Orson Scott Card is a professional writer, and, all the circumstantial evidence I’ve seen seems to suggest he’s a pretty good one.
For one, I’ve heard of him, which makes him one of the relatively few science fiction writers who aren’t dead that I’d be able to name off the top of my head.*
I see his books in places where I don’t see any other sci-fi books, and I know at least one local high school had Ender’s Game one its reading list within the past few years.
And, of course, Marvel Comics hired him to write Ultimate Iron Man, and made a big to-do about how they had bagged big-time, popular writer from a respectable field of entertainment to tell the origin of Iron Man for them.
I can’t personally vouch for Card’s abilities as a writer, however, since I’ve never read any of his novels, nor his Ultiamte Iron Man comics. In fact, the only piece of writing I’ve read by Card was his July 24 column for Mormon Times headlined “State job is not to redefine marriage.”
Having read it, now I’m not so sure Card is a writer. Or, if he is, that he’s any good at all at his job (it wouldn’t be the first time someone got popular in a field of entertainment without possessing any discernable talent, after all).
Even being generous enough to accept that everyone is entitled to their opinion and the right to express it—no matter how ignorant and unfortunate that opinion may be—Card’s editorial is embarrassingly poorly written, to the point one might wonder if he were drunk when he wrote it, or if a burglar broke into his house, typed it up on his computer, and then mailed it to Mormon Times using Card’s email address just to embarrass the poor author.
Let’s read “State job is not to redefine marriage” together. It will be a good bonding experience....
The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to "gay marriage," is that it marks the end of democracy in America.
So that’s it. Game over. Courts in California and Massachusetts, a full one-twenty-fifth of the states in the nation, have declared that gay marriage should be legally recognized. Democracy is over. America is now, I don’t know, an anarchy? A monarchy? How will we decide what we are now that deomcracy has ended? I suppose we could vote on it, but that’s something they’d do in a democracy, which America clearly is not.
These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.
The pretext is that state constitutions require it —but it is absurd to claim that these constitutions require marriage to be defined in ways that were unthinkable through all of human history until the past 15 years. And it is offensive to expect us to believe this obvious fiction.
It is such an obvious overreach by judges, far beyond any rational definition of their authority, that even those who support the outcome of the decisions should be horrified by the means.
Well obvious it’s not beyond “any rational definition of their authority,” since they themselves have rationalized it is within their authority. And while some rational folks have claimed some judges have gone too far in their rulings pertaining to laws, often using the unfortunate derogatory term “activist judges,” judging stuff like laws is actually their job. It’s not simply in their job description, it’s in their name.
It’s one of those “checks and balances” you learn about in grade school. If they are overreaching by checking to hard and unbalancing the governments that Card does not live in, the legislative branch can then check them back by rewriting the laws and/or the constitution, the latter of which will involve the people. Democracy in action!
Of course, if democracy is over, I guess it’s too late to change the constitutions of California and Massachusetts…
We already know where these decisions lead. We have seen it with the court decisions legalizing abortion. At first, it was only early abortions; within a few years, though, any abortion up to the killing of a viable baby in mid-birth was made legal.
Not only that, but the courts upheld obviously unconstitutional limitations on free speech and public assembly: It is now illegal even to kneel and pray in front of a clinic that performs abortions.
Do not suppose for a moment that the "gay marriage" diktats will not be supported by methods just as undemocratic, unconstitutional and intolerant.
While gay marriage and abortion are certainly what you could safely call “hot button” issues, I’m not sure how fair it is to lump them together, or to imply that the enforcement of gay marriage laws will inevitably end up like the enforcement of abortion laws over the past few decades.
Already in several states, there are textbooks for children in the earliest grades that show "gay marriages" as normal. How long do you think it will be before such textbooks become mandatory—and parents have no way to opt out of having their children taught from them?
And if you choose to home-school your children so they are not propagandized with the "normality" of "gay marriage," you will find more states trying to do as California is doing —making it illegal to take your children out of the propaganda mill that our schools are rapidly becoming.
Really? What states are those? What textbooks are those? I would like to hear some examples of this, instead of just hearing how maybe in some places this thing that worries Card is maybe happening.
I was amused to hear Card mention “the propaganda mill that our schools are rapidly becoming,” while in his bio right next to the piece it says his books “are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.”
How dangerous is this, politically? Please remember that for the mildest of comments critical of the political agenda of homosexual activists, I have been called a "homophobe" for years.
This is a term that was invented to describe people with a pathological fear of homosexuals -- the kind of people who engage in acts of violence against gays. But the term was immediately extended to apply to anyone who opposed the homosexual activist agenda in any way.
