Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Orson Scott Card Hates Me

I've been thinking about this, and talking to various people about it, for months now. Should a writer's political/religious/racist/sexist/classist/homophobic/etc. leanings outside of their fiction or poetry impact my feelings as a reader? I'm not gonna lie. For me, they totally do. I have recently (in the past 6 months or so) learned some things about some writers I admired and/or planned to read that have left a horrible taste in my mouth.

A prime example of what I'm talking about came up in a conversation just yesterday, then again on a new fantastic blog that I've discovered today. One of the writers on my list to explore was Orson Scott Card. I talk a lot about my quest to build my geek fu here, and OSC is one of the big daddies in SciFi right now. He's also a big browncoat and featured in lots of Firefly & Serenity fan stuff, so my intention was to start reading OSC, starting with his extremely popular Ender's Game. I even had the book on my wish list for a long time.

I knew that OSC was LDS, and that he leaned to the right on social issues. None of that bothered me as a consumer of his creative work. Then one day about six months ago, I found out that he is a vitriol-spewing homophobe who believes gay people should be jailed. His essay about gay marriage is the most hateful thing I've read since Matthew Shepard was killed.

Today, my newest blog crush Alas, a Blog, posted this about OCS. I am glad, number one, that I am not alone in not being able to stand the guy. Also, wow, what a nut this guy is.


thene said...

I hear you, but...

I dunno about you but I'd be hard pressed to find any writer who I agreed with about absolutely everything under the sun. More to the point, if there was such a writer, I would learn little from them. I can enjoy Tolkien, for instance, and appreciate the insight into the mind of someone who I have no beliefs in common with.

OSC's homophobia puts him in a different category, I feel. I wouldn't buy his work (unless it was secondhand), I don't want to support him in any way. But it doesn't stop me enjoying his work for what it is - I'm just going to go out of my way to stop my support from ending up in his pocket.

EssBee said...

I hear your point, thene, but my position on this is that there is so much great writing out there that I can't waste my time on writers like OSC. OSC is particularly gross and I had no idea the kind of stuff he spewed on his own blog when I saw him in "Done the Impossible" and thought, wow, a writer who loves "Firefly" as much as I do! For me, it was both shocking and depressing to learn about all of it later.

I agree with you about the idea that we shouldn't try to find writers with whom we agree about absolutely everything. That's not 1) possible, and 2) interesting at all. I think Tolkien is a great example of this, as is Robert Jordan, as is, I just learned,my beloved William Faulkner who told Southern Blacks to stop making a fuss because it wasn't time yet.

Thanks for the comment! Your blog looks fantastic -- I just bookmarked it to read more.