger that. I’m only prepared to put that kind of effort in for authors I genuinely love and I know get the things that concern me

    I think you made exactly the wrong decision, in the same sense that a doctor avoiding treating diseases she doesn’t like would be making the wrong decision. Writing had become part of work for you, and rather than considering what that meant, you forced it back into its “pleasure” role.

     I’ve had people refuse to read my books for far more trival reasons and *that is their absolute right*.

    Of course it is. That doesn’t mean that you can’t think that they’re wrong not to read your books. Having a right to do something doesn’t mean being right to do something. I think you absolutely have the right not to read whatever you choose, but I think you’re wrong to do it the way you do.

  286. @Xopher: “I have to admit I haven’t heard about Card being particularly racist.”

    This is likely not the thread in which to have that particular discussion, but I recall highly charged discussions about the racial politics of the Alvin Maker series and the extent to which it may or may not have reflected pre-reform LDS theology. It’s probably worth looking up, for those interested in such things.

  287. Floored, I have similar feelings about scorpius. I find it’s usually best just to scroll down whenever I see his name and icon. Sometimes I read his comments, and I always regret it; when I respond to them, I regret it even more. Upthread I started to reply to him…you can see where I erased it, and replaced it with *sigh*. It’s just not worth it.

  288. @David you did not answer some really important question asked by Ann Somerville and I think you should if you are going to suggest we read stuff written by objectionable authors or about objectionable topics.

    How many books do you read in a year, David? How many do you buy? How many *can* you buy?

    And I’d ask a couple of my own. What ratio of your reading is white male versus female authors? How much of your reading is by other minority groups?

  289. my job includes the absolute necessity to read things that make me uncomfortable because otherwise I won’t understand the world I’m trying to understand.

    And that’s fine, and i’ve done the same thing for different reasons. But you seem to assume that not reading fiction written by racists, homophobes, misogynists and the like, mean I am unaware of what racists, homophobes, misogynists and the like think or are up to, or what they think. This is not the case. I can’t open my news sites, or read my Twitter feed without being smacked in the face by it.

    Besides, I don’t give people like that the time of day in my real life. Why would I want their thoughts in my head for fun?

    I think you made exactly the wrong decision, in the same sense that a doctor avoiding treating diseases she doesn’t like would be making the wrong decision.

    Dude, I’m retired. I get to do what I like with my time now. I’ve done the equivalent of treating unpleasant diseases per your analogy, and now I don’t want to. Have I missed some books you would consider essential? Yes, undoubtedly. Have you never heard of books that I consider life-changing? Also undoubtedly.

    I think you’re wrong to do it the way you do.

    Eh, your privilege. My way of coping with life is my way. It’s not like I’m telling you what you have to read or avoid.

  290. “Gulliver” July 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

    This presupposes the boycott to be effective. I think some are. I have doubts this one will be.

    Your reply the section you quoted from to my comment makes no sense. I was commenting on why Card’s odious work with NOM and other bits of anti LGBT advocacy are not something that John feels as strongly about as I do. I speculated that it’s probably because he’s not really getting the brunt of it the way some of us are.

    How does that have anything to do with the effectiveness of the boycott?

  291. I don’t care if boycotting Card “works” beyond him not getting even a fraction of a cent of my money. Mormons tithe at least 10% of their earnings to the church. The church then uses it for things like funding Prop 8. I don’t want any of my money used that way if I can help it.

  292. @David: “you can’t read a book if it will make you unhappy or feel unfulfilled”

    Well, yes. I’d say at least 90% of the people who bother to read at all follow this idea. Life is short, time and money are short, and life sucks enough anyway without one’s recreational time being taken up with miserable things. JK Rowling isn’t a bazillionaire b/c Harry died and Voldemort rules us all. People who read so-called “literary fiction” may enjoy being depressed, or insulted, etc. but most people like their murderers caught, their hobbitses destroying the Ring, their galaxies non-despotic, their romances ending happily, and Their Sort of People respected. And rather a lot of the Great Books are dull AND depressing, which is why people have to be forced to read them in school.

    @Ann S: the particular Christie book has always been titled either “Ten Little Indians” or “And Then There Were None” in the US, because even back then, even the most dyed in the wool bigots didn’t use that word in public because it was insulting AND incredibly low-class and rude. Nice people (and certainly book companies) simply didn’t use that word, no matter what Paula Deen wants us to believe. It wouldn’t have sold even in Jim Crow days. It was one of two words I wasn’t allowed to utter in the house (the other begins with F), and both my parents grew up in deepest segregated Dixie.

    @Folks who say they’ll see it but then give to charities: What’s wrong with buying a ticket for something else starting at the same time and then walking into an EG showing? The theater gets their money, you still buy the popcorn, but you don’t have to do “offsets” to alleviate your guilt over letting fanboyness * overwhelm support for equal rights. I realize this only works in multiplex theaters, not on single screens, but how many single screens are there any more that aren’t IMAX? It’s not like the minimum wage employees in the Uberplex 35 are going to check everyone’s ticket stubs and have you thrown out.

    *which is fine! I mean, it has an excellent cast and things blow up in outer space, so hey! what’s not to like? Depending on reviews, I might do that myself.

  293. Lurkertype – I *specifically* want to see the movie on opening night, with a crowd who loved the books, probably with a bunch of my friends, hopefully with my best friend in the area. I somewhat suspect that the “buy a ticket for another show” technique will fail under those circumstances; the showings will be sold out, and there’s no way for me to be in the theater without being insufferably rude.

  294. @Lurkertype: I honestly think that most folks planning to skip the movie have definite ideas of right and wrong…and oddly enough, that idea just seems wrong, somehow.

    I.e., let the other side rely on lying, cheating and sneaking.

  295. Reasonable people can certainly disagree on whether a boycott is correct, or effective, or whether alternatives are as good or a better solution, or whether they personally will or won’t participate. I’d like to think, though, that reasonable people do not feel the need to arrive at those opinions by relying on facts that are actually flat-out bullshit.

    For example, some posters in this thread have asserted that Card’s views on LGBT folks and equality have mellowed over time, or that his odious views were expressed a long time ago, or that he was just flappin’ his gums but hasn’t “done much” to put those views into effect. At best, these assertions are simply uninformed. At worst, they are flat-out bullshit.

    It’s certainly true that in 1990, Card said that sodomy should remain a crime “to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly”. That is, however, not all that he has ever said, and he has not moved away from those views.

    In 2004, Card asserted that marriage equality violates the Constitution and is anti-democracy, that children will be expelled from school if they “question the legitimacy of homosexual marriage”, and busted out the I Have A Gay Friend argument to sneer that same-sex couples aren’t really marriage, but are just “dressing up in their parents’ clothes”. Oh, and they’re destroying civilization. (The gays, not the clothes. I think.)

    In 2008, Card declared that “when government is the enemy of marriage, then the people who are actually creating successful marriages have no choice but to change governments, by whatever means is made possible or necessary”, and urged married couples to declare that “I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.”

    In 2009, Card joined the board of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT, anti-equality group that has been active all over the US in fighting against same-sex marriage and for DOMA.

    In 2012, again dragging out his Gay Friends, Card lied that “there are no laws left standing that discriminate against gay couples”, that same-sex couples can be just like married people without the M word, and the only reason for saying they should marry is a sinister Leftist conspiracy to destroy religion.

    He has never backed away from, toned down or repudiated these views. At all. It was not until the boycott of his movie started that Card turned tail on his fellow travelers at NOM – at least publicly – declaring the same-sex marriage issue “moot”, and apparently resigned from the board just before or after making this declaration.

    Oh, and his pleas for “tolerance” are particularly rich, given that during the time he was on NOM╒s board, NOM itself launched boycotts of Starbucks, General Mills and T-Mobile because it disapproved of their pro-equality views.

    Boycotts, apparently, are A-OK when they are directed at those people and their family-destroying, insurrection-deserving ways, but totally intolerant and meanypants when directed at Orson Scott Card. No tagbacks, gay people! Please to see my movie!

    (Re the sideline of Paula Deen, the idea that her troubles all stem from having once used the N-word is also uninformed and/or flat-out bullshit. Ms. Deen is being sued by a former manager of one of her restaurants, who alleges that Deen’s brother spent years acting like a bigoted, handsy Boss from Hell and incidentally ran the business into the ground, with Deen either consenting to or at least tolerating her brother’s conduct. Now, it’s certainly true that these are allegations in a complaint, but as part of the lawsuit, she gave a deposition at which ‘I used the N-word years ago’ was possibly the least damaging thing she said.)

  296. It’s interesting that so many people say a creator’s (writer, artist, actor, etc.) personal opinions don’t impact how they like that person’s work. I’m the opposite. I’ve only read “Songmaster,” by Card and one other the name of which I can’t remember — I stopped reading when the main character, who could regenerate lost limbs, had grown extra arms or something like that — but now that I know his extremist views, I won’t read anything else by him or see anything derived from his work. (Interestingly, “Songmaster” also contains a strong homosexual element, wherein the main character is “accused” of being the emperor’s catamite, and falls in love with another young man.)

    It’s the same when I learn something about an actor. For instance, I liked Adam Pally in “Happy Endings,” until I read a Twitter feed about his encounter with Tim Robbins on an airplane. Pally comes across as a big jerk, and that ruined the pleasure I took in his performance on his sitcom. It’s happened before, numerous times.

    I hope the boycott does work and the film tanks. And for Card to say that his previous bigoted statements should not have an effect on his current financial prospects and that those he has expressed hatred for should be tolerant of his views is disingenuous at best and hypocritical at worst.

  297. Looking at boycotts in the larger sense (not specific to Ender’s Game), I’m seeing one going on right now that I think may be illustrative to the general point.

    I live in Greater Boston, and the controversy over the Rolling Stone cover story on Tsarnaev has lead to a boycott of the magazine – as in, many major distribution channels in the area (major chains like CVS, Big Y, many more) will not sell it.

    The thing that offends many of us isn’t the story, which by all reports and the excerpts I’ve seen is factual – it’s the “art” choice, of what image to use on the cover. (Yes, it is a self portrait of Tsarnaev that has been distributed in other channels; RS cropped it a bit but didn’t do wholesale changes). The choice of an image for the cover art that seems to glamorize this accused person has caused many of us to decide that we will not purchase or sell this publication – voting with our pocketbooks.

    I (and apparently many others) think that the people behind the decision to use this art are “creators” who we find so offensive that we should reject it – which in this case means a boycott. (And the initial response from Senior Editor Christian Hoard was an obscene tweet that reinforced this to many people).

    Has the magazine been banned? No. Has it been censored? No. Blacklisted? No. Can people who still want it get it? Yes. Was RS free to do what they did? Yes. But we are free to reject that message by boycotting – and letting others know that we’re doing it, and why.

  298. @Xopher

    Yeah, the brownstone was a little Gsish.

    Ohhh! As in a brick building! When you first said that I was thinking, how do you have a heroin?

    This is either naïve morality or a Libertarian perspective.

    In scorpius’s defense (and does that ever sound weird to say), it was MWT that made the comment to which you replied. FWIW, the anarcho-capitalists I know take voting with their wallet more serious than most as they see it as the most legitimate method of social reproach.

    I will not knowingly contribute even a fraction of a penny to people who block human rights and encourage murder.

    That’s an entirely estimable position, IMO.

    @Phoenician in a time of Romans

    No – he called for the mass execution of communists when it looked like they might get some power through democratic means. The context was a discussion on Suharto and Indonesia.

    Oh, I think I see. If I were a betting man, I’d wager the reasoning went something like this (and I want to be diamond clear that this is not my own opinion): If allowed to try to install a communist state through Constitutional democratic reform, the naïve do-gooders will, like all their predecessors throughout history, hand the government over to megalomaniac autocrats who will murder them and kill and enslave many others besides, so it’s better to kill them before they have the chance if it looks likely. Which looks like airtight contingency planning until you, you know, actually think about it and realize you’ve just “fixed” a communist totalitarian regime with a fascist totalitarian regime. Back to the drawing board.

    Of course, the utilitarians in this scenario planning pinko pogroms in the pigeon parks think they’ll be able to stop the fascism on a dime and restore the Bill of Rights, just as a the naïve do-gooders who would actually try to install a communist government believe they wouldn’t repeat the mistakes of history. Fortunately, I don’t trust either of them. Which isn’t to say that I’d sit idle in the unlikely event that the Bill of Rights is actually amended out of force, just that I’d be fighting for their restoration and against the camp that thinks mass murder is the way to save the republic. Let’s all hope it never comes to that.

    @Ann Somerville

    Mary Shelley – what’s wrong with her?

    Yeah, I wondered about that too. Granted, all I’ve read of hers is Frankenstein, but that book goes out of its way to depict the titular mad scientist as an irresponsible loon who turns on the sensitive intelligence he creates. It’s central cautionary message, as far as I can tell, is tolerance and consideration in how we deal with others.

    We should all live so long with so much brain space to waste on.

    I can think of better things to waste immortality on than indiscriminate reading. Indeed, given how much I love reading, reducing it to some eternal chore sounds like a fate worse than death. Hmm…that would make a fun modern fable…

    @Ron Hogan

    I think it would probably be more accurate to say I think anyone who INVESTED in Ender’s Game (the motion picture) could stand to learn a lesson about the consequences of doing business with egregious homophobes.

    Ah, that makes more sense.

    A boycott does at least as much to clarify the moral philosophy of the boycotter as it does to affect the material conditions of the boycotted.

    Totally concur.

    @ryantaurant

    I don’t have a constructive way to respond to that, and out of respect to this forum, I won’t.

    Looking back at what I wrote to you, I was perhaps needlessly snarky. Let me put it this way, I haven’t seen anyone here call for Card’s crucifixion. In addition to being so out of proportion to the actual criticisms of Card as to be a strawman, it’s an odd hyperbole to deploy when it seems most unlikely Card himself would lightly bandy that particular reference about.

    @aetherize

    It’s worth noting two things here. One, there are limits to free speech. Threatening someone (which is ultimately a form a speech) is a crime, even if the threat isn’t carried out. Telling someone to harm someone else is a crime.

    Yes, but advocating that it be made not a crime, while repugnant, is not a crime. Nor do I believe it should be. All laws should be questioned. It’s one thing to advocate breaking the law and another to advocating changing the law. Even in cases advocating breaking the law, I believe it’s important to show a tangible link that the speaker encouraged a specific crime to occur for them to share in the culpability of the criminals who carry out the acts. I’m aware of the ICC taking the case of Rwandanan war criminals, but I didn’t follow the specifics of the trail.

    The line between protected speech and criminal speech is a tough one.

    True enough.

    Two, and I think this was a big part of the original post, it’s perfectly compatible to believe that the government should not censor certain speech, while believing that such speech is morally wrong and should be stopped (through non-government-censorship avenues).

    I agree, voluntarily or because the speech loses currency. Coercive suppression of political speech I cannot abide. Once upon a time not so long ago that was common in the US, and we got mostly better because it was recognized for what it was, not a shield for the powerless, but an excuse to keep them so. But boycotting an author is not suppression, merely a decline to give a leg up.

    @bekabot

    (Isn’t it ironic…)

    Yeah, I really do think.

    @Floored

    A question: Why is an obvious troll like Scorpius still allowed to comment here? I mean, he insults Mr. Scalzi, is a jerk to everyone, and uses faulty logic at every opportunity to piss people off; all the hallmarks of a serial troll.

    scorpius isn’t a troll, though you’d be excused for mistaking him for one. Scalzi hasn’t ever made a habit of running off people that disagree with him or reason somewhat poorly (unless they just make no sense whatsoever). I can only assume that Scalzi finds what you see as scorpius’s jerkishness to be within his acceptable bounds. Scalzi does occasionally tell scorpius to be more civil or say nothing, and scorpius has always, to my memory, either complied or been Malleted. Sometimes Scalzi goes straight to the Mallet.

    A troll is someone who deliberately says things merely to bait people, irrespective of the troll’s own beliefs. scropius is nothing if not consistent in sticking to his guns regardless of the reaction he gets.

    I don’t mind him. While his reasoning is often, IMO estimation, flawed, it’s not as faulty as it appears, it’s just built on radically different (and frequently incorrect) axioms and perceptions of reality. I consider this his main redeeming quality; an outside perspective, even if it’s usually wrong, can occasionally serve as a reminder that the world isn’t binary Us/Them. YMMV, especially with scorpius, but neither of us gets to decide who Scalzi tolerates on his own blog. That’s my inflation adjusted 5¢ on scorpiusgate.

    @Josh Jasper

    How does that have anything to do with the effectiveness of the boycott?

    Sorry, I should have been clearer and quoted the whole relevant bit. I can see how not doing so made my reply nonsensical. You said:

    Although I think you cover it in your post, I’m going to rephrase. The reason *why* these cretins making art is not a huge deal to you is that you’re playing on the lowest dificulty setting. Someone on the board of NOM having the money truck back up into their yard won’t hurt you as much.

    If the boycott won’t impact the money truck, then that wouldn’t be an effective reason why making money off the art (independent of whether the art itself is offensive) is a huge deal. I did say that there are plenty of other good reasons someone might think it useful to boycott said cretins, but the defunding one falls down if it doesn’t really defund them. That’s how the math appears to me to work out to me anyway.

  299. Scorpius, I think the point you raised about Obama is worth addressing, and goes beyond just trolling.

    People aren’t boycotting Card merely because he opposed same-sex marriage. As far as I can tell, there’s no organized effort to identify all authors who expressed opposition to SSM in the past, and then encourage people not to support those authors’ works. Rather, Card is being singled out because of the virulence of his anti-gay opinions, and that he worked tirelessly to implement them in law.

    Sure, when asked, Obama expressed opposition to SSM. History will (and should) judge him for that. But he never put any effort into preventing states from legalizing SSM. He didn’t advocate for constitutional bans (at the state or federal level), he didn’t ally himself with NOM, he didn’t raise funds to support ballot measures enacting SSM bans, and he didn’t use his office to push SSM bans. He expressed a wish that the federal government treat same-sex couples with legally-recognized relationships the same as married opposite-sex couples. He certainly hasn’t expressed other homophobic attitudes, as Card has. I’ve never heard Obama assert that people should be imprisoned for being gay, as Card has.

    As Scalzi said in the original post, each person will have their own line determining when they can no longer support an artist. I think the same is true of politicians. It’s perfectly reasonable to put Obama on one side of that line and Card on the other.

  300. @CLP, I think if you substitute “Obama” for “Reagan” in Panel 2 here, you can save yourself a lot of time with scorpius’ arguments, now and in the future. (“Democrats” and “the Left” also work,depending on the topic.)

    @Gulliver, of course the question is whether the boycott might affect more than just this one film’s box-office revenues.

  301. Ultimately, art stands on its own merits and transcends the artist’s personality and views.

    The artist may have an intended meaning for a given work. The artist’s skill influences how powerfully the art conveys the intended meaning. But, ultimately, the interplay between the art and audience determines the meaning, and how powerfully it inspires an aesthetic response determines its greatness.

    In the case of Ender’s Game, the story resonates with a large audience, so much so that it is considered a significant work of science fiction. Whatever Card intended, the book does NOT convey the homophobic message that people see in Card’s more recent work.

    So, I will continue to recommend Ender’s Game to readers, and I will see the film – not because I support Card’s views and want to give him money – but because the art merits it.

  302. In the case of Ender’s Game, the story resonates with a large audience, so much so that it is considered a significant work of science fiction.

