Orson Scott Card has a problem with gay people.
He also happens to be a pretty good science fiction author who has a movie coming out.
I came across Ender’s Game when I was a teenager and it hit all the right notes. I never became a serious fan of him but I know tons of people who really dig his work. And a few of them were completely unaware of Card’s views on homosexuality but thanks to the rise of the internet, these views are now well known to everyone. Card is a heavy follower of the Church of Latter Day Saints and has been a part of a few of anti gay and anti gay marriage rallies as well as giving money to these organizations. To be fair, the one thing I will say about Card is that unlike others, he doesn’t try to hide his views or spin them in such a way to lead you to believe that it’s BS. No, Card is quite proud of his beliefs.
So the question becomes, “Can I go see Ender’s Game?” If I do, am I supporting Card and views that I am completely against?
It’s a complicated issue and while personally, I think I’ll skip it, I’d never tell you that you shouldn’t go. If you think about it, yeah a few dollars might go to Card and his causes but at the same time, I can guarantee with the sheer amount of people who worked on the film that more then a few gay people worked on Ender’s Game and probably made a decent amount of money doing it. I also think the plan a number of people have of donating the same amount of money that they spend on their film ticket to a LGBT organization to balance it off is a great idea. So in short, I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about seeing Ender’s Game, especially when considering the above points.
But it brings up the issue, can you separate the art from the artist?
I don’t really have an answer because I go a number of ways.
I’m a big fan of Cerebus, especially the High Society storyline. High Society is one of my favourite stories in comics. It is so well executed in both art and writing, if I’m asked about the best comic book storylines of all time, it always makes my top twenty. Depending on my mood, it occasionally cracks the top ten.
I can’t bring myself to read it anymore.
Dave Sim doesn’t like the direction feminism (many label him a misogynist and he definitely has opinions that can be viewed that way) has taken since the 70’s. He’s written about it in the letter’s column areas of Cerebus and his views even lead to a large argument between Jeff Smith and himself which prompted Sim to challenge Smith to a boxing match. The whole thing left me with such a bad taste in my mouth that I haven’t been able to read Cerebus since. But I can’t part with my High Society trade either. It still sits on my bookshelf as I still believe it’s a solid piece of art.
I have similar issues with Mel Gibson films. Between his anti-Semitic rants and accusations of physical abuse, it was hard to see Riggs the same way. A couple of years after the dust cleared, I still find it hard to voluntarily put in one of his movies. But with Machete Kills headed our way, and I’m being completely honest when I say this, I’ll probably go see it in theatres but it’ll still feel a little weird.
I think in the case of Gibson, it’s a little bit of assurance. Yes, there’s a very solid chance he might be a bit of anti-Semite, which is bad. But at the same time, unlike Card for instance, I don’t think he’s active in that world. I don’t think Gibson hands out cash to Nazi skinheads or supports any “Hitler was right” rallies. He’s probably just a bit of a douche who says some stuff when drinking that in the end he only half believes, if even that. In the case of Gibson, I seem to be able to separate the art from the artist.
Am I right in my distinctions? Hell, I don’t know. I don’t think anyone should judge you on the stance you take regarding art and artist. If you choose to see Ender’s Game, I wouldn’t condemn you for it or even wag a finger because quite frankly, the issue is really complicated. Same with Dave Sim and Mel Gibson.
Does this make me a hypocrite? Possibly. I’m for gay marriage, equal rights for all regardless of race, creed or colour. But where do you draw the line? Do I boycott a film where a grip was a skinhead? Or where a producer has said a few shitty things about Israel? Or a composer who thinks Egypt should be bombed into the ground? You dig deep enough you’ll find stuff like this. Figure out where your lines are but be respectful of others’ lines.
Unless they’re a dick about it.
Next week, something a little less heavy and a bit more fun, I promise.
If your gonna geek out, GEEK HARD