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March 01 2007

Orson Scott Card praises Firefly, Firefly fans. "Until you realize that they're not just passionate, they're usually also very smart. They're the kind of people who decide something should happen and then take action to make it so -- the kind of people you wish were more prevalent in businesses and government agencies when you want them to accomplish something important to you." OSC devoted part of his weekly column to the "Done the Impossible" documentary.

OSC appeared in the documentary himself, and has been a staunch supporter of Firefly.

I need to find some O.S.C. to read... I'll guess he can be my friend now. ;-)
Enders Game (the original, not the sequels) has had a profound, positive impact on everyone I know who has read it. I quite enjoyed it myself.

Then I read a disturbing treatise which twisted the whole book as some kind of nazi propoganda - sorry, I don't care to recall the details, but they were quite involved. Whatever. I also enjoyed Ayn Rand while avoiding political conversion.

I take OSC's endorsement of Firefly and Serenity as a net positive, and appreciated his comments both online and in the documentary.
I quite like OSC's work. Ender's Game is a fantastic story, and while the subsequent books in the series can get a little preachy, I still found them a compelling read. I'm currently working on the companion "Shadow" series that follows the same story but from the point of view of another character (Bean), and I find it just as interesting.

So, yeah -- as far as I'm concerned, having OSC's endorsement is definitely a Good Thing(tm).
Enders Game! Gaaaahhh! I _had_ a copy that was given to me used, but the book was in bad shape and I tossed it. Perhaps I should have read the "Mrs. Reynolds" chapter, got hooked, read the rest, became completely, totally obsessed... Oh wait. I have Firefly for that.

And apparently so does Orson Scott Card. Cool.

Now I have another book for my next B&N trip. More Cool.
They're the kind of people who decide something should happen and then take action to make it so

Like the recent BBB put on at a days notice...
I get the anger at Star Wars' space opera over-shadowing traditional scifi ( i get it but disagree) but I really don't follow why he lumps that with Star Trek which (in the original series) was by far the most true-to-form scifi show; half the episodes might as well have been asimov short stories, exploring scientific and philosophical ideas topically week by week...

He has some very strange and very strong political ideas that I feel like might influence some of his critical writing... but I don't think he's quite Ayn Rand when it comes to his own fiction works.
Oh, gods, please don't mention the A-word in here again or I'll have to go and swallow poison...

Loved OSC's nice words about Firefly and Browncoats, though.
Too bad OSC has some extremely problematic views of us gay folks. To wit:

http://www.nauvoo.com/library/card-hypocrites.html

And it doesn't end there, kids.

[ edited by rjl on 2007-03-01 07:14 ]

[ edited by rjl on 2007-03-01 16:37 ]
Ah, crap, rjl, thanks for posting that, I think, but I kinda wish I hadn't read it - it's left me with quite the sour feeling. Yuck - the "hypocrites of homosexuality" indeed.

It was a most distasteful look inside the man. Ah well, it's better to know than not, I guess.

I'll just go now and take a long cleansing shower...
: ( sigh...
rjl, you beat me to it.
If you want to avoid OSC's preachy Mormon-ness, don't read Lost Boys, even though it's really well written. The Ender series (and Bean series) are amazing and I recommend them.

However, if you want to read a fabulously wonderful work that deals with homosexuality (and a healthy dose of Mormonism) you should pick up the two-part play Angels in America by Tony Kushner.
I keep thinking his praise of Firefly, and that of other conservatives, must somehow be something, somehow, unifying. And yet my experience on the Serenity official board did not bear that out at all.
It figures. Every time OSC says something positive about Firefly and it gets posted on here, someone shows up to attack his political views. Well, I don't exactly agree with Joss Whedon when it comes to politics, but I'm able to set that aside and enjoy his stories and commentary. It's a shame that some here can't bring themselves to go and do likewise.

Mods...whatever happened to playing the ball, not the man?
Thank you BAFfler. You are not alone.
I'll say what I said the last time Orson's views got discussed.

I can't help but feel that this thread is somewhat veering away from the original subject.


I have no desire to see this thread get derailed.
Joss' politics, such as they are, embrace equality. Maybe you don't agree with who he votes for - but I think that's a different kettle of fish.
It's gracious of you, BAffler and Anna von Ononov, to bless Joss with your attention, when it could be so much better occupied by great artists who are in your political comfort zone, like...well, I can't actually think of any comparable. But there must be some. Help me out.
Eh, I don't agree with all of OSC's politics. I think with some of what he says it's not even just "opinion" there's a clear right and wrong, and he's wrong.

But it doesn't affect any of the books I've read by him, the Ender and Alvin Maker series have had strong themes of accepting other cultures and different ideas, and I agree with that.

He obviously has good taste when it comes to what he enjoys to watch.

If I wrote people off because I've disagreed with them strongly, I would have trouble functioning in the world. I wouldn't be able to talk to some of my older relatives. He says things I really don't like, and don't agree with. But that doesn't mean I can't enjoy him as a person, and enjoy the fiction that he creates, or somehow changes my enjoyment before I knew his political views.

Just not sure the guy should be looked at like a monster because he's not perfect and happens to be wrong about that one issue. The world changes and some people aren't ready for it.



Sorry if this is off topic, but I'm not sure that it is, as the story is about how highly he thinks of us.

[ edited by Odysseus on 2007-03-01 09:56 ]
dreamlogic, I think you left off the "oooh Buuurn!" at the end of that remark.
Excellent article, C.A. Bridges. I enjoyed that read very much. An interesting look upon the fans of Joss.
I've enjoyed some of OSC's stories ... not all, because I'm just not engaged by stuff centering around kids. But he writes beautifully. I had no idea he was personally such a controversial figure. But he is a well respected talent in the world of SciFi writers, so his endorsement of Firefly and Serenity can only be of the good.
Although I did shudder at the comparison to Ayn Rand & I'm glad I simply don't have time to pursue that one. Apologies to whomever said "please, not the "A" word. :)
And can I just say .... (well I'm gonna say it, so never mind)... I tried for a year to sign on to this site before I finally caught a break, it was always closed when I tried. And it has already been well worth the wait. Not to mention the loss of sleep.
I still appreciate OSC's words about Firefly, just as I am interested in what Jonah Goldberg has to say about Serenity and Firefly, as I am in almost anyone one else whose worldview is vastly different from mine, but who writes well about these works I like so much. I do, however, consider the source when I consider the praise, and I appreciate hearing additional information about the source to better understand their opinions.

From my perspective, the "hypocrites of homosexuality" and the other stuff in his nauvoo.com article doesn't represent a different "political view" from my own so much as it expresses hate and is gay bashing - and it is relevant to mention this other aspect of the writer in question. And btw he's not stating it in a political context - the article is posted at a religious website and he's saying that it's doctrine about sin handed down from the god he believes in...

I don't think it is out of the way, or somehow "playing the man" and not his words to point out what other words the man has written, to state our opinion of those words, and to mention how vastly different those words are from anything that would ever be said or supported by the man whose works we gather here to appreciate and celebrate.

Joss is, after all, the man who changed the spell in the Buffy episode "Smashed" from two guys kissing to two guys go-go dancing in cages because he did not want the episode to suggest that witching them to kiss would be negative.

It seems as relevant to mention and discuss this stuff as thoroughly as in any other discussion that is, shall we say "inspired" by hundreds of other whedonesque posts in the course of the average month...
Well, whatever you think of his views, as an author in the genre for over 30 years Orson Scott Card knows his sci-fi so in that respect his opinion is worthwhile.

The first three 'Tales of Alvin Maker' and the first two 'Ender' books are great ('Speaker for the Dead' especially I found to be moving and humane which made it all the more difficult to understand his personal views when they became apparent later on).

Just not sure the guy should be looked at like a monster because he's not perfect and happens to be wrong about that one issue

That's a fair point but it's been my experience that people that are 'wrong' on that one issue are very often 'wrong' on a whole lot of other issues too (equality is equality whether it be for gay people, black people, female people or whoever else). It's far from always the case but i've found prejudice against one group is indicative of a certain mindset.

Also, regarding appreciating his art, to me the question isn't whether he's a monster (of course he isn't) or evil or even wrong, he has his views and he's completely entitled to them. For me the question is just "Do I want to put money in the pocket of someone who holds those views ?". I decided not a few years ago (pity cos I may never find out how 'The Tales of Alvin Maker' ends ;) but that's obviously a personal decision and different for everyone - in fairness it's worth saying, and probably worthy of respect in some ways, that clearly Card himself doesn't feel that way unless he's totally unaware of Joss' political leanings and views on homosexuality among other issues.