    This is a very strange and passive way of talking about the “merits” of a work of art. What about a work being popular or having been significant means that it “merits” further attention from you, and that the artist “merits” receiving your income?

    Additionally, you’re not talking about one work of art, but two. The book unquestionably resonates with many and is a significant part of the body of SFF literature. The film is an entirely separate work of art that is based on the book to some degree, but the film is not the book and is not interchangeable with the book. Also, the film, being a new and separate work of art,has not had time to resonate with an audience, or to become an important part of the SFF film canon.

  303. I’ll go along with the posters who’ve pointed out that the boycott has received more attention than the movie itself. It’s possible that the studio would prefer that OSC keep his trap shut about his personal views and stick to SF themes until the Blu-Ray is out.

    As for Agatha Christie and Rex Stout – there’s a reason they’re both still in print almost a century after they started writing and decades after their deaths. They each wrote some good solid classic mysteries: AC’s “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” and “Sad Cypress” are two that spring to mind immediately and RS’s “Some Buried Caesar”, “And Be a Villain” and “The Doorbell Rang” – which anyone who is in any way libertarian really should read. This is off-topic but I can’t resist defending writing when it’s good.

  304. Have I missed some books you would consider essential?

    I think rather that you’ve missed many books that you would consider essential.

    @Tasha I didn’t answer those questions in the first place because I didn’t see the relevance to a discussion of Ann’s book choosing methods. I still don’t, but I’m happy to list the last 10 books I’ve read (historians like lists!):

    Iris Chang, The Rape of Nanjing
    Shi Nai’ian, Water Margin
    Janet Watson, Fighting Different Wars, Experience, Memory, and the First World War in Britain
    Heather Stur, Beyond Combat: Women and Gender in the Vietnam War Era
    Gregory Ball, They Called Them Soldier Boys: A Texas Infantry Regiment in the First World War
    Suzanne Mettler, The Submerged State
    Charles McKinney, Greater Freedom: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Wilson, NC
    Tetsuden Kashima, Judgment Without Trial: Japanese American Imprisonment During World War Ii*
    Sadao Asada, From Mahan to Pearl Harbor: the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States
    Gretchen Murphy, Shadowing the White Man’s Burden : U.S. Imperialism and the Problem of the Color Line

    Judge as you wish.

  305. @mythago
    “This is a very strange and passive way of talking about the “merits” of a work of art. What about a work being popular or having been significant means that it “merits” further attention from you, and that the artist “merits” receiving your income?”

    You are right – I grossly oversimplified “merit” by only mentioning the size of the appreciative audience. The quality of the prose, uniqueness of the idea and expression, and much more must come into play, I’m sure. I’m no literary critic, so I won’t try play one here. Ender’s Game won both the Nebula and Hugo, has been nominated for Locus, and recognized as an excellent work of sci fi in many forums.

    What about that makes it merit my attention or money? I enjoy good sci fi and want good sci fi to continue to be written and turned into films. Further, I advocate for reading. I want to connect people to good books. I want those books to be available to future readers. By reading and recommending Ender’s Game now, I help it transcend Card.

    “Additionally, you’re not talking about one work of art, but two.”

    You are right again – the film is a separate work of art. It is, however, a representation of
    the same story. I liked the original story and I tend to like sci fi films. I want to see more good sci fi book get turned into films. I am willing to have some portion of my ticket price go to Card because some portion of it will go to support sci fi films *in general*. Also, I don’t expect homophobia to be added to the film version given that it was not part of the book.

  306. @David. Thanks for the list. so you stay within history for your discomfort reading? You stick to your job for your reading. And as a historian if you aren’t going to suck you should be reading outside your comfort zone (something I wish my history teachers had done).

    That’s great that it works for you. But believe it or not there are all sorts of good places to get information about the world around us and history that does not require reading books.

    For the most part books fall into 3 categories for people:
    1. Entertainment (biggest) – this doesn’t work if it brings me down, makes me want to kill people, or throws me into a depression. It makes no sense to me why reading for entertainment should require I read things that make me uncomfortable that defeats the purpose.

    2. Job related/educational (like your list) this may or may not be uncomfortable

    3. Self-help/spiritual/informational (smallest) – in this category people are likely to pick up and read things that make them uncomfortable

    Does this make sense?

  307. @Scalzi: Belated thanks for the post! Good stuff.

    @vmink: You’ve said a couple of times now that Card was the chairman of NOM. I don’t think that’s accurate; he is, or was, a board member, but I don’t think he’s ever been chairman of the board.

    @Don Hilliard: Thanks for pointing out the ambiguity around the question of Card’s board resignation. Like you, I can’t find any information about his departure from the board other than that one sentence in that NYT article. (Wikipedia’s citation is that article; NOM’s website doesn’t appear to list their board members; all the other sources I’ve found have been from 2009, talking about Card joining the board.) I’ve now emailed the author of that NYT article requesting more info. Will report back here if I hear or find anything.

  308. @mythago: Thank you for the detailed recounting of Card’s recent homophobic remarks! I too was surprised by the claim earlier in this thread that Card was no longer saying such things, and I was about to post something along the lines of what you said, but with much less detail; I appreciate your taking the time to put together info with dates and sources.

    (The usual claim I’ve seen elsewhere is the opposite: that Card used to be all sweetness and light, but has gotten bigoted recently. That, too, is refuted by your list, specifically by the 1990 piece you linked to, “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality.” Which, for anyone reading this thread who didn’t follow that link, says some pretty awful things about the place of homosexuality in secular society, including the idea that laws against homosexuality should be retained to “send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”)

  309. Thanks for the list. so you stay within history for your discomfort reading?

    No.

    And as a historian if you aren’t going to suck you should be reading outside your comfort zone (something I wish my history teachers had done).

    Yes. Which is why my answer above.

    But believe it or not there are all sorts of good places to get information about the world around us and history that does not require reading books.

    I have never thought there weren’t.

    this doesn’t work if it brings me down,

    Really? Breaking away from books for a minute, you’ve never watched a sad film – Titanic, Terms of Endearment, Gladiator – and been entertained?

  310. Followup about Card being a NOM board member: The author of the NYT article (Michael Cieply) replied almost immediately to my email. He wrote: “[Card's] rep tells me he resigned earlier this year.” In context, I’m pretty sure that specifically means “resigned from NOM’s board.”

  311. Jonah:

    (Interestingly, “Songmaster” also contains a strong homosexual element, wherein the main character is “accused” of being the emperor’s catamite, and falls in love with another young man.)

    Yes, and when they try to have sex he’s in agony, because Card wrote his fantasy of what should happen when men have sex it so that he would. And the other guy commits gruesome suicide out of guilt. This is part of Card’s anti-gay writing, not an exception to it.

    Gulliver, those were separate comments. One to MWT, and then opening one to scorpius and deciding not to say anything. Sorry that wasn’t clear.

    And brownstone isn’t quite brick, though brick can underlie it. Brownstones are either built of actual brown stone, or finished in cement with brown dye added to it.

  312. @David Hated Titanic. Terms of Endearment I’m not sure if I’ve seen. Gladiator I’m not sure I’ve even heard of. I’ve been partly deaf all my life and find soundtracks make it really hard for me to make out the words. Some movies I will watch at home using close captioning but it gets frustrating to try to see the action while reading and sometimes they put the close captioning in the weirdest places so they cut off parts of people’s heads or the bottom or top 1/3rd of the screen.

    Sure I’ve read sad books. But I don’t go out of my way to find them. Frankly I’ve had enough death, chronic illnesses, and abuse in my real life that I don’t feel the need to go out of the way to read about more of it. I don’t know anything about your background. I’ve lived in poverty, I’ve been sexually abused as a child, I’ve been sexually harassed as a woman, I’ve been raped. I’ve had the Jewish graveyard near where I live attacked. At age 7 I had to make the decision to put down my kittens down by myself because they had female leukemia. My 1st really close relative died when I was 6. I was bullied in school. I’ve been hit by an 18-wheel truck & am lucky to be alive.

    So frankly no I don’t feel the need to read depressing fiction. I already know the world is a dangerous place and I know that there are plenty of good people in it. In my free time I want to be reminded of the good, I want to be uplifted, I want to smile, I want to be distracted. I don’t see how reading sad/uncomfortable stuff is going to enrich my life. You’ve not provided any argument other than “but you are missing out on some good literature”. But here’s the thing if I read sad/uncomfortable stuff I’m also missing out on good literature because there is so much good literature available and limited time and money.

    If you’ve got something more compelling go ahead and give it a shot.

  313. Sure I’ve read sad books. But I don’t go out of my way to find them… So frankly no I don’t feel the need to read depressing fiction.

    Since my point is not to “go out of your way to find [depressing fiction]” but “don’t eliminate a book from consideration simply because it is depressing,” it sounds like we agree.

  314. @mythago, OSC had issues with his NOM membership prior to the Ender’s boycott, as there was a petition against him writing Superman for DC. Beyond that, Card has stated all the quotes you give, but they are also the non-contextualized (who his audience was and why he was writing as he did) extremes of his statements.

    To a large extent, he is a product of his environment insofar as Mormons tend to have a strict/brittle moral viewpoint. From my experience, those that question one aspect of their basis of faith go on to undermine many of its fundamental tenets. Conversely, if one accepts LDS teachings as the Word of God, then they have a moral imperative to “protect” others, specifically children.

    That said, I don’t believe what he said is right, but we mostly have to wait for the old hardcore fanatics to die off, as any action we take is futile. Better to spend time on those that aren’t stuck to a rigid mindset, specifically children.

  315. David: “Given that people don’t normally eliminate every bit of reading material that might make them the least bit unhappy, this seems very strange that you would be taken aback by the idea that I was taken aback by the idea. Are you comfortable with the idea of telling me that my reaction is illegitimate?”

    You have an interesting way of inflating words. My expressing surprise that you are surprised that different people have different reading criteria is not at all the same thing as saying your surprise is illegitimate. It’s simply surprising because most people know that different people have different reading criteria. That you are unaware of this fact of life is maybe unfortunate, but not illegitimate. Why would it be?

    It is not only normal for people to not read material that might make them unhappy, it’s the criteria of a majority of people, from casual readers who only read fiction occasionally to rabid bookworms and core fan readers. What makes them happy is not necessarily a happy ending or simple language. Some may be happy with material that is about drama and unhappy marriages and has won awards, others with horror novels full of gore, others only read books published earlier than 1930 for pleasure, others won’t read anything not published within the last ten years. SFF fans will read only epic fantasy or contemporary fantasy or hard SF or military SF, etc. in their choices of where to spend their money and time.

    Your assertion that such criteria different from your own are wrong is the equivalent of saying those criteria are illegitimate in your eyes. So it’s not surprising that Anne shrugs at the assertion that she can keep her criteria if she wants, but it’s bad and wrong and saddening, as if you had appointed yourself her schoolmarm. In general, if you are trying to recommend books to others to try, this is usually the exactly “wrong” way to go about it, just a suggestion.

    And this does relate to the uproar over the Card boycott. The continual assertions that it is wrong to not go see his movie, to not buy his books, to not speak only nicely about him, and that it is above all wrong to use the criteria of his personal activities and speech to decide on these things or do so as a protesting group are essentially a lot of people self-appointing themselves schoolmarm (but in a more annoying and virulent way then you were doing, David. You’re just doing the usual but don’t you want to improve yourself argument.)

    If your criteria is that it’s okay to see the movie, or see it and make a charitable donation, or see it when it’s finally out on cable, or only get his books from the library, or buy all his stuff, or have nothing to do with any of his stuff, etc., then goodie for you. They are all legitimate, personal choices and exercises of free speech thereby, and happen every day with the products in the marketplace.

  316. My expressing surprise that you are surprised that different people have different reading criteria is not at all the same thing as saying your surprise is illegitimate

    That’s the way it read to me. I’m glad to hear that it wasn’t the way you intended it.

    That you are unaware of this fact of life is maybe unfortunate, but not illegitimate

    I wasn’t unaware that other people choose books differently, but I was surprised that Ann was doing it what I take to be such an absolutist fashion. I don’t think that that surprise is unfortunate at all.

    Your assertion that such criteria different from your own are wrong is the equivalent of saying those criteria are illegitimate in your eyes.

    Please don’t incorrectly write my argument for me. “Illegitimate” reads as me saying that Ann doesn’t have the right to have those criteria. I think she absolutely has the right to do so, I just think she’s wrong to do it that way. You also suggest that I find *all* methods of choosing books to be wrong; I don’t believe I’ve stated any such thing. I find Ann’s method problematic, and that’s what I’m reacting to.

    And I’m fairly puzzled by your insistence that I’m not allowed to say that I think someone else is wrong about something.

    I’m not trying to recommend anything to Ann and I’m not actually trying to change her behavior. I’m simply stating my opinion that reading only books you find comforting strikes me as deeply and sadly limiting.

    but in a more annoying and virulent way then you were doing, David. You’re just doing the usual but don’t you want to improve yourself argument.

    I’m sorry not to be more original, then.

  317. I don’t read depressing fiction for the same reason I don’t watch depressing dramas on TV: real life is quite depressing enough. I read fiction when I’m tired of the depressing bits (from the news, my own life, etc.).

    That’s not to say everything has to be happy all the time. But when the writer is actively sadistic to viewers (frex I’ll never read GRRM again) I don’t need it.

    Yeah, GRRM is a brilliant writer, and I’m missing some good fiction by skipping him. Similarly, there are delicious wines and liqueurs that I miss because I don’t drink alcohol. I’ve just decided it’s better for me if I don’t indulge in alcohol and depressing fiction. Not to say anyone else shouldn’t if they can handle it! Make your own choices.

    With OSC it’s a whole other thing. He’s an evil person, yeah, but in addition to that his fiction attacks me directly. Some of his books may do this more than other books, but I’m not about to trust someone else’s judgment about which books are “safe,” after being burnt so many times by books that my friends didn’t notice anything objectionable about.

    Also, there’s that “evil person” thing.

  318. Please don’t incorrectly write my argument for me. “Illegitimate” reads as me saying that Ann doesn’t have the right to have those criteria. I think she absolutely has the right to do so, I just think she’s wrong to do it that way. You also suggest that I find *all* methods of choosing books to be wrong; I don’t believe I’ve stated any such thing. I find Ann’s method problematic, and that’s what I’m reacting to.

    I still don’t understand what is problematic with Anne and my method of choosing reading materials. The terms wrong and problematic are offensive when it comes to white men telling women and minorities what they should be doing.

    You still have not provided a compelling argument for why any of us would be improved by reading such material. I’m sorry you are frustrated that we are not getting why we are wrong. You have no idea how much more frustrating this is to us as we get these kind of lectures from well meaning people all the time. Believe it or not Anne, Xopher, and I have thought about these ideas. We have given them due consideration. We disagree with you and think you are wrong. The difference is none of the three of us has told you what you should or shouldn’t read.

    I have to take a break from this discussion to go pick up my sick cat from the vet.

  319. We disagree with you and think you are wrong.

    And I disagree with you and think you are wrong. So we’re doing exactly the same thing.

    The difference is none of the three of us has told you what you should or shouldn’t read.

    I haven’t told you what you should or shouldn’t read. I’ve asked how you make your choices and then expressed my belief that that’s the wrong way to do it. Nowhere in there am I insisting that you have to do it in a way that I think is right or that you have to listen to me at all.

  320. I assume that when Card was running his mouth against the GLBT community he thought that community was so tiny that he didn’t have to worry about any repercussions. He must have forgotten that while the GLBT community is relatively small, its supporters are in the millions

    Slowly but surely America has moved towards accepting marriage equality and equal treatment regardless of sexual orientation. There are consequences to free speech. You don’t get to run your mouth and then expect people to overlook your bigotry. Hope the boycott is successful.

  321. I think rather that you’ve missed many books that you would consider essential.

    I’ve asked how you make your choices and then expressed my belief that that’s the wrong way to do it.

    David, you seem well meaning, and I have no doubt you’re a nice chap. But you display such blindly privileged arrogance in statements like those above that you make me quite cranky.

    For one, you have utterly ignored my belief that no book – particularly no novel – is essential, and insist that no, no, you know better than me (although one is not allowed to second guess *your* beliefs and meanings.) You also claim that you don’t believe there is a western canon, yet insist that there are books *I* – whom you know nothing about – would find essential.

    And you say I am *wrong* to choose reading matter for entertainment in the way I do, but (a) do not offer anything other than your feelings why this is so and (b) decline to say how *you* choose reading matter for entertainment, so we can either benefit from your wisdom or chide you for being ‘wrong’ as you have done to me. When asked what books you have read, when we have been discussing *fiction*, you bait and switch and list a bunch of nonfiction texts relating to your job. If you’d asked me for ‘essential’ books I could have listed ten books on PHP, HTML, CSS, and obejct-oriented programming, but I would highly doubt those are essential, important, or meaningul to you. Nor do they tell you a damn thing about the breadth of my knowledge or the novels I have read and loved.

    You have also repeatedly ignored my and other women’s assertions that we choose books which don’t add to our psychic damage, damage which is caused by the very fact we are women in a misogynist society. No doubt you consider this irrelevant to *your* enjoyment of a book, and so it must be irrelevant to even those of us not fortunate enough to be straight white middle-class men. This is an enormous failure of empathy and understanding on your part.

    So answer the questions I pose here, without sliding off the subject, if you please:

    1. How do you choose *novels* to read for *entertainment*?
    2. What are the ‘essential’ novels written by racist, sexist, homophobic dipshits in the last 59 years that you think I, as a woman with history and personality and life experiences unknown to you, should read?
    3. Explain the concept of ‘essential’ without resorting to what you have to read for work.

    Nowhere in there am I insisting that you have to do it in a way that I think is right or that you have to listen to me at all.

    Disingenuous. If someone claims another person is ‘wrong’, intelligent individuals want to be given some basis for that claim. It necessarily worries a decent person to be judged ‘wrong’ by another apparently decent person, until they can assess what forms that judgement (which you decline evidence to do.) And as women, we of course are told we are ‘wrong’ all the time by men, and are trained by society to pay attention to that. You know this, which is why you feel comfortable laying down your rule without explaining it.

    Please be kind enough to treat us with the respect we are offering you, and respond without pretending we don’t have reason to question you. It makes treating you as an actor in good faith so much easier.

  322. What’s wrong with buying a ticket for something else starting at the same time and then walking into an EG showing?

    Lurker, your heart is in the right place because you don’t want to support the movie makers and by extension, Card, but I can’t support doing this. For one, it’s annoying to other patrons who have booked seats for EG and find some stranger in their place. For another, if you want to see the film, see the goddamn film. Own that desire. Offset it if you choose. But you can’t claim any moral highground for theft, and it would be better for those who want to see the film but who object to Card’s views, to make peace with those conflicting desires, rather than fudge it.

    Go, don’t go, as you choose. Justify it if you wish. But don’t stuff around. Boycotts invariably involve inconvenience (not eating Nestlé chocolates, sob!), and if you can’t handle the inconvenience, find another way to make your point.

    I see you, Xopher and Tasha agree with me that life’s too short to consume art that is going to make us miserable. Obviously that makes us intellectual lightweights [/sarccasm] but I can live with the shame.

  323. I’d like some book recommendations from Ann, Kat, and Tasha, frankly. And Xopher, who I already know I share at least one taste in common with. ;) [I too thought brownstones were brick! I must now re-evaluate NYC in general and Nero Wolfe in particular.]

