Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Unfortunately, I just don't like Ender's Game very much.

I mean, when I read it in my early 20's, I was impressed by what I thought was an unsolvable moral quandary.  I felt compelled to both condemn and absolve Ender, but couldn't do either, and it blew my mind.  I'd never seen anything like it before.  But in the years since, I've learned to discern a great many more shades or right and wrong.  I have learned to reconcile opposing truths, to see that good people can do terrible things, and this makes them neither wholly good nor wholly terrible, but both at once.  I have learned that one can take responsibility for the things they did unintentionally, even if the amount of responsibility deserved is mitigated by the lack of intention.  Intention matters, but isn't the only thing that does.  And so that shocking, mind-blowing, crux of the book is just kind of meh now. 

What this means is, as much as I'd like to, I can't boycott Ender's Game any more than I can boycott Grownups 2.  (I have no idea what that movie is, but apparently it's playing in theaters now.)  It's not a boycott if I wasn't going to see it anyway.

I wouldn't boycott Card because it would have a personal impact on him, either financially or philosophically.  I'm pretty sure his career is safe, and I'm pretty sure that he's heard and not listened to any arguments that might be made against his terrible social ideas.  I also wouldn't boycott Card because I believe that his bigotry shows in the work he's produced.  I think that Ender's Game is flawed, but not in an anti-gay-marriage kind of way.  Or even a Mormon kind of way.  (Maybe.  I don't actually know where Mormons stand on the good-works vs. pure faith debate.)

I would boycott Card, if I could, because he has a microphone.  He is successful and popular and famous, and when he writes articles about how the people should overthrow the government in order to stop gay marriage, he gets published in newspapers, and because he's famous and "controversial," those articles get quoted in other articles and everyone knows what Orson Scott Card thinks.  He's not the only one with a microphone; many of the people writing those articles quoting him also have microphones.  But there are lots of us, who disagree with him, who don't have the social capital to be heard at the same kind of volume.  What a boycott does is give the rest of us a microphone.  A boycott is a union, except instead of providing bargaining power, it provides publicity.  The Ender's Game boycott allows the rest of us to say, "hey, we don't agree" and be heard.  Or it would, if only it weren't Ender's Game.

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