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February 14, 2013 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Superman is a good guy. More than that, Superman is the best guy. Created by writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster in 1932, he's the archetypal superhero, a man of enormous power who places himself in service to the powerless. To borrow a famous phrase from the 1940s Superman radio serial, he stands for "truth, justice and the American way". - Why Orson Scott Card isn't the right man to write Superman. posted by Artw (255 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know, I don't much like Orson Scott Card but, frankly, Superman seems like a very good fit for him.
posted by 256 at 10:07 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


You and me cannot be friends.
posted by Artw at 10:09 AM on February 14, 2013 [25 favorites]



You know, I don't much like Orson Scott Card but, frankly, Superman seems like a very good fit for him.
posted by 256 at 10:07 AM on February 14


Sure, he could write about Übermensch in the spirit of Ender's Game.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:09 AM on February 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


I am just really, seriously staggered by how tone-deaf the DC editorial board seems to be. Like, I can see how the white-washing fiasco may have been unintentional because of ignorance en masse. But Card is a piece of shit bigot, and he's quite vocal about just how big of a piece of shit bigot he is. If an author came out and said "well, I don't know about this whole 'universal suffrage' thing" or "well, there's really two sides to 'separate but equal'" you can be sure as hell that would go beyond the "personal views" of the author, which is the excuse they're using right now. How is this any different?
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on February 14, 2013 [23 favorites]


I would like to see a continuation of superman where he struggles with his immortality or old age.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 10:11 AM on February 14, 2013




There's a whole argument online that people petitioning to have Card dumped are fascists.

"Petitioning to have writer Orson Scott Card fired for his social views is as fascistic as politicians condemning a sexual preference." -Comic book writer Mark Millar

Then he called it "totalitarian madness". I really don't understand that. Totalitarianism is top down. Petitioning is democratic. It's bottom up. It's grassroots. It's not imposing anything on anyone.
posted by inturnaround at 10:12 AM on February 14, 2013 [24 favorites]


While this is certainly true (ugh OSC):

- Superman contract for anti-gay author causes growing anger

Given how the Internet works, so is this:

- Superman contract for anti-gay author causes growing anger
posted by Fizz at 10:12 AM on February 14, 2013


I would like to see a continuation of superman where he struggles with his immortality or old age.

Kingdom Come deals with this a bit, as does All-Star Superman.
posted by griphus at 10:13 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


We're free not to give DC Comics and its parent corporation our money, just as Card is free to be a bigot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Kingdom Come deals with this a bit, as does All-Star Superman.

The grand arc of Grant Morrison stories, including All Star Superman, DC One Million and coming to close with the current Action has that as a major theme.
posted by Artw at 10:15 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


My objection to Card writing Superman isn't that Card is a bigot per se so much as the few things I've read of his have all been crap. And in particular, crap that deals with gender issues and sexuality, ie, the stuff about which he is loud and proud about his bigotry. I wouldn't be interested in a Superman story that dealt with those issues.

(No, I haven't read Ender's Game, and I don't think I could get into it now. I don't care how brilliant it's supposed to be.)
posted by immlass at 10:16 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]





We're free not to give DC Comics and its parent corporation our money, just as Card is free to be a bigot.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 AM on February 14 [+] [!]



Freedom of speech is absolutely not freedom from criticism.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:16 AM on February 14, 2013 [43 favorites]


Well, Mark Millar has written some of the most repugnant trash I've ever suffered through, so probably he has some experience with angry people.

Back on subject, Grant Morrison really did point out with All-Star Superman that there is a right way to write Superman, and really, the editors should probably consider that. I think this choice is less likely to produce an offensive Superman comic and more likely a dull one.
posted by selfnoise at 10:17 AM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Marvel let him do an "Ultimate Iron Man" run, which I also found reprehensible.

If they ever let him near Captain America, imm'a fuckin' riot, yo.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 10:19 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am somewhat confused about why you'd hire Card to write Superman anyway - I mean, none of Card's work that I can think of is about Superman figures (Ender isn't superman; the kid in the proto-Mormons-plus-magic isn't Superman...maybe the closest figure to Superman is the heroine of Wyrms, and she's really more of a mopey, embittered Batman figure.)

Although in a way it makes sense - there's a lot more pressure on comics publishers now from readers of color, women readers and GLBTQ readers, and you can respond to that by hiring people of color, women and queer people and improving your storylines, or you can double down on the bigotry in the hopes of pleasing what you view as your "core" audience.
posted by Frowner at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've usually liked Rich Johnston's writings when linked here before, but his argument this time is bloody ridiculous:
It's a very dangerous game, it has led in the past to witchtrials, McCarthyite or otherwise, and it's no better than the actions of, say, One Million Moms. And next time? It could be you...
It's also led to the end of apartheid, the end of segregated buses in the U.S., and people making absolutely idiotic false equivalence arguments on the Internet.

Two out of three ain't bad.
posted by kmz at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Cards last stab at an iconic comics character, Ultimate Iron Man, was just plain weird, as in not even remotely about Iron Man weird. Also terrible. I have to admit I'd not be buying this on the strength of that regardless of his disgusting views.
posted by Artw at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Petitioning to have writer Orson Scott Card fired for his social views is as fascistic as politicians condemning a sexual preference." -Comic book writer Mark Millar

Of course, who knows more about fascism than the writer of Kick-Ass and Wanted, both of which were about as full-throated a defense of der Wille zur Macht as anything I've ever willingly read and then thrown across the room.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:20 AM on February 14, 2013 [23 favorites]


Also, wow:

Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool expressed misgivings with boycotts, writing, "It’s a very dangerous game, it has led in the past to witchtrials, McCarthyite or otherwise, and it’s no better than the actions of, say, One Million Moms. And next time? It could be you."


* * *

From the desk of:
FAMOUS MONSTER
13 Monstrovia Blvd.
Monstropolis, Filmland 00013

2/14/2013

Mr. Rich Johnston
c/o Bleeding Cool
No fixed abode

Dear Mr. Johnston,

Go fuck yourself.

Sincerely,
F. MONSTER
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:21 AM on February 14, 2013 [42 favorites]


I am somewhat confused about why you'd hire Card to write Superman anyway...

Name recognition and future movie material, pure and simple. Monthly comics don't sell for shit, and they're really just on life-support from the parent companies to generate plot and merchandise. Card is popular, best-selling and fits the niche and if they can up sales at all with his name and just maybe get a plot for a Superman movie out of it, they're golden.
posted by griphus at 10:23 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am just really, seriously staggered by how tone-deaf the DC editorial board seems to be.

I disagree. As a non-consumer of DC's products*, I really appreciate how they give me a whole spectrum of reasons not to give them my money: narratively, aesthetically, ethically, and now morally. For all their many, many faults, Marvel doesn't seem quite so committed to giving me that level of non-choice.

*Joe Kubert Presents excluded.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


AHAHAHAHAHA. Look, I am a huuuge fan of Orson Scott Card. His short story collection/autobiography Maps in a Mirror shaped the way I look at art and writing more than, well, just about anything when I was a kid. Ender's Game remains a masterful piece of writing – literature is allowed to present exaggerated circumstances in the name of capturing something important, and the weirdness in Ender's Game is so clearly there to make deeper points about the responsibilities of adults to the children in their care that walking away from that book going "Huh, I guess genocide WAS a good thing!" is something that I have literally never seen anybody do. It is probably one of the strongest anti-war novels I've ever read: the takeaway for me, when I was 12 and when I reread it a decade later, was that what other people think is right for a cause can be so damaging, so draining, so cruel, that it is always, always a mistake to pledge yourself blindly to a cause. The ending isn't an excuse for Ender's violent massacre, it's proof that Ender's brilliant talents were wasted on war, that he lost his childhood for basically nothing, that even though he didn't know what he was doing as a young boy it would take the dedication of literally the rest of his life to even start to make amends for it. I'd keep going but I'd have to go on about how much I love Xenocide and Children of the Mind and then you'd all laugh at me.

Anyway! That aside, Card has spent the last decade being as assholey an asshole as it's possible to be, and it's infected his writing to the extent that I can't even keep reading his shitty "Bean in space" sequels. What was once the vaguest glimmer of an ideology evolved into a clearer force that was shaping his novels and has now become raging, raging morality preaching. It's godawful. And it's not even like Card has written anything famous since the eighties. He had one big hit and a few smaller hits and then went his quiet way. So this is a really weird and stupid choice, and I do not trust Card with Superman at all. Maybe he'll surprise me, he sometimes does, but I can't imagine Superman becoming weirdly homophobic in his hands. It's just too promising an opportunity for him to pass up on.

At the same time, I would like to recommend Card's old novel Enchantment, which combines Russian fairy tales and the legend of Sleeping Beauty in a marvelous and fantastic way, and which I think some people here might love the heck out of. One caveat, though: at one point the novel shifts perspective and becomes about the protagonist's feminist ex-girlfriend. SKIP THAT PART ENTIRELY. It is a take on feminists and how they see men that is so disgusting it becomes almost, but not quite, hilarious. Long story short Baba Yaga convinces her that if a man doesn't marry you when you want him to, you ought to poison him to further the cause of womanhood. You don't need that. The rest of Enchantment is still wonderful, last I (recently) read it.
posted by Rory Marinich at 10:28 AM on February 14, 2013 [21 favorites]


I gotta say, I'm with Mark Millar on this one (never thought I'd say that). Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing. I'm sure this point has already been made, but imagine the uproar if DC were to drop a writer because he or she was vocally PRO gay-rights? Or Pro choice? Card is an acclaimed and successful writer who has written a seminal sf novel; it doesn't surprise me in the least that DC reached out to him with this project. Horrid as his views are, his run on Superman should live or die by its merit.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 10:29 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


One caveat, though: at one point the novel shifts perspective and becomes about the protagonist's feminist ex-girlfriend.

I genuinely enjoyed Enchantment when I read it (10+ years ago) and I totally do not remember this part. So, good job keeping the awful from sticking, brain.
posted by griphus at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2013


I'm conflicted.

I'll admit, I am nervous about encouraging the firing of people based on their outside-of-work lives. It's a dangerous road to go down, and I think that, if normalized, it will be used much more often against LGBT folks than against bigots.

That having been said, it's already getting used much more against LGBT folks, and Mr. Card and his allies seem to have no problem with this.
posted by Myca at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why wouldn't y'alls want someone to write their religious fan-fiction, in comic book form? Modern era hey-sus arrives from a far-away celestial sphere to land in America, to save them all?

Admittedly, no magic hat, or metallic book, but maybe it'll be written from future perspective, everything coming out of said book... WHAT HAVE I DONE?
posted by LD Feral at 10:31 AM on February 14, 2013


Petitioning to have writer Orson Scott Card fired for his social views is as fascistic as politicians condemning a sexual preference

As others have already said, the logic here is shoddy. "Free speech" does not mean "freedom from criticism".

More than that, it also seems like a completely fatuous false equivalence to me. A politician can change the law to terrorise or even execute people. An outraged consumer petition might... lead DC to decide that it wasn't in its commercial interests to allow a fairly successful author to write any comic books about a much-loved children's character.

There is something dreadfully childish and histrionic about confusing the two, as if the real and horrible persecution of homosexuals or communists was somehow equivalent to not being allowed to play with your favourite toys.

Perhaps that is too harsh. To someone like Millar or Johnstone, being fired from writing comics would be a serious career threat. The idea that because of something you say you might find public pressure makes you unemployable - that would be very scary to a creative artist.

Unfortunately, that is the way that a creative career works. You hope that people will employ you for what you say - the downside is, if you say horrible things that lend support to evil, prejudiced and powerful people, and you get judged for it - well, then, perhaps your career will suffer. That is not a "free speech" issue. It is the natural result of pursuing a career whose success and failure depend on reputation.
posted by lucien_reeve at 10:31 AM on February 14, 2013 [15 favorites]



I gotta say, I'm with Mark Millar on this one (never thought I'd say that). Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing. I'm sure this point has already been made, but imagine the uproar if DC were to drop a writer because he or she was vocally PRO gay-rights?


I don't agree that tolerance and intolerance deserve equal protection.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:32 AM on February 14, 2013 [31 favorites]


I gotta say, I'm with Mark Millar on this one (never thought I'd say that). Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing.

Serious question: are there a lot of examples of author's with extreme/bigoted views whose writing was consistently free of those views?
posted by selfnoise at 10:34 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


While having Card writing any Superman is a crime, a bit of perspective that seems to be missing - he's writing two issues as part of an anthology series that will be written by a continually changing lineup of authors. Still awful he's writing at all, but it isn't quite the ground breaking thing some people might assume that it is.
posted by charred husk at 10:34 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing. I'm sure this point has already been made, but imagine the uproar if DC were to drop a writer because he or she was vocally PRO gay-rights?

Yes, there would be an uproar if DC dropped a writer for being vocally committed to full equality for women and men, gays and straights. One might suggest that there is a not-very-subtle difference between this and dropping a writer for being opposed to equal treatment under the law. It's similar to the difference between firing someone for being good at their job and firing someone for gross incompetence. Hard it see at first, but, trust me, the situations aren't identical.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2013 [17 favorites]


Horrid as his views are, his run on Superman should live or die by its merit.