    Life is far too nasty, brutish, and short to waste it on voluntarily loading up images you don’t want in your head. Or freely giving money to people you abhor. Yes, I pay taxes, but that’s because otherwise I’d go to jail. Nobody’s going to garnish my wages if I don’t see a movie. Or if I buy a ticket for the artsy movie or the foreign-language film and then sneak in to see pew-pew with big stars.

    My cat recently spent 4 days at the vet, so I grok Tasha as well as appreciating the questions/ideas she raises.

    @mythago’s list o’ links is invaluable, I think, and I wish it were higher up this thread. (Lookit me slingin’ that subjunctive like a pro!)

  324. For one, you have utterly ignored my belief that no book – particularly no novel – is essential, and insist that no, no, you know better than me (although one is not allowed to second guess *your* beliefs and meanings.)

    Again, you’re not arguing with what I’m saying; you’re arguing with a strawman of it. I haven’t ignored your belief that no book is essential; I disagree with it. You’re perfectly welcome to second-guess me (how on earth would I stop you?), but I’m likely to disagree with your second guessing.

    The central issue for me is that I don’t choose books based on whether I think those books will be happy or not and that you do, and I think that’s wrong. As I said before, the reason that I think that is that I believe there are lots of books (like, randomly, Harper Lee’s _To Kill A Mockingbird_) that are full of unpleasantness and have unhappy endings, that are nonetheless worth reading.

    On another note, I don’t make a distinction between work and play, as reading history *is* entertainment for me. I’m lucky enough that I get to combine that into my work; some of those books I listed were for projects I’m working on. Some were simply for pleasure.

    What are the ‘essential’ novels written by racist, sexist, homophobic dipshits in the last 59 years that you think I, as a woman with history and personality and life experiences unknown to you, should read?

    Agatha Christie?

    And as women, we of course are told we are ‘wrong’ all the time by men, and are trained by society to pay attention to that. You know this, which is why you feel comfortable laying down your rule without explaining it.

    Please don’t tell me what I know and don’t know, and what I’m comfortable doing and what I’m not. I’m not trying to tell you how to choose books, I’m telling you my reaction to your method is, and that’s what I’m going to continue talking about. Neither of us get to decide what this conversation is about for the other person, but I do get to decide on the conversation that I’m going to have.

    respond without pretending we don’t have reason to question you.

    I know you have reasons to question me, but, again, I simply don’t agree with those reasons.

  325. @Ann, there is NO chance I would be taking a set in EG from someone who wants it. My local 25-plex (and the other local 20-plex, plus the FOUR local 16-plex, the other 20-plex, and the other local 20-plex-with IMAX, and…) simply does NOT sell out save for opening weekend, and I don’t go see movies opening weekend because waiting in line with lots of people bothers me. Also I like to wait for reviews, both professional and from friends. So a Wednesday afternoon two weeks later won’t inconvenience anyone. I mean, there are a ridiculous amount of theaters near me, which may not apply in your area.

    I take your point on not stooping to evil, though, and will ponder it. As best as my simple little lightweight intellect will allow. You know I don’t like bad things! (/stomps foot)

  326. As I said before, the reason that I think that is that I believe there are lots of books (like, randomly, Harper Lee’s _To Kill A Mockingbird_) that are full of unpleasantness and have unhappy endings, that are nonetheless worth reading.

    As a followup to this, because I think I’ve been imprecise: I don’t think that essential books are the same for everyone (i.e. no canon), but rather are shaped by one’s background. For example, rather a lot of my family died in the Holocaust. Reading Markus Zusak’s _The Bicycle Thief_ (and other works about the Holocaust) were deeply unhappy experiences for me, but I’m glad I did.

  327. I haven’t ignored your belief that no book is essential; I disagree with it.

    You haven’t said *why*. You say some books are essential, I say they aren’t, you say I’m wrong, I ask why, and you say because you disagree. That’s not remotely an argument to respect.

    I don’t choose books based on whether I think those books will be happy or not and that you do, and I think that’s wrong

    *Why*?

    I believe there are lots of books (like, randomly, Harper Lee’s _To Kill A Mockingbird_) that are full of unpleasantness and have unhappy endings, that are nonetheless worth reading.

    Worth it to *you*. You haven’t explained why anyone else should find books essential to you, essential to *them*.

    And interesting you consider Mockingbird so important when it’s an example of whitewashing history, putting white men as heros of the civil rights movement when it’s black men and women who led the way, and showing a white lawyer standing up for a black rape accused when there is no evidence that any white lawyers in that period ever acted for black men in a rape trial. Even Lee’s father, who defended a black man accused of murder, was so broken down by the experience he never took another case for black accused.

    Agatha Christie?

    And she’s essential why? She’s not even that great a writer compared to Sayers. But you’re mocking me, so that means you don’t have to answer the question.

    Apparently you don’t, in fact, have a compelling list of important auteurs I should force myself to endure. So, in fact, my method of filtering books causes me to miss nothing of importance to either of us. How am I wrong, again?

    I’m telling you my reaction to your method is, and that’s what I’m going to continue talking about.

    We’re not talking about it. You’re consistently avoiding the question ‘why?’ and in the process denying us the right to question you at all.

    I know you have reasons to question me, but, again, I simply don’t agree with those reasons.

    How very grand of you. We’re not allowed to question you, and you won’t even admit that our reasons for doing so have any validity.

    And I should continue to discuss *my* choices, which I’ve explained in detail, for you to dismiss me, when you refuse to discuss, explain and certainly not amend your opinions in any form, why exactly?

  328. Lurkertype you can find me on Goodreads or Facebook or email me at tasha @ tasha-turner.com and I’d be more than happy to discuss books. I’m not sure how far off-topic we are getting to be malleted and I’m not sure my lightweight intellect could handle that. Scalzi’s respect is important to me as he believes women have fully functioning brains and doesn’t treat us like kids. Being malleted would make me feel like I’d been called into the principals office. LOL

    In good news the cat is looking better and even snuggled a bit before wandering off.

  329. I’d like some book recommendations from Ann, Kat, and Tasha, frankly.

    If you want something to wash the taste of homophobia out of your mouth after discussing Card, I can’t think of anything more delightful, thoughtful and genre-transcending than Tamara Allen’s Whistling in the Dark.

    http://www.amazon.com/Tamara-Allen/e/B002BM227O/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1374272706&sr=8-2-ent

    Or you could give Steve Kluger’s ‘Almost like being in love’ a go. His YA books “My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park” and “Last Days of Summer” are also fabulous and thoughtful

    http://www.amazon.com/Steve-Kluger/e/B001IQUPBO/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1374272782&sr=1-2-ent

    Can’t think of a better way to stick two fingers up to the likes of Card than reading about gay people falling in love and being happy, or young kids telling bigotry to go pee up a rope.

  330. I think it’s time to ignore David. It’s clear he is not going to answer our questions. Based on the fact that he is simply stating over and over again that we are wrong and he is right I’m going to do myself a favor and ignore him. He is starting to feel a lot like books I would not read. Actually he’s kinda making my point for me on why I don’t need to read unpleasant books.

  331. “Whistling in the Dark” sounds utterly delightful. But as an American, I only put one finger up. :)

    I hope for health for all kitties, and would like to ask OGH why we haven’t seen any new photos of The Radiant She here lately, or Zeus or Lopsided Cat.

    Straight or gay, boycotting or not, male or female, we all love the Scalzi cats.

    (braces for Malleting)

  332. Thanks for the book recommendations Anne, I’ve added them to my TBR as well as grabbed one of yours. I’m a prude when it comes to sex so I want to talk to you off-blog about which books of yours might work for me.

    So when this whole think came up about OSC I only knew that “there were some issues” and I’m supposed to review a book related to the movie… I think it’s an anthology of sorts… I have to work on the wording of why I won’t be reviewing it so I don’t look really stupid as I’d like to continue reviewing other books by the publisher. A lesson in why to do research before agreeing to do something if you know there might be a problem.

  333. I’m a prude when it comes to sex so I want to talk to you off-blog about which books of yours might work for me.

    Sure! I should point out that Tamara Allen’s books are perfect for people like you as there are no sex scenes at all in any of her books. Everything is gracefully faded to black, while remaining emotionally intense and intellectually fulfilling (which incredibly, she manages to so without being racist, homophobic, or sexist! Who could believe it was possible!)

  334. Sure! I should point out that Tamara Allen’s books are perfect for people like you as there are no sex scenes at all in any of her books. Everything is gracefully faded to black, while remaining emotionally intense and intellectually fulfilling (which incredibly, she manages to so without being racist, homophobic, or sexist! Who could believe it was possible!)

    Me? Even if I’m frequently let down I just know there are good books out there written by people I can respect within my heat & violence needs.

  335. You haven’t said *why*

    Sure, I have. From an earlier post [July 18 @ 9:49 - JS, could we have post numbers back , please please?]:

    In response to your question “Why do I care?”

    “And because I think it [reading only books you like] trends perilously close to the kind of “epistemic closure” that Republicans fall prey to by watching only Fox News and listening to only Rush Limbaugh and by only reading the Wall Street Journal. And because I’m a historian, and my job includes the absolute necessity to read things that make me uncomfortable because otherwise I won’t understand the world I’m trying to understand.”

    To restate that: 1) if I only read books that make me happy and confirm my world view, then I’m living in a bubble, and 2) because it helps me understand the world I live in, ugliness, horror, and all.

    And interesting you consider Mockingbird so important when it’s an example of whitewashing history, putting white men as heros of the civil rights movement when it’s black men and women who led the way, and showing a white lawyer standing up for a black rape accused when there is no evidence that any white lawyers in that period ever acted for black men in a rape trial.

    Sure; something you’re not going to be able to understand if you haven’t read the book and read further works about the civil rights movement, rather than reading the collected works of Agatha Christie.

    We’re not allowed to question you, and you won’t even admit that our reasons for doing so have any validity.

    You keep insisting that I’m not allowing you to do something when what I’m doing is disagreeing with you. The only person in this thread who can prevent someone from saying something is John Scalzi.

    I think it’s time to ignore David. It’s clear he is not going to answer our questions.

    I’m sorry that I’m having the conversation that I want to have rather than the one you want to insist on.

  336. David: as a neutral third-party objective observer to this discussion, may I say that you really are simply repeating yourself and not really advancing any discussion. It’s getting kind of tedious. John can Mallet me if he wants but there it is.

  337. I think it [reading only books you like] trends perilously close to the kind of “epistemic closure”

    But we were talking about novels. And when asked which novels you would consider essential, you named ‘Agatha Christie’. And you then prove you were being mocking by pointing out you believe Harper Lee’s book is essential but Christie is not. (I don’t think Lee’s book is essential. I think it’s useful in an overall discussion about race relations in America at that time, but as I’m not American, why should I care? Do you know the novels which could inform a discussion about race relations here in Australia? Are they essential to an American? No.)

    How does Ms Christie’s oeuvre prevent “epistemic closure”? How does any novel? Indeed, how is any book that essential, especially nowadays?

    I hate to break it to you, but most people get information on which to form their views other than from novels. A novel is certainly capable of changing opinions and giving information, but it’s not the only way. I don’t need fictional misery to make me understand real misery. I’m also enough of a historian myself (for real, as in I’m published) to know that one source does not a broad or complete understanding make.

    The only person in this thread who can prevent someone from saying something is John Scalzi.

    John Scalzi is preventing you from answering direct questions and being respectful of other people’s views? That bastard!

    I’m sorry that I’m having the conversation that I want to have rather than the one you want to insist on.

    You’re not sorry at all. You’re ignoring other participants and their questions and input, and banging on about what you think is ‘wrong’ with the choices made by strangers. Where I come from, that’s considered impolite at the very least.

  338. It’s getting kind of tedious.

    Aye, that it is. Boring, uninformative, off topic and keeping me chained to my laptop when I should be out in the briefly dry weather and getting some proper exercise. So I will take my feeble lady brains out in the sun to air them :)

  339. My husband suggested maybe it was time for one of us to drop David some info on a term called mansplaining to help David understand why he is getting the attitude from us women. So my last comment of the day as I’m off for shabbos is to drop a helpful link that I highly suggest David read and really think about if he truly wants to have a discussion with women on blogs like this http://www.policymic.com/articles/44479/mansplaining-101-how-to-discuss-politics-and-feminism-without-acting-like-a-jackass

    It’s not the best article but its the best I could do given 2 minutes before computer goes off for 25 hours. And I have confidence David that you are capable of using Google to learn more.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

  340. Well, I think I learned something from some of the long comments in this thread. For example, I remember being a bit surprised by the “Buggers” name when I read the book many years ago, but didn’t really pick up on the context.

    On boycots: I try to vote with my feet and make a half-hearted attempt to avoid giving my money to companies or people who do things I don’t like, when I can do so without a big inconvenience. Since I’ve got very little movie watching time, it’s just unlikely that I’ll bother going to see this movie. I cling to the naive hope that if companies realize behaving bady can hurt their business they’ll support it less. Perhaps my few dollars will make all the difference to a multi-million dollar corporation…

    Finally, I found it hard to recall the plot of Ender’s Game precisely and realized that I had mixed it up with the Southpark episode “Best Friends Forever”. If you like that show, I’d recommend that episode as one of their best.

  341. Gulliver: Given how Paula Deen fared in the public eye, I think boycotts are a lot more impressive than you think. Especially with enough social media fire behind them.

    That said, there are a large number of reasons to boycott Card and everything he’s involved with. Making sure he’s not a richer odious stain on society is just one of them.

    I think people should not see the movie. I’ve got what I think are good reasons. But I’m not calling people who go see it names.

  342. David: “To restate that: 1) if I only read books that make me happy and confirm my world view, then I’m living in a bubble, and 2) because it helps me understand the world I live in, ugliness, horror, and all.”

    No. 1 would be true only if the person got all his/her information and view of the world from reading books. As for No. 2, there are other ways of getting help understanding the world. Books are one way. Travel is another, but I would have to laugh incredulously if anyone suggested that it was “wrong” not to travel outside my country because if I don’t, I’m living in a bubble and not getting to understand the world I live in, ugliness, horror, and all. It seems very likely to me that I would understand more of the world by traveling to, say, Pakistan and India. On the other hand, it might very easily overwhelm me, overstimulate me, and trigger the reaction GET ME OUT OF HERE!!! instead of imparting deeper understanding of the culture and conditions and people of Pakistan and India. That can actually be counterproductive. Either way, I have no plans whatsoever to challenge myself by traveling to places that would make me uncomfortable. I plan to travel to the beach and just enjoy my lazy, low-key vacation. Reading, as a matter of fact. Some of it will be the kind of book you seem to approve of, but that’s because I enjoy those books and I do look to books for some of my understanding of the world. But I also believe that’s only one way to gain understanding. I admire people who go traveling and get a kind of understanding I will never have. But I wouldn’t let them tell me that theirs is the only way, because I know that it is not.

    My book-reading habits are far more like yours than like Ann’s or Tasha’s, but I find the way you justify your personal preferences by claiming that yours is right and theirs is wrong offensive–and rather puzzling. It is such a narrow view of how people come to learn about the world, ugliness and horror and all, that you actually make a poor case example of what you’re trying to champion.

  343. But we were talking about novels

    I was (and am) talking about books in general, fiction and non-fiction alike. And the Agatha Christie remark was a joke, given that you had read it despite AC’s rather virulent racism.

    Do you know the novels which could inform a discussion about race relations here in Australia? 

    I don’t, but I also think that you should read the novels that talk about the forced sterilization of Australian aborigines, even if you find it unpleasant. Have you?

    You’re not sorry at all. You’re ignoring other participants and their questions and input, and banging on about what you think is ‘wrong’ with the choices made by strangers.

    I’m having the conversation I want to have. I’m not clear why you (or Tasha or etc) get to insist what conversation I have to have. You see me as telling you what books you have to read and find that highly offensive (even though that’s not my aim) and yet telling me how I have to respond and what I have to do in this conversation is perfectly reasonable?

    but I would have to laugh incredulously if anyone suggested that it was “wrong” not to travel outside my country

    If an American suggested to you that they only travel within the United States because traveling abroad would make them uncomfortable and expose them to things that would might make them unhappy, you wouldn’t find that strange? “I would never go to France, because I’ve heard the French are mean and I wouldn’t like that”?

  344. (sorry for the double-post)

    you actually make a poor case example of what you’re trying to champion

    Trust me, I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything by now.

  345. you had read it despite AC’s rather virulent racism

    Read what? Ten little niggers? I said I had *not* read it.

    And since I was trying to get a serious answer out of you, a joke was very tin-eared of you.

    you should read the novels that talk about the forced sterilization of Australian aborigines, even if you find it unpleasant.

    I’ve read a good deal of stuff/watched documentaries etc about the maltreatment of Aborigines. The fact I haven’t read a novel about it is irrelevant.

    I’m having the conversation I want to have.

    You’re not having a conversation with anyone but the voices in your head, actually. You’re ignoring every single substantive point and question raised with you. That’s a worthless contribution to the discussion.

    If an American suggested to you that they only travel within the United States because traveling abroad would make them uncomfortable and expose them to things that would might make them unhappy, you wouldn’t find that strange?

    Ooh, how about a woman who doesn’t want to go to the Arab Emirates because she might be raped and then thrown in jail for for reporting it?

    Or a woman who doesn’t want to go to Egypt because constant sexual harassment is a pain in the arse, literally?

    Or a woman who doesn’t want to go to Texas because she’s of child bearing age, and that means she’s going to have real trouble accessing proper reproductive healthcare down there?

    What about a young Aborigine visiting Florida? (Our guys pay attention to what’s happening over there for a good reason)

    What about gay men travelling to Iraq or Uganda? Being hanged or jailed for being gay might make them unhappy, don’t you think? Or do you find it strange that they don’t feel like offering themselves up to the experience?

    Why do you have to cram your privileged, narrow view point into every thing you say? Oh yeah, straight white man who doesn’t listen. Explains it all.

    I’m done. We could have had a useful conversation about reading choices but all you have to offer is dogmatism. What’s right for you is right for everyone else, because you say so, no matter what our reasons for begging to differ might be.

    If I wanted to have my choices dictated to me, I’d have stayed in Catholic high school.

  346. also a beautiful editorial about why the boycott exists and is the right thing to do for a lot of people.

    Rather spoiled by him not being interested in boycotting Polanski because the child rapist doesn’t demonise gay people. I don’t think there’s much in it if you had to choose which of Card and Polanski was the most evil, and had caused the most harm.

  347. my last comment of the day as I’m off for shabbos is to drop a helpful link

    A great article (with plenty of examples of the problem in the comments, of *course*). David won’t read it though. He already knows what he knows, and we’re not allowed to tell him that he doesn’t know something.

  348. Read what? Ten little niggers? I said I had *not* read it.

    Read any Agatha Christie at all. Her racism’s not limited to TLN.

    You’re not having a conversation with anyone but the voices in your head, actually.

    I seem to be having a conversation with more than the voices (they’ve moved on to soccer, actually: Gold Cup), as people keep responding to my comments.

    You’re ignoring every single substantive point and question raised with you

    I’m not, actually. I’m staking out my position and sticking to it. I get that you don’t like that, and would like to criticize me for things that I’m not actually saying, but that’s your decision, not mine.

    Your travel examples are not blanket prohibitions on travel abroad because of some unspecific fear. Rather, they are specific examples. You’ve stated a blanket (“absolutist” I called it earlier) prohibition on reading books that won’t make you happy and that’s what I find problematic. (Fair enough: I shouldn’t have put in a hypothetical French example).

    What’s right for you is right for everyone else, because you say so, no matter what our reasons for begging to differ might be.

