Why I’m (Proudly, this Time) Boycotting Orson Scott Card

Having weighed in on the Orson Scott Card controversy earlier this year, when he was hired to write Superman, I feel compelled to weigh in now that he’s issued his non-apology apology.

The controversy earlier this year centered around his being hired to write Superman, which some felt was incommensurate with his repeated homophobic statements and his involvement with the National Organization for Marriage, which (despite its name) opposes gay marriage. A boycott was organized, which was attacked as censorship and itself being intolerant (which prompted my own editorial). Finally, Chris Sprouse, the artist for that Superman story, withdrew from illustrating it, and the story was put on hold. It has yet to appear.

Ender's Game posterNow, Card’s most famous sci-fi novel, Ender’s Game, is being adapted as a big-budget movie slated for 1 November release. And the whole story’s repeating again, threatening to be an even bigger, Hollywood-sized story this time around. The LGBT group Geeks OUT has started a boycott, with planned “Skip Ender’s Game” events in major U.S. and Canadian cities.

Movies are big business, much bigger than comics. And so Card, whether in response to Hollywood encouragement or not, has issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly, apparently designed to head things off at the pass. It’s something of a disaster:

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.

Card’s right, of course, that the Full Faith and Credit clause, which requires states to respect each other’s contracts, including marriages, will eventually allow gay marriages to be recognized even in states that don’t perform them. But that was true before the Supreme Court ruling too. And I’m not sure how that ruling (or those two rulings, one on the Orwellian “Defense of Marriage Act” and the other on California’s Proposition 8) render the issue “moot,” though. Most states still don’t perform or recognize gay marriage.

And it’s not as if legal discrimination against gays doesn’t still exist. To take just one example, it’s still legal to fire someone for being gay in 29 states. Or rather, if the employer thinks someone might be gay. After all, he or she doesn’t have to conduct an investigation. So if you’re straight but maybe dress a little too well, or you mention Logo’s show Felt at work or something, odds are your employer can probably fire you too. Which is just another example of how we’re all in this together, and gay rights are everyone’s rights. These issues certainly aren’t “moot.”

Nor has Card’s homophobia been limited to gay marriage. To pretend that’s been the only issue, or that that whole gay thing isn’t operative anymore, now that the Supreme Court said the Feds can’t just choose to ignore the legal marriages of the states, is so silly that it’s hard to imagine Card actually believes such things. It is, however, convenient for him to pretend so, in the months prior to his movie’s launch.

That’s all deeply manipulative, cynical business. But there’s an even deeper problem with Card’s statement. He just can’t resist adding that snide bit on the end there. In which, rather than apologizing or saying he won’t write such terrible things about gay people anymore, Card decides to preemptively attack as intolerant anyone who might boycott him. Again.

You know, like for what he’s said. And done. For which he hasn’t apologized, nor said he won’t do again.

Let me translate his statement: “I fought tooth and nail to deprive loving Americans of equal rights. I demonized them as pedophiles and the cause of civilization’s collapse. Well, shucks, looks like I lost! Now let’s watch those dirty child-rapists to make sure they treat me right!”

This is, of course, beyond offensive. It’s outrageous. But I can’t ignore the fact that it’s part of a growing trend in conservative circles.

Step 1: Lie about facts. Demonize your opponents. Show that you have absolutely no conscience in terms of how savagely and falsely you pursue your agenda.

So you could, for example, join the National Organization for Marriage, which spread the most vicious sort of lies (such as that old fear-mongering lie that school kids would be instructed in how to become homosexuals) in order to get California to pass its Proposition 8, which stripped an entire class of citizens of rights they previously had. You can lie about what marriage “has always been” (um… a transfer of ownership of a woman from her father to her husband, who has lots of other wives?). And you can demonize homosexuals as perverts whose rights would mean nothing less than the downfall of Western civilization.

Keep in mind that this isn’t simply overzealous behavior. It’s hostile to the rudiments of how America (and all civilized, secular nations) work. Religions don’t get to impose their views on others. If you don’t like gay marriage, there’s an easy solution: don’t belong to a church that performs them. But you don’t get to ask the state to enforce your religious views by law. That’s not how this works. If you do this anyway, you’re really no different than someone who says only marriages performed by their church should be recognized by the state because all those other churches have gone astray.