A term that has mental-health implications (homophobe) is now routinely applied to anyone who deviates from the politically correct line. How long before opposing gay marriage, or refusing to recognize it, gets you officially classified as "mentally ill"?
How dangerous is this, politically? I don’t know; not at all? Card lives in North Carolina. Mormon Times is based in Utah. Maybe just stay out of California and Massachusetts?
Within the last decade our bitterly politically divided country survived a presidential election decided in large part by the Supreme Court without it leading to civil war or, you know, any bloodshed at all. I’m sure, politically, the union will survive gay folks being able to file joint tax returns and enjoy the other legal benefits of marriage.
As for his mention of people who are opposed to gay marriage being labeled “homophobes,” a word he says means someone with a pathological fear of homosexuals, well, that’s an interesting point. (If true. My Word dictionary defines homophobia as “an irrational hatred, disapproval, or fear of homosexuality, gay and lesbian people, and their culture.” I guess you can argue with the dictionary if you want, and say the word “irrational” is unfair there, and that there are rational reasons to disapprove of homosexuality, but fear is but one of three definitions, and it’s the third one).
As a writer, Card should know that the meanings of words drift over time, expanding and narrowing in their meanings. If homophobia meant an irrational fear of gay folks at one point, it has long since come to mean people who just plain don’t like gay folks for whatever reason.
Is there a word for someone that means “one who thinks gay people are an abomination” or “one who hates gay people” or “one who disapproves of gay people?”
Maybe. I don’t know what it is though, and there’s little sense in railing against language usage, which rarely gets anyone anywhere. You know, “comic book” and “graphic novel” are awful, awful terms that don’t remotely begin to describe what they refer to, but those are the words the language has settled on.
So point for Card; “homophobe” may not technically be accurate to describe people who hate gay people.
That’s one for the plus column so far.
But wait, we’re only, like, half way through this!
Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement.
Oh wait, what? We all have to marry people of the same sex as us? Oh man, I don’t even like touching my own body that much, now I gotta kiss some dude on the altar, his stubble all scratching against my stubble? That sucks!
Oh wait, he meant something gay people say is a requirement of theirs…or something. Jesus, are his novels this hard to understand?
Remember how rapidly gay marriage has become a requirement. When gay rights were being enforced by the courts back in the '70s and '80s, we were repeatedly told by all the proponents of gay rights that they would never attempt to legalize gay marriage.
It took about 15 minutes for that promise to be broken.
Actually, if you’re they made that promise throughout the course of the ‘70s and ‘80s, that’s 20 years right there. So clearly it took longer than 15 minutes. I thought science-fiction folks were all supposed to be really good at math?
And you can guess how long it will now take before any group that speaks against "gay marriage" being identical to marriage will be attacked using the same tools that have been used against anti-abortion groups -- RICO laws, for instance.
I would like to hear more about this, actually, since I haven’t heard anything about anti-abortion groups being prosecuted with RICO laws. I’m also curious who would be doing the “ attacking,” since, again, he’s just talking about what’s going on in the court systems of two states.
Does he really want us to guess how long it will take for the federal government to even make gay marriage legal, let alone openly persecute those who speak out against it? I don’t know…let’s say seven-to-20 years for passage, and never for persecution.
Here's the irony: There is no branch of government with the authority to redefine marriage. Marriage is older than government. Its meaning is universal: It is the permanent or semipermanent bond between a man and a woman, establishing responsibilities between the couple and any children that ensue.
The laws concerning marriage did not create marriage, they merely attempted to solve problems in such areas as inheritance, property, paternity, divorce, adoption and so on.
Yes. Exactly. You got it, Card. That is the irony.
And that is why, for the life of me, I’ve never understood why anyone on earth could possibly oppose legalizing gay marriage for any reason other than that they just plain don’t like gay people (or they want to appeal to folks who just plain don’t like gay people, so as to get their votes, in the case of politicians).
Religious marriage and legal marriage are two completely different things. If churches don’t want to give gay people the sacrament or religious ritual of marriage, but reserve it for only heterosexual couples, that's cool. If gay, religious folks really, really want to get married in their church, well, that’s a fight they’re going to have to take up with their church, not the government, which practices a strict separation between church and state (although not always as strict as they should; and yes, sometimes not strict enough).
And if the state or federal government does want to allow gay people to have the same legal rights in the eyes of the state or federal government, then what right does a church have to get involved? Or someone to argue against such a state decision on religious grounds?
I was raised Catholic (and spent more than half of my life so far attending Catholic schools), and in that church, marriage is one of our seven religious sacraments, with a lot of strict rules about it. If I wanted to marry another man, I couldn’t imagine even bothering to try it in the Catholic church (They're 2,000 years old and still don’t let women or married men serve in the priesthood, so I assume gay marriage might take a few more centuries).