    Again, you’re making up my position wholesale. From an earlier post: “I’m not trying to recommend anything to Ann and I’m not actually trying to change her behavior. I’m simply stating my opinion that reading only books you find comforting strikes me as deeply and sadly limiting.”

    If I wanted to have my choices dictated to me

    You have a fascinating idea about what’s possible in an Internet thread.

    David won’t read it though

    Too late: I already did. I don’t have an absolutist position on reading things that might make me unhappy, you see.

    Folks, it really does seem at this point we’re going round and round to little effect.

    I agree.

  349. Once more closing down comments for the evening and will open them again in the morning. Good night, all!

    (Greg: your post, which posted an instant after I posted this one, will go back up in the morning.)

    7:33am, 7/20: Comments back up.

  350. Scorpius: people here refuse to read or watch anything written by Card but still voted for Obama even though, up till last year, both men accepted the same premise

    Shorter Scorpius: liberuls are hypocrites. Neener!

    DAVID: because I’m a historian, and my job includes the absolute necessity to read things that make me uncomfortable because otherwise I won’t understand the world I’m trying to understand.

    I think I understand homophobes just fine.

  351. The discussion around reading selections seems to be focusing on what people like. This strikes me as odd. Surely most people select reading material based on whether what they think they might get out of it is something they want to get out of it. And surely this usually encompasses a lot more than what the reader likes. Saying I like a book would be like saying there’s a lot of nice colors in a painting, in that it says something, but not much, about the painting.

    Anyway, not bringing this up to criticize anyone’s selection criteria. Ann, Xopher, Tasha and the rest of us are all adults and don’t need unsolicited advice about what to read (though I did learn about some interesting reads from Ann and DAVID that I might have missed if not for this argument). If anyone chooses not to read something, they presumably have their reasons which are good enough for them, and don’t have to be good enough for anyone else. If I miss something out of which an alternate reality version of me got something valuable to him, oh well. We all choose our paths in the woods. There’s nothing for anyone to gain by telling someone else they chose wrongly.

    @Ann Somerville

    When asked what books you have read, when we have been discussing *fiction*, you bait and switch and list a bunch of nonfiction texts relating to your job.

    Small point of pedantry: Water Margin is actually a work of fiction (a quite good one, IMHO).

    Also, thanks for recommending Whistling in the Dark. I love historical romance, and I’ve got some gay and lesbian characters for three stories I planned years ago and will be writing years from now. Sometime between now and then I need to read some authors that have portrayed those relationships well.

    @DAVID

    I get what your saying about reading outside your comfort zone, because I deliberately do that too. But repeatedly telling someone who doesn’t that they’re engaging in epistemic closure takes a narrow view. As others have said, it’s totes possible to understand something without reading a book about it. Books are one source of info about the world, and they are wonderful for doing so, but they are not the only means. You could get the same message across by saying why you read outside your comfort zone without telling other people why they should.

  352. OSC has actively and substantially contributed to the world climate where at a minimum I would be erased, if not jailed, if not murdered. He has justified this position in his extensive writing on the subject. He has put his name behind an organization that has promoted legislation in Africa to kill gay people for being gay. He has contributed financially to these acts of harm.

    The discussion about the boycott is more a sideshow than anything to me.

    I want people to notice the harm he has done. And the harm people like him have done. And I want people to speak specifically how unacceptable this harm is.

    The utility of boycotts is a distraction.

    The thing that is making everyone squirm is the useless attempt to escape the harm you end up doing just by choosing. Boycott and you harm people who worked hard and are not rabid homophobes like OSC. Don’t boycott and you contribute to OSC and his harm.

    This is a general life problem. There are all kinds of ways dealing with this. But the new and novel forms of the problem always throw us off.

    You’re not getting anywhere by reducing the footprint of harm – that doesn’t eliminate the harm. You have to decide what you are going to do about the harm you cause.

  353. @Ann: ooh, ooh, does “Rabbit Proof Fence” count? Or is that not a novel?

    I take your point on the editorialist not treating Polanski the same way. It does come down to whose ox is being gored, and maybe that writer will re-think his position. As reprehensible a person as child molester Polanski is (and stupid — this would have all been cleared up years ago, he’d never have done a minute in jail back then, and everyone would have forgotten), I don’t recall him ever leading a political movement to disenfranchise whole groups of people. So… he’s got that going for him I guess?

    @Tasha, oy, you do have a reading dilemma. So many of the non-explicit sex/violence books are explicitly Christian, which I know is completely unsuitable for your family, and many others. I have Hindu and Muslim friends who prefer reading “clean” material and SO do not appreciate the happy ending coming about thanks to everyone accepting Jesus. You ever need a Shabbas goy, contact me some Thursday night — but I’m going to expect a really good dinner in return. ;) Then we’ll all read.

    @peter k: The crew and most of the cast of “Ender’s Game” has already gotten all the money they ever would. I’m pretty sure Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley aren’t going to be homeless if this movie bombs, so the “think of the innocent movie workers!” justification is really a non-starter. The financial cost due to any boycott will fall directly on the studio and investors, which is the whole purpose: to show that doing business with rabid homophobes is bad business.

    Plus discussion about the boycott has brought Card’s writings and actions much more scrutiny than they had before. Many people who didn’t know his history do now. You say “I want people to notice the harm he has done.” Well, the boycott has done just that ALREADY. It’s a success in that regard right here, right now, and in many other places.

  354. This high-minded severing of the artwork from the turbulent sea of authorial consciousness, from which the art product emerges Cytherean and fully-formed and chock full of empathy and intention, strikes me as more than a little questionable. I suppose I can see how the notion might appeal to an artist.

    I’m not a Card reader anymore, but I loved Ender’s Game as a kid and read some of his other novels as a teenager. And to my eyes, heterosexism (to say nothing of good old-fashioned sexism) pervades his fiction. Glaringly. Songwhatsit stood out in that respect, obviously, but The Book of Mormon In Space also deserves mention.

    I do read and love some flawed but wonderful SFF fiction with ugly, regressive elements. Unpleasant cultures full of largely undifferentiated brown people. Entirely heterosexual worlds. Women as ciphers, hysterical women, no women at all. Some of these books belong to the past, which makes loving them less complicated. When they don’t, I do my best to read them on loan, or to find them in used bookstores, and to save my direct support for authors whose work I love without reservation.

    That’s side-stepping the issue though, I guess. In some hypothetical version of reality in which Card’s views on marriage and homosexuality weren’t integrated with his fiction, would I support boycotting his work?

    I think the answer is yes. Had I known, as a gay kid reading Ender’s Game, that Card had recently published an essay in defense of anti-sodomy laws (so that they might “be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society”), I wouldn’t have wanted to read his work. I wouldn’t have wanted my friends to read his work. I wouldn’t have wanted to read a very reasonable blog post about a boycott of Card’s work in which the author felt it necessary to mention twice what a pleasant and affable guy he finds Card in person.

    Of course, that’s an emotional response, and not a rational one. Nobody’s admiration for a work of art is contingent on a whole-hearted approval of everything its creator has ever thought or done or said in public. Including my own.

    Still, I think I’ll be skipping the movie out of solidarity with my younger self.

  355. I’m pretty much in line with John’s attitude about this — I can pretty easily divorce the art from the person. Ender’s Game is too a good a book for me to care much that Card doesn’t like gay people.

    On a related note, when I saw the movie trailer, I actively began telling people to not go see it until/unless they’ve read the book first, because the movie honestly looks mediocre at best, but the book is a major classic.

  356. Oh my, it’s been going round. I missed it – major power outage. I’m not entirely sure whether Scalzi closed subjects or was just nudging, but since David did respond to me directly, I’ll answer and hope that’s within limits.

    David: “I wasn’t unaware that other people choose books differently, but I was surprised that Ann was doing it what I take to be such an absolutist fashion.”

    It really isn’t an absolutist fashion. She’s simply being discerning with her time and supporting the works of authors she finds to be people of worth and support, rather than spending money and time on those authors she doesn’t find worthy of support. (Same as folk who are boycotting Card.) Presumably you do the same a lot of the time. Presumably you choose books you find possibly unsettling on the grounds that it is worth your time and support to buy and read them. So while your specific criteria is slightly different from Ann’s, the method of choice — worth — is virtually the same.

    And again, those who are reading stuff that they find pleasant are not only reading things with happy endings. Toni Morrison’s Beloved, for instance, is not full of pleasant things or a happy ending, but I wager Ann might be perfectly happy to read it, if she hasn’t already. The choice of worth is about what has meaning to the individual, not pleasant pictures, and it’s simply the way most people chose even those books they consider light fare.

    As for accusing people who can’t live in a bubble in society – women, gays, non-whites in the West, etc., because they are daily accosted by the society up to and including death from it — of living in a bubble unless they read books you’ve deemed “essential” from a western canon of mostly white, mostly male authors who did often write from inside a bubble of controlling history and social privilege – that’s just silly. Reading black authors, gay authors, etc. expands our understanding and knowledge of the world, not limits it. Those who are more exploratory, rather than conventional, step outside the endless parade of white males writing about professors in unhappy marriages who sleep with their students and try something else with their time. And given how often really brilliant books from other voices have been ignored or marginalized in academia, having more people read those books and talk about them with others can only enrich our world culture, not reduce it. Step outside the bubble, David! Step out! To Kill A Mockingbird is a wonderful book, but there are others.

    “I think she absolutely has the right to do so, I just think she’s wrong to do it that way.”

    Yes, you find her criteria to be an illegitimate, wrong way of choosing books, even if you feel that she has every right to be “wrong.” Yet I fancy that if someone said the same thing to you about your criteria, you’d have the same reaction that Anne did to your critique that she is wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong. So again, I find your surprise over both her criteria and her reaction to you saying she’s choosing books wrong to be surprising.

    “You also suggest that I find *all* methods of choosing books to be wrong; I don’t believe I’ve stated any such thing. I find Ann’s method problematic, and that’s what I’m reacting to.”

    As pointed out to you, Ann’s method/criteria is the criteria used by a majority of people, not a minority. Since you find that criteria wrong, ergo, you find the criteria used by a majority of readers including Ann problematic and wrong. And you would therefore logically be surprised that a majority of readers use a method you consider wrong.

    “And I’m fairly puzzled by your insistence that I’m not allowed to say that I think someone else is wrong about something.”

    I never said any such thing. I said that you surprised me. And that you were factually wrong to say that Anne’s criteria is abnormal when it’s used by the majority of readers. You were surprised by Ann. I was surprised by your statement that Ann’s very common criteria was somehow abnormal. You think Ann’s criteria is wrong. I think your criticism/judgement of Ann’s criteria is wrong. Nobody is preventing anyone from saying anything. Your judgements of who is wrong, as I’m sure we agree, are not immune to criticism and disagreement. (And that’s pretty much the theme of Scalzi’s post, so we’re half on topic!)

    “I’m not trying to recommend anything to Ann and I’m not actually trying to change her behavior. I’m simply stating my opinion that reading only books you find comforting strikes me as deeply and sadly limiting.”

    You are criticizing her behavior and in turn, your behavior is being criticized. You are asserting that she is wrong and in the minority. I am arguing that she is in the majority and that declaring someone else’s criteria for choosing books wrong and telling them that this makes them limited is condescending and likely to produces a reaction of annoyance and indifference, as you have discovered. Also, if you are not trying to recommend books to people, making book lists seems odd then.

    “I’m sorry not to be more original, then.”

    You were doing a cultural gatekeeping test, literary improvement version – always very popular.

    And this does again actually relate to Card. A lot of people find Ender’s Game to be a very good book, (I find it to be a good one.) They regard it as a major work in SF. And so the boycott against Card troubles them, as they feel that those who won’t partake aren’t passing the cultural gatekeeping test, geek SF version, of reading “essential” SF works (and so are wrong and limited as SF fans and students of SF literature.) They feel this even if they themselves have not read all the “essential” works of SF because very few people have the time to read all of them.

    But a lot of SF fans think Ender’s Game is awful, don’t have a use for military SF (which usually has the military realism of a cap pistol anyway,) or understandably are not comfortable paying for the works of a man who has publicly done a lot of violence in his personal life. And yet, they are still knowledgeable SF fans capable of talking about other, equally well-regarded works of SF. Skipping a work with little meaning for you and which you find to offer little in terms of insight or experience in the world does not invalidate your ability to participate in the world in discussions of fiction and culture. It’s the variance that readers always have.

    Me, I will read nearly anything and have read works I’ve minimal interest in because of their effect in the culture. But I am not surprised that others don’t do that, as most people don’t. And therefore, I found your surprise to be surprising, and I think rather reasonably so.

  357. Those who are more exploratory, rather than conventional, step outside the endless parade of white males writing about professors in unhappy marriages who sleep with their students and try something else with their time. And given how often really brilliant books from other voices have been ignored or marginalized in academia, having more people read those books and talk about them with others can only enrich our world culture, not reduce it..

    ::sighs in admiration:: Kat, I could have spared myself so much aggro yesterday if I’d just waited for you to deal with this topic instead. You say things I want to say, but better, smarter and more pointedly.

    I wouldn’t have wanted to read a very reasonable blog post about a boycott of Card’s work in which the author felt it necessary to mention twice what a pleasant and affable guy he finds Card in person.

    Scalzi did the same thing with Harlan Ellison (and again, twice), and while I can’t say I was hurt or even surprised by a SWM cosying up to another in the same profession despite that other’s stinky behaviour, it does show up a massive difference between the thinking of those privileged on just about every axis, and those not thus privileged. (Or maybe it’s just a man/woman thing?)

    SWM (and gay white men all too often) have an infuriating capacity to segregate aspects of another SWM’s behaviour and tolerate the negative stuff for the positive, as if they didn’t orginate from the same brain and the same personality. Women in my experience generally don’t/can’t (except for close relatives – the beloved but bigoted grandparent is frequently an exception to our own personal tolerance limits.) I can’t imagine a woman writing this post, or the ones on Ellision. Either a woman will utterly dismiss someone’s egregious behaviour as not actually being racist, sexist, homophobic or whatever because *she* doesn’t think it is, or she’ll avoid that person however charming they might otherwise be.

    But that might have something to do with the fact that women have a lot of experience with Nice Guys who turn out to be abusive partners, rapists, and gaslighters, while still being a ‘great bloke’ to his mates.

    Sometime between now and then I need to read some authors that have portrayed those relationships well.

    Gulliver, since we’re in a thread with a lot of LGBT commenters, why not ask them to recommend some books to you? You’re likely to get better recs from them than from me, a straight woman. I’m a big fan of going to the source material for research, rather than using someone with no skin in the game as a filter.

  358. I have to say, I don’t give a rat’s ass how Ann Somerville or anyone else decides what to read, and I’m finding this whole charged conversation kind of surreal. I strongly suspect, based on her comments here, that her definition of “bigoted” doesn’t match mine, and so I’m not particularly interested in her book recommendations… but that’s as far as it goes.

    No books are “essential”. I think it’s helpful to read good stuff, especially if you want to write it, but that’s an enormous category (good stuff is) and even someone as bizarrely picky as Ann’s going to have no trouble keeping herself occupied.

  359. I can’t imagine a woman writing this post, or the ones on Ellision.

    Although this is weird. Card’s views are pretty well-known, dude. You don’t think there are any liberal women who will choose to see the movie regardless? I think you’re sorely mistaken.

  360. “SWM (and gay white men all too often) have an infuriating capacity to segregate aspects of another SWM’s behaviour and tolerate the negative stuff for the positive, as if they didn’t orginate from the same brain and the same personality. ”

    This isn’t behavior limited to straight people, white people or male people. Like, at all. The various biases that cause us to act this way are pretty well known and studied. That you attribute as a quality of SWM seems like one of those things that says a lot more about you than the person being criticized.

  361. I agree with Justin. I’m a straight white female. I’ve known some pretty sketchy people (non relatives), male and female, who also have the capacity to be good company. I don’t make them my BFFs, but I don’t mind socializing with them in certain circumstances. The way I read John saying that he had a pleasant time in Card’s company and whatever he said about Ellison was much like my experiences. I have found it possible to have a pleasant time in the company of assholes, bigots, racists, sexists, people who lie about important stuff, people who cheat on their partners, and all manner of other human beings. And there are people who vehemently disagree with me on matters of religion, sexuality, and other matters but also manage to find me good company at times, somehow tolerating what they see as the negative stuff from me along with the positive. Surely this is not all that unusual.

  362. so I’m not particularly interested in her book recommendations

    That’s fine since I wasn’t recommending them to *you*

    someone as bizarrely picky as Ann’s[sic]

    ‘Bizarre’ == avoiding racist homophobic dipshit authors. Whatever you say, pet

    her definition of “bigoted” doesn’t match mine

    Fortunately, I agree. Nor does it have to.

    You don’t think there are any liberal women who will choose to see the movie regardless?

    Seeing a film based on Card’s book != having Card over for dinner or tolerating his company.

    Dude.

    That you attribute as a quality of SWM seems like one of those things that says a lot more about you than the person being criticized.

    All it says is that it’s something I’ve experienced from SWM more than any other segment of any population I’ve spent time in.

    The blindness of privilege is not unique to SWM, far from it. As K Tempest Bradford experienced on Twitter this morning, SWW are just as fucking dumb about privilege as a man could ever dream of being.

    My point was that it seems to be something that men (perhaps not uniquely, but far more often than I ever see in women) can tolerate the company of male humans with utterly repugnant views which they acknowledge to be repugnant. I’m talking about men who are otherwise decent admirable people, and not RSHDs themselves.

    Maybe they’re socialised this way, while women are socialised to be much more judgmental of themselves and other people. Maybe it’s just the kind of people I’ve encountered.

    It’s an observation, man. Don’t get, like, *hysterical* about it.

  363. MRAL: “Although this is weird. Card’s views are pretty well-known, dude. You don’t think there are any liberal women who will choose to see the movie regardless? I think you’re sorely mistaken.”

    That’s not what she was saying. She was saying that in her experience, women either decide to dismiss behavior as not problematic (i.e. they aren’t jerks who are pleasant company nonetheless but instead not jerks,) or see it as problematic and avoid that person altogether, rather than segregating the parts of a person. Whereas men will hang with men they see as jerks with bad views if they are pleasant enough socially.

    I don’t actually agree with this in terms of set behavior by gender. I think there’s far more variance with men who don’t segregate the behavior and women who do or feel socially obligated to see both sides of a person as not all or nothing. There is also the social reflex issue — it is socially considered polite for us to acknowledge that someone has never directly harmed us or been rude to us before criticizing their behavior or speech.

    However, what Ann is talking about is related to the socialized behavior of some men in some situations, like the group of men who tolerate a friend who harasses their girlfriends or boyfriends because he’s agreeable in other social areas like sports or video games. And the society as a whole promotes the idea that a SWM’s (or at least one axis) behavior should be tolerated or forgiven as long as he is prominent and/or socially pleasant, that the behavior should not be held against him as making him a bad person, even if he has greatly hurt other people. (For instance, many examples of football players who have been arrested, the teens who sexually assaulted the unconscious girl in Pennsylvania and the big issue was them not losing their futures, etc.) And there is a higher incident of this for SWM’s than other groups in the society.

    And we are seeing this a bit with Card, who is both prominent and socially pleasant and certainly not an evil cartoon villain in personality. It’s a protective situation — Card is assured that he’s a pleasant person who loves his kids and puppies before criticism of his views or actions, that this is separate from his activism to discriminate and harm an entire group of people. Those who don’t separate may be called rude, extreme, or told that they have to acknowledge he’s nice at parties or valuable in SF and that this should be considered before any word or action against him and his personal views.