Or you could claim that Obamacare has death panels in it, or that it costs too much (it actually saves massive amounts of money, as all independent analysis confirms), or that it’s somehow a state takeover (despite being a Republican plan designed to avoid a state takeover).

Or you can claim that Obama’s a Kenyan-born socialist.

If you’re really evil, you can legislate that doctors have to repeat your lies (about how abortion causes cancer or infertility or monkey AIDS or whatever) to their patients, or immunize them from doing so. And you can do this while you pass laws that openly violate the Roe v. Wade decision, which will necessitate your state to incur vast bills in order to defend your blatantly illegal legislation.

As I write this, I’m watching yet another commercial from a Republican politician calling to abolish the I.R.S. because of its “chilling” targeting of conservative groups. Never mind that this never happened: a Republican I.R.S. official created search terms, including both liberal and conservative ones, in order to identify groups applying for protected tax status that were, in defiance of the requirements for that status, primarily political in nature. That’s it. The groups got approved anyway, even though they shouldn’t have been. But facts don’t matter to this Republican politician. Nor, really, is abolishing the I.R.S. the agenda — a crackpot idea that will never pass. That’s how disingenuous this is. The point is to elevate this politician as a national candidate by establishing his conservative bona fides, and the only way to do that today is by demonstrating a willingness to spread vicious lies and a commitment to crackpot ideas.

Such examples abound, but they’re all united by their hostility to facts and evidence, as well as their frequent illegality and their even-more-frequent hostility to basic ethics.

Step 2(a): If you win, celebrate victory! America has spoken! That’s why we’re the greatest country in the world! Yay!

But you probably won’t win, because you don’t believe in facts or science anyway, and people who think praying the oil away after the Gulf oil spill is a reasonable strategy aren’t likely to make the best strategic choices. (Cf. “Romney shambles.”)

Also, you probably won’t win because you’re part of a dying reactionary breed fighting the tide of history (see also: scapegoating of Hispanic immigrants), and that’s not a tenable position. These racist, hateful positions helped for decades, when all you had to do was hint that your Democratic opponent liked “welfare queens” (or gays, Mexicans, rehabilitation, not starting unnecessary wars, etc.), but those are all now losing positions, and you’re hopefully gonna have to lie in that bed you’ve made for a long time to come.

Step 2(b): You lost. Now, pretend that all sides are equal, like this has just been a game of checkers or something. Completely ignore that you behaved in the most unethical manner. That’s just how politics is played, doncha know! Pretend that “everyone gets heated” in these political debates, so that your systematic, illegal, illogical, and hate-filled discrimination gets mixed up with people saying things like “no more blood for oil.” Say there are “extremists” on both sides, and never mind that your side was based on contravening the Constitution and demonizing people with nothing but ideology and twisted logic.

At all costs, blur the distinctions between both sides — because otherwise, you might be held accountable for what you’ve done.

For example, if you’ve campaigned for torture and had videotapes leak showing your soldiers laughing while they machine-gun reporters, you really want to pretend that was all just a polite disagreement. Because the alternative is, of course, being put on trial.

And if you’re really a son of a bitch, if you’re really the lowest of the low, then you can go a step further and put the onus on those who opposed your anti-democratic positions and your lying, scapegoating tactics.

For example, let’s say you decide on the day of Obama’s inauguration to oppose everything he wanted to accomplish, to such an extent that when Obama endorses a Republican bill, the Republicans who wrote the bill suddenly say they’ll vote against it. Let’s further say that you do this while the economy’s suffering, and you keep relentlessly and unnecessarily hurting the economy over and over again by playing with the debt ceiling, cutting government jobs in the midst of a recession, and failing to take any action on Obama’s jobs bill while you nonetheless claim you’re all about the jobs (not, say, abortion). Then, when you lose the next election (despite not thinking it’s going to happen, because you’re watching FOX News and don’t believe in science), tell voters that you’ll be watching to see whether Obama works with you.

Or you could say — just for example — that you’ll be watching to see how the forces of “tolerance” treat you, now that they’ve won. As if the real question now is whether they’re hypocrites.

