Saturday, March 23, 2013


The movie adaptation of Ender's Game is coming out this Fall.  It's a fantastic story, one I have read many times, and I'm excited to see what it could look like on the big screen.  It could be horrible or it could be wonderful.  This blog post isn't about that, however.  It's about the author, Orson Scott Card, and how his actions are going to impact my decision to watch this movie.  The book is wonderful; its author is not.

Alyssa Rosenberg at ThinkProgress recently posted an excellent article with recommendations for how to consume content created by awful people.  Rosenberg is specifically talking about Orson Scott Card, too, so let's get that part out of the way first.

I support the right for same-sex couples to marry and to enjoy all the legal protections (and joys and responsibilities and opportunities and adventures and ...) that heterosexual couples do.  This is a topic I feel strongly about.  So, apparently, does Orson Scott Card.  He speaks out against same-sex marriage often and serves as a member of the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, a group founded specifically to undo the legal gains of same-sex marriage supporters.  I have read several of Card's writings on the topic and I find all of them abhorrent.

I love Ender's Game, but those other writings...  How do you separate the creation from the creator when you love the former but object to the actions of the latter, when your support of the creation enables the creator to continue those actions?  Orson Scott Card has made it quite clear that if I give him money he will use it to fight against same-sex marriage.  I'm not interested in funding that battle, not even the small portion of my ticket price that would actually reach him.

The solution is not as simple as boycotting the movie, although that is an option.  Rosenberg presents four suggestions for approaching this kind of ethical conflict.  She says it better than I could and, although your definition of "awful" may vary, I really do recommend you read her article regardless of your political leanings.  I think everyone would benefit from the kind of thoughtful consideration she advocates for content whose creators are at odds with our own moral choices, even when the content itself is not.

I'm not going to repeat her points here.  Instead, this blog entry is my effort to adopt her fourth suggestion: talk about it.  I want my readers to know that I support same sex marriage.  I want my readers to know that Orson Scott Card actively fights against marriage equality and that supporting Card's work (by, for example, buying a ticket to a movie he's producing based on a book he wrote) is likely going to contribute to his side of that fight as well.  I'm not okay with that.

I don't know yet if I'll watch Ender's Game when it comes to theaters but if I do I'll also follow Rosenberg's second recommendation and donate offsetting money to an organization that fights for marriage equality.

I recognize that I can sometimes be the kind of person who is more likely to talk about doing a thing than to actually do it.  I also recognize that bold statements about donating to a cause if I watch a movie don't do any good for that cause if I end up deciding not to watch the movie.  So, to put my money where my mouth is, I just donated to Freedom to Marry in support of their mission to end marriage discrimination.  I guess that means Orson Scott Card should now think twice about paying for one of my creations.  I'm okay with that.

Note: I recently turned on comment moderation although that honestly has nothing to do with this entry.  My "irregular" update schedule seems to have left me with bots as my only regular readers and they like to leave fun little advertisements as comments.  So I put a stop to that.  But regardless of the reason, it means any comments from real humans may take a little while to appear.  Just be patient (and civil and, you know, not an advertisement) and they'll probably get there.