Should we boycott Orson Scott Card because he’s viciously homophobic?

My lovely wife just read a book called Dickens in Love about Dickens’s love affair with Ellen Ternan.  “I didn’t know he was such a creep,” she said.  Well, yeah.  Lots of writers are solipsistic jerks, and lots of them have obnoxious political positions.

One quite reasonable interpretation of the scant documentation of Shakespeare’s life is that he was a money-grubbing, social-climbing adulterer.

Lord Byron probably slept with his half-sister, among many other offenses.

Knut Hamsun (winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature) called Hitler “a preacher of the gospel of justice for all nations.”

I read a bit of Orson Scott Card back in the 80s.  I enjoyed Ender’s Game, although I don’t recall thinking it was anything like a classic.  At some point I gave up on Card because I thought there was something weird about his treatment of violence.  I haven’t been paying attention to him since then, so I didn’t realize he was beyond-bonkers homophobic, to the point of advocating violent revolution to prevent gay marriage:

How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn.

The movie version of Ender’s Game is coming out in a few months, and people are making noises about boycotting it.  In response, the terrified filmmakers say the movie and the book have nothing to do with gay issues, and, as the 16-year-old star cleverly puts it, “You can’t blame a book for its author.”

Absolutely true.  On the other hand, Card is still among us, and Dickens, Shakespeare, Byron, and Hamsun are not.  He makes money any time we purchase one of his works.  And he hasn’t been shy about expressing his opinions and trying to affect public policy.  There are plenty of good books to read and good movies to watch (well, I could be wrong about the supply of good movies).  I can’t think of any reason to support Card’s career.

By the way, here’s Dickens’s mistress, Ellen Ternan:

And here’s Byron’s half-sister, Augusta Leigh:

And here’s a very unpleasant-looking Knut Hamsun:

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4 thoughts on “Should we boycott Orson Scott Card because he’s viciously homophobic?

  1. I read “Ender’s Game” a long time ago. I don’t remember hearing anything about his views on homosexuality back then. Not sure if I will bother to see the movie. Probably not.

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  2. I’ve long found it utterly ridiculous, pointless and egotistical for people to confuse an artist’s work with their personal lives. Card is a devout Mormon, and his biases are common within the conservative wing of that church. Lots of artists are creeps. If you don’t like what kind of people they are, don’t date, marry or make friends with them! But if you enjoy their work, they are entitled to be able to make a living from it. You can always obtain books and even movies exclusively through the Public Library for free if you have personal objections to paying.

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    • I’m not sure what his religion has to do with anything. He can believe what he wants. Just don’t advocate the violent overthrow of the government if the rest of us don’t agree with you.

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      • For those who are devout, whatever bigotries and nonsense are justified by a sect’s interpretation of a holy text become not only acceptable philosophically, but sanctioned by a higher power. That’s what his religion has to do with it. He believes that God considers homosexuality sinful, evil and sick, so if he’s going to remain in God’s favor, he has to also.

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