That's not how things work, though. His run on Superman will live or die on how many books it sells, and how much bad press DC gets over hiring a bigot to write their flagship title. And people who think Card shouldn't have the privilege of writing Superman because of his views will work toward a) not buying the books and getting others to not buy the books and b) being really, really loud about how stupid of a decision this is for DC.
posted by griphus at 10:35 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


psycho-alchemy: "I would like to see a continuation of superman where he struggles with his immortality or old age."

Careful what you wish for.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:36 AM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'll admit, I am nervous about encouraging the firing of people based on their outside-of-work lives. It's a dangerous road to go down, and I think that, if normalized, it will be used much more often against LGBT folks than against bigots.

I wouldn't lobby to have Card fired from a desk job somewhere, or flipping burgers, or even as some high-powered executive somewhere. But DC hiring Card to write creative shit, to explore his own particular ideas of certain characters and how humanity functions, is to invest in what Card has to say-- and we know what he has to say. It's egregious bigotry. DC is giving an egregious bigot a huge bullhorn to say things about life and humanity. Fuck that noise.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:37 AM on February 14, 2013 [29 favorites]


Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing.

He's entitled to believe and say what he likes. But when he begins to advocate against the civil rights of others, I don't think he's the best person I'd want writing comic books for me or children.

It's DC giving its tacit imprimatur that is distressing. Time Warner is saying that this guy is mainstream, that he's not a guy on the fringes of society. He's normal. That's troublesome.
posted by inturnaround at 10:42 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I am just really, seriously staggered by how tone-deaf the DC editorial board seems to be. Like, I can see how the white-washing fiasco may have been unintentional because of ignorance en masse. But Card is a piece of shit bigot

So? There are tons of authors who make great stuff with less than admirable personal views. I tend to consider them to be extraneous and irrelevant. Christopher Hitchens was also a bigot--when it came to religious people anyway--but that didn't stop me from appreciating his other work.

No, the real reason not to hire Orson Scott Card to write Superman is because Orson Scott Card hasn't written anything halfway decent in almost twenty years. The last thing of his that I read and enjoyed came out in 1996. He wrote a bunch of crap before that too--Homecoming series, anyone? WTF?--but it's been all crap since then.
posted by valkyryn at 10:43 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


He had one big hit and a few smaller hits and then went his quiet way.

Among them being the insults for the first Monkey Island. Back before he went all sour and evil, he was brilliant.

You know, it is perhaps worth pointing out that Superman has many parallels with religious/messiah figures. I think that may be why people are upset, because they don't want Card's icky views all over an icon they consider somewhat sacrosanct.

I suspect it's sort of a muted version of the reaction you'd see if someone hired Card to write Jesus fan fiction, or maybe a new Mass or something. Superman is just a tiny bit holy, even for people who aren't particularly religious, and I suspect they don't want that idea polluted.
posted by Malor at 10:43 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are lots of bigots and jerks out there, and they all have jobs somewhere.

If DC wants to hire Card, that's their business decision to make. You're free to vote with your dollars if you think that's a bad decision. Some people will buy it because they admire Card. Somebody at DC has probably done the math.

Personally, I'll be keeping my money.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 10:47 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christopher Hitchens was also a bigot--when it came to religious people anyway--but that didn't stop me from appreciating his other work.

You and I will have to disagree, simply because Card is a wealthy activist for his bigoted views, which makes him a lot worse than your garden-variety bigot.
posted by griphus at 10:48 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Frankly, it seems somewhat irrelevant to me what sort of author they use to celebrate the unpredictable actions and opaque motives of an alien being possessed of such monstrous power that it's very presence on this planet puts us all at risk. Certainly it claims to have a benevolent interest in humanity, but can we even begin to understand the system of values which motivates its interventions in our affairs? Not to mention the demonstrably real risk of strange and impenetrable inter-planetary rivalries and sectarian conflicts playing themselves out to destructive effect in our very own towns and cities- who knows what other alien forces this so-called Super "Man" will draw to our beautiful planet by virtue of its very presence here!

This message brought to you by the Alexander and Lana Luthor Foundation for the Advancement of Humanity
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


I dream of a crazy bizarro world where Card taps Frank Miller to co-write the story.

Lex Luthor hacks the Fortress of Solitude's Xfinity account to only tune into Glen Beck; Superman joins the Tea Party and goes off to bomb China with San Francisco.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 10:49 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


and how much bad press DC gets

On the other hand -- and this is important -- there is no such thing as bad publicity.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:50 AM on February 14, 2013


Lex Luthor hacks the Fortress of Solitude's Xfinity account to only tune into Glen Beck; Superman joins the Tea Party and goes off to bomb China with San Francisco.

I'd read that. It sounds crazy as hell.
posted by rifflesby at 10:51 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Serious question: are there a lot of examples of author's with extreme/bigoted views whose writing was consistently free of those views?
posted by selfnoise at 12:34 on 2/14


Roald Dahl? He was known to be extremely anti-Semitic.
posted by samofidelis at 10:53 AM on February 14, 2013


Writers (and artists in general) are different than most people, in that they are paid to be creative, and share their ideas. Mind you, these aren't ideas on how to make widgets, or manage distribution, or write up reports on the state of their industry.

While creative people can segment and compartmentalize their personal thoughts and what they create for work, it's a lot more likely that their art will reflect their thoughts in ways that the creation and distributions generally won't. Especially when someone feels really strongly about their bigoted views, and is paid to write about a character who looks out for the little people of the world/universe.


On the other hand -- and this is important -- there is no such thing as bad publicity.

Until the boycotts actually impact the company's profits, kill a significant number of contracts, or get them classified as The Worst Company Ever, Anywhere. Sure, DC is a lot more than Superman, and they're a long way from being The Worst Company Ever, but bad publicity can actually be bad.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2013


Card is entitled to believe and say whatever he likes, repellent as it might be. He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing.

Well yes, exactly. Card is a professional writer and he has regularly *in his professional capacity* advocated loathsome attitudes about homosexuality.

You can say "Well maybe this time he won't do that" and hope for the best, but there is plenty of precedent in his career for it to go otherwise.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:59 AM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


Serious question: are there a lot of examples of author's with extreme/bigoted views whose writing was consistently free of those views?
posted by selfnoise at 12:34 on 2/14

Roald Dahl? He was known to be extremely anti-Semitic.
posted by samofidelis at 1:53 PM on February 14 [+] [!]


The Oompah-Loompahs were, uh, "rescued" from Africa and put to work by Wonka.
posted by griphus at 10:59 AM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sure, DC is a lot more than Superman, and they're a long way from being The Worst Company Ever, but bad publicity can actually be bad.

And don't forget, Man of Steel opens in June. Seriously, first they cancel Superman Family Adventures and now this?
posted by cottoncandybeard at 10:59 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Roald Dahl? He was known to be extremely anti-Semitic.

Please cite the work in which he rewrote a classic piece of literature to make everything be the Jew's fault. Card has done this very thing.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:01 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Er, unless I misinterpreted that comment, I think the point was that Dahl's anti-Semitism didn't show up in his work.
posted by griphus at 11:02 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Some of these "defenses" of Card are so spectacularly poor that I almost suspect they're fake.

Really, Johnston? That is what you came up with? Simply embarrassing.
posted by aramaic at 11:10 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Anything I might say about OSC has been more than covered here (I wrote about it on my blog today) so instead I'll point out that Rich Johnston is also a tool and should not be linked as any kind of authority on anything.
posted by Legomancer at 11:12 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I dream of a crazy bizarro world where Card taps Frank Miller

I'm a bit fog-brained today, so I parsed this before the rest of the sentence. That would be a crazy bizarro world, all right. But a somewhat better one, I'd bet.
posted by cerebus19 at 11:13 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meh. I don't know. DC lost me as a comics customer over a half-decade ago because I realized that I hate how the mainstream industry treats the characters and writers I like. Meanwhile, I just got an anthology that includes feminist and gay-friendly science fiction writers I've not touched. There's a a second novel that just hit my wishlist, and a half-dozen more on my to-read list. Sooner or later, I need to a systematic read of Bechdel, and the post-Palomar works of the brothers Hernandez.

Even if they dropped Card, there's probably only a handful of writers out there that would entice me to buy those issues of Superman, and they're already publishing more than I have time to read in less hidebound formats, via publishers that actually need my dollars.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2013


Please cite the work in which he rewrote a classic piece of literature to make everything be the Jew's fault. Card has done this very thing.

Wow. That's the most wrong-headed reading of Hamlet since some bore in the thirties said that the real hero was Fortinbras.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:15 AM on February 14, 2013


Card's religious nuttiness was even there in Ender's Game, although he was much better back then at dressing it up to look like something else. The Gutters issue linked above by Famous Monster is spot-on. There is no way it doesn't creep into his treatment of Superman, especially if he's given the origin story.
posted by localroger at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2013


The real heresy here is that DC hired Card to write instead of Robocop is Bleeding.
posted by Uncle Ira at 11:19 AM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can't boycott what you wouldn't have bought anyway.
posted by Ardiril at 11:21 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Serious question: are there a lot of examples of author's with extreme/bigoted views whose writing was consistently free of those views?
posted by selfnoise at 10:34 AM on February 14 [+] [!]


That's a good question. Consistently free? Probably not, as all art is self-portrait on some level, and everything bleeds in at some point. That said, I recall Roald Dahl being a self-admitted anti-semite, yet I can't recall finding anything anti-semetic in what of his works I've read. And like the Superman comics, he was writing primarily for children.

My problem with this uproar is that people want to hang Card for a crime he hasn't committed (yet?). I agree that freedom of speech doesn't equal freedom from criticism, but having someone fired from a job is not criticism.

This...is a weird side for me to be arguing on. I'm a staunch advocate for LGBT rights. But freedom of speech is freedom of speech, even when it sucks.
posted by UltraMorgnus at 11:23 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Card is a horrible bigot. Next up, DC will get Dave Sim to write Wonder Woman.
posted by Catblack at 11:25 AM on February 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


DC hiring Card to write creative shit, to explore his own particular ideas of certain characters and how humanity functions, is to invest in what Card has to say.

Of course, that's what they said about the Hollywood Ten et al.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:25 AM on February 14, 2013


Maybe in Card's version Ender Jesus Superman kills all the gays jews aliens when he thought he was just playing farmville call of duty lasertag in space and then feels so guilty that he starts a new religion?
posted by ennui.bz at 11:26 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


(by "crime he hasn't committed" I mean hate-speech in his upcoming Superman comic, as opposed to his previously espoused anti-gay views.)
posted by UltraMorgnus at 11:26 AM on February 14, 2013


You know, I don't much like Orson Scott Card but, frankly, Superman seems like a very good fit for him.

...elaborate.
posted by HostBryan at 11:27 AM on February 14, 2013


You know who I bet is most pissed about this, from a business perspective, at least -- the studios involved in the Ender's Game movie. The last thing they needed was giving those who want to boycott anything having to do with OSC a trial run.

Of course, thinking about this makes me grin.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:27 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


BTW, are they still letting Frank Miller near any DC or Marvel properties after "Holy Terror"?
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2013


My problem with this uproar is that people want to hang Card for a crime he hasn't committed (yet?). I agree that freedom of speech doesn't equal freedom from criticism, but having someone fired from a job is not criticism.

Nobody is afraid he'll have Superman do something gay-bashy. He HAS committed a "crime": that of working loudly against gay rights. Not thinking, not opining, but actively working against them. And the response that people are having is, "This is not a person that we want to support in any way."

It doesn't matter if Card's story is Superman saving a kitten, the point is that if you hire and promote bigots, you should expect some blowback, and that's what they're getting.
posted by Legomancer at 11:28 AM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Er, unless I misinterpreted that comment, I think the point was that Dahl's anti-Semitism didn't show up in his work.

You can thank his editors for that.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:29 AM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can't boycott what you wouldn't have bought anyway.

And isn't Superman a product of empire-era America? Apart from having Superman vaporize the evil ghaybots with his death-ray eyeballs, what could someone as socially and ethically backwards as Card bring to this mythology that is even remotely relevant to the times we live in? Can he in any way write Superman into a modern, relevant context? What kind of Superweed are the staff at DC Comics smoking? Can I get some?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2013


...but having someone fired from a job is not criticism.

The only people who can fire Card are the DC executive board (and their higher-ups at Time Warner.) This isn't having someone fired. This is going to someone whose services you procure and saying "hey, you know what new sales guy you hired? He keeps going on about how the Jews control the media and I'm not really comfortable dealing with a company that allows that." It's up to the bosses in charge to decide whether it's worth more to keep the bigot on and alienate customers, or to can him and keep the customers. It's feedback and no blogger can just call in and say I WANT CARD OUT and have it happen.
posted by griphus at 11:31 AM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


It'd be sweet if he writes Superman as leading a moral crusade, going all-in, and doing nothing but going around pummeling gays. Page after page of white-hot madness for all to see...
posted by Windopaene at 11:32 AM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and further, DC is going to be printing Card's name on the front of these issues, and at least part of the reason they've hired him is his reputation as a sci-fi writer with some amount of cult following. Some amount of the uproar, as far as I can tell, is to point out that if DC is hiring Card for his reputation, we'd like to remind them what his reputation is.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2013 [13 favorites]


Exactly -- it's pretty much the equivalent of hiring David Duke and DC ignoring it is pretty much the equivalent of saying "Oh, we don't mind hiring racists" when people are pissed about it.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:33 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I will distract the gays with my muscly chest, oiled nipples and tight, fluorescent briefs."
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, Kryptonian muscles or not, any gay dude worth knowing is way more into Batman anyway.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:36 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


More likely this would mean breaking/buying out a contract rather than an outright firing.
posted by Ardiril at 11:40 AM on February 14, 2013


"I will distract the gays with my muscly chest, oiled nipples and tight, fluorescent briefs spanky-pants."