(and I agree with ajay42, Star Trek for all its faults - and as a fan I still consider them many - has, in all its incarnations IMO (though less so the movies) asked tough questions about the world and our place in it like the best sci-fi since the genre began. You don't get episodes banned from the BBC for years - 'The High Ground', an IRA allegory - without being socially and philosophically relevant or by merely being space-opera)
I don't think it is out of the way, or somehow "playing the man" and not his words to point out what other words the man has written, to state our opinion of those words, and to mention how vastly different those words are from anything that would ever be said or supported by the man whose works we gather here to appreciate and celebrate.

Thank you, QuoterGal. This discussion happens every time someone posts a link to OSC's reiteration of his love for Firefly/Serenity. And each time the mods - somewhat understandably - get worried about comments bashing the writer. But what you've said is exactly what needs to be said - you have to consider the source. And in this case, OSC is a SF writer of note whose personal beliefs are basically the antithesis of Joss' - so your examples of Jonah Goldberg and that change Joss made in "Smashed" are perfect.

Thank you.
This subject is starting to slew into a subject I'm not comfortable with discussing.

Could we please get back to topic?
You is right welcome, crossoverman, and may I say I always look forward to your posts, which are usually as concise and to-the-point as mine are longwinded.

I dunno quite how to say this, Madhatter, but I'm not sure that this is off-topic, as many threads consist of varied discussions in all different directions simply initiated by or circling 'round a post. I'm sorry you're not comfortable with it, but couldn't you simply not discuss it, then?
You know, it's perfectly possible to discuss someone's work or political views without resorting to name calling. Which is what rjl did early on in the thread. That's not cool. That's what makes threads derail. Talk in a civil way, please.
I actually think that Joss would probably be very happy to hear that people with views radically different to his enjoy his works. I mean, isn't that the point - to introduce Jossian thinking to people who would not ordinarily think that way?

Due to their viewing of Whedonverse material, perhaps their next decision might be influenced in some small way by the ideas (ideals even) of open-mindedness and equality...
I posted this here for what I imagine is the same reason OSC's interview was featured in the Done the Impossible DVD - OSC is a big name in science fiction and his opinion carries some weight, if not as much as it did before controversies over his religious beliefs became more widespread.

I have met the man and I can attest he is charming and frighteningly intelligent, and apparently open to other people believing as they will since he has never tried to arrest the frequent and spirited conversations on the subject in his own forums and his son has spoken in favor of civil unions.

Whatever OSC's beliefs, he is still a brilliant writer who understands how to write compelling, engaging stories, and his obvious love of Firefly cheers me up, partly because I love it when people I admire like each other and partly because his enthusiastic recommendation might help attract an audience which might not have heard about it otherwise, and repeated viewings of Firefly might change a few minds about family and inclusiveness.
It is very hard to discuss anything OSC writes that is not related to his political viewws without acknowledgng how uncomfortable his political views can be. I guess a corollary would be this: pick your favortie demon on the right or left, say Rush Limbaugh or Al Franken. And then consider that that person has complimentary things to say about Firefly or Buffy. Does that make you feel any better? In my case, I cannot separate the politics from the person, so the comments are hard to take outside the milieu in which that person normally operates. I'm grateful that OSC finds the browncoats so laudable, but you also have to read his comments through his political filters, which are made quite obvious: "What the camera turns away from, because it doesn't make for a funny spot on the evening news, are the earnest discussions among highly intelligent people. For it is within science fiction fandom that an entirely new system of critical thought emerged, and even though nowadays the ludicrously inappropriate university-born critical theories are being force-fit onto science fiction, the fact remains that science fiction grew up as a genre in a vibrant critical community consisting of the convention-going, fanzine-publishing readers who shaped the many views of what made this story good and that one bad. Largely ignored by nonparticipants, science fiction fandom became a self-aware literary community that was far more adaptive, effective, and creative than the one that ossified in the universities during the same period." That is, academics BAD, fans GOOD. He rightfully lauds the fans of Firefly but does so only by slagging off the academic community, and I find that pretty sad.
Well spoken, C.A.Bridges. You have no reason to apologize, you bought up a good point. Please take it with a grain of salt with the noise here. We fight and debate everything. It's our nature. Again, thank you for a great topic to beat our heads on:)
Well said, Dana5140. It is a shame that praise of the great fans of a great show like Firefly ends up framed in a fairly typical anti-intellectual-elite mode. (Although it's true that the academic community has only relatively recently come to see science fiction, or TV for that matter, as a viable area of study, that doesn't mean that it is a moribund pursuit with nothing to offer, as he seems to imply.)
Sorry Dana5140, dont get your point, I'm not sure being critical of the academic community is such a bad thing by itself, I'm sure most academics would agree to the fact that not everything coming out of academia is pure gold.

Seeing as how many posts on this board have focused on the less than stellar decision making capabilities of certain TV networks, a critical comment of the academic community doesn't seem so bad.

Reading the OSC article rjl linked to, being non-religious and in most ways non-uppsettable the quote that sticks in my mind is "I think I am annoying exactly the right people on both sides", If I had a motto that would be it.
The difference is that OSC didn't just say that he like Firefly, and leave you guessing about "why" he liked it. He has come up with his definition of what make good sci-fiction. His definition does not involve his other beliefs. You can agree or disagree with that definition, or talk about if Firefly falls into that category. But bringing up his other political views should not be the issue (or a side issue at best).

Lemme give an example. One of the famous quotes for Einstein is "God does not play at dice". That was his way of saying he did not want to believe in the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics. But his personal beliefs did not in any way interfere with the fact that q.m. works. I disagree with OSC with certain issues (and didn't like Bean being an uber-genius manipulating Ender, in the later books), but I can agree with him on what makes good science fiction.

Isn't that what the Whedonverse is about? Good AND evil in everyone? "The right to be wrong?" (And the occasional big explosion, because explosions are cool...)

[ edited by OneTeV on 2007-03-01 16:15 ]
Sorry, didn't mean to lower myself to name-calling. Will edit post accordingly.
If I didn't buy things from people I disagreed with I would most certainly be homeless and naked. Don't get me wrong, that has its upsides, but... I think its important that if we consider ourselves to be tolerant folks, we need to also tolerate the intolerant - in fact you get no points for being tolerant of people you agree with, its all about how you react to folks with whom you disagree. Lets keep this thread on track (he said, mixing a metaphor or two).

p.s. - QG - Ayn Rand! NO DON'T DO IT!!!
I don't particularly care about the political views of a writer whose work I buy/watch as long as I enjoy the story and I have indeed enjoyed all the O.S.C. books that I've read.
If I didn't buy things from people I disagreed with I would most certainly be homeless and naked.

I considered clothing myself and building a house out of only Orson Scott Card books so that I could prove how un-hypocritical I am by tearing them from my breast and knocking down the 'house'. It just seemed impractical ;).

Seriously though, I absolutely tolerate him and his right to hold his views and even (in fact especially) to express them and I also respect his talent as an author. I just reserve my right to not make people whose views I find repugnant any richer than they already are (just to Godwin all over everyone, if the proceeds from sales of 'Mein Kampf' helped make right-wing extremists richer, could any right thinking person - the other 'right' ;) - justify buying it ? Note i'm emphatically not comparing OSC to old 'uni-ball', just using an extreme example to make the point that everyone draws a line somewhere).

I think its important that if we consider ourselves to be tolerant folks, we need to also tolerate the intolerant...

Of course but that's the old liberal conundrum isn't it zeitgeist ? At what point should you stop tolerating and start actively taking against in order to defend liberal values ? Or is the only way to defend liberal values not to i.e. to let everyone do/say any and every thing they want ? Is the only winning move really not to play ?
Clearly I am less of a geek than I thought I was, as I've never heard of this man, but as C. A. Bridges says, can it be a bad thing if a 'big-name' introduces more people to the wonderful world of Firefly and Serenity?

As for his other views, I read the whole article. I'm gay and believe in God. I don't agree with him. Nonetheless, he clearly has well thought out and deeply held beliefs and, as far as I'm concerned, he's entitled to them.
I understand where you're coming from, Saje, and just to head this off, let's not get into an argument about whether Nazis were extreme left or extreme right ;) The winning move is to speak out in a peaceful fashion and avoid violence unless forced to defend against violence. Cue someone posting that violence solves nothing, cue response, cue name calling, bans a-plenty :) Kidding! There's hypocrisy aplenty (word of the day) on all ends of the political spectrum when it comes to 'judge not' and being tolerant. Bleh, must back to work...
"Orson Scott Card praises Firefly, Firefly fans."

