Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Bigger Picture: Do you Separate Art from Artist?

The Bigger Picture

This past week, there has been a whirlwind of controversy surrounding author Orson Scott Card, the guy who wrote "Ender's Game." Just in case you have recently began reading this blog, "Ender's Game" is a brilliant book, featuring unique, ambitious, and grounded sci/fi. It's one of my favorite books I have ever read in my life. I have been (sort of) dreaming of a movie for a long time, and so has Hollywood, because lets face it. Anybody who has read the book will understand that it is not easy material to put onscreen. But finally a film adaptation is coming November 1st of this year, and there have already been trailers and promotion for it. The "Ender's Game" movie is going to be a big deal at this year's San Diego International Comic-Con too.

But as of right now I am at a crossroads of whether or not I can bring myself to see the movie, and that kills me.

It has just come to my attention that Orson Scott Card is incredibly homophobic. That naturally would not normally bother me. Not because I share his thoughts, because I don't. I'm not sure why its so hard to give a certain group of people in this country rights to marry. I am not going to get into the ethics and morality of gay marriage, solely because we'll be here all day. I am sure all of you reading these words knows and understands your own views on the subject. All I can do is hope that all of my readers can respect my own views. I know and have known many people who are gay, and they are some of the most decent, gracious and down-to-Earth people that I have ever met. I think tolerance for all is what makes this country great, its what makes us such strong Americans. If we pretend right now that gay marriage suddenly became equal all over the U.S.A, do you know what would happen? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Not to me at least, I'd wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, update my blog, maybe watch a movie and then do it all over again tomorrow. I support gay rights also because I don't care, I think people should be able to love whoever they want. We have freedom of speech, assembly, religion and rights to carry firearms, but people don't have a freedom to love? 

But those are my thoughts, and I am sorry for the political rant. I just want my readers to get a heads-up on my views of the subject. And I arrive to Orson Scott Card and his backwards logic. I'm sure Orson Scott Card isn't the first famous person actively trying to bar same-sex marriage, and he definitely won't be the last. But it seems he goes out of his way to terminate it in disturbing and quasi-obsessive ways, and that is both shocking and unhealthy.  He's called gay rights a "collective delusion," he's tried to link homosexuality to child molestation, he thinks gays partake in "devious behavior," he's laughed at people who have tried to compare LBGT rights to the Civil Rights Movement and he's a member of the National  Organization of Marriage, which has been proactively trying to keep LBGT people from achieving any sort of rights. Worse of all though, he's spoken time and again about violently destroying America should they ever pass a piece of legislature which ensures the tolerance for gay marriage.

 All of this was news to me this week, and it seems Orson Scott Card has given the word "bigot" a new definition. I am always one to believe in separating the art from the artist. Mel Gibson and Roman Polanski come to mind when I think of how much I don't care about other people's views or any controversial move they pulled, all I care about is the finished product and whether its good or not. Yet Card's so wrongheaded in his anti-gay crusade that I find it deeply disturbing. Where do I personally begin to draw my line in what is right and wrong?

Lionsgate, the distributor for the "Ender's Game" movie adaptation released this press release earlier today:

“As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community, champions of films ranging from GODS AND MONSTERS to THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and a Company that is proud to have recognized same-sex unions and domestic partnerships within its employee benefits policies for many years, we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage.  However, they are completely irrelevant to a discussion of ENDER’S GAME.  The simple fact is that neither the underlying book nor the film itself reflect these views in any way, shape or form.  On the contrary, the film not only transports viewers to an entertaining and action-filled world, but it does so with positive and inspiring characters who ultimately deliver an ennobling and life-affirming message. Lionsgate will continue its longstanding commitment to the LGBT community by exploring new ways we can support LGBT causes and, as part of this ongoing process, will host a benefit premiere for ENDER’S GAME.”
Read more at 

I appreciate Lionsgate's stance on not supporting Card, and I understand that Card has probably already been paid by the studio so they could adapt his book into a movie. But if "Ender's Game" opens huge, there are many people who believe that will inspire other people to buy Card's book, make him more money, and he'll spend it trying to stop the flow of gay rights progress in this country. I have been conflicted in my thoughts, because on one level this author stands against my personal and moral compass. On another level, I know many artists have done hard work to make "Ender's Game" come to life onscreen, and I have been waiting for an adaptation of the book for years. My days of reading anything else by Card are definitely done, but can I go see a movie, based on his book? See a production he had no hand in putting together?

I feel conflicted and I need feedback, what are all your thoughts on this issue? Comments definitely welcome!

Ender's Game will be in theaters November 1st 2013.


1 comment:

  1. Until the man is dead, it's really pretty impossible to separate the art from the artist on a functional level. There really is no way to experience the movie where there isn't an argument that you are in some way contributing to the man's livelihood. That contribution could be infinitesimal, but it's always there.

    This is actually why I have still never seen Sicko. Michael Moore is a sensationalist whack job who exploits people's fears to make a buck (of course I work insurance, so he would say the same thing about me). If I were to so much as borrow his DVD from Netflix, I would be sending the message to Netflix that they will need more DVDs of his next movie, which would increase sales. Even if he's not getting paid per copy of that movie, that tells the studio that his movies are worth something and encourages them make his next one. Infinitesimal, but there.