Orson Scott Card v. Ender: Boycotting Ender’s Game is Bad for Art
With so many artists we have to separate the work from the artist, because a lot of them ARE (or were) asshats. And yes, sometimes they head so far off into the crazy that it is tempting to not "support" their art because we don't want to see a single one of our dimes fall into their pockets, or even offer them any tacit support of their ideas...
"As a college student, I corresponded extensively with Orson Scott Card. For several years, I considered him a mentor and a friend. He was incredibly generous with his time and advice, and supportive of me as an aspiring fiction writer. I’ve had dinner at his home.
My experience with Card is a lot like hers, without the direct contact. Back in the Pre-Internet days, he was very active on Prodigy On-Line (I think that's what it was called) and that was very cool for me, and he shared a lot of information about writing with a bunch of us wannabes. He was one of my favorite Sci Fi writers of all time (and his early books are still some of my favorites).
I was shocked last spring to hear that this movie was delayed by the studio largely because of the controversy over Card (though they denied this, if I remember correctly). I always knew that Card was a devout Mormon, but I deeply troubled to hear that the author of one of the greatest books ever about tolerance and acceptance of others (Speaker For The Dead) was so vocal and public about his intolerance for the GLBT community. To me, ensuring the success of this movie is a step towards getting THAT movie made which would do more to damage OSC's cause than boycotting this movie will.
Learning about Card’s words and actions caused me to really take a look at this issue of art v. artist. In the end, I find I still can support the art over the artist, though I think it is also important to point out that we are drawing a line in our support, too.
And, for me, this really has to do with more than just the GBLT angle in this particular case because, let's be honest, his ideas were the societal norm for the vast majority of history, so if we were to boycott all homophobic artists, we'd probably be boycotting 98% of everything ever produced, which feels wrong. And if we aren't, then it also feels wrong to boycott Card. Though being a product of his religion and times is no excuse for his public lobbying efforts…
Yet, I do think it is fair, even important and necessary, to point out when we are supporting the art over the artist, especially when they are inserting themselves into political debates. And this particular case really does sadden me because in many ways Card has shown himself to be a very decent man over the years through his support of beginning writers, even more so than I realized before reading the article above. Few writers would bring an aspiring novice home for dinner.
People are complicated. And yes, sometimes, they can really piss us off! I have friends who’s views are not too far off from Card’s and it is sometimes difficult for me to reconcile my feelings about them. But, unlike Card, they do not have a public platform to contribute to the debate, so their personal feelings are pretty much just that, and so my concerns are eased because it is hard for me to see how they are directly harming others while I can also hope that, perhaps, that my view can erode at theirs a bit over time.
With Card’s public platform, however, that isn’t the case here. His beliefs, when he lobbies against the GBLT community from a platform of intolerance and fear, is harmful to others.
But if I can reconcile these conflicting feelings about my friends, then I can do it with strangers whom I’ve never met, though it is much easier to paint strangers into black and white categories without ever knowing, or caring to know, what a complicated mess they really are.Orson Scott Card Responds to Ender's Game Boycott With Ironic Plea for 'Tolerance' | Underwire | Wired.com:
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