Shared publicly  - 
 
I know we've had discussions here before about Card's misogyny, and how that kind of thing shows up when you go back to read the stories you enjoyed as a youth.

Orson Scott Card wrote Ender’s Game in 1985. It is, almost without question, one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written. And he’s been doing everything he can to undermine it ever since.

He’s not doing it on purpose, mind you. But the endless cash-ins on the story in the form of mostly inferior and unnecessary sequels (Ender’s Shadow excepted) haven’t exactly helped cement its legacy. Perhaps even worse than those are the man himself. Card is, to put it bluntly, kind of an asshole.

Even his assholery isn’t, in and of itself, exactly news. A lot of authors are grade-A jerks. Harlan Ellison for instance is one of the all time biggest assholes, but people are still able to acknowledge his genius. What’s really making it tough for people to keep enjoying Card’s brilliant writing is the specific focus for some of his assholery. In short, he’s a homophobe.

(Card attempts to defend himself to a degree in this intro to an article he wrote on homosexuality some years ago: http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html)
3
3
Colin Bartlett's profile photoLiz Fong-Jones's profile photoCJ Martin's profile photoAndi S's profile photo
39 comments
 
This is probably why I never got into science fiction - but gobbled up mysteries. There's a very big difference between these genres in terms of the roles of women and other Others.
 
All of those example companies are ones I don't buy from.
AJ Kohn
 
Card is a certified crazy-nutball-loon with a mean streak. I just can't enjoy his work much anymore, even Ender's Game. Thank goodness for someone like Greg Bear.
 
+Martha E Fay If you go back to the beginnings of mysteries, I don't think you'd see that much difference in stereotypes. They both began to change when women began openly writing the genres (which did become more common sooner in mysteries than in science fiction).
 
I saw Card talk once. He went on about how Bush would be vindicated for invading Iraq, and how if he hadn't, he would have ended up like Chamberlain. He was a bit scary.
 
One of the things I really despise about western culture is our belief that we have some right to judge people on their personal beliefs or habits at all. He wrote a good book, the rest is none of your business. Its much akin to being upset when a senator has an affair; did they vote on the bills you wanted them to? Support the policies you like? Then support them. OSC isn't a politician, he's a writer, enjoy his writing or not but judging the man is just silly.
AJ Kohn
 
Yeah, his political stuff is ... scary. It's not so much that he's a raging conservative but that the reasoning he applies to it is almost incomprehensible.
 
What destroys my enjoyment of Ender's Game is that he took a great short story and turned it into a completely different novel and eliminated the nasty twist ending that hardly anyone seems to have gotten.
AJ Kohn
+
1
2
1
 
OSC is a writer. He has also used his popularity as a writer to discuss and weigh in on other issues. Even if he didn't, if I choose to take the type of person he is into account, I can do that. That's my right.

Funny thing about that freedom of speech and expression eh?
 
Everyone weighs in on subjects. That doesn't mean their personal lives or beliefs are any of your business either way, and even if shared, they're still not up for judgment. Feel free to do so, it just makes you petty as it has no bearing whatsoever on anything but your own mind when you judge others.
 
I weighed in on a subject and judged no-one. Feel free to continue your derisive commentary though.
 
I have often been disappointed by my favorite authors speak or write about politics. Sometimes it's jarring enough that it disrupts my enjoyment of their novels.

It makes the exceptions that much more enjoyable, though. I love to read the opinions of Asimov or David Brin. It's fun even when I disagree, because they present it well and I can see how they reached their conclusions. 
 
+Kee Hinckley What do you consider the beginning of the mystery genre? I've never thought about how it all began. I do remember Colin Wilkie's The Moonstone, which I read years before I got hooked into mysteries as we now know them. And just recently, I've been reading novels from women of the late 19th/early 20th centuries which can only be called mysteries.

Of course, detective fiction (and perhaps crime fiction, which I do not think of as part of the mystery genre) is a whole other story - I agree that women came into that arena rather later than into mysteries.

Googling away as I type!
 
+Martha E Fay Hmm. You're right, I was thinking of crime genres as part of that. If I think of mysteries, in fact the first names that come to my mind are all women.
 
Whatever his failures, you must always separate the the artist from the art. Like the Dark Knight? Well Frank Miller wants to nuke the entire middle east.

