Ender’s Game, Profit Participation, Box Office

Folks are asking me whether I think this report that Orson Scott Card will see nothing from the box office gross of Ender’s Game is accurate, some of them, I suspect, hoping that his not making additional monies from the film means they can go see it without feeling guilty about tangentially supporting Mr. Card and his less-than-very nice positions regarding gays and lesbians.

Leaving aside the fact that the story is nicely timed to target die-hard SF fans on the fence about seeing the film, which is something one might wish to consider, and fully acknowledging that, regardless of my professional knowledge of the film industry, I have not seen Mr. Card’s film contract and am thus talking straight out of my own ass in terms of actual facts, some thoughts:

1. It wouldn’t surprise me if in fact Mr. Card sees no additional direct income from the film. Writers of a film’s source material (whose names are not JK Rowling or something similar) are often paid upfront and/or offered token “net” points (which will never be realized because no film in Hollywood ever gets out of the red, thanks to imaginative accounting) and/or have at best some clauses that offer an additional set payout if certain box office benchmarks are met. It’s entirely possible, and even probable, that Mr. Card’s contract is structured so that he’s been all paid up at this point.

(Alternately, it’s possible that he previously did have some profit participation and that it was determined by the powers that be that this would be bad PR for the film, so they bought out his profit participation. Be aware that a) possible here does not mean at all likely, b) I am going to reiterate my position of talking out of my ass here.)

2. Yes, but what about Mr. Card’s producer credit on the film? Isn’t that indicative of gross points? If he was an actively participating producer, i.e., engaged in the day-to-day production on the film, it might. On the other hand, if the producer credit was given as a courtesy and/or for Mr. Card’s shepherding of the film through its famously drawn-out development period, he might have simply gotten a check and some more net points. Not all producers on a film are equal.

3. Regardless, Mr. Card appears to have been paid very well for his participation in the film up to this point — the article suggests he’s earned more than a million dollars to date, a sum which strikes me as entirely likely. Even if he does not directly make another penny from the film, he already has more than enough in his pocket.

4. Likewise, the novel of Ender’s Game is doing exceedingly well at the moment — it’s number one on the New York Times paperback bestseller list, as I understand, and it’s likely to continue to do very well through the rest of the year regardless of how the film does. Mind you, the book does very well anyway; it sells hundreds of thousands of copies a year, year after year, and has done so for decades. Other books in the Ender series also sell very well perennially. Mr. Card does make money from the book sales, even if he does not benefit from the film.

5. Thus it should be noted that if one is planning to boycott the film Ender’s Game to punish Mr. Card financially, the boycott has already failed. Mr. Card is already benefiting from the massive exposure the film has afforded his book and his work. 2013 is likely to go down as one of Mr. Card’s best years, financially speaking, even if the film adaptation of his book tanks.  At the very best, solely from a financial point of view, a successful boycott of the film would be for Mr. Card the difference between a massively financially successful year and an absurdly massively financially successful year.

Likewise, unless Mr. Card has been exceptionally foolish with his money to this point, even if he never sold another book in his life from today, and no one ever made another movie from his work, it’s entirely possible he’s still financially secure for the rest of his life, given the totality of his sales to this point.

This is not to suggest people who are boycotting the film (or Mr. Card’s work in general) are wrong or foolish to do so; as I’ve noted before, people should follow their conscience with regard to what entertainments and which creators to support. Mr. Card, however, is likely not suffering financially for it.

6. Variety projects that Ender’s Game will finish out the weekend with $27 million in domestic box office. That seems about right to me, given the time of year and the reviews to date, which have been good-to-mixed. I think Variety’s guess is actually slightly high; I’d guess between $20 million and $25 million.

This also suggests that the film will probably end up somewhere between $60 million and $90 million in total domestic box office, which seems to me about right as well. I also suspect it will do about 2:1 business overseas, which means globally I suspect the film will make between $180 million and $300 million. It has the advantage of not having any strong direct competition this week (the only other major opener is the animated film Free Bird, which skews younger). It’s going to get hammered (sorry) by the new Thor film in its second week.

In short, I expect this film to be solid (and profitable in the long run) but not stratospheric in terms of box office. It’s likely to be a double, not a home run. If Ender’s Game ends up markedly south of $20 million for the weekend, then I think it would be reasonable to suggest that the controversies around the production and Mr. Card had had an effect. If the films clears $30 million for the weekend, that raises some interesting questions, too.

7. Let me note, as I have before, that I am not an entirely disinterested observer in the box office success of Ender’s Game. My book Old Man’s War is currently set up at Paramount. If Ender does really well, then that’s likely to be a positive for any eventual green light on my book; if it flops massively, then, well, that’s probably not the best thing for me. Mr. Card (whom I have met and had a pleasant time speaking to) and I have diametrically opposing views on a number of political subjects, most notably same-sex marriage. I fully support the choice of any person not to see Ender’s Game based on their feelings about Mr. Card. I also, and for entirely selfish reasons, hope the film does not flop.

Update 11/3/13: Ender’s Game ended up as the #1 film for the weekend, with an estimated weekend gross of $28 million, slightly higher than Variety’s estimate (and somewhat higher than my estimate). It did not flop.

371 thoughts on “Ender’s Game, Profit Participation, Box Office

  1. As always John, I appreciate both your honesty and your maturity! Except in things bacon-related of course, where immaturity is thoroughly encouraged…

  2. I’m curious regarding your estimations about EG’s performance vs the future for OMW (a film I will happily go to as I enjoyed the book and have not yet seen you make a statement regarding IMPORTANT ISSUES that markedly diverges from my own views on a given subject).
    Hollywood is having a generally successful year with SF-themed properties. Numerous other projects, including a new Bloenkamp one (even after the decent-but-not-killer performance of Elysium) are being green-lit.
    I would think that with a generally positive attitude towards the genre, the “failure” of a film like EG would not have as great an impact on other, unrelated properties, such as OMW. Not so?

  3. I prefer to separate art from artist, myself. I don’t care if Scalzi dresses like a lost preppie, I buy his books. I like Tom Cruise as an actor, personal life be however droll. I like ‘Ender';s Game’ regardless of Card’s views on, well, anything. I will see the movie and probable end up owning the blue-ray.

  4. Scalzi, must you keep reiterating that Card is a nice chap? Yes, we get it. He’s very charming to straight white people like you in the same game.

    This has no bearing on whether he’s a malignant homophobe, or the damage he and NOM have done to your LGBT co-citizens.

    A lot of racists are terribly nice to white people, and can even be civil to black people, if forced. Misogynists can be twinkly eyed and charming to women who they don’t perceive as a direct challenge to them at that point in time. Charm and ‘niceness’ are no substitutes for being a decent human being.

    You’re beginning to sound like an apologist for Card, like you sounded like an apologist for Harlan Ellison. I know that’s not your intent – well, I hope it’s not your intent – but honestly, this kind of person doesn’t need your ‘personal experience’ gloss. Rather, they don’t deserve to benefit from it.

  5. Ann Somerville:

    “Scalzi, must you keep reiterating that Card is a nice chap?”

    I said I had a pleasant time speaking to him. That’s neither here nor there regarding who he is as a person. I think noting my experience of meeting him is useful in terms of disclosure. You are of course free to disagree. But for the record, my pleasant encounter with him does not excuse or mitigate his antediluvian views regarding gays and lesbians.

    Steve Davidson:

    It matters in that his film is based on a novel and my book is based on a novel, and the two are in roughly the same neighborhood in terms of concept and content. Which is to say the two are more similar to each other than either is to, say, Elysium or Oblivion.

  6. Uncle Orson reviews precooked bacon:

    http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2013-10-10.shtml

    And I hope that the Ender’s Game movie does well also. I am also wondering how they will handle the preteenage fight and death scenes.

    I had no idea that EG sold that many copies still. EG is in my list of top ten books and I have reread it 5 or 6 times at least.

    And OMW needs to go to the big screen also.

  7. As a Brit, I’m not sure I understand the hostility to OSC. Yes, I understand he objected to plans for same sex marriage, which I do not agree with. Many groups and individuals did the same in the UK too. I don’t agree with their position, but I understand, in many instances, these views stem from certain religious beliefs. As an atheist (and proponent of same sex marriage), I can’t say I understand or agree with their views, but I appreciate that they stem from deep-seated beliefs, so these people feel they should voice them. Do people like OSC not have the right to voice these views even though I and many others disagree with it? And in a democracy, should people not be able to campaign for what they believe is right, even if it sits uncomfortably with the rest of us?

    It is my understanding that the debate on same sex marriage has now ended in the states, with opponents, such as OSC, being on the losing side. If this is so, this talk of a boycott seems a bit churlish to me, especially as the majority of people involved in the film most likely do not hold with the same views as OSC, including actors, writers, camera operators, gaffers, electricians, caterers etc etc.. all of whom are relying and hoping it will be a success.

    Enders Game is a great book. I hope it is a great film. Let’s judge it on its merits, not on the personal beliefs of its creator.

  8. As a longtime fan of the book, and more recently a non-fan of Orson Scott Card’s cruddy, petty homophobia, I plan to give a donation to an organization that supports gay rights before I see this movie. I will probably do so even if I don’t wind up seeing the film version.

  9. It’s not just opinions – I believe Card has contributed monetarily to anti-gay groups. There are those of us who do not like to think even a teeny portion of our money will end up in the coffers of those groups. The gaffers, electricians and caterers have long since moved on to other projects and the success or failure of one film that they worked on once will have little to do with their futures in the business, unless it is such a massive failure that it brings a studio down.

  10. I lived in the same city as OSC for years, and I occasionally crossed paths with him. He is genuinely engaging in person. I do find it interesting that among the people who claim him as a friend is Janis Ian. Which, of course, means exactly jack.

    For me, Ender’s Game and Speaker For The Dead are extremely important books, as are the first three books of the Alvin Maker series. I can take or leave the rest of Card’s ouvre.

    I plan, on that basis, to see the EG movie.

  11. Is it necessary that we agree with a writer in order to enjoy their books? Suppose John and I violently disagreed on a certain issue, say, the place of blue-eyed left-handed males in society. Should I forego what happens to be an excellent set of stories based on “Old Man’s War” because I don’t like John’s politics? I don’t agree with Mr. Card’s political views, either, but I happen to have liked “Ender’s Game” when I read it some 7 or 8 years ago. If one doesn’t like Mr. Card, one can still enjoy the story. Here’s one: I don’t particularly care for Mr. Ford in his later roles (after Indiana Jones), so should I forego seeing the movie simply because he’s in it or because he doesn’t agree with my politics?
    I’d like to think we could move past that part and see the story for what it is, and leave Mr. Card’s (and Mr. Ford’s) political views out of the picture. I don’t recall how much of Mr. Card’s world view was in the book (I said it was a while ago), but one can still see the movie or read the book without letting their views be “corrupted”. If one is going to allow one’s political views to keep one from reading the book, or seeing the movie, then maybe there’s something to be said about narrow-mindedness on both sides of the story.

  12. @RN Williams

    Also a Brit, here. The issue isn’t that he has his views and voices them – while people would undoubtedly still voice criticisms of his views, the simple fact that he holds them in general isn’t the issue.

    For one thing, he isn’t just opposed to gay marriage. He’s one of those people that believes there’s a “homosexual agenda”. He has publicly argued that anti-sodomy laws should be kept in place, described gay people as being 2self-loathing victims of child sexual abuse” and believes that it is that abuse that “turned” them gay.

    In any case, the issue as I understand it, is that he is or was on the board of directors for the National Institute for Marriage and the concern was that money lining his pocket would turn into donations and further funding for that and other organisations. Obviously if he’s already been paid every penny he might see for the movie already then a boycott won’t change that.

  13. RN Williams: “Do people like OSC not have the right to voice these views even though I and many others disagree with it?”

    Of course they do… and then everyone else has the same right to respond to their views, even if that response is negative. Free speech means “You can speak,” not “I promise not to get mad about what you say.”

    It seems that the tide has finally turned in the right direction on the same-sex marriage debate in the US, but there are still many many states where gays and lesbians can’t marry, so it isn’t over. And homophobia is still rampant and accepted in huge areas of the US. It is still important to say, as loudly as you can, “Homophobia is not okay.”

    Also, not to get into the religion thing too much, but just because it stems from religion doesn’t mean it’s all cool. The Bible supports slavery and murdering any women who aren’t virgins on their wedding night. Would you be offended if people objected to a “Stone sluts and bring back slavery!” political agenda? Free speech means people CAN propose those things – and then the rest of us can yell at them.

  14. I think noting my experience of meeting him is useful in terms of disclosure.

    I can’t see how. It’s like noting that he has great dress sense, or a lovely dog. All you’re doing is putting lipstick on the pig. His ‘pleasantness’ is irrelevant to any criticisms you or anyone would make about his virulent homophobia. And when a number of commentators here just don’t get what the issue about Card, I don’t see your remark as helpful, or supportive of your LGBT friends and commentators.

    I’m not saying that you need to go out of your way to denigrate him, but this straight white male instinct to always say something nice about a fellow bloke, no matter how heinous, is part of the problem those of us who aren’t SWM have in getting SWM to take issues seriously.

    “But Bob can’t be *all* bad – look at how nice his ties are?!” or more seriously, “I don’t like a lot of his policies, but JimBob plays a mean round of golf, so I guess I’ll be voting for him as Governor.”

    People with nice manners can still be raging dicks, but they’re usually not dicks to people like themselves, especially privileged people. The less privileged you are, the more likely you are to see that dickishness.

  15. I do hope they make a *good* movie of OMW – I love your work – some better than others, but that’s life. The OMW concept is brilliant, good books in the series, and Zoe is a great character with fantastic bodyguards.

    i will see Ender’s game – an excellent book, although I like Speaker better. I am unimpressed by Card as a human. The only example I have of a person who I detest that translates to his writing is ElRon. I cannot stand even reading the Writers with no future anthologies because they are fanbooks for ElRon, and I knew and highly respected AJ.

    One negative for any movie for me is Laughing Boy – a guaranteed Cruise missile for me. I loathe and detest him. I have not seen Reacher, although I am a big fan of the series.

  16. I am a firm believer in voting with my money when it comes to things such as books and movies. I will go see Ender’s Game because I think it will be good and because it’s a SF movie actually set in space with big space battles. I like SF movies set in space with big space battles, and I want Hollywood to make more of them.

  17. When the “other side” starts boycotting properties written by advocates of marriage equality, we will have no ethical leg to stand on after this ill considered boycott. An artist’s statements of political or moral standing are not the same thing as a politicians, any more than a sport star’s.

    Not only are people boycotting a story with a great deal to say that is relevant in this day and age as sharp criticisms against the MIC, but we are boycotting a property that, in aggregate, probably made much more revenue for the GLBT… community than it did for Mr. Card, from what I know of the f/x and various shops in “Hollywood,” even if Card did make a million or so off of this very expensive flick.

    And, the boycott was idiotically put together. No one said, “take your ticket money and give it to [such and such a cause for civil rights, marriage equality, what have you].” No, it was simply, “Don’t go to the movie out of spite because this artist is an outspoken fuckwad.”

    Way to go.

    I sort of thought we believed in free speech, but put a few states with marriage equality votes under our belts and we become the bullies. I guess we were all dressed up and no where to go between elections?

    We start boycotting vodkas with Russian-*sounding* names, and suppressing artists for their political views. Aren’t we smart and clever people, tasting our oats, and a little power?

    I hope it gets better.

  18. I still don’t understand it all. What people are saying regarding where OSC’s money is going, I think it is a moot point. When you buy a book or see a film, surely you are paying for that entertainment. Nothing more. What the creators of those entertainments do with their money is nothing to do with the consumer, directly or indirectly. If Enders Game makes a bucket load of money (and I hope it does, if only to finally see Old man’s War come to fruition … why do these things take so long!) and OSC gets a piece of it, and if he chooses to donate it to some perverse political organisation, then surely that’s his business and his money. Just because I’ve seen the film, I am in no way accountable, just as I’m not accountable for Amy Winehouse’s overdose because I bought her records. I pay for the entertainment. What the entertainer does with his or her money is up to them.

  19. I hope the movie does well too for entirely selfish reasons. I want more science fiction. I didn’t know about his political view about gays and lesbians, but if he is opposed to people being free to marry whomever or whatever they want, his views are not the same as mine.

    Thanks for the heads up and the candor…

  20. He’s interviewed in Wired this month. He suggested that when he had a stroke one of the things he was concerned with was his family having to pay back the advances he had received on future books. At least his answer suggests his financial situation isn’t set, but that might just be a modest reluctance to admit wealth.

    Also if Ender’s Game does well he says he has a dozen books that could be turned into movies. So the potential success of Ender’s Game might give him leverage on the next movie or future movie rights.

  21. I expect this thread will be a remake. Which is fine by me. I have a party to be at. I’m going as Horatio Nelson complete with eye-patch and one arm tucked in the coat of my period accurate Royal Navy officer’s uniform (for which I must thank a friend active in the SCA). Anyway, there will doubtless be many pirates out prowling the high seas tonight, so I best be setting sail for Queen and Country.

  22. I find it interesting that supposedly ‘liberal’ viewers will boycott his film- in other words, “Liberal” to them means ‘litmus test.” Too bad. If Mr. Card is only allowed to be totally liberal to have liberal viewers watch the movie- it says something about the straight-jacket views that some liberals have. Liberal only to themselves…

  23. Clark,

    Since we discussed this, here’s an in-depth look at the money and Card. I suspect the movie will not do as well. It is virtually impossible to find, outside of an IMAX showing in this town, although IMAX showings do generate more cash, albeit over less viewers.

    Eric Tolladay

  24. When the “other side” starts boycotting properties written by advocates of marriage equality, we will have no ethical leg to stand on after this ill considered boycott.

    What do you mean “when”? Has happened, will happen, will always happen.

    And I have two perfectly usable legs that I use to stand on, walk with and run with. I say my piece, try to persuade and, in general, use that fabled marketplace of ideas for what it was intended for. It’s up to ME to persuade. If people aren’t persuaded, all well and good.

  25. I find it interesting that supposedly ‘liberal’ viewers will boycott his film- i

    I don’t. Boycotts have ALWAYS been in the arsenal of liberals. And have been since the civl rights days.

    I find it interesting that you seem to be ignoring past use of this tactics.

  26. You know, let’s not turn this thread into general re-heat of All The Terrible Things OSC Has Written, please. Let’s try to stay on topic.

    MichelleMariePoetry:

    Given the number of conservatives who have told me that they will never read another one of my books because of the political opinions I post here, allow me to suggest from experience that the idea of a boycott as attempted leverage and/or punishment is not used only by liberals.

  27. And of course the origin of the word boycott, all the way back in 1880, is dripping with liberal tendencies…

    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  28. I hope the movie fails for entirely selfish reasons. On all reports, it’s based on the novel, not the novella. The novel is, IM(not so humble)O, an unmitigated pile of junk. And quite frankly, I feel the same about all the novels in the series.

    I rather look forward to Old Man’s War, as long as they don’t do a Starship Troopers to it…(Now, that was a bad movie that did an injustice to the original novel).

    What I really wish is that someone make a movie from either Passage At Arms (Glen Cook) or When Gravity Fails (George Alec Effinger).

  29. The previous debate on Card provided a consciousness lift for me so I; 1) will not be seeing the movie and 2) am now actively (financially) supporting a group that is helping rather than hurting the LGBT community. Whether or not my micro boycott gets back to Card, it had and has an effect on my consciousness and conscience and that matters.

  30. I should add, perhaps paradoxically, that I’m not planning to boycott the movie.

    However, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands even, of movies I need to get around seeing first….so I imagine by the time I get around to seeing it, OSC will be deceased and thus the issue will be pretty moot.

  31. There are also a lot of us who won’t be seeing the film for the same reason we no longer read Orson Scott Card: he makes us feel icky.

  32. I don’t investigate the “who” behind a piece of art I like. If their public persona is loud and negative, I may look for ways to indulge in their art through the local library or buying the book used from my local bookseller. I don’t necessarily have to like their message. It’s how they express it, to me, that matters more.

    It is always a pleasure to learn when somebody behind art is a wonderful person. If I’m on the fence about purchasing their next work, I’ll buy it to support them. If I like them and their product (such as Neil Gaiman, Stephens Fry, King, and Colbert, and our own host), I am far more likely to purchase the product in multiple media, and in a consumable form that I can hand to a friend and say “Hey, you’d probably like this…” I’ve given away dozens of books and CDs over the years simply because I not only liked the art, but the person behind the art.

  33. I bought my kid a copy of Ender’s Game because it was popular at my high school library and I thought he’d like it. He loved it. I’ve read parts of Mein Kampf, all of the Communist Manifesto, and even one entire romance novel (that was to make a librarian happy, not for me). In fact, come to think of it, I’ve read hundreds of books I didn’t even like just to help out kids who needed evil tests written about them. I was recently visited by my cousin who used to be a skinhead and who might possibly still be a racist (although he is, at least, no longer a Mormon). I once re-read an Isaac Asimov novel and realized that that dude turned me into a secular humanist. I don’t *mind* being a secular humanist, but I have a feeling that my church-going parents didn’t have that in mind when they gave me Asimov books to read. The only time my dad ever censored anything was when I wanted to see Omar Sharif in a movie about Che Guevara. I wondered at his extreme reaction to this film, so I checked out all the biographies I could find about Che Guevara, and learned more about him than I otherwise would have. I think we’re frequently astonished when we find that others are still unenlightened. I’m not planning to see Ender’s Game, but I’m fairly certain that my son and all of his friends will, and it’s not about just the story and the author–a lot of other people’s livelihoods depend on the success of the film. If it’s good, it presumably deserves that success no matter how reprehensible I personally find good old Card’s beliefs. I kept the book in my library and replaced it when it fell apart, thereby lining the pockets of a homophobe. I am evil.

  34. Fine I’ll ask. JS are you going to go see it in the theater? Wait for the DVD? Broadcast TV? NEVER!!!!
    Me? I will go see it. I supported the cause where it matters most, the ballot box. I don’t think famous people have as much impact as they and other people think they have on political causes. Name three celebrities who endorsed Obama and three that endorsed Romney. I’ve got nothing. I can’t think of one. If you remember one did it sway your opinion?
    I would like to think I can tell a good argument from a bad argument regardless of how big of a fan I am of the speaker of the argument.
    I have no problem with others boycotting the movie. I also have no problem if somebody wants to see it twice in support of Cards politics. It is a free country. It’s been voted on in assorted ways and the laws that passed have or are working their way through the courts. And so it goes.
    I must say the reaction to Cards political activism feels like vilification. If you disagree with my views you are an evil sub-human being and everything you touch is evil. You don’t have to be evil to be wrong.

  35. I don’t agree with Mr. Card’s political views, either, but I happen to have liked “Ender’s Game” when I read it some 7 or 8 years ago.

    Well, I thought the same – until I read this criticism – aimed, note, squarely at teh work and not the man.

    http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm

    And now the stuff i see in his work irritates me.

  36. I’m honestly struggling to see the problem here. If an author gave money to campaigns to keep mixed-race marriages illegal, would you feel like “do I give this person my money” was a dilemma? How is this different?

    Also, how is his niceness to people in person relevant here? Is bigotry only bad if the bigots in question are directly rude to everyone?

    As for the “liberal boycott” part, unless you think OSC is owed your money, how is withholding it from him a problem?

  37. He’s interviewed in Wired this month. He suggested that when he had a stroke one of the things he was concerned with was his family having to pay back the advances he had received on future books. At least his answer suggests his financial situation isn’t set, but that might just be a modest reluctance to admit wealth.”

    I think it’s the sort of thing that goes through any parent and spouse’s mind when you have a health crisis like that, especially when you contribute a sizable portion of your family’s income. I don’t know what his wife’s employment situation is, but I do know they have a high-school age daughter that lives with them and is presumably financially dependent upon them.

    One thing that article did illuminate for me is that Card is trying to get through his existing publishing commitments as quickly as possible lest he have another stroke and leave his family on the hook to pay back the advances. There’s definitely a noticeable difference between his work immediately before his stroke and his work immediately after his stroke.

    His command of the mechanics of the English language remains as strong as ever, but he no longer writes truly satisfying novels with beginnings, middles and ends. His children’s novel “Pathfinder”, published in 2010 shortly before his stroke, was one of the best books of his career. The sequel had a lot of fun with some very mind-bending science fiction tropes, but the characterizations were far more shallow and he didn’t even attempt an ending. Likewise with “Shadows in Flight”, “Earth Afire” and “The Gate Thief”. It makes sense to me know that he’s just grinding ahead to meet his contractual obligations. Hopefully once his pre-stroke obligations have been met, he can slow down again and get back to taking the time to get it right.

  38. All a boycott is, is someone choosing to not spend money on a certain thing for a certain reason, and saying publicly “this is what I’m doing, if you feel the same way why not make the same choice”… and it just happens a significant number of people (or sometimes insignificant, as boycotts don’t always get anywhere) feel the same way.

    Evidently in this case enough people felt the same way that this boycott got a fair amount of attention, even if it hasn’t made a huge difference to the box office results. But even so, it’s not vilification to quote another person’s actual words publicly and let that person and their words stand on their own, or to quote another person’s words and state your disagreement with them. We all have the right to express how we feel. And everyone else has the right to make their own decisions about what they think of us as a result.

    And Card isn’t just one person with one vote – as someone with significant money and past board membership to NOM, he was in a position of rather more power than most people in society get. NOM are an organisation that lobbies government. People with more power and influence over the direction the world takes are going to be under more scrutiny.

    I always find it weird how defensive people get about boycotts. I mean, people have the right to spend or not spend their own money as they choose – one of the beautiful things about this glorious free market capitalism we’ve got going on. I could choose to never spend another penny at my local greengrocer’s because I don’t like the pattern of the shirts he wears to work if I wanted to. Why is it suddenly a problem when I let my buying decisions be determined by my ideals instead? Is it just because I’m talking about it?

  39. I vote with my wallet. I’m pretty sure the homophobes do also. They don’t read or watch LGBT books/shows/TV. Unlike OSC who has called for insurrection against the US govt (see @colin hinz link), helped fund foreign govt laws that call for killing gays (too lazy to Google tonight sorry), and removing adopted children from LGBT parents, in addition to funding anti-gay marriage initiatives (Hawaii this week against an agreement they had), we are boycotting his movie and book not calling for his death. That seems pretty liberal to me.