Well I will say this, it makes a nice change to see someone praising the fans instead of bashing them.
Violence solves nothing !
Unfortunately, it's difficult to seperate the Man, his Article and Politics in this case. Especially, as noted by others before, in that he frames it with cryptic language about the 'evils' of the academy and elsewhere has mentioned being attracted to conservative aspects of Firefly in the first place.

"I understand where you're coming from, Saje, and just to head this off, let's not get into an argument about whether Nazis were extreme left or extreme right ;) "

I know you were trying to avoid this, but come on! Triumph of the Will in the market, Triumph of the Will in politics--> perfectly logical. Nazism is pure far right. It's individualism and meritocracy taken to its logical extreme; eventually someone will come out on top and everyone else will fall into line until someone else comes out on top.
OSC has always been a split issue for me, Some of his stuff I love to death and have read several times over, on the other hand thereís all the stuff where I get caught at page 75, bored or mildly angry, that I will never finish because I can't agree with it. That said he's still one of my favorite authors and one of the main reasons I hate prying in to the personal views of famous people.

On the plus side Wyrms came out on comic book stands two weeks ago. I remember it as kinda disturbing but in the long run, an alright book.
I was very careful to not cast aspersions or to suggest that Card does not have a right to his opinions; he does, and I'll fight for them though I completely disagree with him. My only real point was that it is fine for him to laud the browncoats and Firefly, and that in and of itself should be sufficient; that he does so while denigrating an entire class of individuals upsets me no end. And I firmly reserve the right to provide no financial support to anyone whose views I disagree with. Ted Nugent is a great guitarist, but I am not buying his CDs. And I will attempt to convince others not to do so as well. That's my right, just as Card has a right to offer his own thoughts. I hope this is an okay post here, to clarify my comments. And zg, I honestly don't buy from anyone I cannot support, whether it be Wal Mart, Cracker Barrel or McDonalds, or Ted Nugent for that matter. And I used to watch the Nuge way back in the late 1960s when he was with the Amboy Dukes, no less. :-)

But hey, it's good he likes Firefly; that's one of the few areas where we agree with one another. :-)
I have a tendency to want to judge Art by the work itself and then further my understanding of where it comes from and why it might exist by learning something about the artist. I try to keep them separate, however and not let things about the rest of the artist ruin my appreciation of his/her Art. (Maybe that comes from having been raised in opera and painter's studios. Some of those people were so incredibly...horrible...but they *could* produce Art.)

OSC came to my attention because of his enthusiasm about Firefly/Serenity. I read Ender's Game because folks on this site recommended it through all the controversy about his personal beliefs. My mom had actually picked up a used copy on sale from the library so we inadvertently managed to follow Saje's rule and did not actually give money to someone whose views I disagree with, managed to support the library and managed to read a good book all at the same time. I have since read most of the rest of the two series of that world. (The library did not have the third book of either series...they also did not have the third DVD of one of the Britsh export TV shows recommended here...what's the deal with that?) I did not like the later books as much as the first couple because the message started taking over the story, but I did like his work.

Should we not support an artist whose views we disagree with? Well I don't consider the author of Mein Kampf to be an artist so that does not really come into my version of the question. As with everything, I see it as a personal line to draw. For me, I start to draw the line when what is being produced becomes prpoganda rather than Art...as based on my personal assessment. Political satire belongs on the other side of the line. The OSC work I have read so far has not crossed that line.

"That is, academics BAD, fans GOOD. He rightfully lauds the fans of Firefly but does so only by slagging off the academic community, and I find that pretty sad."

I have not had a chance to read all of the articles as carefully as I would like. What I had thought he was talking about here, though I may be being naive, was the way for decades academics refused to pay any attention to Science Fiction as serious literature, reclasifying any Science Fiction book found worthy into some other category. I remember finding that very annoying when I was in school. On the other hand since bashing teachers and anyone who goes to a really good school has become a right wing device it is hard to tell whether this comes from the historic and justified frustration of a Science Fiction professional at how his field has been treated by the academic comunity or whether it is a political thing.
I really don't think that's what he's talking about. I think he's talking about post-structuralist, post-modern, multicultural, etc. positions of the new left in the academy (which, by the way, stress ideas like inclusiveness of marginalized groups like, gasp, homosexuals) and the effects that has had on SciFi writing (probably the rise of Slipstream literature for example.)
Saje: Violence solves nothing !

Read Heinlein's "Starship Troopers". (Not the so-called movie, the book!) Violence tends to solve things, just not in a satisfactory manner.

Saje: At what point should you stop tolerating and start actively taking against in order to defend liberal values ?

It isn't against the law to be racist. It is against the law to let that racism affect a decision to hire/fire someone, when the hiring is supposed to be based on merit alone. (I had to remember to throw in that last part...)

Saje, how would you handle authors when their protagonist supports an issue that the author opposes? Do you buy/not buy based on what's in the book, or what is in the author's head? As much as we like both Joss and his creation Mal, Joss has stated that there is a great deal of difference in their value systems.

On a lighter note, I think we should ban Zeitgeist, until he stops buying things from people he disagrees with. ;-)
If I never read/watched anything from writers whose religious and/or political views differed from mine, I'd have to drop both Joss AND OSC. Not to mention the late great Douglas Adams and I don't even know who else. If a Mormon writer whose world view includes a negative opinion of homosexuality can repeatedly offer glowing public praise for the work of an avowed atheist who has made a very strong effort to portray homosexual characters in a positive light, I honestly don't see him as being ALL that close-minded.

As for OSC's critical view of academia, I'll just say that I had to spend six years in writing programs saying one of my main areas of interest was "magical realism" and leave it at that.
Saje: "Violence solves nothing !"

Exclamation points: tools of the proto-intellectual liberal elite, or more crypto-fascist capitalistic running dog intimidation ? You decide !!!!!!!!!!


zeitgeist: "If I didn't buy things from people I disagreed with I would most certainly be homeless and naked."

Li-berries have helped me immensely with this issue, but of course they provide housing in only a very limited sense.


zeitgeist:"p.s. - QG - Ayn Rand! NO DON'T DO IT!!!"

:> Luckily, I was not driven to swallow poison, which I'm sure was a vast relief to you all...
Violence solves nothing !

Hey, sure it does, what about that stuff violence solves ?

...

What, a guy can't have layers ? I'm complicated damnit ;).

Saje, how would you handle authors when their protagonist supports an issue that the author opposes? Do you buy/not buy based on what's in the book, or what is in the author's head?

I try not to handle authors until at least the second book, it's a manners thing ;-).

No problem with that at all and I attempt not to avoid books (or other media) because of the content though obviously there's going to be some subconscious confirmation bias and same-opinion selection going on. It's not like I vet every author I read before deeming them acceptable, only if their views are 'in my face'. It's also not really views I just disagree with like sides in a political debate or religious beliefs etc. - those are a normal, healthy part of life - it's got to be something I really can't stomach, something that would, for instance, tend to make me avoid that person's company.

(the big get out of jail free card, of course, is death. If the author's dead and therefore can't benefit it's not an issue)

That said, I don't read non-fiction 'evangelising' view-points i'm totally opposed to (racism, homophobia etc.) because i'm pretty sure a) my mind isn't going to change and b) the author won't (or rather, can't) present any particularly compelling arguments for those positions. Does anyone though ?
Actually just like Joss is careful with the portrayal of homosexuality (like the in the episode "Smashed") OSC was careful with his homosexual character on one his book Songmaster. He wrote that he thought about making the Gay character a child molester (as most of the characters in the book are men who take advantage of the gifted child), but thought it would be a bad and untrue representation of gay people.
From what I understand he has no problem with gay people, he just thinks they are sinners. I have no problem with that Ė I am Jewish so I won't be going to heaven anyway. If the LDS (latter day saints) don't think gay people are good enough for them than why should gay people want to be part of them. I do feel bad for the gay Mormon children who will have to decide to either leave their family or go against their nature.
My one real problem with what OSC says is this: "The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity's ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships."
As homophobes go, OSC is a good one and while there are still a lot of really bad homophobes out there I actually like having someone like him out there speaking to people who hate the liberal media.

