Why I Won’t Be Seeing Ender’s Game

If you like movies, this post is for you.

As you are probably aware thanks to the media explosion surrounding it, “Ender’s Game” is being released in theaters this week. The film is an adaptation of the Nebula- and Hugo-award winning novel of the same name that spawned over a dozen sequels, some of them excellent and some of them less than stellar.

“Ender’s Game” is a seminal book in the genre of science fiction and is responsible for bringing many new readers into the genre. The author, Orson Scott Card, displays extraordinary empathy for his characters throughout Ender’s Game and its sequels. This fact remains extraordinarily baffling to me, because Card publicly espouses views that are extremely, almost militantly, homophobic.

Card has for years campaigned very publicly against gay marriage and civil rights for gay and lesbian individuals, publishing numerous articles on his website and in newspapers arguing that gay marriage is an attack on traditional marriage and that homosexuals are attempting to undermine the social fabric of our country.

In spite of my admiration for the novel “Ender’s Game,” I will not be seeing the movie, because I cannot condone giving money to a man whose political views I find personally abhorrent.

Some have argued that it doesn’t matter, that Card has already made his money. However, I would point out that Card is raking in royalties on sales of his books right now thanks to the popularity and media blitz surrounding the movie. And should “Ender’s Game” do well, other books of Card’s will almost certainly be optioned, which means more money for Card.

Rather than take my word for it, I would encourage you to do some reading of your own. Many of Card’s articles are still on the web.

Card is free to say what he wants and spend his money on the political causes he finds appropriate; likewise, I am free to spend my entertainment dollars where I choose. In this case, I can’t condone giving money to a man who is just as likely so spend it funding political causes that run 180 degrees counter to my own.


5 thoughts on “Why I Won’t Be Seeing Ender’s Game

  1. I have a friend who works at a movie theater who says he can get me in for free. So I’m thinking of doing that to avoid the whole moral dilemma.

    I do find OSC’s actions and views around homosexuality abhorrent (but understandable given his religious background). Yet he’s still a damn good writer. And I’ve read many of his books and I think in some of them, including Ender’s Game, you can catch glimpses of the ideas that have shaped his mindset about homosexuality.

    I don’t find it odd at all that he can be an empathetic writer, and (don’t know him) but *probably* a generally decent human being (to wife, kids, neighbor) yet still be intransigent on this issue.

    I don’t think he’s necessarily an a**hole. I don’t think he hates individual gay people. I think he’s mired in a religious worldview that doesn’t tolerate open-mindedness about this issue and he’s committed to that worldview. I believe he’s a bit conflicted about it, or at least that he used to be in his earliest writings. To be completely honest, based on his books, I’d guess that he has some minor inclinations that way. If everyone is at least 2% gay, maybe he’s 10%? He writes about male to male attraction and relationships in some places as if he can understand what it’s all about (i.e. see Songcatcher). So maybe a lot of this externalized hatred is really mostly about stamping out that bit of himself that his church judges wrong, immoral, and sinful?

    I don’t know….. Mormonism is so freaking weird.

  2. I loathed the novel, but had many friends who loved the entire series, and the spinoffs about Bean. It was simply one of those properties for which I was an outsider, and that’s made the last three years so interesting, as enthusiasts of Card’s work had to grapple with his very explicit politics. He funded horrible movements, wrote endorsing them, and even wrote some disgusting fiction, like his take on Hamlet. While he is uninteresting to me, just another bigot with a great deal of money and fame, I like a couple dozen of his fans and have been fascinated watching them hash out how they’ll handle his work, and whether they can separate him from what they get out of it.

  3. As another person avoiding OSC’s work because I don’t want to put money in that bigot’s pocket, I applaud you. I read Ender’s Game, and other of OSC’s work, before I found out about his loathing of gays, and his funding/backing of organizations trying to suppress their rights, and I loved his writing. As you said, he’s an amazing writer, and how he could write these novels while espousing such opinions is incredible to me. And, I won’t submit or subscribe to Intergalactic Medicine Show–a very well-respected pro market–because of its ties to OSC.

  4. I want to make clear something that perhaps was not clear above. This is, for me, a personal decision about my own decisions about whether or not to see a movie. It’s not about punishing Card for having political views that are different from mine, and it’s certainly not about trying to curtail his speech. It is, for me, a decision about how I spend my entertainment dollars. I wouldn’t necessarily expect anyone to agree with me, and I’ve heard very reasonable arguments on both sides about whether or not to see the movie.

    One of the most compelling ones are that you ought to separate the author from their work. Looking back over our great authors and artists, it’s a field ripe with misogynistic, homophobic racists, and yet we don’t not read their work, we separate the artist from the art.

    Another compelling argument is that there’s no guarantee that any money Card makes directly or indirectly from the film would be used to fund anti-gay political agendas, so my decision to not see the movie is merely withholding the potential for Card to use it, which could be the case with anything or anyone I choose to spend money on.

    Nevertheless, I think I’m still not going to see it, but I won’t discourage others from seeing it. And I certainly won’t discourage others from reading Ender’s Game or its sequels (though I might suggest they check them out from the library),

    1. I think perhaps you misunderstand my reasoning here. I’m not trying to punish Mr Card for his beliefs, but I don’t want my money to fund an agenda I find morally repugnant. Spending money to purchase things from him would do that, so I’m avoiding it. Others may do as they please–I wouldn’t expect them not to. But I cannot in good conscience see this film.

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