The abyss’s game

A few months ago I wrote about my decades long struggle with a specific incident of separating the art from the artist. A writer some of whose work I had enjoyed back in the eighties, removed all doubt about the hints of his extreme homophobia in 1990 when he published a long essay explaining how he didn’t hate anyone, but homosexuals deserved death and worse punishments, which god would mete out upon them some day.

At the time of my earlier post, DC Comics was facing a boycott by comic book stores and fans for having hired Orson Scott Card to write a Superman series. That deal has since been indefinitely suspended. Now, as news of a boycott of the movie adaptation of Card’s most famous work has surfaced, Mr Card is pleading for tolerance, because it’s a policy decision that has now been settled, and it would be unfair for people to punish a book written before this topic was even a political issue.

Card is doing what several of the anti-gay organizations and politicians have been doing the last year, trying to claim that they simply have a disagreement on this one tiny area of policy, and that now they are being punished for holding this reasonable opinion. The truth is, that Card, the National Organization for Marriage (of which he is a board member), and all the others oppose all gay rights, as well as opposing the laws allowing adults (straight and gay) to make a whole slew of decisions about their own sexual and reproductive behavior.

Orson Scott Card is a hateful homophobe who has actively campaigned for (and given money to) efforts to criminalize such behaviors. And it’s something that he has been doing for a lot longer than he would like you to believe.

At the time he wrote Ender’s Game and its sequel, Speaker for the Dead, he stated multiple times that he believed his writing was god’s work. He believed in moral absolutes, he said. He thought any society that didn’t enforce his moral absolutes would collapse, and he wanted to write fiction that demonstrated those ideas. He wrote more than once disparaging the moral relativism of much of science fiction, particularly the original Star Wars movies and novels of Iain Banks.

In that 1990 essay I mentioned above, Card wrote:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

The 1990 essay was written as the culmination of years of defending comments he had made shortly after the publication of Speaker for the Dead to the effect that homosexuality is all about domination and control of others, so of course he had to include homosexual villains in his world, even though he thought homosexuality was a sin and that homosexuals who didn’t repent would deserve whatever bad things that happened to them. Or, as he put in in that essay:

True kindness is to be ever courteous and warm toward individuals, while confronting them always with our rejection of any argument justifying their self-gratification. That will earn us their love and gratitude in the day of their repentance, even if during the time they still embrace their sins they lash out at us as if we were their enemies.. And if it happens that they never repent, then in the day of their grief they cannot blame us for helping them deceive and destroy themselves. That is how we keep ourselves unspotted by the blood of this generation…

In 2003 Mr Card was really angry at the Supreme Court for saying that laws which criminalized private sexual behavior between consenting adults were unconstitutional, and among other things he wrote:

There is no such thing on this earth as a human society that does not closely regulate the sexual and reproductive behavior of its members, to one degree or another.

In 2004 Mr Card wrote in The Rhinoceros Times:

However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be, what they are doing is not marriage. Nor does society benefit in any way from treating it as if it were… In fact, it will do harm. Nowhere near as much harm as we have already done through divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing. But it’s another nail in the coffin.

In 2008 Mr Card wrote in an op-ed piece for the Mormon Times:

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.

In 2012, again writing for the Rhinoceros Times, he said:

Heterosexual pair-bonding has been at the heart of human evolution from the time we divided off from the chimps. Normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it, as parents see that our laws and institutions now work against the reproductive success (not to mention happiness) of the next generation.

You can read a whole lot of this on his own site, because he reposts most of his essays. He has disavowed some of his previous positions, but he’s also demonstrated a remarkable ability to change his tune back and forth as seems appropriate. Back in 2004, for instance, in an interview he disavowed some of the lies about gay people he had previously spouted in his editorial writings, and said that he no longer supported reinstating sodomy laws. Then he turned right around and as a Board Member for NOM voted to use those same lies and tactics in campaign commercials against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t tell, and the passage of civil unions and marriage equality laws. As recently as the 2012 election, he’s authorized the same arguments for restoring sodomy laws as part of those campaigns supposedly defending traditional marriage.

On his web site he appeals to democracy a lot, decrying most of the civil rights progress (not just gay rights — he opposes divorce, access to birth control, and thinks that unmarried woman who have babies should face substantial penalties from society) because he thinks it is largely imposed by the courts.

Which I find particularly hilarious since a deep loathing for the notion of allowing people to make their own choices is obvious in every piece of fiction Card wrote, especially Ender’s Game. If you don’t remember that theme, and feel an urge to tell me how I fail to appreciate the brilliance of his work, go back and read your old copy of Ender’s Game, paying especial attention to the story arc of Peter, who eventually becomes a “benevolent dictator.”

Then we can talk.

Orson Scott Card is a hypocrite and a bigot who has used distortions and outright lies to hurt innocent people. He has renounced those lies and distortions when it is politically convenient, and then gone right back to using them as soon as possible. Now, he’s just a sore loser who hopes to make some decent money in Hollywood. And how much would you like to bet that he’s going to keep pouring part of his money into groups like NOM, and go right back to spreading the lies and distortions?

It’s time to stop giving him a pass. It’s time to stop giving him money, no matter how indirectly.

6 thoughts on “The abyss’s game

  1. You know, reading his line about sending a clear message about those who flagrantly defy society…

    Well, with protests and boycotts he’s getting what he called for. What he didn’t anticipate was that he was the one on the wrong side of society, history, morality, etc.

    Funny how those who most vocally call for punishment and intolerance are the first to squeal like a stuck pig that they are being “unfairly punished.”

    Funny how they also believe in God driving their “success” but never think he might be involved in the backlash against them.

    Also, I bate to tell him but it’s impossible to punish a book. However, people have every right to boycott the enrichment of a self-righteous, hypocritical bigot.

    1. Exactly!

      Nobody’s trying to silence him. For years after I learned how he felt about these things, I didn’t even go into it and I certainly didn’t discourage people from reading his work. If someone asked if I’d read his stuff, I simply said that I didn’t care for it.

      It wasn’t until he went beyond expressing an opinion that I started being specific.

  2. He has scattered the seeds of bigotry and intolerance. Now he reaps what they bring. I’ve grown weary and leery of those whose “change” only happens for their own gain and doesn’t represent a real change of heart on their part. I don’t have much sympathy for opportunistic types like this dude.

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