Dumb quote of the day, "Spoilers: the answer is 'Fuck you, Orson Scott Card'" edition

>> Tuesday, July 09, 2013

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, as quoted by Grady Smith,
Entertainment Weekly, July 8th, 2013.

Funny, I don't feel victorious.  Seems to me that all the Supreme Court did recently was declare the Defense Of Marriage Act unconstitutional, which is admittedly a small win, and essentially punt the state legal issue back to California on a standing issue, which is, well, a punt.  So far as I know, Orson Scott Card remains actively involved with The National Organization For Marriage (NOM), and NOM certainly doesn't sound defeated.  In the dumb comment the above dumb quote is drawn from, Card disingenuously mentions the Full Faith And Credit Clause of the Constitution, but this isn't as cut-and-dried as it sounds: it's an accepted legal principle that, even with the Full Faith And Credit Clause, states don't have to extend full faith and credit to marriages that violate a sufficient public policy interest of the state (e.g. a state is not required to recognize a marriage that it regards as incestuous even if the marriage was recognized as valid in an originating state with differing consanguinity standards); of course, considering the difficulties gay marriage opponents have had in coming up with non-sputtering, even-vaguely-coherent policy interests, Card may prove to be right; still, it isn't cut-and-dried.

Nevertheless, even if I don't quite feel victorious, I think I can still resolve Mr. Card's suspense and settle the question he poses.  I'm afraid, though, it probably isn't actually the least bit interesting to see.  Will proponents of gay marriage show tolerance towards those who disagreed with them?  Fuck you, Orson Scott Card.

Matter of fact, fuck you, Orson Scott Card, a lot.

No, I'm not going to show tolerance, and I'd be a little shocked and distressed if anyone else I knew who favors fairness and equal rights and despises bigotry and injustice decided to show "tolerance".  Tolerance for what, exactly?  For homophobia?  For prejudice?

The best Card and his ilk can expect is, maybe, a faux tolerance when they're old and dribbling and are supposed to be respected because of status and probably kinship.  I.e. we've all probably been at some family gathering when Great-Great-Grandmaw Willikers muttered some hideously inappropriate comment about some group and didn't notice when everyone abruptly fell silent and sucked in a breath, and then Aunt Normandy saved the moment by completely changing the subject and later that evening, once Grandmaw Willikers was rolled out of the range a power surge in her hearing aid might pick something up, everyone rolled their eyes and quietly agreed it was a generational thing and there was no point in lecturing her now and ruining her hundred-and-eleventh birthday party because she's too old to change and would most likely forget the conversation before the fourth-or-fifth generation grandkids got their cake.  If that counts as "tolerance", Card is welcome to it, I guess, though it sounds suspiciously like pity when you tease it out.  "Yes, Grandpawpaw is a stupid bigot, but he's our stupid bigot so we'll forgive him."

But as far as humoring Mr. Card now, well, no, it isn't going to happen.  Not from me, anyways.  If you want to put up with his happy horseshit, by all means, it's your quarter and pony ride.

Card, of course, wants to change the subject and pretend this is all about respecting his right to be disrespectful because, you know, he has a movie to sell.  Ender's Game is due out this coming Fall after spending decades in development hell, and Card is justly concerned about blowback from his beliefs.  He has a right to those beliefs, of course; it's just that civilized society has a right to think he's a prat and to decide, individually or collectively, not to subsidize those beliefs.  And if that hurts his pocketbook or ends up blocking any other page-to-screen projects he may be fantasizing about, well, fuck him.  The right to your opinion doesn't block anyone else's right to have an opinion about your opinion.  And if everyone else's opinion of your opinion is fuck that guy, then it's really entirely on you as to whether you rethink your position ("Hey, if everybody else thinks I'm an asshole, maybe it really is just me...") or take especial pride in your martyrdom ("That's right!  One man, against the world, in truth and righteousness and... I'm so lonely.").

Chuck Wendig, who turned me on to Card's nonsense quote, offers plenty of reasons for boycotting the Ender's Game film, and I suggest you read his post if you want to know why you should eschew Orson Card's chicken sammiches.  For my part, however, I have to confess avoiding Ender's Game in November will be much more of a Domino's Pizza easy boycott for me than it is a Chick-fil-A sacrifice; i.e. it's nice to be able to say I'm not supporting Domino's because of their right-wing politics, but the honest truth is I wouldn't be eating their shitty so-called "pizzas" even if they were hippie socialists, so it's a too-easy moral victory (Chick-fil-A, on the other hand, makes unconscionably delicious chicken sandwiches, and while it's fast food, yes, and should generally be avoided, yes, still there are times when I've driven past a franchise and felt pangs of gluttony and regret).  I finally got around to reading Ender's Game earlier this year--I bought a used copy, supporting my local second-hand bookstore and not putting another dime in Mr. Card's pockets--and thought it was a pretty awful, somewhat reprehensible book.