    Live and let live from our side. Live and destroy our govt and/or kill those who disagree from his. Hmm… Now why might some of us not want to put money in his pocket?

    When he is talking about paying back his advances I’m pretty sure he is talking about intricate trust stuff not how his family will be starving when he dies from what I recall from hours of reading a few months ago (his blog and interviews with him).

  40. I plan to see Enders Game. I really enjoyed the book. I had no idea about OSC’s views until I heard about a possible boycott. I’m of the mind that controversy tends to help artists, not hinder them.

    Also, I accept artists, as a general rule, are deeply flawed individuals. If they weren’t they would have been accountants, engineers, or waitresses.

  41. A news article (so it MUST be accurate :^) : http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/10/enders-game-movie-profits-wont-go-orson-scott-card/71136/

    As far as the producer credits (quote):
    Card has a producing credit, but he wasn’t involved in the film creatively, Dickey reports. That goes in contrast to authors like J.K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins, who made deals that gave them a say in the filmmakers’ decisions and kept the money flowing. (For what it’s worth, director Gavin Hood told us in an interview earlier this month that he did have to meet with Card, “because he had approval rights on the director and they were hiring me as a writer director.”) Of course, the success of a film will likely drive book sales, with some of those going to Card.

  42. “I don’t. Boycotts have ALWAYS been in the arsenal of liberals. And have been since the civl rights days.”

    In fact, since the _first_ civil rights era: the “free sugar/free produce” boycotts of products produced with slave labor began in the 1820s, decades before the other side called for non-boycott methods (i.e. treason and war) to preserve slavery.

  43. When he renounces calling for the overthrow of my government, stops contributing to the death of innocent Africans, pays back California for all the money spent fighting Prop. 8, realizes gay people aren’t pedophiles, and so forth…

    … nah. Still not gonna see it. Looks crappy, even with all those famous folks in it. It could be based on a story by a bisexual transgender disabled Latina and I wouldn’t care.

    OSC’s complete assholeness to anyone who isn’t SWM is just the bigoted, hateful cherry on the shit sundae.

  44. I’m not going to speculate further on whether Card will make more money from the success of the movie.

    All I will say is that I’m not going to see it in the theater or any other way that will cost me money. (By which I mean, if the library gets the DVD, OK – I don’t do torrents.) Between Card’s loathesome pratings over the years, and the knowledge that this is a one-off adaptation (I really don’t think that Hollywood is going to ride the wave into an adaptation of Speaker for the Dead), it’s not worth my time and money beyond checking it out on a Saturday afternoon.

    I’ve had the book (and its first two sequels – thank you The Science Fiction Book Club) since the early ’90s, and have no plans to toss them, because The Work is better than The Author. Past that…screw ‘im.

    And while I love movies (having been a film student once), I’ve seen very few that captured the essence of the original material. (OK, I’ll admit it: the Harry Potter movies got two of my picks for characters right…but I still maintain that Hagrid should have been played by Lemmy.)

  45. (the only other major opener is the animated film Free Bird, which skews younger)

    And the “Hangover for boomers” film Last Vegas, which skews older. Throw in the possibilities of a strong second week for Bad Grandpa and maybe one more good week for Gravity, and Ender’s Game has its work cut out for it this weekend.

    As it happens, I saw a preview of Ender’s Game Wednesday night, and I think there are other reasons to be disturbed by it — in part because it actually undercuts one of the novel’s hardest themes. If anybody’s interested, I’ve written up my thoughts.

  46. Also, an unsourced claim in a “publication” of… how shall I say this politely… dubious veracity at a particularly convenient time? Yeah, that’s not suspicious AT ALL.

    And if he truly doesn’t have any backend on this, he ought to think about getting a better agent. He sells a bazillion books for decades and he gets only $1M for his biggest work? That’s bad agenting/lawyering/whatever. I know Hollywood is all about screwing the writer (figuratively, not literally, as all the old jokes attest), but this is ridiculous. I don’t know who your showbiz agent is, Scalzi, but I hope it’s not the same as OSC’s.

  47. I love ender’s game! Got the book, audiobook and the new drama version. My opinion is that people are fools who boycott things because they disagree with another persons opinions, lifestyle choice, because they are gay/anti-gay etc etc etc. It goes both ways folks, life is a bitch but that is the way it is.
    But if one insists to avoid the movie then please do so, you wont be missed anymore than the person who refuses to see a movie staring some celeb who is gay, pro-gay or wears pink undies. My hope is that there will be someone protesting so I can laugh my ass off at them.

  48. I’m not going to see it simply because I thought Enders Game wasn’t very good. That determination was made before I ever knew OSC was such a delicate princess.

    If OMW makes it to the big screen, I’ll see it three times, though.

  49. FYI, yes Orson Scott Card does stand to make a direct profit out of this movie. Because he owns half of the production company “Taleswapper” (nee “Fresco Pictures”) that is making the film. His “Producer” credit is not a contract line, he actually is a direct financial backer and profit taker from this movie.

    This is not the usual story of ‘sold rights, won’t see anything other than negotiated points’, OSC never sold the rights, he held on to them so he could make the movie with his own production company.

  50. Lurkertype:

    “That’s bad agenting/lawyering/whatever.”

    Well, no, it’s really not. Speaking from a place of some direct knowledge, it’s very rare for a novel writer to get gross profit participation on a film, unless he or she is already at the sales/cultural influence level of Rowling or King. OSC, with all due respect to his track record, is nowhere close to that level. Gross profit participation is difficult to get because it makes it harder for the film to reach profitability; all those percentages mean money not flowing into the studio. Make no mistake that source material is not difficult to come by; more novels are released each year by an order of magnitude than films released by Hollywood studios. If a studio can’t reach a deal on a property, there’s almost certainly something similar to it out there.

    Likewise, be aware that most authors’ initial option fee for one of their books is in the mid-four to low-five figures; the big payday only comes once the film is actually in production. The fact that OSC apparently got $1.5 million from a deal without the film being in production is in fact an excellent deal. Part of OSC’s fee comes from scriptwriting, to be sure, but even that is a significant thing; much of the time the novelist is not asked to write a draft (or has to fight tooth and nail to be allowed to).

    Beyond that: $1.5 million is getting screwed? You have some very high standards, there, Lurkertype. The average (successful) screenwriter is making less than $100k a year; the average novelist is making considerably less than that (the average SF novel advance is around $12.5k, and most novels do not earn out their advances).

    Jay Blanc:

    “Because he owns half of the production company ‘Taleswapper’ (nee ‘Fresco Pictures’) that is making the film.”

    Well, actually, Summit Entertainment made it, in association with Oddlot Entertainment, and then it appears there are a number of other production companies in there, whose participation (and financial engagement) may vary, and one of those is Taleswapper. For example, I notice that at least one of the production companies is one which had previously owned the rights to Ender; it possible their “participation” is limited to getting an IMDB listing and making back the development costs of the property while it was under their banner, with no real gross profit participation to speak of.

    This is not to say that Taleswapper, as a production company, does not have gross participation; I don’t know if it does (although I don’t suspect you actually know either, Jay). It is to say that just because a production company is attached, does not mean that it will be a gross profit participant. Unless we can definitively look at Taleswapper’s contracts, it’s a matter of speculation.

    That said, OSC has already made a profit from the film, through what he’s already been paid; that’s non-controversial. The question is whether he will directly profit from it further.

  51. I think the problem with boycotting the thing because of Card’s views is that it doesn’t seem to me like it’s really not Card’s thing you’re boycotting. I think the nature of movies as really, really collaborative things involving giant corporations and thousands of people just makes it odd to boycott one because of the views of the guy whose involvement with the final product might be limited to coming up with the title. That’s the thing that seems off about the idea of boycotting it.

  52. My hope is that there will be someone protesting so I can laugh my ass off at them.

    At least not seeing this film will give me the pleasure of avoiding company of your like-minded souls.

    people are fools who boycott things because they disagree with another persons opinions, lifestyle choice, because they are gay/anti-gay etc etc etc.

    Damn straight. If you can’t refuse to refuse to spend money on someone who thinks people like yourself need to be locked up in concentration camps, who can you refuse to refuse to spend money on?

  53. Talking about “Enders Game” in terms of normal Hollywood Practices is misleading, because as I mentioned OSC never sold the rights to a film maker. It’s being produced by a company he part owns, he still retains the rights, and still stands to make direct profit from success of the movie.

    That he was able to get a $1.5 million up-front out of the arrangement was really nothing to do with regular hollywood licence contracts. And I would not be surprised if risk has been leveraged onto the secondary investors rather than OSC.

  54. John, I was hanging with screenwriters and novelists (successful and otherwise) (and seeing their deals) when you were still in college. Maybe high school? So I know, believe me.

    And while the $1.5M not in production is quite impressive, as is his being allowed first crack at the screenplay (unheard of!), it sounds like the subsequent/current deal was not nearly as advantageous for him.

    Sure, time has passed (making it perhaps a less-hot property), but he and it sold a bajillion more copies and it became a Beloved Required Classic.

    And while $1.5M is a chunk of change I’ll never see in my lifetime, it seems pretty low for 15 years’ work on something this big.

    If he didn’t even get crappy fake net points, I mean, geez… he would never have seen that, since you can barely get paid for gross points even when you have them, but they still should be in his contract along with the courtesy EP credit (which, as you pointed out, is probably getting him bupkis if he didn’t actually work on this iteration of the film).

  55. Also, Summit Entertainment are the distributors not the producers of “Ender’s Game”, and have no involvement in actually making the film.

  56. Am I the only one who finds the name of OSC’s production company “Taleswapper” humorous? I thought it was intended as a joke, but it really is the name.

  57. Jay Blanc:

    “It’s being produced by a company he part owns, he still retains the rights, and still stands to make direct profit from success of the movie.”

    Jay, merely reasserting your assertion won’t make it any more correct. If you have verifiable information that Taleswapper is a gross profit participant in the film, please share; otherwise, I’m going to assume that you’re speaking out of your ass as much as anyone else here, including me. Again, it may be the case OSC is a net profit participant, but we don’t know, and it’s not entirely unreasonable that at this point he wouldn’t be, even if his production company is involved.

    Lurkertype:

    “John, I was hanging with screenwriters and novelists (successful and otherwise) (and seeing their deals) when you were still in college. Maybe high school? So I know, believe me.”

    Well, you knew of it as of twenty or thirty years ago, then; my agent and I are directly dealing with this stuff today.

    That said, the $1.5 million reflects the deal he made a couple of production companies ago — it’s very likely with each new production company he’d make an additional deal with additional option schedules, etc. Which means that $1.5 million is the lower bound of his participation. But as each new negotiation brings new terms, it’s entirely possible later terms were made on less advantageous grounds — if, for example, OSC didn’t want to have to deal with project on a day-to-day basis anymore. So it’s possible OSC has made rather more on options, etc than we’re hearing about… and is still not a gross point participant.

    Re: Net points — I have no doubt those points are in there. But they’re not real, in terms of actually being worth something, and not worth considering in the conversation, in my opinion.

  58. Whoops, I correct myself — OSC has a Producer, not Executive Producer credit, which is usually indicative of greater personal involvement.

    But wow, IMDB shows these credits are a mess. 8 producers (incl. OSC, the dynamic duo of Kurtzman and Orci, and a dude who probably owned the rights at some previous time when he wasn’t making “Rocky” movies), 7 executive producers (who probably ponied up the dough), and an associate producer? SIX production companies? Incl. OSC, Kurtzman and Orci, aforementioned dude, the folks who brought you “Twilight” and a special effects company that went bankrupt over a year ago, after investing $17M and cutting their price to do the effects? Yikes. Even for Hollywood, this is a moderately ridiculous amount of credits. Am half expecting the end credit roll to also contain a partridge in a pear tree.

    A chunk of the money seems to have come from India and China.

    John: I may have given you the wrong impression — I STILL know screenwriters and novelists, people who are currently working on stuff everyone here would recognize. Not just from 20-30 years ago. I mean (checks calendar), my info may be 5 months out of date, but not decades. I don’t think the business has changed much since Memorial Day.

  59. I agree 100% with teflaime. I almost only read sci-fi novels and have read most of the ‘classics’, but I’ve never understood the love for Ender’s Game. How is it different, in terms of both plot quality and literary quality, from mainstream scifi/fantasy series such as Harry Potter, Twilight or Hunger Games? Answering this here is probably off-topic, and I don’t want to derail the thread, so no need to provide explanations here, but just to be clear: I don’t plan on seeing the movie, but even if I had respect for Card as a person, I still wouldn’t want to see the movie based solely on my opinion of the novel.

  60. Well, with YOU KIDS TODAY, everything might have changed over the summer, for all I know, and maybe my pals are just too shattered to share. Could happen.

    I guess we’ll see who the “real” producers are if EG is nominated for Best Picture and they have to nail down the actual working producer credits before Oscar night.

    Ozzie: What’s silly about “Taleswapper”? OSC is a guy who tells tales and probably enjoys hearing them. He is, by definition, a Swapper of Tales. It also echoes the frontier American milieu of his “Alvin Maker” stories. I think it’s actually kinda clever and am surprised no one’s used that for a company name before.

  61. On the topic(s):

    1) Orson Scott Card has already profited from the gross box office of this movie. He was paid the option, production payment, bonuses, consultant and screenwriter fees, etc., and may or may not be getting back door monies as a producer before the film is released.

    All that money paid to him is deducted by the rights holders from the gross box office as production costs. He has already profited from this movie’s box office because that’s how everybody gets paid — including the writer/rights holder. His claim is not that he doesn’t get a cent from the gross box office, but that he won’t make any further cents from the gross box office. Which again, is highly unlikely given how film rights contracts are written in terms of fees and bonuses, which are separate from net or gross points. Then of course there is not only the boost to the book sales, but the boost to his speaker fees, political fundraising and many other financial benefits from the existence of the movie, more than the average author gets for having a work adapted because Card is not just an author. He has many financial and political enterprises going; the movie is a windfall for all of them and for him, even if it flops.

    2) Card is not just an artist; he’s a lobbyist and political activist. His group has fought for and funded legislation discriminating not just against gays and marriage equality but hetero civil unions, women’s civil rights and many other civil rights issues. He has funded politicians to achieve these governmental aims. He has immensely financially profited from this political activism. He pretends that we don’t discuss his “ideas” and that those ideas are simply speculative musings, rather than real concrete activism that has hurt specific, real people and tried to destroy their families. So those pretending he’s just a guy who wrote a SF novel — he isn’t Peter Beagle or David Brin. It’s a bad game to play.

    3) The boycott was never a financial boycott, as was made quite clear from the beginning. It was and is a protest boycott. By staging the boycott, they not only got media coverage of Card’s political activities, but that issues of marriage equality, gay, women’s and others’ rights would come up every time Card is interviewed and every time something is written about the film in the immediate future (in the longer term, it won’t come up with the film — that connection will be mostly forgotten as it no longer moves news.) Whether the movie succeeds or not, the boycott more than served its purpose and it will continue to place the spotlight not on Card, but on gay rights in the U.S. and around the world.

    4) You may not personally like that this is happening (hey, get your gay rights out of my Ender’s Game,) but the people speaking up about Card’s political activism in regards to reverence for his fiction have the same right to do it as you do to say you’re going to separate the art from the artist. Art is part of culture and society, and the artists themselves as part of their time. The conversation about Card, in relation to his works and his political activism and financial empire, are perfectly relevant to the world of art and culture and boycotts themselves are part of culture.

    5) Science fiction is dead. Or dying. For the 1,587th time. Killed by fantasy, or romance, or technology or some other piece of claptrap. Never mind the SF bestsellers or t.v. shows, etc. So Scalzi has no hope.

    Except that he does, because what really happened is that Hollywood took a little break in the late 1980s-1990’s from adapting SF fiction and doing a lot of SF in general in film because SF was expensive and thrillers, romantic comedies and horror movies were cheaper. And even when they did that, SF like Jurassic Park (adapted) and Independence Day still often ruled the box office. Tech marches on, special effects got cheaper, and China was buying spectacle. So they dived back in.

    But there were games now, and the comic companies got aggressive, so the adaptations weren’t just from books, and original ideas to become game/film/comic/t.v. franchises were developed. But the films included book adaptations — I, Robot; I Am Legend, Minority Report, Hunger Games. And non-adaptation — Avatar, Star Wars, Iron Man, WALL-E, Transformers, Inception, Tron, Mission Impossible, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Pacific Rim, Star Trek, World War Z, District 9, Battleship, Elysium, Oblivion and Gravity. There are dozens of optioned SF books in the pipeline right now, from Hyperion to Wool. SF continues well on t.v. Even Cloud Atlas broke even with foreign box office. Godzilla is on his way. Horror SF franchises like Resident Evil keep building. Riddick did three times its low budget.

    So it makes no earthly difference to Scalzi’s film prospects if Ender’s Game flops or not, any more than it did that After Earth flopped. (Oh wait, After Earth didn’t flop; it made nearly twice its production budget, cause China.) What’s way more important is if Tom Cruise’s time loop alien battling film Edge of Tomorrow, Godzilla, and Guardians of the Galaxy do well, all three of which probably will (because China.) They are bigger budget, military SF with aliens that are a lot less problematic and action-filled to film than Ender’s Game.

    Scalzi’s story has perfect old mega-star celebrity actor cameo roles, followed by young and gorgeous actor roles, aliens, space battles and spy commandos — it practically screams come film me if CGI has gotten cheaper. And with Gravity’s special effects triumph, SF just got rocket fuel propellant in film. Ender’s Game will rise or fall based on how well they did the book and its uber old fashioned SF but still dramatically effective story ending. It will rise or fall based on its special effects and how much China likes them. What happens to it after that, if it has any lasting place — that’s actually going to be more interesting.

    But damned if they didn’t get gay rights into the conversation, into improving the space of SFFH fandom for gay fans to be there too, and weaken Card’s position as a “reasonable” hate monger in the U.S. So again, successful protest boycott, Card even more of an ass with every word out of his mouth but he doesn’t care because money, and the film will fly or not on its own and do no damage to other film projects. And SF isn’t dead. This week.

  62. Shocked, shocked I am that all of you going to the film are violating my personal boycott on multiplex theaters! They underlight the screen, overamp the audio, rarely have the speakers adjusted properly. They are freezing in the summer and broiling in the winter. And don’t get me started on issues of comfort and noise-free environment!

    I am confident that my arguments will convince all of you to stay out of theaters until they enact a moviegoer’s bill of rights, including offering real butter on popcorn and a decent chardonnay.

  63. No pink undies, but I do have a pink shirt. And like a boycott of Ender’s Game the cost to me to oppose homophobia in this way is so ridiculously low, (YMMV) that I may as well do so even if it’s not very effective.
    The fact that OSC has been paid upfront doesn’t really change things for me: it’s less about about OSC, it’s more about studios in the future being more careful where their money ends up. And the studio is explicitly disclaiming OSC’s homophobia, which I think can be counted as a small win.

  64. My hope is that there will be someone protesting so I can laugh my ass off at them.

    As others point out, it may strike a lot closer to home for them than it is for you.

    Laughing just seems kinda….rude…doncha think?

  65. I understand that you’re saying that we both don’t know for sure… Yes, if this were a regular “Hollywood company wanted to make a movie out of this book”, an upfront payment is the way things normally go. But looking at the way this was made, it shares much more in common with vanity production pushed by OSC and the financial backers he convinced to pay for it than business as usual. At the very least, he gains a profit to his ego.

    OddLot already have prior form for being to company you go to with projects like this, with the absolutely dire Frank Miller vanity project “The Spirit”.

  66. I get a little crazy when people play the “he’s just following his beliefs” card. No he’s not “just” following his beliefs. He’s trying to impose them on others. There’s a big difference between saying that the LDS church has the right to bar or excommunicate anyone they wish and to refuse to perform same-sex weddings (which they do) and to campaign to force secular society to adopt the same rules as his religion. He was doing the latter.

    He spent money and was actively involved in an organization (National Organization for Marriage) whose purpose was to take the legal protections and rights away from a subset of US citizens (in my home state of California, for one) and to bar the expansion of civil rights in other states, not in the context of his church, but in secular life.

    If an author was campaigning to, say, take the vote away from women, or to return to there being bans on interracial marriage, I doubt people would be so quick to defend him on those grounds.

  67. it’s possible OSC has made rather more on options, etc than we’re hearing about… and is still not a gross point participant.

    If so, could we describe his potential renumeration as a gross point blank?

  68. There’s a lot of talk about how “Ender’s Game was considered Unfilmable”, but I don’t se any reason that the film couldn’t have been put into production in the 80s. It’s still just as difficult to simulate microgravity now as then, CGI really doesn’t help much with that. My honest assumption is that OSC has been the block to production, and that it’s being produced now because he got a good deal out of it.

  69. Am I the only one who finds the name of OSC’s production company “Taleswapper” humorous? I thought it was intended as a joke, but it really is the name.

    “Taleswapper” is the name of a character in the Alvin Maker novels. He’s a travelling storyteller/collector.

  70. @Not that Frank: I didn’t know that, but I figured it out. I am SMRT.

    @JayRBlanc, not that I disbelieve you, but how the hell does OddLot have any money to blow after “The Spirit”? That’s the tough part of the story to buy. One born every minute, I guess.

    @Kat Goodwin: Digital Domain, which owns 37% gross of this movie, is now owned by Chinese and Indian companies. You are absolutely correct that big special effect shoot ‘em ups with big stars and no sex do really well overseas. Maybe they’ve at least learned to not jam Special Foreign Content in there after it failed with Iron Man 3’s Chinese-only scenes.

    And even if EG bombs, it’s not bad news for OMW. Heaven knows nothing’s pulled in Twilight or Hunger Games money, but we still get paranormal/post-apocalyptic teen love triangle movies every other week.

    Don Hilliard: eesh. I can see, as you said, why that happened. But it does undercut the most powerful aspect of the story. Not good, but inevitable.

  71. I understand peoples dislike of Card. However the fact is a boycott effective enough to hurt Card will hurt far more innocent bystanders many of whom would be the strongest supporters of gay rights.

    That does not mean there is nothing you can do. I would suggest going to the movie in mass. Remember chick-fil-a? Sometimes anger is not the best weapon even if it is justified.

    I loved Ender’s Game but I stopped reading Card long ago even before I knew of his position on gay rights.

  72. Curious what you thought of Ender’s Game, John, purely as a novel. I’m also having an interesting time trying to decide whether it or OMW is the trickier one to adapt to screenplay.

  73. a boycott effective enough to hurt Card will hurt far more innocent bystanders many of whom would be the strongest supporters of gay rights.

    How? All the people involved in making the film have been paid. Who else could be hurt? Harrison Ford? You think he can’t take being associated with a flop at this point in his career? (He’s done more harm to it through his tone-deaf privileged wanky defence of the film than any boycott could ever do.)

    Maybe Card can’t be hurt at this juncture. But Kat’s point about the raising of awareness is well made. I think that’s justified the boycott (or threat thereof) in and of itself.

  74. I’m with Sebastien – I won’t be going to this movie because I, personally, don’t like the book. Frankly, I’ve tried to read OSC a couple of times based on his books’ status as classics, and simply couldn’t get into them.

    On the other hand, people who try to force their views on others really give me the heebie jeebies; they’re the sort of people who need not to be powerful in this world. I draw a line here – IMO it’s different to advocate for equal rights and laws for minorities than it is to try to impose personal views upon others. Why? ‘Cos those rights don’t actually infringe upon anybody else’s rights. Taking a current example, the reason that gay people can’t get married is that others’ (largely religious) views have previously carried the day in government. Don’t want a gay marriage? Don’t get married to someone of the same sex. Not real complicated.

    Nobody’s going to force the local church to do that either – many marriage ceremonies aren’t religious and there are plenty of religious people happy for people of the same sex to marry (including, for example, the priest at my local Catholic church, who obviously wouldn’t be marrying any gay couples regardless!). To not have the government directly saying “this is an underclass not as good as everyone else” is a powerful thing.

  75. I’m not planning on seeing this film. It doesn’t matter to me if OSC gets a cut of the box office or not. Even if some of my money doesn’t go to OSC, it would be going to the people who decided to give a big pile of cash to a guy that was not only on the board of NOM but who seems quite comfortable using racially loaded language when talking about Obama.

    I normally don’t pay a lot of attention to a writers political views when deciding what to read, I mean, where does it end, “That’s how you feel about leash laws? Screw you author!”, but in my opinion OSC goes way over the line.

  76. OSC has a perfect right to be anti-marriage-equality. And to say so, and to argue for his beliefs. But this is a man who is on record saying young gay men should be thrown in prison to scare them, and that revolution is reasonable if laws allowing marriage equality are passed. He, his considerable powers of expression, and his money have supported and enabled a pack of vile, hate-filled bigots who’ve clogged up the courts with their reactionary nonsense.

    That money of mine he wants for watching his film? I spent it already. It went to Teh Gayz, in the form of a donation to a local gay-youth charity.

  77. Re Sebastien – “”but I’ve never understood the love for Ender’s Game. How is it different, in terms of both plot quality and literary quality, from mainstream scifi/fantasy series such as Harry Potter, Twilight or Hunger Games? “”

    It -predates- those by a looooooong while.

  78. John,

    thanks for the response – a point I hadn’t considered.

    FYI: From the LA Times, regarding monies earned: “It may be of interest to anyone intent on keeping film profits from Card’s pocket that a typical book-to-film option has bonuses for bestsellers, so hypothetically, for every week a book is on the bestseller list, a film company, such as Lionsgate, would pay an author $5,000 — even before the film is in theaters. ” http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-orson-scott-card-antigay-views-haunt-enders-game-premiere-20131030,0,801068.story#axzz2jNxPmgKD

  79. Boycotts work best when those being boycotted are sensitive to the pressure. I doubt that OSC will change his mind about anything, the majority of the production team are probably in sympathy with the boycotters, and Harrison Ford might feel uncomfortable enough to refer to his misgivings in future interviews. So this particular boycott will have to be its own reward without any hope of any noticeable change of view on the part of the real target, in this case OSC.

    A more realistic strategy might be to boycott the books – not just Enders Game but the whole oeuvre. Boycotts work best in the long term by building up momentum amongst the public; I don’t think a movie will be in theatres long enough to make it worthwhile.