*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:41 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


For those who don't follow these things so carefully, let me make a point clear:

I don't use David Duke as an analogy lightly. Orson Scott Card is not just some well-known author who writes offensive blog posts and offensive rewrites of Shakespeare. He's on the Board of Directors for the National Organization for Marriage.

Yes, they aren't burning crosses in people's lawns, but NOM is an organization specifically committed to denying people equal treatment under the law. Orson Scott Card has put himself in this position and any outrage over DC's decision is infinitely less damaging than an organization he has put his name on is still doing every single day all over the U.S.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:42 AM on February 14, 2013 [35 favorites]


Perhaps DC is hoping that the uproar against this will lead to a "Chik Fil A Day" style massive buy-out of the comic by the homophobic right?
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:43 AM on February 14, 2013


I dream of a crazy bizarro world where Card taps Frank Miller

For one glorious split second I read that as "where Card tops Frank Miller"...

Dear My Brain,

I love you.

Love,
BHG
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 11:44 AM on February 14, 2013 [8 favorites]


Perhaps DC is hoping that the uproar against this will lead to a "Chik Fil A Day" style massive buy-out of the comic by the homophobic right?

It's digital - you ***CANNOT BUY IT OUT***.

OH MY GOD...
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Opinions and assholes
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm guessing Card's just going to make the illustrated version of The Iron Dream, right?
posted by me & my monkey at 11:47 AM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


This...is a weird side for me to be arguing on. I'm a staunch advocate for LGBT rights. But freedom of speech is freedom of speech, even when it sucks.

his freedom of speech is not going to be taken from him, even if he is fired. that's not how free speech works. he can continue to spout whatever bigotry he likes to anyone who will listen.
posted by stavrogin at 11:48 AM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm guessing Card's just going to make the illustrated version of The Iron Dream, right?

Wow. I hate to sound egotistical, but I think the Universe arranged to have OSC write Superman just so we would have this thread just so I would find out about The Iron Dream and start reading it.

Thank you, me & my monkey, for helping the Universe bring this joyous event about.
posted by lord_wolf at 12:00 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll just leave this here.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:02 PM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think the point was that Dahl's anti-Semitism didn't show up in his work.

His misogyny is, however, on clear display in many of his short stories.

(MartinWisse's link touches on this too, although mostly that piece comes across as a huge hatchet job on Dahl.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:06 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Iron Dream totally rawks. For that matter Norman Spinrad would be a much better choice to write about Superman than Card.
posted by localroger at 12:08 PM on February 14, 2013


"Petitioning to have writer Orson Scott Card fired for his social views is as fascistic as politicians condemning a sexual preference." -Comic book writer Mark Millar

Creepy douche defends creepy douche; no one wins.
posted by trunk muffins at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Petitioning to have writer Orson Scott Card fired for his social views is as fascistic as politicians condemning a sexual preference." -Comic book writer Mark Millar

I would argue that until Millar admits publicly that "Civil War" was a terrible idea, it should also be criminal for him to be anywhere near a pencil or a keyboard.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 12:12 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Card's bigotry aside, I'm not sure he's the right guy for this job.

I loved Ender's game. I've made the mistake of reading a number of prequels/sequels. For those of you who are not aware, Card has a simple formula.

He takes a main character, makes it clear that they are pure and innocent, and then he tortures them. It's his formula. I'm just scared he's going to do it with Superman. The innocence & purity part will be easy, but I'm thinking it'll all be about watching him suffer while he's toyed with, rather than watching him take care of people best, or watching him figure his way out of a trap.

Seriously, he's going to turn Superman into too much of a Christ figure for it to be that good.
posted by thatnerd at 12:14 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's hardly an original observation, but your really obsessive, posturing, public homophobe invariably turns out to have some non-mainstream sexual kink in his brain that he's not comfortable examining too closely -- the old "methinks he doth protest too much" principle; it's pretty reliable.

Anyway, I haven't read Card in many an age, but from what I remember his writing was pretty fucking pervy. Wyrms alone was kinked in ways that put dents my young, impressionable brain and I suspect it wasn't the weirdest. There's something in that guy's head that's irreconcilable with his upbringing and received values and his flailing against teh gay is a proxy battle with it. I'd pity him if it weren't for the collateral damage to innocents.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:16 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


his freedom of speech is not going to be taken from him, even if he is fired. that's not how free speech works. he can continue to spout whatever bigotry he likes to anyone who will listen.

This is true, but it's also disingenuous. You're simultaneously saying that he's free to say whatever he likes while penalizing him in an unrelated context for doing just that. The entire argument is basically premised upon the assumption that we should never, under any circumstances, buy a product that is associated with someone whose personal views we do not like.

What's next, refusing to patronize someone who won't kiss Caesar's ring?
posted by valkyryn at 12:20 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


valkyryn,

Card isn't merely expressing bigoted views, he is an active member, with a considerable amount of power, in the anti-gay organization the National Organization for Marriage.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:26 PM on February 14, 2013


I would like to see a continuation of superman where he struggles with his immortality or old age dirty, dirty, desires for muscly chests, oiled nipples, and tight, fluorescent briefs.

And Card is just the man to do it!
posted by octobersurprise at 12:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


You're simultaneously saying that he's free to say whatever he likes while penalizing him in an unrelated context for doing just that.

Welcome to the life of gay people throughout history, especially in conservative organizations.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


We established just last week that there really aren't very many comics writers in the business overall, and this is who they choose to bring in from outside? Bleah. Like I needed another reason not to buy comics.
posted by asperity at 12:28 PM on February 14, 2013


I'm entirely on board with letting DC know you won't be buying anything with Card's byline on it.

A boycott of DC entirely crosses some sort of line in my mind. I don't think it's immoral or wrong (you may vote with your dollar however you wish, 'scalled freedom, look it up), but it does edge into "attempting to silence" as opposed to "protesting" territory.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:29 PM on February 14, 2013


we should never, under any circumstances, buy a product that is associated with someone whose personal views we do not like

HEY LET'S SAY IT ONE MORE TIME SINCE IT HASN'T SUNK IN YET! It's not his personal views as much as his public actions. Card is on the board of NOM and helps actively work against gay rights. And they're only working against gay rights on a good day, on other days they're looking to intimidate and harass gays.

And yes, in those circumstances, I think people SHOULD avoid products that are associated with the person. Someone made an apt comparison to David Duke. If you want to exercise your free speech and be a bigot, that is fine. You want to work for a place that extends your bigoted goals, hey, go for it. But there is a possibility that, as a result, people will say, "Hey, I don't like that bigoted stuff and I don't want to have anything to do with anyone who is doing it." And someone looking to hire you to work for them in a very visible, very public, very "ideas"-oriented way, will also have to realize that this baggage may exist. Everyone is free to continue doing it, but no one is obligated to pay for it, not speak against it, and pretend that the bigot is only a bigot some of the times.

Seriously, if it's so damn hard to get your mind around, pretend Card has spoken against "niggers" and "miscegenation" and works for the NAAWP. Would you still be saying, "Look, let's give the guy a chance."?
posted by Legomancer at 12:30 PM on February 14, 2013 [20 favorites]


You're simultaneously saying that he's free to say whatever he likes while penalizing him in an unrelated context for doing just that.

So you would not have a problem shopping at David Dukes 'R' Us? This is silly.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:31 PM on February 14, 2013


He takes a main character, makes it clear that they are pure and innocent, and then he tortures them. It's his formula. I'm just scared he's going to do it with Superman. The innocence & purity part will be easy, but I'm thinking it'll all be about watching him suffer while he's toyed with, rather than watching him take care of people best, or watching him figure his way out of a trap.

I wish it we're that simple. Some have gone as far to say that Card wrote Ender's Game as an apology for Hitler.
posted by vonstadler at 12:32 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


The entire argument is basically premised upon the assumption that we should never, under any circumstances, buy a product that is associated with someone whose personal views we do not like.

The entire argument is that some people are choosing not to, and they are choosing to explain that decision out loud, on the internet.

DC is trading on Orson Scott Card's name. They're not just hiring the best-suited writer for the project; their decision took into account both his writing ability and the market value of his name, of his brand. But that brand doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Based on that brand, some people are making the decision that Orson Scott Card does not deserve their money, and DC does not deserve to be given their money in exchange for the thing Orson Scott Card wrote.

What's next, refusing to patronize someone who won't kiss Caesar's ring?

What's next is each individual person deciding for themselves, "Does this person or company deserve my money?" using whatever metric they prefer, and then deciding on that basis whether or not to give their money to that person or company.

I know. Nightmarish.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:34 PM on February 14, 2013 [22 favorites]


The real heresy here is that DC hired Card to write instead of Robocop is Bleeding.

They called, but I'm holding out for my Saga of the Super Sons II: World's Finest Grampas pitch to get off Geoff Johns desk.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:39 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


>Christopher Hitchens was also a bigot--when it came to religious people anyway--but that didn't stop me from appreciating his other work.

You and I will have to disagree, simply because Card is a wealthy activist for his bigoted views, which makes him a lot worse than your garden-variety bigot.


and

It's not his personal views as much as his public actions.

Who cares? I mean, seriously, who cares? Must we approve of all of the personal beliefs and actions of every person with whom we do business? Would it be appropriate to refuse to watch MythBusters because the hosts are atheists? Or would it have been reasonable to boycott I Am Sam because Sean Penn is a flaming commie? Or to condemn The Pianist and Crimes and Misdemeanors because of their directors' sexual proclivities? Or stop watching the PGA because Tiger Woods is a philanderer?

No. It wouldn't be. It'd be irrational and inappropriate. Works of art exist independent of their creators and should be evaluated on their own terms, and appreciating them, even buying tickets to see them, does not make the consumer complicit in whatever beliefs or actions of their creators one finds personally distasteful.*

Let's get a little more on point here. What do you think about conservative and religious groups calling for the boycott of particular businesses or cultural works because their creators are associated with liberal causes? Like the boycott of K-Mart a while back for donating to Planned Parenthood? Or people refusing to see movies that are written by gay people? I would be immensely surprised if the people saying that DC is wrong to hire Card would think that those sorts of calls to action were appropriate.

I submit that Orson Scott Card is being treated differently in this instance because we're talking about a secular progressive sacred cow, i.e., LGBT issues, rather than something that conservative people might care about. It's okay to boycott things when they offend liberal sensibilities, but the opposite is Bad and Wrong?

Color me unimpressed.

And with that, I'm done with this conversation. This entire thread is, from my perspective, a classic example of the general population of MetaFilter exposing its own cognitive, moral, and political assumptions and biases, assumptions and biases which I don't tend to share. I operate under no illusions that I'll be able to convince anyone that there's an immense double standard in operation here, so I'll simply call attention to that fact and go about my business.

Enjoy the rest of your day.

*Of course, I generally reject the idea that there is any inherent moral valence to buying product A over product B that depends on their respective origins, so I was never going to be convinced by this line of argument anyway. In my opinion, whether one's decisions about the way one spends one's money have any moral valence at all has everything to do with whether or not one is being selfish and nothing whatsoever to do with the logistics of the global economy or the apparent moral worth of the supplier.
posted by valkyryn at 12:40 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


we should never, under any circumstances, buy a product that is associated with someone whose personal views we do not like

I don't think that this is ever very practical, but in theory, at least, it isn't obviously immoral. Card isn't owed respect or success in the marketplace; neither is DC or Time Warner. What's your alternative here, valkyryn? An argument that privileges the rights of one kind of speech over another?
posted by octobersurprise at 12:40 PM on February 14, 2013


Oh, but before I go, I definitely think hiring Card was a bad move, simply based on the fact that the man hasn't been able to write his way out of a wet paper bag since the mid-1990s.
posted by valkyryn at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's okay to boycott things when they offend liberal sensibilities, but the opposite is Bad and Wrong?

When it is a matter of civil rights? Yes, absolutely.
posted by griphus at 12:43 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who cares? I mean, seriously, who cares?

I guess, like, me and a bunch of other people?
posted by Greg Nog at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2013 [26 favorites]


Would it be appropriate to refuse to watch MythBusters because the hosts are atheists?

Gonna go out on a limb and guess that some people do that, yes.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:44 PM on February 14, 2013


I would be immensely surprised if the people saying that DC is wrong to hire Card would think that those sorts of calls to action were appropriate.