P.S. Some things can't be solved without some violence. Unfortunately the violence usually creates other problems.
What OSC sells is a commodity; therefore, his commodity, which he calls art, has to compete with other commodities, which are also called art. Thus, if he wishes to, he can maximize his sales by operating within certain limits, which he chooses not to do. And as a result, people like me won't buy his books; get it the from the library, maybe, but not buy them- though I was unaware of his political beliefs when I first read Ender's Game. Knowing it now, I would not support him further. If Joss were a (insert your own group you don't like here) racist homophobe, it would color whether or not I'd support Buffy, though nothing in Buffy would have changed. I can't like art for art's sake alone; the artist matters to me.

Now, I happen to be an academic, so let my bias be clear; I've worked for 27 years as a faculty member, professor, dean and clinical researcher. I know what it means to be part of a vibrant intellectual community, and I know what kinds of attacks we have taken from the right over the past 15 years. Card has been part of that attack, along with folks like David Horowitz, Dinesh D'Souza, Anne Coulter and Michelle Malkin; he just works in a different sphere than those guys do. Why would he take issue with the academic community? My guess would be that he thinks they have not treated him well and that the fans, who actually really do buy his work, have. How else to read this comment: "and even though nowadays the ludicrously inappropriate university-born critical theories are being force-fit onto science fiction, the fact remains that science fiction grew up as a genre in a vibrant critical community consisting of the convention-going, fanzine-publishing readers who shaped the many views of what made this story good and that one bad. Largely ignored by nonparticipants, science fiction fandom became a self-aware literary community that was far more adaptive, effective, and creative than the one that ossified in the universities during the same period." Sure, I find some of the Buffy scholarship hard to follow- but it is not being written for me, it is being written for fellow scholars, and believe me, the papers I write are for fellow doctors and would be hard going for people who don't know the context or the language.

I mean, aren't we tired of people making fun of Buffy studies, we of all people?
Just to add a couple brief points of clarification:

- I posted without being familiar of previous threads discussing OSC on this board

- I was trying to nip potential thread derailment with my original comment, which was to commend OSC's positive comments vis-a-vis firefly and flans. I had previously read that OSC may hold some views which I wouldn't subscribe to, but that didn't hinder my enjoyment of the one book of his that I've read (EG.)

- I posted without being familiar of previous threads discussing "The A-word" on this board, and wasn't trying to compare OSC with AR. I just pulled from my head the first other author-who-wrote-a-book-I-enjoyed-while-not-subscribing-to-her-political-views I thought of..
On a lighter note, I think we should ban Zeitgeist, until he stops buying things from people he disagrees with. ;-)


Woohoo, ban me! Wait, are you saying you want me to be naked and homeless?!

Exclamation points: tools of the proto-intellectual liberal elite, or more crypto-fascist capitalistic running dog intimidation ? You decide !!!!!!!!!!


Candidate for quote of the day, QG, like fo' sho'! <-ack! <-ack again... they're everywhere these... these "EXCLAMATION" marks.

(the big get out of jail free card, of course, is death. If the author's dead and therefore can't benefit it's not an issue)


Are you saying you are planning on assassinating folks whose work you would like to read, but can't? KIDDING...

Why would he take issue with the academic community?


I'll go out on a limb and say because it tends to encourage specific creeds and ways of thinking and discourages others when it should be encouraging any direction of analytical/creative thinking (while all the while maintaining that it IS in fact encouraging all ways of thinking). Or it could be the appearance of toxic doses of self-importance and over-the-top subjective reality wankery... *yank* That was your chain being yanked, Dana5140. Not that there's not some truth to that, but as with any oversimplification/generalization, it... that's right, oversimplifies and generalizes to a point of not being all that useful.

"and even though nowadays the ludicrously inappropriate university-born critical theories are being force-fit onto science fiction, the fact remains that science fiction grew up as a genre in a vibrant critical community consisting of the convention-going, fanzine-publishing readers who shaped the many views of what made this story good and that one bad. Largely ignored by nonparticipants, science fiction fandom became a self-aware literary community that was far more adaptive, effective, and creative than the one that ossified in the universities during the same period."

How else to take that? I take it as -- Instead of coming at lit analysis of sci-fi as a new art, academia deconstructs it with the same tools that they use for other lit analysis without regard for the unique ways sci-fi "grew up" and the unique cultural aspects surrounding its maturation process. If the only tool you have is a hammer, etc. I think he is lamenting the fact that academics oftentimes overlook things that would be obvious to longtime scifi fans when tearing apart scifi/spec-fic. Also, some folks with agendas (whether it be political or social or whatever) will decide the point they are trying to prove before they get far enough into analysis to actually be at a point to see what analysis the facts will support.
Sure, I find some of the Buffy scholarship hard to follow- but it is not being written for me, it is being written for fellow scholars, and believe me, the papers I write are for fellow doctors and would be hard going for people who don't know the context or the language.

In fairness, I think Card is talking about certain elements of lit. crit./cultural studies especially which sometimes seem driven by an agenda rather than teasing insights from the work. There is a difference between terminology used in a field or complicated concepts and obscurantism. Have you heard of the Sokal hoax Dana5140 ? Though that specifically regarded science and how it's perceived by some in cultural studies, I think it highlights the sort of issue that Card may have with certain elements of academia (though i'm not denying that his politics may well shape his response to the 'agenda' as he sees it).

And Buffy studies or not, surely it still has to make some kind of sense even without all the technical jargon about hermeneutics or transgression ?
For the OSC newbies...

OSC's best stand-alone novel is Treason which I think would make a fantastic anime someday.

His best series, in my view, is the Tales of Alvin Maker series, but don't miss the first few books of the Ender series.
I am not familiar with OSC's work, although I heard it was good. I do know Joss' political and religious views and they are different than mine. Do I love his art? Yes. I'm I still going to buy whatever he sells? I do separate the art from the artist.

And I agree, I wouldn't be reading or watching much of anything if I chose stuff based on religious or political beliefs.
I'm sort of curious about how many of us see equality as being a matter of religious or political persuasion. To me it's more fundamental than that. Straw poll ?

Are you saying you are planning on assassinating folks whose work you would like to read, but can't? KIDDING...

What's the HTML for 'lightbulb' ? And is there an 'accessory before the fact' tag ?

(also kidding for the benefit of all the running dog lackeys of the capitalist establishment* law enforcement officials out there. Shit, I hope IMDB's not reading this)

'Zeitgeist and his Amazing Expanding Posts' has a bit of a ring to it, BTW. You could tour ;).


* bet they throw exclamation marks around like there's no tomorrow
Yeah I posted and then went 'Oh, hey...' and then when I hit preview I saw you had posted and said some similar things - get out of our head, me, er you! Good thought linking the Sokal hoax bits.

What's the HTML for 'lightbulb'? And is there an 'accessory before the fact' tag?


Ok, that's the funniest response I've seen in weeks. Bravo, you! <-- oops, that exclamation point means the proletariat is being repressed... It makes Fozzie sad... If IMDB is reading this, then one of us is probably rumoured to be cast as Wonder Woman *sound effect here*.

p.s. - accessory before the fact does not validate, unfortunately, even when the DOCTYPE is declared as LOOSE, or TRANSITIONAL for that matter.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2007-03-01 23:11 ]
Everytime you post an exclamation point, guys, an angel loses its wings and then God weeps, gentlemen, God weeps. It's too bad you don't take this seriously. I mean it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More importantly, last night I had my first dream about Joss Whedon - I dreamt that he was having parts of his house re-done, and he offered me some very lovely antique furniture. Come to think of it, it may well also have been my first dream ever about furniture.

What the frak??!!??

He was having portraits of his children painted, and he had read one of my books (??!!??) and enjoyed it, which was, of course, gratifying and reciprocal.

Oops, now am I Łber-derailing this thread?

Saje, I'd have to say that I see equality as more fundamental than a political or religious opinion. 'Course, I would, though, given my worldview - it's all of a piece. Some would not define the issue that I see as gay equality, for instance, as an issue of equality at all...

That ain't me, of course, but in their framing, it's equally as fundamental - it's about sinning, which they cannot condone and must work to stop.

Ya know, honestly, my atheism continues to get affirmed on a daily basis.
I think what a lot of people are glossing over in this thread is that it's not about having a different opinion--look at us here, all kinds of opinions and regular enlightening debates as a result of that.

This is about an opinion of OSC that many of us, including myself, find truly appalling--something we don't think there is any compromising on.

As homophobes go, OSC is a good one and while there are still a lot of really bad homophobes out there I actually like having someone like him out there speaking to people who hate the liberal media.