Not, you know, whether you have any concept of history or American values or religious tolerance or how equal rights actually work.

So, having acted intolerantly and intolerably, Card now has the gall to ask for tolerance. And to suggest that, if he’s held accountable for his actions in any way (even, presumably, through a citizens’ boycott of his work), it would somehow be proof that the forces of fairness and tolerance really aren’t any better than him after all.

It’s this shamelessness in defeat that most angers me about American politics today. And worse, that the media seems to go along with it. You can understand how someone wouldn’t want to be accountable for their own actions. But it’s hard to imagine any sane, objective person going along with this.

I’m sick of people like Card fighting like politics is a field where anything goes (I’d say like love and war, but conservatives like Card want to legislate love, and there have been rules to war, despite Dick Cheney’s many attempts to strip them away, going back at least to Homer’s depiction of the treatment of Hector’s body) and then pretending, when they lose, like it’s up to the side they demonized not so much to play fair (which they have) but to now do what the party that’s behaved unethically wants — in Card’s case, for those he’s injured and those appalled by this to fork over their money anyway.

The issue, Mr. Card, isn’t that you lost. It’s that you tried to contravene the Constitution of the United States by depriving one class of Americans their equal rights, despite this same class having already suffered so much and having never once tried to deprive you of yours. And that you pursued this goal with the most relentless and unethical lies and fear-mongering, justifying your hatred and your anti-American agenda under the guise of democracy and religious tolerance.

In pursuing his ideological, anti-equality agenda, Card openly came from a religious perspective. Even in defeat, he’s still cloaking himself in religion — specifically, the way in which we seem to have a special tolerance for the religious, as if their views require them to impose themselves on others, even when it violates the Constitution and American principles.

Of course, we don’t extend such tolerance to Muslims who seek to impose their interpretation of their religion upon other nations’ governments. But when Christians (and Mormons, if you see a difference) do it in the United States (or African nations, where they’ve encouraged at least one death penalty for homosexuality, and where George W. Bush tied foreign aid to evidence-free, abstinence-based policies), we somehow give them a pass. They can’t help it, you see.

So instead of demanding they change, or stop abusing the basic rules about how a secular state functions (which is what guarantees their own religious liberty!), we expect no better. And we get no better.

That’s why Card, like so many others, has to put the onus on those he’s spent years demonizing. If he doesn’t change the subject and put the victims on the defensive, we might actually examine what went wrong here, or how laws could be passed that were so blatantly discriminatory that even this current, right-leaning court would say so. Or why we would tolerate such behavior, when it goes against how a secular, religiously tolerant state works.

Just to be clear, my problem isn’t with all conservatives, just those who act in such an unethical manner. And especially those who do so and then, in the wake of defeat, take that as an opportunity to make equally unethical demands of the victors.

Nor is my problem with the religious, nor any one religion in particular. Many religious people still respect America and the secular society in which they live. And thus, while they might not approve of pornography, don’t want it banned. They might not approve of gay marriage or liquor or extramarital affairs or wearing pointy hats or worshiping gods other than their own, but they don’t want these prohibitions forced upon their neighbors. Nor would they countenance this, because it makes shame for their religion and opens the door for some other religion or sect thereof to impose upon them.

But let’s be clear here: Card wanted gay couples to be treated unequally. To not be able to visit one another in the hospital. To not be able to inherit from each other. To not be able to be covered by the same insurance policy. To not get one another’s social security, no matter how long they lived together. To not live together in family housing on military bases. To be prohibited from participating in dozens of other rights given to married couples. But most of all, to not feel that they were married, or to tell their children that their parents were married — not bullshit, fake married but actually married, in the eyes of the law, with all the rights and responsibilities that come with that.

But in Card’s phrasing, this was all a polite disagreement. “Those who disagreed with them,” he writes in strained and passive prose, hiding behind pronouns (and even then avoiding “me” or “I”), as if this was all a little fencing match in which we let our opponents retrieve their fallen rapiers. Not, you know, a blood sport in which anything goes and any vicious lie can be justified in pursuit of a goal, nor that Card’s goal itself has now been judged to have been in violation of the very rules by which the political game is played.

Has Card, then, repented his view that civilization will collapse if we go against “traditional marriage” and allow those possible pedophiles (who only think they’re gay) equal rights?

