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Why I Am Skipping Ender’s Game

compass rose in Union Square

I must have been a teenager the first time I read Ender’s Game. It may have been the first book I read in one sitting. Once I started, I could NOT put it down. And then, of course, the ending came as an utter surprise. It was a brilliant little piece of fiction which I devoured. I knew nothing of the author and my own identities were nascent, so I had no problems in supporting his work and recommending it to others.

Skipping forward in time, I have known for quite a few years that Orson Scott Card was a gigantic and very active homophobe. He wrote The Hypocrites of Homosexuality in 1990 after Bowers v. Hardwick was decided (which upheld the criminalization of sodomy laws, even in the privacy of one’s home). In this piece, he will try to convince you that he is the victim, for speaking his mind. This tactic is becoming more and more common, where people who say mean, hateful things will defend themselves by saying, “You can’t attack me! I have a right to say this. Free speech! Free speech!”

I agree, he does have a right to say whatever he wants. But this does not make him immune from letting those who oppose him say what we have to say. Apparently he can dish it out, but he can’t take it. I will give him credit for putting deeds to his words. He has been on the board of NOM since 2009. NOM is the National Organization for Marriage, which was instrumental in getting Prop 8 passed in California and actively campaigns to create laws that restrict marriage to “one man, one woman.”

Earlier this year, press started coming out about the movie. The first thing I saw was Alyssa Rosen’s piece in ThinkProgress, An Ethical Guide to Consuming Content Created by Awful People like Orson Scott Card. I like that she offers options, from flat out boycotting the movie to giving “homophobic offset credits.” And above all else, she encourages everyone to talk about their decision.

Because I loved the story so much and so many of the actors in the upcoming movie, I liked the option to give a donation to an org working for LGBT rights. I felt torn, because people I respect were telling me they weren’t going because they didn’t want to give OSC another penny. And then, today, for some reason, a fresh round of arguments came out. Chuck Wending puts it succinctly in Tolerance for Intolerance. And then he said this:

… we’re not exactly lacking for brilliant art and powerful reading material. It’d be one thing if we had, like, ten good books or movies out there — but we have a wealth of beautiful and moving art available to us.

That, coupled with @cafenowhere’s comment to me on Twitter, “I don’t think of it as punishment. Just, I won’t give $ to that asshat. I will, & do, pay to see POC in other flicks,” pushed me further into the not seeing it category.

And then I saw that Summit, the studio making the movie, is distancing itself from OSC by not having him show up at Comic Con. The studio recognizes him as a liability. It’s only unfortunate they didn’t realize this sooner. I don’t know the details of Card’s contract with them, but he has ALREADY made money and it sounds like he may be getting a percentage of the profits (if there are any).

I am not telling you to Skip Ender’s Game, but I would be pleased if you joined me. As others have said, there are other artists and performers out there creating great works. These artists aren’t actively promoting hate and sending messages that we are awful sinners in need of saving. They celebrate diversity and acceptance. Whatever your decision, I encourage you to talk to your friends and family about it.

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