After that quote you give, I can just in no way agree with that. You say you get the impression OSC has no problem with gay people--the only way that works is if he just doesn't like them but let's them do their thing. But the quote shows that he wants gays to hide away the fact that they're gay like it's something shameful, and that he wants society as a whole to think it's shameful. I find that a horrible, insidious kind of hate.

Violence solves nothing !

Well now you know--and knowing is half the battle! (The other half, ironically, is violence.)
"The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity's ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships."
As homophobes go, OSC is a good one and while there are still a lot of really bad homophobes out there I actually like having someone like him out there speaking to people who hate the liberal media."


You seem to be using some definition of the word "good" I wasn't previously aware of.

I think there are miles between the kind of anti-intellectual screeds of OSC (and the others mentioned above like Coulter, D'Souza,etc. to which list I would add new-comers like Azar Nafisi) and what Sokal was doing in the Sokal affair. He was playing on the lack of rigour and overemphasis of politics in some literary critical journals. He was NOT saying that these modes of inquiry are invalid or inappropriate. If anything he did a great service for those who take the academy (and its most radical/avant garde wings) very seriously .
As homophobes go, OSC is a good one...

No wonder the discussion gets heated around here every time someone posts about OSC. Because that comment just boggles the mind.
I don't disagree ajay42 but in fairness, do we know what specifically Card disagrees with in some parts of academia ? Or rather, do we know it's not the same thing Sokal disagrees with (lack of rigour, lack of meaningful peer review, deliberate obfuscation etc.) ?

(also, just to be clear, I never equated Sokal and what he did with OSC and what he does, I only said they may take issue with certain elements of academia for the same reasons)
I like to think that an enterprising mind can always find a broader view, encapsulating polarities of opinion and empathizing with both. For example - and just for example, I myself subscribe to an admittedly minority view (which I can't substantiate) that the most ardent anti-gay basher might be experiencing - via reincarnation - their first lifetime in a gender after multiple successive lifetimes in a body of the other gender. In other words, homophobia is in certain circumstances a reaction to the experience necessary to the preservation of the psyche.

(Now, I don't want to debate this, just a concept I've come across a few times that makes sense to me, that I've chosen to - for now - embrace. Nor am I trying to equate reincarnation and gender with homosexuality. I'm trying to illustrate a precise concept to elucidate how one doesn't need to hate hatred in order to align with peace, so to speak.)

And subscribing to that particular notion doesn't make me embrace bigotry or homophobia or any of that. On the contrary, it enables me to feel compassion towards someone who I otherwise would be completely unable to find alignment with. In other words, embracing this idea helps me let go of my own judgmental tendencies towards that person. And releasing judgment happens to be my own primary aspiration.
The comments about OSC and his personal views have overstepped the mark again.

So post about his views on Firefly or don't. It's as simple as that.
saje: I was a journal editor for nearly 20 years, and I use the Sokal hoax as part of my training of my grad students in what can go wrong in the peer review process and when editors fail to do their job properly. I have a link to Alan Sokol on my favorite places, in fact. I also have his book about the hoax, which I utterly love. But for me, the take home message is, we all human, even editors. :-) More to come later, but I am making dinner and this is while the rice boils... :-)
I thought Mr Card's comments re Serenity and Firefly were wonderful! His comments about Browncoats in General were also very favorable. Looking at some of the posts above.... *sigh*.... Mr Card, I apologize. We are a diverse group. It's what makes us mighty, but it's also a weakness at times. JMHO
Simon, *ducks head for getting ready to be bashed (and sounding like Borat for to be get ready for ducking of the head)* there is not much to say if all we do is comment on his kind comments about Firefly. No story there, really. Just nice of him to say that. I think there is an interesting thread here, which addresses the issue of separating art from the artist, which may be worth discussing if we can be sure to remain civil and on topic. In my case, I have been keen to remain on point with regard to political beliefs, not anything else- his religion is immaterial here, for example. But politics informs much of what we do; witness our varied responses here. If a swift boater who loved Firefly read that John Kerry also loved Firefly, what would happen then? Not too much, I'd venture to guess. So, to me, cool he likes Firefly and the browncoats. End of story, though. But in truth, I think we can do better here than simply post links to sites about people who like Buffy, Joss and the 'verse; we can debate those stories in the context of those people and their lives- we could, for example, debate WHAT he says about Firefly. I offer this comment humbly, really; I'm not trying to be disputatious, if that's a real word. :-)
Darn... Got to this thread to late. Oh well. Kudos to OSC's praise of Firefly and Browncoats and to all the very thoughtfull Browncoats herein. As far as violence goes
I still want to slap a knot on the head of the Fox Exec who canceled Firefly and made Joss sad and my life a bit less than it could have been. Some folks myself included need a good smack that will break down shortsighted barriers to the love within.
A toast for a Firefly/Serenity next year.
I read "Ender's Game" after hearing a very intriguing filk about it (I believe the name of the writing/performing group was Technical Difficulties). I liked "Ender's Game" very much. Without knowing anything else about Orson Scott Card, I read "Speaker for the Dead" and felt there was something in the authorial viewpoint that rubbed me the wrong way -- not only did I want to shake many of the characters, but the whole thing seemed to be adding up to a moral that I disagreed with. It wasn't until much later that I discovered that apparently I disagree with Mr. Card on various real-world issues as well. In contrast, I'd heard the folks behind "24" do not share my political views before I ever watched it. However, I watch the show and think it's terrific (and only part of that is because they have the wisdom to employ Whedon alumni like David Fury), but I suppose in part it's because for me, the ultimate lesson I get out of "24" is "Do what you think is the best thing to do" (albeit sometimes Jack Bauer's idea of the best thing to do and mine diverge enormously). I do think it's a bit odd for anyone to praise "Firefly" and fandom while taking academia to task, as Joss Whedon often talks about the benefits of his experiences *in* academia at Wellesley. He sounds as though he feels he'd be a very different creative entity had he not had those experiences. Moreover, I find that a huge number of the people I know who are involved in fandom are also involved in the educational field, one way or another. A lot of fans are involved in academia, as teachers or as students -- fandom and academia are not two entirely separate groups.

As far as anyone endorsing "Firefly" goes, the more the merrier in my view.
So does this now mean that it is necessary to hold certain views in order to be a browncoat? Do we need a quiz before we can be an official fan, so we don't hold the "wrong" views? Of our few numbers, I hardly think we have any right to be exclusionary.
Mal is reactionary, mean, disrespectful to Inara, a rebel without a cause (left). Joss said he and Mal wouldn't get a long; the right to be wrong, remember?

What's wonderful about great art is the way that it touches something human inside all of us, regardless of one's beliefs. I've read OSC's views on homosexuality. His comment on academia didn't seem fair. And yet he also states:

You can view this documentary as an anthropological adventure, moving you into a culture that is more influential in American life than you think, yet which remains largely invisible -- and is ridiculed whenever it surfaces in the local news.

...

Meanwhile, though, if you haven't seen Firefly and Serenity because they're "sci-fi," you're functioning at about the level of those who haven't seen the Emma Thompson Sense & Sensibility because it's a "chick flick" or who won't see the latest two Harry Potter films because they "promote Satanism." Get over your biases, open your minds, and inject yourself with some of the best, most intelligent, and most emotionally compelling storytelling there is.


Get over your biases, open your minds. Ultimately I think that's the message of Joss' work, and the big purple's beliefs stem from that. As far as I'm concerned, opening your mind to one thing is a first step to opening your mind to others. Maybe, just maybe, this will eventually lead to OSC's opening up his mind to another "culture" that up until semi-recently has been "largely invisible -- and is ridiculed whenever it surfaces...."

Oh, and I loved Ender's Game--the man knows how to write.
I think it just means that fans can disagree with each other, they may even hate each other.
the ultimate lesson I get out of "24" is "Do what you think is the best thing to do"

I thought the lesson was "Don't trust your Arab neighbors, they are probably terrorists." I still watch for the action and stuff but it does rub me the wrong way, even though I am not an Arab.
I am gay, and as a gay person I have been reading what homophobes say most of my life. Maybe the word "good" for OSC is too much, he is a homophobe and as a rule I don't like them, but I can tolerate them. Not the bad ones though, not the ones who don't see a difference between child molesters and homosexuals, the ones who blame wars on gay people.