I think those sorts of calls to action are appropriate, given the beliefs of the people you're imagining, and then in those situations I would disagree with them and call them bigots. But it's because of their beliefs informing their boycott, see, not the boycott itself.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Also, it's pretty disingenous to claim that LGBT rights are not "something that conservative people might care about" simply because many of them, like Card, care very, very deeply, and spend their time and money making sure these rights aren't granted and those who work toward having them granted are vilified.
posted by griphus at 12:46 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it interesting that your operating assumption is that equal rights for gay people is purely a liberal, or left-wing cause. There are many people of all political stripes that do not tolerate bigotry.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:47 PM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sure, he could write about Übermensch in the spirit of Ender's Game.

Aside: I wish video of this classic SNL sketch was online somewhere.
Lois Laneoff: X-ray vision? Can you see through my clothes?

Überman: Ja! And through his, too. [ points at Jimmy Olstein ] He's a Jew!

Jimmy Olstein: No! No, it's not true! My parents were just very advanced in hygeine, that's all..!
(Oh, and it's amusing to note that "Jimmy Olstein" was portrayed by a current US senator)

/Aside
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:49 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


What do you think about conservative and religious groups calling for the boycott of particular businesses or cultural works because their creators are associated with liberal causes? Like the boycott of K-Mart a while back for donating to Planned Parenthood? Or people refusing to see movies that are written by gay people? I would be immensely surprised if the people saying that DC is wrong to hire Card would think that those sorts of calls to action were appropriate.


I actually think it's perfectly appropriate for the One Million Moms to boycott JC Penney for supporting such shockingly inappropriate role models like Ellen Degeneres or Oreo for supporting gay pride month on Facebook or for the aforementioned National Organization of Marriage to tell people to stop going to Starbucks because Starbucks came out for marriage equality. It is absolutely in their right.

Do I think their opinion is wrong? Hell yes.

Do I think they do more harm to their cause by looking like fools and exposing bigotry as a whole bunch of stupid arguments? Yes, that's a side benefit, but not why I support them doing so.

I do so because it's their right. Petitioning our corporate overlords is just about the closest thing we're going to get to direct democracy these days. And if I turn around and shop and order something at JC Penney because they stood by Ellen AND ran same sex couples in their advertising or bought more Oreos and let Nabisco know, that's my right too.

(on preview, shakespeherian was much more succinct in this point)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:49 PM on February 14, 2013 [12 favorites]


What do you think about conservative and religious groups calling for the boycott of particular businesses or cultural works because their creators are associated with liberal causes?

I usually think they're foolish; sometimes I may think that the motives behind such boycotts are deeply wrong, but I don't think the method is wrong. I tend to think that boycotts are impractical and usually unsuccessful in economic terms, but I fail to see how anyone has a right to anyone else's dollar. I'd like to hear how some given product could be construed to have a right to be purchased, but I see you've taken your ball and gone home. Oh well.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:51 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's okay to boycott things when they offend liberal sensibilities, but the opposite is Bad and Wrong?

This isn't things "offending liberal sensibilities," this is active blocking and removal of existing rights. The fact that you either don't get this or don't even want to discuss it Because Of Reasons is disturbing.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:52 PM on February 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


This is true, but it's also disingenuous. You're simultaneously saying that he's free to say whatever he likes while penalizing him in an unrelated context for doing just that. The entire argument is basically premised upon the assumption that we should never, under any circumstances, buy a product that is associated with someone whose personal views we do not like.

So? Demanding that I spend my finite income on authors and institutions who, quite publicly, act against my best interests strikes me as demanding a particularly weird form of maoschism.

Must we approve of all of the personal beliefs and actions of every person with whom we do business?

If you feel that's a moral prerogative for you, then sure.

Would it be appropriate to refuse to watch MythBusters because the hosts are atheists? Or would it have been reasonable to boycott I Am Sam because Sean Penn is a flaming commie? Or to condemn The Pianist and Crimes and Misdemeanors because of their directors' sexual proclivities? Or stop watching the PGA because Tiger Woods is a philanderer?

Yes, yes, yes, and yes.

Works of art exist independent of their creators and should be evaluated on their own terms, and appreciating them, even buying tickets to see them, does not make the consumer complicit in whatever beliefs or actions of their creators one finds personally distasteful.

Except that's not generally the case. Most of the works of art at stake in this discussion are also commercial commodities that are driven by marketing campaigns that include what's commonly called "public relations." Public individuals and and companies partner with charities and activism groups because it gives them publicity that establishes what kind of relationship they want with their customers.

But I'm not certain that our tastes in art necessarily need to be rational or appropriate.

What do you think about conservative and religious groups calling for the boycott of particular businesses or cultural works because their creators are associated with liberal causes? Like the boycott of K-Mart a while back for donating to Planned Parenthood? Or people refusing to see movies that are written by gay people?

In all honesty, I respect the willingness of some conservative consumers to put their money where their mouth is, much more than your mealymouthed apologia for amorality in personal economics. I might disagree with their particular moral values, but at least they're being consistent rather than arbitrarily passing the buck.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:08 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I do in fact refuse to watch Polanski movies.
posted by kmz at 1:11 PM on February 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


Serious question: are there a lot of examples of author's with extreme/bigoted views whose writing was consistently free of those views?

The Education of Little Tree was written by a former founder of a paramilitary wing of the KKK.

Admittedly, that's a bit of an outlier. And, of course, Superman helped smash the KKK.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:11 PM on February 14, 2013


I'll just leave this here.

You can hear Clan of the Fiery Cross in its 16 parts on Archive.org, but I'll warn you: this isn't the superman you (probably) know and love. He's a lot more like a normal guy, who happens to be super powered every now and again. At one point in his radio escapades, he chooses to have Batman drive him around instead of flying to stop the Voice of Doom. Maybe Batman is afraid of heights, or doesn't trust Superman to carry him anywhere after that time Supes almost "accidentally" dropped Batman.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Or maybe it's just DOPE AS HELL to cruise in the Batmobile with Batman.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:21 PM on February 14, 2013 [10 favorites]


Zeus Comics, one of the better comic shops here in Dallas, will not be carrying the print editions of the Card issues when they're released.
posted by Uncle Ira at 1:21 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]




I submit that Orson Scott Card is being treated differently in this instance because we're talking about a secular progressive sacred cow, i.e., LGBT issues, rather than something that conservative people might care about. It's okay to boycott things when they offend liberal sensibilities, but the opposite is Bad and Wrong?


Sure.

Discrimination is bad. Egalitarianism is good. I don't think that's a particularly shameful or inconsistent belief to hold. Why do people keep trying to suggest that egalitarianism and discrimination should be given equal voice?
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:22 PM on February 14, 2013 [15 favorites]


And with that, I'm done with this conversation.

You should put a *dropped mic* after that, next time. It'll make it more obvious what you've been doing here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on February 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I do so because it's their right. Petitioning our corporate overlords is just about the closest thing we're going to get to direct democracy these days. And if I turn around and shop and order something at JC Penney because they stood by Ellen AND ran same sex couples in their advertising or bought more Oreos and let Nabisco know, that's my right too.

And there's a bit of a false equivalency going on with the second largest media and entertainment conglomerate on one side, and consumers and small shop owners on the other.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:24 PM on February 14, 2013



You should put a *dropped mic* after that, next time. It'll make it more obvious what you've been doing here.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:23 PM on February 14 [+]
[!]

I don't think it's a particularly harmful thing to do. More sides get heard and everyone gets a chance to respond. Maybe that poster won't come back to engage in dialogue, but others can participate as they see fit.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:26 PM on February 14, 2013


Must we approve of all of the personal beliefs and actions of every person with whom we do business?

No, but we have the right to decide they don't deserve our money based on our own moral compasses.

Would it be appropriate to refuse to watch MythBusters because the hosts are atheists?

Yes.

Or would it have been reasonable to boycott I Am Sam because Sean Penn is a flaming commie?

Yup.

Or to condemn The Pianist and Crimes and Misdemeanors because of their directors' sexual proclivities?

That's an affirmative, cap'n.

Or stop watching the PGA because Tiger Woods is a philanderer?

Ayuh.

No. It wouldn't be. It'd be irrational and inappropriate. Works of art exist independent of their creators and should be evaluated on their own terms, and appreciating them, even buying tickets to see them, does not make the consumer complicit in whatever beliefs or actions of their creators one finds personally distasteful.

Look: I can decide whether or not someone deserves to be given my money. So can you. So can anyone who has money to give. Neither I, nor you, not anyone else has to fill out a goddamn form and run it by any other human being before we're allowed to not spend money. I'll say it again: If you trade on someone's name, you can't only trade on certain parts of it. Live by the sword, die by it. If a theater announces a new Roman Polanski movie, someone has the right to say, "Hell yeah, I'll see that," and someone else has the right to say, "Fuck that guy, I ain't paying to see anything he does," and those are both rational, appropriate, reasonable positions that they're allowed to have.

Let's get a little more on point here. What do you think about conservative and religious groups calling for the boycott of particular businesses or cultural works because their creators are associated with liberal causes?


I think that anybody has the right to decide not to give money to anyone for any reason, regardless of those reasons. In some cases, I might think their reasons are incredibly fucking dumb, but that's called having an opinion and, thanks to recent legislative efforts in my area, we're allowed to have those now. When the Dixie Chicks lost sponsorships because their singer dared to criticize a warmongering cretin, I thought that was dumb but didn't think it shouldn't happen. Their sponsors had that right.

Like the boycott of K-Mart a while back for donating to Planned Parenthood?

Yep, that's fine.

Or people refusing to see movies that are written by gay people?

Also fine. Dumb as rocks, but fine. My opinion would be that someone like that was a bigoted asshole, and I'd be right, but I would never say they shouldn't make that decision or that it wasn't appropriate.

I would be immensely surprised if the people saying that DC is wrong to hire Card would think that those sorts of calls to action were appropriate.

Welcome to Immense Surpriseville, population you. We've put our orthodontia-themed gift shop on the floor so your jaw can do some shopping. Please accept a complimentary monocle catcher.

And with that, I'm done with this conversation. This entire thread is, from my perspective, a classic example of the general population of MetaFilter exposing its own cognitive, moral, and political assumptions and biases, assumptions and biases which I don't tend to share.

Well, you put forth an actual testable hypothesis, and it's looking to be pretty far off the mark, so...I don't know. Tell me more about cognitive biases?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 1:26 PM on February 14, 2013 [23 favorites]


Freedom of speech protects OSCs' right to advocate against gay marriage (and all the other things he says.) It also protects people's right to say they're not going to buy a comic book because OSC wrote it and they don't like the positions he advocates. Just like it protects the rights of people with rationales I might find heinous to boycott creators I admire. Or my ability to say I find their rationales heinous! It's almost like (except for a few proscribed areas), people can say what they want and other people can respond how they want! It's crazy!

There really wasn't any way I was going to be buying this anyway, so I can't claim to be boycotting it. (I did enjoy some of Card's old short fiction, though.)
posted by Zed at 1:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be immensely surprised if the people saying that DC is wrong to hire Card would think that those sorts of calls to action were appropriate.

Economic boycotts are an entirely appropriate means to engage (or rather, refuse to engage) with other economic actors that people find morally repugnant. Enjoy being fucking flabbergasted!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think it's a particularly harmful thing to do.

Don't know about harmful, but it's definitely indicative of either childishness or trolling, or both, to stomp off in a huff because people don't agree with you. We can probably do without it, either way, but — ultimately — it didn't make for a particularly good sideways case for defending Case's very public bigotry (nor against people's right to criticize him for it).
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:34 PM on February 14, 2013


It's the rhetoric equivalent of taking a dump in a municipal pool, loudly pointing out why you did it, and walking out the gate.
posted by griphus at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, the comparison to McCarthyism is especially poor. That was a situation in which the public had no problems spending money on cultural products that certain people felt were harmful (or were produced by people who held beliefs that others didn't like). The public couldn't be convinced to stop doing this, so the state stepped in to persecute and blacklist the creators of those cultural products.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for sharing that Bunny.

I will say this: I've had struggles with the entire idea of separating author/text. It's been discussed on this site before. And if I'm honest I often find that it is sometimes arbitrary. Once I found out about OSC, I sold all my books and stopped recommending him to others. And yet I have Ezra Pound's copy of the Cantos on my shelf and have written a few academic papers on him during undergrad.

Dan Simmons says some fairly disturbing things about Islam/Muslims in his some of his novels, do we give him a pass? Do I need to make a list of all the awful shit that authors say and do in their private lives? I find that the more you know about an author, the more you risk having to distance yourself from their work because inevitably you'll find out some little thing that disturbs you or offends you.

Ignorance is bliss.
posted by Fizz at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2013


(For the record, I think it's totally fine to drop an opinion into a thread and then skedaddle.)
posted by Greg Nog at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't want to give money to somebody who uses their money to support things that I disagree with. By purchasing something written by Card, I am helping him get more money which he can then spend on opposing gay rights.

I recognize that this isn't very Randian of me, as it suggests caring about other human beings, but I can't help myself.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2013




For the record, I think it's totally fine to drop an opinion into a thread and then skedaddle.

As do I. Not everyone has the time and energy for prolonged discussions. It's fine to state your opinion and go. Or just favorite a comment you agree with.

I find it revolting when conservatives demand tolerance of their intolerance. There, my opinion.