    Which goes back again to people trying to decide whether to separate Card from his art or not. The issue is complex and very personal for each person. Ann’s wish that others didn’t do lip service to Card’s pleasantness before speaking in disagreement with his views is a fairly understandable reaction, because it does give some legitimacy to those views. It’s part of the social valuing of Card’s life and discomfort as more important than the gay people he’s attacking. But at the same time, people are going to weigh different factors differently. For me, I will not give him my money, but accept that other people will. And I do think we’ve reached a tipping point in regards to disagreement with his views and to blocking his actions that is more important than making him a pariah beyond the changing mores. I am mostly focused on legislative issues. But then again, I am not gay and living with his attacks. So I fully support gay people being as angry as they like at Card and not accepting pronouncements that he is pleasant, and being fearful that this approval of his person by many supports his cause socially.

  364. Ann Somerville: I can’t imagine a woman writing this post, or the ones on Ellision.

    That merely indicates that your imagination is gender biased in favor of women.

    Justin: says a lot more about you than the person being criticized.

    Ann: All it says is that it’s something I’ve experienced

    Which, as Justin was saying, is a reflection of you.

  365. @Ann Somerville

    Scalzi did the same thing with Harlan Ellison (and again, twice), and while I can’t say I was hurt or even surprised by a SWM cosying up to another in the same profession despite that other’s stinky behaviour, it does show up a massive difference between the thinking of those privileged on just about every axis, and those not thus privileged.

    FWIW, I read Scalzi as saying that his anecdotal experiences have been positive. It hardly came across, to me anyway, as rehabilitating, particularly since at no point did he suggest that those experiences alter the wrongness of Card’s views. YMMV.

    Either a woman will utterly dismiss someone’s egregious behaviour as not actually being racist, sexist, homophobic or whatever because *she* doesn’t think it is, or she’ll avoid that person however charming they might otherwise be.

    Just for some anecdotal counterpoint: my college girlfriend was the one who recommended Ender’s Game and the sequels. I had recently discovered that SF didn’t suck like society had told me it had, and had only vaguely heard of what I thought of as a children’s novel. She was adamant that the books were excellent. She had signed copies of the first two in the series and mentioned that Card was “great in person” and “it’s too bad he’s such a homophobe”. For context, she was on track to become a lawyer and volunteered as a summer intern at a practice that fought for same-sex adoption rights.

    All of which isn’t to say your wrong, just that people are complex and a lot more than their gender experience goes into how they relate to people. I think there was a woman earlier in this thread who mentioned encountering Card’s good qualities while acknowledging the wrongness of many of his social views. I get that you were only saying it was hard for you to imagine; I’m just wary of any sort of essentialism. People don’t always do what they’re socialized to do.

    Gulliver, since we’re in a thread with a lot of LGBT commenters, why not ask them to recommend some books to you?

    I didn’t want to threadjack (something I’ve done too often in the past). But yes, any recommendations of LGBT commenters on what works of fiction do an empathetic and realistic job of depicting non-hetero romance would be very helpful in my own writing. It would also be great to know whether or not the author(s) are themselves hetero, as I would like to read some of both and see if I can spot any differences.

    @John Scalzi

    It would be really awesome if you could host a thread on that specific topic, or one that directly includes it [/subtle hint].

    @Kat Goodwin

    Those who don’t separate may be called rude, extreme, or told that they have to acknowledge he’s nice at parties or valuable in SF and that this should be considered before any word or action against him and his personal views.

    Do you think John’s evenhandedness is the same as telling anyone else that they’re wrong not to share it?

    Ann’s wish that others didn’t do lip service to Card’s pleasantness before speaking in disagreement with his views is a fairly understandable reaction, because it does give some legitimacy to those views.

    I agree it’s understandable. I disagree that it legitimizes those views. If I say Napoleon was an enlightened statesmen for his era, that doesn’t legitimatize his brutal wars of conquest. It strikes me as dismissive of the audience in general to suggest that they can only usefully process someone who’s all good or all bad. Most people are smarter than that, IMHO.

    @Greg

    That merely indicates that your imagination is gender biased in favor of women.

    Actually, it only indicated her imagination is biased by her own experiences. As are all of ours. She was careful to say that it was hard for her to imagine it, not that her imagination was necessarily representative.

  366. Regarding John’s mention of having pleasant conversation with someone who has voiced decidedly unpleasant viewpoints, note that he said this in the context of a disclaimer, because it’s the sort of thing that people use to play Gotcha with, to the tune of “But x time ago you interacted positively with this person, so your entire post is invalid!” I remember something of the sort happening with regards to the RSHD, with whom John used to interact civilly years ago.

  367. On rereading that I realize that my phrasing might suggest that I am trying to downplay the magnitude and significance of Card’s actions by calling them merely “unpleasant viewpoints”. Sorry, that wasn’t my intent; was just trying for parallel construction + dramatic understatement, but it was a poor choice in light of the discussion on things people have said vs things Card has done. Mea culpa.

  368. She had signed copies of the first two in the series and mentioned that Card was “great in person” and “it’s too bad he’s such a homophobe”

    Yeah I get that there are clearly women who can tolerate people who hold obnoxious views. I clearly hang out with people who are more intolerant of intolerance.

    Personally, I’ve never encountered someone whose hateful views say on black people, or women, or gays, didn’t bleed over into their politics or views on other minorities. I get that such people can be *charming*, but on the things that matter to me, like attitudes to social justice and the like, they are odious.

    I guess it matters which aspects of a person you value, and how you weight them.

    She was careful to say that it was hard for her to imagine it, not that her imagination was necessarily representative.

    You’re wasting your time, Gulliver. Just as the right wing hear President Obama talking about how he’s experienced racism from his personal perspective, and scream that *he’s* the real racist, some men hear a woman talking about a women’s viewpoint possibly differing from a man’s in some way, and are convinced that *she’s* the real sexist. There’s no reasoning with that kind of mentality, and I certainly am not going to bother.

    It hardly came across, to me anyway, as rehabilitating, particularly since at no point did he suggest that those experiences alter the wrongness of Card’s views.

    Speaking purely for myself (you know, out of that horrible hormone soaked irrational lady brain), and based on how John did the same thing with Harlan Ellison, it comes across as (a) protecting John against a backlash from Card/Ellison fans (which I understand because I’ve repeatedly had people say they’ll boycott me for being mean about another author for some reason or other – usually something trivial like plagiarism!) and (b) this peculiar man thing of not wanting to deny Card/Ellison entrance to the boy’s club just because they have these little eccentricities which John/most men will overlook like good chaps for the sake of harmony.

    Frankly, it’s a slap in the face to those of us affected by the likes of Card or Ellison or the RSHDs. Like the people defending Polanski being a child rapist because he’s a good director, as if indeed, you *can* weigh affability or artistry on the scales of justice against horrible crimes, and the victims shouldn’t be such haters. I doubt Scalzi *means* it that way, but that’s how it comes across. It’s certainly adding a tone of minimization of the victims to the discourse, which doesn’t add to any claim to be a LGBT or feminist ally.

    Of course, I was recently told that asking someone spouting off on women’s issues to pay attention to what women have to say on those issue was demanding ‘ideological obedience’ so what the fuck would I know?

  369. @Ann Somerville

    Fair enough. Speaking purely for myself, I didn’t read Scalzi as overlooking homophobia. But he can speak for himself if he wants to. He hardly needs me to defend him.

    I will say that one of the reasons I like reading Whatever is because John is the sort of person who says here’s the good and here’s the bad someone did, judge for yourself, instead of this person is good or this person is bad. Actions, after all, speak louder than words and, in the end, most people are going to judge for themselves, regardless of whether others trust them to.

    …so what the fuck would I know?

    Lots? I don’t enjoy discussing things with you and many more here in spite of our not infrequent nontrivial points of disagreements, I enjoy discussing them with you because we differ, and that means I might get to learn something and, hopeful, reciprocate by providing a useful perspective in return. If you were genuinely rude and flaming I’d probably ignore you, but you’re not. Certainly you get tetchy from time to time. So does Xopher. So do I. Some things deserve a little tetchiness. It has nothing to do with gender. It’s to do with being human.

    When the brain perceives injustice, it gets justifiably emotional. The divide isn’t between people who are emotional and people who aren’t – and, in my experience, those who say it is are usually (but not always, some people really do go for the Vulcan philosophy thing) using it as a double standard to dismiss whoever is disagreeing with them, when in fact they are being every bit as emotional. The divide is between, on the one hand, people who, when they get emotional, still treat others with dignity and respect, and are able to keep their reason in charge of their emotion, and on the other hand, those that just start flaming. John roundly deals with the latter, so you are, by selection bias, not like that :)

  370. I didn’t read Scalzi as overlooking homophobia

    No, no, nor did I, [she added hastily].

    It was more him making it clear that he can still respect Card for his good qualities, as he can Harlan Ellison. Whereas to me – and I suspect to a few others – Card’s actions, like Ellison’s, mean he can be as charming as he wants, he’s still a fucking homophobic dipshit and no way does he deserve respect.

    Scalzi has no skin in the game. Card and Ellison may make the world a more horrible place for people he cares about (and I do believe that he does care) but they don’t gore his ox directly, so for the sake of professional or manly solidarity or whatever it is, he can tolerate them with their flaws. But since Card and Ellison directly gore the oxes of LGBT people and women, at least some members of those groups don’t really give a toss if Card and Ellison have their feelings hurt by a lack of validation by their peer groups. They consider the lack of respect shown to *them* by people like Card and Ellison does not invite showing respect of any kind in turn.

    John roundly deals with the latter, so you are, by selection bias, not like that :)

    Aw, that’s the nicest thing anyone’s said about me today ;)

  371. @Ann Somerville

    It was more him making it clear that he can still respect Card for his good qualities, as he can Harlan Ellison.

    I extend a basic default human respect to everyone (I’m not suggesting you or anyone else here doesn’t) – and I’m talking about things like human rights, even for those that try to deprive others of them – as a reflection not of the person but of the society itself. I guess the difference for me is that, beyond that basic humanist respect, I neither respect nor disrespect a person per se; I respect or disrespect what they say and do. I acknowledge that there may be (and almost certainly is) more to them than how they choose to treat others, but it’s those qualities that determine their character in a social context. That’s just how I look at it, and I’m not saying others need to share my views on character judgment.

    Holy crap, it’s 3am! Got too involved in my writing. G’nite/morning/evening/whatever.

  372. I came to your web site by way of “Your Hate Mail Will be Graded” and from your web site to your fiction. That is not the way I discover most authors. As a result I knew a lot more about you as a person than I usually care to know about someone whos work I admire. I have had the misfortune of meeting a few people who write/sing/act for a living and their efforts have made me happy or caused me to think new things or generally been enjoyable. There are several more who have made bits of themselves known after I became a ‘fan’ and in far too many cases knowing them better has lessened my enjoyment rather than increased it. To the point that today I actively try to not learn anything about people whos work I enjoy.

    I try very hard to separate peoples personal life from their work & go to movies, read books, listen to music because they entertain and/or enlighten me. Someone who is good at what they do would really have to step in it for me to rule out their work. Maybe that makes me a bad person I don’t know.

    I guess in this case I am lucky. I didn’t enjoy Enders Game at all and I knew nothing of its author. voiding the movie will provide me more pleasure than reading the book did because of what I have learned about him in the last few days.

  373. That’s fine since I wasn’t recommending them to *you*

    I know, and that’s ok. I wasn’t criticizing you.

    Seeing a film based on Card’s book != having Card over for dinner or tolerating his company.

    I also think you’re likely to be mistaken in this assumption. I’d base this on my familiarity with a whole bunch of intergender relationships that cross party lines. But if your experience is different, fine.

    I mean, I do of course agree that LGBT people are probably less likely to tolerate OSC’s work than others, because he does, as you say, gore their ox directly. That’s just common sense. But I’d objecting to the line you’re drawing between “SWM” (that pejorative) and everyone else.

  374. Gulliver: “Do you think John’s evenhandedness is the same as telling anyone else that they’re wrong not to share it?”

    No, Scalzi doesn’t go that route. But other people do, often perfectly nice people, and those who are boycotting and protesting about Card have encountered it a lot, which is how the topic came up. We see it in political discussions here a lot — the admonishment not to show anger and/or to separate the politician personally from his public views and speakings. We saw it with Mitt Romney. Socially as well, women are not supposed to show anger; when they do, it’s considered more rude, strident and excessive than when men do. We have that a lot in conversations here too. So when you are being attacked and your life and future altered by laws pioneered by Card and his supporters, being told that he was pleasant at a convention sticks more than a little raw. It can feel like a betrayal and to a degree it is. Everybody gets to decide for themselves, but the decision to boycott leads to criticism and the decision not to, to separate the man from his art, also leads to criticism. So evenhandedness that is simply personal can still be of great social concern for others. No one should be surprised if other people are angry or disturbed at their decision because it’s a bigger fabric than just one movie for many.

    “I agree it’s understandable. I disagree that it legitimizes those views. If I say Napoleon was an enlightened statesmen for his era, that doesn’t legitimatize his brutal wars of conquest. It strikes me as dismissive of the audience in general to suggest that they can only usefully process someone who’s all good or all bad. Most people are smarter than that, IMHO.”

    For some people, the fact that Napolean was an enlightened statesman for his era (I might contest that one,) does legitimize his brutal wars. If you have certain political views or you simply don’t know much about the subject of Napolean, for example, it can effect things and it isn’t a matter of just seeing people as all good or bad. If there are enough people or influential people who feel that the person with such views is genial, has many good points, and isn’t trying to do harm, then that person can be elected president of the United States. If the Supreme Court is of the belief that Republicans in state governments really aren’t trying to suppress black voters no more and strike down part of the Voting Rights Act, then that legitimizes that state legislators can bring back Jim Crow laws and they’ll stand.

    So social acceptability and perception matters, a lot. The only reason gay civil rights have advanced as far as they have is by changing the social acceptability, by them bravely coming out and refusing to retreat on their rights despite deaths, beating, firings, etc. Less than ten years ago, the atmosphere was entirely different, and a majority agreed with Card’s views. Card wants gay people to go to jail, have their kids taken away, etc. in order to stop gay sex, etc., and has worked and spoken out very hard with success to have that become secular law. Card and NOM supported Uganda’s law executing gays. Card has worked with politicians involved in making laws who publicly share his views. And Card understands that any success he has requires making his views socially acceptable and making gay sex, relationships and lives not socially acceptable.

    So to have Card be made socially acceptable, to have this influential and prominent SF writer/activist be thought a grand man except for his homophobia, understandably scares the fucking shit out of a lot of gay people, Gulliver. Because this man is trying to destroy them because he believes they are otherwise damned, and he’s been good at it. And if people think he’s otherwise hunky dory, they are much less likely to try and oppose him in activism or object to his expressing his views, which then influence others. There are a lot of long, legal battles ahead for gay people to get their rights in the U.S. and elsewhere. So how the people coming after them are regarded and talked about does matter to them.

  375. And if people think he’s otherwise hunky dory, they are much less likely to try and oppose him in activism or object to his expressing his views, which then influence others.

    What exactly are you suggesting? That it’s some moral responsibility to define OSC by his anti-gay positions? No, I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up, just to make a political point. I’m not interested in pretending that he’s not a fine writer, or that he eats nails for breakfast. You can do that, if you want.

  376. That it’s some moral responsibility to define OSC by his anti-gay positions?

    yes. I believe it’s dishonest in discussing Card in any way, not to bring up his horrendous actions. You wouldn’t discuss Ron L. Hubbard without mentioning Scientology because it’s central to his image and his legacy, and you can’t discuss ‘Dreams of my father’ without mentioned the author became President. Same with Card. His homophobia isn’t some little hobby, a foible easily overlooked. It’s central to his practice of his faith and his politics and his existence.

    No, I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up, just to make a political point.

    That’s your privilege, of course. And I use that word deliberately.

  377. I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up

    Also, I think it’s interesting that you distil Card’s homophobic activism down to an objection to gay marriage. As if his wanting to jail gay people, overthrow the American government, and bring in laws in Africa which lead to the execution of gay men, is of no consequence.

    I don’t want to speak for my gay friends, but personally, Card’s objection to equal marriage is the *least* horrible thing you can accuse him of. The man basically wants to eradicate LGBT from the planet. That’s not a political stance, or even a touch of intolerance – that’s raw, unbridled hate, and no one of any decency should overlook it.

  378. No, I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up, just to make a political point.

    That’s your privilege, of course. And I use that word deliberately.

    That definition of privilege doesn’t really hold up. I am unquestionably privileged in not needing to convince anyone my marriage should be accorded legal recognition. But there is nobody who has an obligation to engage in discussion of OSC’s gay marriage activities whenever the opportunity arises.

    You are free to believe that it is the business of all people to try to make sure all people are free and that part of achieving that business is to never fail to make opponents’ positions an issue when an opportunity arises. I concur on the first and think the second is easily taken to unproductive extremes. There is a privilege involved in being able to ignore the fight. There is not a privilege involved in eschewing particular methods of fighting, regardless of having skin in the game.

  379. I adored Card’s early work though think the Ender universe is overdue for retirement. If a movie adaptation were to be well done, I would see it. Still, the trailer is really bad, isn’t it, so I’m thinking I will just wait until it comes out on the back seat of a long-distance flight.

    Here’s the thing; I grew up when the worst thing you could call a boy was ‘gay’ or ‘fag’ and being fairly backward socially, it wasn’t until my early 30’s until I understood that sexual orientation wasn’t a suit you wore but a way of life (well, more or less) and not until my 40’s when I stopped giving a flip one way or the other. It annoys me when people are intellectually lazy or stupid or politically motivated when they jump on the anti-whatever-I-think-people-will-tease-me-about league but hell, that was me a few years ago and on other subjects still is.

    Card no longer part of the gay hate group is a promising thing; let’s encourage him some.

    Do what you want but I am inclined to enjoy the man’s work and keep politics out of the conversation. The movie?, meh. But that’s because it looks like it really sucks.

  380. That definition of privilege doesn’t really hold up.

    You’re missing the point. MRAL isn’t “particularly interested” in raising Card’s atttitude to gay people because he’s not affected one way or the other. Same as you.

    Someone who *is* directly affected by Card will be someone *without* gay privilege, and so Card’s actions cease to be merely of intellectual interest. The privilege lies in being able to be “not particularly interested” in the issue.

    And the same goes for the people saying they don’t care about Card’s views and just want to enjoy the book or the movie. That degree of detachment – like the ability to stay calm and ‘polite’ while discussing things like homophobia, racism, misogny etc – is an aspect of privilege.

    There is not a privilege involved in eschewing particular methods of fighting, regardless of having skin in the game.

    Not having to fight at all for what rights are already granted to you automatically is the privilege. The disprivileged person can of course choose not to fight, but if they want the rights everyone else enjoys, then *somebody* has to do the fighting for them.

  381. Ugh. “Someone who *is* directly affected by Card will be someone *without* gay privilege” should read “Someone who *is* directly affected by Card will be someone *without* straight privilege”

  382. Card no longer part of the gay hate group is a promising thing;

    That hasn’t been confirmed, and you won’t be able to do so since NOM doesn’t make its membership list or director list public. You can’t even get the original announcement of Card’s taking on a position there from the organisation’s website any longer.

