To See or Not to See Ender’s Game (written by Orson Scott Card)

Lately I’ve seen a flurry of tweets and articles about a planned boycott of the film Ender’s Game, based on the novel of the same name written by Orson Scott Card.

Ender's Game

Ender’s Game (Photo credit: Brave Heart)

Up front let me say that I met Card years ago at MIT. Another well known science fiction writer,  Joe Haldeman, teaches a course on writing science fiction at MIT and throughout the semester he brought in authors to talk to our class. Card was one such author. He even signed my copy of Ender’s Game. He’s a nice guy. Jovial and funny.

At the time I was not aware of his views on gay marriage, and his views are the crux of the argument. Should you see a movie based on a novel written by a person who actively bankrolls a position with which you disagree?

On one hand you have to think about the film itself. Fine. Don’t buy the book.

It’s a great book, by the way. One of the all time classics in science fiction.

But, okay, don’t buy the book, or if you do, buy it from an independent bookstore or a used bookstore. But the film? Card provided the source material. Should the actors, directors, screenwriters, cameramen, caterers all suffer because of the source material’s author’s opinions?

On the other hand Card is still actively pushing his anti gay marriage agenda. Any money he makes from the film will be used to bankroll views with which you may disagree. I’m sure many actors and authors hold views with which we disagree. I know many people who refuse to see Tom Cruise movies because of his affiliation with Scientology.

Tim Tebow wears his Christianity on his sleeve and that turns off some people, but do people know that Aaron Rogers is equally as religious?

Here is where I will insert my opinion.

Like I said, I bet there are numerous films and books you have watched and read that were made and written by people with whom you disagree.

The key? You didn’t know.

Card’s mistake was not his opposition to same-sex marriage. I mean, he’s entitled to his opinion. His mistake was letting the world know and actively campaigning.

You may say to me that he has the right to make his voice heard if it’s an issue he cares deeply about. True, but when  you are an artist (actor, author, painter…) involving yourself openly in controversial issues detracts from your creations. Instead of talking about how great a story Ender’s Game is, we are instead talking about the author’s political opinions.

You may say that we should be allowed to have  healthy discussions without rancor. Oh, I wholeheartedly agree, but that’s not reality. I wish it were. One could also argue the point that maybe from Card’s point of view this issue is as important as the civil rights discussion of the 60’s. Would I be asking Card to keep his views to himself if that were the issue he was arguing? To be honest, different time, different issue, but the argument is a good point.

Bottom line: Card is entitled to his opinions and movie-goers can express frustration with his opinions by not seeing the movie based on his work. That’s our society. That’s our choice.

Personally, I will see Ender’s Game. I can disagree with Orson Scott Card and still enjoy his stories.

Besides, two words. Harrison Ford.

Original footage of the scene between Han Solo...

25 thoughts on “To See or Not to See Ender’s Game (written by Orson Scott Card)

  1. You bring up a great point. One man voiced an opinion that people disagreed with. What about all the people involved in the film who have the opposing opinion? I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few gay people working on the movie. This is the dangerous part about boycotts like this. You’re affecting people that have nothing to do with the target of your anger.
    What’s the end game on this boycott anyway? It’s not going to change Card’s mind and might even make his beliefs that much stronger. In the end, the only people that will suffer are the ones that would make money off the film and actually need that money. Maybe a letter campaign or a petition would be better because you can aim it directly at the person you’re against instead of hitting everyone around him.

    • People on both sides view the issue as the civil rights issue of our time, so to them they must speak up no matter the venue, and I understand that point of view.
      The endgame is to bring light to Card’s stance on this particular issue. And to open the conversation even moreso.
      I do wish the focus was on the Ender’s Game story though.

      • It’s certainly overshadowed the movie. Yet, the endgame is already here. People know about Card’s stance, so attacking the movie feels more vindictive than anything else. You want people to know about his stance then blog, write letters, and speak about it. Refusing to see a movie where other people are involved won’t get your point across as well as it used to.

      • You may be right, but we should turn the argument on its head. Take the most important issue you can think of, and now put Card on the face of the opposition. Not just the face, but actively campaigning against something that directly affects your life.
        Would you buy his book? See the movie based on his book?