X: You are lesser than me.
Y: Fuck you.
X: How can you disrespect me like that?
posted by fatehunter at 1:51 PM on February 14, 2013 [7 favorites]


The public couldn't be convinced to stop doing this, so the state stepped in to persecute and blacklist the creators of those cultural products.

Yeah, there's no equivalence between "I won't buy that product" and having a congressional committee and federal law enforcement collaborate to ruin people's careers.

Card is in the top 100 on Amazon and has a movie slated for early Holiday release. Time Warner/DC grossed $450 million on Dark Knight Rises. They're hardly persecuted underdogs in this fight.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:53 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I submit that Orson Scott Card is being treated differently in this instance because we're talking about a secular progressive sacred cow, i.e., LGBT issues, rather than something that conservative people might care about. It's okay to boycott things when they offend liberal sensibilities, but the opposite is Bad and Wrong?

Very revealing, that you view a fundamental human right as some kind of liberal hobbyhorse.

Human rights are a lot more than a secular progressive sacred cow, much as that may stick in the craw of bigots and homophobes everywhere.
posted by smoke at 1:55 PM on February 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


I submit that Orson Scott Card is being treated differently in this instance because we're talking about a secular progressive sacred cow, i.e., LGBT issues

Actually...if I were a Superman fan (which I'm not) I wouldn't buy it because OSC is a Mormon and I don't knowingly give money Mormons or Scientologists. So there!
posted by MikeMc at 1:57 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dan Simmons says some fairly disturbing things about Islam/Muslims in his some of his novels, do we give him a pass?

No, we don't, for royal values of we. And this is separate from the matter of separating author and text -- I don't need to have any opinion about a text to choose not to give financial succor to its author.
posted by Zed at 1:59 PM on February 14, 2013


Very revealing, that you view a fundamental human right as some kind of liberal hobbyhorse.

There's plenty of people who believe that "fundamental human rights" include things like going from conception to birth, or owning a firearm. So maybe they're not as fundamental as all that, and acting like you have the One True Correct Worldview doesn't actually help anything.
posted by Etrigan at 2:11 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't read Card any more (or otherwise consume media he produces) because he introduced an entire storyline to the Ender's Game prequels to demonstrate the proper way for a gay person to live. It was overt, homophobic, and utterly distracting to the storyline.

I'm not going to give someone money to insult me. I'm particularly not going to give someone money to insult me incompetently.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:11 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I submit that Orson Scott Card is being treated differently in this instance because we're talking about a secular progressive sacred cow, i.e., LGBT issues

One major problem with how Mormon extremists like Card discuss this issue is that they think that their active attempts to take away my rights are "opinions", which is a pretty dangerous bit of Orwellian doublespeak that has caught on not only with the rest of the Church and with the Chik-Fil-A crowd and their ilk, but with a not-insignificant part of the public as a whole.

A corporation like Time Warner is giving him a platform for his views, however delicately they may be sneaked into the narrative, which helps propagate his agenda and fund actions by him and by hate groups of which he is a part, not only as a member, but as a core part of its leadership.

Where our money goes is about the few remaining freedoms we're left with, these days. In the free, capitalist society that the myth of Superman works hard to defend, none of us are obligated to put money in Card's pocket to fund his hate campaign, nor are we obliged to reward Time Warner shareholders for their tone-deaf and insensitive attitude.

Replace "gay" with "women" or "Jews" and the public discussion would be quite different, and not as many would think it controversial to walk away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is worth mentioning that the history american comics is littered with whackjobs, petty tyrants and marginal personalities. It is a marginal artform. It is kind of part of the charm. Robert Crumb, Steve Ditko, Stan Lee, Frank Miller, Dave Sim... none of these guys are saints, but they are all incredibly important figures in an artform that I love.

That doesn't mean we need to import nutters from other media, though. I just think it bears putting it in perspective.

Like Rory, Card's work was very important to me growing up, and it was it very upsetting to me when I first learned about his stance on homosexuality. This was around 2000, by which time the quality of his work had already started to dip. While I don't think it is sensible to ignore art based on the character of the artist, it does raise the bar significantly in my mind. Half-baked Ender's Game sequels were no longer worth my time. I've not been in any sort of formal boycott, but nothing I've read very little of his work since then. Nothing I would recommend.

So, it should be noted that I was never going to read his Superman comic anyway.

The National Organization of Marriage thing is another punch in the gut, though, too. That raises the bar to basically boycott levels. There really is a difference in the level of action taken, versus running mouth of on the internet. However, the only thing left to boycott is really the Ender's Game movie. I'll probably have to make some sort of "compensating" donation to a pro-equality charity just to go see that with anything resembling a clear conscience.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 2:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]




There's plenty of people who believe that "fundamental human rights" include things like going from conception to birth, or owning a firearm. So maybe they're not as fundamental as all that, and acting like you have the One True Correct Worldview doesn't actually help anything.
posted by Etrigan at 2:11 PM on February 14 [+] [!]


There is some consensus in most western societies that equality is desirable. You can really carry that as far as the UN. There is, ostensibly, a commitment to egalitarian principles. So there is some basis for that particular belief, and it goes beyond personal opinion.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:15 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Must we approve of all of the personal beliefs and actions of every person with whom we do business?

I avoid doing business with people who offend me, and I think less of people who don't do the same. No overwrought philosophizing required.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 2:16 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]



Addenda:
1) That "compensating donation" thing is probably morally dubious. I know.
2) I meant to draw a connection between the fact that comics is full of marginal personalities and my willingness to cut an artist a break if the work is redeeming.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 2:16 PM on February 14, 2013


In the 80s, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and after writing 'Streets of Philedelphia', Bruce Springsteen gave an interview to a gay magazine ensuring them that despite his hetero image he fully supported gay rights and gay marriage.

That's something Superman would do. OSCAR shouldn't write him.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:20 PM on February 14, 2013 [11 favorites]


There's plenty of people who believe that "fundamental human rights" include things like going from conception to birth, or owning a firearm. So maybe they're not as fundamental as all that, and acting like you have the One True Correct Worldview doesn't actually help anything.

There is some consensus in most western societies that equality is desirable. You can really carry that as far as the UN. There is, ostensibly, a commitment to egalitarian principles. So there is some basis for that particular belief, and it goes beyond personal opinion.


And how is it un-egalitarian to require all women to bring fetuses to term, or to allow all persons to own firearms?

I'm not advocating these things, mind, or arguing that marriage equality shouldn't be done. I'm not even arguing that Card isn't a fucking nutjob who shouldn't be allowed near Superman. Argue with the premise that we oughtn't be allowed to consider an artist's political opinions, but don't try to sidestep it by saying, "Yeah, but this is an inarguably wrong political opinion we're talking about here." That's not a good line to draw.
posted by Etrigan at 2:25 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


DC just have absolutely no idea what they're doing any more. The end of this whole Death of the Family nonsense in the seventeen Bat-books was a toothless cop-out, Animal Man and Swamp Thing have gone down the toilet ("entered the interminable rot", in the parlance), and I can't even find Secret Origins #14 anywhere. I only just started a pull list about a month ago and after I pop in next week I'm going to be damn sure it doesn't have a single DC book on it any more.

Card on Superman is just such a stupid nothing of a move. It's par for the DC course. The guy's a homophobe, so what do we think is gonna happen? He's certainly not going to write Superman to disagree with him. So this means Supes is either tacitly a homophobe as well, or Supes won't be engaging at all with the issue on any level, which makes him as irrelevant and trite as we always suspected he was.

None of us were expecting a massive arc where Supes makes sure a bunch of his gay buddies (does Superman have any gay buddies?) can tie the knot, sure, but the idea of a paper-based gay-basher writing this iconic character is just so colossally wrong-headed it defies analysis.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:27 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm still not clear on how me witholding $5 or $10 from DC because the author makes me hurl turns me into a jackbooted thug of the liberal UN gestapo. But hey, it does sound kind of cool. Do they have healthcare?
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:30 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Mark Millar is a professional troll. Nothing he has ever said or done matters in any way and no attention should be paid to him.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:35 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]




And how is it un-egalitarian to require all women to bring fetuses to term, or to allow all persons to own firearms?
posted by Etrigan at 2:25 PM on February 14 [+] [!]


I have some ideas on that and I'm not shy about sharing them, but I don't think this is place. If it's a serious question drop me a message privately and we can talk.
posted by Stagger Lee at 2:36 PM on February 14, 2013


And next time? It could be you.

lol no it won't be Lobster Johnston. I may have spent the majority of my life saying spectacularly dumb shit, but I haven't been saying spectacularly hateful shit.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:37 PM on February 14, 2013


Not to derail, but the debate over firearms is emphatically not about human rights. You are not inherently entitled to bear arms just by being a human being. You are, however, entitled to love and relationships just by being one.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:47 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


And next time? It could be you.

There's two MeFites I can think of off the top of my head who'll probably be tapped to write a comic book in the future, and I can't see either of them attracting boycotts. Three, if Marvel ever gets off their asses and hires Mightygodking to write Doctor Strange.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 2:47 PM on February 14, 2013


It's webcomics, not a big-time publishing house let alone Doctor Strange, but mightygodking already has a comic, as does beaucoupkevin. They were comics bloggers before, but still.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:51 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mightygodking is Canadian, which is pretty unsavory. Mark Millar might hold a grudge from that Civil War parody, too.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:51 PM on February 14, 2013


I'll admit, I am nervous about encouraging the firing of people based on their outside-of-work lives.

Well, yeah, me too. If Card spends his weekends with duct tape around his balls, getting them all swollen up so he can bump them against a cactus, then that's cool with me because I can't think of how it would have any impact on the content of his writing (unless, I dunno, Bean or whoever becomes a swollen-balled cactus-bumper). That's his PRIVATE life and that's totally nobody else's business but his.

Problem is, Card has been pretty vocal about hating gays and apparently, it seems, this vileness is starting to seep up into his writing. I don't know, I haven't read anything except Ender's Game a decade or so ago, but the impression I get is that this is the case. And on top of that, if Orson Scott Card was just a guy with a Facebook account, posting gay-hating status updates to his Facebook friends, it wouldn't matter because nobody would know who he was.

But Card is using his platform as a once-well-regarded sci-fi author, with some cachet to his name, to slop his vile spewings around. If he was just sitting at home in the dark, literally trembling because of how much he despises poofters, and then took a pill and just got on with writing a nice little story with a fun twist in it or whatever, then, y'know, whatever, who gives a shit?

So he's using name recognition, and the fact that a lot of people are going to buy his books purely out of momentum ("Oh, I loved Ender's Game and I can't imagine my life without those characters!"), to vomit this shit out. "Ender's Game author Orson Scott Card" is going to get on io9 and maybe even the local paper. "Soda bottle collector Orson Scott Card" is not going to get anywhere. So since he's using his status as an artist to be a dickhead, and since this dickheadedness is apparent in his art, then his art is inherently and inextricably dickheaded, and thus Superman, written by Card, is tainted by a big paintbrush covered in shit.

In this case, you can't separate the art from the artist because they are literally one and the same. This means that any art created by the artist automatically becomes homophobic. So Superman's a homophobe, which is a really shitty, fucked-up thing for DC to do.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:53 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


As I said, I am not drawing moral equivalence between marriage equality and abortion or firearm ownership. I'm drawing rhetorical equivalence between them. I'm saying that you don't get to sidestep the question of "Should we be allowed to personally boycott artists for political views independent of the art?" by saying, "You're a bad person for asking that question." That's kind of the thing about political views -- you're supposed to be convinced that yours is right and the other side is wrong. So is the other side.

So own your boycott. I'm not buying these because of Card either, but I admit that it's because I disagree with him.
posted by Etrigan at 2:56 PM on February 14, 2013


I'm surprised there isn't a gay elseworlds Superman by now.
posted by blue_beetle at 3:03 PM on February 14, 2013


I'm saying that you don't get to sidestep the question of "Should we be allowed to personally boycott artists for political views independent of the art?" by saying, "You're a bad person for asking that question."

I'm assuming that's a response to statements like mine:


"Discrimination is bad. Egalitarianism is good. I don't think that's a particularly shameful or inconsistent belief to hold. Why do people keep trying to suggest that egalitarianism and discrimination should be given equal voice?"


I'm not sure what I missed, honestly. I fundamentally believe that people have a right to equal treatment. People should be allowed to do as they please, until it infringes on the ability of others around them to do likewise.

I can't stop you from believing otherwise, but I can respond accordingly if you express that belief.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:08 PM on February 14, 2013


Or maybe it's just DOPE AS HELL to cruise in the Batmobile with Batman.

Nah, not at that time. His car had a weird bat/cat face on the front, and an extra fin on top for good measure. A Ford Super DeLuxe would be a more appealing ride.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:08 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised there isn't a gay elseworlds Superman by now.

Not-quite-Superman in this has some interesting characteristics.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on February 14, 2013


(And, of course, Apollo from Wildstorm.)
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised there isn't a gay elseworlds Superman by now.

Sure, there was, just not authorized. (But post-Wildstorm purchase and per the latest reboot, he's now not an Elseworlds character because he's canonical!)

Rick Veitch had a gay (or at least other-than-straight) Superman clone in Bratpack a long time before that, too.