    And regardless of that, there’s not a shred of evidence that he’s changed his mind on LGBT people, or has ceased his work encouraging hate legislation, or any way done anything that should be ‘encouraged’. If you want to go see the movie, you do that, but be aware that the movie will encourage sales of his books, which will give him income which he has used (and probably continues to use) to persecute LGBT people. Like it or not, the success of the film *will* have political effects.

  383. Card may or may not have resigned from the board (we don’t and can’t know) but forgive me if I doubt he’s going to suddenly stop giving them money and working to persecute LGBT people. The more money he gets, the more money they get.

    Just because Dick Cheney/Bill Clinton are no longer in the White House doesn’t mean they aren’t still donating to and active in the Republican/Democratic Party structure.

  384. I don’t want to speak for my gay friends

    Oh, but you were doing it so well!

    but personally, Card’s objection to equal marriage is the *least* horrible thing you can accuse him of. The man basically wants to eradicate LGBT from the planet. That’s not a political stance, or even a touch of intolerance – that’s raw, unbridled hate, and no one of any decency should overlook it.

    Hear, hear. I’ve rarely heard this put so well. Thank you for that, and for this:

    Not having to fight at all for what rights are already granted to you automatically is the privilege.

    Not sure why we have to keep saying this over and over in different ways. You’ve been doing spectacularly well at it, and I just wanted to say thanks to you and “Ann’s not the only one who thinks so, gang” to everyone else.

  385. @ Ann Somerville & Lurkertype

    Let me put it another way by leaning on a higher authority. I do not know Card; he may well be an evil fellow in which case I’m going to be left with egg on my face. However, our host in the blog mentioned sharing a pleasant meal with Mr. Card so I tend to assume that the man himself while behaving like a twit may not in all ways be irredeemable. Maybe. Maybe not.

    I have two sisters both of whom, for reasons beyond my understanding, have no problem referring to people in racist terms. I jump on them; have had heated words on the subject. I suspect they are looking for a rise out of me as they are otherwise gracious and polite in their social interactions but it’s still a crappy way to behave even if in private and I get on them about it each time. Care to guess with whom I’m sharing the holidays again this year?

    I like Card as a writer. I don’t like his views. However I’d LIKE to think that reasoned conversation with folks like, say, Mr. Scalzi is a better method than closing and locking doors. Maybe. Maybe not.

  386. You’re welcome, Xopher.

    Not sure why we have to keep saying this over and over in different ways.

    Because examining privilege and making an effort which doesn’t directly benefit them is too much like hard work for some, I guess. And once they start questioning the basis of their privilege, they might not like what they see.

  387. Ambivalent, I don’t think that’s quite what Scalzi meant. I think he was just pointing out that he’s never had any unpleasant interactions with OSC himself.

    But of course, as a straight cis man, he wouldn’t. In fact I’m not sure Card would be unpleasant personally even to a gay man, as long as they stayed off That Topic (which would not be possible if the gay man were, say, me).

    Look, if you’re white a racist isn’t going to be unpleasant to you. Men can hang with serial sexual harassers and never notice anything wrong with them (until they discuss women or a woman walks in). People who are hateful don’t usually hate everyone, just the particular group they have a bug about.

    Scalzi wasn’t claiming that OSC was a good guy. He was saying that he, personally, had only pleasant superficial social interactions with him. You and several others in this thread are reading way too much into that statement.

  388. Xopher, you raise some good points. I cannot know what happened when the two met or what would have happened had Card been sharing space with say Dan Savage (I’d pay big to see that, you bet).

    I get that we are all responsible to ourselves and each other to not be dirt bags and to protect those who are being dumped on and maybe that means we go medieval on those who are being dirt bags. Is that necessary in this case? My take on Mr. Scalzi’s comments above would seem to indicate that the answer could go either way.

    If Card is backing water as seems to be the case, then I applaud and encourage the effort. If he is still providing personal and financial backing to hate groups, well, you’re right, my money is better spent elsewhere.

    Someone brought up the example of Wagner.I cannot abide opera in general but for 20 minutes at a stretch, Wagnerian arias are quite a rush… Most of the greats in any field would have for made for terrible dinner companions; they were not nice people, but we still spend time and money on their work. How crazy is that!

    Hey guys, enjoying the debate so my appreciation to all for the thoughts and critique and to Mr. Scalzi for the forum. My first experience posting.

  389. @Kat Goodwin

    But other people do, often perfectly nice people, and those who are boycotting and protesting about Card have encountered it a lot, which is how the topic came up.

    Fair enough. But it can go both ways. Some people who boycott and protest try to shame those who don’t. In addition to being a poor strategy to win sympathy, that sort of trenchant attitude shows up on both sides of any divisive issue. But I think we can both agree that such individuals are not entirely representative of their whole side.

    It can feel like a betrayal and to a degree it is.

    Although I disagree, you’re obviously entitled to feel that way. As you said, everyone gets to decide for his or her self.

    For some people, the fact that Napolean was an enlightened statesman for his era (I might contest that one,) does legitimize his brutal wars.

    It could be argued. Many of his reforms for the Francophone world were popular, widely beneficial and last to this day, but others were none of those things. Anyway, I wasn’t really trying to argue about Napoleon’s legacy. If you disagree, just substitute anyone who’s done both good and bad. I would say that the problems you highlighted are a failure of predisposition, or information and logic. People who are predisposed to believe something will anyway; you can lead a horse to water and all that. For those who simply lack the complete picture, is it not better to give it to them than to argue against showing the “wrong” sides of someone? For those who lack the logical capacity to understand that good does not legitimize bad, I’m not sure what can get through, but most of those people are probably the ones who are predisposed to a specific belief to begin with.

    So social acceptability and perception matters, a lot.

    Absolutely. But for someone whose either a neutral third party or on the fence or even simply has, to borrow Ann’s description, no skin in the game, chastising someone for mentioning the good along with the bad can come across as moral insecurity, even when it isn’t. They may wonder why the people doing the chastising of the commenter’s tone (not the commenter’s subject) don’t want them exposed to the fact that X was nice at conventions. Better to trust your audience, IMHO.

    So to have Card be made socially acceptable, to have this influential and prominent SF writer/activist be thought a grand man except for his homophobia, understandably scares the fucking shit out of a lot of gay people, Gulliver.

    Point taken. I would contest the notion that saying he was congenial at conventions is making him out to be a grand man.

    And if people think he’s otherwise hunky dory, they are much less likely to try and oppose him in activism or object to his expressing his views, which then influence others.

    I object to his views, but I will never object to anyone expressing theirs. However, I think you give people too little credit.

    So how the people coming after them are regarded and talked about does matter to them.

    If you point out to the audience that X does, in the balance, more harm than good, they may listen. If you chastise anyone who points out the good X does, the audience may wonder why you don’t trust them to make a judgment on all the information, and that can drive them to either outright dismiss you or try to learn more about the things you chastise someone for talking about.

    @Ann Somerville

    The privilege lies in being able to be “not particularly interested” in the issue.

    I know it was implicit, but if I may humbly submit this rewording: the privilege lies in being safe to be “not particularly interested” in the issue, it would probably get the point across to more people who may not understand at first why some are unable to do so. This may be one reason why, as Xopher points out, it doesn’t seem to sink in. Most people recognize that someone is able to do whatever they want as long as they’re prepared to suffer the (not always just) consequences. Highlighting exactly why the cost is too much to ask of someone shows the falseness of the choice.

    Because examining privilege and making an effort which doesn’t directly benefit them is too much like hard work for some, I guess.

    That is undoubtedly why some don’t get it. But attributing all misunderstanding to mental or moral sloth misses the opportunities to educate those whose ignorance is not so willful. Since I want to educate as many as possible, I choose not to assume bad faith. You are, obviously, free to disagree, and I don’t mean to suggest otherwise.

    And once they start questioning the basis of their privilege, they might not like what they see.

    Because then they’ll see that they have a moral duty to fight inequity, or because you believe they should be ashamed of being born to privilege?

    @Ambivalent in Tokyo

    However, our host in the blog mentioned sharing a pleasant meal with Mr. Card so I tend to assume that the man himself while behaving like a twit may not in all ways be irredeemable.

    Setting aside that being a pleasant dinner companion is politeness, not moral rectitude, even if Card is a wonderful person to everyone else, it doesn’t absolve him of the harm he does to others. He’s responsible for all his choices.

  390. The privilege lies in being able to be “not particularly interested” in the issue.

    You repeatedly conflate not using certain tactics or behaviors with not being interested in the issue itself. This is a fallacy in general and wrong in particular when speaking with me, someone who has been involved with gay rights issues for two decades now. I don’t know if you’re missing the point by accident or if it’s some sort of willful thing, but that makes it no less correct.

    You are free to believe that certain tactics are moral imperatives but your definition of privilege here doesn’t work by simple example: there are plenty of folks who have skin in the game who believe this sort of fight does not need to be picked. I suppose you’re free to tell them as well that they must do this the way you think it should be done or else they’re not really impacted but you seem to have already gone far enough down the road of insisting that your methods are the only acceptable ones already.

  391. Ambivalent, Wagner is dead. Listening to his music, per se, will not promote his anti-Semitism.

    Card is alive, and using his money to promote an anti-gay agenda.

  392. The privilege is not-being-affected. That privilege derives from the privilege of not-getting-the-shit-end-of-the-straight-privileging-world. Straight people don’t-have-the-experiences-that-inform-people-who-aren’t-straight. That lack-of-experience is key.

    That lack-of-experience is also a privilege of being-straight and it is also barrier-to-understanding-why-these-and-other-straight-privileges-exist-and-what-they-are-doing.

    It isn’t about tactics per se. It’s about actions that fit. Perspective provides context which provides meaning. Meaning informs people which tactics address the problem and which don’t. Theoretical knowledge produces a difference meaning than lived experience. Tactics that do address theory but do address not the lived experience are not actually effective – no matter how much one theorizes.

    (Just don’t do this: “there are plenty of folks who have skin in the game who believe this sort of fight does not need to be picked”. That’s like saying “there are plenty of (abused) women who believe domestic violence doesn’t need to be addressed”. In every disprivileged group there are always those who will live in some state of denial – as a psychological/cultural/social defense mechanism. I’m assuming you’re a smart person. If I actually have to draw all the parallels, you wouldn’t get the point anyhow.)

  393. The simple fact of the matter is in a lot of cases boycotts have the opposite effect of their intended purpose. Boycotting OSC over his stance on same-sex marriage will only drive homophobes to the theaters. It creates a buzz about the film that will attract more than avid science fiction fans. We saw it happen with Chick-fil-a. We’re seeing a boycott against Brad Thor igniting his supporters and 2nd amendment advocates that had no idea who Brad Thor was until he offered to buy George Zimmerman a gun.

    Don’t kid yourself. Savvy public figures and corporations won’t let a good controversy go to waste. They don’t always seek out a backlash, but when it comes their way they stoke the fires to inflame their base and increase their profits. Boycotting OSC or any of them only increases their profile and brings in major bank.

  394. There are implicit questions that are being answered above. There are many answers – what are questions?

    I think an important question is: “OSC, is he a harmful homophobe?” The answers range from “YES!” to “Well he’s getting better” to “Look a monkey boycott!”

    I think another important question is: “Are you going to do/say enough about his homophobia?” The answers range from “I have” to “I don’t want to be too harsh” to “I don’t want collateral damage” to “Look a monkey boycott!”

    I don’t have too much problem with the “I am conflicted” answers.

    I have a problem with the answers to orthogonal questions, because they aren’t addressing the locally important questions.

    But the answers that amount to “there is no conflict in seeing OSC’s movie” bug the hell out of me. Those answers necessarily erase the harm OSC has done and the (reasonable analysis of the) evidence says he will continue to do. The void and/or avoid the answers to the question of harm.

    Harm to me.

    It’s very personal to me. One of the points of the comments about privilege is that it’s less personal to people who don’t experience the harm directly. If a proposed solution to a problem doesn’t address current or future personal experiences, then the efficacy of that solution is in question.

    The answers that are theory based and do not include experience are a problem for me because while a theory is not necessarily wrong, but alone it is not enough. Presenting and advocating these kinds of answers further the harm to me because they interfere with solutions that will work to vitiate the harm to me.

  395. @choytcaldwell “Some boycotts have the opposite affect.”

    Which is easy to respond with “Some boycotts work.”

    Rush Limbaugh is having a big problem. I’m really tired of the “all press is good press” myth.

  396. Not to quibble, but I said “a lot of boycotts have the opposite effect.” You’ve got to understand that for every shitty point of view there are a shitload of shitbags that will support a shitty point of view. Before social media, it was hard for the shitbags to organize, now it’s as simple as putting a hash tag in front of “Imaracisthomophobe” to get all the racist homophobes to line up and buy his/her crap to counteract any backlash the racist homophobe will encounter from reasonable people who are outraged by racist homophobes.

    BTW – I’m not saying OSC is a racist. I was just using that shitty point of view to illustrate a point.

  397. @peter k

    In every disprivileged group there are always those who will live in some state of denial – as a psychological/cultural/social defense mechanism.

    And yet, it does not follow from that that those within a given unprivileged group are therefore necessarily in denial merely because they don’t choose to fight in the same way as others (even others in the same group) fighting for the same thing.

    “there are plenty of (abused) women who believe domestic violence doesn’t need to be addressed”

    The logical parallel to what Don Whiteside said would be (abused) women who believe domestic violence can be addressed in multiple ways. That is about tactics. The parallel would only hold for someone saying homophobia didn’t need to be addressed at all. As far as I can tell, that’s the opposite of what he said. It’s a privilege to be able to safely ignore the issue. It’s not a privilege to fight it in a way others consider suboptimal. If someone within an unprivileged group is fighting injustice differently, they’re tactics are presumably informed by lived experience. While not everyone in a given group is going to have the same exact experiences, how can one person or subgroup claim their way is the only effective way? How do you measure such a thing? How do you know whose tactics were the ones that had the measurable impacts?

  398. I don’t usually do this, but can I get some links to these outrageously hateful comments and attitudes that are being attributed to Card here? Yes, he’s made anti-gay comments- I’m fully aware of that- but I’ve been unable to turn up anything like the picture that is being painted in this thread.

  399. The privilege is not-being-affected.

    That is correct, and nobody has disputed it. The exact statement that was called privilege was “No, I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up, just to make a political point.” This is a foolish thing to describe as privilege, as there is not a person alive who does not have the same ability. I will not go so far as to say it cheapens the discussion of privilege but it certainly does nothing to improve understanding of it.

    Any of you are welcome to believe that it is a betrayal of responsibility for someone to consume/support OSC’s artistic works if they are in a group that he has worked to disadvantage. Personally I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to spend money again that I know will end up in his hands, however dilute, but I’m not willing to tell a gay friend who still reads his novels that he’s got a form of battered spouse syndrome – as is implied above. And none of that approaches this apparent responsibility some think exist to make sure that you never miss an opportunity to tell people on the internet that OSC has worked against marriage equality.

    Think that such an imperative exists, if you like, but since it’s possible for LGBT folks to resist it you cannot call it ‘privilege.’

  400. There’s a sort of rough calculus that I periodically engage in with regards to creators, their personal views, and whether or not their views and/or actions justify boycotting their past/present/future work. It’s a tricky judgment; for example, do you boycott past work on the basis of the artist’s present behavior (Mel Gibson, Harlan Ellison for the Connie Willis incident), or is there a notional statute of limitations (Isaac Asimov, for repeatedly groping female attendees at SF conventions)?

    In OSC’s instance, it’s pretty easy for me, in part because I thought that Ender’s Game was horribly overrated and didn’t pursue any of his work further. That in itself wouldn’t necessarily stop me from watching the movie, however, as I enjoyed the movies of both Starship Troopers and American Psycho despite not liking the books, or what I read of them, as I could finish neither. The other factor, though, is that OSC’s homophobia isn’t limited to just his views or religious beliefs, but extends to his repeatedly and emphatically advocating the criminalization of homosexuality* and the denial of same-sex marriage rights by joining the board of the so-called National Organization of Marriage. The fact that he’s backed off the former, somewhat (see below), and resigned from the latter, he’s made statements to the effect that he’s only doing so because he’s been overridden by the law, not because he’s changed his opinion. Helping to make Ender’s Game the movie a success would only raise OSC’s profile further and provide more impetus to his future advocacy against LGBT rights.

    *The current version of that essay contains forewords and afterwords by OSC, attempting to spin the essay. You can read it yourself and decide. Here are, for me, the two main paragraphs of the thing:

    This applies also to the polity, the citizens at large. Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

    The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity’s ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships.

    So, in other words, he doesn’t want to send gays and lesbians to prison, just to keep them in the closet. In his opinion, this is “a liberal and tolerant view.” Your choice to further support the career of someone who’s that deep in his rationalization should be viewed in that context.

  401. I choose to separate the art from the artist. Wagner hated jews, and yet he wrote great music. I love the Rolling Stones, but Mick Jagger is an ass. Card has written some wonderfully thoughtful and entertaining fiction, but his views on sexuality are hateful and weird. The art is not the artist, so I’ll go enjoy the film. Besides… his view are irrelevant. The world is passing him by.

  402. To be a decent human being it is imperative to recognize those privileges one has.

    The context of whether one has privilege or not affects things like the use of n-word, f-word, c-word, b-word, t-word, etc. Within a group use of those words are not acts of privilege, but for those outside the group they are.

    Derailments about imperatives to address privilege is just a defense of privilege. Yes, it is true no one can address privilege 24/7. What’s the point of saying that. I don’t think anyone is saying everyone should speak up about privilege all the time.

    But consider more time has been spent minimizing privilege, denying privilege, or defending the indifference of privilege, than acknowledging and fixing privilege by many people. Just look at the thread here.

    * * *

    “And yet, it does not follow from that that those within a given unprivileged group are therefore necessarily in denial merely because they don’t choose to fight in the same way as others (even others in the same group) fighting for the same thing.” This argument falls apart completely, if rather than picking a different fight, they deny that a necessary fight should happen.

    The metric of utility is indeed hard to measure upwards, but downwards is pretty clear in may cases.

  403. Derailments about imperatives to address privilege is just a defense of privilege. Yes, it is true no one can address privilege 24/7. What’s the point of saying that. I don’t think anyone is saying everyone should speak up about privilege all the time.

    More precisely the statement was that an unwillingness to speak up all the time (and we use “speak” here generously to mean “making sure you say the required things in internet comment threads”) is reflective of privilege.

    By all means, you may feel free to claim that people who choose to compartmentalize or pick different battles might feel differently if they didn’t have the privilege of being able to walk away from the consequences of OSC’s past marriage inequality efforts. But to claim that not taking the fight to the internet barricades at every opportunity is privilege just doesn’t hold water. Plenty of people who cannot walk away from the consequences choose different strategies.

    You may think they are wrong. I will never forgive the HRC for their ineptitude leading up to the 2008 Prop 8 vote and I think their desperation not to go to court afterwards was pathetic and chickenshit, for example. But I can make my case with facts and advocacy rather than misusing a term like privilege.

  404. Privilege, Harm, Escape, Context, and Energy

    One of the most odious things about privilege is that it picks you, you don’t pick it. You will get the benefits of privilege simply because that’s the way the game is set up. You will not start two steps behind because you’re not straight, not white, not male, not able-bodies, and/or not otheriwise privileged.

    That you have privilege, that alone, harms other people. This the barest nakedest kind of harm created around privilege. This isn’t your fault exactly.

    But ignoring the harm, denying the harm, denigrating the impart of the harm, those are things that do move you from a passive consumer of privilege to a more active form of it. There is no escape from the harm – none. But you can choose to face the harm or not.