Or does this mean that he never believed civilization at stake in the first place?

Or maybe Card still thinks civilization’s about to collapse. But he wants to make as much money as possible, even while civilization falls, by heading off any boycott of his movie.

Presumably, he also thinks those who are so tentatively in charge of this civilization, who have realized that the logic of gay marriage rights is inescapable, are misguided barbarians steering society into ruin. And who, despite their rhetoric of tolerance, are actually oh-so-intolerant of his religious views.

What he, like so many of his ilk, completely misses is that no one gives a shit about his religious views. We care about his religiously inspired actions, which sought to impose his views, by means of the law, upon others, in defiance of one of the most basic principles of Western civilization from the Enlightenment onward.

Once again, the problem isn’t Mr. Card’s bigoted views. The world’s filled with bigots, who are entitled to their backwards and disgusting thinking. But bigotry isn’t any prettier or more acceptable when it’s religiously inspired. And when you take your bigotry and try, in defiance of American principles, to impose it through law, you don’t get to impeach those who oppose you as somehow bigots or intolerant themselves. You don’t get to say your religion made you do these immoral and disgusting things, nor that people who rightly hold them against you hate your religion.

Presumably, what Mr. Card refers to as the test of the victors’ “tolerance” is whether they’re willing to give him money, after all that he’s done. If they don’t, or if they encourage others to boycott his work so as not to fund this particular unapologetic bigot, Card would have us believe that they are the real bigots.

In Card’s world, black is white, and up is down. Card twists words to mean their opposites. Victims suffering from discrimination are out to destroy civilization. Their victimizers are the true victims. Those who condemn bigotry are themselves bigots. Religious tolerance means not tolerating others’ practices but tolerating religion’s right to impose itself, if it can, upon others. Tolerance isn’t defined by how we treat the powerless, minorities, or the weakest among us, but how we treat those who have abused their great power and broken the rules of civilized, secular society — and who, unable to pervert the state to their own petty ends, now demand angrily that they not suffer financially for their misdeeds, which they refuse to acknowledge while making no promise not to repeat the same behavior again. Even civilization itself doesn’t mean these hard-fought values, of secular society and religious tolerance and minority rights and reason-based discourse, but rather some religious model of an eternal and unchanging family unit that bears no relation to families throughout history, nor today, nor is required to hold such resemblances.

Card’s world is through the looking glass. Logic need not apply. History, see logic.

What effrontery. Bad enough to fight tooth and nail against equality, using any means at your disposal, including lying and scapegoating, and to display such hostility towards the fundamental rules of religious tolerance. But to demand that people not hold this against you by choosing not to buy your product… simply beggars belief.

Why, to say that is to say that there should be no consequences. That the real wrong isn’t all he’s done, but far poorer and less famous people organizing to prevent this bigot from being quite so enriched. As if that weren’t a perfectly responsible act of free speech — and a hell of a lot closer to a polite fencing match, respecting the rules of the game, than what he has attempted.

As bad as Card’s words and deeds were, pretending it’s all “moot” and preemptively slurring those who might get in the way of his personal enrichment feels worse.

Honestly, I felt squeamish before about endorsing a boycott of Card. I spoke up against those who would condemn such a boycott. Now, I can’t wait to sign up.

If Mr. Card is so unabashedly shameless, the least we can do is to shame him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

In 1996, while still an undergraduate, Dr. Julian Darius founded what would become Sequart Organization. After graduating magna cum laude from Lawrence University (Appleton, Wisconsin), he obtained his M.A. in English, authoring a thesis on John Milton and utopianism. In 2002, he moved to Waikiki, teaching college while obtaining an M.A. in French (high honors) and a Ph.D. in English. In 2011, he founded Martian Lit, which publishes creative work, including his comic book Martian Comics. He currently lives in Illinois.

See more, including free online content, on .

