I vividly remember finding out that Orson Scott Card was a bigot. It was a dark, dark day. It happened while reading an article in Salon, in which the author, Donna Minkowitz, who “worshiped” Card, got to interview him. Her article begins, “It was the most unpleasant interview I’ve ever done.” Why? Because she happens to be a lesbian. And while she knew about Card’s zealous Mormonism, she “somehow failed to ascertain that Card was a disgustingly outspoken homophobe.” Simply reading an interview in which a sci-fi fan meets her literary hero, and then he tells her, “Gay rights is a collective delusion that’s being attempted,” makes me physically cringe. Minkowitz tries gamely to press on, saying she’s willing to live with the contradiction, but you can feel her deflate as you read.
In that interview, Card said, “I’d really hate it if your piece wound up focusing on the old charge that I’m a homophobe… It’s been circulating on the Internet for a long time. It’s really just one of those annoying things that happens. It’s really ugly!” Well, dude, if you weren’t a rampant homophobe, maybe people would stop talking about it. It’s pretty simple, really.
It’s no surprise that as posters and press for the upcoming November release of the Ender’s Game movie begin to litter the web, Card’s homophobia is back in the news.
Card released a statement to Entertainment Weekly in which he argues that his stance on gay marriage is “moot” because of the Supreme Court DOMA ruling. Hmm… He’s not saying he’s wrong, he’s not saying he’s sorry, and he’s not saying that he thinks homosexuality is okay. He’d just rather we stop talking about it. To his credit, he doesn’t seem to be in denial — he predicts that, sooner or later, gay marriage will be legal in every state.
At the end of the statement, Card says, “It will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them.” Oh, you mean like the tolerance you showed homosexuals all those years?
“Do you really want to give this guy your money?” Geeks OUT asks. Good question, although it’s not like Card, author of about 50 books, is hurting for cash. Still, it’s about principle. “Hopefully, it will send a message that people who are actively vocal against the LGBT community don’t really have a place within the greater geek culture,” says Geeks OUT.
That’s a tough one. I agree with Geeks OUT here, but the sci-fi fan in me can’t imagine passing up the movie. If it’s anywhere near as good as the book, I can’t miss it. And I can’t pan it if I don’t see it.
This isn’t the only time Card’s beliefs have backfired on him. In March, artist Christopher Sprouse decided he didn’t want to be associated with Card’s DC Comic Adventures of Superman. All Out, an organization whose slogan is “equality everywhere,” started a petition urging DC comics to drop Card altogether.
The irony here, of course, is that Ender’s Game is a masterpiece largely because it espouses tolerance and suggests that the ends don’t justify the means. That’s a lesson Card could stand to take to heart himself. As someone who deeply loves the Ender books, I find myself ultimately agreeing with Card. I don’t excuse his rampant, public disdain for homosexuals, and I don’t much care for him as a person, but I do wish we could remember Ender’s Game for what’s on the page, rather than what’s in the heart of its creator.
It’s also worth noting that, while Ender’s Game will have a big presence at Comic-Con this year, Card won’t be there.