      • Buy his book? Probably not. See the movie? I still think I would because I know he’s not the only one behind the movie. My personal belief is that if you stand against someone, you shouldn’t commit acts that punish other people. Those that worked on the movie are not Orson Scott Card and most (if not all) of them disagree with his viewpoint. Why should they be punished by association?

      • Ultimately that’s my point of view, too. By the same token though if you don’t buy the book aren’t you hurting his publishing house? The copyeditor? The people who market his book for the publishing house?
        Only a minority percentage of that money goes directly to Card.

      • True. Although, a publishing house has multiple books and projects. Some people on movies only have that movie. Then again, once the movie is out, the only ones making money are the executives. I don’t think Card gets any of the box office take.

  2. I was quite put out when I heard about OSC’s homophobia, and for a few weeks I got this sour taste in my mouth whenever I saw Ender’s Game sitting on my shelf. Then I remembered that it’s still an amazing book, regardless of the author’s political views. So I’m going to carry on reading that book over and over because I love it, and I’m going to see the movie as well!

    • He doesn’t talk about his political views in Ender’s Game, at least not directly. You could read something off the society he creates, but at least he’s not preaching.
      There are some things I’d rather not know, but then again isn’t that just me burying my head in the sand?

  3. I can’t say I agree with you here… I may not agree with Card or perhaps how he’s gone about it… but the fact is we shouldn’t have to censor ourselves… you can’t say we have freedom of speech but only if you say what I want to hear… that’s being a hypocrite… of which people are too much of… we as Americans have to learn that people have the right to say and feel as they want even when it’s something we’d spend our whole lives preaching against… because you don’t want someone to tell you you’re not allowed to say this or believe in that… you don’t want your freedoms to be stripped from you well you have to give it to others as well then… and to say well our world just won’t accept it so you need to be quiet is just as bad… I’m supposed to accept gay people… I’m supposed to accept that gays have the right to love whoever they want… then gay people need to accept that there are those who don’t support that idea… yes they should have their rights but others should have the right to disagree as well… no, none of them should be mean or cruel about it… but no one should ever be punished for disagreeing… that is what is wrong with this world today… and that’s why I personally don’t care what any of those famous people do or believe because I don’t agree with half of it… but I still enjoy the things they create… why should I go around filling the world with more hate… if I don’t like it then I don’t buy it but I’m not going to scream and yell and boycott and try to make others hate as much as I do… you shouldn’t be talking badly about Card for saying what he thinks… you should be asking why he’s being talked badly about for practicing his First Amendment rights…

    • No, I agree with you. Card has the right to say whatever he wants. That’s his prerogative, but he should not be surprised when people use those same rights to speak out against him and his views.
      A few days ago in response to the boycott he asked for people to be tolerant of his views while at the same time posing for a handshake with Eye Ronee.
      When you put your neck out there for or against what is now a controversial issue here in the U.S. you have to expect a few swings.
      That’s where I am with Card. He’s entitled to say what he wants, but he has to expect people to give it right back to him in one way or another, and he shouldn’t complain when that happens.

      • perhaps… and he should expect such, though what I’m talking about is the people trying to boycott it… because I do agree with you in doing so for the movie they’re not really hurting Card as much as they are all those people who worked and put their money into that movie… my problem is how hateful people are about it… so they decided not to watch the movie, that’s their right… but I don’t know… boycotting it? is it really worth that much effort? should this be something worth going up in arms against? after all it’s not that big of a deal in relation to so many other things going on in the world… things people should be putting their efforts into… people will put more passion into hating someone and trying to spread that hate then they ever will in trying to actually make the world a better place… sorry I might be ranting but I’ve given such things a lot of thought and it’s bothersome to say the least…

      • Well, like I said, the people involved with the boycott consider this the civil rights issue of our time. Would we be saying that same thing back to the boycotters if they were doing this in the 50’s and 60’s during the civil rights era?
        That’s how I put it into perspective when I look at why they are trying a boycott. Doing so, even if it doesn’t hurt Card in the least, is the best way they can bring attention to their cause.

