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On "Ender's Game" and the boycott thereof

mushroom cloud
I went to see the movie a few days ago, and loved it. Like many people, I, too, harbored qualms about supporting a project that might profit a hate-mongering, sexist homophobe, but I loved the story (and book), and the previews looked good. So I went, and was really pleased I did. Though I admit to having used a free pass to the theater that I'd been saving, on ethical grounds, I'd not feel bad if I had paid actual cash money.

Ender's Game (book or movie) is not Orson Scott Card; in many ways, it feels strange thinking that such a foul person could have written such a beautiful and painful story (which was brilliantly acted by young people in the movie). But he wrote it some two decades ago, when he was (presumably) not such an ass-hat as he comes across lately.

Do you have a problem with the movie? Consider Sturgeon's Law: "90% of everything is crud." I know a lot of people who would say the same thing about other human beings, that 90% of them aren't people you'd want to befriend. But if you deny yourself enjoying the 10% of stuff that's worthy of your attention because 90% of that was written by someone you find despicable (what's that leave, 1% or something?), you're in for a desolate life.

For more fantastic discussion about this, check out Tessa Gratton's powerfully personal post about this here. Also Bart Calendar's commentary on the issue of artist vs. art here.

Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
clevermanka
Nov. 6th, 2013 10:12 pm (UTC)
if you deny yourself enjoying the 10% of stuff that's worthy of your attention because 90% of that was written by someone you find despicable (what's that leave, 1% or something?), you're in for a desolate life.

My dollar is my vote. There are many things I don't purchase, and many places I don't purchase things. However, it is not my place to tell other people how to vote. That said, I stand by my comment on Bart's post: There are ways to obtain things and enjoy them without giving the (problematic) creator money. Used CD stores, video rental, libraries, etc.

I think it's interesting that in the flurry of conversation on his LJ, I didn't get a single response to that. Is my approach that unusual? Undesirable?
mckitterick
Nov. 6th, 2013 10:35 pm (UTC)
On Facebook, you'd get a dozen "Likes" for that comment; I suspect that's the issue. But keep in mind that Card sold his rights to the book; he doesn't get any royalties or additional payments (besides selling more of his books), so the dollar-is-your-vote thing isn't really relevant in this instance.
clevermanka
Nov. 6th, 2013 10:38 pm (UTC)
It's true for 90% of the other cases, though. And since I keep my FB and LJ very very VERY separate, I shan't be commenting with the same words in both places. AH WELL.
tully01
Nov. 7th, 2013 01:02 am (UTC)
If I boycotted every film that someone involved with had done something I objected to, I would see no films.

mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC)
Great point! I mean, so many people work on a movie that there's always going to be someone who is unlikable.
tully01
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
Exactly. And as noted, OSC gets nada from the movie itself that he hasn't already received and banked. At best he gets a bump in royalties on a book that earned out a quarter of a century back, but a bump that likely just cannibalizes future royalties he would have eventually received anyway. The film-makers take their cuts mostly from the front end as well. The people who worked on the film have already banked their paychecks.

So who do you really hurt with a boycott? Mostly theater owners and their employees, and maybe investors who were silly enough to believe that Hollywood accounting would ever show a book profit on their funding.
mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
Great points, Tully. Of course, I also understand those who don't want to be seen as supporting the guy on ethical grounds.

Which, ironically, probably hurts a lot of the kinds of people OSC hate-speechifies about.
tully01
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yep. Whipping the wrong horse for the purpose of making a statement.
bondo_ba
Nov. 7th, 2013 01:15 pm (UTC)
I couldn't agree more. A literary work shouldn't be judged by the politics, attitude or general creepiness of its creator, ever (unless one of those things spills into the writing in unacceptable amounts). This book (and, it seems, the movie), stands apart from the man who wrote it, and missing it for such a trivial reason would have been unfortunate.

Anyone boycotting is seriously misguided, IMO. Of course, I also doubt that the boycott has gone much beyond certain very specific circles in the academic / literary world. Most people who go see the movie have no idea there was a book, and even those who do are unaware of Card's politics.
mckitterick
Nov. 7th, 2013 03:27 pm (UTC)
Great points. One thing people who are all worked up about the boycott are part of a small, inside group. The only people who know about this outside SF are those who have heard from insiders.
bondo_ba
Nov. 7th, 2013 03:42 pm (UTC)
Yup. That has been my impression since I first heard about it.
tully01
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:02 pm (UTC)
If it spills over into the writing in unacceptable amounts, the problem is then with the work itself. No?
bondo_ba
Nov. 7th, 2013 05:39 pm (UTC)
I think so, yes. I'm fine with reading a work by an author with opinions different (even irreconcilably different) from mine as long as the work itself doesn't beat me over the head with them - if it's done deftly, I will probably enjoy the different viewpoint.

But ham-fistedness will make me hate the book in most cases, even when I agree with the writer's ideas!
tully01
Nov. 7th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC)
Amen! I agree wholeheartedly.

I would add that there have been a few ham-fisted works that I read all the way through and enjoyed as fiction. When an author can offend me that much and I am still entertained enough to finish the work, they have done a hella good job of writing it.



Edited at 2013-11-07 06:19 pm (UTC)
bondo_ba
Nov. 7th, 2013 06:24 pm (UTC)
Heh. Good point!
kalimeg
Nov. 8th, 2013 03:17 am (UTC)
Eh. He got his movie money long ago, and no attendance or skipping thereof is really going to matter.

I liked the book -- read it when it came out, which is a darned long time ago. Some of the later ones were so-so. There has been much milking of Ender and of associated characters.

But I quit keeping up with Card when his Alvin Maker series ended.
mckitterick
Nov. 8th, 2013 02:34 pm (UTC)
Good point - the group of SF insiders who are most adamant about this are nowhere near enough volume of potential attendees who could actually make a difference.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )