Empathy is the Enemy: The Fall of Orson Scott Card
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Empathy is the Enemy: The Fall of Orson Scott Card

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Think Pieces | March 6, 2013 | Comments ()


When I was twelve years old, I read Ender's Game and had my mind blown. This was an author that not only understood children, but understood smart children. In stories, children tend to be presented as either miniature adults, or some sort of mentally disabled version of human beings. Card blew those tropes out of the water with children who fight, die, bond, and think, while still retaining the vestiges of childhood that render their decisions often inexplicable to adults. And that's the key to why these characters, of Ender and Peter and Valentine, still pop off the page almost thirty years later.

I have an almost infinite number of books that I recommend people to read at one point or another, but Ender's Game is on that very short list of novels that I feel is truly universal. Every aspect of the novel revolves around a nuanced exploration of what empathy really is and why it matters. From Peter's use of empathy as a weapon, to Valentine's uncontrollable sympathy for those around her, to Ender's devastating tension between the two. This is a novel for those who think and feel too deeply.

And thus Orson Scott Card's gradual descent into a poisonous brand of politics has been nothing short of tragic to anyone who has read the masterpiece of Ender's Game. His main focus has been on homosexuality, though he has ranged across the entire landscape of small-minded and hateful political issues over the last decade. I wouldn't be terribly surprised if the vicious dreck Card has blathered onto the Internet over the last decade ended up being a performance art demonstration of the hateful populism that Demosthenes used to great effect in Ender's Game.

I really am okay with Card having his opinions. I can roll my eyes at his political positions, I can accept that he thinks the world be a better place if it was different than the way that I think it should be. He is welcome to have his opinions, and he's welcome to try to convince people that his ideas are right. What I cannot quite wrap my mind around is how the mind which wrote such a beautiful meditation on empathy can be the same one that argues for the violent overthrow of the American government because of its failure to ban gay marriage and to outlaw homosexuality generally. Card describes in a fair amount of detail the advocated program of state-sponsored shaming he is in favor of. There's a cognitive disconnect here, of how someone can advocate the minimal government of libertarianism while in the next sentence saying with a straight face that the government should regulate the sex lives of its citizens, but that's run of the mill hypocrisy as far as political conversations go. I'm more confounded by the cognitive disconnect between the empathy required to create Ender and the callousness required to insist that you have the right to use violence to tell other people how they should live their lives.

Card's political views have come to the forefront over the last year, as a film adaptation of Ender's Game has gotten underway, and especially in the last month when DC announced that Card would be writing for the Superman comic. Some comic book shops announced that they would not stock Superman after Card starts writing for it. And a couple of days ago, the artist on Superman quit, releasing a statement dancing around the issue, a thinly veiled non-statement in order to not burn bridges with what amounts his dream job. DC caved to pressure yesterday and announced that Card's story had been scrapped.

Now there's a furor from the right, that this is a left wing witch hunt against people who disagree with their agenda, to economically punish those who don't toe some political line. I disagree quite strongly. This is not some freedom of speech thing, not some despicable and childish refusal to engage with those who disagree politically. I would defend to the death Card's right to speak his beliefs, but the hell if I have to stock it on my shelves if I'm the owner of a comic book store. And the hell if I have to draw the panels into which those words are written if I'm an artist. Card has the right to speak, but so do all these other people.

There are some in the comics world who are really angry about the events, arguing that this is an instance of judging the artist instead of his art. Of not letting a gifted storyteller tell a story because of people disliking his politics. If the story he wrote for Superman has nothing to do with gays, then what does it matter, the argument goes. The problem is that there is no separation of the artist from the art. And when that art in question is a figure of the cultural significance of Superman, the choice of who gets to put words in that mouth is about more than a literal reading of whatever script he turned in. How do you reconcile the symbol of truth, justice, and the American way being written by someone who loudly proclaims a violent revolution to topple American democracy if the majority doesn't agree with his opinions?

And yet there are signs there even in Ender's Game. I always found Peter to be the most fascinating character, the one that I related to so much more directly than Ender in my darkest moments. His monologue about the nihilism of the modern world still sticks with me, the manifesto of the brilliant and ambitious. I understand people, he intones, I understand how to hurt them, how to make them do what I want. And for all the ability to be successful, to maneuver his way inevitably into the upper echelons of corporations and such, it means nothing to him next to power, to the real power of state. There's something almost refreshing about Peter, little genius sociopath who wants to rule the world. He's what happens if John Galt decides to conquer the world instead of withdrawing from it.

And in retrospect, it's Peter who really announces what Card thinks about the way the world works. Peter's the character who subverts the government, who takes over the world behind the scenes, with pseudonyms and back door deals to gather power like a pile of poker chips, before ruling the world for the rest of his life as a supposedly benevolent dictator. The contempt for democracy, the loathing for the very idea that the people should make their own decisions about their futures, is staggering in Ender's Game once noticed.

Democracy is empathy. It is being able to see the rest of society as people just like you are, whether they agree with you or not. It is about not ruling at the barrel of a gun, but explaining to others the way you feel, bringing them around by letting them inside. By getting them to feel what you feel, which is the very definition of empathy. There are those who think that the failure of the world to agree with them, and their embrace of violence as a solution, somehow makes them the strong ones and the world the weak ones. But violence is such an easy solution, the emotional coward's way out of actually dealing with the existence of those who disagree as legitimate equals.

I know it's an overused cliché to make a point like this, but I think that Ender would hardly recognize who Card is today. Yet I think Peter would. I think Peter would recognize him as one of the sad, angry, and scared men who make it possible for the Peters of history to ascend their thrones.