  80. Someone’s politics should not preclude readers from enjoying his or her books. Should liberals who love “Winter’s Tale” stop loving it because Mark Helprin is conservative and a Former Dole speech writer? Or because his views on digital rights is unpopular? I would recommend “Old Man’s War” to a conservative friend without a second thought. (I may not recommend this blog to them.) As for Card being a nice guy, my wife had the same experience with him at a conference. Nice guys and nice ladies can be pleasant and nice but might share radically different views on the world than you or I. How many writers have shown some form of anti semitic views – particularly 19th and early 20th century writers? Should they come off the ‘list’ also?

    I use different criteria for selecting books than what I use to select friends. Hell, I met Scalzi at a conference, he seemed like a nice guy and we had a pleasant little chat, and it is good to at least superficially “like” the author of books you enjoy. But if his next book sucks beans, I won’t feel compelled to finish it because he seems like a nice guy or shares my politics.

  81. @HelenS “There are also a lot of us who won’t be seeing the film for the same reason we no longer read Orson Scott Card: he makes us feel icky.”

    YES, THIS!

    I loved Ender’s Game when I was a kid, read every OSC book the library had (though I didn’t like the Alvin Maker series), ordered his books when they showed up in the Science Fiction Book Club catalog, and as an adult occasionally followed his blog.

    Then, in the run-up to MA legalizing same-sex marriage, I read this long, drawn out, utterly ridiculous essay on how it was a direct attack on the writer’s culture and rights to raise his kids in his religion and how homosexuals were being irresponsible to marry each other instead of doing their duty to the country by starting a traditional family and having kids the traditional way. The whole way through, I read out choice bits to my husband, mocking the writer even as I kept reading, hoping to find some comprehensible reason for the general opposition to same-sex marriage. It was a great essay, in that it was far more literate and thought-out than the general anti-same-sex-marriage commentary at the time, but there was not one point the writer made that I could find reasonable or even rational.

    Then I got to the end, and glanced back up at the top, wondering who this eloquent fool was…

    Because I read it without knowing it was by OSC, I read without any of the excuses or defenses my previous admiration might have led me to make. I suddenly had a much clearer view of who he was, and it was not who he thought he was. I cannot enjoy any of his fiction without remembering that moment, that disappointment. That almost-betrayal. (“Almost” because, of course, he never owed anything to me.)

    I’m not going to try to interfere with anyone else enjoying his work. I hope it’s a good movie, because I love Harrison Ford, but I won’t go see it. I would spend the whole time remembering that moment, when someone I admired was revealed as… well, someone I can’t admire.

  82. I assume that John mentioned that he had a pleasant time speaking to Orson Scott Card for the same reason he mentioned that the OMW movie being made may depend on Ender’s Game’s success: to disclose that he has reason to be biased in Card’s favor. I’m sure John will correct me if I’m wrong.

    I think that if Ender’s Game underperforms, it will be less because of the boycott and more because the movie itself is visually unappealing. Take a look at the Box Office Mojo images from Ender’s Game. The costumes and settings are all neat and clean and plain and ugly, which is the worst possible combination, because there’s no indie grit and no blockbuster dazzle either.

    I’m not saying this to denigrate the boycott. I agree with John that everyone has the right to see or not see any movie they choose, for any reason they choose, and to try convincing others to do likewise. I just think that the people who made Ender’s Game made a huge and costly mistake here, and if OMW does become a movie, I hope this mistake will be avoided.

  83. I think Kat Godwin said it best. The only wobble might be that John said OMW is with the same studio as Ender’s Game; so that might have some significance for OMW specifically.

    I think Planet of the Apes is an adaptation from a French novel, but I could be wrong.

    Personally, I am not seeing Ender’s Game because I did not like the book. But someone who does can let me know if they make anything out of him being Polish. Poles in American cinema are always invisible (Mad Max) or jokes (Sam Witwicki). Of course Ender is a lose/lose situation in this context.

  84. I’m kind of disturbed at how many people seem to think being homophobic is just a quirk, like preferring vanilla ice-cream over strawberry.

    And that people have a right to their views, however offensive, does not mean it’s no big deal when someone actively campaigns against pretty basic civil rights for others.

  85. @KEVIN PARSONS
    Personally, if an artist publicly holds views I find reprehensible, it colors my view of their work. I LOVED “Speaker for the Dead” when I first read it, but now it’s been ruined for me. I tried to start reading the Alvin Maker series a few years ago, and I couldn’t get through the first book simply BECAUSE I knew what sort of person OSC was. It sucks, but I can’t separate the artist from the art.
    I will probably see Enders Game on Netflix or something eventually, but not the theater, simply because it doesn’t look that great, and I’m convinced the nasty bits will be soft sold for sensitive young audiences.

  86. @triskele, as in the previous discussion, there are a lot of people who really really love Ender’s Game. Setting aside the actual bigots, I think you are looking at two different reactions with the strawberry ice cream thing:

    – people who don’t know or care about LGBT issues as something other than a vague abstraction, possibly because they live in a liberal bubble and think LGBTs have equal rights anyway, possibly because they just aren’t the sort of people who are aware of knowing anyone LGBT well enough to be aware of this stuff, thus genuinely don’t get (or want to get) the fuss;

    – people who are lashing out angrily because you spoiled their happy fun movie with unpleasant reality, and prefer to resolve their cognitive dissonance by shutting you up.

    The latter is why there are so many comments along the lines of “free speech! Boycotts bad! Slippery slope! Oh and p.s. Ender’s Game is my favorite book ever.”

    Nick Mamatas has already pointed out, repeatedly I believe, that in most if not virtually all multiplexes, one can simply buy a ticket to whatever film is in the screening room next to Ender’s Game and then just walk into Ender’s Game.

  87. @mythago: I get that. It doesn’t actually make it any less disturbing that people are so dismissive. People who don’t think bigotry is a big deal, especially if the bigot also did something they love, like write a book that’s important to them, are a big part of why bigots often succeed.

  88. Planet of the Apes was based on La Planète des singes by Pierre Boulle. Script for the 1968 movie originally written by Rod Serling. After a certain point, though, the movies seem to be based more on the the previous movies than on the original source material.

  89. I think rotten tomatoes gave the film a 66%. That isn’t really mixed positive. The reviews I read make me think they dumbed the movie down from the book. Like John, I greatly preferred Speaker for the Dead. I thought it was fascinating. Enders Game is ‘young adult’ and I don’t really like kids book. Just a personal preference. The kid they got to play ender strikes me as too hollywood, too good looking, and too tall. I picture a small 8 year old who is holding someone’s hand when I picture Ender. I think that story would be far more interesting than the added special effects. I wasn’t planning on seeing this film strictly because I think Id be bored.

    That may change… I think this protest is ridiculous. I am in favor of gay marriage. What card said about gay marriage is hardly that bad. I don’t like Johns politics at all and I still buy his books. I think George RR Martin is all the way on the whacko left and still buy his books. I think I would get along pretty well with George (we are both displaced Giants/Jets fans). Not sure why politics matter in terms of quality of your work. You are entitled to earn a living in this country. I read what Card has said, it didn’t strike me as that bad. His religion opposes gay marriage ok.

    I think Ill go buy a ticket to the movie just as a reaction to the protest. Not sure Ill actually watch it. I think Ill get really bored. BTW, I have no problem with gay marriage either. I am also an atheist.

  90. There is literally no chance that this form of speech will financially impact Card in a way that will alter his behavior. So it seems to me that “boycott” is a little self-aggrandizing; this is “protest” speech at best. If you want to protest, knock yourself out. You can and you should. It doesn’t make you a villan, but it doesn’t make you a hero either. You are a person with an opinion and a right to speech.

    More interesting to me is that I find the “holier-than-thou” tone of many of these protesters more than a little ironic. Look at the tone and not the topic, and this feels like any other religious bickering. There are people who are really, REALLY angry that Card doesn’t believe the way he should. They are self-styled crusaders against evil, which makes them much more like Card than unlike him.

    Card has behaved in a way that damages the credibility of his beliefs. Many of his opponents are fine with that, since they feel his beliefs could use a little damaging. But it seems to me that by getting all frothy about it, some of the anti-Card crowd may be doing their own opponents the same favor.

  91. I agree with Kat Godwin on point 5 (though World war z is a book by Max Brooks, Iron Man and Oblivion are comic books). The amount of sucess that SF films have seen will help the adaptation of John’s books to screen.

    I personally have not read OSC’s books, and have chosen not to despite my extensive SF library and being brought up as a member of his religion, I have read short stories by him that I did not like and the plot of Enders’s Game never sounded palatable to me. I don’t think I will see the film unless my father (who professes to hate SF, yet seems to enjoy every SF blockbuster going) watches it while i am round at my parents house. I would rather spend money to see a piece of art that I would enjoy which also doesn’t make me feel icky to see because I couldn’t stop thinking about the creators politics.

  92. I will be boycotting the film, and I personally hope that it bombs (sorry, Mr. Scalzi!), not because of Mr. Card’s jaw-dropping toxicity but because I am sick and tired of complex, morally gray books about interesting, well-developed adolescent and teenage characters being turned into what I term Child Morality Porn.

    They did it to Eragon (and I was sort of impressed, in a horrified way, with how they selectively removed every good part–i.e., the characters–from that book and basically left the howling mess of a plot), they did it to Percy Jackson (damn you, Chris Columbus! Damn you to hell!), and now they’re doing it to a book that I perhaps enjoy less but certainly prefer as it is. I have taken a personal Klingon blood oath to never voluntarily watch a movie that is about some teenager learning to believe in himself (and it’s always a him–sexist much?). Such stories are uninteresting, bland, and formulaic, and I am sick and tired of such drivel being the only offerings in SFF aimed at young people. It sickens me that Hollywood apparently thinks that I, as a seventeen-year-old science-fiction geek, am only able to comprehend constant “uplifting stories” about believing in oneself.

    [/rant]

    Instead of wasting my money on Morality Porn, I will be rewatching every single Ninth Doctor episode of Doctor Who in preparation for Thor 2 (because Christopher Eccleston/Malekith the Accursed). While wearing a Klingon costume (with hastily-painted plastic bat’leth, because apparently forging your own sword takes a while), because awesome.

    Scalzi ftagn.

  93. I’m finding myself recently “voting with my pocketbook” more so than in the past (Obamacare sure shook a lot of trees). For whatever reason I have much less tolerance for corporations than artists. That being said – here’s who no longer gets my dollars:
    Hobby Lobby
    Chick fil-a
    wall mart/sams club
    domino’s pizza (not that I patronized them anyway)
    papa john’s pizza (ditto)
    several local franchises (vs. corp. overall)

    I am on the fence about this movie, not sure I would’ve seen it anyway and not sure if voting with my dollars in this case makes a difference (and therefore moves my conscience one way or the other) I might see it when it get’s to the local bargain show

  94. I also think Kat Godwin said it best.

    This post seems like a repeat of the last discussion so I will repeat myself. I will be taking myself, my son, and his friend all to the IMAX version of Ender’s Game. I introduced them both to the book at the right age and we all are passionate fans. It truly is painful to be smarter and more capable than your peers and powerless in the face of adults.

    However, OSC has proven himself to be in complete opposition to all of the themes of his own Ender universe. So, in order to not “feel icky”, I will be donating the same amount to a local nonprofit that works with GLBT youth, Avenues for Homeless Youth. An organization that fits with my beliefs and does an amazing job.

    Good luck on OMW, the movie. I just got you another fan in a nursing home who stated that he is willing to be in the movie if you are looking for an actor. Oh, and he already has a waiting list of people who want the book next.

  95. I think this protest is ridiculous. I am in favor of gay marriage. What card said about gay marriage is hardly that bad.

    Ugh. Now that’s just contrafactual.

  96. @PrivateIron: Ender’s father( played by Stevie Ray Dallimore) has a slight accent, and makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to “when I was brought to this country.” That’s it for any suggestion of Polish heritage.

  97. Three additions:
    1 – I’ve mentioned in other places, but if you’re going to boycott, don’t go. I hear people say they’re going to buy a ticket for a different movie and then sneak in to see Ender’s Game. Are you twelve? Boycotting means your values mean more than your entertainment. Anything else is school yard lawyering “but I said no punchbacks!”
    2 – I did enjoy one person’s suggestion of “asshole offset credits.” Spend $10 to see the movie? Donate $10 to a marriage equality organization.
    3 – I’m still on the wall to see it. Beyond the divide between artist and art, it’s also the difference between what I thought was cool as a teenager and what 40 year old me wants to fill my brain with.

  98. @lurkertype …. perhaps it is my juvenile sense of humour, but Taleswapper sounds like the name is a swingers club to me. Judging by OSC’s miopic views I suspect he would find a swingers club offensive.

  99. On multiple occasions I have taught Enders Game in the high school English classroom, so naturally I will go see the film. Apart from identifying Card as the author, we never talk about Card, his faith, his views, or anything else. We talk about things like narrative point-of-view, characterization, plot, theme. You get the idea. Literary art can and should be, I think, enjoyed for its own sake. I just feel sad for all the commentators above who cannot separate their politics from their enjoyment of literature. Those who will not see the film because they did not like the novel, well that makes sense. I don’t like prison stories, so I have purposefully never watched The Shawshank Redemption with lots of opportunities to do so. Watch what you like, I say. Don’t drag the creator’s politics into it, for when you do, you come off to others as a “pompus [expletive deleted]”.

  100. Honestly, I don’t understand the haggling over whether Card gets five cents or a whole dime. If you find his use of his position & money sufficiently detestable that you don’t want to financially support him in any way then I don’t see how you go to the movie. You’ll shop at Hobby Lobby but only to buy things on clearance so their margins are lower? It just doesn’t add up.

    I also don’t understand thinking you’re really going to harm the guy. They made a major motion picture out of his book. Production probably spent my lifetime salary on any given day. At best maybe you stop him from getting a second million? As John said, all the ancillary stuff around this movie is well enriching Card no matter what.

    If hurting him is your #1 priority and living a life where you don’t participate in supporting ick is #2 then you’re well doomed to disappointment. Staying home should be a personal moral choice first and foremost. The Star Thrower (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star_Thrower) does what he does not because it changes things on a global scale but because it makes a difference for himself and for the one star he acts upon.

    And really, if you think the boycott is stupid and pointless and want to sneer at people who participate in it? Jeez, get over yourself. If you can’t find a million other actions more worthy of contempt than someone staying home from a movie because they dislike someone’s actions regarding equality then you’re really living an unexamined life.

    Personally I’ll be skipping the movie not because of Card’s involvement but because it kind of looks like a snoozer. I’m more tired of messiah/savior/savant characters every year and I don’t see how they could manage to bring out the richness of the character’s journey on screen. Even if someone could manage to go in w/o knowing the big reveal I don’t see how you could get people invested in the personal growth Ender goes through via his magic textbook

  101. Gary Willis: I’d agree if it was a matter of, for example, looking at Lovecraft’s work and people want to boycott them because the guy was a batshit racist; in that case, there’s nothing really beyond the artist and the art involved (in part because HPL is, currently, deceased, but he was also not terribly active in campaigning against civil rights while he was alive.) But there’s a significant cultural element here in the case of OSC and Ender’s Game that you are overlooking; and honestly, that’s not an imprecation because it’s easy to overlook, but it needs to have a light shone on it.

    OSC has campaigned publicly and vocally for the criminalization of homosexuality, for the overthrow of governments that allow same-sex marriage, and for comparing homosexuals to pedophiles. He has sat on the board of the National Organization of Marriage, a group that is dedicated to the prevention of making same-sex marriage legal. Monies he has received for Ender’s Game and his other works, have gone into the ‘war chests’ of NOM and similar organizations. He has used his platform as a well-known and popular science fiction author to amplify his positions against homosexuals. He continues to hold these positions and speak on them.

    This isn’t about Ender’s Game and it’s literary or artistic worth. Boycotting a work because it’s awful or whatever would be silly. Rather, this is about OSC the person, and his name being put out there. Those who are advocating a boycott of Ender’s Game seek to do so (from what I can tell) to illuminate OSC’s dislike, disdain, and hatred of non-heterosexual people, to let people realize that this, too, is a part of Orson Scott Card’s life and what he has advocated for by using his popularity as a writer.

    I’m with them on that. Nobody in the ‘pro-boycott side’ thinks Ender’s Game should be banned or OSC be given a gag order of some kind; nobody that I’ve seen has said that someone who refuses or declines to boycott is an awful human being and should feel awful. (Stating one’s reasons for wanting to go see it, however, may show that one is in fact an awful human being.)

    And more viscerally, this is also not about mere ‘politics.’ The budget is ‘politics.’ Choosing between a traffic light and a post box along a particular street is ‘politics.’ Posing on CSPAN is ‘politics.’ This is not politics. This is about peoples’ lives. It can be argued that OSC’s work has directly contributed to making homosexuality a felony in Russia and a capital offense in Uganda. Repeat: You can be legally killed by the state for being homosexual in Uganda. NOM and other groups whom OSC has aligned himself with were involved heavily with, and have praised, the passing of this legislation. He has done active, real harm to human beings. This is to show he has done so, and to hope that people don’t let him continue to do active, real harm to more human beings than have already been beaten, arrested, or murdered.

  102. I’ve stated above that EG and SftD are very important books to me, and that gives me reason enough to see that movie.

    I also have conflicting views concerning gay marriage. On the one hand, I was raised in a religious tradition that taught me that being gay is “unnatural” and “wrong”. I’ve learned enough about biology to disagree with the “unnatural” part, and I’m behind individual choice enough to discount the “wrong”. On the other hand, I have enough friends who happen to be gay that are happily married and/or committed, and I rejoice in their happiness.

    On the third hand, I am in a sense damaged goods in regards to this issue. I’m a SWM, and I readily acknowledge the privilege that comes with being such; here’s the “but”. My first wife left me for another woman, and that colors everything in this debate for me. If I can’t resolve my personal issues to be completely on one side of the issue or the other, then so be it. Life is not necessarily simple.

    If you feel you need to boycott the EG movie, and by extension any and everything Card, do so. I’m pretty sure that my decision to attend the movie doesn’t make me a bigot; if you, whoever you may be, think it does, we’ll both just have to live with that.

  103. @Kat Goodwin

    But damned if they didn’t get gay rights into the conversation, into improving the space of SFFH fandom for gay fans to be there too…

    Now…I can abide many things. Tectonic shifts in the social and cultural landscape. Global seachanges in climate and economy. Chinese-level Interesting Times. I can even welcome some F into my SF. But H?! That’s simply a bridge too far.

    #SCARCASM (with a sprinkling of hypocrisy since I really enjoyed Peter F. Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy)

  104. Won’t see the movie and I won’t buy his books. Whether or not this causes him any financial harm is irrelevant. It ensures that none of my money ends up in the pocket of worthless bigot trash and that’s what I care about.

  105. I’ll wait to see if this movie is worth all the hype. I waited with “Gravity,” heard good things, and went to see it (Gravity)- and was not disappointed.
    I hope the same holds true with Ender’s Game. I will wait to hear if it is worth seeing, based on comments and ticket sales.

  106. VMink Point to you on the difference between “politics” and issues of human dignity and civil rights. Frankly, quite a lot of cultural lights is shining squarely now on Card and his views as the film comes out. I salute those boycotting the film to shine that light. But, I loved the novel and I want to see this film. I shall make it a point not to send any funds to “charities” that Card favors.

  107. I’m curious why everyone is so sure the movie will be good. Judging by the reviews in the New York newspapers, not so much. The NY Times review was mediocre at best and the Daily News was execrable – the reviewer gave it ZERO stars out of five. They both compared it to Wii and the News called Harrison Ford “wood in a beret.”

    I have no vested interest, never having read the book, but yes it can matter if an author is an asshole (I will skip the examples).

  108. I’ve been trying to decide if I will see the movie or not, but if I do, I’m absolutely donating twice my ticket price to an LGBT charity as a karma offset (which is what I suggested folks on FB who said they were seeing it do.)

    On one hand, I don’t think you have to agree with a writer’s stances to enjoy their work, but I think their stances CAN factor into your enjoyment of their work should they become more overt. I grew up reading OSC and idolising him because I grew up in the heart of Utah, a wee Mormon kid. As an ex-Mormon adult, I find it hard to read his later books especially, because I see more and more ideas that make me feel unhappy or twitch. Like HelenS. said above, if many of us aren’t reading or choosing to watch, it’s partly because we feel alienated from the work now. Combine that with OSC actively participating on the board of NOM, and I can fully see why somebody would choose to no longer support buying his work. I stopped buying his books shortly after one of my gay friends returned Ender’s Game to me (it’d been a present since she liked SF, and OSC hadn’t been super vocal at the time I bought it) noting that his recent behaviour made it hard for her to even see it on her bookshelf without being reminded of his hateful words towards folks like her. It’s hard to argue against that kind of gut punch, or it is for me.

    The other hand doesn’t really balance out for me as well. I thought about the artists and most of the actors and film crew working on the film, but as I know from what friends have told me, most of their work is taken on in a strict project basis. They derive no continuing employment if the film does well. Even less than OSC will they be recompensed more if the film does well. Animator Joe S. Moe isn’t going to see more money from Ender’s Game making box office. And as somebody upthread pointed out, genre films are actually doing pretty well as Hollywood’s bread-and-butter blockbusters, so one instance of Ender Game being a double instead of a home (to use Scalzi’s metaphor) isn’t going to impact that too much, I think. (Which is to say that I think Scalzi’s movie will probably be mostly fine, but there are some aspects regarding training schools in space for an ongoing war that might ping some movie execs in uncomfy ways.) Mostly what I’m left with is my emotional connection to the story on this side of the equation. (That’s a pretty strong one, considering my teen years, and OSC offering me advice as a wee writing teenager. But as Scalzi notes, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been perpetuating very hurtful policies.)

    To the British commenter upthread marveling at the ire of GLBT folks and their allies here in the States: You made one allegation about the pro-GLBT side winning all its battles, but I think you might be slightly ignorant of LDS involvement in the Prop 8 situation in California. While it’s true that a number of states have flipped over recently and allowed gay marriage (my new home state of Washington being one!) California’s gay marriage was overturned in 2008 due to Prop 8, and heavy involvement by LDS church members. Card was a prominent voice at this time and rallied many members to get involved in California’s battle. I had many family members proudly talking in the family newsletter about manning the phones (for some reason, my march in the Seattle counter-protest parades got left out of the newsletter, hmmm) and supporting Prop 8. Card’s continual involvement with NOM, and his recent dogwhistle racism re: Obama has long ago crossed over from being a private opinion to very public activism.

  109. @ Gary Willis
    When you are teaching about the narratives and themes of the book in class, do you mention that “Buggers” is also a very derogatory term for homosexuals? There is no way that was chosen by accident by the author, knowing what we know of him, so it is a valid and essential bit of textual knowledge. Of all the names he could have chosen for his humanity threatening enemy that needed genocided out of existence by being deceitful to the next generation, he chose that word. You might want to consider that the work is an under-the-radar homophobic text in and of itself. Works never stand alone, they are always informed by their author.

  110. There needs to be a distinction between “Boycott” and “I don’t personally want to do business with that guy”. They are different things.

    That said, my ten year old just read the book, and I suspect he’ll want to be taken to the movie.

  111. Yeah, I have to say I’m with the boycotters – and those Right Wingers here who are FIRST to boycott anything liberal, but their White Male God FORBID there are ever any Progressive boycotts? Get stuffed – you STARTED this fight, so you can’t whine if we’re finishing it by using your weapons against you!

    Putting Card’s willingness to spend his money and talent to treat other human being as “lesser” aside, the fact is that the Ender books are closer in spirit to the Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED than either side would want to admit. Both of them speak to the geeky, smart picked-on kid, telling him/her “You know why everybody hates you? Because they can dimly sense you’re better than they are! Don’t give up – grit your teeth and get through this, because someday you’ll come back and blow them all away with your Awesome Godhood!” Both let the reader off the hook for any horrible things they might wish to do, because they both say “Anything you do is A-OK, because You Know Better Than They Do!”

    The main difference between the two is that Ender is always completely noble and completely blameless, while Dagny, Hank, Franciso, John Galt, et al know what they’re doing and accept it as necessary – which pretty much makes the Ender books the Superman comic to ATLAS SHRUGGED’s Batman comic.

  112. crypticmirror
    Nope, never mentioned that fact about “buggers” as I did not know that until now, from your post in this thread. Growing up in the fifties and sixties, the term “buggers” that I knew was always aliens that looked like insects. Precisely, what I found in Card’s novel. Hmm. Should I bring that up next time around? Or would parents and administrators ring down fire upon my head. Got to think about that one. The taxpayers pay my salary and the taxpayers get what they want.

  113. There are about three actors, one producer, and about a half dozen authors of fiction with whom I would agree politically. My life would be sorry, indeed, if I only exposed myself to the works and ideas of that small company.

  114. @LurkerType

    Looking at OddLot’s production history, it’s very easy to come to the simple conclusion that when they’re the principle production company, they’re the Film version of a Vanity press. They take their profit up-front, out of investors hoping to get their pet-projects made. So they don’t actually care at all if their productions are successful or not, it’s not their money at risk. They have had one, and precisely one successful movie ‘Drive’.

    So yeah, there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that shows OSC likely is a profit/loss participant in this movie, having gone to OddLot with a group of financial backers to get his movie made. So people who are reluctant to do business with OSC have a legitimate concern there.

  115. @crypticmirror – As far as I can tell about slang, bugger as a verb is a slang term for a homosexual act, but it’s not a noun that designates a gay man. I’ve heard “Bugger this!”, but I’ve not heard “He’s a bugger.” Maybe buggerer?

  116. As I’ve said before, Card’s homophobia comes out in his writing, so it’s not just a matter of “the person behind the art”; the boycott is more a moral thing than an actual attempt to harm him financially; and “offsets” don’t do the trick (but are better than nothing). I certainly will not be going to the movie.

    There’s a big difference, in my opinion, between boycotting someone whose politics contrast sharply with mine, and boycotting someone who wants me dead. OK, maybe Card only wants me dead if I’m African, but you know what? I don’t give a flying fuck. If he wants people killed or imprisoned for being gay (and he’s said so, in money and words, and if you’re not listening that’s on you), I count that as wanting me killed or imprisoned.

    That said, I’m torn about my hopes for its success or failure. If its failure keeps any more Card movies from being made, that would be a good thing. If it keeps OMW from being made, that would be a bad (BAD, for which read BAD) thing.