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22 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. I’ve been reading this site for a while and it has introduced me to a lot of great reading and food for thought. I made an account here today because I wanted to add a point of support to your editorial: When you visit the website of the organisation Card is on the board of, the National Organization for Marriage (http://www.nationformarriage.org/), you see that they don’t consider the marriage issue “moot” by any means. Instead they’re campaigning for a constitutional amendment to overturn the new court decision, and continuing campaigns on the state level. So your point that Card hasn’t said he won’t continue campaigning against gay rights isn’t an academic question, it has very practical implications even on the narrow issue of gay marriage, let alone the broader scope of gay rights issues which obviously haven’t been resolved by the new court decisions (as you pointed out).

    • Thanks, Jake. That this site has made you think or led you to new material means so much to me, because that’s really why Sequart exists.

      Excellent, excellent point about the National Organization for Marriage, which Card hasn’t distanced himself from. That makes his non-apology apology even worse: he’s actively at least associated with an attempt to further discrimination against gays at the state level (Prop 8 was at the state level too) and to change the freaking Constitution specifically to allow systematic discrimination against one particular group. It’s disgusting. But it underlines how disingenuous his “it’s moot, now give me money!” statement is.

      Thank you so much for the comment, Jake! And stick around! :)

  2. Fantastic editorial, Julian. Thanks for writing it. Especially loved your translation of Card’s message! The guy is an insanely self-centered d-bag.

  3. Cody Walker says:

    I want to write a response article to this one titled, “Why I’m (Quite Ashamedly) Still Going to See Ender’s Game

    Yes, I may be giving my money to an idiot hate-monger, but the book is not that. Yes, I know that the movie can’t be as good as the book, but I don’t care. The book changed my life to the point where my son has the middle name of “Ender” (named before I realized that Card was crazy – though I did know he was Mormon). I can separate the work from the writer even if the money is going to go to the same place.

    Finally, I recognize that my logic boils down to a sort of childish “I don’t care, I want to watch it anyway” but so be it.

    I agree with you, but that won’t stop me from seeing this movie.

    • A commenter at Geek OUT had a great suggestion: he planned to buy a ticket for another movie, then go into Ender’s Game instead. If asked for his ticket (no one asks where I am), he plans to just say that the ticket person gave him the wrong one and said it was okay. No one will care; they got paid, after all. I thought this was a nice solution.

      And Cody, while I’m in favor of a boycott, I don’t expect everyone to follow or anything! I get where you’re coming from, and you state it honestly and eloquently.

    • By the way, if it need be said, I’d have no problem publishing that response editorial. It’s a clever title and totally fair of you to say.

      (For everyone reading, just to be clear, the views I’ve expressed here are my own and not those of Sequart. As an organization, Sequart doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, or sexual orientation. But its only requirement for contributions is that they be well-written; there’s no litmus test but logic, clarity, and having a point. Fortunately, that would prohibit a lot of Card’s own writing on this subject! But it doesn’t prohibit smart people like Cody making totally legit and honest points, and we believe this adds to Sequart’s diversity. Its mission is bigger than any one viewpoint or any one person, myself included.)

      • Cody Walker says:

        I know that you’d be fine with a response, but I have nothing important to say other than “I want to see pretty movie” also, I love my title.

  4. No sir. In OSC’s world black is white, but the enemies gate is always down. :)

    However, I am wondering anyone else has the made the connection between the Buggers in Ender’s Game and OSC’s homophobia.

    From the OED Online-

    rans. To commit buggery with. Also absol.
    1598 J. Florio Worlde of Wordes, Bardascia, a bardash, a buggering boy, an ingle.
    1611 R. Cotgrave Dict. French & Eng. Tongues at Levretée, Also, a wench that hath beene buggared by a Greyhound.
    1624 J. Smith Gen. Hist. Virginia v. 198.
    1675 C. Cotton Poet. Wks. (1765) 279.
    1681 Arraignm.,Tryal & Condemnation S. Colledge 42.
    a1701 C. Sedley Wks. (1766) 126.
    1868 tr. Martial Index Expurgatorius 49 You open your doors and bugger tall youths, Amillus.
    1930 E. E. Cummings Let. 12 Apr. (1969) 116 Hats off to thea orthodox flea who attempted to bugger a bee.
    1965 New Statesman 30 Apr. 687/1 Her German maid, whom he buggers.
    1968 Peace News 16 Feb. 8/3 Some were in..for homosexuality, which is still an offence in the Army… Usually they’d have done it to get out: it was a saying, you had to bugger your way out of the Army.
    1968 Observer 29 Sept. (Colour Mag.) 24/3 The thought of actually buggering a little boy is repulsive to me.