(curse you, Artw!)
posted by Zed at 3:12 PM on February 14, 2013


Or maybe it's just DOPE AS HELL to cruise in the Batmobile with Batman.

Nah, not at that time. His car had a weird bat/cat face on the front, and an extra fin on top for good measure...


Today I learned, that despite me being a big fan of many of his previous Metafilter contributions, filthy light thief and I have very different definitions for DOPE AS HELL.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


It shouldn't need to be said, but we're talking about people expressing themselves, signing petitions, and boycotting products. This is all very tame, and well within the range of acceptable behavior and discourse. We're not talking about a publishing ban, or stuffing Card into a sack and beating him with phonebooks.

So there's a really clear answer to:

"Should we be allowed to personally boycott artists for political views independent of the art?"

Yes.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:14 PM on February 14, 2013


Obviously the answer to speech you don't like is more speech.

But that aside, if Card's beliefs dominate his work the work is going to suck. And that's typically the case with any fanatic.
They care more about making the point than doing the art. And people can tell the difference and make the choice on what they want to buy.

One of the points in posting the KKK thing is that hate is a commodity. Is DC doing that here?

I don't know. But they're certainly open to the accusation.

And like any corporation they can choose what they want to be defined by, same way Kellogg's did.


I'm still not clear on how me witholding $5 or $10 from DC because the author makes me hurl turns me into a jackbooted thug of the liberal UN gestapo.


If you fold a $5 bill it shows the Pentagon before the 9/11 attack and the number "5" reversed and mirror imaged on itself which is the symbol of the inter-dimensional shapeshifting lizard people behind the New World Order black helicopters which broadcast the mind control signals to the people who have dental fillings so when the End Times come they will be confused and won't understand the meaning hidden in the work of clandestine Christian rock band Third Day.
Without the money DC comics can't perpetuate the the massive "reboot" of continuity that signals opposition to the U.N.'s "Agenda 21"and support of Chip Rogers.

So it's simply that in withholding $5 from DC you signal your willingness to extend the length of your footwear to calf high, accept the dental fillings, and become a tool of the gestapo Antichrist gangster computer god in his one world government takeover.
You would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store had you not been brainwashed by the FBI and the Jew-run media.

Google Vic Sage!
posted by Smedleyman at 3:15 PM on February 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


For me, it's not a case of treating Card differently. I already left about five years ago, and was increasingly frustrated by that point. However, DC just keeps dishing up additional reasons to spend my money elsewhere. And that's a shame too, because back when I was first coming out, discovering Gaiman, Delano, Moore, and Milligan rocked my world.

turgid dahlia I think nailed this. It's the latest in a series of dumb moves built on pandering to a shrinking market. It's notable because it's "Ender's Game author, Orson Scott Card" who writes letters to newspapers about how I'm destroying society and not the editorial practice of repeatedly shoving characters and stories I want to read into production purgatory, and treating those characters in creepy ways when they do appear.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:20 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


- Lemme just re-emphasize "hate as commodity" here.

...although I can't seem to stop going off on tangents. Damn weird that Kellogg's is on the other side of the religious coin.
You look at the sanitarium with the cold air and cold water cures, electrotherapy, etc. and you can write them off as nutcases, but W.K. Kellogg dropped a ton of money on a foundation and they helped people work through the depression.
Plus sponsoring Superman to fight the KKK.

And then there's Card with his schtick.

People take away some very different messages from similar sources, is all I can say.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:27 PM on February 14, 2013


Th sad thing is the DC still does things like Grant Morrison's Occupy-sympathizing Superman in Action Comics, or the impending Sandman prologue, or the current Flash book, or Superman Family Adventures (before they were jerks and canceled it). But they're increasingly tiny islands in a sea of stupid.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:29 PM on February 14, 2013


Superman seems like a very good fit for him

I see what you did there, and I don't think Card would approve.
posted by flabdablet at 3:31 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


On reflection, my favorite superhero, Spider-Man, was co-created by a libertarian jerk. One of my favorite Batman comics was written by a literal fascist. One of my favorite movies was directed by a rapist, and my favorite pop albums were produced by a murderer. So I'm almost tempted to give Card the benefit of the doubt, except his track record is much spottier than Polanski or Spector or even Frank Miller.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:34 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of my favourite movies is Frantic and even knowing what I know now about Roman Polanski, the movie itself doesn't have a lot of child rape in it. Which, I don't know, maybe that's a big missed opportunity? But now that I've actually thought about it for the first time in ever, I am really fucking weirded-out by the fact that a whole stack of big-name actors have chosen to work with Polanski even after he was charged with raping a child.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:39 PM on February 14, 2013


Thing is though Polanski isn't on the board of Nambla and he isn't recutting Chinatown so Jack Nicholson is cool with the rape of a child and he's not coasting on past glories.

On the third hand, though, Superman's kind of a boring character and a bonkers OSC take would be okay. But people are fully within their rights to boycott him, and I'm going to continue not buying comics because of this.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 3:42 PM on February 14, 2013


Though, and this may be comics blasphemy, outside of powers and banging a Batman-a-like* there's TBH not that much that's all that Superman-like about Apollo. It would prbably be impossible for anyone who fits in with the Stormwatch/Authority ethos to be too Supermanish, they're pretty much antithetical to him (see the suprisingly good Superman vs. the Elite to see the concepts square off against each other)

The Manchester Guardian in Paul Cornel's Secret Identity is a better match.

* Suprisingly I have a similar take on why Midnighter is fundamentally different from a Batman. Clearly I am becoming Chris Sims.
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


On reflection, my favorite superhero, Spider-Man, was co-created by a libertarian jerk. One of my favorite Batman comics was written by a literal fascist. One of my favorite movies was directed by a rapist, and my favorite pop albums were produced by a murderer. So I'm almost tempted to give Card the benefit of the doubt, except his track record is much spottier than Polanski or Spector or even Frank Miller.

In all seriousness, I think that everyone weighs the merits of works against their flaws. If a creative work offends me I'm not likely to pursue anything else by the same artist, unless there are other factors that somehow outweigh my discomfort. I have enjoyed works where I find the political message disagreeable, but they usually stand on the merits of their storytelling, writing, or whatever. If the message is sufficiently prominent and disagreeable, it's going to be hard for other factors to mitigate it of course.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:53 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"The end of this whole Death of the Family nonsense in the seventeen Bat-books was a toothless cop-out"

Don't get me started, at first I was like "Well, this could be interesting!" but then I was like "Wait, what? Really Scott?"
posted by MikeMc at 3:54 PM on February 14, 2013


I'm not a DC comics fan anyway, but the whole Mormon agenda they've taken on, putting huge amounts of money into denying gays the right to marry, really makes this a no-brainer for me, so I won't be buying the Superman comics. And I think Orson Scott Card is a hate-mongering asshat.

Except...I started reading a bunch of stuff about Card's personal life, and his daughter who died the day she was born, and the life and death of his severely handicapped son, who passed away at 17 from cerebral palsy, and I just can't help but feel bad for the guy. The biography he wrote for his son gave me more than a glimpse of a caring, devoted parent of a disabled child, a loving husband, someone who sounds like a basically decent guy. It's just doesn't seem to jibe with the bigotry and the anti-gay activism.

Card had characters who were gay, before the atrocious Hamlet adaptation, that were written somewhat sympathetically, Josef and Ansset in Songwriter. Except, according to Card--and I find this really telling--only Josef is really homosexual! Ansset is just an innocent. Card puts forth this rather bizarre explanation for what he wrote:
"In dealing with Ansset, a beautiful, artistic child in the highest circles of power, the question of both pederasty and homosexuality had to be dealt with, because both would come up....since power cultures are usually male-dominated, a beautiful but vulnerable male is going to find that most domination and exploitation come from men. There's more to it than that, I'm sure, but one thing was unavoidable: Ansset was going to be approached.
Which made me stop to think, because that's a common theme in Card's work, the young "beautiful" child being used to others' purposes.

Ender of Ender's World is also this child who is seen as "purer" than the other kids, and that's why he becomes the protagonist. And Ender has this older brother, pretty much a sociopath, who tortures him unmercifully.

Card talks about his own older brother, Bill, being his inspiration for that sociopathic character, and how later he came to forgive Bill for the way he was treated, in a Salon interview that really made me hate Card all over again, because it is incredibly bigoted and ugly on his side.

But it made me wonder, too.

In that Hamlet adaptation, Card associates (even when he says he does not!) pedophiles with homosexuality. The father is a pedophile and is killed by the gay Horatio. It makes no sense to bring that into the play. But when you put it together with this recurring theme where "good" kids are corrupted, for lack of a better word, by others, you have to start wondering why this keeps popping up. In every case, Card seems to empathize with that golden child. He defends even the worst actions on the part of that character. Card is very adamant, even in Ender's case--and Ender committed genocide!--that Ender, as the "corrupted" person, is not at all responsible for what he does.

I can't help but wonder if Card feels like he was that golden child, and someone tried to "corrupt" him. The way he talks about it being inevitable that Ansset be "approached" because he was so lovely Josef couldn't help himself (barf) is just so weird...I feel like maybe Card was abused not just physically by that older brother of his, but sexually as well, and maybe even by their father.

Card has no relationship with that brother now, as far as I can tell. He collaborates with his younger brother on projects. And in that ugly support for barring gay marriage, his whole ranting theme is "The Hypocrites of Homosexuality," the people who, he says, 'pose' as Mormons while continuing to engage in "homosexual acts". Card makes a huge argument, in fact, of the "hate the sin, lover the sinner" variety, insisting he has nothing against gay people, just the sexual act. That's a common theme, but his take on it throws in this idea that homosexuality is something children grow out of, "Within the Church, the young person who experiments with homosexual behavior should be counseled with, not excommunicated. But as the adolescent moves into adulthood and continues to engage in sinful practices far beyond the level of experimentation, then the consequences within the Church must grow more severe and more long-lasting..."

That's bizarre, isn't it? Why does he keep conflating children and sex, particularly gay sex? Where does that come from?

Obviously this is all pure speculation, and as I said I have no love for Card, no matter what spurned this anti-gay bigotry, his religion or his personal experiences, or both.

But IF (and it is a big if!) he was himself a victim of abuse by a male family member, and came to conflate homosexuality with pedophilia that way, I can at least grasp where a little of his ranty reactionism is coming from, no matter how obviously wrong-headed it is.
posted by misha at 3:55 PM on February 14, 2013 [32 favorites]


In the 80s, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and after writing 'Streets of Philedelphia', Bruce Springsteen gave an interview to a gay magazine ensuring them that despite his hetero image he fully supported gay rights and gay marriage.

Here's the link, and, if I can be a jerk for a moment, I'll point out that it's from 1996.
posted by jeffen at 3:59 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, guys? Superman doesn't belong to you. If you don't like the writer, don't buy the books. Vote with your pocketbook.

There's such a wealth of other comics out there for you to buy, it's a terrible waste of your own time to burn calories on this.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:26 PM on February 14, 2013


Hey, guys? Superman doesn't belong to you. If you don't like the writer, don't buy the books. Vote with your pocketbook.

Superman's an icon who's much bigger than comic books that nobody reads. He's meant to be a symbol, and that should be a symbol of inclusiveness. Going back to the Springsteen thing, he knows he represents more than his music, so he acts in such a way that everyone is included in the wholesome all-American values he celebrates. Superman's writers should embody that too.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:34 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


People are already voting with their pocketbooks by not buying any DC stuff, all of it is selling terribly. I think it's pretty fair to get worked up about Superman being tacitly turned into a homophobe, same way a lot of people would get worked up if Hitler - basically a fantastical figure by now - was being retconned into a nice guy with some great ideas.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:45 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


LD Feral: "Why wouldn't y'alls want someone to write their religious fan-fiction, in comic book form? Modern era hey-sus arrives from a far-away celestial sphere to land in America, to save them all?"



Already done... Published by Marvel, no less!

(OK, I guess it wasn't "fan fic" really, so much as a new character, but... well... Yeah. I think I might just still have a copy in my stash of comics, somewhere.)
posted by symbioid at 4:46 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey, guys? Superman doesn't belong to you.

Superman doesn't belong to any of us. So it's no more a "waste of calories" to criticize Card than it is to defend him, eh?
posted by octobersurprise at 4:55 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Oh god I'm sorry I realise what I just did by bringing Hitler into the discussion, I honestly didn't mean to do that. Use whatever horrible figure from history you want.)
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:55 PM on February 14, 2013


People are already voting with their pocketbooks by not buying any DC stuff, all of it is selling terribly. I think it's pretty fair to get worked up about Superman being tacitly turned into a homophobe, same way a lot of people would get worked up if Hitler - basically a fantastical figure by now - was being retconned into a nice guy with some great ideas.

Every time somebody brings up the 'What if Hitler wrote this comic?' they should read Norman Spinrad's The Iron Dream, which is just that.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:57 PM on February 14, 2013


Ha! Yeah, I've read that, it was pretty lulzy in parts but surprisingly boring.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 5:04 PM on February 14, 2013


it was pretty lulzy in parts but surprisingly boring.