How did I get so out of topic?
I remember OSC's glowing review of Serenity when it just came out. He said something like this:" I'm not going to say it's the best science fiction movie, ever. Oh, wait. Yes I am." I really love that. He also said he would love the Enders Game movie to be that good.
If he has enough pull with the studio making the movie, maybe he could get them to have Joss direct it (and make the book into a script).
I every generation one boy is chosen to lead the human fleet against the Bugs. (Does that sound lame? It really is a great book.)
Just seen the sister thread to this one on OSC's forum.
They talk about our comments here, how some of them deal with not agreeing with OSC on some things, their love for Firefly and different names for Firefly that might have made it more populer (like Lightning Bug).
Though I haven't and won't contribute to the discussion about OSC and homosexuality (can't remember if I did the last time this came up), I gotta say that this thread has been good reading.

I come here for all the TV, movie, and comic book talk, but I also like that we get some seriously involved threads like these sometimes that veer away from the exact subject of the link but are still relevant (in my opinion). Everyone's been respectful for the most part (way more so than you'd find on most entertainment-focused boards out there), so I don't see the problem or why some of the mods sometimes are so touchy about it. And if things do heat up and tempers flare a little (or okay, a lot) for one thread once in a blue moon, does it really matter? It'll be pushed off the front of this site in a couple days anyway, no harm done, Whedonesque's reputation won't be shattered. Members won't leave in droves over the rare ugly debate, should one happen. There's no need to be afraid of discussion--the secondary point of this site, as far as I can tell, after its primary function as a Joss Whedon news source.

[ edited by Kris on 2007-03-02 13:58 ]
saje: I was a journal editor for nearly 20 years, and I use the Sokal hoax as part of my training of my grad students in what can go wrong in the peer review process and when editors fail to do their job properly. I have a link to Alan Sokol on my favorite places, in fact.

I'm just gonna go right ahead and take that as a yes Dana5140 ;).

The whole thing was very interesting (and, I admit, kinda entertaining too ;) though I think sometimes some take the wrong message from it (as you imply, Sokal wasn't saying 'cultural studies is bad', he was saying 'bad cultural studies is bad' - which i'd say no-one without an agenda could disagree with - and that post-modernism can be applied to science only very, very carefully).

If you mean 'Intellectual Impostures', BTW ('Fashionable Nonsense' in the US I think), i've also read and enjoyed it, great book written in a very readable style.
Not sure I follow your comments, mei_mei. No one here has suggested that there is one true appropriate way of thinking; all we have done is disagree with a writer on some of his political leanings. OSC writes for the public, and he makes public comment about his beliefs; that means he is fair game for this kind of commentary. Nothing more. And no question he is quite used to it, so this little kerfluffle here is no big deal.

WilliamTheB: you mean Card is saying "Do as I say, not as I do?" :-) Great to call for an open mind, when it is for something you want people to do; better to keep an open mind at all times, I think. :-)

ETA: just read your comment after I posted, saje. Yes, Fashionable Nonsense. Interesting- "Toward the Hermenuetics of Quantum Gravity" or some such was the title, trying to recall from memory. And it was hysterically funny, perfectly merging critical theory temrinology into a stew of what seemed to be a combination of social science and quantum physics. Wait, here is the link to the papoer, for anyone interested: http://www.physics.nyu.edu/faculty/sokal/transgress_v2/transgress_v2_singlefile.html
Have fun reading it. Then read about the hoax. But also keep in mind that this type of thing takes place in all areas of human activity.

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2007-03-02 15:10 ]
Wow, this thread has really overturned the Browncoat apple cart.

Coming in late, I'm glad to see most of the inflammatory remarks deleted or edited out...but the feeling contaminating this thread remains.
I've read threads at other sites pointing back to this one with dismay.
How sad.
Err, not sure I follow you mavourneen. AFAIK one post was edited (by its author) for being inflammatory (or rather, ad hominem) though I haven't read back through from the start to check.

Far from being 'contaminated', this thread is IMO and as usual here at Whedonesque, a great example of restraint and level headedness considering the subject matter and how strongly people on both sides feel about it.

(i'd be interested in how the other sites are seeing us though so links would be excellent if you could, always good to observe from the other side of the glass ;)

Yep, Dana5140, every walk of life (obligatory full disclosure of the 'Bogdanov Affair', possibly the flip side of the scientific coin).
mavourneen - read those same threads, some of them insist that the moderators and admins were having a big ol' Mormon-bashing OSC-effigy-burning party :) The link is provided for edutainment purposes, I trust folks can avoid getting into an inter-site pissing contest.

Not sure I follow your comments, mei_mei. No one here has suggested that there is one true appropriate way of thinking; all we have done is disagree with a writer on some of his political leanings.


Well, some folks have certainly made it known that they will put a personal embargo on the works of folks they disagree with rather than celebrating the things they have in common with them (love of the Shiny ship Serenity, for example), so I actually do see where mei_mei is coming from. However, its certainly their right to feel that way, just as its OSC's right to feel any way that he does about anything he wants. Where things get out of line is when the name-calling and baiting starts and that won't be tolerated here.
Zeitgeist - agreed.
mavourneen - cheers!
That's really depressing. The first person to post on that board wrote a long and emotional post all about how we were bashing Card for his Mormonism and it is apparent that she either did not read what we wrote or she completely misread it. And after that, everyone who posted wrote about how bad it all was, and not one of them actually bothered to see what was here, for if they did, they could not have written what they did, not fairly any way. I hate to say this, but this really demonstrates all that is wrong with the internet. All it takes is one person to post something and it ends up taking on a life of its own.
Well, some folks have certainly made it known that they will put a personal embargo ...

Hey ! I'm sitting right here you know ! ;-)

Wow, I think maybe i'm on a different thread, I don't remember anyone talking about hating OSC or Mormonism and only one or two posts that could be construed as ad hominem - though there were some pretty vehement disagreements with his views (just as he, presumably, vehemently disagrees with some of our views on homosexuality, as he's equally entitled to). Nor anyone saying he couldn't be a Browncoat for that matter.

Reading the other thread's misrepresentations got my dander up a wee bit though so it'd probably be best not to comment on them at all.

(almost as much as this interview with Card got my dander up. A great example of how the left can mis-represent what someone says just as much as the right can. Struck me as pretty bad journalism - she misquotes her own quotes FFS ! - to the extent I actually wondered if it's a parody and I just missed the joke)

It's also a real shame there's no CVS type set-up for posts so that edits for offensive content could be proven one way or another (I was here from about 10 comments in and didn't see much in the way of editing of posts for offensiveness by their authors or the mods - in fact I only count 7 edits in total throughout the thread - apart from rjl's self-admitted name-calling. That's obviously purely anecdotal though - it's easy for either 'side' to make claims about what isn't there anymore or never was).

Must confess, i'm starting to wonder about the consistency of my 'boycott'. Could be a tad hypocritical. Just 'feels' wrong to support an artist no-matter how much you disagree with their views. To what extent can some elements of a person's character be separated from the whole ? Does tolerance really mean accepting every view-point as valid opinion or are some viewpoints actually objectively wrong ? Hmm, thinking time required I reckon (i.e. I need a beer. TFIF ;).
Beer foamy!

There is no hypocrisy in not purchasing a product from someone whose views you do not agree with. I tried to make the point above, but I am not sure I did it well. Card competes in a marketplace. In that marketplace, like all the other products, he has to give people a reason to want to buy what he is selling; this is why we have advertising on TV, for example, to distinguish our product from all the other products. And we, the buyers, can buy what we want for whatever reason we want, or for no reason at all, and we can decide not to buy a product for any reason at all or for no reason at all. In the case of OSC, his political views are discomfiting enough to me that I have decided that in a marketplace where there are tons of books I wish to read, more than I can ever buy on my own or have time to read, those views are enough for me to not get his books when I can get so many more. Now, if he was one of only 3 writers in the world, it might be harder, and we might still decide to stand on our principles or give in on them- and we could do either. I see nothing wrong with this. Card has made a decision to express his opinions, as he freely has a right to do; I have decided that I will not purchase what he is selling, which I freely have a right to do. Where's the hypocricy? I can't contribute to someone whose views, in my opinion, contribute to harming entire classes of people. No matter how great the books he writes, that won't change, and it won't make his kind comments about Firefly and the browncoats any more meaningful because he said them.

Heck, I won't see any movie with Tom Cruise in it. Why? I just don't like him. Period. Ain't that weird, but that's just how it is. You don't even need a reason, is what I am saying. And might I miss a good movie? Sure! But there are so many more, so what am I really missing?