I don't want to go into the whole thing over it (maybe some other time, maybe not), but I could see why adolescents love it and form an attachment to it--a book about a put-upon, misunderstood, smarter-than-everybody else, abused, Gary Stu speaks to the impotent enraged child in all of us, and when you let him save the universe basically by playing videogames, well, that just elevates Ender Wiggins from "hero" to "god" for the kind of fourteen-year-old audience Ender's Game squarely aims for.  It isn't the worst book I've ever read, not even close, but it's pretty irritating and I can't see myself spending any more time with it than what I've already frittered away with it.  (I wouldn't say wasted, just because while the book wasn't worth reading on its merits, it was worth reading to find out why it won a Hugo, a Nebula, keeps making lots and lots of best-of-ever lists and still inspires devotion in people.  I'd even recommend it to the uninitiated solely on those terms: buy a used copy to figure out for yourself what the fuss is about.  I suspect, though, no one receiving their first exposure above the age of twenty-two or thereabouts will find the experience all that pleasant.)  Anyway, spending twenty-five bucks on a ticket and popcorn and losing two hours of my life all seems like something I wouldn't do even if I were assured Orson Scott Card was losing money on the whole deal; that I get to claim some kind of moral high ground for doing the same amount of nothing I kind of planned on doing anyway just makes it all sweeter.


John Healy Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 1:19:00 PM EDT  

Dominoes changed their recipe a few years ago. Fine pizza. Still boycotting.
'Enders Game' was OK as a book. I shudder to think about the movie. So many ways to screw it up. I can sometimes overlook an authors wacky political views, if their writing is good enough. Only listening to one point of view, after all, leads to the entrenched political divide we are currently enjoying in our lovely country.
I draw the line at the sort of drivel Card espouses. I haven't been able to read his stuff in years. Whether that counts as a boycott I'm not sure.

Jeri Castonia Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 1:31:00 PM EDT  
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Random Michelle K Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 2:55:00 PM EDT  

Oddly, just yesterday I noted that sometimes a writer's politics and/or past can completely ruin their books for me.

And OSC was my other example.

(For the author in question, Anne Perry, things are actually more complex and complicated than OSC, because it was something she did as a young teen, and I shouldn't hold that against her as an adult, but... maybe if she didn't write murder mysteries I'd have an easier time with it. But OSC? Yeah. Fuck him. I'll never give him another dime.)

Carol Elaine Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 3:30:00 PM EDT  

I've never read Ender's Game. I've recently thought about borrowing HSG's copy to see what the big deal was about, but now I'm not so sure. It sounds much like Atlas Shrugged, in that you have to be a certain age for it to speak to you (not to mention the insane author angle).

I certainly don't see myself spending money on the movie. Unless it's to get a pirated DVD that'll hit the streets the day after it's released. There are places in L.A. where it's very easy to pick one up.

Eric Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 3:55:00 PM EDT  

CE: it probably is worth reading Ender's Game to see what the big deal is about. I don't think it's a good book--but it's status makes it an important book. If you have access to a copy you don't have to buy, you could probably read it in a weekend.

As for a DVD... I hear nothing, I know nothing....

John the Scientist Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 4:48:00 PM EDT  

I think you might have missed something Eric. In saying "Fuck You" to OSC, you are extending exactly the same tolerance to him he showed to you in the debate. His was always a "my way or the highway" stance, and we are perfectly justified in sending a "screw you" message back.

But here is the deal. That "screw you" is still not as bad as he treated us.

Even in "victory", no one has suggested that Mormon Churches be forced to conduct or recognize gay marriage. In that respect, we are showing tolerance to their bigotry ... errr... opposing views. And it is a tolerance they do not afford us when they say "no gay marriage, even if it's not in our church".

So the answer to him is, yes we are showing tolerance, and he should thank his lucky stars that we are not showing as little tolerance as he has shown to us, but actually more than he deserves to expect.

Fuck him indeed.

John the Scientist Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 4:50:00 PM EDT  

And John, are you insane? Fine Pizza?

It's still cardboard covered in tomato paste. Now they just pay a little more for the tomato paste.

