One of the things circulating the genre-fan news is how Orson Scott Card, author of Ender’s Game and noted anti-gay crusader, has recently put out a plea for “tolerance” of his intolerant behavior, and that people shouldn’t picket or boycott the upcoming Ender’s Game movie on his account.
I’m not sure where I stand on all this yet, though I’m a believer in separating the art from the artist if that’s possible, but I thought I’d hand the mike over to a friend–who wishes to remain anonymous– who makes his stance on this quite eloquently:
I found this discussion particularly interesting since I am gay, and I grew up Mormon and my whole family is still Mormon. I was also a huge fan of Card growing up and Enders Game is one of the defining novels of my childhood. I won’t be boycotting the movie, and I probably wouldn’t boycott anything he’s done actually.
I think my “tolerance” (bad word choice) comes from a place of understanding. My parents have said things just as bad, if not worse then the things Card has said in his press releases and comments. But I have not boycotted my parents. We actually get along really well and have a better relationship then we have in a long time. They know I am gay and I know they don’t like it but we focus on what is good for both of us.
Now the situation between my parents and me is possible because, when I was Mormon, I believed all the things that they believed and I can remember what it is like to be a slave to those beliefs. You know you are being cruel, you know you are insulting people, but it seems like the right thing to do because you are standing up for truth. It’s like the Steven Weinberg quote. “For good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
Orson Scott Card is not a monster. He’s probably a good father and a great member of his community. I have friends who have met him and say he is very nice. I had one friend who met him and when he found out she wrote poetry he demanded that she read some for him and he gave her a lot of nice attention and feedback. It was an inconvenience for him that meant a lot to her and was very kind.
Now does that mean I agree with his views on homosexuality? Absolutely not. The guy’s insane. But so are my parents and all of my extended family and so was I until the age of twenty four. And the process of changing my mind was the most depressing, disillusioning one of my entire life. I am glad to be on the other side of it, but it was not a fun journey.
I think I have a degree of sympathy for people like him, and I don’t feel a need to boycott him, or harass him with letters or call him names because, for one thing, fighting fire with fire always seemed foolish to me. And second, the world is changing without them. They are being left behind and in some ways their hatred will be a self inflicted punishment as they are abandoned by more and more people as the crack pots they are. I don’t believe in god, but I do believe in Karma.
So in conclusion, I will go see the movie. I’m a big fan of many of the people working on it and a movie is such a big family to punish. As for Card, I don’t feel like I have to do anything. I am totally content to wait patiently and allow him the right to destroy himself. Or maybe, some day change his mind.