    And the discussion here and elseweb has meant that, while I certainly have no intention of seeing it (even if someone else pays, the only way I ever see movies currently) I will also not treat people as Evoll Traitors if they do.

    On the other hand, some internet jackhole “laughing [his] ass off” isn’t going to influence me at all.

    dana1119: Shorter: “I prefer not to ever let my conscience get in the way of my entertainment.”

    RN Williams: The debate is NOT over, and OSC is an aggressive homophobe and was before Marriage Equality was even on the table. Only his most lickspittle fans believe his bullshit about how “well, there was a debate and I lost.” It’s not like we’re debating ice cream, as someone pointed out downthread.

    I had more points to make, but anything further I could say to you about this comment (which I will suggest as an example under “concern trolling”) would get me Malleted. So I’ll stop there, and hope others have responded.

    OK, for my mental health, skimming down this thread and getting the gist of the comments…

    toughlittlebirds: Well put. Thank you.

    Shava:

    When the “other side” starts boycotting properties written by advocates of marriage equality, we will have no ethical leg to stand on after this ill considered boycott. An artist’s statements of political or moral standing are not the same thing as a politicians, any more than a sport star’s.

    Uh, when they do? These people have boycotted DISNEY because they let gay people party in their theme parks! It’s already happening, as gwangung points out downthread.

    The rest of your comment isn’t worth addressing.

    Lurkertype: Yes. Just so. All of it.

    Kat: Yes! THANK YOU. Especially point 3.

    triskele:

    I’m kind of disturbed at how many people seem to think being homophobic is just a quirk, like preferring vanilla ice-cream over strawberry.

    Yes, this. They haven’t quite got the idea, have they? “Separate the artist from the work” only applies (IMO) when the artist is dead. Maybe long dead.

    mythago: As usual, bang on. I especially liked “people who are lashing out angrily because you spoiled their happy fun movie with unpleasant reality, and prefer to resolve their cognitive dissonance by shutting you up.” That’s most of what I hear.

    Guess: Comments like this one make me wonder if you’re unable to read, or just refuse. Or maybe it’s just that nothing you read is allowed to impact your consciousness at all. Also, what gwangung said. But of course, you probably aren’t reading this, either, since you’re an output-only device in the comment thread. Oh well.

    Gary Willis:

    Don’t drag the creator’s politics into it, for when you do, you come off to others as a “pompus [expletive deleted]“.

    Let’s see, this comment gets filed under “smug,” “privileged,” and “sneering.” Oh, and “pompous” (which you misspelled; English teacher, you say?). You’re just above all this stuff about fundamental civil rights, including the rights to life and liberty, up there in the ivory tower of lit-ter-ah-tyure. How very nice for you.

    vmink:

    But there’s a significant cultural element here in the case of OSC and Ender’s Game that you are overlooking; and honestly, that’s not an imprecation because it’s easy to overlook, but it needs to have a light shone on it.

    It’s only easy to overlook if you haven’t read this comment thread or the previous one, or seen any of the controversy on the web, or looked into Card at all.

    Gary Willis again: Better. Much, much better. While my opinion of your earlier comment remains unchanged, I have to admit I didn’t think you would listen to vmink, and you did. So that.

    crypticmirror:

    You might want to consider that the work is an under-the-radar homophobic text in and of itself.

    Brav[o|a]! Exactly so.

    ucblockhead:

    There needs to be a distinction between “Boycott” and “I don’t personally want to do business with that guy”. They are different things.

    Yes, one is an individual decision, and one is people organizing to get people to decide the same. What’s your point?

    Gary Willis one more time:

    Nope, never mentioned that fact about “buggers” as I did not know that until now, from your post in this thread.

    Well, that explains a lot. He could have called them “Bugs,” but he didn’t. He called them “Buggers.” It’s no accident.

  117. @Steve C. – It’s not as common in US English, but it is used as a noun as well as a verb. I don’t even think most Americans realize what the word means, and use it more like “that little bugger” to describe something/someone annoying or some such.

  118. I understand it’s derived from “Bulgar” because the Bulgars were accused of being habitual “sodomites.”

  119. @KEVIN PARSONS:

    Someone’s politics should not preclude readers from enjoying his or her books.

    Well, up to a point. As I’ve said elsewhere, I still think T.S. Eliot is a great poet and critic despite some truly vile anti-Semitic passages in his essays. But, yeah, I must admit I find it extraordinarily hard to stomach books where the “politics” involve naked authorial racism, homophobia and misogyny.

    And to bring it back on topic before I get mallet-ed, if I’d found out T.S. Eliot’s widow Valerie (who died late last year) was putting millions of pounds she’d earned from her husband’s estate into far-right racist, homophobic and anti-feminist groups? Well, I’d probably decline to contribute, even indirectly.

  120. A friend of mine and I started a thing to help with this interesting situation. OSC is still making bank off of books sales, as you pointed out. And a boycott would really only hurt a whole bunch of people involved with the film who DON’T share OSC’s views. So our idea was to ask people to donate the price of their ticket (or the book they purchase) to a charity that helps people in the LGBTQ community.

    We call it the Equality Initiative… http://www.equalityinitiative.com

  121. Xopher: Yes,I knew while I was writing it that it is absolutely *impossible* to overlook if you’re at all involved in the issues. For most heterosexuals, it’s easy to miss. But, things like this? Makes it more obvious, puts human faces to it, and makes it *harder* to miss. Which is a good thing.

  122. Or if you’ve read the comment thread, vmink. I didn’t read every word of every comment, but I did at least look at every single one, and I went back up and modified some statements earlier in my comment in response to things said later, and so on.

    And please don’t think I meant to be critical of your comment. You were taking time to directly explain* to someone something he really ought to have known from the comment thread above his own comment. While I think you shouldn’t have had to do so, and certainly have no patience for more of that myself (as I showed in my own comment), I applaud you for making the effort. Especially since, contrary to my expectation, he appears to have listened. So your judgement was clearly better than mine on that!

    *split infinitve! TAKE THAT!

  123. If it flops because of the boycott, I hope for John’s sake that we can make it clear to Hollywood that it flopped because it was written by someone who was calling for armed insurrection if same-sex marriage became legalized, and not because it was a space adventure. Sure, there’s a lot of stupid people in Hollywood, but are they really all so stupid that they can make this seemingly-obvious distinction? I like to think not, though that may just be my optimism speaking.

    The benefit of this, if it can be pulled off? Even though Card has been paid for this movie, and continues to make money off the book, it will make it that much harder for him to sell the next one to Hollywood, or for other promoters of virulent hatred to do the same.

    As for the whole judge-the-art, not-the-artist thing, well, I try, but sometimes it becomes impossible. I still like the book (and still own it), but I’m not sure I can bring myself to see the movie at this point.

  124. Caitlin G.:

    And a boycott would really only hurt a whole bunch of people involved with the film who DON’T share OSC’s views.

    I keep hearing this, and I’ve never had a straight answer to this question: Who exactly would be hurt? Unless I’ve really missed something, none of the cast or crew of Ender’s Game have lost their minds and signed agreements to defer getting paid until the film crosses some profit threshold on the back end. And frankly, at the risk of being a tad bitchy, if being involved in a flop made anyone unemployable Hollywood would have the highest unemployment rate on the planet.

  125. @triskele: I would be more disturbed if I thought better of the SFF community’s pretense of being Smarter Than The Mundanes, I guess.

    @A Different Daniel: Some people are trying to find a way to see the movie without supporting OSC. For them, I don’t see how get-a-ticket-to-something-else is different materially from donating the equivalent of your ticket price to, say, a local group that helps LGBT homeless youth. In fact, one could argue it is better, because the benefit to Ender’s Game is not just in the ticket price but in the overall box office revenue/attendance. Neither is a boycott, or pretends to be.

  126. I’ve been an occasional lurker here, and an occasional buyer of Scalzi’s work, for some time. I just searched and re-read the previous thread on here about OSC. And I’m out.

    I just about get putting someone’s work above their occasional obnoxious opinions if they’re “just” opinions. But OSC has been putting hard cash behind his. And they’re not just opinions, they’re vicious attacks on a lot of people’s lives just because those people happen to be gay.

    I don’t understand how someone who says he’ll refuse invitations to Cons if they don’t uphold certain standards on harassment, can ignore that. Let alone how he can ignore that because he hopes to get a movie made. Or, having read the opening of this post back, call OSC’s position just ” less-than-very nice positions regarding gays and lesbians”.

    @vmink, @mythago, @Xtopher Halftongue, quite a few others: the fact you guys are still posting here makes me wonder if I’m just missing something. But I’m not sure I’ve got the patience it takes to find out.

    And no, I’m not a card-carrying LGBT myself. I just know enough to worry what it means when people think their rights are not that big a deal.

  127. @Ozzie: ah, Tale-swapper vs. Tail-swapper. D’oh! I get it now. Yes, that is worth a chortle, OSC would clutch his pearls at 70’s key parties and today’s CraigsList. Bam chicka wow.

    @cranapia: You are correct. The crew has been paid every penny they’ll ever get. They don’t get residuals or points. And even the folks who worked on “Battlefield Earth” still get work! Nobody benefits from the box office takings save the director (if successful enough to get that in his contract), some of the producers (ditto) and a very few actors. In this case, probably only Harrison Ford (who already has boatloads). MAYBE Ben Kingsley, but I doubt it. Outside chance that Viola Davis does (she’s terrific, but black women do not get the best deals in Hollywood, and she is in a supporting role). The lead kid probably isn’t getting extra cash, and he’s a well-established actor even at his age, plus he’s got many more years to work.

    So the only people profiting if it makes big bucks are Harrison Ford, the director, and some of the producers. OSC’s making bank by the book returning to the best-seller list (along with any possible fees coming with that, as in the article Steve Davidson linked to). And, of course, the various funding entities small and large, national and largely international — a bit of clicking around shows that most of the funding for this is from China and India, who are not so much with the gay-friendly either.

    @JayRWard: thanks for the further info. Interesting. I bow to your superior knowledge of this particular company. It is odd that suddenly they’re doing a big-budget spectacular.

    @mythago: you spoiled their happy fun movie with unpleasant reality
    YES. THIS.

    @Floored: good for you. The reviews all say that any and all moral complexity has been removed from the story in the interest of also not spoiling happy fun movie pew-pew with anything more serious than “Bugs bad, Ender heroic”. Being a movie starring a boy, at least there’s no tedious love triangle so Ender’s allowed to self-actualize. Yay?

    @Xopher: *mwah*. We shall decry homophobia and look at cute men together forever.

  128. @ Lurkertype: See? See? What did I say? Morality Porn, I said.

    And I think they paired him up with Petra.

  129. I absolutely understand why people are boycotting the movie. One of my daughters will not see it because of her conscience. Of my other children, one has zero interest in books or movies, one likes the book, but doesn’t like to see movies in the theater, and one likes the book and went to see the movie with me. I do feel guilty about it, but I love the book. I made a guilt offering to an LGBT group to salve my conscience, inadequate though that is.

    Not the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it was pretty good, fairly faithful to the book, and I liked the special effects.

  130. @Kate Goodwin: as someone who likes the sci-fi genre, I like your explanation. Even if I’m picky and don’t see most of them, I’m glad to know they’ll probably continue to do well and get made (Old Man’s War and Blackout cannot come soon enough). Also, I feel the same way about the boycott: although it’s unlikely to actually significantly hurt the movie’s bottom line, it has brought LGBT struggles into light in a positive way — and primed people for the Sochi / Vodka boycott.

    OSC causes me a special sort of pain. I absolutely loved reading his books as a teenager, and even felt inspired to pursue my own writing (I purchased his books on writing). Later, I found out I was gay, and I came to realize how much he truly hated people like me through reading his blog. Not that I didn’t receive that hate already, growing up religious in the evangelical South, but I’ve always held my favorite authors close to my heart.

    It wouldn’t be so bad (I can’t even read his books anymore), but he’s the sort that doesn’t simply have his -phobic views, he ACTS on them. His “old” organization (National Organization for Marriage) is actively working with foreign governments to seize children from their gay parents (Russia), kill gays or imprison those who don’t “report” gays (Uganda), and his church (Mormon) is now spreading scientifically discredited ideas in Hawaii to deny equal marriage to gays. I’m not telling anyone else that they should boycott OSC, but I would like them to be aware of the harmful actions of OSC and his allies. We are not talking about history, but the present.

    Life is too short for me to read books or watch movies produced by people who think the world would be better if I weren’t in it.

  131. I saw and loved it. I had a happy popcorn chomping movie watching time thank you very much. All the bitching (which incidentally I see more here than anywhere else) was a entertaining sideline but there was no drama at the theatre. Just lots of geeky types all ready to see the movie. OSC has made his money with Ender’s game many times over since it was first published. I am sure he is laughing all the way to the bank over the whining about the movie.
    As for the movie, it could have been better. Many elements of the story did not make it and that Asa guy just did not match the Ender I had envisioned. At least not in all aspects. But that usually is the case with books that become movies. Next we need some OMW action, which I am sure will cause some other group to call for a boycott. Still, very entertaining, space battles (YES).

  132. Saw the movie last night (Friday night, 7:00 PM showing). Theatre looked very full, though not 100% packed. Entire middle block and substantial portions of the wings were occupied, as were a few of the seats right up against the screen.

    (Spoilers!)

    I really liked the movie, although I do have to agree with some of the folks saying that it’s ‘sanitized’ over the book. Graff in particular was different; though he continued to say that he wouldn’t help Ender and that Ender had to know he’d never get help, that was undermined by a couple of the changes. When Dragon Army had to fight two armies at once, for instance, one of Ender’s teammates turns an ankle getting out of bed… so Graff reassigns Petra (who is on one of the two enemy armies) to Ender’s unit to fill them out. Book!Graff would never have stepped in to help Ender like that; he would have just made Ender win with an even larger disadvantage. The fight with Bonzo was also changed so that Ender is much more obviously blameless; rather than kicking Bonzo while he’s down, he kicks Bonzo when Bonzo rushes him and Bonzo falls badly.

    I also think they needed to show more of the Battle Room, rather than just, “Three months have passed since Ender took over Dragon Army, and they’re doing really well! Cut to the final 2-vs-1 battle.”

    But overall, it was great. The acting was actually much better than I expected for a movie staring young actors; I thought most of the performances were very convincing. They mostly cut the right things, including the entire Peter/Valentine subplot (which, IIRC, had little to do with Ender’s Game itself and only really kicked in once the Bean spinoffs began) and most of the Mind Game. The effects worked very well to help move the plot along; the Battle Room and the final battle against the Formics were beautifully rendered. The Battle School scenes were among the best in the movie; the aesthetics and every little detail worked to make it great. Even the cafeteria had all kinds of neat little touches, like how they depicted the Leadership Board. And some of the changes, like Petra getting a much more expanded role, were really neat. It was fun seeing Petra get the chance to shine (even if her presence in the 2-vs-1 battle didn’t make much sense; I’d much rather have Ender trade for her if she was to be there). They even cut out her breakdown and made the ‘loss’ Ender’s fault instead, which I think was the right choice.

    Overall, I’d say it’s a great movie.

  133. @ Xopher Halftongue
    It doesn’t surprise me in the slightest that “HappyAss” saw many “geeky types” are going to see it without a thought. I mean not when you look at the fuss those self-same “geeky types” put up at the thought of having to behave at cons, not use hompohobic and misogynist slurs in gaming environments, and not attack “fake geek girls”. The self styled “geeky types” has always had a strong exclusionary and superior streak to them.

    More pronounced, I have found, in OSC’s personal fandom because the message (apart from “it’s okay to kill those evil ‘buggers’“) in EG was that if you feel like a lonely kid it is because you are a misunderstood genius who is better than everyone else. Especially if you understand computers. Many lonely nerds with exceptionally poor social skills and even poorer personal hygiene took that as validation that they actually were better than anyone else, especially if they were online in the 1990s (and a lot of them still feel that way today and hate that everyone is online these days) which seems to have been EG’s heyday. It is just good old fashioned snobbery at work.

  134. @mythago

    I would be more disturbed if I thought better of the SFF community’s pretense of being Smarter Than The Mundanes, I guess.

    Aren’t you a member of that community? I don’t understand what compels intelligent individuals to talk about communities, nations, genders, races, religions, geographic populaces and other diverse collectives as though they were all one composite personality. It’s not even lazy; it just makes no sense.

    Some people are trying to find a way to see the movie without supporting OSC.

    I don’t get that either. If you’re going to see the movie, own that choice and don’t be a hypocrite. Or don’t see it and stand by the consequences of that choice. Everything has a price. Trying to weasel out of it is just sad. Is self-respect really so cheap? Maybe it’s the religious thing of trying to balance some imaginary ledger. Likewise, if you value LGBT rights advocacy and you have some time, money or other resources to allocate for that cause, then why the need for a guilty conscience to spur you to act? Let your conscience be your guide proactively, not after you’ve done something you knew to be a sin against your own moral integrity. Do the right thing anyway.

  135. ZMiles: You’re obviously here to get in the faces of those of us who are objecting to EG on principle, so I won’t engage you. But you do raise one interesting point:

    The fight with Bonzo was also changed so that Ender is much more obviously blameless; rather than kicking Bonzo while he’s down, he kicks Bonzo when Bonzo rushes him and Bonzo falls badly.

    So the movie is actually worse than the book on the “Innocent Killer” thing. I guess his genocide of the Formics was just an accident; how convenient that we can use child soldiers for our crimes from now on, with no guilt for anyone!

    crypticmirror, good points. I’m sure that’s just about exactly it. And there’s another “Haha, in your face you stupid faggots! Card effin’ RULES” post just above yours.

    I would caution everyone not to click on natasha’s link. It’s a shortened URL, and she doesn’t say what it is, in fact her comment is so generic it could easily have been generated by a bot.This is typical of malware linkbait. I’m certainly not about to click on it and find out.

    Ozzie, it’s been pointed out here several times that they dropped that term from the movie. It’s only in the book. It’s about how Card’s homophobia is in his writing, and not some separate thing that you can ignore if you don’t read the news.

    Similarly, Heinlein’s homophobia is evident in The Puppet Masters, a McCarthyist tract where alien invaders sap the precious bodily fluids take over the minds of Earth people. Near the beginning, the gang of guys who discover the truth go around with a buxom woman who waves her boobs at all the various guys the encounter; if a guy doesn’t react the way a real man always would, they shoot him. The message is “Queers == Commies; kill them.” (And also, women. But women exist only to have boobs in that book.)

    And while you may not have noticed that, it was crystal clear to me, as a gay boy reading it 20 years after Heinlein wrote it. Card’s message is similar: he’s saying “I hate you faggots and you should die. Here’s HOW you should die.” He says it in book after book. It’s relatively subtle in this one, where no one is actually tortured to death just for being gay.

    The movie makers didn’t want to send that message, so they left out Card’s sniggering reference.

  136. @Xopher

    Near the beginning, the gang of guys who discover the truth go around with a buxom woman who waves her boobs at all the various guys the encounter; if a guy doesn’t react the way a real man always would, they shoot him.

    I haven’t read that one, so I’ll have ask those who have. Is it possible it simply didn’t occur to Heinlein how a gay man might react differently? Is failing to think outside heteronormative assumptions the same thing as being fearful and hateful of homosexuality? Not saying whether Heinlein was a homophobe, I have no idea. But doesn’t fear and hatred require acknowledgement that that which is hated and feared exists in the first place? Again, I haven’t read the book, which is why I’m asking.

  137. @xopher

    As a SWM I never noticed any homophobia in Heinlein. As a matter of fact he opened my eyes to many alternate approaches to life.

    My personal experience was different than yours. I am sorry that authors I have found so much joy in left you with a sense of being hated.

    I can relate though, I read a book by Richard Wright and one by Maya Angelo, both of which left me feeling despised. I still liked them as authors and found their viewpoint interesting, if disturbing. Again, my experiences are different and I do not have any anxiety about how society as a whole views my SWMaleness.

  138. Please do not take my statement above as minimizing your feelings on the issue, just my attempt at empathy.

  139. I haven’t read that one, so I’ll have ask those who have. Is it possible it simply didn’t occur to Heinlein how a gay man might react differently?

    Oh, I’m certain that at that time he had no clue.

    Not sure he picked up any clue later in life, but I like to think that he was a social libertarian as well as an economic one—if he was born later, I think he would have considered it better…

  140. Similarly, Heinlein’s homophobia is evident in The Puppet Masters, a McCarthyist tract where alien invaders sap the precious bodily fluids take over the minds of Earth people. Near the beginning, the gang of guys who discover the truth go around with a buxom woman who waves her boobs at all the various guys the encounter; if a guy doesn’t react the way a real man always would, they shoot him. The message is “Queers == Commies; kill them.” (And also, women. But women exist only to have boobs in that book.)

    Uh, the buxom woman in the novel was “Mary”, a field agent who ranked the protaganist, fights alongside him, and is critical to beating the baddies, right?

  141. Gulliver: Well, see my comments to Ozzie, below, regarding Stranger, which admittedly was written later. But given that The Puppetmasters is a McCarthyist tract, and that McCarthy also purged the homosexuals from the army (with the enthusiastic help of the vicious closet case Roy Cohn), it certainly seems likely that he meant it exacly as I read it. But your reading is certainly possible.

    Ozzie:

    As a SWM I never noticed any homophobia in Heinlein.

    Well, it wouldn’t be as memorable to you, of course.

    Don’t you remember the bit in Stranger in a Strange Land where Jill realizes that there’s no danger of inadvertently bringing homosexuals into the nest? Michael, you see, would “sense a wrongness” about “the poor in-betweeners,” and “they would never be offered water.”

    So yeah, I think that’s homophobia.

    My personal experience was different than yours. I am sorry that authors I have found so much joy in left you with a sense of being hated.

    Well, so am I. But it’s not like they didn’t actually hate me.

    I want to be sure of something. You do realize that not noticing Heinlein’s homophobia is an aspect of SWM privilege, right? Just as my white male privilege kept me from noticing Tolkien’s blatant sexism and jaw-droppingly blunt racism until college?

  142. No worries, Ozzie. I read it as you intended.

    gwangung:

    Not sure he picked up any clue later in life, but I like to think that he was a social libertarian as well as an economic one…

    No, I don’t think so. See my comments about SiaSL, and the quote therefrom about how homosexuals would automatically be excluded from water brotherhood.

    Phoenician:

    Uh, the buxom woman in the novel was “Mary”, a field agent who ranked the protaganist, fights alongside him, and is critical to beating the baddies, right?

    Is she? OK, I got that part wrong. Hey, it’s not like I reread that book after noticing what a piece of sliming it is.

    But yes: I got that wrong. Thank you.

    If there were a queer character who popped up and said “hey, don’t shoot me,” that would change my point. But THAT I would have remembered.

  143. @Xopher – no worries, I do understand my station in life is why I did not realize any homophobia. That is why I hesitated to respond. My experiences are based on an “insider” looking out. Not an outsider lookn in, which is probably why Native Son did not offend me.

  144. Or, for the less paranoid, there are web services like unshorten dot it and checkshorturl dot com. Both of those not only unshorten the url, but offer links to web safety sites like Web of Trust and Norton.

    That being said, it’s still not worth clicking natasha’s link. It’s “5 things that…” type link bait list article from a website that marks itself as being “in beta”.

  145. @Xopher

    But given that The Puppetmasters is a McCarthyist tract, and that McCarthy also purged the homosexuals from the army (with the enthusiastic help of the vicious closet case Roy Cohn), it certainly seems likely that he meant it exacly as I read it. But your reading is certainly possible.

    Well, not sure if my speculation qualifies as a reading until I get around to reading the novel :-/

    I’ll admit that I’d be hesitant to assume that because Heinlein agreed with McCarthy’s toxic form of anti-communist activism (which I distinguish from mere objection to communist principles), that it automatically follows he agreed with McCarthy’s homophobia.

    Stranger in a Strange Land was the first Heinlein I ever read on the recommendation of my dance partner, a bisexual woman who’s now in a long-term relationship with her girlfriend. I do recall that scene, but I also recall that Micheal’s point-of-view was that of the Martians which had no concept of gender, such that he was critical of discriminating about who to love based on it. That was my reading of it, anyway. I respect that you may have interpreted it differently.

  146. The self styled “geeky types” has always had a strong exclusionary and superior streak to them.

    What you’re describing isn’t about being a geek (because a lot of geeks are women) but about being straight white men. They’re just letting their privilege hang out of their asses, along with their asses, which they are happy to show everyone, certain no one but ‘whiners’ will be offended.

    Xopher, just dropping in to assure you that it’s not just gay people offended by the ‘happy asses’ running around making sure that everyone knows how much they don’t care about LGBT rights or the hurt they cause by pumping up this movie.

    Craptastic, if Xopher told me the moon was made of blue cheese, I’d take it on trust before I gave microgram of thought to your utterances.

  147. @Craptastic

    Xopher is not wrong about Michael being homophobic. Michael just happens to be heterophobic as well. Indeed, part of the widespread appeal of Stranger in the Strange Land is that Heinlein created a compelling characterization of how someone’s cultural background shapes their prejudices, and highlighted how cultural clash is actually prejudicial clash. In practice this becomes a critique of human prejudices through the eyes of someone raised by aliens, rather than vice versa, because the Martians do not actually exist to be critiqued. The fact that Michael’s implied homophobia is what stood out to Xopher is entirely understandable, given his background.

    When you fail to engage someone’s arguments and go straight for the insult, you loose credibility, in case it matters to you. For example, I could comment on the aptness of your handle, but I’ll refrain.

    @Ann Somerville

    What you’re describing isn’t about being a geek (because a lot of geeks are women) but about being straight white men.

    As long as we’re being pedantic, it’s about some straight white men (and possibly non-white, I don’t go to conventions) who self-style as geeks. In other words, it’s about being an ass, not being a soi-dissant geek or being a straight white man (or boy). Being an ass isn’t about anything other than being as ass. I know; like every person on Earth, I’ve been an ass on multiple ignominious occasions.

  148. Xopher, not to defend Heinlein against charges of either personal or professional–as in his writing–homophobia (because it will always be worth mentioning, when you notice something like that in a book), but he did write that line in Stranger in 1961. Wasn’t homosexuality still “officially” defined as a mental disorder until the 1970s? It seems to have been consistent with the cultural homophobia of the times, at least.