Steven Lloyd Wilson is a hopeless romantic and the last scion of Norse warriors and the forbidden elder gods. His novel, ramblings, and assorted fictions coalesce at www.burningviolin.com. You can email him here and order his novel here.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Noone of Consequence

    Overdue article. My friends and I have long been wondering the same thing (wtf happened to OSC?). I've been thinking about it so long that a few years back I had an epiphany when I was in the middle of reading one of Card's stories in which the entire cast of characters (male and female, all straight) were prancing around quoting Shakespeare and excited to be putting on a play). The author of this article is focusing way too much on the overthrow of the government thing, and too much on the characters of Ender and Peter Wiggin. There is a lot more to Card's body of work, both his fiction and essays, that is much much more telling. The real truth of the matter, the real reason why OSC has become batcrap crazy, is not that he's a powerhungry Machiavellian who gets off on using his intellect to hurt people like young Peter... the REAL reason is that he is a closeted gay man brainwashed by the Mormon church into hating himself. Yes, Card is part Ender and part Peter, but he is more Zdorab. Most of you are probably saying, "who?" Zdorab was the closeted gay character in the Ships of Earth series who pretended to be straight, got married and had children while he was part of an expedition, all for the good of the group. For the sake of breeding. Read Ender in Exile or any of Card's many essays about homosexuality and you'll see more of this profoundly disturbing obsession with breeding there. No normal straight person would ever be this focused on breeding as the primary purpose of life the way that Card has become. It's obvious that this is part of how he is justifying suppressing his own homosexual urges to stay in his marriage to his wife Kristine. Not convinced? Read Songmaster. Or any of his essays where he talks about homosexuality as if it is something immensely seductive that ALL men must resist- as if straight men would ever even be interested. In those same essays you might read the story about how Card went off to theater camp as a young man and was "shocked" to find out that the majority of men there were themselves gay. (not a very believable story). I think once you've figured out the truth behind Card, the fact of the man's sexuality starts to jump out at you from nearly everything he writes. But it is masked behind the Mormonism. It is warped, distorted, painfully camouflaged, even while it is so obviously there. Think about the kind of mind-F that would be for a minute... to be gay and committed to a church that, increasingly these days, is telling you more and more that you are evil. In a country where the subject has become more and more prominent and politicized. This explains perfectly why Card went from being a secular liberal humanist Democrat in the early 1980s... to where he is now... a rabid NeoCon, the sort that actually believes Fox News is the most trustworthy news source out there. His identity has been so caught up in his religious faith, because he had to choose either being gay or being Mormon... the church wouldn't allow him to be both. He made that tortured decision and it has obviously screwed him up more and more as the decades have rolled on. and just as his identity became inextricably linked to his faith, we also saw the phenomenon of the past couple decades where faith became inextricably linked to politics. Like so many confused right-wingers in the country Card can no longer separate his identity from either his faith or his politics, all three things are bound up together. In the 80s he was young and idealistic, his religious views not yet so concrete, and he could extoll the virtues of empathizing with your enemy. And now he believes all Democrats are evil liars and that the best foreign policy decision the United States could make would be to simultaneously invade every Muslim country in the world. The guy who could empathize with the Buggers can't empathize with Muslims. But not because of his latent Peter, rather because of the prolonged effect of being Zdorab.

  • Plausible theory, and one I've heard before. But unless Card comes out himself (unlikely) or is caught with some other guy, we'll never know for sure. People don't always condemn behavior because they secretly want to engage in it. Sometimes people condemn behavior because it's not remotely tempting to them, and therefore they believe everyone else should be able to easily resist it.

    Funnily enough, Card made this observation about temptation in one of the Alvin Maker books. Calvin plans to seduce an inexperienced young woman, and he notes that she considers herself virtuous only because she's never encountered real temptation.

    Thanks for bringing up Zdorab, BTW. I'd been trying to remember his name but never thought about it when I was where I could look it up.

  • YonLittleSwine

    The government already IS "regulating the sex lives of its citizens" through school curricula. Been going on for years. All in favor of the author's pets. Why shouldn't it go both ways, I say.

  • The Heretic

    Since it is neither necessary for a sculptor to be beautiful in order to create beautiful art, nor is it necessary for the moralist to possess the very virtue she theorizes about, then the philosopher does not need to be a saint, and nor does the artist need to be an enlightened person.

  • jenrsmall

    Thanks for an insightful and thoughtful article. Interesting thoughts about Peter... I think I agree. I'm just so very sad - while I really enjoyed and related to "Ender's Game", it was "Speaker for the Dead" that really had an impact on my philosopy and world view. Amazing that a person with the beliefs Card is spouting could write that book of compassion, empathy, and truth.

  • Zombie wrangler

    I live in the same town as Card. For years he has written a column in the community paper which loves berating the local government on every possible decision. This is sometimes a great public service to call into question the decisions made and the closed door process which too often occurs. However, Card's columns always have a Fox News tone and viewpoint. Gubament Bad. It can do nothing right and all of you should be little John Galt clones. I loved reading his books for years I stopped reading after Seventh Son. Its like having a nice Uncle in the family who insists LBJ killed Kennedy and we really did not land on the Moon and we were better off when women could not vote.

  • Mulling this piece over, I realized something. Peter was a much sketchier character in _Ender's Game_ than he became in the Shadow series. He seemed at least as interested in gaining power as he was in saving humanity. And if not, it was awfully hard to tell -- as I recall, he wasn't even a point-of-view character in the original _Ender_, as Valentine was.

    Did OSC plan for Peter to grow into somebody we can sympathize with and root for all along? Or did OSC come to sympathize with and root for Peter, and decide to write him differently?

  • Noone of Consequence

    Peter had already grown up and died by the end of Ender's Game. Remember Ender wrote The Hive Queen and The Hegemon as the Speaker for the Dead. The Hegemon was about Peter, and told of Peter's humanity. So Card knew all along, or at the very least he knew before he finished writing Ender's Game.

  • Good point. I suppose Ender's acceptance of Peter's more nuanced humanity is supposed to be the final word on the subject.

    (I'm the person you originally responded to. Disqus is finally letting me use this handle again for some reason.)

  • Jack London

    (This is a great discussion. Hope you don't mind if I add my two cents.)

    I think that boycotts are generally a good idea. However, I'm gunshy of boycotting art - or artists - because I think its the wrong tool for the job.

    Part of the reason that creative arts are so important is that they should lead us into uncomfortable territory. Art should unsettle us and provoke us to think, to awe, to wonder. Some art is uplifting, some is deeply disturbing - all of which may be totally contrary to the artist's intention.

    One of my favourite artists is Caravaggio. I saw a beautiful painting by him in a Catholic church in Rome. Caravaggio is hardly a poster boy for how Catholics think people should live - a drunkard, murderer and homosexual who had a warrant from the pope out for his arrest - but the beauty of his art is undeniable, and it is still displayed in the church 300 years after his death. If the Catholic church - one of the most conservative organisations in the world - can distinguish between the art and the artist, why can't we?

    If OSC's Superman story did have objectionable content, surely the mythos of Superman is strong enough to withstand it. Lacklustre Superman stories outnumber the good ones by a large margin, but the merit of the story has little to do with the beliefs of the people behind the typewriter.

