The Ender of Controversies

13 Jul

I have been looking forward to the upcoming movie Ender’s Game, released on November 1st but there’s already controversy over this movie and it’s a real buzz kill. Some back-story on the subject; Ender’s Game was a book written by Orson Scott Card and published in 1985. About 2 decades later I read it and thought it was a great little sci-fi book. Written in kid friendly language, it still dealt with darker more mature subject matter and exceeded my expectations. I even read the next three sequels and… meh, you can leave those out. Lacking the qualities of the first novel they tell a different story altogether. Anyway there had been multiple attempts to get Ender’s Game the movie made during this time and it just couldn’t come together. Wolfgang Petersen even came pretty close a few years ago. Then the Young Adult genre really took off and rumors began to circulate that this YA sci-fi movie was finally getting made for real. About a year ago I decided to re-read the book to get freshened up for the movie. I appreciated it even more the second time. My mind was made up, they’d already sold one movie ticket. Then the bad ass looking trailer came out and reaffirmed my decision.

Meanwhile the author Orson Scott Card had been getting attention because he’d been speaking out against same sex marriage and spouting all kinds of other bigoted rhetoric including “gays should be rounded into camps”. One of the affects this had was to spur a movement called Skip Ender’s Game. Boycott the movie so this homophobic old man doesn’t get money. Reacting to that, OSC basically claimed if you’re tolerant enough to accept gays then you ought to be tolerant enough to accept my intolerance. I’m summarizing all of this because that is not what I want to talk about. A search will turn up gobs about this controversy. But like I said it’s a buzz kill. But from now on any person expecting my tolerance of their intolerance will be accused of “playing the Orson Scott Card”.

My dilemma is should someone’s creative product suffer based on the sins of its creator? This is an old question, Euripides of ancient Greece said “Judge a tree from a fruit, not from its leaves”. Seen this way an author’s fruit is their books, evaluate their product and ignore their personal beliefs. I took this stance with Paula Deen, before her racially insensitive comments were news I believed long ago that she should be taken off the air. Because her recipes to make diabetes fuel sent the wrong message to the public. If a tree’s fruit is deep fried stuffing on a stick, plant a better tree there. However I handled Chick-fil-a differently. They’ve got the tastiest fast food chicken out there and I’d buy it twice a month. But when people called for a boycott because the Chick-fil-a C.E.O. made homophobic statements I didn’t just judge that tree based only on its succulent chicken fruit. I decided not to give them money and haven’t indulged in a 12 count nugget meal in over 10 months.
I do miss the days when everything wasn’t political, chicken was just lunch and a movie was just thumbs up or down.

So how to approach Ender’s Game? I completely understand not wanting to give OSC any of your money because of his stance on homosexuals. Especially considering that being an open Mormon some of the money he tithes to that church will probably go to campaigns against legalizing same sex marriages in whatever state puts it on their ballot. Where the book is concerned get it for free from the library, I did and highly recommend anyone else do the same. It is an intriguing sci-fi book presented simply without a hint of prejudice. The movie has other factors to consider. Hundreds of people went into making this movie, does their work warrant prejudging because of one ignorant man? I feel it doesn’t. Also I can’t find any evidence that OSC will get money based on movie sales. Maybe the rights were bought for a flat sum in which case he’s already gotten all the money he’s going to get from the movie. Additionally promoting a boycott might have the opposite effect, Chick-fil-a got more sales for a while because people and conservative politicians made such a big deal about it.

But my big gripe about all this is it’s just unfair to the movie. I really need to see a good spectacle in space movie, they’re few and far between. Look at the trailer again, doesn’t it have such potential? All this negativity about a movie that’s still over 3 months away has nothing to do with the actors, or because people didn’t like the book, or whatever. But because of reasons that have nothing to do with the actual movie. It deserves to flop if the filmmakers failed to deliver a good cinematic experience. It shouldn’t bomb because of the ignorant ratings of the old man who wrote it 30 years ago. So here’s my plan. I’m going to a matinee showing, it’s cheaper, so minimizes what money OSC might get. More importantly I’m making a contribution in the amount of that ticket price to a pro LGBT organization this might not balance things out perfectly but I’ll have a cleaner conscience. Wait a minute… if I apply this charitable strategy to Chick-fil-a I can enjoy their 12 piece nugget meal again. I gotta go it’s past my lunch time.

Carl Wells

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2 Responses to “The Ender of Controversies”

  1. snerdageek July 14, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    I love the line “But from now on any person expecting my tolerance of their intolerance will be accused of “playing the Orson Scott Card”.” Brilliant.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I Finally Saw Ender’s Game | Stupid Opinions Written Poorly - November 10, 2013

    […] My stupid opinion on why this shouldn’t influence any judgment of the movie itself is outlined here. Admittedly knowing that none of my money was going to OSC did make me feel better. This review […]

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