    This is probably a huge stretch on my part, but perhaps it was crypto-homophobic propaganda all along.

    I am not going to see the movie and I wish someone else had written this book that I enjoyed for many years before learning about OSC’s personal beliefs.

    • Thanks for your comment, Andrew!

      I haven’t seen the OED definition, but I did see this theory in a one-sentence version on a comment somewhere else online. It’s interesting, but I have no opinion on it. I don’t seem to have come across many who have found homophobia in the work itself. That might change, but it doesn’t seem to be the case presently.

      I think a lot of people feel as you do, having liked the book and hating that it’s now tied to a man who’s acted as repugnantly as Card has.

  5. I understand the anger. I really do. Especially thanks to his ridiculous statement.

    And I have no problem whatsoever with anyone boycotting Card. Hell, I seriously doubt I’ll ever watch this movie.

    What annoys me is what we have done with this man. I’m not saying he’s a victim, and I don’t feel sorry for Card. He should constantly be criticized for his hateful actions.

    But we made a huge target out of him. His name is in the mud now. And that’s their tactics; it shouldn’t be ours. I don’t know, this is our world now, so I guess it becomes natural. Tabloid mentality making so damn easy to attack people to a pulp. Like Britney or Lindsay or Palin. And I’m not defending or even comparing these people; I’m just bitching about tactics that turn real people into jokes.

    The fight is not just about gay marriage; it’s about a better, more ethical, more reasonable society. And we won’t achieve it using the enemy’s weapons. To say that our goals are different is not enough. The fight for gay marriage, hell, Card’s right, it’s (almost) done. And it isn’t about reading comics or watching movies, it’s a battle being fought between lawmakers, lawyers, judges and activists. Instead of being negative about Card, let’s (just) be positive about those who are fighting hard for our side where it matters. And yes, it is in part because of Card that the fight is still on, and it pisses me off too. But we can’t allow our anger to cloud our good sense.

    Of course you can boycott Card. If one chooses to see a movie because it has pretty actors, one can choose to not see a film because the author of the original novel is scum. And we should be informed of those reasons that could potentially affect what we choose to consume or not. But I find it scary how easy it is to make someone irrelevant.

    Card is a writer, he will keep working, and then what? What’s the long-term plan? To attack him every time he gets a good deal from a publisher or studio? And to be proud of ourselves for attacking him?

    • Hunter Reese says:

      I want to agree with you but I feel that you are missing a key point: The boycott, the anger, this article and others like it are not an attack or an offensive measure. This is a backlash, a response from a community of people who would have taken zero interest in Mr Card had he not loudly, publicly, and pro-actively supported the wholesale denial of equal rights for his fellow Americans.

      To say that we made a target of him is not accurate. He painted the bullseye on his own, and was generous enough to supply his detractors with ammunition. As Julian noted (several times) in the article, Mr Card has every right to believe whatever he wants, he just does not have the right to impose those beliefs upon others.

      I am in agreement with you about tabloid mentality, mudslinging, and the generally despicable state of the media and politics in this country. Like you, I believe that we should rise above these conflicts, and that to use the very tactics we would condemn is to truly fall far. However, I maintain that this case is not an attack on Mr Card, but a defensive response to his own attacks. He has not been made irrelevant, if anything he has used his fame to position himself into a key role of this immensely public debate. The man simply lacks the common sense or decency to bow out gracefully.

      • Thanks, Hunter!

        For me or others to be doing what Card’s doing, we’d have to be doing more than boycotting — a responsible and ethical First-Amendment act. We’d have to be actively campaigning to change the laws to deprive Card of marriage rights, or to criminalize the sex he likes.

        I don’t see how organizing to make such behavior carry a price, by the rules of the free market, is at all like trying to legislate against Card. These two actions are of entirely different species. It’s like the difference between saying “you suck!” and physically attacking someone — calling these both “attacks” is missing the point.

        Again, thanks for your comment.

      • I’m not saying that Card’s an innocent flower who’s being thrown into the mud. He is scum. I know this is not an offensive measure. I know he gave reasons.