    Someone else mentioned Frank Miller as a talented artist with narrow-minded beliefs, we can add Dave Sim, John Byrne & Chuck Austen to that list. Despite holding offensive views each of them has made good - and sometimes genius - contributions to the art form.

  • Jezzer

    You lost me when you added Chuck Austen's name to the Genius List.

  • Jack London

    I think Austen at his best is good, but not a genius.

  • Jezzer

    I'll never forgive him for his X-Men run.


    *swans off dramatically*

  • Semilitterate

    The concept of being "politically correct" an awful idea. It is even worse when it is your particular ox being gored. You reap what you sow. We have now gotten to the point of throwing the bath water out with the baby.

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    >>>I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the vicious dreck Card has blathered onto the Internet over the last decade ended up being a performance art demonstration of the hateful populism that Demosthenes used to great effect in Ender’s Game.<<<

    I was having a similar discussion just recently with a friend. I haven't picked up anything by OSC in years because of his public statements. But we got to wondering, what if OSC is actually trying to advance Gay Rights? I know it is ridiculous, but he seems a relatively intelligent person, right? I mean, the guy that wrote those books almost has to realize that the vicious things he says, and the way he says them are actually turning off the majority of people who hear them.

    Kind of like, this guy is crazy, so I can't possibly be on the same side of an argument as him, can I?

    If he just came out for Gay rights, then he has no impact. If he act's like a hate filled raging lunatic, then maybe he actually causes some people to re-examine there own response, and perhaps become more accepting.

    I don't really believe this to be true, no one acts in real life like some character in a book. But I wish it were true.

  • Jezzer

    I really don't get the "HOW DARE YOU BOYCOTT SOMEONE?" people. I really don't. Apparently we're supposed to just titter nervously and hand over our money anyway to people whose viewpoints we find odious.

  • abell

    So, you've got two points here, one of which is interesting, and the other's a strawman, which I'll dispense with first.

    Strawman: nobody in this conversation is forcing you to, or even implying that you should, buy the Superman story that OSC was going to write, but, will now not exist. I wasn't going to for a couple of reasons, I don't buy the individual comics, if there's something worth owning I'll wait until it's published as a book, and I feel OSC's writing has always been hit or miss, and the last decade it's been pretty solidly on the miss side. Presenting the opposing argument as just "hand over your money anyway" is disengenious.

    The actual point that you seem to be making is why are people upset about a boycott of a man whose beliefs few, probably no one here, support?

    The point of a boycott is to convince a group not to engage in a certain behavior by threat of lost revenues. For instance, out east there's a couple of food chains that receive tomatoes that have been farmed in what effectively amounts to slavery. Boycotting those companies is making a statement that American consumers will not support slavery. Of course, if we actually wanted to stand by that position, we'd have to boycott Apple too, but, whatever.

    However, in this case, we're not condemning a corporate policy here, but an individual man's beliefs. We are explicitly saying, if you do not believe that gays have a right to be married, then you should be prevented from working in any way that may gain any notoriety. (I don't actually believe gays have a right to be married, though, I do believe they have a right to equal protection which works out to the same thing). Summed up, because your politics are different than mine, you should be driven out of the public sphere. It's no different than the old Hollywood blacklist against Soviet sympathizers, something I think everyone here will agree was not something we want to repeat.

    We try to justify this by comparing being against gay marriage to the KKK or to (presumed) pedophiles, Polanski and Allen, though I think both of those are unfair. I've never heard of any Mormon wanting to lynch anybody (they have a rather traumatic history with that sort of a thing themselves) and pedophilia is actually a crime. They're not even in favor of sodomy being illegal. Indeed, the craziest suggestions I've heard have been those pray away the gay camps, but, even that isn't enough to warrant those comparisons being more misguided than anything else, and I've never seen OSC supporting those anyway.

    The real issue is that there's a large portion of the internet that truly believes that anyone who doesn't support gay marriage should be cast out of society as backwards thinking bigots, and I can't support that sort of intolerance.

  • Jezzer

    "The real issue is that there's a large portion of the internet that truly believes that anyone who doesn't support gay marriage should be cast out of society as backwards thinking bigots, and I can't support that sort of intolerance."

    Abell apparently can't see the backwards thinking forest for the bigot trees if he thinks calling out people for being intolerant is intolerance.

  • Someone is missing the point here, but I don't think it's Abell.

  • abell

    Calling people out, and demanding that they not be allowed to work are not the same thing.

  • Guest

    "Demanding they not be able to work" is not the same thing as refusing to support their work because of their politics. DC is free to hire him to write a story, and I'm free to not purchase it because I'm gay and he considers me subhuman, and an acquaintance of mine who happens to own a comic shop is free to not stock it because they find his views abhorrent. Everyone is free to say what they want and also to face consequences for saying those things. If an actor spouts off horribly racist sentiments and actively tries to deny visible minorities their civil rights, and then loses film roles because studios no longer consider them bankable, that is hardly intolerance. That is being held accountable for what comes out of your mouth, and if you lose income as a result, that is your own fault.

  • Jezzer

    Would demanding they not be allowed to work be "the same thing" as demanding they not be allowed to marry the person they love?

  • Green_Eggs_and_Hamster

    I don't believe that anyone who doesn't support Gay Marriage should be tossed out.
    There is a difference between holding a belief though, and advocating violent overthrow of the government if the government allows something you don't believe in. There is a difference between not agreeing with someone, and using hateful and derogatory speech against someone you despise because of their lifestyle.
    I believe in this instance, DC realized that the money making potential of OSC writing a Comic was not going to be realized because a vocal portion of their fan base wrote letters saying that they would never buy something written by that man. That is the prerogative of every consumer, and it is the prerogative of a company not to bother publishing something that they are going to lose money on.
    I can refuse to watch anything by Woody Allen, and so can anyone else. If enough people do, he won't be making films anymore. I don't believe that is blacklisting, I simply believe it is the free market. To date, enough people still buy OSC's writing and watch Woody's movies to allow them to earn a living in the manner that they do, but no one has a "right" to be a writer or a film maker. If people want to watch/read your stuff, you are good to go, if not, then not. Simple as that, whatever the reason is for why they do not.

