The Sundry Times
Orson Scott Card, Human Rights, and The Power Of Your Money

A recent post by tzikeh (hi tzikeh!) reminded me that Ender’s Game is opening soon, and I wanted to restate my earlier trilogy of posts on the subject as a single post. So if you know people who are going, and you want to explain why they shouldn’t, please feel free to send them here.

As a book, I love Ender’s Game. It’s the anthem for the smart young outsider, and it’s a hell of an adventure story. I love it and I’m ashamed of how much I love it because it’s written by this man:

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.” —Orson Scott Card

Orson Scott Card sits on the board of the National Organization for Marriage, attempting to ensure the second-class treatment of queer people and (impotently, but still) threatening to destroy the government over matters of simple equality. He is a frothing, virulent bigot. Recently he decided to demand that if gay marriage HAS to be legal, that gay people be nice to him:

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.Don’t be fooled because he looks like a hobbit.

Don’t pay to see his movie. Don’t let a cent of your money go to him or encourage the studio to make more films which make him more money to give to people who think pro-equality governments are their mortal enemy.

But Sam, what about all the people who worked on the film?

If you are genuinely worried about the people who worked on the film, remember that nobody works for free — every single person who worked on the film got paid (okay, except maybe interns). The money that rolls in from the box office goes mainly to the people who got paid A Lot Already. So don’t worry too much about them, they’re doing okay. Nobody on this film spent twelve hours a day running cable and lights and cameras for free with the expectation that they’d be paid after opening night.

I’m going to go anyway and give an equivalent amount of money to a gay rights organisation. That’s cool, right?

Well, that’s admirable, trying to find a balance. But I want people to understand that “give ten dollars to Ender’s Game” and “give ten dollars to gay rights” are not actually equivalent.

Setting aside the fact that giving an equivalent amount of money to a dominant cultural institution is actually like giving more money because they’re already in a position of power, giving money to gay rights does one thing:

1. Funds the struggle for equality.

Going to see Ender’s Game, however, does three things:

1. Funds Orson Scott Card, who in turn funds NOM.
2. Tells the production company that works based on Orson Scott Card’s writing will be box-office successful, encouraging them to make more, and thus give him more money.
3. Tells the production company that you care more about seeing an awesome movie than you do about gay rights, so they don’t have to worry that much about paying bigots for movie rights.

You’re not putting ten bucks in OSC’s pocket. You’re putting ten bucks into the pocket of a group of people who decide whether next time, he and people who share his philosophy will get paid more. You are voting for a movie with your money.

So by all means, I would rather you donate equal amounts than not give anything at all. But be aware that you are not actually balancing the books that way.

A better suggestion that I saw was to pay for a different film and sneak into Ender’s Game. I have zero problems with that. Knock yourselves out. Don’t get caught!

But “Ender’s Game” doesn’t have OSC’s  anti-gay message. Paying to see this movie supports the morals of the movie, not of the creator.

Hey, if that’s how you want to justify it to yourself, that’s fine, or if you want to use any number of other justifications, that’s fine too.

The reality is that paying for the movie a) puts money in the pocket of a man who loudly supports bigotry, and b) tells the producers you don’t care that he’s a bigot.

This is an industry; money is what talks. You are giving the producers of this film money, which means they have no reason not to collaborate with Card in the future, because your objection to his politics is less than your desire to pay them to see a movie.

Comic store owners talking about morality is not what got OSC’s Superman story put on hold. Comic store owners announcing loudly that they would not sell the anthology in their stores was what got the message across.

"We won’t make money at this. Let’s not do it."

I don’t think you should pay to see this film, but if you want to see it and you can’t wait or pirate, just go see it. I would rather someone be honest that they want to see the movie too badly to skip it than make up reasons to ignore Card’s politics. Own your actions.

In the grand scheme of any equality movement, whether or not you see a movie is not that big a deal. It is much more important that you support equality, vote for equality, and protest inequality as and how you can in the political arena.

And if you still have objections, I recommend you take the energy you’re about to expend arguing with me and use it against someone who’s actually trying to harm people.

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  15. leasspell-dael reblogged this from copperbadge and added:
    Will always reblog this. I’ve loved Ender’s Game since I was in junior high. I refuse to see this movie.
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    I’m so very glad people are starting to understand what this man has said and done and how he has actively worked...
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