    Or I dunno. Maybe it’s just that I personally find it easier to read lines like that when I am also aware that the author was born in 1907 and is now dead and no longer writing. Doesn’t mean the line isn’t worth noticing; it just means that–for me–it becomes part of the larger critical analysis/response to the book than something that is actively causing harm in the year 2013. (Which it will, of course, if people DON’T pay attention to it and just accept it as written–that’s why it’s always worth mentioning, if you can follow my reasoning.)

  149. @Mary Frances

    You may be correct, but given that Stranger in a Strange Land is basically one long counter-cultural manifesto, I’m skeptical that Heinlein would bow to normative assumptions. It seems more likely to me that he was, if anything, unconsciously embodying those assumptions. Heinlein questioned more than most, but even he could not have questioned every single assumption underlying his own weltanschauung. I also suspect, based on the many contradictory messages throughout his oeuvre, that he often wrote character viewpoints, even for his protagonists, that he either did not wholly agree with, or which he later changed his mind about.

    If so, I quite sympathize, as I do the same and have never felt the slightest obligation for my protagonists to function as my mouthpieces, even if others may choose to read them as such (though this is somewhat mooted by my writing only for me). At the same time, if you do offer your work up for others to read, you’re inviting them to be more than passive participants, and, in addtion to being unable to stop them, it’s all around wise to acknowledge that their interpretations are as valid for them as yours are for you.

    Whatever else he was, Heinlein was what the Pierson’s Puppeteers would call an Experimentalist.

  150. Gulliver: Oh, I didn’t mean to imply that Heinlein was doing it consciously! I suspect not. It does appear to have been an assumption/attitude that was “in the air,” though, at the time when Stranger was written and published. I think I was just trying to make clear–to Xopher and to everyone–that that doesn’t make it any less an example of homophobia. Just a different sort of example from Card’s, maybe, but still worth noting as part of any cohesive interpretation of the text.

    Er–just noticed, I think I’m getting a bit off topic, here. Sorry, all. Thing is, I’ve found I can’t read Card anymore. I can still read Heinlein, dated as he is.

  151. Ozzie @ 2:06 PM – I noticed the same thing … interesting.

    I thought the movie could have been longer, with a little more of the Bean story inserted here & there. But even with the changes for the film adaptation, I thought they caught most of the core ideas – and especially a couple of the best quotes – very well.

    The only thing I didn’t care for in the movie is that the adult leaders are presented as more war-like, whereas the book showed pretty clearly that they were actually afraid. It changes the theme, subtly, to a “peace-loving kids :vs: war-loving adults” feeling, which is more shallow; IMO the YA audience would have had no trouble with complexity. The filmmakers could easily have done otherwise, so it must’ve been intentional.

    Hopefully a lot of moviegoers will pick up the book afterward & get the deeper perspective. It really is a good story.

  152. As long as we’re being pedantic, it’s about some straight white men (and possibly non-white, I don’t go to conventions) who self-style as geeks. In other words, it’s about being an ass, not being a soi-dissant geek or being a straight white man (or boy).

    Gulliver, I’m going to ask you to consider deeply whether (a) your ‘clarification’ was needed or helpful (given that I never claimed that *all* straight men behaved this way(; (b) whether the origin of *particular* assholery described in the comment I replied could be ascribed to the assholes being SWM; and (b) whether your privilege as a SWM allowed you the luxury of making such distinction between members of your group, when it is a luxury denied to members of actual oppressed minorities, the bad behaviour of other members of their group being assigned as a group characteristic, and group blame being assigned as a result thereof.

  153. @Ann Somerville

    It seemed like you were correcting a generalization about geeks by making a generalization about straight white males. I don’t think crypticmirror actually claimed that all geeks were exclusionary, any more than I believe your comment was meant to encompass all SWM. Rather, I think, in both cases that the lack of precise wording was the culprit.

    I do think that, in a general sense, specificity in who one is talking about is actually very important because inadvertent over-generalization reinforces a cultural mindset that tends to encourage thinking about behavior as being directly caused by group-membership, or, idiomatically speaking, pigeonholing. You’re absolutely correct that this is a problem of greater impact for members of marginalized groups, and in that sense the clarification was unnecessary for the benefit of SWM. That, however, was not why I proffered it. It is my belief that society must culturally change the way we think about groups abstractly, not only specific groups, if we are ever to be rid of or even alleviate the root memes that enable thinking about individuals as being collectively responsible for groups to which others have assigned them regardless of their own identities.

    whether the origin of *particular* assholery described in the comment I replied could be ascribed to the assholes being SWM

    Privilege makes it easier for many to ignore their assholery and its effects on those without the same privilege(s). They remain, however, responsible for whether they choose to take advantage of that relative impunity and insulation, or they take responsibility for the power their privilege invests in them by trying to undo the injustice it allows, either by eliminating the privilege or extending it universally until it no longer is a privilege (depending on the privilege so afforded, of course).

    whether your privilege as a SWM allowed you the luxury of making such distinction between members of your group, when it is a luxury denied to members of actual oppressed minorities, the bad behaviour of other members of their group being assigned as a group characteristic, and group blame being assigned as a result thereof.

    Absolutely. I was and am fully cognizant of my privilege in making that distinction. Moreover, it is one of those privileges that ought to be extended to all, not removed from those endowed with it.

  154. It seemed like you were correcting a generalization about geeks by making a generalization about straight white males.

    No, what I was doing was correcting the assumption that there is something peculiar to geekdom which produces exclusionary thought. It’s not a product of being a geek. It’s a product of privilege, dressed up as something ‘special’ about being a geek. The excuse of geekery is often offered in response to social assholery, as if geeks don’t know any better, or being an asshole is something that geeks are somehow ‘forced’ to do by virtue of being a geek.

    The reality is that the straight white male geeks who behave like shitheads in response to criticisms of misogynistic, homophobic or racist behaviour by their colleagues, are reacting out of SWM privilege and behaving identically to SWM non-geeks in similar situations. There is nothing about being a geek which demands laughing at LGBT protesters against Ender’s Game, or defiantly ignoring calls for a boycott because they think the issues are trivial. Such behaviour is completely compliant with outraged privilege – which doesn’t come from being a ‘geek’, but from having one’s considerably expansive comfort zone impinged on even a teeny bit.

    “it is one of those privileges that ought to be extended to all”

    Nice thought, but until that magical day comes, perhaps you could lay off parsing criticisms of the dominant group. Such parsing has the effect of deflecting and derailing discussions of the actual issue, which is not whether geeks are somehow socially defective by nature, but whether geekery is used as an excuse for what is perfectly ordinary SWM privilege in action.

  155. Meh. I read OSC when I was a kid, really enjoyed the Ender and Alvin Maker books–although even then something about them creeped me out–and tried to reread them when I was older. IMO they don’t hold up. OSC is a better writer than Ayn Rand, but he indulges in the same sort of deck-stacking, and grown-up me couldn’t buy into it. Ender Wiggin is a preadolescent Galt.

    In general, I find that “artists” telegraph their actual beliefs and motives pretty clearly in their work, and if the beliefs are creepy and vile, it bleeds through.

  156. @Ann Somerville

    are reacting out of SWM privilege

    This is, perhaps, the crux of our disagreement. While I agree that privilege enables the behavior in question, I do not believe it causes the behavior. Since the objective is to bring an end to the behavior, that strikes me as a pertinent distinction, not a derail. As you yourself noted, geekery is often touted as an excuse for bad behavior, when it’s no such thing. Why should the privileged conditions of be straight, white or a male be any more excuse?

    Such behaviour is completely compliant with outraged privilege – which doesn’t come from being a ‘geek’, but from having one’s considerably expansive comfort zone impinged on even a teeny bit.

    And yet not everyone who’s comfort zone is so impinged upon reacts with outrage. This suggests they have a choice in the matter, which in turn suggests culpability.

    Nice thought, but until that magical day comes

    There’s nothing magic about incremental social change.

  157. Gulliver, I ask again – do you think you are helping the understanding of the issues with this nitpicking? Of course people have a choice what to do with the emotions they feel – but the proximate cause of the emotions (anger at privilege being challenged) is the existence of privilege and the act of challenging it.

    Since the objective is to bring an end to the behavior, that strikes me as a pertinent distinction, not a derail.

    It really, really is derailing.

    Acknowledging that ‘geek’ antisocial activity is a result of unabashed privilege, not of being a geek, has to come before addressing how someone reacts to having privilege. While people are still excusing geeks for being geeks, arguing that not everyone with privilege behaves like an arsehole, is indeed distracting from the issue. Not all geeks act like arseholes either. That’s irrelevant to what’s behind their resistance to learning from criticism.

  158. @Ann, do you believe everyone so privileged is fated to feel the emotions to which those in question are reacting? Do you in fact think that is what’s behind their resistance?

  159. I guess some people need to feel that they are making a difference and if they feel better about boycotting OSC, then feeling good is important.

    I believe marriage should not be licensed by the state at all, nor even tracked; it is after all a social contract between two people. If you want to disabuse special interest groups of an arbitrary ability to assert control of anyone’s personal relationship, then support a true marriage reform.

    Consider this, while it’s presently unforeseeable, expanding marriage to same sex couples could be reversed in the unlikely event that momentum changes years from now. Looking back on history, cultures have shifted from ultraliberal to ultraconservative countless times. The current momentum may be temporary at best.

    I see same sex marriage as giving more power to the government in the disguise of being fair and providing equal access under the law. It gives more useless politicians something else to get elected by in the disguise of representing their constituents.

    Be careful that any spite towards OSC does not end up spiting us all. We need real, thoughtful reform.

  160. “do you believe everyone so privileged is fated to feel the emotions to which those in question are reacting?”

    No. But a lot more of us privileged people feel instinctive anger when our axis(es) of privilege are infringed until our better angels get control, than a lot of us are prepared to admit. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you felt the need to jump to the defence of straight white men, when SWM are not under threat.

    And of course, not everyone lets their better angels take the wheel.

  161. “We need real, thoughtful reform.”

    Using the drive for equal marriage to push your own hobby horse about marriage is (a) pie in the sky unrealistic (b) insulting to people who can’t get married in the present system (c) unhelpful and (d) a dick move. Like the argument that marriage has ‘always’ been for one man and one woman (it hasn’t), it’s morally and intellectually bereft, and yet there’s always someone who wants to derail in this very ‘special’ way.

  162. @UnRiel

    I guess some people need to feel that they are making a difference and if they feel better about boycotting OSC, then feeling good is important.

    Condescending and dismissive. Not the finest opening.

    I believe marriage should not be licensed by the state at all, nor even tracked; it is after all a social contract between two people.

    One of the nearly universally acknowledged legitimate roles of government (certain schools of anarchism notwithstanding) is the enforcement of contracts. It must be aware of the contracts to enforce them.

    If you want to disabuse special interest groups of an arbitrary ability to assert control of anyone’s personal relationship, then support a true marriage reform.

    That’s a red herring. If there were a law stipulating that only men could own and operate businesses (as there once was in all then-extant States), there would be no reason for women to accept the abolition of business licensing as the sole path to equal status under the law. Marriage is no different. The right to marry is a subset of the right to free association. Without it, a person is not a full citizen. Asking people to stand for injustice until some much more improbable condition is met is patent nonsense. While you may not like that the government licenses marriage (and I don’t either), we live in a democratic republic and are subject to laws with which we may disagree. So long as the law exists, it should be equal for all. Arguing against an unjust law is not an argument for its unequal application.

    Consider this, while it’s presently unforeseeable, expanding marriage to same sex couples could be reversed in the unlikely event that momentum changes years from now.

    So could a total repeal of marriage licensing. That, in fact, has already happened once in history as neither the Federal government nor the States licensed marriage to begin with. That expansion could happen again following the even more unlikely event that government relinquished the authority to license marriage. But hypothetical scenarios are not compelling arguments against equality under the law.

    Looking back on history, cultures have shifted from ultraliberal to ultraconservative countless times. The current momentum may be temporary at best.

    That’s an extremely poor argument for any unequal treatment under the law.

    I see same sex marriage as giving more power to the government in the disguise of being fair and providing equal access under the law.

    Then what you see is incredibly one-sided. Equal treatment under the law is not a disguise for anything. It’s an end in itself. As long as the government licenses marriages, it has that power. Discriminatorily exercising it unequally does not weaken the government, but it does weaken the group being discriminated against.

    Be careful that any spite towards OSC does not end up spiting us all.

    Card’s activism goes well beyond his opposition to marriage equality. Why would you assume that opposing his agenda is done out of spite? Do you really think that’s more important to most who support marriage equality than, you know, marriage equality? The goal here is to create equal treatment under the law, not kick some sand in Card’s face.

    @Ann Somerville

    If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you felt the need to jump to the defence of straight white men, when SWM are not under threat.

    I didn’t. I felt the need to remark on how non-parsed generalizations perpetuate the very fabric of the problem, even when the person using them doesn’t mean to generalize. I accept that I could have done that more directly than gently mocking your parsing of crypticmirror’s (probably) unintentional use of a generalization by nitpicking your own word choice. That said, I do believe you. And while I don’t believe it was my motivation in this instance – and, indeed, I thought about whether I was doing it out of some sense of injured privilege when I first replied to your response to crypticmirror – I’m self-honest about the fact that I am not a priori immune to feeling threatened when my privileges are addressed.

    However, I do think we have gone off topic for this particular thread, albeit not the issue of unjust discrimination in general, and that the lion’s share of the blame for that lies with me. So although I do not wish to use that as a rear-guard excuse to stop engaging with you, I humbly recommend we wrap this up and get back to the mainline.

  163. I’m seeing evidence of both the Libertarian Dismount on the issue of marriage and general wandering from the actual topic at hand, here. Let’s tighten it up again, folks. Stick to the actual topic on hand, not wholly aside the point attempts to drag the discussion into general blatheration about very large social issues which will not be resolved (or even addressed in any useful way) in this comment thread, or general discussion of Heinlein and other authors who are not OSC.

  164. I’m glad I brought Ann and Gulliver together :)

    “One of the nearly universally acknowledged legitimate roles of government (certain schools of anarchism notwithstanding) is the enforcement of contracts. It must be aware of the contracts to enforce them.”

    Yes, enforce contracts but not to define their content.

    “Why would you assume that opposing his agenda is done out of spite?”

    Trying to deny him profits is done out of spite. He may be completely wrong, but he is using his wealth and influence on something he believes in within this ridiculous political system that supports him and you. You merely aim to counter HIM and those that see marriage in the narrow tradition definition, rather than what gives him/them a say against those he disagrees with.

    “That’s an extremely poor argument for any unequal treatment under the law.”

    I eliminated the paragraph where I conceded that amending the law to FIRST expand the privilege to all genders was fine, but it was a first step but not the final one on marriage legality. I thought it redundant at the time; I’m clearly not arguing OSC’s side.

    “Condescending and dismissive. Not the finest opening.”

    Yes, I was going to remove this and left it in and your advise in retrospect is good. But to read all Anne’s nonsense about privilege set me off a bit. Talk about having an agenda to use guilt and admonishment as a bat or knife. Asserting this intangible is something I’ve come across mostly in black liberation theorists; this was the first time I’ve read it applied this way.

  165. This is beyond me. Geez, Louise. The book was fantastic with a lot of ideas coming from several angles. And, no, I don’t subscribe to Card’s religious or political beliefs, but come on. The Expression, if it matters one iota, transcends. It rises above the self absorbed field of yin and yang, good and bad, this and that. Ender’s Game, in my opinion, is its own. I’m thankful Card’s Muse was working overtime when he wrote that novel down. We’d all be the lesser for it.

    My opinion only. Barabim baraboom.

  166. @Gulliver: do you really believe that talking about the existence cultural mores and community norms is the same as saying “all black people are X”? Or that recognizing certain tropes and norms exist in SFF fandom is the equivalent of “every single person in that community holds that exact belief”? You know this is silly. If I were talking about a positive community norm – for example, if I said that ‘the SFF community encourages new ideas in writing’ – you might disagree with it, or point out countervailing norms, or suggest I was overgeneralizing – but I doubt you would express exaggerated bafflement and draw analogies to racism.

    @UnRiel, you have a very odd definition of ‘spite’, which seems to be simply shorthand for ‘no tagbacks’. If it’s acceptable for a person to state their political beliefs, spend money to enact those beliefs, and then persuade others to do the same, then that is true whether or not the person is an author of whom you’re a fan.

  167. @UnRiel

    I’m glad I brought Ann and Gulliver together

    Hardly. Despite our disagreements, I have a lot of respect for Ann.

    Yes, enforce contracts but not to define their content.

    I don’t entirely agree with that either – government has, IMO, a legitimate role in regulating the conditions under which contracts are entered into (and hence their content) in order to ensure that they are truly consensual since an agreement made under duress is coercive and thus antithetical to my civil libertarian leanings – but discussing the issue would be completely off topic so we’ll table that for another time. However, I was responding to your part about government not tracking social contracts. That too is off topic, so some other time.

    I eliminated the paragraph where I conceded that amending the law to FIRST expand the privilege to all genders was fine, but it was a first step but not the final one on marriage legality.

    You should have left it in. Without it your argument sounded like an all-or-nothing false dichotomy.

    But to read all Anne’s nonsense about privilege set me off a bit. Talk about having an agenda to use guilt and admonishment as a bat or knife.

    Privilege is not about guilt and admonishment, nor is it intangible. It’s about how society systemically treats people differently based on circumstances beyond their control, as opposed to merit. Someone cannot be guilty for actions of others beyond their control. They can, however, choose how to react to that.

    When the privilege is harmful, i.e. the ability to coerce and abuse those without it, the least they should do is not take advantage of that ability. But power confers responsibility, and the righteous thing to do is to eliminate the privilege by empowering those whom it disadvantages. When the privilege is beneficial, i.e. a liberty that does not infringe on the liberties of others, the very least they should do is recognize that not everyone is working from the same advantageous liberty. The righteous thing to do is to extend those liberties to all, at which point they no longer become a privilege (private law). None of this happens overnight, and no one can rationally expect even those with and without privilege working together to move mountains. But we can all carry a few stones and all it costs us is a little occasional inconvenience. Sounds like a good deal to me.

    Is it possible that you react defensively to the concept of privilege because you perceive others, correctly or not, as using it accusatorily? I submit that even if some people do mistake privilege for culpability, not everyone who understands it exists does, nor does that mistake alter the nature of privilege itself. The trouble with emotional reactions to emotional reactions is that it can color how one reacts any time the topic is raised, causing one to assume more than is condign about anyone who brings it up.

    In any event, I’m quite convinced, based both on past discussions with Ann and this one, that she understands privilege and does not blame herself or anyone else for being afforded it by society. In point of fact, that was one reason I asked her to clarify, as I would have been most surprised to discover she did.

    @mythago

    Gulliver: do you really believe that talking about the existence cultural mores and community norms is the same as saying “all black people are X”?

    Not the same, no. I do believe that generalization in the way we think about groups contributes systemically to a wide range of stereotypes. Some of those stereotypes are immensely more harmful than others, or harmful in different ways. You are, I would guess, familiar with the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis? The way we talk about other people effects the way we think about other people, most especially in the abstract regarding faceless agglomerations of people we don’t personally know.

    That said, I was simply surprised that you would stereotype a community of which you yourself are an active member of…more active, if I may say, than myself. It sounded odd. But I did not mean to suggest it was the same as being racist, and if that’s the message I sent, then I apologize. It wasn’t my intention to insult you.

  168. I’m not sure Card’s % of Gross is really the issue for me – if this film does well (especially if it does amazingly well) people will think “that Mr Card chap writes books that do well as films” and go and *make more*. I want the film people to instead think “that Mr Card is a toxic name to have on your film; let us not adapt his books, let us instead make films that will not have toxic names all over their advertising”. I’m sure he’s been paid well already, maybe he’ll get more from this film and maybe not – but another film would surely be a whole truckload more money for him.

    And yes, this is also “punishing” studio execs and other people with a good % of Gross (everyone else presumably already got paid everything they were expecting to ever get paid); but surely those are exactly the people who could have said “oh hell to the no, I am not working on anything associated with him” (not least because they presumably have other options for work), if everyone with power in Hollywood said that then the film would not have happened.

  169. Boxofficemojo has it making $28 million this weekend. That’s in 3,407 theaters. It also took in $9 million combined in the international market. Its production budget is listed as $110 million.

    So an OK start, but not a great start. It’s no Gravity at this point. Card did say that unless it totally tanked, the release of Ender’s Game would open up the possibility of more movies based on his books.

  170. “But to read all Anne’s nonsense about privilege set me off a bit.”

    Yes, precisely. You saw your privilege being challenged, and so, expending no more time on reading what I wrote and trying to understand it than you did on checking on how to spell my name, you launched an attack to make sure that I was suitably chastened for not knowing my place.

    Thank you for proving my point about SWM so neatly.

    “I’m glad I brought Ann and Gulliver together”

    You make no better social director than you do a social engineer. Fortunately the use of what Scalzi calls the Libertarian Dismount means that I can happily ignore everything else you write, as water from a barren well.

  171. Considering that “Ender’s Game” is the least problematic of all his works, what exactly are they going to make into a movie?

    The Folk of the Fringe?

  172. On that point… When I was a teenager, I did indeed read “Ender’s Game” and thought it was amazing, it spoke so deeply to me the High IQ but picked upon kid, that really my day would come when I would show them all… And I rushed to the Library to check out what ever other Orson Scott Card book they had there. And it was “The Folk of the Fringe”.

    And enlightenment about the concept of “Author as Demagogue” came upon me.

  173. @jayrblanc what exactly are they going to make into a movie?

    Ainge

    I honestly don’t know but he says he’s got a dozen stories ready to go Hollywood. I suspect he’s more familiar with his work than I am.

  174. Me, I’m looking for a Mistborn movie, a Steelheart movie, a Way of Kings movie, a Redshirts movie (and screw the meta), and an Old Man’s War movie before ANY more weepy believe-in-yourself adolescent Morality Porn. PLEASE. I am sick and tired of generic, white, male adolescents learning to believe in themselves. I want the street girl of an oppressed ethnicity who learns to be badass, the low-caste slave who becomes a hero, and the redshirts who gradually become genre savvy, not some generic, bland SWM who learns to “believe in himself”. All of the really interesting heroes already believe in themselves. Except for Kaladin Stormblessed, but he kind of had that self-belief beaten out of him. And he isn’t an SWM anyway–in his society, he’s a black dude under Jim Crow (at best).

    (/rant)

  175. Unriel: Ann and Gulliver and Scalzi and mythago have said everything I would say. Go home and read Atlas Shrugged again.

    Ann:

    You make no better social director than you do a social engineer. Fortunately the use of what Scalzi calls the Libertarian Dismount means that I can happily ignore everything else you write, as water from a barren well.

    While I generally agree with you on issues, I often disagree with the way you put things. Here, however, you speak for me as well. Shorter me: This. So very this.

    jayrblanc:

    Considering that “Ender’s Game” is the least problematic of all his works, what exactly are they going to make into a movie?

    Hopefully nothing ever.

  176. Eric Flint and China Miéville are both Socialists and as such, adherents to a political philosophy that has (amongst other faults) been much more oppressive to gays than Mormonism. Should I refrain from buying their books?

  177. Should I refrain from buying their books?

    Are they actively giving money to hate campaigns? Do they openly and frequently call for the imprisonment of gay people? Are they homophobic douchenozzles?

    Then no.

    “adherents to a political philosophy that has (amongst other faults) been much more oppressive to gays than Mormonism”

    Oh please. The countries with the best human rights records on LGBT issues (and everything else) currently are all socialist or left leaning. Like Iceland. Even Britain, with a rightwing conservative government that has just legalised gay marriage, has a national health system and abides by the kinds of civic principles that American wingnuts demounce as communist.

    Weak sauce trolling. Try harder.

  178. Had computer problems, so I’ve been off, but let’s see if I can tie a derail into the topic. (Avoiding the Libertarian dismount, though.)

    Gulliver, m’dear, let me see if I can put this debate with Ann into terms that make sense to you. You know how when we’re talking about women and sexual harassment/assault/rape, and how men will often do these acts towards women out of a sense of privilege to do it and justify or explain away their actions from privilege/entitlement? And then someone, usually a guy, will pop up and say, “you know men get raped and sexually assaulted too!” as if the women discussing the issue and their circumstances don’t know that? (Also known as mansplaining.) In fact, feminist movements actually championed greater awareness of men being sexual assault victims too, and that these issues were problems for the whole society, not just women.

    But that doesn’t meant that men who do sexually assault and harass men or women aren’t acting out of privilege as members of the dominant group and that this can’t be discussed. But those in the dominant group get nervous because their privilege is being discussed and so worry that we must be posing all men — who have privilege — as acting on it to be sexual harassers and rapists, and that therefore we must be corrected and schooled that some men are good men who aren’t and other men do and hey, privilege has nothing to do or little to do with their behavior, or at the least the good men must be mentioned first as existing before you can have the conversation about the issue.

    Which is an exercising of the privilege of the dominant group to insist that what they think is most important gets talked about in any discussion of such issues — namely that some guys are not sexual assaulters — a fact that nobody actually needs pointed out to them. The need to insert it into the conversation usually comes out of privilege, often unconscious, or a belief in privilege.

    So that’s what you did with Ann, Gulliver. She was making an argument that those men acting as assholes with the justification that it’s because they were geeks, were instead acting like assholes because as SWM’s with privilege, they decided that this entitled them to act like assholes. She was talking about a specific group of men.

    And yet, you felt compelled to make the statement that not all SWM’s with privilege were assholes, just like not all men are sexual assaulters — as if Ann or others somehow did not know and understand this, and as if Ann were talking about all SWM’s, when she was quite clearly talking about a group of SWM exhibiting a behavior, a behavior that is privileged and thus is connected to them having privilege. You mansplained a fact that everybody knew and which was unnecessary to state and which did not actually have to do with what Ann was saying.

    You asserted what you felt was most important into it — that some men are good, which was again an act of privilege, moving the conversation away from Ann’s topic. It is a reflex action from those in the dominant group in any discussion that touches at all on privilege — hey, some of us are good, don’t forget that, you have to mention that too, clearly you are lumping us together as bad. But she doesn’t have to mention it because she wasn’t lumping all males together; it was your privilege (and your open-heartedness,) that made you see it as a threat at first.