  • abell

    I agree with you regarding the market argument, but, I don't think that's what happened here. I don't believe that the actual potential buyers of that particular Superman comic were the only people who made their voices heard or even the majority. It seems to me that this story of a couple of stores that refused to stock the story (totally within their rights) got picked up by the internet and turned into a media firestorm. How many of the commentors above are actually DC's market? How much of this hemming and hawwing about if it's okay is coming from buyers of Superman? I believe that a section of the internet that has very little vested interest in the brand or whatever story OSC produced came together to oppose a man whose views they disagree with.

    Regarding the overthrow of the government, hrrgghh. He clearly took that too far (violent rebellion should be an option discussed with much greater reserve), but, his issue with the government is not so much gay marriage as it is an activist judiciary. This is a common argument in American political discourse going all the way back to Marbury vs Madison, and you get it from the right and the left. I have not seen him making the same argument regarding gay marriage from a plebiscite. So, it's inaccurate to say that OSC's views are gay marriage = rebellion, so much as courts force gay marriage on a population unwilling to vote in favor of it = rebellion. The distinction does not save his position, but, it is important.

  • McSquish

    Congrats on this article making the front page on Salon, btw.

  • I don't know, I would think it's almost necessary to separate the artist from the art, given what fucks some of the greatest artists in history have been. Otherwise you end up in a self-constructed echo chamber like the gomers on Tumblr that go through tortuous mental gymnastics to determine whether or not they can 'ethically consume' a JC Penny's catalog.

    I was talking about this same general subject a week or so ago(it may have even been on here)and I mentioned that there are few actors whose personal politics I disagree with on a more fundamental level than Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. But I was still one of the first people in line to see 'Mystic River.' Because politics aside, they're both of them phenomenal actors and while I may virulently dislike their politics, I'm still willing to pay to see them do their stuff.

  • overandout

    I find this to be quite ridiculous. Orson Scott Card's opinions are pretty odious, but many people seem to forget that there are plenty of mainstream organizations that would act the same way to someone with opposite opinions to his. And we rightly decry those organizations. I also disagreed with that publication of the list of people who were for Prop 8, I don't believe people deserve to get fired or lose their livelihood for their political/religious beliefs because I would not want anyone to do the same to me.

    As long as people don't bring it into work, do anything violent, or write works which are vehicles for those beliefs, you just have to suck it up and realize that its a big world. You'd have a hard time boycotting everyone who disagrees with you. If my dry cleaner is always nice to me and does a good job, what business is it of mine if they do some awful political stuff on the weekend? Maybe I could change dry cleaners, but maybe the second dry cleaner thinks the same but is just quieter about it.

    And how far down does this go? Maybe they find a more sympathetic writer, but the copy editor has unpalatable views. Do you boycott meat if you don't agree with the truck driver who brought it to you? He/she is profiting just as much as the larger company.

  • kirbyjay

    Just finished reading Bannished about the Westboro Baptist Church. I will never understand why certain people think it's their business what goes on in someone else's life or bedroom.

  • Danner Lang

    At the end of the day the fact remains; DC would not allow a member of the KKK or a Neo-Nazi to write one of their comics so why should that rule change when it comes to a different form of prejudice? A bigot by any other name is STILL a bigot.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    In case it hasn't been posted already:


    In essence, Hamlet's father was a violent pedophile.

  • tcnl

    Like you, SLW, I read Ender's Game at an early age and was hooked. I was a geek from the start, immersing myself in sci fi and fantasy as an escape from the mundanity of everyday life. I soon discovered Hatrack, Orson Scott Card's website, which still exists at http://hatrack.com/. On that site existed Virtual Battle School, or VBS. You could create a character, enroll it in Battle School, and roleplay on the forums with other geeks. It was the year 2000, and it blew my thirteen year old mind. I learned how to type, there. I learned to communicate online, how to make friends with people five or ten or twenty years older than I was, how to be taken seriously when it's just pixels on a screen. How to write. How to be self-confident. For three years I made friends and wrote about our adventures.

    Then, I discovered who Orson Scott Card was as a person.

    I myself am atheist and bisexual, and was brought up by two social work professors. I found it nigh-inconceivable that someone who could write such wonderfully deep characters that had influenced me so much as a person could be so close minded in real life. That he would hate me if he ever met me, and be sure that I was going to hell.

    I got past it, after a few years of self-reflection. And I enjoy Wagner and Guns and Roses and "Love and Death" and "Chinatown" and other things that are very hard to like - I just had to learn how to accept that life would be boring if people always agreed with each other and as long as I acknowledge that there are problems and not excuse them, I can still enjoy those things that I like. I still read OSC, but I don't buy the books but instead borrow them from libraries or friends.
    His words don't touch my heart as much, now.
    People with bad ideas can still create good things, but you have to decide for yourself and draw your own line on how you're going to interact with them.

  • Gem

    I have to say, this is the most intelligent comment discussion I have EVER read on any website, ever. Kudos to the author and kudos to the respectful readers and commenters as well.

  • aroorda

    I honestly believe that Card is gay himself. The Bean/Ender scenes are written like rom/coms. Too much unspoken love for it to be accidental. And Peter proves his BDSM affection.

  • abell

    Kindly, spare us the amateur psychoanalysis of a man you've never met. Thank you.

  • aroorda

    Only if you spare me the catty amateurish comments to something said in jest.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    In abell's defense, it was not at all obvious that it was said in jest. Furthermore, the "homophobes are all secretly gay" cliché has taken on such a life of its own that you can never assume someone is joking when they use it.

  • aroorda

    I was trying to say that at least some of the article may have been too analytical of some stuff that may not have had the deep meanings the article inferred. I'm not great at satire I suppose. In my defense I'm at work and my brain is mushy.

  • abell

    I apologize, I felt exactly the same way about the article and thought you were doing more of the same. I'm really bad at recognizing satire. My friends actually play a game where they say things designed to piss me off and increasingly ridiculous and see how long I'll argue with them before realizing that they're just making fun of me.

  • Adrienne Marie

    This saddens me, as Ender's Game is one of my favorite books of all time. I didn't know he was so.... ugh. I can't even put into words my feelings about what I just read.

  • abell

    Yea, I'm not on board here. What I see is a successful effort to intimidate a publisher (DC) from not hiring a writer (Card) due to his political beliefs. There's no getting around that. The purpose of this sort of a preemptive boycott is specifically to muzzle the author and deprive him of a livelihood in punishment for his beliefs. It's an attack on the author himself, not on his works, and that's blatantly wrong.