    One of the things I see a lot of in the above is context shifting. You know what? Certain things that address a local problem of privilege may indeed be absurd in another. In the local situation of OSC – a boycott has meaning – or none of you would be talking about this. If you can’t see the context of disprivilege, then rather than denying it, perhaps you should try figuring out why you are missing some of the evidence. This too is context driven. The default assumed context favors privilege. It takes time, energy, effort to escape the default assumed context.

    Consider where you have spent your energy. Addressing the problem, the harm, or seeking escape into other contexts.

  405. Whether the “same” action is from privilege or not depends on who does it.

    Whether something defends privilege or not doesn’t nearly so much. Disprivileged people internalize (and therefore grant) privilege all the time – even to their own disadvantage. That doesn’t make the defense of privilege better.

  406. @Halloween Jack

    So, in other words, he doesn’t want to send gays and lesbians to prison, just to keep them in the closet.

    He must want to send at least as many as must be made an example in order to terrorize others into the closet, or his argument holds no water.

    This is orthogonal to his homophobia, but the kind of statist who supports the existence of laws, not to enforce them, but to blackmail those whom the State denies liberty is the worst kind of statist. As civil libertarians like myself are fond of pointing out, there are so many arbitrary laws that everyone is guilty of something, and enough somethings become nontrivial offense in aggregate. Our nation’s cancerous bloatlaw provides authorities with an excuse to selectively target any citizen they wish to punish, regardless of whether the actual offense is the one for which they’re being officially penalized. Anyone who supports such tyranny by bureaucracy is an enemy not only of the liberties of the group of people whom they want to oppress, but of all liberty, even their own as they cannot always guarantee their own immunity from such abuses of power. That in itself I find despicable. The law should not be a weapon to be turned on any citizen that dares exercise their freedoms.

    @Paul Lake

    The art is not the artist,

    Most here are not arguing it is. Indeed, if it were in fact the case that merely the art was homophobic, there’d be no moral argument against reading it. I read Das Kapital. It didn’t turn me into a communist. The argument being made is against indirectly helping to fund Card’s activism.

    Besides… his view are irrelevant. The world is passing him by.

    Sadly, his views not irrelevant. A great many people still share them. Increasingly less relevant isn’t the same thing as irrelevant.

    @peter k

    I don’t think anyone is saying everyone should speak up about privilege all the time.

    I don’t think anyone is either. The argument put forth was that no one should ever discuss Card or his work without also discussing his homophobia, and that the ability to elide that discussion at any instance was a function of privilege. This was disagreed with on the basis that one could still effectively combat homophobia and occasionally discuss Card or his work without discussing his homophobia, and that even the unprivileged could do this.

    Just look at the thread here.

    No one is denying privilege; on the contrary. The difference was over whether a particular thing is a privlage, as was suggested.

    And yet, it does not follow from that that those within a given unprivileged group are therefore necessarily in denial merely because they don’t choose to fight in the same way as others (even others in the same group) fighting for the same thing.

    This argument falls apart completely, if rather than picking a different fight, they deny that a necessary fight should happen.

    Obviously. Who here in this discussion has denied that? No one’s saying don’t call Card on his homophobia. By all means, do so. What was said was that there is more ways to do that than citing Card’s homophobia whenever he or his work arises. If people want to bring it up, more power to them. I would. But not everyone, possibly not even everyone who’s a target of his homophobia, does want to bring it up at every possible instance. Telling them they’re wrong or in denial seems fallacious.

  407. @peter K

    It’s one thing to tell someone such as I, who does have straight privilege, that they’re fighting homophobia wrong. It’s another thing to tell anyone who doesn’t have it that they’re aiding their own oppression through internalized privilege unless they fight the way you think they should fight. When you start using privilege to mean not doing it the way you think it has to be done, you’ve changed the meaning of the word.

  408. Wow, okay, catching up.

    MRAL: “What exactly are you suggesting? That it’s some moral responsibility to define OSC by his anti-gay positions? No, I’m not particularly interested in bringing up gay marriage every single time OSC’s name crops up, just to make a political point. I’m not interested in pretending that he’s not a fine writer, or that he eats nails for breakfast. You can do that, if you want.”

    I wasn’t suggesting anything. I was explaining to Gulliver, who asked me a question about my earlier post, why gay people and some of their allies such as Ann are concerned about well-meaning folks painting Card as a nice guy, etc., and how they fear that influences society and the laws that effect their lives. Which is why they wish people wouldn’t do it because they fear for their civil rights, personal freedoms and physical safety. Which is not just simply a political point. It’s their lives, and Card has had a lot of political power and gotten laws enacted that ban them from marriage, put their families at risk and leave them open to discrimination without legal protection. He has a media platform — which is due in part to the success of Ender’s Game — from which he has issued edicts calling gay people all manner of things, and proscribing how they can live their lives, and he has used it specifically to influence the society and change the politics and laws. The issue of Card, for us straight people, we’re in a position of privilege. We don’t have to care one way or another. For them, it’s their future.

    So the fact that Card has written a few decent SF works and got a movie is pretty irrelevant for them compared to him helping enact laws that legally deprive them of their lives and livelihoods. So you can do anything you want, and have the right to it, but gay people likewise have every right to be upset and wish that Card was not getting treated with kid gloves by some, as he has helped enact laws that treat them with an iron fist. They’ve got every right to criticize you and you have every right to ignore them. Because you can. Whereas they cannot ignore how straight people talk about them, what they might do to them and what laws straight people might allow that hurt them.

    Gulliver: “Some people who boycott and protest try to shame those who don’t.”

    Yes, and that’s their right as part of free speech. As I said, you should not be surprised if some gay people are angry that straight people aren’t supporting them in something so critical to their lives, and also trying to get people to listen and understand that they don’t feel it’s okay. It’s going to happen and it has every right to happen. Trying to get people to feel shame for allowing discrimination to go on without protest is a time-honored, highly successful tactic for ending discrimination. And it’s been highly effective for the gay civil rights movement so far.

    “In addition to being a poor strategy to win sympathy, that sort of trenchant attitude shows up on both sides of any divisive issue.”

    It isn’t a poor strategy. What you’re saying, Gulliver, from a clueless position of straight privilege is “Be patient. Be quiet. Be polite.” Which is exactly what those in control say to the group that is being repressed, every time. The repressed group is not supposed to show anger, shout, etc., because it makes the group in control uncomfortable, and their privilege means that they shouldn’t be made uncomfortable, shouldn’t have to deal with divisive conflict or criticism from others on their stances. There are times when the repressed group has to be patient, quiet and polite. They have no choice. But it is not until they stop being patient, quiet and polite — and risk the very serious dangers of that — that social change occurs, that people start to listen. Again, If we stayed patient, quiet and polite, women would not have the vote, the South would still have racial segregation and gays would not be able to marry in any U.S. state or Britain or France. The rapid change we’ve had on gay rights recently has been because gays and allies have been rabidly noisy and divisive.

    Card’s side is not being patient, quiet and polite. They are demonizing gay people and oppressing them, and that has allowed them to influence the social sphere and enact laws discriminating against gays and putting gays in danger. Laws which we straight people have allowed to stand. And it is infuriating for the majority of gay people to have straight people on their island of protected legal privilege and physical safety say, don’t bug me about the boycott, I don’t want to hear about it, you should say Card is a nice guy and a good writer too, don’t you dare say a word about my choices, etc. And some of them are going to criticize that stance, loudly. And they’ve got every right to do so and call Card every nasty name in the book, just as Card has the right to call them pedophiles. And if straight people don’t want to listen, they don’t have to because it’s not their lives being effected. But the issue is out there, being discussed, making everyone horribly uncomfortable because it points out that straight people greatly benefit from the legal status quo — even if they don’t agree with it — on top of the pain of gay people.

    choytcaldwell: “now it’s as simple as putting a hash tag in front of “Imaracisthomophobe” to get all the racist homophobes to line up and buy his/her crap to counteract any backlash the racist homophobe will encounter from reasonable people who are outraged by racist homophobes.”

    It’s not quite that simple and easy. For instance, Chik-fil-a did get one day of massive sales and is in a period of expansion. But the brand took a huge national marketing hit that left it scrambling with franchisees who tried to separate their businesses from the anti-gay stance of the owners, and the management of the company has tried to correct the impression of it by supposedly stopping financing the worst gay hate groups and changing policies, distancing the company from the owners. Target went from donations to anti-gay groups to in the wake of a boycott having family booths at gay pride parades.

    Companies have to weigh how much effect a boycott may have re their customer base. J.C. Penney’s and Starbucks faced boycotts from anti-gay groups, but they weighed that their customer base is largely pro-gay rights and have not suffered. Chik-fil-a is mostly based in the South and weighed that their customer base is largely anti-gay rights and would protect them partly from a boycott. For Card, Lionsgate, etc., having a large group from the main and massive audience for the film — SF fans — boycott is a disaster. While the controversy may send anti-gay proponents to the film, it’s unlikely they’ll offset the numbers enough, given that the SF film is about a bunch of boys in a military school launched in the back part of summer. And unlike Chik-fil-a, which gives a ton of money to politicians, Ender’s Game is, being a Hollywood film with a story that is basically anti-war and anti-bullying, not something that conservative politicians and pundits are eagerly championing in the face of the boycott. Which is why Card petulantly tried to say that everyone should forgive him now while backing away from more obvious activism, and Lionsgate turned the premiere into a LGBT charity benefit.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether the movie is a hit or not, as we’ve discussed, because the main point of the boycott wasn’t to tank the movie. It was to protest Card’s views and raise awareness of those views and the issue of gay rights, which it did.

    Paul Lake: “Besides… his view are irrelevant. The world is passing him by.”

    His view is not at all irrelevant. Only a handful of countries have legalized gay marriage. Numerous U.S. states have laws banning gay marriage, the right to not get fired for being gay, the right for gays to adopt children, etc. Russia has a law to jail people for speaking for gay rights. Card’s views are embraced as the official agenda of one of the two large U.S. political parties, the Republicans, embraced by massive churches that represent a large percentage of the U.S. population. Card’s views are successful and continue to be. Just today, the San Diego county clerk refused to issue gay marriage license on the grounds that the Prop 8 Supreme Court case upheld the District Court of Los Angeles’ case ruling, and therefore applies only to that district and that the clerk is not answerable to the governor or attorney general of the state, his bosses. And it is the success and funding of his art that has allowed Card to be a successful activist to get Prop 8 passed in the first place. Which occurred only three years ago.

    So, again, for many gay people (and allies,) separating the art from the living, acting artist isn’t possible. And those who do separate they feel are supporting the people working against them. So you have the right to decide what you will do, and others have the right to criticize you for it, whatever that choice is.

  409. can I get some links to these outrageously hateful comments and attitudes that are being attributed to Card here?

    I linked and quoted from a Salon piece giving exactly the round up you’re asking for, above. Scroll.

    Or break a nail typing four words into google ‘orson scott card homophobia’.

    Unless you think people are quoting and referencing stuff they made up, you won’t find it difficult to get what you expect other people to provide.

  410. @MRAL

    I don’t usually do this, but can I get some links to these outrageously hateful comments and attitudes that are being attributed to Card here?

    I understand he even wrote an anti-gay book several decades back.

    @Kat Goodwin

    Yes, and that’s their right as part of free speech. […] Trying to get people to feel shame for allowing discrimination to go on without protest is a time-honored, highly successful tactic for ending discrimination.

    Quite so.

    What you’re saying, Gulliver, from a clueless position of straight privilege is “Be patient. Be quiet. Be polite.”

    I can’t actually remember which of the two ongoing discussions here my reply to you was in response to. If I was saying that shaming people for protesting injustice in a different way that didn’t include boycotting is a poor strategy, I stand by that. If I was saying that shaming people for ignoring injustice altogether is a poor strategy, I was wrong.

    And it is infuriating for the majority of gay people to have straight people on their island of protected legal privilege and physical safety say, don’t bug me about the boycott, I don’t want to hear about it, you should say Card is a nice guy and a good writer too, don’t you dare say a word about my choices, etc. And some of them are going to criticize that stance, loudly.

    There’s a lot of ground between, I’m not boycotting the film and all those other things. I agree telling people to pipe down is wrong and shouldn’t go uncontested.

    J.C. Penney’s and Starbucks faced boycotts from anti-gay groups, but they weighed that their customer base is largely pro-gay rights and have not suffered.

    Lest I give the impression that I think all boycotts are ineffective, I, who am a coffee snob who would normally not drink Starbucks, participated in buycotts (reverse boycott) for both their pro-LGBT rights and pro-Second Amendment policies.

    and Lionsgate turned the premiere into a LGBT charity benefit.

    Good to hear. I’m glad the boycott had more effect than I guessed it would, and in a way I would not have predicted. In this case it’s nice to be wrong.

  411. Also, mythago posted several links upthread. They’re embedded in her sentences and are not in “www.url.” form, but they’re there.

  412. @Ambivalent: Family follows different rules entirely. We put up with a lot more from them. Might even be evolutionary reasons for that, certainly it’s deeply culturally entrenched.

    However, you suspect your sisters are doing it partially just to wind you up, and more crucially, I doubt your sisters are using their fame and fortune to organize legislation that causes harm or death to people of a different race than themselves. If they want to go all insulting over the Christmas turkey, well fine. They can enjoy spewing racial epithets while opening gifts, it doesn’t actually hurt folks with different amounts of melanin. Grit your teeth and have more eggnog; I’ve done that myself.

    BUT if your sisters go out and start up a giant non-profit organization (at least it claims to be non-profit; no one’s seen the required tax returns to know for sure!) to repeal Loving v. Virginia, or throw interracial couples in jail, then yeah. That’s doing evil.

    Everyone should click on the links way upthread posted by @Mythago. It’s all there.

    Like I said waaaaaaaay up there:

    I will not knowingly contribute even a fraction of a penny to people who block human rights and encourage murder.

  413. Gulliver: “There’s a lot of ground between, I’m not boycotting the film and all those other things.”

    As we’ve seen in this thread alone, not so much ground for a lot of people. And again, for some gay people, that message may seem to be delivered, no ground between. It’s a thorny issue of dividers between art, politics, personal, etc. that we all have to work out.

  414. Ann Somerville: I can’t imagine a woman writing this post, or the ones on Ellision.

    Greg: That merely indicates that your imagination is gender biased in favor of women.

    Gulliver: Actually, it only indicated her imagination is biased by her own experiences. As are all of ours. She was careful to say that it was hard for her to imagine it, not that her imagination was necessarily representative.

    Yeah, yeah. Like, if I said that in my experience, I never personally witnessed a man getting really emotionally distraught about something, bawling his eyes out, sobbing, etc, and then if I said “I can’t imagine a man having an emotional breakdown like that woman, (insert some woman’s name here)” I’m sure that wouldn’t be seen as sexist whatsoever.

    Look, I’ve never directly experienced a Log Cabin Republican, but I know they exist. Click on Ann Somerville’s name and it takes you to a website titled “Fiction by Ann Somerville”. I find it hard to believe that a fiction author on a blog of a science fiction author would seriously try to argue that her imagination is entirely limited by her direct experience.

  415. I think it shows that Ann’s lucky enough to live where she doesn’t have to see the Congresscritter from Scalzi’s district on the teevee. He always seems to be boo-hooing when the President proposes something that hurts his widdle fee-fees.

    Also, Card’s “tolerate my intolerance” statement brings many words to mind, but one of the printable ones is “petulant”. And “childish”. And “disingenous at BEST.”

  416. Kat: you should not be surprised if some gay people are angry that straight people aren’t supporting them in something so critical to their lives,

    Yes, but saying it must be “privilege” isn’t accurate either. Log Cabin Republicans aren’t republicans due to their privilege of being gay. In fact it’s the opposite. They’re republicans in spite of being gay. The thing is LCR’s decided that something in the Republican ideology was more important than Republican homophobia, so they just accept it.

    Just because Ann can’t imagine a woman writing Scalzi’s post, doesn’t mean there aren’t women who haven’t expressed Scalzi’s exact sentiment. What it means is that when a woman does express such a view, women like Ann immediately and aggressively do everything they can to downplay and dismiss it and disassociate themselves from such a thing. And it doesn’t mean that when a man expresses a view in line with the original post, that it must be their privilege talking.

    Sometimes people assign different weights and values to different things than you do.

  417. Greg, you’re making unsupported generalizations and ad hominem arguments that are not anywhere as good as you think they are, and as a result are coming across as hostile and more than a little sexist, which is ironic considering the argument you are trying to make and how you are attempting to position yourself here.

    Allow me to suggest you take some time to consider the point I am making to you now, because it is something that is not unique to this particular thread and indeed in my opinion seems to be a blind spot in your consciousness.

    While you are considering it, may I also suggest making an exit from this particular thread, as it does not seem to be doing you any good at the moment.

  418. Lurkertype, to steal a line from ‘300’;

    “clearly you haven’t met my sisters”

    Nah, I love them to death despite the BS.

    Also, thanks for the reference to Mythago’s post. Nothing like source material.

    Ok guys, not that it was a hard decision (that dull, dull, dull trailer) but I’m officially on the not watching list. I’ll take it a step further if someone can do me the favor of another referral; point me toward an effective and not overly spammy pro equal marriage group and I’ll drop a donation and get the word out to my friends. Hell, I love to talk so why not drop my considered and thoughtful opinion (stolen in large chunks from you all) to my friends and family.

    Be good….

  419. @MRL, here is the link to the previous comment in which I summarized Card’s hateful conduct and actions, and gave sources so that you can (with a single click!) read and judge the information in its entirety:

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/07/17/boycotts-creators-and-me/#comment-490987

    Here is the link from Ann Somerville to the Salon article on Card:

    http://www.salon.com/2013/05/07/sci_fi_icon_orson_scott_card_hates_fan_fiction_the_homosexual_agenda_partner/

    Here is yet another link, to GeeksOUT, explaining why they are urging people to boycott Ender’s Game:

    http://skipendersgame.com/

    There is absolutely no reason, at this point, to claim that you are operating under a cloud of insufficient information. Card has never, ever claimed that he has changed his views, seen the light (a la David Blankenhorn) or anything of the sort. His views, in sum, are ‘Fine, you won, now you have to be nice to me.’,

    @Gulliver: So, on the one side, you have Card, who says that a group of people are the enemy of civilization, destroy families, deserve jail, and a government that says differently ought to be torn down through violent revolution. On the other hand, you have that group of people (and their allies) saying that people should not give money to Card, and it is possible that some subset of that group of people may speak scornfully of those who do give him money. And what you’re saying is, a potential ally is going to weigh those two things and say “You know, I might have been on your side, LGBT people, if only you hadn’t spoken to me harshly.”

    Really? Because, maybe it’s just me here, but I don’t see somebody who runs that kind of math as potential ally. I see someone who was desperately trying to find a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance of “I am a good person who thinks everyone should be treated fairly” and “I really like Ender’s Game”, and seizing on the tone-argument excuse.

    After all, let’s be blunt: shaming or harsh language aside, this comment thread is chockablock full of people struggling with that exact problem. They want to see Ender’s Game, because the book was very meaningful to them; they don’t want to hurt LGBT people; and so people are making bizarre comments, like ‘but he’s not on the actual board of NOM anymore so clearly He Has Changed’ or ‘but if we see the movie perhaps the scales will fall from his eyes’ or ‘if I don’t go then Key Grip #3, who is innocent, won’t be able to pay his mortgage’ or ‘SFF films are not a proven property in Hollywood and I must show my support’.

