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Could Boycott of Anti-Gay Author Put an End to Ender’s Game?

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Card, in 2009, instead moved in to a position as a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a self-described “traditional marriage” group that has worked, and in many places has succeeded, to denigrate gay couples and ensure that states — and even countries — resist progress and enact same-sex marriage bans.

Most recently, alongside authoring a despicably bad anti-gay Hamlet rehash, Card backed North Carolina’s disgustingly overreaching constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership rights.

He wrote in support of that amendment an op-ed on how gay marriage is a ploy of the Left, saying with a glaring use of fiction and not science the following:

If there were even a shred of science behind the absurd claims about gender and sexuality coming from the left, there might be a case for allowing this to happen. But there is no science behind it.

In fact, the scientific evidence we have points in the opposite direction: Same-sex attraction is not a strait jacket; people’s desires change over time; gay people still have choices; a reproductive dysfunction like same-sex attraction is not a death sentence for your DNA or for your desire to have a family in which children grow up with male and female parents to model appropriate gender roles.

Now, this isn’t just being against gay marriage. This is spouting ex-gay nonsense that has been evidenced to harm children.

We can say incontrovertibly then that Card has demonstrably used his status and, at the very least via his Mormon tithing, his money to advocate against gay rights and even appears to have at least tacitly supported some form of ex-gay therapy.

So, we must say that if the book Ender’s Game gave Card the means to improve the reach and weight of his opinion, and then he used his baseless anti-gay views to attack, defame and actively persecute same-sex couples, all of which cannot be disputed and none of which he has ever renounced, a discussion of Ender’s Game as an enabling factor in his rise to anti-gay prominence is entirely reasonable.

A boycott, too, is therefore not on the face of it beyond the bounds of what might be appropriate action for those who find Card’s views land on the spectrum of disagreeable to appalling — and it’s worth interjecting that no one is quibbling over Orson Scott Card’s right to hold these views, but that doesn’t mean he gets to speak into a vacuum of no consequence.

However, the always measured Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter most famous for his biopic on Harvey Milk, has reportedly delivered his opinion against the boycott:

There’s so much good to be done right now. Boycotting a movie made by 99% LGBT equality folks in an LGBT equality industry is a waste of our collective energy. Making one phone call to a relative in the south who isn’t quite there yet would be 1,000 times more effective.

He later went on to incorrectly state “The homophobic novelist who wrote the book hasn’t been involved in decades. Misguided boycott.”

We know that latter point to be false and that Card has as recently as 2012 attempted to use his position for anti-gay politics, but that his prominence and influence in the movement has waned does appear to be true.

That aside, Black manages to lay out a very powerful reason against the boycott: that of outreach.

We know that when the gay community opens its arms and attempts to educate through positive narratives like “we are all someone’s child” and that “equal love deserves equal rights,” the community wins. The massive gains in gay rights, while multifaceted in cause, attest to this.

When the community closes ranks and shuns something, it is less successful.

We groan to remember the Chick-fil-A debacle that (wrongly) became a free speech debate and hastened thousands of conservatives like Sarah Palin toward a future of heart disease as they consumed fried chicken by the bucketful just to demonstrate their support for Chick-fil-A’s “traditional family,” the Cathy clan whose donations to anti-gay causes amount to millions.

A rash dismissal of either point, the righteous anger over Card’s past or the potential for a backlash if a boycott were to go ahead (though, we note, no real backlash has yet organized itself), seems foolhardy.

What might be most fascinating in this case, though, isn’t talk surrounding the merits of the boycott itself, but that Lionsgate has been so worried by the threat and, moreover, of appearing to be in bed with Orson Scott Card that it needed to try damage control. Also, that the boycott really does appear to be gaining ground.

This in and of itself demonstrates the sea-change on gay rights and the reality that being anti-gay is now very firmly socially unacceptable, an idea that if floated a few years ago would firmly have belonged on the fiction shelf.

 

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Image credit: Lionsgate; image used under fair use terms.

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125 comments

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9:40AM PDT on Jul 28, 2013

Julia,

That's a good way to look at it.

4:14PM PDT on Jul 27, 2013

Kate R.
“If you really want freedom of speech then you have to allow people to state their opinions even if they dare to disagree with you, & you can never expect tolerance & respect if you refuse to show it to others.”

yes, we do hold firm to freedom of speech, and we hold firm to freedom to boycott just as you do IE Dixie Chicks.

Tamara H.
“I do find it hypocritical that some who've been discriminated against for their sexual orientation, feel it's okay to discriminate against someone for their beliefs.”

people choose their beliefs, 'not' sexual orientation.

7:54AM PDT on Jul 27, 2013

I have read several Orson Scott Card books, including Ender's Game and several others in this series and others.

However, some years ago I gave up on him. I won't read his books, or have anything to do with him or his books, or the movies that may, or may not, be related to his books. There's a lot of writers in the library, I'd rather my time and money was spent with ones that I know won't spend giant amount of cash being an original supporter of NOM.

I am not participating in a boycott. I won't buy or borrow his books and I won't see the movie. I won't be part of any actions against Orson Scott Card or Ender's Game. I don't want to give them the publicity.

Card is a douchebag. When members of his Church are challenging the Church, he is supporting their most isolationist and hateful ways.

7:52PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Ty

7:16PM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

My husband Googled Card and came up with this tidbit. Card seems to acknowledge that there is global climate change, but he does not seem to believe that human activity has anything to do with it. I do not know how much of his money and time goes to the "deniers".

He writes a very conservative column for "The Ornery American", (www.ornery.org) a conservative publication with links to the Wall Street Journal. I've read some of his columns, and I recommend that anyone who is against this boycott read them too. He hates Obama so much, he's almost sputtering.

2:02PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

thanks

12:32PM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

I have read Ender's Game and I was impressed. Not a great fan of his writing style but I was impressed by his imagination and story telling.
Everyone has a right to their own opinion. Regardless.
As I do too, I cannot in good conscience support or patronize the products and works of someone so anti-gay. This to me says anti-American and anti-free will. I, as an American, have to respect the rights and liberties of gay people. As a Christian I have to respect my Creator's choice in making gay people. I do not seem to possess the hubris to second guess God in His Creation.
Card can think as he wishes. If he kept that between his ears, behind his teeth or at least in his home and respect the rights and liberties of others then I would be happy to check out his works. No one has the right to deny others their rights.

6:24AM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Never heard of this author or series.

5:21AM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Reading comments here I can't help but notice how nasty some can get when disagreeing with others!
What springs to mind is the saying
Whilst I violently disagree with everything you are saying, I will defend to the death your right to say it. ( sorry cannot recall origin)
As it happens I love O.S. Card's work & had no idea he was a homophobe..disappointing to say the least. Like most of my books, being rather poor, all mine of his came from charity shops. I will not pay to see the movie, just as I have not paid to see The Hobbit nor will to see The Lone Ranger. However I feel people have the right to choose where and how to boycott.
I am regularly struck by how often people who support compassionate causes can become full of hatred and bordering on fascistic in their insistences. This to me is a dangerous path..
As before in these comments I'll quote Yoda..
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering, suffering leads to the dark side.
I get very angry about many things but I refuse to give into hate....
Self righteousness, EVEN when you ARE right is a slippery slope, people. Be on your guard whilst still maintaining the courage of your convictions. OK, enough preaching from me!

3:13AM PDT on Jul 24, 2013

Thanks for sharing

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