And for those folks on the other thread who may decide to check in, this is NOT about his religion; it is about certain of his published comments indicating his social beliefs. Ain't nothing wrong with being Mormon, okay? I'm Jewish, and here at work, where I have 9 research colleagues, 2 are Mormon and close friends, though we have significant political differences, which is fine.

zg, what is it I should be celebrating? I do find Card's comments about FF and the BCs kind and interesting. I'll be happy to acknowledge that. The world is a more interesting place with Card writing books; I just don't see that I have to buy them, is all.
"Must confess, i'm starting to wonder about the consistency of my 'boycott'. Could be a tad hypocritical. Just 'feels' wrong to support an artist no-matter how much you disagree with their views. To what extent can some elements of a person's character be separated from the whole ? Does tolerance really mean accepting every view-point as valid opinion or are some viewpoints actually objectively wrong ? Hmm, thinking time required I reckon"

Quick, everyone take a few steps back. It's gunna blow!


Warning: Thinking out loud alert!

This may sound strange, but I keep having this thought. "We've all got to eat." I guess I feel it does not make sense to me to boycott a really good artist whose art is not offensive to me, but only his/her personality or views are. Admittedly most artists' views will inform their art and could become something I do not want to read, see or support, but then the situation is different. The question in my mind is what is to be gained by boycotting an artist's work, not because of the work, but because of personl views they hold? Would the idea be to change their minds or perhaps make them deny thier beliefs or simply be quiet?

I guess the idea would be that one does not want give someone money that they will use to promote something one finds offensive. Then one would have to know that the person is doing something with their money other than supporting themselves and their family. I guess tything to a Church could be looked at that way, but then it would not be the individual's views but whatever church they belonged to that one would be deciding not to support. Then one would have to not support any artist who belonged to a Church they did not like. It would be the same situation if we knew they contributed to a political organization that we didn't like. Either way I just don't llike where it is headed...in my head at least.

Nope. I can't go that way.
I'm really late (stupid bad wireless connection!) but if anybody is still around, is there anyone else who didn't like Ender's Game, and since that's supposed to be his best didn't read any more of his, and is thus not conflicted about dismissing Card?
newcj, I respectfully think that is naive. If, for example Joss Whedon in his personal life worshipped Adolph Hitler and hated Jews, but still produced this wonderful show called Buffy that was exactly how it is right now, would you feel as good supporting it, knowing that your money and your interest helps to maintain Whedon's animosity, which is he is free to do because he generates income from the other things he does?

I'm not obligated to like or not like someone's work because of who they are or because of what they do. If I buy Card's works, it is tacit approval of his views, because that money helps to provide him the platform he uses to promote those views.

I don't want Card to do anything; this is not about him. This is about me deciding that I cannot support someone whose views are antithetical to mine and who views, in my opinion again, harm others. It is why I do not and will not shop at Wal Mart, why I won't eat at McDonald's or at Cracker Barrel or at Denny's, because there are histories there that have caused harm in various ways. And I won't be party to that.
Better make it a few more steps ;).

This may sound strange, but I keep having this thought. "We've all got to eat."

Actually that's partly what made me think about rethinking (there's a whole process, forms, stamps, a committee etc. Gotta have a system ;).

Here come's an opinion that tends to have Yanks ducking and covering from the Commie menace but I believe in the welfare state within reason (hah, take that Mom and Apple Pie ! In yer face Freedom ! ;) and if Card was unfortunate enough to be on benefits and still held his views, my income tax would go towards paying his upkeep. And that would be fine with me. So i'm kind of wondering, what's the difference ? Do my principles hold as long as Card has at least a subsistence level income and then fall away when he drops below that point ? Or are other principles more important ?

Also, if anti-homosexual religious people can 'hate the sin but love the sinner' (and I mean genuinely, not just pay lip-service to the idea) and I consider myself at least as enlightened as they are, then shouldn't I do the same (where 'sin' for me would obviously be holding a viewpoint that I find morally indefensible) ? Card does, with his support of Joss and the 'verse.

Then there's the pure practicality of it. Just when I accidentally find out about the viewpoint (as I did with Card) ? Or should I really vet every creator of every creation I partake in to be consistent ?

Still though, something irks. Shouldn't there be a line (as Dana5140 says) where everyone chooses for themselves whether to support creators with radical viewpoints ? As a household we boycotted Cape apples while apartheid was in force or there's Dana's example of anti-semitism, why is this different except in degree ? What i'm trying to get at is that total tolerance and separation of views and art is fine but surely everyone has a line i.e. there should eventually be a line that oughtn't be crossed where some viewpoints shouldn't be supported ? And again, as Dana5140 says, it's up to the individual at the end of the day, i'm just looking for consistency.

Food for thought at least. Which is great considering I should be concentrating on what's in my hand tonight (cards, I mean ;).

(and nope dreamlogic, though it was a while ago when I read it, gotta say IMO "Ender's Game" was a great read though I found the fourth book in the series a big disappointment and the third was only so-so)
I've read some of the other infra-webs chatter about this thread and folks herein discussing OSC's views and, as always, I'm simply astounded at how few people are able to 1) read and 2) understand what they have read. People have been drawing some bizarre and almost wilfully mistaken inferences from some of the discussion here...

Reading comprehension skills seem to have plummeted since the beginning of the infrawebs - as I can attest to by seeing that fewer and fewer of my clients actually read the brief emails I send them regarding their work.../end cumudgeonly rant by 50-year-old reader.

Saje, I have the same gut reaction to handing over my cash to someone for their output if I think some of their other output actually harms humanity, as I do in this case. I can see all of the points you made - and I also pinkly support aspects of the welfare state myself... And btw, I have to hand over great wads of cash money to the government in the form of various taxes, which I do, to support causes which I emphatically do not espouse, despite the fact that I have elected representatives. I don't withhold those taxes. I am not consistent.

I don't think I need to search out the viewpoints of most everyone and everything I come in contact with and verify that they jibe with mine before supporting them - obviously, as you say, impractical and not even to be wished. I just know that if something crosses my path and is, in my opinion, both harmful and distasteful, I'm gonna have a hard time supporting it financially - end of story. I have a friend who has written for National Review for years - I like him despite his views, but I will not buy the magazine.

For me, the result of this thread is that I'm going to check out OSC's work - I have great honkin' gaps in my sci-fi reading and have never read him. So despite the objections I have to his opinions on what gayness is and what it means, and objections to many other of his stated views, I'm gonna check him out... from the library. I look forward to it. And if I like his writing, I will sure as shit say so.
I Just read CALIFORNIAKAYLEE's last post on that thread (linked some 20 posts above me). It made me sad that she really thinks she is unwelcome as a browncoat. I read this thread again, and found that there were about 10 people (me included) who wrote something that is offending to OSC, none of them mods. There were more people who just wrote that he has a right to his own opinion or just wrote something about his books and his praise of Firefly. So not only are the 10 not representing the site (supposedly 5000 members) but not even the ones on this thread.
The trouble I think is the very nature of whedonesque. I myself have been reading here long before I joined as a member, just like many others. This site has a reputation of being at the centre of the Whedon fandom (Joss actually writes here). For a lot of viewers it is very frustrating to only read and not be able to say anything. When an issue is very close to someone it makes it more frustrating. I think if the browncoat in question could have made her points here, discussed them with saje, QG and others they could have made it clear to her that no one wants to push out Mormon browncoats.
CALIFORNIAKAYLEE, if you are reading this and do not like me talking about you, I am sorry.
Yeah, I think that's a fair point urkonn (though it's obviously nobody's fault - I assume the membership restriction is there for server load reasons etc.).

It's also fair to say there's a hell of a lot of a relatively few people on this thread (one of which is me ;). I may well be in a vocal minority on here, hell, i'm vocal, that's fer sure, whether i'm in a minority or not I can't control and it's irrelevant anyway, i'm still gonna say my piece (until the orange or blue hand of doom descends ;). Not offending people is important but sometimes being yourself and saying what you think is even moreso.

FWIW and for the record (and, I guess, to CALIFORNIAKAYLEE and if you're reading this i'm sorry you can't respond), I don't hate Mormons and I don't hate Orson Scott Card and i've never said I do either on this thread or anywhere else. I disagree with some, maybe most, of his views (and by extension presumably some, maybe most, of those of the Mormon Church) but i've got to admit they're often more thoughtful than a lot of people's (e.g. on intelligent design) and if he's the sort of guy that doesn't mind a bit of back and forth and, despite the fact we'd probably both find each other a bit tough to be around, i'd buy him a beer (or a Coke or whatever) and set the world to rights over it anytime. I think we might struggle to be friends, doesn't necessarily mean we couldn't talk about why we're not.