That doesn't make the Dark Knight any less of an amazing story. Homophobia doesn't make Ender's Game a bad story.

Don't kill the messenger.
AJ Kohn
+
1
2
1
 
It's a matter of scale +John Lewis. I know some people can't do that with Woody Allen. I can look past some of his peccadillos. With Card, it's tougher for me.

I don't think it's a black and white issue and all art is infused with that creator's person, so I think it's not entirely true that you can divide the two things.
 
+Michael Babcock - What people are talking about here aren't personal beliefs. They are public beliefs. Card has written articles about it. He is outspoken about it. He stands by it. Seems to me he himself has made it fair game over and over.
 
+AJ Kohn You could, theoretically, read a story by Card and not know who wrote it. Separation is completely personal, and may not be easy. However intentionally linking the authors failings or personal views and linking them to his art is, in my opinion, unfair because it colors for those who didn't know the stories which could (should?) stand on their own merits.
 
Interesting comments but all I'm hearing is he said with technology the way it is let's have some references to what Card said so we can decide for ourselves if he is homophobic. Just being Mormon isn't reason enough to label him.
AJ Kohn
+
1
2
1
 
I just don't think that art and 'person' are easily divided +John Lewis. Most art is derived from experience. The angry love song is because of a breakup in the lead singer's life. A good deal of Burroughs' work is based on his rather unique lifestyle.

As I said, sometimes the things we learn about artists don't infringe on the enjoyment of the work. But sometimes they do and I think that's natural since so much of that person goes into the art.
 
+AJ Kohn I have always attempted to keep my understanding of an artist separate from their work. Perhaps I am alone in this. For example I am enthralled by the person of Sylvia Plath, but knowing that history make me like or dislike her work more or less.

Again, this may just be me.
 
Wow, what a shitty argument. Card isn't disliked for his religion, he is disliked for how he expresses his views, which he bases on his religion. The minute Mariott Hotel starts telling gay guests that they are not welcome, we will be all over them too. And Katherine Heigl may have been raised LDS, but she is not a bigot. http://www.exposay.com/katherine-heigl-notes-positive-side-of-gay-slurs/v/10913/

Summary: Being a dick isn't about your religion. Card is a dick.
 
Just to make it clear, Card is actively and publicly anti-gay. In 2009 he joined the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that seeks to prevent the legalization of same-sex marriage.

In the past he has gone as far as advocating that being gay makes you a criminal, and as such you should be in jail. He has also claimed the same-sex marriage is a threat to civilization.
 
+John Lewis No, but it makes me not want to send him more money to donate to such causes. Art is not divorced from society, nor should it be? Card is a person, and an artist, and a businessman, and a donor, and a bigot. I loved Ender's Game. To be honest, I have not enjoyed any of his works since then. It is not much of a sacrifice for me to decide to forgo his other works to avoid financially helping causes to which I am opposed.
 
+Brian Holt Hawthorne I can certainly understand that. Not being able to see past some trait a person has to enjoy them for their better qualities is human. To judge a person based on one dimension of their personality is fair enough. Nothing good can come from anyone who fears gay people.

In fact I'm sure this is exactly how Card feels about gay people. That there are no redeeming values in someone like that.
peter k
+
3
4
3
 
orson scott card is a raging homophobe who has actually gone out of his way to promote his homophobia. this isn't about judging him as a writer, this is about judging him as human being who has an effect on my life.

and based on that, i think i get to consider how conflicted i am about support his work which in turn supports him and his views.
 
We have public libraries. Borrow his books from there if you don't wanna give your money to the guy.

Also, NO tithing was used to fund Prop 8. Members were asked to donate to the prop 8 cause, so individual members did. Thus, the members donated EXTRA funds to Prop 8. No tithing went to it. None. This is a very important distinction. Individuals can do whatever the hell they want with their money no matter what group they belong to.

I am Mormon. I did not donate. I did not vote for prop 8. Why? Because after a few years of research and talking to people (in the wake of prop 22) I realized that I was actually trying to force people to follow a tenant of my religion. That I was reacting to same-sex marriage based on my cultural lenses. It is bloody hard to remove that lens.