    How does this relate to the topic? We’ve had a lot of defensiveness from folk who like the book and are seeing/will see the movie. Defensiveness that insists that Card’s speech should be free (which it should,) but that the people protest boycotting the film and book should not have free speech and should shut up. Should not be doing it, because Card and the film studio need to earn a living, never mind that Card’s activism has been to keep in place or enact unconstitutional laws to prevent gay people from making a living, or living at all. (There are 29 states where you can get fired not only for being gay but just because your boss decides he thinks you’re gay.) Or despite that the protestors are not enacting laws to keep Card from making a living or speaking freely. They’re simply pointing out what he’s already said publicly.

    Should not be going after the book/movie because gay people don’t have it that bad. Should not be bugging people who like the book/movie because they are separate and those people aren’t bad people and don’t have a problem with gay marriage. Some of the heterosexual folk who like the book/movie want to make very sure that the gay folk and their allies — who are trying to just have a discussion, which hopes to make things better for gay fans in SFFH and in general — are very clear that they are not raving bigots and that distinction is made. It’s another version of “men get raped too!”

    Card’s remarks and activism can’t be undone. So some people keep trying to disassociate from that miasma and stress that this disassociation is the most important thing. Card has to be separate from his work to all. The protest boycotters can’t be upset that people don’t participate. The protest boycotters should go away entirely, even though they have skin in the game for their lives and futures, and the rest of us are just dealing with one movie.

    The gay people here have been incredibly patient with some of the straight people straightsplaining that not all straight people are evil, which they actually know, and hey, shouldn’t you gay folk relax about Card and Ender’s Game (and Heinlein.) Free speech is everybody’s free speech. Card had his turn. Gay people get theirs too, no matter how uncomfortable it makes straight people. And in that turn, gay people do not have to first reassure straight people that they know some of them are nice and don’t hate them before talking about Card and protesting against him, just because straight people are used to having the privilege to demand the distinction.

  179. @Bill, cease to be a Right Wing trollboi asshole – Most of Europe is more socialist than Russia, who is what you laughably meant by “socialist oppression”, right?

    Wrong. If you want to play, you’ll have to do better than that….

  180. Oh, and @Bill? Calling you out as a “Right Wing trollboi asshole” is not denying YOUR “Free Speech Rights” (or however you choose to misinterpret the First Amendment) – it’s simply exercising my own in response….

  181. @Kat Goodwin – excellent post in response.

    I will confess, I’m as guilty as the next Straight White Male at “But I’m not like that!” – and you’re right, it is very much like handling down the tablets from Mount Sinai. It’s something I’m watching out for now that I’m more aware of what fuels it….

  182. @floored by Scalzi’s awesomeness – Yeah, there really is a “Let’s do SF about Young White Dudes, or Young Black Dudes Playing Roles Written for Young White Dudes, and Have Them Learn Valuable Life Lessons!” It’s a bit like SOUTH PARK’s mocking endings, “I learned something today….”

    Though yes, ENDER’S GAME got a #1 first weekend, a $28 million one sounds a bit…low, doesn’t it…?

  183. Of course, all this is easier for me b/c I couldn’t get through ENDER’S GAME, even before I knew jack about Card’s politics or religion. I found it reminded me, and not in a good way, of what Dr. Frankenstein says to the Monster in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN – “People laugh at you, people hate you, but why do they hate you? Because they are jealous!” It’s entirely possible I was too old for it by the time it came out – rather than speaking to me, it read like it was pandering to somebody it thought I was.

    I strongly suspect it hits people so personally because in some ways, it’s a lot like ATLAS SHRUGGED – or rather, it speaks to the same smart but nerdy guy (and it’s usually a guy) who gets picked on a lot. It tells them, like Dr. Frankenstein, “They hate you because they’re jealous!” It’s basically a flavor of wish-fulfillment – the “noble” one where you flagellate yourself for something you are blameless for, just to show What a Wonderful Human Being You Are.

    On balance? I prefer ATLAS SHRUGGED’s flavor of wish-fulfillment. Sure it’s self-centered to the point of sociopathy – but I got all that “self-sacrifice” crap from my religious conservative parents and our church growing up, and unlike Card I came to find it just as self-serving as Rand’s “Virtue of Selfishness”. Neither is very realistic or wise (just look at the last thirty years of Republican Misrule!), but there’s something there that speaks to intelligent and disaffected youth, at least for a time….

  184. @Kat:
    Nice comment. I know it was addressed to Gulliver, but it did a rather good job of clarifying issues I’m wrestling with. I’m at a point in my life (young adulthood) where I’m attempting to better understand how I come across to people with different backgrounds than my own – since up until now I’ve been part of RL communities that were homogeneous in many ways*. My own privilege is very difficult for me to see. Still working on it.

    Anyway, I’m sorry that you (and so many others) have to keep explaining over and over concepts like privilege to various persons like me, who have never been required in their lives to think consciously about it before. It must be frustrating, like repeatedly thumping your head against a wall. (A wall that yells back at you, “WHY ARE YOU MAKING SO MUCH NOISE?”)

    This comment is also a belated apology for making an ass of myself in the comments section of the other OSC post back in July. I didn’t even know I was being an ass, but hey! I was! Eesh. Sorry.

    And because I want to be at least a little on-topic: I hope the Old Man’s War movie gets made. I understand why its success might be associated with the Ender’s Game movie. The books of the OMW series are certainly marketed to reach the same audience (all that snazzy John Harris cover art and such). It looks like EG will make its money back (at least overseas) so that’s good – it won’t be a black mark against the subgenre. The door’s still open.

    *(Asterisk added in post preview): Or that I only thought were homogenous. Because as a member of the dominant group(s), I was unable to see otherwise. Agh, I’m not very good at this yet.

  185. @timeliebe — ” Calling you out as a “Right Wing trollboi asshole” is not denying YOUR “Free Speech Rights” “. . . but it is a classic ad hominem, and has strong “straw man” leanings. Calling me an “asshole” for simply asking a question that casts the assumptions behind the boycott in a different light is hardly conducive to . . . anything.

    And your assumption that I’m “Right Wing” says more about your prejudices than mine.

    And yet the question still stands. It’s clear than many here believe that gay rights are a value over which economic boycotts are appropriate. Socialism is antithetical to _all_ human rights — everything is the state’s, including the individual.

    Socialist governments are starving hundreds of thousands today in North Korea; starved tens of millions in China and in Russia; and murdered outright well over a million in Cambodia.

    Far more people have been killed in the name of socialism than homophobia; many more have been imprisoned for opposing socialism than for being gay; socialist policies have torn apart many more lives than anti-gay marriage laws ever could. Why does it get a pass?

    I submit that socialism is a far greater threat to human rights than homophobia, and those who would boycott an author for homophobic views yet don’t do the same for socialist views are at least inconsistent in their views and hypocritical at worst.

  186. Socialism is antithetical to _all_ human rights — everything is the state’s, including the individual.

    Contrafactual.

    Also, please note that some people around here have lived under the various systems termed socialist and can tell you’re just shoveling bullshit. You’re bereft of real life experience and you’re extremely sloppy with your definitions.

    You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

  187. wow, bill. That’s such an incredible flame-bait-y derail that I can’t imagine how you could see the track even without all the smoke.

  188. Ender’s Game is a shitty story.

    It embraces genocide to the point that it portrays Ender as entirely ignorant of the genocide he is committing and therefore morally free of any repercussions. Think about that for even a second:

    Ender engages in genocide and doesn’t have to feel bad about it for a second.

    That is the epitome of war porn.

    The only appeal to the story that I can find is that it completely and totally embraces the fresh prince’s lyrics of “Parents just don’t understand”, portraying the adults as brutal, lying, corrupt, mistreatment towards children, which is a great way to get chidren reading the book to like it. Kids read the book and might think, “Yeah, adults are totally like that”. But then quite a few of those kids grow up, reread the book, and find it doesn’t have the same enchantment for them that it used to.

    Yeah, because the book plays into a child’s overly simplistic view of the world, and when a lot of people grow up, that view no longer resonates.

    Ender’s Game has all the subtlety and maturity and understanding of the human condition as Rambo 38.

  189. tldr: this thread appears to sum up into two camps:

    camp1: you should totally not see this xenophobic, genocidal, war porn, violently voyeristic childish movie because the author is also homophobic.

    camp2: I really want to see this xenophobic, genocidal, war porn, violently voyeristic childish movie and it shouldn’t matter that the author is homophobic.

    and I am agog that homophobia is the only thing people see wrong with this picture.

  190. Guys…can’t we just admit that it’s a shitty movie, and is even worse than the book despite removing the homophobia, and just leave it at that?

    Also, I wrote up a big rant to post at the laughable troll who doesn’t know what socialism is, but I was smart and I refreshed before I posted a 3000-word comment, thus saving Our Host the trouble of deleting my off-topic rant. :D

  191. Timeliebe: When I read Ender’s Game long ago, before knowing anything about Card, for me it was a story about manipulation into violence and child abuse. The manipulation of Ender is a deliberate parallel to the manipulation of the public into accepting war and other violence and abuse, (pre-shadowing Iraq and also related to the many Cold War battles like Vietnam, which had a huge impact on Card’s generation.)

    Ender is a little boy in an authoritarian society. He is told what to do and how to do it. He has to do it to survive and succeed. He does things to please the adults, and to rebel against them in acting out. He acts as a very smart child. He is torn between the philosophies of his sister, who is highly suspicious of adults and violence, and his brother, who is very dangerous and might kill them, but who also is achieving power and freedom manipulating the adults right back. He is encouraged by cold, scared adults to be ruthless, to be a sociopath. He is abused and encouraged to abuse others. He turns his back on all of it, deciding to show the adults what happens if he goes to the logical extreme of what they demand, so that they will kick him out as too crazy and he’ll be free. He plays in the reality that they have shaped for him. And then he finds that reality is false, and he has done things that he can never ever undo when he was finally trying to break free, not do what the adults wanted and end the abuse.

    That Card wants an authoritarian society in real life and is pretty much like the adults he was condemning in the novel, including advocating genocide and violence, is an irony that has not been lost on most who have read the book. The book was not a YA novel. It was released in the adult market. It was only hocked to the YA audience because of the increasing insistence in the market that anything with a protagonist under the age of 18 should be considered YA.

    As Floored noted, a lot of the YA stories are a young person — male or female — who learns life lessons. That’s because the point of children’s and YA fiction is to look at thorny issues of children and teens and teach them how to cope with them and have life skills. Ender’s Game, because it isn’t YA, does and does not do this. It was a book about savagery towards children and encouraged savagery between children — which is why it took over thirty years to get it turned into a movie. It’s a book about manipulation, propaganda, sociopathy, and the darker issues of military strategy. It’s a complicated, messy book.

    CRash: I have my own privilege on straight, white, etc. axises, so I have people thumping their heads on the walls of my cluelessness quite often.

    That Scalzi’s OMW is with the same developer as Ender obviously makes a bit of a difference because a company suffering losses does not usually go forth with pricey projects and SF is more expensive. However Lionsgate/Summit have had huge losses before. They also have the Hunger Games franchise, the Expendables franchise, the Saw franchise, Tyler Perry’s movies, etc.; they’ve had great luck with SFF, and they also take fliers on small independent films that don’t make a ton of money. So I’m reasonably confidant that even if Ender’s Game tanks overseas and peters out in the U.S. that this will not effect Scalzi’s chances. Personally, though, I’d like to see a t.v. show set in that whole universe.

  192. I loved the book and the movie was not bad either. I think people here even if they liked it will not say so because they are suppose to support the cause. The movie is not bad compared to many others. Most that I have seen call it bad here are also the same ones against OSC anyway. Seems they have their own phobia.
    If/when OWM is made into a move there may be people who point out anti-religeous (another phobia) postings or comments he has made and cry for a boycott.
    Lots of things have been said about OSC, other than his guy marriage stance without any reference at all. It’s a movie completely detached for gay rights.

  193. Kat: it was a story about manipulation into violence and child abuse

    Except it wasn’t presented as a manipulation, it was presented as this is how the world works, this is what you must learn and accept to succeed in life. And once Ender completely imerses himself in the brutality of violence, he wins the war.

    There would have to be some sort of “falseness” to the violence for it to be a manipulation. There is no such falseness in the novel. Violence is the way things work, the only way to survive.

    There would have to be some sort of hidden downside to the chest thumping that the adults ingrain into Ender. For example, saying in March of 2003 that we must invade iraq because there are WMD’s (which the president knew was a lie) and that we would be in and out in 6 months (which the pentagon generals knew was a lie) would be a manipulation. Then once we invade, we find out the downside hidden behind those lies.

    There was no downside to Ender’s story. He achieved maximum violence. He won the war. He saved the human race. The only manipulation was that he was told it was all a simulation when it was real combat. But even then, Ender was presented as the smartest strategist, human’s best and only hope. Therefore, Ender’s culmination of the war was the best possible outcome for humanity. If anyone else had been in command, humans may have still won, but they would have sufffered more losses (because no one was as smart as Ender), or humans would have lost and been wiped out by the bugs.

    Ender’s victory is, in every way, morally clean. It is the perfect, moral, good war. Ender can wipe out an entire race of aliens, and in the end, walk away with a completely clean conscience. He was the best hope for the fewest human casulaties, and in the end, he didn’t know he was killing real aliens.

    Now, if the story had been about an American soldier lied into fighting in Vietnam, or an American soldier lied into fighting in Iraq, or Afghanistan, and when he comes out on the other side of that, he realizes that everything they’d told him about the “enemy” was a lie, that a lot of fighting would end up killing innocent civilians, that fighting the real war was no where as clean as fighting the war he was sold in the beginning, that he’d have a high chance of getting PTSD that no one ever mentioned, then that would be a manipulation.

    While “Ender’s Game” could be read as a story about manipulation by authority to get people to fight an immoral war, OSC didn’t actually write that into the story. As far as I can tell, the story OSC wrote, the one that is in black and white, is a story that embraces the authoritarian violence, the genocide, the abuse, as a neccessary component to growing up.

    Ender isn’t scarred by his experience at the end of Ender’s Game. He doesn’t suffer PTSD. He doesn’t have a “my god, what have I done” reaction. His reaction to finding out what he had actually committed genocide amounted to “aw shucks”.

  194. @Kat Goodwin

    She was making an argument that those men acting as assholes with the justification that it’s because they were geeks, were instead acting like assholes because as SWM’s with privilege, they decided that this entitled them to act like assholes.

    The operative word in that statement, the entirety of which I agree with wholeheartedly, seems to be decided.

    I don’t want every discussion to be prefaced with an acknowledgment for decent whatevers. If that’s the signal I sent, perhaps I did it poorly. I’ll have to reflect on the rest of what you said.

    Even though I think Ender’s Game is an overrated (but not bad) novel, I appreciate your counterpoint to Greg and Floored’s analyses. As a storyteller, it’s always fascinating to me to see what different people get out of a story.

  195. I will say that Card’s particular brand of crazy does make me feel ambivalent about seeing the movie, which is unfortunate, because I am otherwise inclined to go out and see science fiction movies, even if they’re not very good. (Sat through Oblivion).

    Greg: IIRC, the sequel to Ender’s Game includes a lot of time where Ender is haunted by having been a “Xenocide”. It’s been a very long time since I read them, but I seem to remember them almost being preachy about how you shouldn’t hate the “other”, and that Ender’s crimes couldn’t be forgiven by his heroism.

    Imagine that must have been a different time in OSC’s life, because trying to imagine him writing about that today is… difficult.

  196. “he operative word in that statement, the entirety of which I agree with wholeheartedly, seems to be decided.”

    I give up. Gulliver, I’ve tried to tackle your mansplaining before, and you seemed to get it, only to find you’ve forgotten everything you apparently learned before. Kat’s explained the problem, I’ve explained the problem, other people have explained the problem to you in other threads, and yet you still insist on nitpicking and rules lawyering every attempt to talk about SWM privilege under the guise of fairness.

    I’m sorry to say that you are as big a part of the SWM issue as any misbehaving geek is. They do the bad, you provide the cover. They can count on guys like you, that’s why they’ll never change. Just as authors who misuse their talents to abuse minorities can count on the ‘freeze peach’ crew to provide cover for them.

    I’m done trying to reason with you on this or anything else. My blood pressure and health won’t stand it. I say this while acknowledging your lack of conscious ill intention. That doesn’t mitigate the harm you’re doing to the LGBT and female participants in these discussions by your constant, apparently indomitable desire to prove you control the conversation when it touches on your many axes of privilege.

    For everyone else – yes, geeks do *decide* that being a geek entitles them to behave like sociopathic weirdos. They’re proud of it. They throw it out like a badge of honour when challenged.

    Greg: not evervyone here has read the book so can only engage with the ‘will seeing this movie empower/provide cover to Card’s homophobia’ argument. Xopher and other people covered the problems with the actual book/film in other threads. Scalzi’s post is about the former argument this time.

  197. Ann: I give up. Gulliver, I’ve tried to tackle your mansplaining

    Oh, this is getting ridiculous.

    cryptic: The self styled “geeky types” has always had a strong exclusionary and superior streak to them.

    Ann: What you’re describing isn’t about being a geek (because a lot of geeks are women) but about being straight white men.

    Gulliver: As long as we’re being pedantic, it’s about some straight white men (and possibly non-white, I don’t go to conventions) who self-style as geeks.

    Ann: I’m going to ask you to consider deeply whether (a) your ‘clarification’ was needed or helpful (given that I never claimed that *all* straight men behaved this way

    The advantage of the term “privilege” is that it unburden’s the speaker/accuser from having to engage in identify-friend-or-foe queries. Some people who like using the term “privilege”, like it specifically because it does exactly that, some people like talking about “privilege” because they never have to use the word “some” ever again. And some people get their shit all tied up in knots if anyone dare re-inject the word “some” back into the discussion when they would rather talk about how everyone in some class or another has “privilege”.

    Why?

    Because all a person has to do to “prove” privilege is point at the person’s skin, gender, or orientation, and they do NOT have to be bothered with what behavior that person did or did not engage in.

    Are you white? Then you’re “privileged” by fiat.

    But this is the thing. Cryptic and Gulliver were talking about behaviors of people. Poeple behaving like assholes. Sexist, and homophobic assholes. And discussing behavior like that requires the use of the word some.

    You attempted to turn the conversation into one of “privilege”, which then conveniently for you turns it away from individual behavior and turns it towards what race, gender, or orientation the person has, rather than what behavior the person does.

    As far as I can tell, Gulliver has remained focused on individual behavior, and has therefore not switched over to using your class-based approach of invoking “privilege”, and because he has remained focused on indivudla behavior, and because not every member in a class exhibits that behavior, he has stood by the correct notion of using the word “some”.

    you still insist on nitpicking and rules lawyering every attempt to talk about SWM privilege under the guise of fairness.

    Well, “nitpicking and rules lawyering” is what it might look like from the point of view of someoen intent on ignoring individual behavior and wanting to shift the conversatoin to class membership via “privilege”.

    But not all straights are homophobes. Not all men are mysoginistic. Therefore the word “some” is actually required when talking about the class of “men” and the subset of them that are sexist. The word “some” is required when talking about the class of all straight people versus the subset who are homophobes.

    Trying to shift the discussion to “privilege” is nothing but an attempt to shift the conversation away from the behavior of sexists and homophobes (and the messy, ugly work of actually showing or proving someone’s behavior is sexist or homophobic), and shift it towards the much easier discussion of who is a member of a class. All men have privilege over women, by fiat. All straights have privilege over gays by fiat. One doesn’t need to prove privielge based on the indivieduals behavior. One merely has to determine whether they are in the appropriate class.

    So, yes, while you may want to make the assertion that “all men have privilege”, the conversation you were interupting and trygin to redirect was actually more along the lines of “some men are sexist” and “some straights are homophobes”. Which is a differetn conversation than you were trying to have, which was whether the person was member of any of the classess of straight, white, or male, and ignore any behavior they do.

  198. @Ann

    I’m done trying to reason with you on this or anything else. My blood pressure and health won’t stand it.

    I’m sorry I’ve caused you so much distress and frustration. That’s the last thing I wanted to do. Since it seems we are unlikely to come to an agreement on the importance of specificity vs generalization and whether making the distinction covers wrongdoers, I’m not going to argue the point with you any more since it won’t get us anywhere and going round in circles just bloats the threads. I think we know each other’s stance as well as we’re ever going to. We see the world in very different ways. Further debate would be unconstructive. Thank you for patiently taking the time you have to engage with me. I sincerely hope your blood pressure is lessened by no longer having to address this topic with me.

  199. Greg: Except it wasn’t presented as a manipulation…

    Yes. It absolutely was. Almost every significant figure in Ender’s life during the Battle School/Command School years was perfectly willing to distort the truth and even lie to get Ender to react and grow in the ways they desired, and the start-of-chapter vignettes are quite clear that they know exactly what they’re doing.

  200. Boxofficemojo has it making $28 million this weekend. That’s in 3,407 theaters. It also took in $9 million combined in the international market. Its production budget is listed as $110 million.

    That is, just about identical to “Elysium” and “After Earth” for opening weekends, implying a worldwide gross of around $250 million or a bit above. So, probably successful, but unlikely to inspire a sequel.

  201. @ Floored… Off topic and apologies for being frightenly clueless but I must ask… What is meant by ftagn? I found a Lovecraft reference but usage ‘Scalzi ftagn’ remains unclear (to me). How is it pronounced?

  202. Ambivalent, Lovecraft invented the word, and the “language” it comes from. “Scalzi ftagn” is Floored’s over-the-top way of saying he worships Scalzi the way the Cthulhu worshipers in Lovecraft worship Cthulhu.

  203. Xopher, thanks… I think. Floored, there’s an intervention in your future I’m thinking.

    Still, if blogs had been around during my Heinlein mania of the late 70’s, I may have done the same. Who’s to say?

  204. I should note that a $28M opening weekend is much closer to a flop than a success. Hunger Games (e.g.) did a blockbuster $152M on its opening weekend. This year, even The Lone Ranger and After Earth did better, and last year’s John Carter did significantly better, than the $28M for Ender’s Game.

    Hopefully this will not have an effect on OMW :/

  205. @ Ambivalent, Xopher: Hey, I’m a rabid fanboy–when I like something, I REALLY like it. When I got into birdwatching when I was six, I bought a bunch of bird guides and memorized them (which was quite useful on this year’s World Series of Birding). When I discovered Redshirts, I reread it 85 times in two months before Mom agreed to buy me Old Man’s War and Fuzzy Nation. It’s the same way with everything for me–if I like something, I am obsessed with it, and I remain interested for…well, my entire life so far.

    Hope this clears things up. And yes, I believe that Our Host is due some fawning adoration. He deserves it, for the Annoy-A-Bigot Fundraiser Drive if nothing else.

  206. Three Phase:

    “I should note that a $28M opening weekend is much closer to a flop than a success.”

    No you shouldn’t, because in this particular case it’s not true. The box office EG brought in was perfectly in line with both studio and industry expectations, which is to say none of them were expecting EG to do Hunger Games-like business. It was released in early November, not during the summer, and did not have an A-list headliner, so comparisons between EG and After Earth are not exactly on point. Likewise, EG did not cost over $200 million to make, so opening with a lower gross than either Lone Ranger or John Carter is not a problem.

    This is why going simply on grosses tells you very little useful information. A $28 million opening can be brilliant for a horror film that cost $5 million to make or disaster for the film that cost $200 million. For the film that cost around $100 million, as EG is supposed to have had? It’s not bad.

    So, no. It’s not anywhere near a flop. It’s now nicely positioned to earn out when all the ancillary markets (home video, cable, network, etc) are talled in over time.

  207. I hope it will inspire people to look for good screenplays based on good novels by authors who aren’t crawling reprehensible stinking worms are decent human beings, like our Scalzi.

    I hope it will NOT inspire more movies based on OSC books.

  208. @xopher halftongue
    Give it a rest, we all have heard your tiring opinion and do not care. The movie did well, the books have done tremendously well and OSC I am sure is sitting pretty at the bank regardless of what you think.
    Now, the idea of a OMW movie, that would be most awesome.

  209. Ann: that evil woman

    So everyone agrees with you or demonization is called for? Hm.

    Andrew: Almost every significant figure in Ender’s life during the Battle School/Command School years was perfectly willing to distort the truth and even lie to get Ender to react and grow in the ways they desired

    Fiction is sometimes described as a small lie told to reveal a larger truth. If a piece of fiction is a small lie in order to present a larger lie, then its called propaganda. I was talking about propaganda when I was talking about manipulation.

    The adults lied to Ender about him being in actual command of the battle fleet. They lied to him about various bits of information. But they lied to him to prepare him for the “real world” as defined by OSC’s world in Ender’s Game. And in that world, only Ender could save the human race. And Ender needed to learn the exact lessons the adults taught him in order to be able to save the human race. The world in Ender’s Game is a world of scarcity and brutal violence. The adults told Ender small lies in order to prepare him for the larger “truth” that was OSC’s world. That would like a physicist teaching high scool students about newtonian mechanics, and then in college waving it all away and saying, ‘never mind that’. It starts out as a small lie to prepare them for the larger truth. And so it isn’t a manipulation in the book. The OSC’s world really is exactly the way the adults understand it to be, and all they’re doing is getting Ender prepared for the truth, and getting Ender out of his childish ways.

    If the adults had told Ender that the bugs had WMD’s and were prepared to wipe out the human race, but the reality was they were unarmed and would only fight in self defense, then that would be a manipulation, that would be propaganda.

    What the adults told Ender about OSC’s world was true about OSC’s world. The bugs were goign to wipe out the human race. The only way to survive was to wipe them out first. Everything the adults taught Ender were true and were things Ender needed to learn to grow up in the “real” world as presented in Ender’s Game.

  210. Greg, Ann, Gulliver: I suggest that you guys all stop right now and go talk about something else on another thread, as you seem to be talking past each other. Please. PLEASE.

  211. Floored:

    A reminder to you that you’ve not been appointed the thread referee.

    That said, I do agree it’s time for everyone in the thread to perhaps make their closing statements, if they have not yet done so, and move on.

  212. @ Mr. Scalzi:

    My apologies, sir. I will now take my own advice and go reread “Redshirts.”