    The rest of this post is mental gymnastics to justify this as a reasonable thing to do. The points are 1, you can't separate the art and the artist, and 2, Superman is a privilege to write.

    First, if you can't separate the art and the artist, we need to boycott a lot of people. Polanski/Allen are the obvious front runners. It's not that we're just not going to buy or see anything from them, we should do whatever we can to prevent studios from working with them. I'd say, anything with Alec Baldwin in it is on the list too. The man is an unrepentant asshole. R. Kelley should be pretty uncontroversial. We need to stop him from producing any other records. Obviously, Chris Brown's on the list as well. We can't support an awards show that allows him to be there, let alone awards him. Etc. That is a hell of a rabbit hole once you get going, and, apparently, we're not willing to organize in the same way for those.

    Second, Superman is just another property owned by a group that's not particularly adept with those properties. There have been much lesser writers to take on Superman without this fanfare. It is not sacred, and we do not need a morality police to protect from theoretically dangerous authors viewpoints.

    I understand that you all have strong feelings on the subject of gay marriage. I can respect that. But this is really not the way to go about it.

  • Improbable Joe

    You seem to think people are required to buy things from bigots. We are not. And we are also allowed (and maybe even required) to let the seller know WHY we are not buying things from bigots. Or do you think OSC can simply demand that people hire him to produce a product that will hurt the sales of his employer? What if people were objecting because he's simply a terrible writer and they won't buy his product for that reason, would you be defending him then? Should DC be forced to hire poor writers, or incompetent artists?

    Or are you just defending the bigotry?

  • jess

    I'm not going to speak for the SLW, but yes. I will not spend money on a product involving any of the people you listed in your post. I do not want to give my money to terrible people.

    I read Ender's Game recently. I think it's good. I also got it for fifty cents a used book shop.

  • abell

    I respect your intellectual consistency. Thank you.

  • This was pretty much my reaction to the article as well. So thanks for saving me all that typing.

  • Lillith Square

    I have always hated Ender's Game. There, I said it. After I read it, I wanted to pack that thing in cement and bury it in Yucca Mountain for few centuries. Apparently, I read a completely different book than everyone else. Ender is used by everyone he is supposed to trust, he is robbed of his basic humanity and stripped of the right make his own moral choices, all in the name of the "greater good". The powers that be, and by extension humanity, destroy a child to save their own butts. By the end of the book, I was hoping the Buggers would find a way to retroactively nuke the vicious little monkeys. It is the first and last Card book I have ever read or will read.

  • Noone of Consequence

    Ender's Game is just a prologue to Speaker for the Dead, in which Ender become whole and is redeemed. Of course you wouldn't know that because you didn't read Speaker.

  • Tom

    I quite agree with your sentiments, and would go farther than anyone here in condemning Card as a human being.

    The original "Ender's Game" was significantly worse than you know. The "buggers" in the original version that appeared in Analog magazine were humans who were trying to throw off the centralized, militarized tyranny that victimized Ender. The non-human and hostile "buggers" were substituted in later to create a more acceptable enemy.

    In the original, the (human) rebellion was looking entirely too successful, which was seen by the ptb as a plenty good enough reason to wipe out their entire planet, leaving no possibility of recovery. Not just a few kids' lives, but an entire world was eradicated over a political squabble.

    IMO Cards' recent moralistic attacks on certain groups is likely to be the kind of overreaction we have seen in several politicians who were really members of such groups themselves and protested far too much. After exposure to his earliest efforts in Analog, which portrayed the (often pedophilic and sadistic) lusts of the powerful and their victimization of the powerless in such a loving and understanding way, I couldn't read him any more. He was someone I didn't want in my head.

  • Wednesday

    I didn't like it, either. I don't know why everyone believes it's so true to the experience of smart kids. There's way too much smart and not near enough kid in those characters. I also saw a lot of his political underpinnings even in this early work. BUT, to be fair, I read it as an adult and not a child, so maybe it rang false to me from that perspective. You want to read books about smart kids who behave realistically? Read anything by Nancy Farmer. Blows "Ender's Game" out of the water in that, and most, regards.

    I also used to listen to the Books of Tape channel on Sirius, and they read a lot of Card's work during a period when I was driving practically all the freaking time. His story lines and characters didn't improve with expansion.

  • Noone of Consequence

    Adults who read Ender's Game believe that the kids in it don't behave like kids because their idea of what kids are has already been warped by that point. It's actually spot on, but adults have no idea because most of them have lost their ability to empathize with or understand children, and forgotten what it was like to be one themselves. Especially one of the super-smart variety, which the majority of us never were.

  • pawlit

    Are you under the impression that people like the book because they approve of the way government/military acted with Ender, Buggers, anything?

  • Lillith Square

    I guess I feel that in the book, Card holds up for our examination everything most contemptible about humanity. I felt sick to my stomach after reading it, not enthused. I can't deny his argument on principle, but I certainly can't say that I enjoyed it. So many people refer to it as their favorite book. It's like saying your appendectomy was the best week of your life.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    If your appendectomy is the reason you're still alive, maybe it was the best day of your life.

  • Lillith Square

    Exactly. It may be good and necessary, but I can't say I enjoyed it. I'm not saying Ender's Game is a bad book, just because I found it repellent. It's well plotted and unique in a lot of ways. It's thought provoking. Every reader has a different sensibility, I know. So many smart people talk about the book affectionately, and I felt the opposite of affection after I read it. I'm not suggesting that they're wrong, just that I don't get it.

  • Green Lantern

    Was talking with another long-time friend and comics fan about the issue of Card writing for the new Superman title (BTW, the issue at hand is Card writing a story for a new monthly anthology of Superman stories, not taking over writing chores the currently ongoing "Superman" comic...an important distinction).

    All I'm going to say is that the more I thought about this, as I explained to my friend Knight, the more I realized it's important to separate "artist" from "art", or else I'd probably end up hating most entertainers or artists that I've ever loved for one reason or another.

    I'm not trying to justify Card's opinions, or legitimize them based on skill. Hell I've never read anything he's written so far as I know. I'm just saying that *I* don't feel that the argument should be any more complex than "if you don't like the artist, don't support his/her work".

  • Enrique del Castillo

    Great piece; I loved this controversy since I disagree on everything Card says and I never read his books so I have no emotional conflict here, beyond the fact that I don't want a hateful person like him writing one of the most compassionate superheroes. I guess I can compare him to Frank Miller; I love his work on Batman or Daredevil (Born Again is my favorite comic book ever), but chances are if I tried to get an autograph from him, he'll tell me to go wash his dishes or clean his garden or to go back to my country and stop taking away jobs from the Americans.

