Tricky but not impossible to solve the moral calculus of if/when an artist's personal behavior should influence your opinion of the work. For twenty years reader friends of every orientation have urged me to try the multiple-award-winning modern sci-fi classic Ender's Game [Kindle] -- most recently praised by the gay twink mountaineer Cason Crane and the filthy-mouthed, unicorn-riding homophobe-slayer/NFL kicker Chris Kluwe -- but I will never read a book by Orson Scott Card. Here's why, in his own words:
"Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books... to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society." (1990)
" 'gay marriage' ...marks the end of democracy in America...Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage." (2008)
people become gay "through a disturbing seduction or rape or molestation or abuse." (2004)
gay marriage "will be the bludgeon [liberals] use to make sure that it becomes illegal to teach traditional values in the schools." (2012)
As a great-great-grandson of Brigham Young, Card insists you tolerate his religious views, while he uses his celebrity to tell lies about you and mislead others into denying you your rights. No wonder the gay fanboys at Geeks Out have called for a boycott of the movie version starring Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, Hailee Steinfeld, and, as Ender, the boy from Hugo. It's coming November 1 and Card is a co-producer.
Jaded sophisticates may think it's quaint for a handful of queer nerds to battle the Goliath of a major studio's big holiday release. Yet the group has already had a success in exposing Card's toxic views across widespread media coverage. (Geeks Out have greeted the inevitable pro-Card, antigay backlash with good humor, compiling the 20 vilest comments under the heading "Trolls gonna troll. Skip on, Skippers!") To a tiny degree, the studio got the message: They disinvited Card from appearing on their panel at Comic Con.
Earlier this year, Card wrote an installment of the Adventures of Superman comic, and the project's illustrator Chris Sprouse quit after fans protested Card's involvement. DC Comics has put that episode on hold, perhaps indefinitely.
Readers who feel Card is being punished for an unpopular belief or a mere difference of opinion need to go back and study the above quotes one and two again. What does "cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society" mean to you?
Readers who think the world is full of double standards are right. I still love and recommend the magnificent novel Growth of the Soil even though decades later Knut Hamsun became an unrepentent Hitler supporter. Bad people can make great art. But we don't have to pay them royalties while they kick us in the face. Nor should we sit in silence while they spew lies about us.
If you're inclined, sign the Skip Ender's Game pledge.