Everyone has a cultural lens. People get all up in arms over the homosexuality issue and Mormons but then refuse to even look at the good Mormons do (see Katrina) or try to understand why we are collectively reacting this way. We collectively get labelled as bigots. If y'all don't learn how to remove YOUR cultural lens regarding Mormonism it is going to make respect for differences a lot harder. It's going to make things like this a lot harder: It Gets Better at Brigham Young University
peter k
+
1
2
1
 
while no tithing was used to fund prop 8, the lds used the church communication channels to support prop 8.
 
Ruth: I don't think most of us judge Card for his Mormonism, nor do we credit/blame his religion for his views, despite what this article attempts to say. Card has been expressly and vocally homophobic, and willing to attempt to use the legal system to force his religious views on those who do not share his religion. That means I will not support him by purchasing his books. I will buy them used, or get them from the library, because I can appreciate his work while disliking the man. But I will not buy them new, or in some other way direct funds to someone who advocates as Card does.
 
Peter, notice how I acknowledged that.

Judith, that's fine, you can do whatever you want. But when people, like the author in the article, say, oh, he's Mormon, as if that explains his bigotry is bigotry in and of itself. And very upsetting.

I hope y'all watched the video, it's a really great "It Gets Better" video at Brigham Young University.
 
Honestly, I have more negative attitude towards Card for the mess he made of "Enders Game" - the series, where it became overlapping spheres "oh, wait, that's not what happened, but the newest book, that's what happ...oh wait, that's not what...."

I deal with the above, and his reprehensible (to me) politics the same way I dealt with "Highlander II" to wit:

"There was a 'Highlander II'? I'm pretty sure you're wrong." :)
 
Ruth: I found this author's argument just as obnoxious as you did, though for different reasons. See my comment above, about how this line of argument is a shitty one.

I did see the BYU It Gets Better video, and found it depressing, because of the statements about how the university did not provide any support, but these kids found what they needed despite the university & general attitude.
 
Judith, I read your comment and even the link you provided. ;)
The point of the video is that the university now allows support whereas before it did not. That is progress my friend.
 
Everyone is entitled to their views and to spend their time ,talents, money where they want. If we don't like it don't support it. But for me I enjoy the company, product and services of my gay friends as much as my heterosexual friends. We may not agree on the politics of sex and marriage but we still talk about it. And talking about it is what brings about understanding and change.

I like the adage "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still!"
 
Gods, this is bringing back a lot of bad memories. I was first introduced to Orson Scott Card through "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus", back in high school. I thought it was...odd...that part of fixing the past involved giving a (pantheistic, bloody-penised) version of Christianity to the Caribbean and Mesoamerica, but the story also implied a multireligious, multicultural, secular future that came out of it, so I didn't think too much of it. I loved that book; it informed and continues to inform a lot of my perspective on long-term living. It actually reminded me in tone of a lot of the Octavia Butler we were reading, and so when I came across an article by Orson Scott Card about Anthropology's role in informing the gay rights movement, I read it eagerly.

I was crushed.

He was so hateful, so casually dismissive and so factually wrong. It felt like a personal rebuke, by a person I respected, against a fundamental aspect of who I am. So, +John Lewis, this was a very personal experience for me.

Speculative Fiction builds worlds by a set of rules and gives us a peak into how those worlds evolve given those rules. By its nature, it is fundamentally informed by the "private" worldview of the person who build them, and to the degree that the stories are spread within a culture, that "private" worldview has an effect on the public mindset. As others have mentioned, he also uses the money and influence he receives through his books to spread some serious malware as a public figure, which as a conscientious consumer I don't want to sponsor.

+Ruth R. Davidson, unfortunately, when you are dealing with an institution that uses its power for such obvious evil, it kinda overshadows the other nice things it does. So, yes, that soldier totally rescued that Afghan kid's puppy from a well! But then a US drone blew up a wedding party in the same village, so...

As an American, I understand the difference between specific Americans and specific American actions being good, and the American government's overall influence in the world being good. When I'm talking to friends from other countries who decry America's destructive role in this or that aspect of history/climate change/international politics, I understand they are not badmouthing ALL Americans, or me personally as an American. They decry specific actions of the American institution. As well they should! As a member of that institution, it's my duty to change their opinion, not by complaining when they point out horrible things it's doing, but by changing the institution so it stops doing those horrible things.
Add a comment...