    Still, I want to say that the thing I love the most of this is that guys in the far right are always pro market and anti government and there's nothing more beautiful than the free market telling them that they won't stand their ideas. A newspaper in my country spend the last 6 years spewing crap about anyone who dared to say something good about the government or criticize the free market; then, sales started to drop and the editor, the most far right pundit in the country, was fired. It was glorious to see him talk about conspiracies by the left and those things, when it amounted to a decay in sales because people didn't want to keep reading his hateful crap; he hated labor rights and defended arbirtrary firings, and then he received a taste of it and to everyone that disliked him, it was great (he'll do fine, he had one of the biggest salaries of the newspaper editors in my country).

    On topic, I have difficulties with HP Lovecraft's racism or JRR Tolkien Eurocentrism, but they are dead, their views may be in their books in a subtle or not so subtle way, but that's it. Card is still alive, in the 2010s, making his hate speech and is part of a major group that makes things more difficult for gay people in your country. He's a threat now (I know I sound kind of paranoid); Lovecraft won't come back to life to chastise a mixed marriage, Card can push to halt gay rights any given day.

  • e jerry powell

    Perhaps not specifically or directly germane to the topic at hand, but I'm beginning to have similar feelings about David Mamet. The necessity for separating an artist from his work can be a real bitch.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Only for State & Main. I think I could give up most of the rest of his stuff.

  • e jerry powell

    I was thinking more that Mamet has become an execrable conservative politically, where I had such an admiration for his stage work prior to that political flip.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Oh, I know that. But I mean State & Main is the only of his pieces I would miss. Not saying others aren't good, but that's the only one that transcends Mamet-speak for me. I mean, have you read True & False? He's always been an asshole.

  • e jerry powell

    He's always been an asshole.

    True, now that I think about it.

  • Holy shit snacks that was an amazing read. Kudos to you sir. Kudos indeed.

  • Protoguy

    It really did make me sad and angry when I found out what a dickwad he's become. Ender's Game is in my top 10 all time. Like when I found out Jayne Cobb is just like Jayne Cobb.

    a "witch hunt against people who disagree with their agenda, to economically punish those who don’t toe some political line."

    Gee, I wonder where they got that idea?

  • Gina

    Every political movement ever?

    Do you know who the original Boycott was, for example?

  • Slash

    I haven't read any of his stuff. Sounds like he caught Jesus fever. That seems to happen a lot (in America, anyway). People are somewhat cool up until their 40s, then they get religion (maybe seeing parents or friends die reminds them that they're gonna die too one day) and become insufferable old fuckers who hate everything. They often fixate irrationally on one issue (federal government or gays or abortion) and just yap about it until everybody around them wishes they would hurry up and die already.

  • wonkeythemonkey

    Setting your inflammatory attitude aside, this is not the case with OSC. I used to be a huge fan, so I read everything about him that I could. I *think* that he has been Mormon since birth, and he definitely has been devout LDS since young adulthood. He did his obligatory 2-year LDS mission in Brazil, went to a Mormon university, and wrote a number of explicitly religious plays, all before writing Ender's Game.

  • Jezzer

    So he caught Jesus fever at birth? Sad. :(

  • bleujayone

    The best way I've tried to come up with isn't that Card was an asshole in the guise of a more sympathetic author, but rather perhaps he has become that way from something else over the years. Now to fully understand that, we'd have to look at things in his life over the years that we have no way of knowing. I'm not trying to make excuses by any means, only that the person he was 30 years ago might have thought and felt differently than the person we see now.

    To a much milder extent, this is the transformation I saw in George Carlin in his last few years. He went from someone who took great joy in deconstructing language, society, religion and politics and in his last few performances became seemingly a very sad, angry, bitter defeatist where people clapped dutiful out of his past performances, but where laughs were few and far between- not because he lost his ability at being funny but rather because he just didn't care to be anymore. Maybe after years of pointing out the emperors without clothes he was tired of nothing really changing. Maybe it was from his beloved wife dying. Maybe it was from his repeated bouts of addiction. Maybe he was just becoming a cranky old man. Or maybe none of the above. Who could say for certain other than maybe Carlin could have? What I can say is that the person he was in his twilight was a shadow he was in his heyday and I'm not just talking about age.

    We all have experienced things that helped shaped, developed and evolved the way we think and feel. Most of us can probably even recall times where we've changed and perhaps looked back at earlier times in our lives when we felt differently or couldn't imagine believing otherwise. That doesn't mean we're all destined to be negative people, but it's fair to say we're always evolving.

    I cannot begin to speculate who or what Card encountered to given an almost Ebeneezer Scrooge scale decent into cynicism and negativity. Then again, perhaps I'm mistake and he was always like this and our reading into his books as a direct reflection of the author rather than just another fictional world unrelated to its creator is a flawed evaluation.

  • Ziver

    I used to read any Card book as it came out because of the devotion I felt to Ender's Game. I stopped reading his work around the time he started revisiting Ender's universe. It felt like he had run dry creatively (and yeah what was up with the sudden upsurge in religion?). Then when I became aware of his politics it just finished him for me.

  • Noone of Consequence

    the Shadow series was fine even though it was a little weird that Bean and Petra kept referring to test tubes as their babies. Ender in Exile was so-so. First Meetings was meh.. War of Gifts was crap. Empire was unreadable garbage. But... any big fan of the Ender saga ought to at least read the Shadows series, unless they are actively boycotting Card's work. Alvin Maker is very good, too. Pastwatch was interesting. Ships of Earth was a good series up until the last book essentially ruined it.

  • Less Lee Moore

    This is a beautiful article. Thank you.

  • Dragonchild

    "Democracy is empathy. It is being able to see the rest of society as
    people just like you are, whether they agree with you or not."

    I disagree completely. Democracy is a messy, hideous process by which hateful, greedy and sociopathic people who REFUSE to understand each other use what power they have to ruin each other and hoard as much of the nation's wealth for themselves as they can. Let's not pretend that by giving people power, they'd use it any more responsibly than the most bloodthirsty and psychopathic dictator. I know very, very, VERY few voters that give even the slightest concern for the welfare of those they cannot relate to. Have you seen the budget for mental healthcare in most states?