        I’m also against capital punishment. And I think that prisons should be decent. And most criminals shouldn’t be locked for life. And some criminals have the right to visit their families during holidays. And of course ex-cons have the right to a normal life.

        And here comes the conservatives asking: “oh, what about rapists? Child murderers? Child rapists?” I don’t care. “Oh, but if an immigrant (of course!) enters your home and rapes and murders your daughter, you won’t be talking about human rights!” Maybe not. Again, I understand anger. But that doesn’t mean it’s right! Yeah, it sucks that people murder kids, of course. I wish no kid was murdered. But I also don’t want to live in a world of revenge and paranoia.

        All that to say that yeah, what Card is (still) doing is horrible. And we get angry. And we want to do something. Again, I have no problem with Julian or anyone else boycotting Card. I have no interest on Card!

        But I’m worried that we’re limiting our view of Card thanks to his actions. Now he’s a big homophobe. Not a writer with some skill, not a man, just a big homophobe who twirls his pubes. That’s what I meant by irrelevant, by the way. Not as a force of hate (which he still is), but as someone who can be taken seriously as a writer. And yes, he is a homophobe. His actions made him get his rep. But then, in the past a lot of people got targeted for stuff that no longer matters. And our grandmothers thought that yes, sure, they deserved it. But it wasn’t right then, it isn’t right now. What I’m really talking about here, what is always the point, is how we, as a better society, punish the crime. I don’t believe that capital punishment is applicable in any case. And here’s the thing: some lines we should never cross.

        Truth is, I don’t know what to do. I don’t have the answers. What I certainly want is for Card to lose in the legal battlefield. And I always want great art. Or great Superman stories. He probably can’t do it, but maybe he can, and his stuff should be able to be judged not by his public persona but by itself.

      • I’ve heard or read very few doubt Card’s skill. And yes, any work produced will be judged based on its own merits, or lack thereof.

        But that’s entirely separate from hiring someone like David Duke, who keeps spouting the most horrible things. Surely, some line in the sand must be drawn. I can’t change anything. I can’t make society think twice before companies hire people like Card. But I can draw a line in the sand and say “this is disgusting, and I’m not going to see this move as a result.”

        I do not understand why that action — by the relatively powerless — so immediately becomes the focus of debate. In fact, the way we debate mild action taken by the powerless, while defending corporations’ right to not only produce the movies they want but do so with impunity… it’s a sign of a very frightening, even quasi-fascist mentality that shuts down debate and is focused on reinforcing existing power structures.

        I don’t mean this about you, Mario — your points are focused, nor can a social trend be placed on your head! But this is something I see a lot socially, and it scares me.

    • I like a lot of what you’ve said here, Mario, and thank you for your comment and your thoughts.

      I would add that I don’t think Card’s been made irrelevant. His every writing is more monitored and covered than ever. But yes, he’s being shamed. I don’t like that, generally, as a tactic. But he’s gone so far beyond the pale, including once advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government for its tolerance of gay rights, and including supporting anti-sodomy laws that would incarcerate people for private sexual acts he doesn’t like, that I do support shaming in this extreme case.

      You asked what the endgame was. The endgame is for gay rights and abuse of gays and public hatred of gays to be taken seriously. Because I think we would expect that a studio or a publisher who hired someone who said that blacks or any other group shouldn’t marry, or were ruining civilization, or should be criminalized would face a backlash. That studio or publisher would have to answer for this, and they would expect to have to do so. They can still do what they want, of course, but they’d anticipate such a reaction and take it seriously, or deal with the consequences. Demonstrating that the same is true of those who say these things about gays is important. Because while you point out that the battle’s being won, studios and publishers obviously aren’t there yet.

      So my short answer to your question is: a culture that takes gay rights and saying reprehensible things about gays seriously.

      Does this mean criticizing any studio or publisher who hires Card? I don’t know; we’ll see how the situation evolves, to be perfectly fair about it. But I don’t think a forever-term plan need be in place for concerned citizens to draw a line in the sand and say, yes, we will do this, and we we expect our concerns to be address. And if Card keeps saying things like his incredibly offensive non-apology apology, my answer is yes, anyone prominent who hires him should be made to pay a price, even if it’s currently measured mostly in terms of public relations. I don’t think that’s unfair, or self-congratulatory, or anything of the sort. I think it’s establishing a culture in which this kind of thing is taken seriously. And in which someone in the room says, “Guys, you know there’s gonna be a backlash for this, right?” The same way they would with other groups (including Mormons, conservatives, and lots of groups that aren’t even defined by race or sexual orientation).

