09 July 2013

Ender's Game and Gay Marriage; Or, You Hurt the Ones You Love Because You're an Asshole

This is an unusual Not Review of Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game which will on the boycott controversy concerning his new film.

I was going to open this with a little disclaimer, but I decided not to. If dissenting opinions are enough to get me labeled, I intend to ignore that label with the steadfast resolution for which I am so renowned. Get out your big label machine, because this is about to get intense.

For a little background, some of the whinier members of the gay geek and pro-gay marriage movement have declared a boycott on the new Ender's Game film on the grounds that Orson Scott Card disagrees with their political views. It will be the rousing success that every boycott is, and I look forward to seeing the shining utopia it brings about. Nonetheless, while we wait for their crushing victory over the entire film industry, we may as well address this at a more philosophical level.

It is, of course, their right to boycott. They can spend their money or not spend their money on whatever they like, for whatever reason they like. I support them in that 100%, just as I would anyone else. The beautiful symmetry of that reality, however, is that it’s also my right to call them mean names and eviscerate their arguments with clockwork precision.

So here’s the thing.

A book is a projection of the author, his blood the ink and his flesh the paper. It may not be the summation of him as a person, there may be parts of him you like that aren’t in the book or parts you don’t that don’t make the cut, but it is some portion of his soul you’re reading. To love a book is to love the mind that created it. To feel moved by a book is to have your heart changed by another, to be touched at a deep level by part of another person’s mind and soul. It’s like falling in love, like a deep conversation tucked away in a dark corner after a party is long gone, like a moment where you meet someone’s gaze and you realize you both feel exactly the same way in that moment. It’s nothing more or less than a fleeting moment of real, unshakeable human contact with someone you’ve never met but whom you suddenly know better than your own friends and family. And then it’s gone. But it changed you, and you fell in love with him for that brief, shining moment.

And then there’s this.

What that means is, they (or their intended audience) like Ender’s Game, and they like what it stands for, and they like the mind that created it, and they almost certainly felt that deep connection which is at the core of what great literature (and Ender’s Game is most definitely great literature), but they just disagree with him in some ways. In turn, that means that they want to punish someone they feel a deep connection to for disagreeing with them on one specific issue, and they're more than willing to throw away a part of themselves to do it.

Now, those of you who have had that big talk with your family at Thanksgiving probably recognize this attitude. Stop and think. Remember? Yes, you do. You remember exactly what it’s like to have people who love you in every way but one cast you aside to punish you for the one part of you they can’t accept.

So now your idea is to pay that forward onto everyone who has the nerve, the gall, the unbridled arrogance to disagree with you? The almighty you?

Sounds like a plan. Good luck with your boycott.