Ender’s End Game – The Bigotry of Orson Scott Card

This is an easy one.

On the one hand we have Orson Scott Card, an award-winning science fiction writer, who is also a raging homophobe who lives in his own little world of homophobia-land. On the other hand we have reality.

One of Mr. Card’s works, Ender’s Game, has been made into a motion picture.  IMDb states that it is to be released in the US on November 1, 2013. Geeks Out, a group that “rallies, empowers, and promotes the queer geek community,” is calling for a boycott of the film because Mr. Card is such a raging homophobe. How raging a homophobe is Mr. Card? Fortunately, Salon.com created this handy guide of his past tirades.

February 1990: “The Hypocrites of Homosexuality,” where Mr. Card argues that:

The argument by the hypocrites of homosexuality that homosexual tendencies are genetically ingrained in some individuals is almost laughably irrelevant. We are all genetically predisposed toward some sin or another…
-quoted from “Nauvoo – A Gathering Place for Latter-day Saints”

In his world, homosexuality is a sin that must be overcome. He actually sounds forgiving of some experimentation during youth. But when one hits adulthood, all bets are off. Conform and procreate. Now. And I mean it. This actually sounds remarkably like the Boy Scout’s new policy towards gay scouts: it’s OK as long as you’re a kid, but we expect you to grow out of it.

February 2004: “Homosexual ‘Marriage’ and Civilization,” where Mr. Card opines:

Just because homosexual partners wish to be called “married” and wish to force everyone else around them to regard them as “married,” does not mean that their Humpty-Dumpty-ish wish should be granted at the expense of the common language, democratic process, and the facts of human social organization.
-quoted from The Ornery American

This was taken from his reaction to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s famous ruling declaring that gay and lesbian Americans in Massachusetts should have the right to marry like their heterosexual counterparts.  Similarly, four years later when the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, we have

July 2008: “State Job is not to redefine marriage,” where Mr. Card declares:

THE FIRST AND greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to “gay marriage,” is that it marks the end of democracy in America.
-quoted from Deseret News

Salon cites other examples, but you get the point. All of his tirades have at their heart his hardline, conservative interpretation of Mormon principles, philosophy, dogma, and morality. He casts aspersions on Mormons who disagree with him, in particular LGBT Mormons who are out and living full lives as LGBT Mormons. To him, such a person is a living oxymoron.  “One cannot serve two masters,” he stated in his 1990 piece.

So yes, it is safe to say that Mr. Card is a raging homophobe. However, he’s also a raging homophobe who likes dollar $ign$. As stated, he has a movie coming out. Acutely aware that a boycott might harm his bottom line, he has made an appeal.

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984.

With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot.  The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state.

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

What? First, we had the doom-and-gloom declaration that gay marriage signaled the end of civilization.  Next, we had the doom-and-gloom declaration that gay marriage signaled the end of democracy. And now, after the US Supreme Court dispatched dumb DOMA and effectively banished Prop 8 in California, he’s suddenly going to come out and wave the white flag by declaring the issue “moot”? You can do better than that.

The last sentence in his statement, though, is the most telling. It’s actually in keeping with his previous rants. He routinely ridiculed those who labeled him a bigot. He also relied upon the hackneyed cliche that those who do not tolerate his intolerance are themselves intolerant.

Also of note, he bases his cry for tolerance upon the premise that marriage equality is a done deal. Yet, as noted in his many antigay screeds, his problems with homosexuality go way beyond just the marriage issue. Time and again, he has documented in his own words that he has real issues with the very existence of queer folks.

Come on, man, who are you trying to kid?

Mr. Card, you made your bed, now you must sleep in it. Let the sheets contort around your body and tie you up in the knots of your own ill-mannered illogic. In your world, you may be able to spew unabashed hatred and suffer no consequences. But in reality, you don’t have that privilege. Your words affect the lives of real, living human beings, not fictional characters from one of your books. Lives are impacted whenever society slams its door in people’s faces because of their sexuality or sexual orientation. That’s why we have anti-discrimination laws, to protect minorities from bigots. So while you are free to say whatever the hell you want, others are free to ignore your bigotry and ignore your work.

Homophobia, alas, has historically been all too rampant in the sci-fi/fantasy realm. 20-plus years ago, celebrated science fiction author David Gerrold wrote an episode for “Star Trek: The Next Generation” which featured gay characters and dealt with AIDS. Sexual orientation was the one frontier that the legendary franchise had not tackled. Mr. Gerrold, who penned the beloved original series story “The Trouble with Tribbles,” found his story met with indifference by the producers and was ultimately shelved.

(One of my brothers saw Mr. Gerrold at Star Trek conventions held during the STTNG era, and noted that Mr. Gerrold frequently had to scold attendees who booed whenever he mentioned the possibility of LGBT issues discussed on Star Trek.)

Fortunately, times are changing. Mr. Gerrold’s story was produced many years later by the fan series “Star Trek: New Voyages.” And this week I read that Andrew Garfield, star of the latest Spider-Man reboot, would like to see Spidey have a boyfriend.  “Why can’t he be into boys?” he states.  Why not, indeed.

So, Mr. Card’s narrow view of reality is closing in around him like a vanishing worm hole.  The days of flagrant bigotry are ending, just as the days of open queerness become more and more routine. His movie may sail or it may flop. But a good many of us queer geeks, of all persuasions, will not be giving him a pass.

Update:

David Gerrold posted his own response to Mr. Card’s call for “tolerance” on his Facebook page. In a word, Mr. Gerrold, who is himself gay and quite out, does not give Mr. Card a pass. You can see his post on Facebook here.

© 2013, gar. All rights reserved.


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