Friday, July 19, 2013

Boycotting Ender's Game

I had forgotten this movie was coming out.  I haven't read anything by Orson Scott Card in ages, mostly since I learned what a rampaging homophobe he is.  He doesn't just have opinions and write articles--he's on the board of an organization that actively works against gay rights.  Yuck. 

But I'll admit that this coincided pretty closely with the point where I realized he was a kind of weird about women, too.  There's a whole thing in Homebody about a woman who seems perfectly nice and normal until you find out she wasn't happy being a mother and the horrible secret tied in with this.  It's just a bit weird, and there are other things. Anyway, I drifted away from his writing for a few reasons like this.

Here's the thing, though: Ender's Game is an amazing book.  It's poignant and painful, and it deals with some of the horrors of war in a very accessible way, and it presents some very complicated moral issues and doesn't cheat or let its characters off the hook.  There are real world complications to the things that happen here--children being turned into soldiers, enemies being turned into monsters--and they are ugly.  If you look at it from some angles, the book might come down on the side of the people who made the uglier, more frightened decisions, but in the real world, those decisions do get made, and they make sense at the time.

But am I going to see the movie?  I'm not convinced I would anyway--the book is really almost too perfect to mess with in my mind.  But of course, there's the bigger issue of "supporting" the author.  It's all kind of nebulous--what percent of my ticket price does he get?  And is attending the movie really supporting an agenda that does not relate directly to the movie itself? 

I don't think anyone can deny that bad people can create good art--it's not even surprising, since in this context "bad" is a moral judgment and "good" is at least partly an aesthetic one.  But how do I feel about appreciating it?  Here's someone who's thought a bit about it in this context, with some advice for the range of options between ignoring it an boycotting it.

But I think I like this link better.  I can imagine feeling different; I can imagine wanting to see the movie badly enough to make the decision to go.  But I just don't think I do.  Right now, the name Orson Scott Card makes me cringe a bit, and while it might not make much real world difference, I'm not going to fight the psychological ick factor for this one. 

That is to say, I'm going with my gut.  Or rather, with my gut, I'm staying home.

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