      • I don’t see at the same as the civil rights boycotts… those people didn’t have equal rights… they were mistreated and acted like lesser human beings… these people aren’t fighting for rights… they’re fighting for everyone to think the way they do… they’re boycotting a movie that doesn’t even have anything to do with being gay… now if they’re trying to fight for their right for gay marriage then they should go boycott the people that actually have control over passing laws and such… and as far as I’m aware Card isn’t a law maker… he’s just an author with an opinion…

      • Let me play devil’s advocate here and say that just because you or I (hypothetically) do not view this as equal to the civil rights wars, doesn’t make it so.
        You say they’re fighting for everyone to think they do. Well, the same could be said for the civil rights movement. It was a movement to convince people to see their point of view.
        Now, you’re spot on with your last point. They should be protesting and boycotting the people who can make a difference, the ones who make the choices, but realize that they need public opinion behind them to put force into those words, and drawing attention to themselves through a potentially popular movie is just the venue.

      • the reason I don’t see it like the civil rights movements is because those boycotting then boycotted people denying them their rights… places that wouldn’t let blacks in or would only let them sit in certain places or drink from certain fountains… they boycotted people denying them their God given rights… no one here is really denying them their rights… they’re going to boycott what? a theater they have the right to go into and even snuggle together like any other couple out at a movie… or a movie that doesn’t even bring up people being gay? that’s my problem… and that’s why I don’t see it as being the same… now I don’t think they should support Card… they don’t want him getting any of their money… then don’t get it… but calling for a boycotting… and what being mean to those who do want to see the movie? how is that really helping them get their cause across?

      • Well, bringing God into it is going to open up another discussion. Who are we to say what are God given rights? Maybe Gay marriage is a God given right? Who are we to say?
        Yeah, if they are being mean to people who see the movie there’s no excuse for that. That would be a terrible path to follow.

      • Fine… how about American given rights… though when it comes to equality the Bible does say to love thy neighbor and treat others the way that you want to be treated… and I’m just saying this considering that lots of times it’s Christians who are vehemently protesting such issues and showing real unChristian like attitudes… but that’s a whole other ball of wax there…

      • Heh. Well, we could go back and forth forever I imagine. The American constitution does not define marriage as between one man and one woman, but we do have the equal protection clause, which I think is part of the 14th amendment. The clause guarantees equal protection under the law.
        Is marriage between a man and a woman an American given right?

      • life liberty and the pursuit of happiness… so sure why not… This is supposed to be a country based and religious freedom, so just because some religious people don’t agree with it shouldn’t the gays still have the freedom to pursue their own beliefs and have those recognized just like everyone else… we’re supposed to be a country of opportunity and yet we deny people simple things like the chance to get married and enjoy being recognized as wanting to love one another for the rest of their life… we’re supposed to be a country of equality… so why should I have been allowed to marry my husband but gays can’t marry the one of their choosing just because their packages match up? I can’t believe people don’t understand that… it’s not about your own personal beliefs or opinions… it’s about a country as a whole and peoples rights… don’t call us the land of the free if you’re going to set restrictions on that freedom…

        and if you want this convo to end you really shouldn’t end with a question… 😀

      • You assume I want the conversation to end. I was just saying that I think this is a good discussion and that we could go on forever.
        Though I think we agree. People should be nice to each other and tolerant, and if we do disagree it should be without rancor.
        And finally, the constitution does not guarantee the right of anyone to marry, specifically, but does guarantee freedom in broad strokes that could be interpreted as guaranteeing freedom for anyone to marry.

      • well now that we’ve decided that we agree I don’t know if there’s much more to say… though I could talk about this all day… it’s a subject that I’ve never understood… I always think of that saying from WWII…
        “They came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
        Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
        Then they came for the trade unions, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
        Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
        Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one to speak up.”
        People only think of how they are… what matters to them… it’s okay to take other people’s freedom as long as it doesn’t affect their freedoms… yet they want someone there to back them up… it’s just all illogical…

  4. Excellent post! You hit the nail on the head- “Card has the right to say whatever he wants. That’s his prerogative, but he should not be surprised when people use those same rights to speak out against him and his views.”

    • No, he should not be surprised. In my opinion he should not have come out and asked people to be tolerant of his views. He should accept that just as he has the right to fund campaigns that support his view, people have the right to organize boycotts protesting his views.

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