    And that, I think, is really where you are hearing that scorn. If you’re in that group of people that Card thinks ought to crawl back under a rock, and somebody not in that group tell you (in essence) “That’s horrible for you, but it’s no real skin off my nose, and I am not even willing to be honest about the fact that I can’t even skip a movie on your behalf”? Yeah, that pisses people off, in a way that is very different from someone who just genuinely believes a boycott is not the right maneuver.

  420. @Ambivalent, now I picture you yelling “THIS IS SPARTA! And did you know that some of their toughest enemies were gay couples? True story. Pass the gravy.”

    @mythago: agreed on both the tone argument and am going “d’oh!” about “can’t even skip a movie”. So well said and succinct.

  421. Hah! I remember a printed review on ‘300’ by a guy who said in essence, “If I were to find myself in the middle of 300 buff men dressed only in leather briefs, I would spontaneously grow ovaries!”

    Love it when people can be relaxed about themselves and not self-censor for fear of some nosy butthead making a scene.

  422. @mythago

    And what you’re saying is, a potential ally is going to weigh those two things and say “You know, I might have been on your side, LGBT people, if only you hadn’t spoken to me harshly.”

    No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that if activist A tells activist B that they’re an enemy of LGBT-rights, and their-own-rights if they themselves are L, G, B or T, because they choose to fight Card and his ilk on different ground or in a different way, that they shouldn’t be surprised when the people their shaming stop listening to them specifically. Not sharing a specific strategy is not the same as going over to the enemy. Indeed, anyone who would sincerely think so reminds me a lot of certain religious doctrines (Mormonism springs to mind) which argue that anyone who doesn’t do it their way is hellbound. Factions who claim the authority to excommunicate others from a movement alienate their allies, not the movement’s allies. They are the part of the machine that thinks they are the whole of the machine. Tone is irrelevant; the issue at stake is inclusiveness.

    I see someone who was desperately trying to find a way to reconcile the cognitive dissonance of “I am a good person who thinks everyone should be treated fairly” and “I really like Ender’s Game”, and seizing on the tone-argument excuse.

    I think if people want to read the book or go see the movie, they should own that decision full bore.

  423. Obviously, if someone wants to tell someone who isn’t going to boycott the film that they’re traitors – and let’s not mince words, someone who betrays something is a traitor – that’s their prerogative. You won’t find me doing that to anyone though.

  424. @Gulliver: Actually, what you said was much broader: If I was saying that shaming people for protesting injustice in a different way that didn’t include boycotting is a poor strategy, I stand by that. Yes, we want to avoid what “politically correct” really meant – the idea that there is one (1) view and approach to everything that all like-minded people share. But your argument seems to assume that a) everyone who protests injustice ‘in a different way’ is doing so in good faith, and b) that shaming anyone who is pro-equality but doesn’t boycott is de facto calling good people traitors. That’s rather a broad assumption. You really think there is no place for criticism or, GOD FORBID, shaming of someone who always manages to define the line of “effective activism” in such a way that they are never inconvenienced?

    Yes, people should own that decision full bore. Don’t you think it’s revealing when they refuse to do so?

  425. @mythago

    But your argument seems to assume that a) everyone who protests injustice ‘in a different way’ is doing so in good faith,

    No, only that not everyone whose strategy or battlegrounds differ is automatically doing so in bad faith. And I think it’s revealing of anyone who thinks it is.

    and b) that shaming anyone who is pro-equality but doesn’t boycott is de facto calling good people traitors.

    Kat said: So when you are being attacked and your life and future altered by laws pioneered by Card and his supporters, being told that he was pleasant at a convention sticks more than a little raw. It can feel like a betrayal and to a degree it is.

    There’s only so many ways to interpret that.

    You really think there is no place for criticism or, GOD FORBID, shaming of someone who always manages to define the line of “effective activism” in such a way that they are never inconvenienced?

    Of course I don’t think that, which is why I never made that argument. But when someone always manages to define “effective activism” as “my way of doing things”, they ought to be willing to present something other than vague insinuations as evidence that the strategies they’re labeling ineffective are in fact so.

    Yes, people should own that decision full bore. Don’t you think it’s revealing when they refuse to do so?

    I think it reveals they’re trying to rationalize two conflicting interests, like Lurkertype’s initial plan (which to her credit she withdrew) to buy a ticket to some other movie. I don’t think it means Lurkertype or anyone else is subconsciously uncommitted to LGBT rights.

  426. “This is why, for example, bigots and cretins through the ages could create works of art that exhibit gorgeous empathy for the other, despite their personal issues” — original post

    While I understand this intellectually, it’s still very perplexing for me to see people who, like Card, have amazing and brilliant insights into aspects of life and human nature, but are (IMO) so very wrong about other topics (such as homosexuality).

    This divide between the creator and the creator is very interesting, and sometimes it can be hard to reconcile the two. Even if Card’s opinions are thought to be wrong and bad, that does not mean one cannot enjoy the work he has made. The creation stands on it’s own merit; don’t let the love for it be tainted by ill will towards a creator who is erroneous.

  427. Pervasive, Inescapable, and Insidious

    Tactics can be graded – though it’s easier to grade bad performance than good performance. The metric is hard to detect from the privileged side. And it’s even hard for disprivileged people because have to live within the system of privilege. And the metric changes for each situation. But in some places the grading doesn’t matter as much as people think. A general solution may not work, eg boycotts, but locally, measured against the goals at hand, the boycott hasn’t been ineffective – this despite the fact that I think the boycott is window dressing and relatively unimportant in and of itself. The goal is being met to some degree. That’s the measure of its success.

    The interlocking system of privilege is pervasive – it is in everything. It is inescapable – because it based on how other people treat you, you have no choice in whether or not you get privilege. It is insidious because just to live, disprivileged people have to function as if they willingly agree to the assumptions and conditions of privilege. This doesn’t cause a little bit of internalized oppression, it causes a great deal. This causes all kinds of craziness – ex-gay, gay celibacy/abstinence, hate the sin, etc.

    It really isn’t a question of “bad faith” because often times there are only bad choices – that’s the insidious part of the system of privilege. Saying something is still harmful, should not be taken as a comment on utility or necessity. But to turn away from examining the harm of given any choice is willful blindness – especially when the harm has been pointed out. And in the particular context of this thread, and in the context of OSC, it’s particularly noxious and pernicious. Especially, when people (here and elsewhere) spend a great time and verbage to avoid it all.

    People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster. James Balwdin

  428. The creation stands on it’s own merit; don’t let the love for it be tainted by ill will towards a creator who is erroneous.

    There are places where this is true – obviously true for works of art where the artist is unknown.

    But other pieces can best be understood through insight into the context from which they came – and in many cases this context is overwhelmed by the creator’s mindset.

  429. I don’t think it means [...] anyone else is subconsciously uncommitted to LGBT rights.

    It takes conscious effort to commit to LGBT rights. The inactive inertial position is to disprivilege LGBT people, because the system is set up that way. If you do not choose otherwise, the choice is made for you. There is no consciousness in this. There is no cognition. There is no intention. Straight babies get the corresponding privileges long before they are even aware of it. LGBT babies start to suffer almost immediately with the immediate assumptions about gender, gender roles, sexuality being drummed into their experiences and heads.

    Even committed people who do choose otherwise, when standing still, end up with this problem. There aren’t enough hours in the day to push against the system all the time. There aren’t enough emotional, cognitive, resources to push against the system all day long. The system of privilege is pervasive, inescapable, and insidious.

    A disprivileged person’s mere existence resists the system, but there ways to alleviate some pressure from the system that are at once harmful to other disprivileged people but permit personal survival. These things are quite thorny. But dispriivileged people can adopt positions of privilege in areas of their disprivilege. (I recommend privileged people understand this, but resist commenting on this too much – not without months, if not years, of careful consideration.)

  430. In reality, however, every chooses their battles. You may disagree with their choice, but shaming them for it is a bridge too far, IMHO. Shaming people for ignoring the war is a different matter.

  431. Mythago: “And what you’re saying is, a potential ally is going to weigh those two things and say “You know, I might have been on your side, LGBT people, if only you hadn’t spoken to me harshly.””

    LOL, that happens all the time here, doesn’t it? It’s really easy to fall into on whatever axis you are in, given the social structure. The “I’m your ally, you can’t be mad at me” defense. Or maybe we should call it the “Down, boy!” argument.

    Gulliver: “I’m saying that if activist A tells activist B that they’re an enemy of LGBT-rights, and their-own-rights if they themselves are L, G, B or T, because they choose to fight Card and his ilk on different ground or in a different way, that they shouldn’t be surprised when the people their shaming stop listening to them specifically.”

    It’s adorable that you think gay people don’t know this already, Gull, and would be surprised at that reaction. But you’re still making a tone argument — if you use the wrong tone, they’ll stop listening, so you shouldn’t use that tone. That blackmail has again been used by every group in control on every oppressed group since the beginning of human history. And while it can be true for an individual, collectively, socially, it’s a big old lie and it’s a threat. We realize you don’t know you’re making a threat towards gay people about their tone. That’s the problem. We all make threats on our axises towards oppressed groups, often daily. We don’t see them as threats that maintain the status quo because of privilege. We think we’re being helpful. But we’re actually threatening a person who is legally unequal to us with consequences for protesting that inequality. We’re trying to control their behavior and keep them quiet by protesting their criticism of our behavior as disrespectful and wrong at worst and poor strategy and in bad faith at best.

    A person can chose to go to the movie and make a LGBT charity donation. And the other people can criticize them for it and accuse them of bad faith, even if the person going to the movie is in the oppressed group. That’s not necessarily a bad strategy. It raises the issue and makes the person going to the movie confront it. It might not necessarily stop the person from going to the movie, but it does point out that helping Card financially and in reputation so that he can fight against the gay groups you are also giving money to is in some lights a bit useless, and encourages others to use a different strategy. But more importantly, the gay person criticizing is expressing his or her FEELINGS about stuff that effects their lives. They are saying, if that’s the support you’re giving it’s not enough for me and if you don’t like that I feel that way, I don’t consider you a reliable ally. I feel that you are betraying me and siding with the straight people trying to hurt me.

    Which is their right to do. Are we straight people letting those unconstitutional laws that discriminate against them stand with little protest? Yes we are. Are we allowing gay people to get beaten up, killed, fired, not adopt kids, give blood, etc. for being gay? Yes we are. Until those things change and gay people have actual equal legal status, gay people have every right to be angry with us, criticize us, shame us, etc. And they’re going to keep doing it whether we think it’s an effective strategy or not, whether we help them or not. Insisting that they woo us — we think we’re being pragmatic and helpful. We’re not. We’re threatening them. And we’re very uncomfortable with that idea, that we’re in the power position to threaten them, that what we’re putting forth as helpful advice is actually threatening blackmail.

    And calling that anger of theirs akin to religious fever is also threatening blackmail, Gulliver. It’s labeling those gays expressing honest anger as extremists, overly emotional, too aggressive, etc., etc., as if gays were just suffering a hangnail. They are going to conflict with you, challenge you on your strategies and support, criticize you, reject your criticism or helpful advice, yell at you and me and others, because they are fighting for their rights and their lives. It’s going to be divisive, messy and words like traitor will be used because that’s what it feels like to them. They don’t care if straight people don’t agree — and that may be the hardest thing for straight people to get and accept as valid because straight people run and are protected by the society. Gay people don’t care if other gay people don’t agree; there are going to be arguments and that’s normal.

    So me, I’m not going. I don’t have a problem with people who go. But I’m straight, so it’s easy for me not to have a problem with it. And I totally get that many gay people do have a huge problem with it and consider it a betrayal against them and their fight for their rights, not simply a disagreement of strategy. And rather than worry about the straight people who may have their feelings hurt because their decisions are being criticized, I’m much more worried about gay activists running the boycott and speaking out who then can be killed for it. I just am. I consider fully supporting their right to publicly scream as way more important than whether a straight person gets chuffed that someone called them a traitor. The stakes are not equal. And I’m going to try my hardest not to blackmail them unconsciously with scolding threats about how they should act when they are facing politicians trying to reinstall sodomy laws or one of their worst enemies getting a big movie launch. Because that’s just another river stone being taken from their valley.

  432. Of course, as a full supporter of free speech, I also do support straight people’s right to whine and get angry that their decisions and strategy are being criticized. I just don’t particularly worry about what they are going through. Again, the stakes are unequal, and free speech is for everybody.

  433. @Kat Goodwin

    It’s adorable that you think gay people don’t know this already, Gull, and would be surprised at that reaction.

    I don’t doubt for a minute that most, if not all, of them do know it.

    But you’re still making a tone argument — if you use the wrong tone, they’ll stop listening, so you shouldn’t use that tone.

    Since when is shaming someone a matter of tone?

    A person can chose to go to the movie and make a LGBT charity donation. And the other people can criticize them for it and accuse them of bad faith, even if the person going to the movie is in the oppressed group. That’s not necessarily a bad strategy.

    Then I sincerely wish whoever employs it the best of luck.

    They are saying, if that’s the support you’re giving it’s not enough for me and if you don’t like that I feel that way, I don’t consider you a reliable ally. I feel that you are betraying me and siding with the straight people trying to hurt me.

    And that 100% their prerogative (or even your prerogative) to say.

    And calling that anger of theirs akin to religious fever is also threatening blackmail, Gulliver. It’s labeling those gays expressing honest anger as extremists, overly emotional, too aggressive, etc., etc., as if gays were just suffering a hangnail.

    I don’t think Mormons are extremists or that their doctrine’s pearly gatekeeping is religious fervor. I just think its exclusionary, because it manifestly is, by definition.

    And rather than worry about the straight people who may have their feelings hurt because their decisions are being criticized, I’m much more worried about gay activists running the boycott and speaking out who then can be killed for it.

    I’m glad we agree, because I couldn’t care less whether straight folks’ feelings are hurt by criticism over what they do or do not do to fight homophobia.

    I consider fully supporting their right to publicly scream as way more important than whether a straight person gets chuffed that someone called them a traitor.

    Except that the choice you called, to a degree, betrayal (and I’ll confess that I’m not entirely sure what you meant by to a degree), is not limited to straight people.

  434. I’ve seen again and again people within oppressed groups being shut out by others in those groups, having their volition questioned, being dismissed as self-hating, or full of internalized privilege, or quislings, or brainwashed, or whatever else is used to discount their voice, all just for fighting against their oppression in their own good way that the self-appointed gatekeepers decided wasn’t good enough, not just for them, but for the whole group, as if one person or faction gets to decide.

    Maybe it isn’t my place to criticize that, maybe I’m being a whinny asshole to speak against it, but it makes me sick to see people doing that to each other, and it boils my blood when the people being shut out and shut up are my friends, my sister, the people I love most. I don’t want people to stop doing it because it bothers me; my feelings are irrelevant. I want them to stop doing it because it’s wrong and it’s hurtful and it’s disingenuous. But you’re right about one thing. I’m not as objective as I’d like to be, and I don’t know how to be.

  435. Gulliver: “Since when is shaming someone a matter of tone?”

    Verbally shaming someone is totally a matter of tone. It’s a tone that is shaming. So you were in fact objecting to, or at least declaring unstrategic, their tone.

    “I don’t think Mormons are extremists or that their doctrine’s pearly gatekeeping is religious fervor. I just think its exclusionary, because it manifestly is, by definition.”

    You mean like gays are excluded from their rights in society? This is their lives and rights they’re talking about, Gulliver, not a club or a party. They have a right to be feverous about it. They have a right to be exclusionary about it, for that matter, when it comes to their own persons and activist groups. They have a right to criticize gay people and straight people. That members of an oppressed group are being “exclusionary” and that this is a problem is another tone argument and blackmail threat — don’t be so exclusionary and vigorous, or you won’t get helped or get your rights.

    “Except that the choice you called, to a degree, betrayal (and I’ll confess that I’m not entirely sure what you meant by to a degree), is not limited to straight people.”

    Many gay people and their allies see not boycotting Card’s movie as a betrayal of gay rights, yes. That it is a decision that supports their attackers, upholds the status quo, and does not support them. And I agree that for me, it is partially a betrayal of them. It does not contribute to changing the society and reinstating their legal rights; it is a bit of a slap in the face for gay people. And it’s not limited to straight people certainly.

    “I’ve seen again and again people within oppressed groups being shut out by others in those groups, having their volition questioned, being dismissed as self-hating, or full of internalized privilege, or quislings, or brainwashed, or whatever else is used to discount their voice, all just for fighting against their oppression in their own good way that the self-appointed gatekeepers decided wasn’t good enough, not just for them, but for the whole group, as if one person or faction gets to decide.”

    They aren’t self-appointed gatekeepers and they don’t get to decide. (If they got to decide things, there would be no discriminating laws against them.) They are individuals whose lives and rights are on the line, who get to decide for themselves who they do and do not regard as an ally, including within their own group, and what is and is not helping them. Gays do not all have to get together, hug and sing kumbaya — and especially not at the nagging, commands or helpful advice of straight people. Your sister has to defend her views like anyone else. She is not immune from criticism and the judgement of others. And your sister hurts and feels like anyone else and can express those things and make her choices. She can attempt to bridge her views with others who disagree or she can stand separately with those who agree with her. She can call those who disagree with her horrible names and regard them as enemies.

    “it boils my blood when the people being shut out and shut up”

    I am unaware of your sister receiving a court injunction that keeps her from speaking, so she’s not being shut up. As for being shut out, not participating in this boycott for instance, does not shut them out of anything. If your sister is being shut out by a gay group, that is again their choice of who they do and do not regard as an ally, just as it is your sister’s choice how she handles various issues. It’s not wrong or hurtful that they don’t like your sister and what she stands for. It’s their choice, and you agree that they have the right to that choice. You are assigning power that people don’t have, power that institutions and governments have that discriminate against your sister and other gay people who might disagree with her.

    And this is again a major problem in axis discussions — the declaration that a person in an oppressed group is trying to forbid some type of speech, as if they had the power, legal and/or social, to do that, that they are capable of shutting out or up others, controlling their lives, etc., simply because they are criticizing another person and perhaps refusing to ally with them. It’s declaring that a group who has had their power legally removed somehow still has that legal power and tons more besides.

    The people who have organized this boycott, straight and gay, have come under enormous criticism, have been called names, have been declared the destroyers of the future of literature, etc. That’s people’s right to criticize them. So they’re taking it. They are risking their lives to do the boycott, especially if they are gay. Declaring that people, straight or gay, who don’t boycott by choice (as opposed to unawareness) should not also be criticized by others is a futile complaint. It is also, coming from straight people who do have the legal power, a threat of social power to a lot of gay people. And they are going to react to it, often with anger. So there it is — free speech — everybody talks.

  436. certain religious doctrines (Mormonism springs to mind) which argue that anyone who doesn’t do it their way is hellbound.

    Actually, if my understanding of LDS doctrine is correct, they don’t believe that at all. If you’re a good Mormon or the wife of a good Mormon, you go to the best heaven, and you don’t if you’re not…but you don’t go to Hell unless you’re quite egregious indeed; you just go to a lesser heaven. An ex-Mormon friend says that a) it requires having had a personal, intimate knowledge of God, and then rejecting him anyway; and b) she was taught that the number of people who’ve been “cast into the Outer Darkness” was around a dozen. Ever. In history.

    There are many grounds on which to criticize Mormon doctrine, and many more on which to criticize the CJCLDS, but their afterlife doctrine, while complex and bizarre, is actually pretty civilized (especially compared to, say, Talibangelicals).