Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ender's Game - Spoilers Of A Different Sort

Unless they have completely rewritten the story, it is pretty hard to spend much time on spoilers for Ender's Game. Read the book if you are interested. But this film is being spoiled in a different way. The writer of the story it is based on, Orson Scott Card, has become an outspoken opponent of marriage equality. It is a mistake that the studio should have picked up on before green lighting this film, but now that it is made and ready for release, there is a lot of backlash against the film for Card's bigoted political activism.

There are different opinions of how to handle this movie. Some are calling for a complete boycott on the chance that Card might earn some more money or that they might green light a sequel. I don't share that view. A movie is a group effort, even if it is an adaption of a written story. You have hundreds or thousands of people who got together to turn a writer's vision into a visual spectacle. In particular, the actors who have taken part in this production deserve our support. With this story being mainly about children, many of the best young stars in Hollywood are in it. I'm sure that everyone involved in the production is acutely aware of Card's homophobia.

David Gerrold today posted a very reasoned argument why we should not boycott the movie and I whole-heartedly agree with him. Yes, Card's views are reprehensible, but he rarely put that into his stories and this movie is a great vehicle for the Hollywood professionals who were involved. We just need to send the message that we want no more of Card's work brought to life by Hollywood. I think they have got that already. Though, if not for Card's views, this could have been a good series for a studio to invest in.

This brings me to authors and politics. Authors dabble in politics at their own risk. Card has dabbled and lost. sometimes, especially far out from the final outcome, it can be hard to know which side is safe. But in this case, Card became more active that closer this topic came to gaining national acceptance. That is always a recipe for disaster and Card is now a poster child for it.

I sometimes dabble in political discourse, but I do my best to not be extreme. It is the extreme views that more often get you in trouble. Card wasn't paying attention and is now paying the price. All authors should avoid being too extreme, but should have causes. The thing is that if you do a bit of research, it will be readily apparent which way our world has been heading for a very long time and to buck that trend is to ask for trouble. Sometimes opinions are best left in private. A person who engages in extreme politics risks cutting their audience in half. It is hard enough to be a writer without doing that to yourself.

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