      Sorry for the long answer. And thanks for your comment!

      • But Julian, isn’t it how it all starts? “Oh, no, just this one time, it’s just that in this case only it’s necessary, but we won’t do it again.” History and fiction taught me to be worried.

        Card is so damn dirty that he seems to fall naturally into the mud. It doesn’t look like we’re pushing him, because he fits so well there. But we are.

        Card is trying to hurt people, yes, but society is better than that. Things are getting so, so much better, and there’s nothing he can do to stop it. Yes, we’ll have to fight more, but we’re gonna win. Soon. And then there will be thousands of other questions to be addressed.

        Yes, he support bizarre laws, but that’s his right. Why are we so appalled by that? We are the ones changing the laws! Card and his ilk wish we were still in 1953. They were very satisfied then. But laws have changed. Some of these new laws are great, some are borderline criminal, but we can’t deny that laws must be discussed. Constantly. It makes everything much harder and slower, yes, but it also makes everything better.

        Similarly, we encourage people to speak their minds and to be a greater part of community and society in general. We expect the rich to give some of their money for what we consider good causes. How can we attack them when they give money for causes that they consider good? We can’t go back to “shut up and sing” when we don’t like what they’re saying or doing. The best we can do is to support the causes we care about, often against theirs.

        Lionsgate didn’t make a homophobic movie. They didn’t make a movie to support Card or his ideas. They wanted a blockbuster and chose to adapt an old, popular, beloved novel. Before the Superman case. The finished film is not offensive. The plot is not offensive. There’s nothing offensive about the film except Card’s name in it.

        And that’s the message being passed: not that Card is wrong with his ridiculous ideas and actions, but that he can’t be hired to do his job. Because it seems that action is only taken when he’s paid. We’re limiting culture here, not opening it!

        That said, let me add that I recognize and appreciate the difference between private and public here. You’re defending private boycott for his public actions. Which is very different and better than supporting public censorship for private behavior. That’s his madness.

      • You’re right: I would never support public censorship for Card or anyone else. And that’s quite different from Card, who’s supported public discrimination based on private behavior and identity.

        It’s not that I don’t care about your arguments. But I disagree that I’m limiting culture. Anyone can make a Card movie or comic if they want. I’ve done, nor can do, anything to limit that. All I and others can do is spark the debate about his behavior, so that we do have that much-needed dialogue about it and whether it’s kosher to hire this person. I doubt it would be so kosher, if the subject were racial and not about sexual orientation.

      • I’m sorry, Julian. I was thinking more in terms of how negative our world seems to be right now and how this worries me. It had nothing to do with you or Sequart. One quick look at the books and articles published make it very clear how positive your work and Sequart are.

        I still don’t think it’s the best path, but I have no better answer. And I won’t watch this movie either, so… time to move on.

  6. Chad Hindahl says:

    Does anyone have the details of the licensing deal? I’m under the understanding
    Ender’s Game has been in developmental hell with studios for the last 20 years,
    and technically, buy paying to see a Summit Entertainment film, in a broad sense
    you (we/me) have already given money to Card.

    In short, hasn’t Card already received his portion of money from the option. Unless he
    worked on the screenplay, is he even entitled to royalties? Seems to me that Card’s money
    will be coming mainly from “Now a Major Motion Picture” printings of the novel, and a cut of the merchandising, not ticket sales. If anybody has pertinent info regarding the deal between Card and Summit Entertainment I think it would make for an interesting breakdown.

  7. Nat Delphiki says:

    OSC is a Mormon, no amount of boycotting his works is going to change his religious beliefs. He has the right to believe what he wants and say what he wants. I will be seeing the movie, in theaters, which isn’t something I do often, because it was a great book and I hope for it to be a great movie. I support the freedom of religion and freedom of speech of everyone, just as I support your right to bash him for his beliefs.

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