Right now Orson Scott Card and his projects are the only pieces of art and entertainment which I feel the need to boycott – there are other artists out there I disagree with, but mostly their work is not on my radar either. I’m not going to give my money to Ender’s Game, and neither are a bunch of others. Why punish the filmmakers?
A few years ago a game called Shadow Complex saw the day of light. Apparently a pretty good game, which I nevertheless left on the shelves, since it was based on Orson Scott Card’s back story. I’m not going to elaborate there, since I already went through my rationale in this blog post. For the same reason I won’t be seeing Ender’s Game. I liked the book back when, but the persona and politics of Orson Scott Card spoiled his work for me.
Of course, a lot of artists are a bit of dicks and sport ideas I don’t agree with, so if that was the sole criteria for boycotting them, the books and films and music I could enjoy would be few and far between. Then again, although this is an issue of “a line drawn in water” as a local proverb goes, a line is there, and the farther someone goes beyond it, the easier it is to spot. I have a very good reason to believe that money I throw Orson Scott Card’s way is money spent on active proselytising of ideas and values which I consider to be actively evil. This, for example, sets Card and Lovecraft apart for me. H. P. Lovecraft was, by all accounts, a pretty horrible person, but it’s not like me buying Cthulhu-swag will somehow fund his values.
By the same token Card’s response to the boycott’s is pretty pathetic and uses the age old rhetoric:
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.
Or in other words, “waah, you need to tolerate my inhuman bigotry!” Dear Orson, opposing bigotry is not a matter of tolerance. You do not need to tolerate the intolerant, who make it their mission to tell the rest of the society how they can or can’t live. Nobody is asking you to gay marry. You are preventing others from doing that. Learn the difference.
In the same token, there have been lots of calls both back when the game came out and now with the film not to punish the game/film makers. I mean, what have they done to deserve it, it’s their livelihood, you know?
So here’s the titular question: suppose this story was written by a very vocal and active Ku Klux Klan leader, who until now has been actively trying to prevent mixed races marriages, threatening to destroy the government who endorses such marriages, and generally shown their contempt in public for people who are not white caucasians. Would you ask the audience for tolerance and understanding since the segregation is over and moot? Would you just casually cleave apart the man and the art and ask the people to forget the writer’s policies, and that their money will go indirectly to funding such ideals?
The world is full of good sci-fi scripts, and the studio decided to greenlight one based on works of a known and controversial bigot. That’s a choice with consequences, no use crying about it. If this reaction came as a surprise to someone, that person should think about a career change. Choose your bedfellows well and all that.