Should I hate Orson Scott Card?

Card opposes gay marriage… should I avoid reading his brilliant fiction books? WTF!?!?

In a recent entry over at “geekdad”, one of wired’s so-called blogs, Matt Blum wrote a piece contrasting his love of the book Ender’s Game with his hatred for the book’s author, Orson Scott Card. The source of the problem seems to be that Card has, especially in more recent years, been a very vocal opponent of gay marriage. We can find Orson’s viewpoint very clearly stated in a piece that was published on the Mormon Times web site.

On one side of the argument we have a brilliant writer that makes a convincing and logical argument and on the other we have a hyper-reactionary hate monger that simply cannot deal with opinions that differ from his own.

Sadly, in this case the hate monger is Matt Blum.

For the most part, Matt is struggling with a problem that faces a lot of people in a celebrity obsessed internet culture. Any person of any minor fame will have their entire personal life splattered all over the place… and what we often find is that the people behind great works are not always good people. The knowledge sometimes impacts our ability to appreciate the work itself.

But in this case, what I find truly annoying is how Matt and many similar people treat Orson Scott Card, especially over his opposition to gay marriage.

Matt seems to have bought into the left-wing activist’s propaganda machine which preaches that it is wrong to even question the whole “gay rights” thing, especially in regards to gay marriage. He has other views that I can pick on in this piece too.

…about anti-semitism!

Contrary to the opinions of the political correctness crowd, including Matt, many people have legitimate complaints about Jews, Jewish culture, the Nation of Israel, etc.

Just because the Jewish people were treated badly in Germany half a century ago doesn’t give them a free ride to be forgiven for being ass-hats today. There is a lot to dislike and disapprove of in Jewish politics and culture, just as there is in any culture.

Pointing out those flaws doesn’t make you an evil bastard. But here in the home of free speech Jews appear to have earned a permanent “get out of jail free” card.

Anyone that says anything even mildly disapproving about anything that can be related to the Jewish is instantly flagged an anti-Semite… which is apparently something REALLY bad despite the fact that no one seems to actually know what exactly a semite might be… but everyone here sure does knows that you are a truly evil fucker if you aren’t down with the semites!

He is quick to label anyone that disagrees with anything Jewish in nature as an anti-Semite…  with the expected references to Nazi Germany of course.

By the end of his post, matt resorted to just picking on Sean Connery for a statement that he made in 1987 (where he offered the opinion that there were some cases where it was OK to slap a woman with limited force)… a viewpoint I can disagree with in general, but that did made sense in the original context of Sean’s interview… it certainly wasn’t as offensive as it was made out to be in the resulting media spin.

There are at least a few legitimate arguments to be made opposing gay marriage, and Card successfully makes one of those. Card even managed to make his point without having to bring in the religious angle, which is admirable considering his audience was Mormon and it would have been much simpler for him to just play the God angle.

But Card didn’t do that, and that is part of the reason why Card is such a fantastic writer. Instead he breaks into history, politics, law, and science to make a rational argument in support of his opinion (something you don’t often see from the religious right these days).

I’m sure the underlying reason that Card is so passionate about this topic is motivated by his own religious views, but unlike most religiously motivated bull-shit out there, Card’s argument holds some water when held to non-religious analysis.

I disagree with Card’s overall viewpoint of course. I personally don’t see the merit in ANY form of state recognition of marriage, gay or straight. Card does talk intelligently about why there is a legal idea of marriage though:

 “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.”

Card is a smart guy, but in my opinion he missed a vital point… the areas of “inheritance, property, paternity, divorce, adoption and so on” do not need to be solved via legal recognition of marriage. It could just as easily be solved via standard contract and tort law.

Ironically there is already precedent for this in the legal system. Prenuptial agreements are an example of how contract law is used to extend and/or modify the standard rules of legal marriage. Divorce agreements are another example.

As it stands though, the existing legal institute of marriage is extremely discriminatory and unjust towards a sizeable group of citizens. It is as repressive to these people as slavery was towards black Americans. I would argue that legal marriage law is also highly discriminatory towards heterosexual people that just aren’t married or don’t want to be. Certainly the tax system punishes single members of our society very harshly indeed.

But I still respect Card’s argument. It is well thought out, logical, and well presented. Which brings us back to Matt’s problem… what do you do when a creator of great work holds personal opinions that you strongly disagree with?

Well, first, it probably doesn’t help to come off as a total ass-hole like Matt did. I mean, by the end of his post he devolved into plain and simple name-calling.

How very mature Mr. geekdad, what a role model for your kids!

The geekdad “blog” over at wired is generally aimed at parents. In my opinion most of the writers over there seem to have some really silly ideas on parenting. These are the kind of parents that are shoved so far up their kid’s ass that their kids will turn out to be worthless adults that just live in their geekdad’s basement until they’re 40… but since the blog does aim at parents, it brings up the question:

Should you let your kids read a work if the person that created it also teaches ideas you don’t agree with, or even find outright hostile, immoral, etc?

Well… you can be a narrow minded ass-hole and just steer your kids clear of such works… protecting them and making sure they grow up to believe only what you want them to. Or you might choose to teach them how to fucking think for themselves so they can make up their own minds when it comes to contentious political issues…

So I recommend you burn all of Card’s books and add his name to your fucking net-nanny firewall or whatever…

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