    The reason why it works is because any system in which people are NOT given political power, however pitiful it may be in democracy, results in a system where the people in charge of distributing resources can just shrug and gobble up all said resources for themselves. There's truth to the saying, "Democracy is the worst form of government, after all the others." Humans are an awful species, but at least with democracy there's some semblance of a fair fight. Card's political views are textbook case that power is better left in the hands of all the people than just a few, but he still gets to vote.

  • Let's see, chimpanzees, 98.5% genetically similar, engage in all manner of depravity against weak and powerless of their own kind. Dolphins are known to practice torture. Newly-empowered lion 'kings' systematically kill all the cubs from the previous regime. Female spiders and praying mantises kill and eat their mates right after getting their sperm. I'm not sure it's quite right to suggest humans are an awful species. We're very clever and it can amplify our worst traits and choices - tying this back to SLW's point about what's wrong with Card writing Superman. I think the point about empathy and democracy is quite insightful. For democracy to be substantially better than other forms of government, it really does require both individuals as voters to actively empathize with others and to institutionalize empathy so when we are tempted to abandon it for selfish or worse reasons.

  • Noone of Consequence

    yes true. That PETA BS fairytale about how all animals are great except for humans is total nonsense. and I know plenty of voters who care deeply about people other than themselves.

  • Less Lee Moore

    I've recently read about Somaliland and I have to say, their system is working out very well. You don't read about it because it's not the result of Western intervention. Please don't confuse the US's version of democracy with the democracy we should strive for having.

  • Dragonchild

    Who said I was talking about a specific nation? America is not the only democratic nation I'm familiar with.

  • zeke_the_pig

    Ding! Correct answer

  • poopnado

    I am equally confused by Card's political opinions. Thanks for writing this piece.

  • John G.

    me thinks orsan scott card doth protest too much

  • Jerce

    Thank you, SLW. You nearly always either give me something to think about, or express my own ideas in a novel and enlightening way. Or both.
    Today I have a question: I've never read Ender's Game. Should I buy a copy, steal/pirate a copy (so as not to put $ in Card's pocket), or just forget about reading it?

  • Morgan_LaFai

    It is a really good book and well worth the read, though I can't officially recommend it on account of my boycott. I can say that loved it the first time I read it in elementary school and I loved it the last time I read it, which was shortly before my prop 8 Mormon boycott.

    Now depending on whether you want to support his art or participate in a boycott because of his actions, either buy the book flat out or not. If not my advice would be to read it in the library or get it from a used book store. The chances are slim, but if you check it out of the library then it is on record and if enough people are checking it out the library will buy another copy. But if you get it at a used book store I am fairly certain that it isn't on any big records and the money does not trickle back. You are simply supporting your local used book store and we can all appreciate that.

  • bgregs

    Read it, but don't buy it.

  • Mitchell Hundred

    Maybe borrow it from a library? It's a classic sci-fi novel, so as long as you're in a fairly large city they'll probably have it in stock.

    Edit: For the record, I can't make any recommendations about its quality, since I've never read it. Also I am training to become a librarian, so... conflict of interest.

  • Kris

    Check it out of the library. I couldn't get into it, but plenty of other people love it.

  • Read it. It's a brilliant novel. And honestly, pay for it. If someone's art is worth consuming, it's worth paying them for it, even if you don't like them.

  • Jerce

    You are of course right. Thank you.

  • SJ

    As someone who's re-reading the "Ender's Game" Quadrilogy and considering checking out the "Ender's Shadow" series, I've kinda been struggling with this too. I totally get the whole "separating the art from the artist thing" argument; H.P. Lovecraft, for instance was a virulent racist. Not just in the usual "all white people back then were kinda racist" way, but in a "shaking with visceral anger at the sight of mixed-race people" kind of way. And to be honest, it shows sometimes in his work. You'll never read "The Dunwich Horror" or "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" the same way again when you realize they contain subtle sermons about the evils of "race-mixing." Does that mean you throw out all of Lovecraft's work and ignore the impact he had on horror fiction? Not at all. Horror is the fear of the unknown, alien other, and Lovecraft did a masterful job of portraying this; unfortunate as it may be that his fear of the unknown extended to fear of another skin color, at least it can help you understand the psychology of the man and what happens when this fear is taken too far.

    But this whole Orson Scott Card thing is a lot more difficult for me to deal with, and not just because Card alive today and therefore a lot harder to deal with objectively. You may be onto something about how Peter Wiggin represents Card's true vision of political realities, but I still fail to see how it ties to his hateful screeds directed at the LGBT community. Lovecraft's peculiar fear of the unknown ties in fairly well with his racism, but Card's homophobia seems to come out of nowhere. It's clearly not just a blind fear of the unknown; "Speaker for the Dead" and the novels following it focused very intently on getting to know others, no matter how terrifyingly alien they may seem to be, and still accept them as people. (*Spoilers within parentheses* Even when the people you empathize with are a hive-mind insectoid alien race, or an alien race in which pregnant females give birth by having their young devour their way out of them, and then eat their corpse.) How could he write of such radical degree of understanding for others, and then become such an unsympathetic asshat later on?

    The hypocrisy of denouncing the government while wanting use it to suppress the rights of others is common enough among the pseudo-libertarian right; it's just your average, garden-variety hypocrisy. But how in the hell can you have such amazing insight about empathy, and then completely fail to empathize with an entire group of people?

  • David Allen Powell

    There is a simple answer. He is a man of faith. He was raised in a religion that didn't/doesn't tolerate gays. There's also an interesting dichotomy here. He, to the detriment of himself, stands by his faith. In a weird sort of anti-universe, that's honorable.

    I happen to detest his views, but I'm absolutely positive that he believes he's HELPING people by pointing out that in his religion and personal view the way they are leads to "hell".

  • chanohack

    Definitely check out the Shadow series. Last year I read Ender's Shadow and Ender's Game back-to-back, and definitively decided I love Bean better. (Although Speaker for the Dead is gorgeous.)

  • Any subtlety or subtext in Lovecraft's racism is completely thrown to the wind in Medusa's Coil and a few lines in Herbert West: Reanimator. When I got to the big reveal at the end of Medusa's Coil, I wanted to take a shower because I'd enjoyed the story up until then.

    I honestly haven't read any of Card's work yet, but this really puts me in mind of something I've heard from authors over and over again: just because a characters says or does or believes something reprehensible doesn't mean that's how the author thinks or feels or believes. I guess that has to go both ways, doesn't it?

