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.
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.