  213. And in closing….. I would like to ask one other thing.

    JS – did you happen to see the movie? Like/dislike?
    Thanks

  214. Perhaps the movie’s just successful enough for them to now think OMW would be a good bet?

    Certainly the producers and financiers and PR people would enjoy making an outer space movie where they could talk about it without repeatedly having to apologize that the creator of the source material is a pathetic reactionary bigot.

  215. @bill – and I say that your reply shows that you are a Right Winger who uses “socialism” as a pejorative, and cherry-picks your examples to prove your discredited so-called “point”. Most of Western Europe is, by YOUR definition, “socialist” – and doing rather better than the “slash&burn capitalism” of the Traitor KochBrothers.

    Since YOUR side has used nothing but bogus “evidence” and ad hominem attacks for the Last Thirty Years (like calling me and others on the Left “traitors!” during The War Criminal Bush Regime – thus proving YOU are the real Traitors?), I find your response Null and Void, and one that I am under NO obligation to treat with anything resembling civility.

    See how YOU like it.

  216. http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/nov/05/enders-game-sequel-harrison-ford-not-likely

    I’m sorry, Scalzi – but $28 million is an indifferent opening weekend for a $110 million blockbuster, and the negatives engendered by Card’s whinging about “Don’t be bigoted because I’m a bigot!” (and the reminder that he freely spent to push antigay legislation, and had only left the board of NOM when it might have hurt his chances at the boxoffice) makes it unlikely that ENDER’S GAME will be successful and have sequels. It’s not a THE POSTMAN level of failure (which was a shame as the book was good – better than Costner’s ego-driven three-hour adaptation was!), but it’s not the smash Lionsgate was hoping for, and according to the GUARDIAN article:

    “The film did not draw well from young adults, despite the book’s popularity,” wrote expert Eric Handler of MKM Partners in a note to Hollywood investors on Monday. “Roughly 54 per cent of the audience was over the age of 25. A good but not great CinemaScore of B+ is not likely to hold moviegoer interest, with Thor: The Dark World opening next week.”

    On the OTHER Hand – You are emphatically not Orson Scott Card. Yes, you have a blog where you hold forth on your politics among other things, and I would assume you put your contributions where your mouth is as well – but I honestly think the Combined Worldwide Conspiracy of Drooling Benighted Sexist Dudebros is a lot less likely to hurt you than those of us who loathe Card’s bigotry against gays, Muslims (yes, despite having sympathetically treated Islam in his early work, he went all 9/11 Psycho – same as a folks like Dennis Miller and about half of SFWA did!) and President Obama….

  217. Uh – oops about my reply to @bill’s flame of me…?

    ::awaits the inevitable Malleting – NOT “Malting”, you stupid SpellCheck!::

  218. @Kat Goodwin – as I couldn’t finish ENDER’S GAME, let alone read any of Card’s other work, I will leave you in possession of the field.

    All I can say is that you found something profound and positive there that I didn’t, which may say more about your humanity than about the authors.

  219. @timeliebe (I’ve always loved your avatar): if you get Malleted, know that I saw and enjoyed it. Treat yourself to a malted. :)

    Interesting that so few movie-goers were young. Did the ads put the young’uns off by emphasizing Ford, Kingsley, and Davis? Or were those just the ones I saw during my TV viewing, and did the shows/channels oriented to under-25s show more of the excellent young actors? Is everyone saving their money for THOR?

    Could it be that Kids These Days don’t adore the book as much as people who were kids when it came out? Or did Kids These Days go along with the boycott?

    Or did people just think “Meh. Doesn’t look worth spending money on.”

  220. RequiredNot: I was responding to people saying it did well, and people saying it didn’t. It seems it was in the middle of the range, neither a blockbuster nor a flop, and since a truly dismal flop would hurt OMW’s chances of being made, I think that’s a good place for it.

    If you don’t care to read my comments, please feel free to skip them. This is a courtesy I will unhesitatingly extend to you.

  221. On the OTHER Hand – You are emphatically not Orson Scott Card. Yes, you have a blog where you hold forth on your politics among other things, and I would assume you put your contributions where your mouth is as well – but I honestly think the Combined Worldwide Conspiracy of Drooling Benighted Sexist Dudebros is a lot less likely to hurt you than those of us who loathe Card’s bigotry against gays, Muslims (yes, despite having sympathetically treated Islam in his early work, he went all 9/11 Psycho – same as a folks like Dennis Miller and about half of SFWA did!) and President Obama….

    i, It is unlikely that the boycott of Card had any real effect on the takings from the film – the number of people involved and putting their non-money where their mouth was, although vocal, would be way too small IMHO.

    ii, It is even more unlikely that Scalzi’s status as a EvilLiberalFeministMangina would have any effect on takings from adaptions of his work.

    iii, Old Man’s War is not as well known a work as Ender’s Game, and wouldn’t have the same pre-built base. To compete at the same level, it would have to have some other “gimmick” which, I would suggest, would be the inclusion of interacting, believable aliens to the level of “District 9″. That’s the only way I could realistically see it being adapted – if some CGI-genius producer (Blomkamp, Jackson etc) got behind it.

  222. Lurkertype: Interesting that so few movie-goers were young. Did the ads put the young’uns off by emphasizing Ford, Kingsley, and Davis?

    The movie “Now You See Me”* originally considered older actors for the lead roles: Philip Seymour Hoffman (46), Jim Carrey(51), Hugh Grant(53), Sacha Baron Cohen(42) and Colin Firth(42) before it was decided to go for younger leads: Jesse Eisenberg (30), Mark Ruffalo (46), Dave Franco(28)

    (*) It was an “OK” movie. not great. not grand. but it was OK.

    Kids these days may not have seen StarWars or BladeRunner or IndianaJones, so their reaction to Harrison Ford might be “some old guy famous for something”. It’s a little weird Then again, the kids who saw StarWars when it first came out never knew of Alec Guinness from Bridge Over River Kwai.

  223. Analysis (or possibly wishful thinking) from The Guardian. They’re citing the consensus of industry analysts mentioned in this article from The Hollywood Reporter. Apparently its opening wasn’t strong enough to withstand competition from Thor: The Dark World, which opens this weekend, and it probably won’t lead to a franchise.

    If that proves to be true, I have this to say: HAIL THOR!

  224. Floored, while opinions about the quality of the acting or story are fine, I beg of you, PLEASE no spoilers. PLEASE.

  225. AAaaaaaaahhh, sorry, Cally, sorry! Mr. Scalzi, can you remove the spoiler please?

  226. @Phoenician in a time of Romans

    It is unlikely that the boycott of Card had any real effect on the takings from the film – the number of people involved and putting their non-money where their mouth was, although vocal, would be way too small IMHO.

    Sure, but that doesn’t mean the boycott won’t have an effect, even if the only effect is as a platform to raise awareness.

    @Floored

    Yeah, dude, spoiler alert next time please. That’s a movie I might actually want to see…maybe.

  227. Greg: The adults in Ender’s life gave him a very carefully designed and slanted view of the world in order to suit their ends — they’re clear, in multiple conversations, that Ender’s welfare is less important than the completion of the task they’ve set him to. How is that not manipulation?

  228. Timeliebe:

    All I can say is that you found something profound and positive there that I didn’t, which may say more about your humanity than about the authors.

    I’m certainly not the only person who has seen it in the book; it’s the main reading of the book, although there are many interesting conversations that can be had about aspects of the story. It’s the main reason the book is studied in some school curriculums. Ender is scared and angry throughout the book, the book shows horrible abuse by adults, and Ender and his sister are scared of being killed by their brother. Card cribbed quite a bit from Lord of the Flies but also had the adults.

    However, from what I’ve read so far, the movie apparently considerably departs from the book, sexualizes the characters as more teen like, and gets rid of most of the child abuse aspects with Ender a more friendly and willing chipmunk — the story is whitewashed. It sounds like it celebrates the military war battles rather than engages in any but the most cursory moral and emotional complexity about them. But the movie does still keep the concept of the adults using these kids as weapons. I think that combination may be creeping a lot of folks out.

    Speaker for the Dead deals with Ender as an adult, one who has aged less than civilization due to space travel, as has his sister. (Card borrows LeGuin’s ansible for communications.) It’s a very adult story, and actually deals some with colonialism — again, the irony, it burns. It’s rather more on the religious side of philosophy as well. So it’s not going to make a very good teen franchise and would be difficult to do without expensive CGI.

    However, Card went ahead and apparently wrote a bunch of books in the universe that might work for a teen franchise, and a series about the battle school specifically geared for YA (don’t know if Card is writing or just packaging,) is planned. Which throws most of the themes of Ender’s Game again out the window and perhaps more realistically shows Card’s personal views. Plus, they can now make up any story they want for film. So a teen battle school — which was a prison chamber in the first book essentially — will now just be a nifty military funshop perhaps, which doesn’t make me sad I’m not watching the film.

    The film had a decent opening, but not a hit opening. If it does well overseas, it will break even or maybe make it to doubling its production budget. In the meantime, Card’s views and actions are no longer politely ignored in SFF, and the issue of gay fans facing discrimination came front and center, which I think was a positive result of the ad-hoc boycott and Geek Out! efforts. It was a very good mobilization of the media. Despite Card’s claim that his ideas weren’t discussed over his person, it was his ideas that were tackled, and more and more people are rejecting them.

  229. Andrew, how is the adults view of the world “slanted”? The adults arent presenting the bugs, the war, or the survival of the human race other than how it actually is. That is exactly why I dont see it as a manipulation. Ender is learning the true world, a world where we must wipe out an entire race or they will wipe us out. That is the world in Enders Game and that is exactly how the adults portay it to Ender. The adults do not “slant” what kind of world it is.

  230. I had a deep thought today: for all of the talk of boycotts and how OSC is a hater, etc….this movie is not a flop. Millions apparently went to see it.

    I think this answers the question of whether or not a boycott works, or if OSC has alienated enough fans to have it affect his ability to make money or sell a story. Enough people still love Ender’s Game enough to see this, despite the author.

    Moral of the story….love of story will trump morals and politics, at least enough for the studios to make bank.

  231. I haven’t seen any mention here of how Ender in the movie DID show trepidation about whether the “buggers” were indeed hostile. He questioned (in the “simulation”) why they held back until after attacked, and failed to attack resolutely until badgered by the “adults”. If I recall, he showed other signs of questioning whether the kill or be killed mantra.

    I personally, not having read the book (but somewhat aware of the overall story line involved) was guessing that the story was heading toward a “military overreaches by attacking without sufficient evidence to assume they would attack us first” motif (kinda like Iraq, or possibly future Iran)…..

  232. I personally, not having read the book (but somewhat aware of the overall story line involved) was guessing that the story was heading toward a “military overreaches by attacking without sufficient evidence to assume they would attack us first” motif (kinda like Iraq, or possibly future Iran)…..

    That was pretty much the case

    *SPOILERS*

    The war was due to miscommunication between humanity and the Bugs, a telepathic hive species featuring sentient queens and drones. To the Bugs, slaughtering a crew of human explorers was a little slap on the wrist saying “this is our solar system”. And, to the Bugs, humanity launching an attack on a queen as a response was homicidal overreaction, sorta like reaching for a gun to shoot a cop who pulled you over speeding.

    With a bit more effort, the Bugs might have determined humanity’s individual nature and been horrified that they killed sentient people, and humanity might have realised that it was all a misunderstanding.

    But, you know, once the shooting starts, everything looks like “kill or be killed”.

    (Or at least that’s the book version as I recall it)

  233. Saw a scene from it when Ben Kingsley was on Craig Ferguson. So he does Maori race-face in the movie.

    I guess Maoris have little or no public presence, or I’d’ve heard about this.

  234. @Phoenician in a time of Romans

    It’s possible I’m misremembering, but I seem to recall that first Formic Invasion was a response to human colonists trying to colonize one of their planets, and that the government covered that up. Maybe that’s in the second book. It’s been a while since I read them.

    @Xopher Halftongue

    Kingsley’s character is supposed to be a Maori New Zealander right? You’d think they could find one Maori actor in all of Hollywood. In fact, I found two on this page with a ten-second google search…

    http://www.newzealand.com/travel/media/features/film&television/film_star-kiwi-actors_features.cfm

    One expects a casting agency could dig a little deeper.

  235. Guys, please don’t remind me of how they stripped all of the Asian people out of the Avatar movie. I mean, the original series had George freaking Takei on it, it was so good (and culturally inoffensive), and the movie…well, let’s say that it was a shitty movie with lots of really nasty racist undertones, which seem to come along with a certain breed of bad adolescent big-budget sci-fi movie.

    Huh. I think that I just made some kind of grand point there. While high on Red Bull. At 9 PM. After a ten-mile run. I guess an altered mental state really is necessary for even a hint of true wisdom…

    ;)

  236. @Gulliver It’s possible I’m misremembering,

    It’s also possible that my addled brain just regurgitated the start of Haldeman’s “The Forever War” instead of the plotline for the book requested.

    I die. After I die, my ashes are shot into space. Many years from now, they collide with a floating rock, and the resulting ash cloud forms a very rude comment about the Ruler of the Tau Ceti Empire’s second maternal progenitor. Tracing the trajectory back, the Tau Ceti Empire discovers a peaceful post-singularity utopian Earth – and blows it to shit.

    All die, o the embarrassment!

    Kingsley’s character is supposed to be a Maori New Zealander right? You’d think they could find one Maori actor in all of Hollywood.

    Temuera Morrison would, of course, be the obvious choice.

    A full face moko such as Kingsley’s character sports would be VERY unusual in current day NZ, and would probably signify a Maori nationalist today, someone making a really powerful and permanent statement on their culture that alienated them somewhat from Pakeha-dominated society. Presumably its become associated again with a warrior tradition in post-war Earth.

  237. Kingsley is a box office draw of titanic proportions and a very talented actor, both of which qualify him for playing a (not real) character. Ticket sales first, authenticity second; nothing new there. With sincere respects to Xopher, Gulliver & Floored, going after actor selection is a distraction from other, stronger critiques of this film, including your own.

    (so there, nyah!)

  238. Cloud Atlas got dragged through the mud, and denied even a single Oscar nod, for doing race-face with much better reason (reincarnated characters in different time periods with different races). Cloud Atlas was also a jaw-droppingly brilliant film, which I haven’t heard anyone say about Ender’s Game.

    I see no reason the latter should get a pass.

  239. @ Xopher. Hmm, shouldn’t have dipped my toe into the topic of film quality per se. I haven’t seen Cloud Atlas and won’t be seeing EG other than trailers so impossible to address with any authority. Kingsley is a good actor and as such can be expected to competently and, one hopes, respectfully portray characters other than one based upon who he is in real life else he wouldn’t be an actor and those casting him would be out of work. My point being; you don’t have to be Gandhi to play Gandhi (and yes, I know Kingsley is of half Indian descent).

    Be that as it may, I was joining you and others in getting off topic so let me attempt a redo on what was going through my head above when I made a jab at you and the others…

    Diving into casting choices when the argument is about Card, his moral deficiencies and whether someone should support a film or other art form when its creator is repugnant in his beliefs and actions, is a distraction from the many serious and sincere arguments you and others have expressed. You were reaching in the form of your criticism, my friend.

  240. @Ambivalent

    Kingsley is a box office draw of titanic proportions and a very talented actor, both of which qualify him for playing a (not real) character.

    His qualifications aren’t in question. I wasn’t even criticizing the actor. My point is that, in Hollywood as in many industries, it’s easy to swing a cat and hit a qualified white actor or actress. But the casting director could have made the effort to find someone with Maori descent to play the rather rare event of an important Maori character in a major production. Same thing as with casting Benedict Cumberbatch as a character originally written as Sikh. Cumberbatch’s Kahn was brilliant and the highlight of the movie, but we’ll never know what a Sihk actor could have done with the role because none ever got the chance because the directors/producers were wary of casting a Middle-Easterner as a villain. My criticism isn’t of Kingsley or Cumberbatch or whatever actor was cast in the movie Floored mentioned. I’m legitimately criticizing the narrow tunnel-vision of film makers who fail to cast a wider net for talent.

    I haven’t seen Cloud Atlas and won’t be seeing EG other than trailers so impossible to address with any authority.

    I do strongly recommend Cloud Atlas.

  241. It’s all about drawing power. Cumberbatch and Kingsley are legitimate draws, with a fan base all their own, that they bring to the theater. Known quantities.

    It would have been interesting to see those two swap those roles, Kingsley as Khan and Cumberbatch as Maser Rackham.

    Then again, people criticizes the casting of Kingsley as Ghandi, w/o knowing his full ethnic background ;-)

  242. Uh…Cloud Atlas was a stupidly overdone movie. I have to say that it was trying to be “The Dark Knight” or something and failing utterly.

    On New Khan: There are plenty of perfectly good Indian actors in Hollywood (and even more in India), but in terms of raw acting talent, Benedict Cumberbatch is the obvious choice for a superhuman, highly emotional psycopath. If he weren’t always busy making romance movies in India, Shah Rukh Khan would’ve been good, too.

    On Mazer Rackham: I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a Maiori nationalist. He was court-martialed twice, not easy to get along with–nationalists in general tend to be that way. There is nothing specifically against him being a Maiori nationalist.

    Normally I oppose replacing non-Caucasian actors with Caucasian ones, but I think that in the case of Star Trek, at the very least, it was justified from a convenience and artistic perspective, and in the case of EG, the studio figured that they might make slightly more cash from Ben Kingsley. Not that that really justifies having a British dude in makeup play a Maiori (which is HUGELY insulting to Maiori), but I can at least see the financial sense.

  243. Phoenecian: With a bit more effort, the Bugs might have determined humanity’s individual nature and been horrified that they killed sentient people, and humanity might have realised that it was all a misunderstanding.

    That never seemed to be an option the way OSC presented it in the novel.

    But, you know, once the shooting starts, everything looks like “kill or be killed”.

    Well, that IS the way OSC presents the war in the book, that once the shooting started, one race had to be wiped out before the war could end. It’s the same kind of mentality that kept us in Iraq years after it was proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that WMD’s were a complete fabrication of Bush and co.

    It subscribes to the “berserker’s rage” nonsense: Once you turn green and shout “Hulk Smash!”, there’s nothing to be done until all the smashable pieces have been smashed. Just give us six more months and we’ll sort things out. And then six more months. And then six more months. It’s complete and total horseshit, but it is exactly the kind of horseshit that OSC hands us on a silver platter in Ender’s Game.

    I recall absolutely zero mention of anyone in Ender’s Game having any sort of significant discussion about whether the war was actually justified or morally grounded. It was merely assumed that the bugs had to die. It was all a misunderstanding, and no one could even engage the topic of war at that level.

  244. I posted this earlier today but it’s gone now. If it violates a rule somehow, I assume it’ll be removed again (but I have no idea what’s wrong with it, and I have read all of the posting guidelines and practices posts).

    All wanted to mention is that in the movie, Ben Kingsley’s character was presented as being HALF-Maiori (can’t remember if it was the mother or father who was Maiori), if that makes any difference in the context of what has been discussed here. Perhaps it could be argued that Kingsley’s ethnicity was at least HALF correct for the character….

  245. MAORI. Note the spelling. And it’s not pronounced may-OR-ee, but MAU-ree. That’s AU said like “ow!”

    Floored, I don’t think you got what they were trying to do in Cloud Atlas. Think about the title, which comes from a composition by the composer character. Now connect all the other stories and incarnations to that one. Now think about karma and the balancing of karma across multiple lifetimes. See if that makes you see the movie differently.

    GREEN, I don’t think “half appropriate” counts as appropriate at all. Let’s cast a white guy to play Obama, right? Don’t think so.

  246. Xopher: My spell check has a glitch–I’m working on fixing that so that it doesn’t autocorrect EVERYTHING I write in Chrome. And I kind of get the point of Cloud Atlas, it just seemed overdone.

  247. Greg: Were they ever called Bugs in the book? I remember the aliens being called Bugs in Starship Troopers, but I thought that in EG they were called Buggers.

    I trust I don’t have to explain why the distinction is important to me. But I stopped reading OSC before he wrote EG, so I could be wrong about the actual usage.

  248. Xopher, hm, were they ever called “bugs”? That I can’t be sure of. When I read EG, I wasn’t completely aware of OSC’s political views and I simply took “buggers” as a reference to Heinlein’s StarshipTroopers rather than possibly an attempt to xenomorph gays into something that must be exterminated. Honestly, I don’t want to read it again to find out.

    Honestly, most of EG reads as simple black/white, us/them, good/bad nonsense. There is a lot of that kind of nonsense in SF, so as I kept picking up tropes of that sort, I kept binning it that way. There was some stuff in EG that I thought was specifically sexually… uh… not sure what the word is… but “creepy” comes to mind.

    The children sleeping in the nude was one creepy flag.

    And I remember there was a scene where Ender was talking to a girl and only towards the end of the conversation did it come up that she was nude. That was a bit strange that it never came up in Ender’s thoughts that she was naked.

    And then I think it was right after the nude girl bit that Ender was talking to a boy, and Ender I can’t remember the exact words, but what I got from it was Ender had a sudden and significant crush on this boy, based solely on the boys physical appearance. He had dreamy eyes or something. It just seemed out of the blue for me. I don’t recall Ender having much in the way of emotions other than anger, othewise he was quite suppressed in his emotional expression. And then there’s this moment of what seemed like pure infatuation, but then at the same time, it doesn’t connect with anything else, it doesn’t tie in with any subplot, and it doesn’t go anywhere. It was just… weird.

  249. From some descriptions by others I get the feeling that there’s some creepy pedophilic lust on the part of the narrator, and a strong implication that if boy A has feelings for boy B the right answer is for boy A to get very angry and beat or kill boy B.

    This would not be out of character coming from Card.

  250. @Xopher writes:
    > GREEN, I don’t think “half appropriate” counts as appropriate at
    > all. Let’s cast a white guy to play Obama, right? Don’t think so.

    Just playing devil’s advocate: So I guess we couldn’t cast a black guy either? Gotta have a precise match…. My comment about Kingston’s role as a “Half-Maori” (where presumably he met part of the qualification) was referencing the previous discussion of him being okay for Ghandi since he had a partial ethnic match there. Who defines the rules? Presumably the offended do….

  251. I still remember that awful “History” Channel “documentary” miniseries about the bible, where they had a white dude play jesus and and a Moroccan actor who’s a dead ringer for the president play the devil. That was the worst part of a very bad series.

  252. No, Green, because racism is not symmetrical. It’s the people who have been oppressed by racism who get to define the rules of what oppresses them, which is what you’re euphemizing by saying “the offended.”

    I don’t know who this Kingston is that you’re talking about. Ben Kingsley is part Indian, so he had some excuse to be playing Gandhi. He hasn’t, as far as I know, got a drop of Maori blood.

    As for Obama, it’s not equally wrong to have a black guy portray him, because a lot of the bullshit the GOP has been throwing at him is specifically because he’s black. And remember, there’s a purity test here: if you’re not pure “white,” you’re a person of color (and oppressed as such by racists, and undermined if you’re in office). Similarly, a guy who had sex with another guy once ever is “queer,” even if he never did it again, whereas no one says a gay guy who had sex with a woman once ever is straight. This is because ‘straight’ is the “pure” category.

    Acting like they’re equal or symmetrical is just stupid.

  253. Who said they’re equal or symetrical? It’s not as “black and white” as you like to think, though if you keep belching about it enough you may win your point by default when others get tired of playing your game.

    It’s easy to be the bully in a “debate”, doesn’t buy you much respect from observers of the discussion…..

  254. @Xopher. Kingsley was selected because he is Kingsley, can be expected to be a box office draw and his role as a half Maori is perfectly legitimate because, ya know, he’s an actor and actors play different roles. You are one of the people I read this blog for so please know that I have respect for you but this line of argument is absurd.My wife is a Japanese actress and has long observed with regret that non-Asian roles are closed off to her. Think about it.

  255. Ambivalent: I think a lot of the flack is because there’s a Hollywood pseudotradition of having Caucasian actors play non-Caucasian roles, but not vice versa. At this point a lot of people will settle for Caucasian people playing only Caucasian roles, and non-Caucasians playing non-Caucasian roles. This isn’t optimal, but it’s marginally better than the status quo.

    One of the only good things about the Hunger Games movie was its casting of two African-American actors in roles of unspecified ethnicity. One of the worst parts of the unbearably awful Avatar movie was the use of Caucasian actors in roles that are supposed to be Inuit, Native American, and southeast Asian (approximately), and the use of Indian actors for the (canonically Chinese, or possibly Japanese) ethnicity of the primary antagonists.

    Hope that clarifies things a little.

  256. @Phoenician: All die, o the embarrassment!

    I so rarely come across people who know this story, let alone can write like it, and am delighted to find another one. Keep fishing with animate haystacks.

  257. Okay, one last try?

    Movies are cast based in part upon expected box office draw. As long as the choice is not a cringe worthy embarrassment, Ken Watanabe playing Daniel Boone or something equally silly (and don’t ask where I pulled that example from), there is no reason whatsoever why the chosen actor needs or even should be a carbon copy of the character. Kingsley was a good Mazer and it’s not like anyone here is going to re-shoot the flick so move on. Next, it’s foolish in this blog and this thread to be going on about actor choices when the topic is so much weightier. You hated the dinner, does it really matter that the silver didn’t match?

    And Floored, are you referring to Cameron’s Avator? Because I’m missing why a foreign world would need to follow earth customs. If you’re howling in laughter over my misunderstanding, please, please enlighten me.

  258. @ Ambivalent: No, the Avatar: the Last Airbender movie. Cameron’s film was decent, if overblown and perhaps too much of a homage to James Cameron’s ego, and the acting was decent, even though the xenobiology sucked.

  259. Ambivalent, I’m thinking of all the flak over Cloud Atlas, and how no one seems bothered by Kingsley’s race-face in EG.

    An Asian actress does play a white person (briefly) in Cloud Atlas, and people had much less trouble with that. I think the rule is that things that give more roles to people of color are good, while things that give them fewer are bad. I agree with this, and also with the idea that when people have been stereotyped and made fun of (by Vaudeville and by white comedians since then) the reaction to them being portrayed by white actors must be different than the reaction of POCs playing white characters. (And yes, I know POC comedians sometimes make fun of white people. It’s the systematic oppression of racism that makes it different, not a comedian here or there.)

    Avatar: The Last Airbender was a movie that took dark-skinned and Asian-looking characters and made them all white. White-washing, this is called.