Nazi fiction was boring IRL. Moreso than TID, because being written in earnest by people who weren't Spinrad there were no lulz.
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on February 14, 2013


I've read The Iron Dream. It's a clever idea, but the joke pales after the first 50 pages. Worth reading but the last 100 or so pages of nothing but untermenschen killing is pretty dull.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:40 PM on February 14, 2013


Card was a brilliant writer once. Twenty or thirty years ago I'd have been delighted to hear that he was writing Superman. Now? Even leaving the political stuff to one side, his characters are all the same and he cannot tell a story.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:13 PM on February 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Spinrad's Bug Jack Baron is an awesome read but slightly jarring for anyone who has read Tramsmetropolitan as you'll realize how much Ellis took from it.
posted by Artw at 6:28 PM on February 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Men in the Jungle is worth it for your eyes rolling back into your head while you uncontrollably bellow "what the fuck am i reading?"
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 6:48 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll give the OSC's Superman a crack even though I'm not much of a Superman (or NuDC) fan.
Let's face it, is he really going to have that much freedom? Even if it is a short-run comic.

This isn't Dial H (erm... is that still going?).

Between editorial mandates and crossovers there's not going to be much of a chance for OSC to go all frothy and beat the living heck out of Green Lantern. Of course, as soon as Superman and Alan go at it in the inevitable heroes meet and fight story there will be one vocal group who will grab the bit between their teeth and proclaim Card is the Worst Thing Ever even through that is what super-heroes have done in the comics since Stan Lee was in short pants.

Besides, there are so many gay superheroes in comics these days Card would be the equivalent of the boy with his finger in the dyke. That's a tide he's not going to be able to stop.

(This petition is almost as much as a non-issue as the one to cancel Avengers Arena).
posted by Mezentian at 8:19 PM on February 14, 2013


This isn't Dial H (erm... is that still going?).

Only with China Mieville writing!
posted by Zed at 8:40 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


>He shouldn't lose his job over it unless it spills over INTO his job/compromises the job he's doing.

Nope, sorry. Writers are chosen by the quality of their ideas and their ability to communicate those ideas. Want to be a bigot and still write? Either keep it to yourself, become a barber or a crossing guard or something or keep writing and expect to be criticized and boycotted.

Justice flows in only one direction -- towards freedom and equality. It's not hypocrisy to point when authors want to limit others' freedom and to tell those authors to buy their own damn printing press and print on their own damn time if they're going to use their own freedoms to leverage against other people's freedom. I don't have to support it in any way, shape or form as long as there is no active suppression.

Culture has every right to say, "anti-freedom views are not acceptable." The government does not have that right. We're not talking about censorship, though. That not even on the table. We're talking about social consequences only.

OSC is so fracking backwards that it's like he hasn't even read any of his own most celebrated novels. The moral of the original Ender's trilogy is that there are species that are so totally foreign that there is no almost hope for mutual communication. Species that have totally different forms of social structure, procreation and different ways of experiencing the universe. They commit atrocities and genocide against each other. And yet, somehow, through mutual understanding and empathy, even genocide can be forgiven.

"But the gays? THE GAYS?! And the buttsecks and the marriage?! Genocide is one thing, but gay marriage?! Now that's unforgivable, amiright?!"

But, the #1 reason why OSC shouldn't write Superman is because in the last decade he's become an unreadable hack.
posted by Skwirl at 8:57 PM on February 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Superman's an icon ... that should be a symbol of inclusiveness.

I have a bridge to sell you.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:59 PM on February 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


popping in here to re-post an aside to the "ender's game is an apology to hitler" story
posted by gusandrews at 9:15 PM on February 14, 2013


And just to make things interesting, I found this today on Card's Twitter feed:

Back when I sang along w/ "At Seventeen" in the car I wouldn't have believed someday Janis would be a dear friend. http://goo.gl/o1yNS -OSC

Cognitive dissonance much?
posted by e-man at 10:18 PM on February 14, 2013


Also, first chance I get, I'm taking the remaining Card books off my bookshelf (just the Alvin Maker series is left, which I've been waiting for him to finish, but I suddenly find I just don't care any more) and tossing them in the recycling bin. Who knows, maybe some shredded paper fragments will find their way into a future issue of Xtra West.
posted by e-man at 10:23 PM on February 14, 2013


Hey, guys? Superman doesn't belong to you. If you don't like the writer, don't buy the books. Vote with your pocketbook.


But all of the discussion about this is an extension of voting with one's pocketbook; it's not inappropriate to reinforce one's not-buying-something with an explanation of the reasons one is not-buying-something, and sharing those reasons. If we have a right to decide what to buy (or not buy), we also have a right to explain why to anyone who will listen.

And this isn't just about venting spleens; there are probably plenty of people who have read and enjoyed Ender's Game but didn't know about Card's homophobia, and whose decision to further support him might be influenced by having it brought to their attention. This is probably even useful feedback to DC, in that it tells them how much of their audience considers the whole bigotry thing a dealbreaker.
posted by DiscountDeity at 5:37 AM on February 15, 2013 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the "vote with your money, otherwise shut up" people also object to Yelp and Amazon reviews. A boycott is an extension of the same principle.
posted by happyroach at 9:11 AM on February 15, 2013 [5 favorites]


As an old Marvel fan, but way behind the times, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me something about Captain America's storyline, along the theme of having to get caught up to today's world ( I understand that reference!). Have any comics really gone into any depth with how Cap is handling all the advances in the rights of women, gays and minorities?

I feel like he would naturally be more conservative in his viewpoint, just coming from his frame of reference, but being a man of high moral character would support equal rights for everyone once he got his head around the issues involved. He seems to be okay working under Nick Fury and beside Black Widow in the Avengers movie, but is that true to the comics? I can't see him using racial slurs; does he ever have to consciously check paternal or patronizing thinking, or is he just unfailingly courteous and respectful of women? Has Cap ever even met an openly gay person, let alone a fellow superhero like Northstar?

Just seems like those areas would be a goldmine for creative writers to explore, hopefully with sensitivity and thoughtfulness, and I'd love to read comics like that, if they are out there.
posted by misha at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because making fun of Orson Scott Card never goes out of style, a comic.

Yes, that was certainly a delightful joke about Card's bigotry by Ryan Sohmer, the webcomics industry's most vile misogynist.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Has Cap ever even met an openly gay person, let alone a fellow superhero like Northstar?

Yes.
Cap would roll with it. I mean he was okay with Ms Marvel's rape and Yellowjacket and the bi Eternal whose name I forget but she could transmute matter.
He mostly ignores the issues.

Which is why he is on an alien planet with an adopted son these days.

Ryan Sohmer, the webcomics industry's most vile misogynist.
Big call. Citation needed, since I have seen some vile stuff at Right Wing websites.
posted by Mezentian at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2013


Yes, that was certainly a delightful joke about Card's bigotry by Ryan Sohmer, the webcomics industry's most vile misogynist.

Oh, word? I don't really know anything about the guy - someone shared the one comic on my facebook feed and I thought it was funny. That sucks that he's a shitty dude.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:42 AM on February 15, 2013


Culture has every right to say, "anti-freedom views are not acceptable." The government does not have that right. We're not talking about censorship, though. That not even on the table. We're talking about social consequences only.

Culture has every right to say anti-freedom actions are not acceptable. Non-governmental actors are just as capable of censorship as the government.

"Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. Censorship by the government is unconstitutional.

In contrast, when private individuals or groups organize boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove, their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme. Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period. But these private censorship campaigns are best countered by groups and individuals speaking out and organizing in defense of the threatened expression."

http://www.aclu.org/free-speech/what-censorship

I'm all for people boycotting OSC. Personally, I boycott products from Israel, anything Chris Brown is associated with, and if I'd bought anything from DC since the New 52 reboot, I'd probably boycott this, too. But if we're going to do that, we should at least own the censorship. There's real cognitive dissonance when the Left talks about media it finds "problematic."
posted by Amanojaku at 3:33 PM on February 15, 2013


I think it's a bit ridiculous to equate how I don't spend $8, with the actions of an elite group of Hollywood stars, directors, and producers collaborating with a congressional committee and federal law enforcement to ruin careers.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:44 PM on February 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


Private pressure groups, not the government, promulgated and enforced the infamous Hollywood blacklists during the McCarthy period

And if and/or when wealthy and powerful businesses (abetted by state and federal agencies) organize campaigns of intimidation against people like Card, you will have a point.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:22 PM on February 15, 2013


Zeus Comics, one of the better comic shops here in Dallas, will not be carrying the print editions of the Card issues when they're released.

Three more stores decide not to stock Card’s Superman comic [Updated]
posted by homunculus at 3:48 PM on February 16, 2013


Am I the only person who doesn't go looking for an author or actor's personal views,and just enjoy the book or movie for what it is?
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 2:37 PM on February 17, 2013


I think it's a bit ridiculous to equate how I don't spend $8, with the actions of an elite group of Hollywood stars, directors, and producers collaborating with a congressional committee and federal law enforcement to ruin careers.

and

And if and/or when wealthy and powerful businesses (abetted by state and federal agencies) organize campaigns of intimidation against people like Card, you will have a point.

Right. Argue with the intended extreme example, and not the ACLU's base definition of censorship. Like I said: cognitive dissonance. It's cool. It's totally not censorship because Card totally deserves it. I'm sure "only wealthy and powerful businesses and the media elite are capable of censorship" is exactly what the ACLU meant, even if they didn't say anything like that.
posted by Amanojaku at 9:25 PM on February 17, 2013


I'm sure "only wealthy and powerful businesses and the media elite are capable of censorship" is exactly what the ACLU meant, even if they didn't say anything like that.

Who exactly are you quoting with quotation marks here? If you're claiming a paraphrase, you're doing so badly and the quotation marks are unneeded. If you're not paraphrasing, then you're making shit up to argue against, in which case you're arguing in bad faith. You're arguing in bad faith anyway because the two passages you quoted said nothing about whether Card deserves to be censored, only about whether individual consumers have the ability in this case to suppress the expression of a best-selling novelist and the second largest entertainment company.

But the base definition posed by the ACLU uses three key words, "Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others." In order to claim censorship, you need to show that the consumers in question have suppressed or imposed anything on DC comics, or are capable of doing so.

This distinction is explicitly addressed later on in the passage you quote "... their actions are protected by the First Amendment, although they can become dangerous in the extreme." The ACLU goes on to obliquely cite the MPA as an example. Pointing out that the MPA was an "elite group" (my words) isn't a statement that "only ... are capable of censorship" (your words). It's possible for a non-elite group to "succeed in imposing personal political or moral values on others" (the ACLU definition.) But that's not the example you, or the ACLU have brought to the table.

In fact, the Hollywood blacklists were not an example of a consumer boycott at all, they were imposed by congress, the MPAA, the SAG, and executives in the studio system. The ACLU is actually factually incorrect in that the Hollywood Ten were indicted for Contempt of Congress before the blacklist was imposed. Howard Hughes conducted one of the largest purges when he bought RKO. Between Congress issuing indictments on the one hand, and Godwyn, Mayer, and Warner committing to a purge on the other, the Hollywood blacklists are just not a good example of consumer sensibilities run amok.

Back to the definition, it's my view that it's only meaningful to talk about "censorship" when there is substantial political or economic muscle behind the attempt to impose moral sensibility on expression. If I had that muscle, a fair number of my favorite characters and storylines would not have been in production hell over the last decade or so. But I don't, so the comics industry publishes what they want to publish, and I spend my entertainment dollars on something else.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:23 AM on February 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If we're going to entertain the notion that individual choices valued at $8.00 are censorship, then should we not entertain the notion that individual choices valued at $0.08 or $0.008 are also censorship? Did I, in fact, censor the Daily Mail this morning when looking at my Google News page by clicking on a link to the Washington Post instead?

Once you remove the elements of power and coercion from the definition of censorship, then you're defined censorship as inclusive of just about every economic action we might take over the course of a day.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:39 AM on February 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


But the base definition posed by the ACLU uses three key words, "Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are "offensive," happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others." In order to claim censorship, you need to show that the consumers in question have suppressed or imposed anything on DC comics, or are capable of doing so.

This is entirely circular. By your emphasis, there's no such thing as "attempted or failed censorship." If it works, it's censorship, and if it doesn't, it's not. That's obviously not the intent of the quote. We can't know whether this will be successful enough to have any kind of impact on DC, but if the people who are against DC hiring Card didn't think it would have an effect, what's the point of all this? If it's just a matter of individual choice, why is it more notable than your Daily Mail v. WaPo selection?

Of course consumers are capable of "imposing" their opinions: otherwise, there's no point to collective action. Do a Find for the word "boycott" in this thread. What's the goal of a boycott if not to, in this instance, have DC either fire Card, or at least never hire him again? And why should they do that? Because people disagree with things he's said and written? And what do you think the ACLU would call that?

So the elements of "power and coercion" haven't been removed at all: the power stems from collective action, and the goal is to coerce DC into no longer giving Card work. Considering how much the Left relies on this concept, I find it disingenuous that we all suddenly become blind to the idea in circumstances like these.

That's why your personal WaPo/Daily Mail selection is irrelevant -- there aren't multiple angry articles about it. And that's precisely why this has nothing to do with individual consumers any more. If you're writing a couple of Guardian articles, Tweeting about it, getting a response from DC in Newsrama, or Bleedingcool, or Thinkprogress, or whatever, we've long since abandoned that pretense.

