Posted by: Patrick Allen Foster | October 31, 2013

The Enemy’s Gate is Down

Ender’s Game comes out tomorrow. Judging solely by the trailers, it looks like it should be good.

Wired has an interview with Orson Scott Card. Also in Wired, Rachel Edidin has a strong post — “Orson Scott Card: Mentor, Friend, Bigot” — explaining why she will not be seeing the film. Her piece begins:

I’m not going to see Ender’s Game. This is not a revelation. I’m queer. My opinion of Orson Scott Card’s politics and his flimsy rationalizations is on record. I don’t buy books he writes. I don’t watch the movies based on them.

But I’ve still got a paperback on my shelf — battered and worn in the way beloved books get, spine floppy, corners bent. On the title page, in faded blue ballpoint pen, it’s inscribed: “To Rachel – a friend of Ender.”

Read the whole thing; it is not long.

Edidin points to this post by Alyssa Rosenberg, which suggests an alternate approach for those who would like to see the movie but do not want to provide financial support to Card’s political activities, even in a very small way. An excerpt:

I have no interest in giving Card any of my money to pursue an agenda I find hateful and dangerous. I’m trying to figure out if Card has points on the back end, and if purchasing a ticket would mean, even in an extremely small way, giving him money above and beyond what he’s already received for the film rights to the novel.

But at the same time, Card’s involvement as the creation of the work that’s the basis for the movie isn’t my only interest in it. As someone who thinks the emergence of Abigail Breslin, who will play Valentine, and Hailee Steinfeld, who will play Petra Arkanian, one of the child soldiers in Battle School, as young action heroines is a significant tool in bending the curve on career trajectories for Hollywood actresses, I feel a strong desire to see Ender’s Game succeed as a way to credential them for an audience of genre movie fans. I’m also curious to see what Gavin Hood, as a politically engaged South African director, will do. Card, to me, is not the only person who matters here.

But he’s also a particularly noxious illustration of a paradox that plagues politically engaged consumers of culture: a terrible person who has made significant art. I’ve never given Roman Polanski any of my money, even though I think he’s unlikely to commit sexual assault again, because I have no interested in financing his ongoing mockery of the American justice system… So what’s a customer who wants to consume ethically to do?

Although boycott is an option (and Rosenberg does mention it), an alternative is to supplement your ticket purchase with a donation to some cause that Orson Scott Card opposes: “offset that financial contribution to his well-being with a political contribution to an organization that fights precisely the kind of hatred that Card supports.”

Works for me.

Meanwhile, some men just want to watch the world burn.

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