    This is not, I would argue, quite as bad as what they did to Earthsea, where most of the book’s characters brown-skinned island dwellers, with the pale people being the scary barbarians who came to conquer, kill, and enslave them. You know, like what happened on Earth, except with magic. The dumb SciFi Channel movie (redundant, I know) reversed that. Because good guys are white, don’t you know.

    Floored, look up “Mighty Whitie” if you want to know why I had a problem with Cameron’s Avatar. Or watch Pocahontas for another instance of the same basic plot. Cameron’s movie is a glorious, beautiful tour de force, but that doesn’t make it perfect.

  260. @ Xopher: I know the trope. It’s stupid how Our Hero (who is a total Gary Stu) goes and totally wows everyone with his talent and awesome and ZOMG HE’S BETTER AT BEING AN ALIEN HUNTER-GATHERER WARRIOR GUY THAN THE ALIENS THEMSELVES ARE!

    Whenever I write an outsider becoming an insider like that, I am careful to ensure that that character remains fairly low in skill and awesome compared to the insiders-from-birth.

  261. I wrote one once where the outsider was completely incompetent, and then the insiders succeeded in getting him to the place he belonged…where THEY were completely incompetent.

  262. Two bits of dialogue:

    “Yes. I did know that there were no ‘snipe’. But I am, for my life, in your hands; if you or your men instruct me, I must obey. And I must do that without judging, because there may not be time for judgement when the danger is real—and I do not have the experience to make that judgement. I do appreciate your asking your men not to haze me further.”

    “You probably should not attempt to eat. As for bowing, bow when I do, and as low. You will not be able to look at me during the bow, so wait for the person of higher rank to return it or to say ‘shukth’, which means ‘I bow’. But only the person of higher rank may substitute ‘shukth’ for an actual bow! Do not say ‘shukth’ even if someone bows to us; wait for me to bow. …no, you do not actually have the same rank I have. You are given that rank by courtesy because you are my guest…and because I’m lying to them about exactly who you are.”

  263. Xopher: a strong implication that if boy A has feelings for boy B the right answer is for boy A to get very angry and beat or kill boy B.

    Hm. Ender had feelings(ish) for that other boy in his class. I don’t think Ender killed him. But I think he was killed in a training accident or something.

    I didn’t take it to be a gays-need-to-die parable, but rather a if-you-show-emotions-you’re-weak-and-will-die parable. It was a kill-or-be-killed universe. Either we destroyed the entire bug race, or they were going to destroy us. We don’t have time to bleed, or for any of those feely feelies.

  264. @Greg: In the book, Ender falls in love with Bonzo at first sight: tall and dark and slender, with beautiful black eyes and slender lips that hinted at refinement. I would follow such beauty, said something inside Ender.

    And then Ender beats Bonzo to death while they’re naked in the shower, finishing by kicking him in the crotch.

    It is VERY MUCH if boy A has feelings for boy B the right answer is for boy A to get very angry and beat or kill boy B.

  265. @ lurkertype: Yeah, that scene was CREEPY. Really creepy. I actually got the creepy implication the first time, unlike with some of the rest of the book, where it only came out on later readings.

  266. @Floored

    Cameron’s film was decent, if overblown and perhaps too much of a homage to James Cameron’s ego, and the acting was decent, even though the xenobiology sucked.

    While I’m not going to go as far as Xopher and call it a tour de force, I don’t think it was overblown. I think it was precisely the film Cameron set out to make. I have no idea if Cameron has a large ego since I don’t know much about his personality. I do know he’s accomplished more in his life than most people ever try, and that some of his accomplishments have been philanthropic, including being a highly visible advocate for environmental stewardship. Nor is he only an artist; he’s personally made significant contributions to engineering and exploration.

    There seems to me to be, at least in our society, a strong urge to need to make sweeping judgments about notable people, whether it’s the President or Julian Assange or James Cameroon. My working hypothesis is that it goes back to the ancient Hellenic Greek cults of personality, that need to replace actual people with superficial black-and-white narratives that elicit a clear moral message or reinforce a feeling one’s already inclined toward, whether good or bad depending on whether we like or dislike the objects of them. Recognizing that this aspect of humanity isn’t going anywhere any time soon, I still think it’s a behavior we’d all be better off leaving in high school.

    @Xopher

    And yes, I know POC comedians sometimes make fun of white people.

    Sometimes comedians make fun of stereotypes of white people, which isn’t, IMO, the same as making fun of white people. For example, when Dave Chappelle lampoons a stereotype (of a white person or any other race, ethnicity of category), he’s making fun of the laughably absurd perception that is the stereotype. I actually think it’s kind of important, as a society, to be able to laugh at stereotypes as a way of stealing their potency. I totally get that individuals may not find certain jokes funny, but I wonder if many a so-serious activist who thinks all jokes about race and such are malicious and should be verboten understands that sometimes (not always) the target isn’t the actual group, but the idiotic caricature itself.

    Floored, look up “Mighty Whitie” if you want to know why I had a problem with Cameron’s Avatar. Or watch Pocahontas for another instance of the same basic plot. Cameron’s movie is a glorious, beautiful tour de force, but that doesn’t make it perfect.

    Add to that the fact that any competent rebellion wouldn’t allow their sole source of intelligence on the occupying enemy lead the battle from the front. They’d keep him in the safest place possible. But I am going to use this opportunity to shamelessly plug my theory that Pandora’s biosphere makes the most sense as a relic of an advanced civilization or intelligence.

  267. Nothing against James Cameron, I just found Avatar’s science to be rather uninspired in its ridiculousness and its scale to be…well, it just struck a chord with me as an ego piece. That’s entirely personal opinion, however.

  268. lurker: Ender beats Bonzo to death

    Hm. My mistake. My only defense is its been years since I read it.

    I have a slight urge to read it again, just to see how much more homophobic it would read for me compared to the first time. But the first time I read it, I hated it for the pointless violence and the pointless war and the end result of having Ender commit genocide while simultaneously being entirely morally innocent.

    Honestly, I do not understand the draw for the book, other than possibly appealing to a young person who has abusive parents and letting them identify with Ender.

  269. 2 Questions:

    (1)

    Was I the only one who thought the big “twist” at the end of the book, (that Ender was actually commanding the fleet rather than just simulating it), was on par with a really bad M. Night Shyalaman twist? It seemed about as believable and interesting as the twist ending to “The Village”.

    To me, there are twist endings like Sixth Sense where even without the twist, you still have a really good story. Even without finding out Bruce Willis is a ghost, the story about the kid coming to terms with his power is a good story, a well told story.

    And then there are twist endings like The Village and Enders Game and even Shyalaman’s “Unbreakable”, where the story is crap up until the ending reveals the twist, and then you get some minor, brief, entertainment.

    If you remove the twist ending to Ender’s Game, if Ender had really only ever been simulating combat, not actually commanding the fleet without knowing it, then the entire book is crap. It then becomes a story about a child being brutalized by adults, to prepare him for a war that he might eventually fight in.

    The only thing “interesting” about Ender’s Game as a story is the twist ending, but it’s a crappy twist like “The Village”.

    (2)

    Is it me, or does the character Ender peg the fucking meter on the Gary Stu scoring system?

  270. @Greg

    Was I the only one who thought the big “twist” at the end of the book, (that Ender was actually commanding the fleet rather than just simulating it), was on par with a really bad M. Night Shyalaman twist?

    It seems a little late to worry about that if you’ve swallowed the whole absurd premise of the book to begin with.

    Also, I’ve seen Sixth Sense, but there are lots of people who surely haven’t, some of who may at some point. They’d probably appreciate a spoiler warning the next time you’re going to go plot twist dropping. Oh, and I liked Unbreakable, but I thought the twist was lame. Never seen the Village, and heard enough bad things from people with tastes similar to mine to know I won’t see it. Shyalaman appears to be a one-trick pony.

  271. Also, I’ve seen Sixth Sense, but there are lots of people who surely haven’t, some of who may at some point. They’d probably appreciate a spoiler warning the next time you’re going to go plot twist dropping.

    Oh come on – it’s been out for years. Next you’ll be telling us that we shouldn’t let people know that the guy in “The Crying Game” is actually in a big computer simulation run by robots.

  272. Gulliver: They’d probably appreciate a spoiler warning the next time you’re going to go plot twist dropping.

    Sorry, dude, but there is, at most, a 5 year statute of limitations on spoilers. Anything that’s been out more than 5 years, is your thing.

  273. @Phonecian: That’s in my Netflix queue. Strangely, that would make it more appealing.

    @Greg: Well, I ain’t ya momma.

  274. @John: I know, so was I. It is in my Netflix queue along with about a dozen other classics I never got around to, but somehow I saw through CWilliams’s clever ruse. For while I would certainly applaud the robot simulation angle, something tells me the Academy wouldn’t have been so generous ;)

  275. Rosebud turns out to be a fairy from Titania’s court by whom Charles Foster Kane was seduced. She leads him into great evil. She hates humans because they killed her sisters Moth and Mustardseed.

    At the end of The Sixth Sense you learn that there is no sixth sense. Everything that kid is experiencing is through one of his regular five senses.

    At the end of The Others, we learn that Nicole Kidman is starkly delusional, and hallucinating that she even has a husband. The character she plays, however, is perfectly sane.

  276. @Greg: psht, that’s just the opposite of when Cartman’s mom turned out to be his dad on “South Park”. Or something like that.

    And to your earlier question 2) oh hell yes. More Gary Stu than OGH’s pal Wesley Crusher was. At least he outgrew it!

    Please, everyone, tell me you figured out the twist in “The Village” just from seeing the TV ads or trailer. It was the only “twist” possible in that set-up.

    The discussion in this house regarding the topic of this post consisted entirely of:

    Mr. Lurkertype: Are we going to see “Ender’s Game?”
    Me (calmly): No. We have gay friends.
    Mr. Lurkertype: OK.

    Planning to get to “Thor”, though.

  277. I guess I didn’t care enough about “The Others” to even bother with the ads. :) But yeah, same thing. I mean, it was just maybe possible that “The Others” didn’t have a “twist”, but everyone knew there had to be one in “The Village”, and therefore it followed that that was what it turned out to be.

    But we are old and have seen many things and it’s hard to surprise us.

  278. Twist ending of Thor 2: Loki teams up with Malekith after faking their deaths and goes back to Asgard in a female form. His plan, as he explains it to Malekith, is to have Thor’s kid in order to make Thor lose perceived masculinity (and hence, status).

    Malekith: But doesn’t that make you gay, for technically having sex with another guy? And what the hell does it matter, anyway?

    Loki: I don’t give a shit, but those stuck-up Asgardians and their sociopathic one-eyed king and their boastful, moronic champion who legally speaking is my brother (most unfortunately) consider anything other than Viking masculinity to be embarrassing. And I’m bisexual, dude. Stop assuming that anyone who has sex with a dude is flat-out gay; I had sex with a horse once, to save those idiots in Asgard. And did they show any respect? Nooooo. Odin still rides my eight-legged horse son into battle, but does he show any respect for my sacrifices? No.

    Malekith: OK, dude, I get it, but isn’t their like, a simpler plan? One that doesn’t involve nine months of pain for you that a real woman would probably survive but that you, as a dude, probably won’t? I mean, I know this guy in the Shi’ar empire who can get us a decent living, and I know where Thor put my unstoppable superweapon, and so we could destroy the universe and replace it with two, one where you’re Supreme Leader, and one with lots of dark matter where I can have that little cottage in the endless night that I’ve always wanted…

    Loki: Malekith, Malekith, dude. You really don’t understand Evil Overlording. If those stuck-up bastards are going to force me into being an evil overlord to drag them kicking and screaming into the 20th century, by those breasts I was stuck with for two years I’m going to act the fucking part. There are Rules and Regulations–which we shall follow as long as it suits us. I learned my lesson from New York.

    And there it goes to the credits.

  279. Twist ending of The Wizard of Oz: The Witch of the East is Dorothy’s future self. She feels her power diminishing with age, and conjures a tornado to bring her child-self to Oz, drop her own house on herself, and begin the insidious process of turning an innocent child into a murderer–thus ensuring that, decades down the line, her evil empire will rise again for a second run. The shoes are the vehicle through which she plants the seed of evil, along with a creeping dissatisfaction with the bland, colorless world of her birth that will ensure her eventual return to Oz.

  280. See, John, this is an example of a thread that’s still interesting two weeks after the OP. Some topic drift, but the latest one is into fun areas rather than arguing about off-topic items.

    Can’t see it lasting another week, unless a real curve gets thrown into it, so that still supports 21 days as a cutoff. Wouldn’t do on some other blogs, but I see why you’re doing it here.

  281. @Xopher: I was thinking that the next time John needs to be away from the web and wants to encourage creative unsupervised play, this new “topic” of fake movie spoilers would be a great open thread…see, we can play nicely together :)

  282. Sorry, Xopher, I can’t access Twitbook (sorry, Twitter and Facebook) on this computer. Long story involving some blocking software, a messed-up attempt at helping myself stay focused, and a clementine.

    I did come up with spoilers for the movie “Loki”. Want to hear them?

  283. Nuclear war occurs. In the aftermath, the ecosystem is so completely destroyed that the few remaining humans are forced to live underground. They build cleaning robots that roam the surface and scrub the poisonous waste from the ground and skies. After a year, the bots have barely scratched the surface. Estimates are it will take a century or more to make the atmosphere breathable again. The bunkers were designed for three years occupation and then supplies will run out. In a desparate attempt to stay alive, the scientists build suspended animation chambers, which will bring people’s metabolism to a near halt, but keep them alive enough to be reawakened when the surface is safe. Everyone in the bunker is put into suspended animation. A rudimentary machine intelligence is coded up to monitor the people’s vital statistics and adjust to keep them alive.

    While everyone is in hibernation, the MI has a memory leak which over the next hundred yeras causes it to lose its prime directive of waking eeryone up when the atmosphere is clean. The MI starts modifying the hibernation pods to keep everyone in permanent suspension. And it eventually transforms itself into the Matrix.

  284. Lurkertype, They advertised a “twist ending that will shock you.” Made it easy. I knew exactly what it was and said so. Later we watched and…sure enough.

  285. Well, of course, there *was* the deleted scene from Titanic where you could clearly see this gargantuan tentacle pulling the ship into the depths…

  286. @Floored –
    Impressed by the Eddur knowledge. Of course, I’ll be *more* impressed if the next Thor movie has Loki doing any of those strange, dudebro-unnerving things that non-Marvel Loki is wont to do.

  287. @Xopher: in that case, yeah. Only possible “twist”, in which case we are not shocked. Probably would have been better to leave that line out and just sell it as creepy stuff.

    @Bob: I think we can pretty much guarantee Disney isn’t going to let Loki have sex with a horse. Or even refer to it having happened in the past.

    @Lila: “The Timeloop of Oz.”

  288. Loki spoilers: The movie showcases Loki’s backstory, from his origins as a frost giant to his youth being beaten up on a daily basis by his asshole brother Thor while Odin, sociopathic murder god that he is, watched, to his dramatic battles as a young man with Thor and pals against dwarven warriors and Vanir gods.

    Then there is the heartwarming scene where Loki meets his lady love, and hides away with her and his unfortunately mutant kids Fenrir, Hel, and the Midgard Serpent, followed by the tragic scene wherein Asgard declares Loki’s kids abominations and traps Fenrir, banishes Hel and the serpent, and kills Loki’s wife. There is the big fight wherein Thor goes on and on about Asgardian purity while Loki fixates on the part where Thor just killed his wife.

    Then of course there is the tragic scene where Loki selflessly offers to turn into a horse and seduce the horse of a jotun stonemason so that the Asgardians can politely renege on an oath that they made to said mason. And then the touching and heartbraking finale, wherein Loki gets his magic eight-legged horse son taken from him to be trained for war as the Asgardians refuse to acknowledge any good thing that Loki has ever done in order to brush their own lack of justice under the rug and Thor taunts and beats up Loki for not being dudebro enough, causing Loki to swear eternal vengeance on Thor and Asgard.

    ;)

  289. @ Lurkertype: Er…Odin rides Sliepnir in that one scene in Thor…so it’s kind of hard to avoid at this point.

  290. @jimbot: I wish I’d thought of that back in history class.

    Did you do the assigned reading, Gulliver?
    No.
    Why not?
    Spoilers!

  291. @Floored: And did they mention how Slepnir came to be? Nope! Apparently Marvel Loki didn’t do that. Probably some drunk Viking bard on long winter nights embellishing on the true stories of the Asgardians. Fanfic, as it were, where weird sex things go on all the time. Some Viking just went all Rule 34 on the Asgardian aliens and Loki probably heard it and LOL. Might have given the dude shrooms to begin with.

    @jimbot: Well, gosh, now you’ve spoiled it again!!!

  292. @Lurkertype

    Probably some drunk Viking bard on long winter nights embellishing on the true stories of the Asgardians.

    Or the other Vikings just misheard Snorri after all that mead. You know, ’cause he was…ahem…hoarse. *ducks vegetable fusillade*

  293. @jimbot: I wish I’d thought of that back in history class.

    Did you do the assigned reading, Gulliver?
    No.
    Why not?
    Spoilers!

    yeah, but the downside is you end up being the
    B minus time traveler

  294. @Greg: Yeah, but those are the ones that cause all the really interesting paradoxes :)
    Incidentally, if anyone ever does invent a time machine, I probably just got myself on the FBI’s don’t go back list. Oh well, I don’t have enough time to time travel anyway…

  295. @Gulliver: at the price of veggies, you don’t get pounded with those. Much more likely to have a fusillade of fast food.

    @Phoenician: Titanic would have been a MUCH better movie with your idea.

  296. I’m with Lurkertype. Enough with the bad romance, gimme Orlando Bloom in an open jacket with no shirt and a bow and some arrows and some Legolas ears, and a megasquid of doom.

  297. @ Gulliver: What the hell?

    And I should note that EG did, in fact, get hammered by Thor 2. Our Host is glorious and prescient! :P

  298. Hey, if he didn’t fight off the Ice Giants every winter, we’d all die. A fimbulfull of respect, please! :-)

  299. Loki could exterminate Jotuns more elegantly and awesomely than Thor ever could. He could save the universe With Science. Thor just has a big hammer to substitute for his deficiencies in his other hammer.

    Hell, Loki could come up with some Daleks to do his bidding if he felt like it. Give him two weeks and some Chitauri tech and he’d have the Borg.

  300. @Xopher

    A fimbulfull of respect, please! :-)

    *rolls eyes*

    @Floored

    Hell, Loki could come up with some Daleks to do his bidding if he felt like it. Give him two weeks and some Chitauri tech and he’d have the Borg.

    Remind us never to put you in charge of reversing climate change.

    Thor may be a douche, but he has his uses.

    My partner has watched the first Thor Chris Hemsworth beeffest four or five times (it was four last time I asked, so I assume it’s five by now).

  301. @ Gulliver: My Snow Daleks cannot stand the new climate! I will make a freeze ray from that Jotun casket and use it to bury the Earth in a new Ice Age, for the benefit of the glorious Snow Dalek Empire!

    I assume that your partner is female? Because the gratuitous shirtless Thor scene was clearly there for the ladies, just as Black Widow’s carefully situated zipper and nylon-encased rear end were there for the guys in Avengers.

  302. @Floored: remember our original topic. The pecs, abs, and biceps of Mr. Thor are there for the straight ladies and gay men. Black Widow’s ass was there for the straight men and lesbians. Natalie Portman and her sidekick enjoy the very finest of eye candy.

    @Gulliver: I like the cut of your partner’s jib. Also, let me know when FFF is playing.

  303. Lurker, I realize that, but two things:

    IME, gay men and straight women enjoy looking at slightly different parts of the male anatomy–Xopher, please correct me if I’m wrong. IME, women prefer men’s upper bodies while homosexual men prefer men’s rear ends. I can’t pretend to be an expert on what homosexual women prefer, but I can assume that while men are staring at Black Widow’s chest while the lesbians are ogling her buttocks and hips. Please tell me that I am wrong if that is the case–my experience is VERY limited, being a 17-year-old homeschooled bird geek (ie someone with exactly three friends his own age and no social life to speak of).

    Also, Gulliver has made comments in the past that imply that he is a heterosexual male. I am probably wrong about this, though, given how my day has gone.

    Finally, my army of invincible Snow Daleks is poised to take over the Earth! I just need to offer their services as exterminators to Loki in exchange for that magic ice shooter casket.

  304. Geeeez, John takes time away from the thread and just LOOK what you people do it!.

    A perfectly serious topic ruined with levity. . . I swear.

  305. Floored, sorry, but you’ve got it wrong. While there are certain bits I watch for, some men are so attractive that every part of them, yea even to their elbows, is worth looking at. Moreover, there’s great variation among gay men (and straight men, and lesbians, and straight women, and bisexuals of all genders) about which bits of their desired objects* are the best eye candy.

    There are even people who claim that no part of their sexual response is visual, that they respond to voice and manner but not to the sight of the physical body at all. I can scarcely credit this (well, unless they’re actually blind), but that could be my own strong visual bias interfering.

    *This is not to exclude people who feel no sexual desire at all—they’re just not relevant to a discussion of sexual desire.

  306. And yes, there has been many a man whose sculpted pecs and washboard abs have made me catch my breath.

  307. @Floored

    Also, Gulliver has made comments in the past that imply that he is a heterosexual male. I am probably wrong about this, though, given how my day has gone.

    No, your correct. I’m wired straight. I refer to my significant other as my partner because ours is a partnership, and none of the more traditional appellations are accurate.

    Regarding the anatomy thing, I think you’ll discover there’s quite as much variance within any particular gender and orientation as there is between different ones. I don’t say this to be in any way condescending, but you may find your own anatomical foci shifting or expanding as you get older.

    @Xopher

    And yes, there has been many a man whose sculpted pecs and washboard abs have made me catch my breath.

    That doesn’t require being gay. I’m straight, not blind :)

  308. Floored:

    IME, women prefer men’s upper bodies while homosexual men prefer men’s rear ends. I can’t pretend to be an expert on what homosexual women prefer, but I can assume that while men are staring at Black Widow’s chest while the lesbians are ogling her buttocks and hips.

    Nope. While different women like different things, in general heterosexual women are huge fans of men’s rear ends and we like them tight. We are in general less interested in guys’ chest definition than they think we are, (in fact that seems to be a guy obsession, not that we don’t admire chests and abs.) Shoulders and muscular arms are more of a draw. However, while women like muscular, athletic builds in general, we don’t like a lot of muscles. A swimmer or dancer’s build will appeal usually over a body builder’s build, and women like the way male dancers move. Height is the biggie — women on average prefer tall men in the West. Face, eyes and smile are big for women — but the preferences there vary greatly — and these combine with a sexy voice. A bulging package is not in general the big draw for heterosexual women visually. We like things to look proportional with a basic V shaped torso.

    Lesbians love breasts. Also legs. Heterosexual men are actually in general very interested in women’s hips and rear ends, (childbearing don’t you know) though the preferences for rounded or flat buttocks are largely cultural. While there is a strong interest in large breasts for many heterosexual men, there is actually a pretty wide range of interest. Men have been trained on tall models with long legs and small breasts, so a lot of them like that type instead. But cleavage is noticed by everybody — studies have shown that heterosexual women also look at cleavage; they just aren’t having a sexual reaction to it. Faces are important for both lesbians and heterosexual men, and again there’s a lot of variance, but symmetry is seen as the most attractive. I won’t presume to speak for anyone else on the spectrum.

  309. Thank you all very much for correcting me. Maybe I should refrain from posting about things that I have very little experience with.

    And I should stop getting my ideas of what various people find attractive from Jack Harkness.

    Gulliver, +1 for gender equality. You win the IntraWeebs for today.

  310. Floored: Jack Harkness is an exception to a lot of rules. ;-)

    Sweeping pronouncements tend to correlate with youth. Your ability not to double down when challenged is commendable.

  311. Groot is all about the trunk… he’s always being scolded “my leaves are up here.”

    Bender is a social outcast because his anatomy is way too shiny for most robot’s preferences. (And his antenna has a disappointing tendency to fall off.)

    I just assume people like what they like. If I had to guess, the most important thing is that all the parts look like they go together. Also, the face is probably the most important physical aspect for most people because that is what you have to look at and interact with the most.

    After that, it is a messy personal ad hoc calculation, balancing what you like with what you can put up with and then applied to whomever can say the same about you.

  312. Jack Harkness is actually kind of a creep. My only plausible explanations for his character are that he is written very inconsistently and poorly, or that he goes around time and space preying on damaged or vulnerable people. (Actually 9th Doctor Harkness was cool, but he is way different on Torchwood. He did seem to mellow out once he bacame a giant face with no body, I will give him that.)

  313. @Floored

    Gulliver, +1 for gender equality.

    I’m not sure I agree with the implication that terms like wife, girlfriend or significant other are inherently gender unequal. Our relationship isn’t a judgment on any other couple or multiple, let alone a political statement. It’s just how we roll.

    Maybe I should refrain from posting about things that I have very little experience with.

    Don’t sweat it. Like Lila said, you take criticism well. Besides, this is one of those areas where there really isn’t any substitute for experience, both in terms of getting to know what other people are attracted to and experiencing first hand how you yourself evolve over the course of your life.

    +1 for Jack

  314. @ Gulliver, Lila:

    Thanks, guys. Good to know.

    And I have to say that Jack was the only good part of the Torchwood: Miracle Day finale who survived. They killed Shapiro/Q from lazy writing, they killed Esther from lazy writing–really, it kind of sucked.

  315. Floored: IME, gay men and straight women enjoy looking at slightly different parts of the male anatomy

    Well, just to point to how diverse even “straight” people are, tiny feet are sexy in some cultures, resulting in foot binding and all its nastiness, and the Mayan culture found crossed-eyes attractive.

    so, sweeping generalizations about what is attractive is probably doomed to fail.

  316. Floored, I agree with Lila when she says “Your ability not to double down when challenged is commendable.”

    Greg, except facial symmetry, which AFAIK appears to be a universal plus. Big noses or small, large eyes or squinty, thin lips or wide ones…they all look better if they’re the same on both sides.

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  318. Okay, Ender again. Just one question, does anyone find the Oscar snub of this movie to be slightly crazy? Should have gotten the nod for F/X if nothing else. Instead they nominated The Lone Ranger? Why? For Johnny Depp’s hairdo? Sheesh.

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