Being a Browncoat means many things to many people but ultimately and specifically it means being a fan of 'Firefly'/'Serenity' which OSC most assuredly is. That makes him a Browncoat in my eyes (and, as far as i'm aware, no-one on this thread takes issue with that) doesn't mean I agree with him any more or less, that's not how independence of thought and action works.

QuoterGal, i'd say start with either "Ender's Game" or "The Tales of Alvin Maker", IMO they're pretty good books with nicely rendered, interesting characters and gripping stories. "Ender's" trails off a bit IMO, as mentioned, after book 2, 'Speaker for the Dead' and I can't vouch for TToAM after book 3 but they both have original ideas up to those points. Fair play though, i've heard adverse comments about "Speaker's" perspective so it might be worth me reading that again at some point because any potential nastiness passed a younger me by, maybe it's there, maybe not (I found it very emotive and humane). Won the Hugo and Nebula awards too so seems more than a few thought it had merit.
Saje: "Not offending people is important but sometimes being yourself and saying what you think is even moreso."

So say all of us./watched Seasons One and Two of BSG in three days, so forgive me...

Oh, gods help us - anyone anywhere is welcome to be a Browncoat - as Saje says - in my understanding, liking Serenifly is the only universal definition of Browncoatdom that I know - and they don't need that reaffirmed by me, do they? Crikey.

I really do feel that anyone reading posts on here should take it as read that all of this is IMO, and I firmly believe others are entitled to theirs, and I don't "hate" or ill-wish them in any way for having theirs.

It is simply that someone like OSC who is prominent in the community that likes Firefly and Serenity - the World O' Sci-Fi, among others - and writes about them publicly is going to be discussed on here in their published entirety: Who are they? What do they do? What else do they do? What else have they said? Where might it be coming from? Is there something you like? Something you don't like?

Mormons and any other followers of any other religion (except maybe those who serve the Dark Master, but I dunno that for sure) should feel as welcome here as any other group. I make no bones (what a strange expression) about my being an atheist, however, as they should not deny their affinities.

It's gonna happen, these discussions - the posts spark discussions, and I will no doubt be saying my piece. Believe me, I restrain myself a great deal. I emphatically have no desire to deny anyone their Browncoathood. I will, however, cry "tripe whenever tripe is served" in my opinion on any subject no matter how delicate, as all others on here are free to do, until the mods and admins only say we cannot. I respond to what I care about, and I don't respond to what doesn't interest me. And if I find something distasteful, I will probably say so. If I find something laudable, I will mention that as well. I do.

I must also add that discussions on whedonesque with people of dissimilar opinions have been edifying - the only place online where I have experienced actual discourse that stands to influence me.

But thanks, urkonn, for your kindly note - I hear your points (though I still wish anyone who feels hated or disliked by anything I said *sigh* should read what's being said and not what's not being said.) It is frustrating reading stuff on here and not being able to respond - was there myself not so long ago.

Thanks for the OSC tips, Saje - I'll check 'em out. Ya know, myself, I can't help loving Heinlein, even though a re-read through certain books can make me wince out loud, so it'll be interesting to see if/how your OSC re-read stands the test of time and evolution.

I'm off for now, 'cause the bell just rang for Quitting Time.
"newcj, I respectfully think that is naive. "

I prefer to think of my view of things as charmingly open-minded. ;-)

I make a distinction between business entities and individualsÖeven self employed individuals. I also make a distinction between opinions and actions and between art and politics. IMO businesses are worth boycotting if they are doing things that are objectionable. Boycotting artists because of things they say away from their art is not.

When the Tampa FL Walmart mistreated a black manager from the company I work for, while he was representing our company, I applauded our company for pulling all their business from Walmart nationally. It sent a message about Walmartís actions/policies and showed a fellow employee that the company was on his side. I also sincerely hoped all my fellow employees would stop doing business with them.

I see OSC as an individual who holds opinions and expresses them. They are opinions I disagree with vehemently, but that is true of the vast majority of people on this earth.

Dana5140 You say that buying OSCís books gives him a platform to espouse the views both of us find objectionable. To me, buying OSCís books gives him the ability to write more books. Since the books of his I have read have not espoused views or actions that are those we find objectionable, I donít see the problem. His platform is there anyway in the way our society is structured to allow for the freedom of speech and expression. I prefer to encourage behavior a approve of and discourage the behavior I don't approve of. I approve of good books that do not promote hate, so he should be encouraged to do that.

I donít want to try to penalize someone with different views than mine even if I find them objectionable. That said, I also do not want to elect them to political office or allow them to hurt anyone if I can help it. I will not be buying publications that promote things that I find offensive, for instance. But expressing views that are hurtful is what happens in politics and religion and I think we all have to understand that. It is universal and I donít think meeting the opinion with punishment rather than trying to discourage objectionable actions is helpful. A person whose religion says hurtful things about a group of people is also often hurt by the anger that the group of people might send back at the religion. They donít understand the anger any more than the people they are hurting do. "Why are you picking on my religion?" becomes the theme. Iím not saying to ignore objectionable opinions, by all means, speak out against them and try to make people understand why they are hurtful, but if I boycott everyone I disagree with I will never interact with anyone...and Iím too close to that already. ;-)

Dana5140In previous discussions it has been clear that you and I look at life and art differently while having a lot of the same basic liberal political views. You have indicated that you see most things through a political filter and that that is most important to you. My semi-sister-in-law is a political activist and I make it a point not to try to guess what entertainment she or my brother will like or not like. As with you and me, we are fairly close in our political views but we see art very differently.

"Saje, I have the same gut reaction to handing over my cash to someone for their output if I think some of their other output actually harms humanity, as I do in this case."

Quotergal My first reaction was "what output of his hurts humanity?" I see from your post, though, that you have not read his work. The fact that I do not see anywhere on this thread a statement by anyone that they think he has used his books to promote his views on homosexuality is what makes this a really interesting case for discussion. I have not read all his books, but I did not find what he was saying in what I did read harmful in the least. So here is my personal line, and I agree with Saje that there has to be a personal line, I will read the work of any good writer whose actual work is not promoting behavior I believe is hurtful towards others no matter what his personal opinions. I will not support the publications or work that does promote behavior which I believe is hurtful to others.

ETA another point because this off post in an off the front page thread just wasn't long enough.

[ edited by newcj on 2007-03-03 18:34 ]
newcj, can't say that I would call exercising my right not to spend money on someone whose writings - I refer now as I have throughout the entire thread to what I believe are his harmful anti-gay-equality writings and not his books, as I have not yet read them - as "punishment."

They are a consequence of his writing about his views - which he obviously wanted to make known and be influential, as they have been published in public venues. Good on him - he believes in them, and he stands behind them, but when I heard them, I rejected them, don't care for them, find them objectionable, and don't want to send money his way. Don't care if he's a multi-national or an individual - size doesn't matter to me in such cases. That would be one difference in where you and I draw our lines.

Acts have consequences, and one of the consequences of stating views is that people who don't like them - or are actively opposed to them as I am - and don't wish to support you while you promote them - won't tend to support you. I wonder out loud if OSC himself would call this punishment.

If true, the fact that those views have not affected the nature of his fiction writing is interesting, but doesn't much change the situation for me. (My view on the "question" of human equality would affect my writing, and I would call that expression "being integrated" - being all of a piece, and having who I am - my most deeply-held views on the world - expressed in my work.)

You say that you have read his fiction, and that you "don't find it harmful in the least," but you don't say if you have read his religious/political essays, and if you have, you don't state your reaction to them - do you find them harmful? These essays, including the "Hypocrites of Homosexuality" form the entire basis of what I've been writing about, but perhaps you don't find them germane. I clearly do. They are as much his "actual" writing as his fiction. That may be another one of our differences.

As I have stated, believing that his views are actively regressive and harmful, and not just the "hurtful" but natural consequence of differing political or religious views, won't stop me from giving his work a read, liking it if I do, and then saying so. I don't muzzle my mind, and don't wish to muzzle OSC's mouth in any way. Just don't see why I have to support it.

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2007-03-03 21:52 ]
Edited for reasons that have nothing to do with OSC. I've just decided that trying to clear up confusion is sometimes pointless.

[ edited by newcj on 2007-03-04 16:21 ]
Heya, newcj, I'm emailing you 'bout this - seems more than time (to me) to take it off the site.

Suffice to say on here, I think maybe you're misinterpreting what I wrote...

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