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John Pomeranz

I agree with your take. My political views are strong enough to withstand exposure to those who disagree with me or whom I find disagreeable (or, if not, I'll change those views).

I wonder what you think about the fact that Orson Scott Card has yet to be guest of honor at the World Science Fiction Convention? In discussions with convention runners, all acknowledge that he's qualified -- perhaps the most qualified among those who've yet to be selected -- but that he hasn't been and may never be selected because his strong political views would alienate many regular attendees. As a staunch political progressive who has also enjoyed Card's SF & F for decades, it saddens me that he may never be recognized in this way for his contributions to the genre.

T Baker

I think that it's equally okay to say you'll not buy books made by a company that hires anti-gay writers as to say it's okay to say you'll not buy a book wirtten by a anti-gay writer. It's only degrees of what is "allowed" in protesting something you do not agree with.

If they hire anti-gay writers, I'll probably not buy their comics. I don't feel I'm saying he can't write whatever he wants. I'm saying I won't support him, and I won't support a company that supports him. And not just anti-gay, but racist, bigoted, religious zealots, etc. I have no problem with the fact that my small amount of money I would spend on their product is not going to 'break the company', but it makes me feel 'right' within myself.

I also don't insist that anyone else boycott the product or writer, I'd simply tell them why I wouldn't. Every person gets to make their own decisions.

Jeff Mariotte

Thanks, John. In the end, I guess I think every con's organizers can invite who they think will work best with their crowd. If they're afraid inviting Scott would cause what was supposed to be a fun convention to become an uncomfortable, unpleasant mob scene, then they're probably within their rights to do so.

But his contributions to the canon can't, and shouldn't, be ignored. The years that Ender's and Speaker won back-to-back Hugos and Nebulas, those two books were the bestselling books in the store I was managing (which was a general bookstore, not a specialty store) by a long shot. They continued to sell for years after, and now have reached a whole new audience with their YA re-releases. That was before he was as active politically as he is now, and obviously he got the love from fans and fellow pros at the time.


I expect his political views and activities will cut into his legacy/reputation, and that's something he largely has brought on himself. But the work stands on its own and nothing will take that away.

Jeff Mariotte

Perfectly acceptable, as far as I'm concerned. I'm not advocating anybody treat him or DC in one way or another. That's a decision everybody has to make for himself. I'm only saying that DC should be allowed to hire who they want, for whatever reasons. And I freely admit part of that's mercenary on my part--I'm a "known liberal," and wouldn't want that to get in the way of someone hiring me to write Batman or Daredevil or a novel based on "The Americans" (which, now that I think about it, could be really cool).

David Gerrold

Nicely stated. Very eloquent. You've stated the case very well.

Jeff Mariotte

Thanks, David.

Jeff Mariotte

Agreed, Nick. I want people to understand that I'm not arguing that Card's First Amendment rights are in danger of being abridged here, because that's obviously not the case. I just don't want to see publishers start picking and choosing who they'll publish on the basis of any given writers political/social views or outside activities. The work should be the work.

Jeff Mariotte

Thanks, Randy.


 


Although I obviously disagree with Card on this and many other issues, I think his skills as a writer show that he's not a completely awful human being. There's got to be something good in there to allow him to reach so many people, many of whom I respect.


 


That said, when I look at his anti-gay rhetoric I see that he "justifies" it with a construction of ideas as fragile as tissue paper and twigs, blown apart by the slightest breeze of reason. To harbor such livid rage against an entire category of human beings must mean there's some deep-rooted emotional or psychological issue behind it. That kind of anger can't come from nowhere, and I don't think he's just doing it--like Rush, et al--because that's how he makes his living. I don't understand it, and it makes me sad for him.

Gene

Eloquently said, Jeff.

My problem with this matter isn't Card's politics (although, like you, I find his stance on gays and their civil rights to be incomprehensible for an educated, intelligent person to possess)...truth be told, I doubt that I know the personal politics of 99.8% of the writers and artists whose comics I have enjoyed all of my life, and what's more, I don't care what those politics are.

What bothers me now is that when OSC pursues his anti-homosexual activism, he won't simply be able to bill himself as a best selling author. Now, he'll be able to wrap himself in a cloak that says 'Writer of Superman...the icon of Truth, Justice and the American Way'. He does not have to put a single word of his personal beliefs into Superman's mouth to link the image of the Man of Steel with his activism in the minds of some. And with the film coming out this year, there's going to be a lot more mainstream media attention paid to the character, so I fully expect the right to try and exploit this for their agenda, if they can.

If DC was so intent on working with Card, why not adapt one of his novels (as Marvel has done, without controversy), or ask him to develop a new project? Someone up there had to at least suspect that putting OSC on one of their primary characters was going to roil up dissent. And for a company that survives solely upon the whims of the marketplace, driving off a number of potential purchasers what for is supposed to be your flagship character seems like poor strategy to me.

