Most artists and writers instinctively dislike the idea of cultural boycotts, and for good reason. The scales should always tip toward freedom of expression — even disagreeable expression — and when we fight over pop culture, our arguments should stem from knowledge rather than from a flat refusal to engage with questionable material. Besides, most cultural boycotts are strategically ineffective; it’s hard to tally the number of people who don’t see a movie or watch a TV show, and impossible to determine when staying away constitutes a statement and when it merely indicates lack of interest.
As a manifestation of anger or disgust, boycotts are extreme and, appropriately, rare. So it’s noteworthy that talk of an organized protest against the sci-fi drama Ender’s Game, which opens Nov. 1, has heated up enough to provoke responses from both Orson Scott Card, the author of the novel on which it’s based, and the movie’s distributor. Card is an outspoken opponent of marriage equality whose decades-long history of antigay public commentary is well documented; now that he has a movie to sell, he is saying that in the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision overturning a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, the issue is “moot.” On July 8, he gave a statement to EW in which he urged gay rights supporters to show “tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”
It’s hard to know where to begin to dismantle the smugness and intellectual dishonesty in Card’s words. His assertion that gay rights are now “moot” in a country in which 37 states still consider my marriage unworthy of recognition is weak enough, but I’d rather move on to his self-serving appropriation of “tolerance.” No group of people is required to tolerate those who would oppress them, but beyond that, Card is using calm and temperate language to disguise the extremity of his position. He’s not simply against marriage equality; as recently as 2008, he publicly called for straight married Americans to unite in an effort to “destroy” their “mortal enemy,” by which he meant a revolutionary overthrow of any U.S. government led by “dictator-judges” who support same-sex marriage. He’s an off-the-spectrum hatemonger cloaking himself as a voice of principled opposition, and he richly deserves to be shunned. READ FULL STORY