Speaker for the Abyss
I thought I had said all I would say about the Orson Scott Card stuff in “Abyss Gazing” and “The Abyss’ Game“, unfortunately some people who I would have hoped knew better have decided that any gay people who have chosen or are contemplating choosing to withhold our patronage from anything that will put money in the pocket of that hateful homophobe, simply don’t understand the situation properly.
So they’ve decided to explain it to us…
First, the production company, Lionsgate, issued a statement:
“…we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage. However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of “Ender’s Game.” The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form.”
Which is quite simply wrong. This is called “straight-splaining.” A (group of) straight people explaining an issue about gay rights to gay people. Sorry, no, you don’t get to decide what is or isn’t relevant to our feelings about the rights of gay people to live openly in society, free from persecution. Second, have you actually read Ender’s Game? The story reeks of Card’s fundamental belief that people don’t have a right to make choices about their own lives.
But it’s worse, because Harrison Ford, who is appearing in the movie, decided to weigh in at a San Diego Comic-Con panel:
“I think none of Mr. Card’s concerns regarding the issue of gay marriage are part of the thematics of this film… I am aware of his statements admitting that the question of gay marriage is a battle that he lost, and he admits that he lost it. I think we all know that we’ve all won, that humanity has won. And I think that’s the end of the story.”
Not as condescending as the Lionsgate statement, but it still misses the point. The issue is not Card’s opinion about gay marriage. The issue is Card’s decades long participation in, and continuing (despite having apologized back in 2004 about the issue of sodomy laws) to pour money, time into campaigns to oppose all of gay rights, not just marriage. It’s about his many editorials calling for people to “constantly and firmly confront” any homosexual they know, especially teen-agers, despite being shown dozens of studies that show that that very confrontation is the largest cause of teen suicide. It’s about his crusades against women’s rights, and the right of anyone, gay or straight, to make their choices about how they live their own lives.
And those themes do appear in the book.
You can forgive Lionsgate and Mr Ford, because they have a financial stake in the success of this movie. And, it’s difficult for me to hold a grudge against Harrison Ford, if for no other reason than the incredible crush I had on him back in my teens.
But one would really hope that the New York Times would know better:
Lionsgate said that while it does not “agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card,” his opinions “are completely irrelevant to a discussion of ‘Ender’s Game.’ ” The studio’s response, though self-serving, is exactly right.
Again, sorry, no, you don’t get to decide what is irrelevant to a discuss about how I feel about how I spend my money.
And even though a lot has been written, including by me, about the trickiness of letting one’s opinion of an artist color one’s opinion of the art, that doesn’t mean that I somehow have an obligation to spend money on the art simply because a lot of other people are willing to overlook decades of hatemongering on a lot of topics of which marriage equality is only a tiny part.
The New York Times editorial compares the boycott to a blacklist, which I think is crediting us homos with a lot more power than we actually have. I will only briefly point out the irony of lecturing gay people about wanting to shame Mr Card when for decades he has argued for (and continues to argue for) society’s obligation to heap shame on gay people (as well as single mothers, and a number of other people he claims are destroying society). He can keep trying to write into law obligatory shaming and shunning of us, but we can’t ask people to voluntarily do a little shunning back?
All of these people allude to Card’s so-called apology. It wasn’t an apology, it is at best a grudging admission that he’s lost another battle, combined with a whiny attempt to cast himself as a victim.
The question none of them has come out and asked us is: What would it take for us to accept his apology.
In my humble opinion, Mr Card doesn’t have the right to ask for forgiveness until he does two things. Both of these things are Biblical, so he ought to be happy to do them.
1. Sell every last thing he owns and donate all of his money to a non-profit organization that helps homeless gay youth. Jesus told the rich man who was proud of his wealth to sell everything and give it to the poor, right?
2. After that, he must criss-cross the country on foot and go to the surviving parents of every teen who committed suicide after being bullied because they were gay or thought to be gay. Though, let’s be fair. Only the ones that have committed suicide since 1990, the year when Card wrote his famous essay saying that moral people are obligated to consistently and firmly confront homosexuals about their sin, because such confrontation is the only way that the moral people will be free from being responsible for the blood of those sinners who meet “the day of grief” that god’s law ordered for them all. He must go to their parents, apologize for his actions and words that contributed to the hateful cultural environment that drove their children to take their own lives. For the apology to be sincere, he must admit that he was wrong to have called for people to treat their children that way, and admit that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.
That second one comes from an Old Testament concept that you can ask god to forgive you for offenses you commit against him, but when you sin against your fellow man, you must make amends and ask the people you offended for forgiveness.
Once Card has completed those two tasks, he will have finally earned the right to ask for forgiveness. And I’m quoting from his holy book, so he can’t argue with that.
Until then, all of his faux apologies, the ones he has already gone back on, as well as this latest one, are just more exercises in playing the Orson Scott Victim Card.
And we’re not buying it.