Orson Scott Card and Cognitive Dissonance, revisited

So Orson Scott Card is in the news again, this time because his most famous work, Ender’s Game, is finally coming to a theater near you. As happened a few months ago when D.C. tapped Mr. Card to write a Superman Issue, calls for a boycott have started to ring out from pro-equality and LGTB groups across the country. In a direct response, Mr. Card published the sort of self-serving non-apology usually only seen by politicians running for national office after royally pissing off a major block of potential voters. And his plea that we all tolerate his intolerance only works to deepen my amazement over the cognitive dissonance he has been unconsciously displaying for at least the last thirteen years.

In the wake of the last boycott threat, D.C. bowed to pressure and cancelled their plans to have Mr. Card write for Superman. While it is nearly impossible that this new boycott campaign will stop the studio from releasing Ender’s Game, it could have a very large impact on its performance at the box office, (although it will be interesting to see if a counter-protest in the same vein as the far right’s reaction to the Chick-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby scandals ends up offsetting the work of groups like Geeks OUT).

This is obviously a very emotionally charged topic, and the question of whether or not one should boycott the work of a creative because of political disagreements is in many cases a very personal one. At Convergence last weekend, this very topic came up on a panel I sat on called “The Top 100 Sci-Fi books to Read Before You Die” with Ender’s Game being mentioned by name. One panelist was concerned about keeping any of Mr. Card’s books on his shelf because of the message it might send to his own LGTB friends and family members, while a gay audience member said he had at least three of his books in his living room, because he believed in judging a work on its own merits.

My personal answer to the question is a little more complicated, as I tried to explain during the panel. I will probably go and see Ender’s Game for myself, but have no issue with others making a different choice. I wrote a blog post about this topic a few months back that outlines my reasoning in greater detail. You can find it here.


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