But I sure as hell would expect to be able to go to a courthouse downtown and have a judge declare us married, and I’d expect to be able to use his health insurance or visit him if he was in a coma in the hospital or for him to inherit all my longboxes full of shitty ‘90s comics if I died suddenly.
I couldn’t even imagine telling a legislator, “Hey, you can’t let these folks have that signed piece of paper giving them certain legal rights in the eyes of the state! This one book has a handful of vague passages suggesting that it might be uncool!” Because a) I wouldn’t want to live in a country where everything the Bible says is bad, b) I wouldn’t want to live in a country where everything the Catholic church says is bad is bad (the sexual laws alone…!), and c) there are a lot of religions in the U.S. and, at the risk of anyone who belongs to any of the crazy-ass ones, I would hate to see the words of all these Gods and gods acknowledged in the law.
Okay, almost done now…
Take us home with just one more burst of nonsense, Orson Scott Card!
If the government passed a law declaring that grey was now green, and asphalt was specifically designated as a botanical organism, would that make all our streets into "greenery" and all our parking lots into "parks"?
If a court declared that from now on, "blind" and "sighted" would be synonyms, would that mean that it would be safe for blind people to drive cars?
No matter how sexually attracted a man might be toward other men, or a woman toward other women, and no matter how close the bonds of affection and friendship might be within same-sex couples, there is no act of court or Congress that can make these relationships the same as the coupling between a man and a woman.
This is a permanent fact of nature.
Hey, you’re right! No law could make the coupling of two men or two women the same as that between a man and a woman, because laws don’t actually reorder biology, and if they could, gay dudes and ladies wouldn’t want to make coupling with members of the same sex the same as coupling with members of the opposite sex because why would gay people even want to couple with members of the opposite sex?
So that’s Orson Scott Card, professional writer who gets paid actual money by people to produce writing for them. You can read more of his columns for Mormon Times here. To his credit, he’s not a one-issue columnist; at least, he doesn’t appear to be by scanning the headlines, which include ones like “Singin’, dancin’ Mormons” and “In praise of what’s inside the diapers.”
So, what does any of this have to do with comics? Um, well, obviously not too terribly much, beyond the fact that Card wrote some Iron Man comics and will be working with Marvel on an upcoming Ender’s Game adaptation (He was just part of a Marvel panel at San Diego last week).
But yesterday Blog@Newsarama.com’s Kevin Melrose noted that as folks around the Internet responded to this piece by Card, some were mentioning him in regards to his working for Marvel and that folks should write in to Marvel to let them know that they think Card’s a jerk and they won’t by his or their comics if they keep paying the man.
The comments include the predictably sad and hilarious ones, and it's always alternately amusing and frustrating to hear comic book fans rationalize buying or not buying a company’s output based on one certain factor (Usually it has more to do with things like Spider-Man’s marriage or Iron Man’s support of a particular law than the politics and beliefs of the creators).
I liked the one guy who equated emailing Marvel that you weren’t going to buy their comics if they keep giving Card work as crossing the line into Nazi territory. I know that when I think of Nazis, the first thing that comes to mind is the way they were always writing letters to comic book companies threatening to boycott if they insisted on hiring creators and telling stories they didn’t like (One of the Nazis’ chief complaints about American comics at the time was the way Hitler was always being punched out on the covers).
Reading that post at Blog@, and then Card's screed inMormon Times, I was kinda glad that I had never read any of Card’s work, because it can be incredibly disheartening when you find out a creator whose work you really like holds beliefs you find repugnant, an experience I imagine most comic fans have had at some point in our current Internet age of comics.
I wonder if there will be any actual outcry against Marvel over this, particularly since Card has only really worked in the fringes of their comics (a couple of spin-off miniseries in their four-book Ultimate line, an upcoming book adaptation more geared for book stores and libraries than the direct market).
Somehow, I kind of doubt it.
Surely Marvel’s committed enough to Ender’s Game that they won’t cancel the project at this point, and its hard to imagine their core customers exerting enough pressure to cause them to drop a particular creator (Surely Marvel’s learned by now that no matter what fans and readers might say, they’ll never drop all their books as long as Marvel’s the only place where they can get their sweet, sweet Spider-Man. Maybe they’ll want to keep Card away from Iron Man however, now that the latter’s star is on the rise.
*Nothing personal against the genre, its practicioners or its consumers. I’ve just never got into any sci-fi that wasn’t written by Douglas Adams or Kurt Vonnegut (if that counts). Comics and movies have long ago fulfilled whatever desire I was born with for sci-fi.