Cnsieler

I am the same religion as Mr. Card. I do not consider myself as Anti-Gay. I do have a traditional view of marriage. I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. So instantly I guess in the eyes of some that would make me Anti-Gay. I will not throw stones, or judge others. I am trying my best to become a better person. I quickly looked up what Mr. Card has said in the past, and he has made some statements that would be upsetting to some. I have probably said somethings like that in the past but now looking back I wish I would not have. Why Have I changed? I think as I get older that we need to learn to get along better. I seem to get along a whole lot better if I shut my mouth and hear more. By reading Jeff's books I have read stuff that some would consider not in line with some of my religious views. But I do not think that way, For example, Jeff's Book,"The Slab" provides a good view of what evil does to us. How do write about evil? How do you paint a mind picture for your reader? If one reads "The Slab" I think Jeff does a awesome job of putting the mind picture in my head with his written word.
I plan to really read the Season of the Wolf now, and I would consider myself a Climate Change Skeptic. I do not think I will be offended. I know that I will be scared out of my wits but not offended by the climate change frame of reference.
Mr. Card proves one thing that is repeated over and over again. There is no such thing as bad publicity only publicity.

Jeff Mariotte

Gene, I get your point. But as much as I love Superman, I think in the greater universe of political activism on either side, "New York Times Bestselling Writer" carries more intellectual heft (such as it is) than "Writer of Superman." For that matter, I've written more words about Superman than he ever will, and nobody ever brings that up in association with my political advocacy.

And although I don't know much of what Card's activism entails, if it's as effective as his presidential endorsements (McCain in 2008, Gingrich in 2012), it's not much of a threat. I doubt that the people likeliest to be convinced by his ridiculous and flimsy arguments would be more or less so with either the NYT or Superman tags attached. They'll be looking for a WorldNet Daily or Fox "News" connection, if anything.

I just don't like the idea that a group of consumers driven by ideology can influence the decisions of a publishing company about what or who to publish. Boycott once it's published, sure--I've got no problem with that. But the sword swings both ways, and if a liberal group can get their way with Time Warner this time, it'll be a conservative group next time. And if they both succeed, then Time Warner's capability to make those decisions on its own will be severely impaired, hostage to whichever group can raise the loudest supporters.

Jeff Mariotte

Chris, from what I've seen and heard, some of Card's rhetoric has been really hateful and hurtful. I've never heard you say anything like that--can't imagine you threatening the government of the United States, for instance, as he has done. And as others have pointed out, it's not his beliefs that most people object to but his efforts at activism, at inflicting his understanding of the world on everybody else whether or not they agree with his positions.

Cnsieler

Activism- Sometimes is needed and Sometimes is not. For example, on Martin Luther King Day I wanted to learn more about why we have the day. So I bought an ebook, Carolyn Maull McKinstry's memoir, While the World Watched (2011), http://www.amazon.com/While-World-Watched-Birmingham-Survivor/dp/1414336365
I read the book from start to finish in one setting. I was deeply touched by the woman's story. I was appalled at the attitudes of those that committed atrocities. The activism required to change that situation was required.
History speaks for itself
________________________________________________
In the case of Same Sex marriage, I do not agree with those that want to demonize one side or the other. I do not agree with those that think of homosexuals as "predators" or "sick. Same sex attraction exists, just as much as opposite attraction exists.
I think "we religious types" are quick to throw "it's a sin tag" at folks, forgetting that Jesus Christ is our judge, and famously in the case of the adulterous woman said, he that is without sin could cast the first stone.
Also Jesus Christ said there were 2 Commandments, love God and love your neighbor.
So I guess that I am against activism that demonizes, or attempts to injure, or hurt the opposite number.

OrsonFriend

I do know Orson personally and consider him a friend. I'm very left-wing personally, and I am a strong proponent of gay marriage. I offer this for what it's worth:

1. He's an extremely kind and generous man in person.
2. He is completely willing to engage in a rational discussion regarding his views. I've never managed to get him to change them, but I've tried, and he listens.
3. I have never seen him speak disrespectfully of anyone, including gays and lesbians. He's written some stuff - some of which I believe he regrets to some extent.
4. He's a very religious man, who is clearly working to reconcile his church's beliefs with the world he lives in and the profession he has chosen.

I don't pretend his views don't distress me - not here, and not when I'm talking to him. I personally believe that's valuable. I think if we're going to change minds we have to actually TALK to the people on the other side of the issues we care about, and treat them with respect.

What are we supposed to do with artists who disagree with us? I hear people say that their real problem is that he's an activist, and his money goes to the anti-gay cause, but that's a pretty thin distinction. All Mormons tithe, and their money goes to a big anti-gay organization called the Mormon Church. If we're really going to play this argument out to its logical conclusion, we're going to need political litmus tests for everyone, so that our precious dollars don't accidentally make their way to people who disagree with us.

Just once, I'd like to see someone on the internet say "I disagree with this person, but instead of writing an online screed about my hatred of them and their views, I tried calling them up and having a discussion. I tried to understand them and share my own views in the interest of advancing my cause." Isn't it remarkable that no one ever, ever, EVER does that?

Sigh. It's such a sad situation.

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