I take it you don't live near NY or Chicago? :p

Eric Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 5:17:00 PM EDT  

Y'know, JTS, that's a really excellent point re: the tolerance Card and his ilk are receiving. A great point, in fact, and you're right that I missed it. We aren't shoving our values down his throat--he remains perfectly entitled to stick his fingers in his ears and squint his eyes closed any time a happily married same-sex couple happens to wander by. Meanwhile, NOM and he continue to insist everyone abide by their ideas for as long as they can hold out against the changing tide.

He should be grateful, the asshole.

John Healy Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 6:22:00 PM EDT  

Cincinnati, Mr. the Scientist. We do not have cuisine as such. We have processed pork products and our own chili. Those and Graeters ice cream. The last two make it more than fair.

John the Scientist Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at 7:28:00 PM EDT  

John - now I understand. I served my 3 year sentence* in the Midwest, and outside of the greater Chicago area, it is indeed a pizza wasteland that might drive one to the abomination that is Domino's or Pizza Hut, or even (shudder) Chuck-E-Cheese.

But Skyline Chili. Ah. While not actually Chili as the Texans define it, it is still one of the finest regional foodstuffs America has to offer.

*It would have been 4 years, but I got time off for good behavior, well insane behavior. I took 21 - 25 credits per quarter so that I could graduate early and NOT spend another year in the Midwest. My roommate didn't agree, stayed the fourth year, and then went to U Cinci for his Ph.D., while I enjoyed the relatively advanced civilization of Da Burgh for mine. Well, to each his own, but his choice of major showed that he was brain damaged (EE, can't spell "geek" without EE).

John Healy Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 2:18:00 PM EDT  

Actually we have a local brand, LaRosa's, that's fairly edible. I was at a conservative friend's house when he played the Dominoes card.

neurondoc Wednesday, July 10, 2013 at 9:28:00 PM EDT  

Even if I were a raving homophobe, I would still refuse to see Ender's Game, because I thought the book was awful. In fact, CE, I'd rather reread Atlas Shrugged than reread Ender's Game.

Carol Elaine Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 1:33:00 PM EDT  
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Carol Elaine Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 1:34:00 PM EDT  

neurondoc, I've never read Atlas Shrugged and I know I'm never going to. I've read The Fountainhead. That's enough Ayn Rand for one lifetime.

The more and more I hear about Ender's Game (independent of OSC's douchebaggery), the less I'm likely to want to read it.

Then again, I've read almost no Heinlein and I've read none of his classics, so my view of classic SF may be suspect.

Eric Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 3:16:00 PM EDT  

A key difference between Card and Heinlein would be that Heinlein at his most-polemical never entirely forgot you have to have some kind of engaging plot and/or characters. Even late-period Heinlein, where he increasingly slipped into old-man-yelling-at-clouds mode, is mostly readable; the early stuff is wonderfully pulpy. I'm not sure Card ever really learned how to write as engagingly in the first place, the passion of his fanbase notwithstanding. (Ayn Rand definitely never did.)

If you have to choose one to catch up your essential SF list, for gods' sake start with the Heinlein! At worst, you'll regret it the least!

John Healy Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 3:25:00 PM EDT  

Carol Elaine, I stand with Eric on this one. Heinlein, who had some strange politics himself, is very readable. 'Enders Game' was OK, but the series started to slide downhill pretty fast after that.
Go for Lois McMaster Bujold or CJ Cherryh, after Heinlein if you're looking for the good stuff.

Tom Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 6:53:00 PM EDT  

I'm not a fan of OSC, but I read Ender when it first came out, and loved it. But then, I have my share of teeny fan-boy regression. I'm not going to brag about it, but I don't regret it either. CE, it is a good example of, as Eric says, Gary Stu, boy-child outwits everybody and saves the world.

I didn't like OSC originally because of his writing. I didn't know he was Mormon, or homocaustic (oooh, I like that word), I just didn't care much for his writing or subjects. I did Ender, liked it, and then was caught up for a while in many of the Ender follow-ups, until finally I just wondered why I kept buying the books, and stopped. Once his politics became an issue, I was glad I'd stopped for my reasons, but glad I'd stopped none-the-less.

I'm also a Heinlein fan-boy, of all his stuff, even the ones others point and laugh at, and I think if you're lacking in Heinlein reads, you should absolutely catch up on some. I love Cherryh, too, mostly the Downbelow Station universe, and the total Chanur saga. If you're interested I could send some hardcovers (Heinlein or Cherryh, you choose) your way for a visit. I've been reading her (Cherryh's) Foreigner series, which is in it's 13th volume (?), but they don't do as much for me as Chanur or the Alliance/Union stories.

I agree JTS had a good point about tolerance, and yeah, fuck you, Card.

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