  • aroorda

    The Enders shadow series rocks. Not as good as the Enders game series (what is, honestly?) Peep it for sure.

  • Jerce

    The only answer that comes to mind is Alzheimer's. (God forbid--I do not wish that on anyone.)

  • I'm going to get a little slammed for this, but I disagree on at least one point. Steven is absolutely right to say that this isn't a free speech issue, and all of the involved parties are perfectly within their rights to respond the way they have been. Except by this logic, we would be morally correct in removing Ender's Game from the shelves right along with Card's Superman. Ender is just as much of a cultural icon as Superman, albeit on a different scale and to a different segment of the population. So should our 'righteous' boycott of Card extend to his other works? What about the Alvin Maker series? Or Pastwatch?

    The problem is that art has to be considered separately from the artist, because the art will survive and the artist will not. Should I boycott the sale of H.P. Lovecraft's works because he was a flagrant and vociferous racist? Of course not. Very few people would even consider boycotting Ender's Game because it isn't directly tied to Card's current persona of the outspoken homophobe.

    Removing Card from the Superman project is a knee-jerk reaction from a company and a culture that is perhaps overly concerned with the individual. In this case, Card's personal ability to influence a society. But really, who among us would allow our view of the world to be swayed by Card's, or any single person's for that matter, arguments? We are not so mentally malleable that a single outspoken voice can radically impact our views, our behaviors or our lives.

    So what's the harm in allowing a phenomenal storyteller to do what he does best? Or is the real problem here our inability to reconcile our enjoyment of the works of a man we consider to be ethically reprehensible?

  • Morgan_LaFai

    As it happens I do boycott all of Cards work. There are series I haven't finished because of this. And it means I can't recommend his work to others or read them when they are nominated in book club. His art may stand alone but I can't support an artist who attacks my rights.

    In point of fact, I boycott all practicing Mormons because they are required to give a portion of their income to the church and the church is the single biggest advocate and spender against my rights. On the down side, I can't finish the Wheel of Time series but on the upside I have a great excuse for not having to read or watch Twilight.

    The point is, I can appreciate the art itself disirregardless of the artist, but I cannot contribute my hard earned dollars to anyone who financially (or morally) supports an organization so fundamentally opposed to my rights.

  • SnowMan

    Please don't "boycott all practicing Mormons." Please don't make the mistaken assumption that all of us agree with this type of prejudice and hatred. There are a whole lot of Mormons (not enough, but a growing number) who see the LDS church's stance on homosexuality as wrong in every way-- a stance that can't be reconciled with the gospel of unconditional love taught by Christ. It may take a long time, but I have to believe that a change will come to the church, and I know that I can only have an influence on other members of the church from the inside.
    So please don't boycott all of us. As a writer and photographer, I would hate for anyone to avoid my work (should I ever be published) simply because they perceive me to have some association with people with whom I disagree wholeheartedly. If you're going to reject me, at least do it because of my own failings, not someone else's prejudice.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    I understand your perspective. For faith and true I do. When Prop 8* passed I was filled with an all consuming hatred of all things Mormon. Ironically it was the first time in my life I have ever truly understood prejudice, because I was filled with a blind, irrational hatred of all Mormons, much as I assumed they were filled with a blind, irrational hatred of me. But given time, and my refusal to submit to such horrible thoughts that I knew were not true, I move passed that into what I hope is a much more rational space. I know that the church is made up of people all with their own thoughts and emotions and their own interpretations of religious texts.

    Unfortunately, as long as money is going to the LDS and the LDS fights against my rights, I simply can't justify handing them my money. However indirect, it feels like I am contributing to my, and every other homosexuals, downfall. However, I can say that my boycott will not last forever. Since the LDS was largely responsible for ensuring Prop 8* passed, I am boycotting until said prop gets overturned or in anyway rescinded.

    *Aka prop hate, which made gay marriage in California illegal. You probably know this, but my editor tells me never to assume knowledge.

  • SnowMan

    Well, just know that there are some Mormons out there that fully support your right to love whoever you damn well please, as well as your right to join your life to that person in marriage.
    I sincerely hope that Prop. 8, and all other laws like it in any other state, get rescinded.
    The fact that anyone still has to fight for equality and civil rights in any manner just makes me sad. Especially when anyone who calls themselves "Christian" is fighting against those rights. In the New Testament, Jesus gives multiple Golden Rule "treat others the way you want to be treated" type admonitions. How anyone who has read that can stand and try to deny anyone else equality and respect just baffles me. What's more, it shouldn't even take reading scripture for your heart to tell you what's right and what's wrong.

    Anyway, just wanted to write a quick note of support. Better end this before I get any more riled up.

  • Morgan_LaFai

    Thank you. I appreciate that.

  • psykins

    Did like everything you said, but upvote is primarily for 'disirregardless' XD

  • Kris

    The problem is that by purchasing this comic, we're putting money into OSC's pockets. That money goes to support organizations that want to criminalize homosexuality, trying to legislate gays out of existence. Sorry, but no. I don't care if Card has written the Greatest Comic Ever Since The History of Everything, my paycheck isn't going to support hate groups.

  • This is such a bass-ackwards argument, and it's really not the issue here. If monetary whatever is the only reason you have to boycott the comic, just find a way to pirate it. But we're not talking about just boycotting anymore. We're talking about taking steps to prevent the publication of the work on the grounds that the author is somehow unqualified to work with/on the character in question.

    The sad reality is that we are helping these anti-homosexual organizations more right now by talking about them than any single one of us would be able to by buying the entire breadth of Card's work.

    In the 2.5 hours since posting my original dissension, I have asked a number of my co-workers if they agreed with my stance on the topic. The majority of them weren't aware of the situation, or even that Card is an advocate of banning gay marriage. Some of that majority went on to Google Card's involvement in these issues, inadvertently giving hits to organizations like the Rhino Times, the conservative news aggregate that Card writes for. I am now personally responsible for increasing the viewership of a 'newspaper' I find reprehensible.

    My roundabout point is that by raising awareness of the issue, and posting about it in public forums, we are increasing the visibility of Card's opinions: a far more effective publicity tool than any fraction of a fraction of a dollar given to the Mormon church could ever be. This is the double-edged sword of a hyperactive, free-speech driven media.

    There is no such thing as bad publicity.

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