Monday, July 29, 2013

Ender's Game and my thoughts on the boycott

My first blog for Geek Out On... , way back in June of last year, was about the film, Ender's Game, based on the novel by Orson Scott Card. If you read the blog entry here, you'll see that I was very excited about the cast and crew finally completing principle photography. I had been waiting since the award winning book was published in 1985 for the movie to be made, and my hope was in turns, renewed and dashed as rumors of the film project's development started and sputtered many times over the next 20 years.

I hadn't heard of Orson Scott Card's political views when I wrote my blog post, but I did become aware of them after my good friend, Stan Heller, having read my post, told me about Mr. Card's affiliation with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a well known anti-gay hate group. Mr. Card serves on the board of NOM and has donated substantial money and time to keep people like me from enjoying the rights and privileges that he enjoys.

Deeply crushed by the news that one of my favorite writers had done and written some pretty hurtful things about me, it took me some time to shake off the damage, but I did... mostly. When you look up to someone and then find out that they're not who you thought they were, it hurts, no matter how old you get, it hurts. Granted, I'd been in a similar position before when I found out that Thomas Jefferson had slaves when he wrote the phrase "all men are equal" and Richard Wagner was a notorious anti-semite when he wrote his opus Ring Cycle; All heroes are human and full of inconsistencies. "I'm no longer a child," I thought, "why am I so upset about this?"

Though I don't think we've ever met, Mr. Card and I consider ourselves Christians (I'm not a Mormon, but I've had many friends who are, and my Jewish grandfather married a Mormon woman whom I loved very much), we've worked in theater for much our younger lives, we're writers, we love reading history and speculative fiction. Mr. Card is the same age as my eldest sister and he could probably pass as my older brother; I certainly looked up to him like a younger brother would. Maybe that explains some of the hurt. Emotions are funny things, illogical, trouble inducing, and the cause of all human suffering. Mr. Spock (Gene Roddenberry) was right.

A year had gone by and I hadn't made up my mind about whether I was going to go see the movie or not. It doesn't open until November 1, so like all clever humans, I defer difficult decisions until I absolutely need to act. A few weeks ago, I look at my blog stats and they're through the roof! Oh boy, my usually sluggish blog site that I've been barely posting to over the past year has much more interest. Why? I start searching around and the answer is clear: a boycott of the film has been called from a website called Geeks Out.

My first reaction was one of solidarity, but as time has worn on and I've reflected on how I feel, I'm not so sure. I've been able to rationalize buying very expensive CDs of Wagner's Ring, I am still a fan of Thomas Jefferson and his writings. I buy things all the time from those I don't agree with. I don't agree with anyone about everything. Who does?

The difference, though is Mr. Card gives his money and time to a group that actively seeks to reduce me to a second class citizen by keeping me from enjoying the same rights that he enjoys. He does this, even though he knows that he is wrong. He continues doing so because he is part of a group who has benefitted from scapegoating my group to gain money and power. If you don't believe me, then I dare you to read my blog post on the subject several times with an open mind.

At the prompting of the film studio who is backing Ender's Game, and fearful that a boycott of the movie would jeopardize box-office receipts, Mr. Card wrote a short-sighted non-apology in Entertainment Weekly stating that "With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot." He then cleverly taunts,"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."

Orson Scott Card is asking me to turn the other cheek and forgive him. As a life-long follower of Christ, I'm inclined to do so.

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