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Over Thinking: Is It OK To See Ender’s Game?   4 comments

No, probably not.  But I really want to!

A few years back I picked up a book that had been sitting on my shelf for a long time, never having been read.  A gift from my sister who told me she thought I would like it.  Ender’s Game.  I was hooked in moments and raced through it, cover to cover.  It was the first time I had ever read a book so quickly, and why it is today that I love reading. I credit Ender’s Game for turning me into a life long lover of books.

Enders-Game-Movie-Poster

When I was finished it I couldn’t wait to read the next in the series.  I was determined to read all of them.  But first I was off to  Wikipedia to read about the author, Orson Scott Card.

And then…

Heart break.

Orson Scott Card is a bigot.

That tore me up inside and I’ve not picked up any of his other works.  But, inspite of that Ender’s Game remains one of my favorites of all time.  As angry as I get at Card, I just can’t make myself unlike that book.

Now the movie is on the way and I want to see it. But, I don’t know if I can reconcile my feelings for the author with my feelings for the story.  And there are a lot of valid arguments that I shouldn’t.

The film adaptation of Ender’s Game is set to open in two months weeks (Nov 1, 2013 in the US) and Card’s opinions on homosexuality have placed the film at the center of a great controversy.

The book and film follow the story of Ender Wiggin, a young boy who is recruited into a war against bug like aliens.  The story revolves around Ender’s intense training and the isolation he feels from his fellow cadets.

I have my doubts as to if the book can even work as a movie.  It is less about action and more about tactics.  And even if the resulting action looks good, tactical planing is less interesting on screen than it is on paper.

The content isn’t the issue here.  It is its creator. But, can the art be separated from the artist?  There are a few points to consider:

1) Card’s opinions are disgusting.  I do not want to financially support him by seeing the film. 

Card opposes same-sex marriage,The pretext is that state constitutions require it — but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.”

AIso, he is anti-abortion: “It is such an obvious overreach by judges, far beyond any rational definition of their authority, that even those who support the outcome of the decisions should be horrified by the means.  We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the court decisions legalizing abortion. At first, it was only early abortions; within a few years, though, any abortion up to the killing of a viable baby in mid-birth was made legal.”

Card

And claims that President Obama could “like Augustus Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, and Vladimir Putin, Barack Obama could become lifetime dictator without any serious internal opposition..”  At least, he postulates this through a “thought experiment.”

Wow… what a total and complete dickhead.

There is a boycott, organized online by Geeks Out at the webpage skipendersgame.com.   They say: “As a writer, he has spread degrading lies about LGBT people, calling us sexual deviants and criminals. As an activist, he sat on the board of the National Organization for Marriage and campaigned against our civil rights. Now he’s a producer on the Ender’s Game movie. Do not let your box-office dollars fuel his anti-gay agenda.

They go on to say that “Card enjoys profit participation on every movie ticket, every toy and tie-in, every DVD or VOD purchased.” But they do have a suggestion for fans of the book who do not want to support the film, “If you’ve been waiting all your life to see a movie version of Ender’s Game, just wait a little longer. The movie will be out on cable soon enough. You can also borrow DVDs for free from most libraries.

There has also been a delay and boycott of his work on The Adventures of Superman comic, as well as the artist dropping out of the project.  Cracked has called him a “Goddamn Lunatic.”

2) The film was made by many hard working people who opinions do not necessarily (or likely) reflect Card’s.  Thus the film is not solely his, even if it would not have been possible without his work.

One of the film’s stars, Harrison Ford, said he struggled with the decision to take a role. “I wrestled with that, and you know what? I thought: if I don’t put these ideas out on screen we wouldn’t be having this conversation. We are having this conversation precisely because the themes of the book are at odds with his current ideas. I’m very proud of the film, and I felt strongly that I didn’t want to lose my love of this book because its creator seems to be in a different zone to me on this issue.

The film’s director, Gavin Hood, said in an interview with Advocate.com “However, let us have the conversation for what it is, which is that it’s so ironic that the themes and positions in the film are completely the opposite of what its author is now saying. I think that is a healthy and important discussion to have on those terms. I would far rather engage in a debate from an honest point of view, than have it suggest that audiences may stay away.

The writer of that article, Jase Peeples, went on to say “Those who call for a boycott of Ender’s Game may note that their motivation has more to do with the artist than the art. After all, it’s difficult to support a story from which an antigay activist like Card profits. But the effect of one of Card’s most celebrated works may actually be to advance the message of equality.  Long before Card’s personal views on homosexuality made headlines, many LGBT fans who readEnder’s Game were enamored with the story. Not only is the tale a great work of science fiction, but protagonist Ender Wiggin’s struggles also closely parallel a number of common experiences had by gay youth.

There is only so far I can go with that side of the argument before I have to remind myself that many of the people being vocal also stand to profit from the success of the film.  And, as pointed out by Skip Ender’s Game, “Both [Card] and Lionsgate have used the F-word: “Franchise.” They want a sequel, which means another big payday for anti-gay Orson Scott Card—with our money.

3) The story itself does not have any anti-gay themes.

Although, maybe the book has a gay theme that even Card was not aware of…  The AV Club seems to think that Card might be making his arguments about gay marriage from inside the closet. “He’s been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, and basically any rights for gays, a position that gets more and more curious with every novel Card writes with homoerotic-tension elements, like the naked shower fight between children in Ender’s Game, the confused transsexual narrator of Treason, or the overarching metaphor of the dangers of succumbing to sins of the flesh inWyrms. The more progressive fans separate the extremely socially conservative man behind the work, the more likely they are to continue appreciating his entertaining novels.

Now that would be a twist.  Although he would not be the first.

Maybe this even validates Peeples’ argument.

Conclusions

As a commentator on pop culture I want to have a fully informed opinion on this movie.  Which means seeing it.  But, as I blog in my spare time and am not at a place yet where I can get into press screenings that means paying for a ticket.  That ticket will fund, as well as symbolically support, a bigot.  I could pirate the film, but I am opposed to that since I consider it harmful to the film industry, which I need to function in order to continue having opinions on it.

I have to conclude that Card’s dickishness has overcome my love of his book and desire to see the film.  I’ll just have to wait until it is on TV.

Are you going to see Ender’s Game? How do you feel about the controversy? Did you make it all the way to the end of the crazy long post? Tell me below!

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Posted October 14, 2013 by atomicsam in Books, Film, Over Thinking

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4 responses to “Over Thinking: Is It OK To See Ender’s Game?

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  1. I will struggle with deciding to see the movie until it comes out in theaters and probably well beyond that date. It was one of my favorite books as a teenager and I really want to see what they do with it on the big screen.

    If I don’t watch it in the theater, I probably never will.

    • I was talking to a friend about this and a solution I thought of was to donate the amount of money spent on a ticket to an organization like GLADD or another pro GLBTQ group. Not a perfect solution but brings some karmic balance.

  2. Pingback: Space Movies! Gravity & Ender’s Game | Sheena

  3. yea, you’re over-thinking alright. Movie’s great. put the author outside the box for 2 hours and give credit for the well-orchestrated movie.

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