Speaking more generally, the usual argument that gets trotted out at times like these is "Freedom of speech isn't freedom from criticism or consequences." That's somewhat true; if your consequences are "Here's why Card's arguments are bullshit," then you've answered bad speech with good speech. On the other hand, if your consequences are that Card shouldn't find work in the future based on the things he's said, then your understanding of free speech is badly, badly flawed.

Make no mistake: one person buying up all the copies of a book they find offensive in order to burn them is censorship, no giant corporations or governments involved. So if you want to censor Card because things he's said offend your politics, fine. I really don't care for his positions or his writing. But at least have the intellectual honesty to own up to what it is you're doing.

Also: Good Grief, don't focus on the MPAA example so much. I only included it so as to not seem like I was quoting selectively.
posted by Amanojaku at 2:55 PM on February 18, 2013


By your emphasis, there's no such thing as "attempted or failed censorship." If it works, it's censorship, and if it doesn't, it's not. That's obviously not the intent of the quote.

Do you believe that there's no such thing as attempted murder?
posted by Etrigan at 3:04 PM on February 18, 2013


Do you believe that there's no such thing as attempted murder?

I think you're misunderstanding that line. My point is that there is a censorship equivalent of attempted murder, and that "In order to claim censorship, you need to show that the consumers in question have suppressed or imposed anything on DC comics, or are capable of doing so" fails to allow for that possibility. So your question would be better directed to CBrachyrhynchos.
posted by Amanojaku at 3:13 PM on February 18, 2013


That's obviously not the intent of the quote.

Then the quote doesn't mean what it says in plain English, and I just don't buy that.

We can't know whether this will be successful enough to have any kind of impact on DC, but if the people who are against DC hiring Card didn't think it would have an effect, what's the point of all this? If it's just a matter of individual choice, why is it more notable than your Daily Mail v. WaPo selection?

Of course it has an impact. So does making a choice on the Google News page. But I don't consider merely depriving a company a fraction of its revenue to be equivalent to an industry-wide blacklist imposed by people at the highest level of power within an industry in response to congressional indictments.

Do a Find for the word "boycott" in this thread. What's the goal of a boycott if not to, in this instance, have DC either fire Card, or at least never hire him again?

To direct our dollars to people and products we can agree with is a key one. Whether DC chooses to give flagship publications to Card in the future is largely irrelevant to me. Whether the writers and artists that I like, that I put my money behind, stay in print another year and have future work picked up by publishers is more important.

Good Grief, don't focus on the MPAA example so much. I only included it so as to not seem like I was quoting selectively.

The MPA (not MPAA) is the central example you cited in support of your argument, and pivotal to understanding the "extreme" actions claimed by the ACLU.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:29 PM on February 18, 2013


Do you believe that there's no such thing as attempted murder?

Not according to the ACLU, unless you're willing to argue that they inserted the word "succeed" into their definition randomly.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:31 PM on February 18, 2013


Then the quote doesn't mean what it says in plain English, and I just don't buy that.

It's not a legal brief, it's a statement of position. This strikes me as closer to a lawerly interpretation of the "letter" of the sentence over the spirit, rather than "plain English," but whatever. Clearly there's no resolving that.

But I don't consider merely depriving a company a fraction of its revenue to be equivalent to an industry-wide blacklist imposed by people at the highest level of power within an industry in response to congressional indictments.

Nowhere did anyone say it was equivalent. An example is not equivalence. An individual instance of censorship can be small, or it can be large. They're not equivalent, but they're both still censorship, yes?

And before you say it's just your individual choice of how to spend your eight bucks, let me remind you that the ACLU quote was in response to this sentence:

Culture has every right to say, "anti-freedom views are not acceptable." The government does not have that right. We're not talking about censorship, though. That not even on the table. We're talking about social consequences only.

Those "social consequences" are censorship. That's my point.

The MPA (not MPAA) is the central example you cited in support of your argument, and pivotal to understanding the "extreme" actions claimed by the ACLU.

This is starting to give me an eye-twitch. I didn't cite the example to support my argument: my argument is simply that the ACLU recognizes private censorship, and that's true whether or not you agree with the illustrative example the ACLU uses. There's also no evidence that the example they chose is what their position is based on. So if you choose to argue the origins of the Hollywood blacklist with the ACLU, have at it. It doesn't change my argument (again, in response to the sentence quoted above: "Culture has every right...").

Anyway, besides the Hollywood blacklist, they also refer to "private individuals or groups organize[ing] boycotts against stores that sell magazines of which they disapprove" -- while protected by the First Amendment, they're still "private censorship campaigns." Your focus on the Hollywood blacklist is missing the forest for the trees, not unlike your singular focus on "succeed" above, and I'm genuinely baffled as to why this is a sticking point.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:15 PM on February 18, 2013


Nowhere did anyone say it was equivalent. An example is not equivalence. An individual instance of censorship can be small, or it can be large. They're not equivalent, but they're both still censorship, yes?

No. If you remove the elements of power and coercion from the definition of censorship, you're forced to conclude that every economic choice we might make is an act of censorship. You've defined censorship as the natural product of any market transaction in which any individual who makes a choice between alternate goods or services is a censor.

Those "social consequences" are censorship. That's my point.

Is it censorship when a company creates a product I don't want, and I choose not to buy it? Am I a censor for buying Girl Scout Cookies but not Boy Scout Popcorn? What about for buying a salad rather than pizza?

Your focus on the Hollywood blacklist is missing the forest for the trees, not unlike your singular focus on "succeed" above, and I'm genuinely baffled as to why this is a sticking point.

The entire definition depends on force and coercion, not just the word succeed, as I already pointed out. If you remove "succeed" from the definition you still need to show that I have "imposed" or "suppressed" anything about Card or DC editorial. And the historical fact is, I have not. In spite of never buying a Card novel he's a best-selling author on Amazon, and in spite of not buying DC Comics they've continued moving in an editorial direction I dislike.

So it certainly looks like they are free to chase whatever market they choose. It doesn't include me.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:21 AM on February 19, 2013








I would love to chime in with something intelligent about homunculus's link but who am I kidding I just got totally distracted by the "super-kissing" link and imagining what it's like to kiss Superman
posted by Greg Nog at 12:22 PM on February 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Based on Superman II nobody knows due to Super Amnesia.
posted by Artw at 12:34 PM on February 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


It goes way further than kissing, but...Man of Krypton, Woman of Kleenex?
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 PM on February 19, 2013


Oh wow, Larry Niven. Now it's like I'm 14 again.
posted by localroger at 6:52 PM on February 19, 2013


Is it okay to like Millar's work if you're fully aware that it's total adolescent wish fulfillment trash? Because I just double-fisted Secret Service like a jumbo bag of Doritos.
posted by whuppy at 7:01 AM on February 20, 2013




Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex always felt like a failure of imagination to me.

I have this secret theory that no one's ever talked about sex with Superman - either they assume Superman already knows, or Clark Kent is just so whitebread and aw-shucks that no one really wants to broach the subject from him. So everyone's assuming that Kryptonian physiology is identical to that of Earth humans in every way, and since he's never had a reason to think different (and he doesn't use his X-ray vision to look at people's genitals because that would be an intrusion), Superman just assumes that the anatomy of Earth humans is identical to his own as well.

And then finally he comes clean with Lois and they have a courtship and marriage and then it's their wedding night and he comes out of the bathroom with his bathrobe on and his chiseled good looks and he's a confident, passionate lover and at last he opens his robe and there's a wet sound like someone stirring macaroni and his huge, swollen, barbed pedipalps emerge quivering from his abdominal cavity, their cymbia stridulating in the instinctual Kryptonian mating display, preparing to scoop his viscous sperm from his body and deposit it into his mate's hot slick epigyne. Some of the bristly hairs on his pedipalps are already matted with musky-smelling wetness, showing his eagerness and arousal.

He's sort of confused by his new wife's reaction and the last three panels of the comic are just close-ups of Lois, her eyes wide in horror, screaming and screaming and screaming.

Yeah, that's the secret theory I have.

Little treat for those of you still reading the thread.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:52 AM on February 21, 2013 [28 favorites]


Should author be left out of Ender's Game PR? Some execs think so

I can't help wondering if there will be protests at Ender's Game ala The Passions Of The Christ or that other Christ movie from 25 years ago in which Jesus got his freak on with tarty Mary Magdelane.

Card seems to be the highest profile anti-anti gay marriage target out there these days.
posted by Mezentian at 7:58 AM on February 21, 2013


A less-publicized but even-more-significant event in the current "Batwoman" comic raises the possibility of an ABSOLUTE WORST CASE SCENARIO...

SPOILERS for Batwoman


The openly gay Batwoman (aka Katherine “Kate” Kane) has just proposed to her girlfriend, police detective Maggie Sawyer, who is one of DC Comics' earliest gay characters, and was originally a character in Superman comics who 'moved to Gotham City'. So in the generalized DC Universe, Superman knows Maggie Sawyer. The last time a DC Superhero was about to get 'Gay Married' (Earth 2's Green Lantern), his fiance was killed off before it could happen. So Card actually COULD write up a scenario where Superman interferes and prevents this specific "abomination" (in Card's words) from occurring... with extreme prejudice (all meanings of the word). I'm not convinced, looking at a lot of DC's other recent content, that this is an impossible scenario. But this may be the one piece of insane speculation I LEAST want to be right on.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:18 PM on February 21, 2013




Card's superman book is out of continuity, so as far as it's concerned the "current events" of the DC universe don't exist.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:45 PM on February 21, 2013


one of the webcomics about comic books has 'a message from a special guest'

So many word balloons.
Chris Claremont ghost-wrote that, right?

/loves me some CC X-men. Modern X-men not so much.
posted by Mezentian at 12:53 AM on February 22, 2013


Also, how long has Maggie Sawyer been a lesbian? I don't always follow DC closely, so this may be a New 52 thing or not, and it may be stereotyping the "hard/many woman as a lesbian thing" (see The Question, Batwoman) or not. But it seems like it is.

And, to me, that kind of stereotyping (and I recall the crewcut and dungarees era of lesbians) is probably worse than letting one noted writer write one story as part of an Elseworlds title.
But I am not a lesbian, and I may be missing DC heroines who are not toughguys.
posted by Mezentian at 1:05 AM on February 22, 2013






If I were a comic book retailer I'd be well and truly annoyed with DC. I could carry the book, feel bad about it, and irritate some of my customers; or I could choose to not carry it and irritate other customers - who may be perfectly fine people who haven't thought things through or just want to complete their collection. It's a no-win situation for retailers: they'll probably lose some customers no matter what they do.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:22 PM on February 26, 2013


Joe in Australia: I don't see this as all that different from the way comic book stores typically operate. When I was a collector, I had a pull-list of a half-dozen titles out of hundreds of available items. I routinely adjusted my purchasing based on whether I was satisfied with what I was buying.

And on the other end, comic book shops usually can't carry everything because they don't have enough display space. What they don't carry can usually be purchased as a special order or request. I suspect that many of the stores that won't display that issue will be willing to fill pull-box requests.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:13 PM on February 26, 2013


Wouldn't all mainstream comic book stores typically carry a Superman issue written by a high-profile author?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 PM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't all mainstream comic book stores typically carry a Superman issue written by a high-profile author?

In Australia, our comics used to come by steam tramper.
Maybe stuff has changed. Pull-lists used to be for the harder core fans.
Me? I used to get my comics from Newspower!

Like the good old days when it weren't fans, but spinner racks.

Of course I haven't seen a Random Anything comic in years.
posted by Mezentian at 6:55 AM on February 27, 2013


Wouldn't all mainstream comic book stores

I think I see your issue.
posted by Mezentian at 6:56 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't all mainstream comic book stores typically carry a Superman issue written by a high-profile author?

Typically yes. But not ordering copies to put on the display shelf doesn't mean that a person can't request a copy.

It's also a limited-issue side product from a company that has over 50 titles in their main universe. And since the American comics market is over-saturated with limited-issue revisioning, reboots, retcons, reconstructions, deconstructions, revivals, and recreations, (another reason why I refuse to deal) I don't think it will be a big deal for retailers. Most regulars are going to buy their monthly budget of titles regardless.

Now if a retailer decided it just wasn't going to carry ANY of those 50 titles from the main universe, a few dozen across various imprints, the graphic novels, or the trade paperbacks, THAT would be a big deal.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:28 AM on February 27, 2013


And now there is an Adam WarRock song.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on February 27, 2013


It's also worth pointing out that NOM called for boycots of Starbucks and General Mills, while the AFA called for a boycott on both Archie Comics and Toys R' Us for carrying Archie comics. The AFA just trolled the news again this week with a claim that Geico is promoting bestiality.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:11 PM on February 27, 2013


I haven't seen substantiation but some tweets by Jeff Parker and Mark Waid suggest that DC has yanked Card's story.
posted by Zed at 11:17 AM on March 5, 2013


Substantiation.
posted by Zed at 11:25 AM on March 5, 2013


Twitter is telling me Sprouse has left the project.
posted by Artw at 12:04 PM on March 5, 2013




What happened to Orson Scott Card?

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.
posted by mediated self at 8:12 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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