Bubblegum and Superman

Holy SHIT that lipstick is the wrong color for you, bro.

.

So Orson Scott Card, renowned science fiction author, Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and Locus award winner and all-round homophobic douche has been hired by DC to pen a new Superman anthology. A few minutes trawling Google under the parameters “Orson Scott Card” and “Superman” will present you with a flurry of diatribes, threats by retailers not to carry the line and the general outrage over DC’s decision.

DC have released an official statement about the hire:

“As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”

My first reaction was to applaud that sentiment. But honestly, thinking about it a little harder, this strikes me as a wantonly stupid hire for DC to be making.

Orson Scott Card is a bigot. A weak man hiding behind the dogmatic views of an organisation that preaches love but thrives on hatred. Not only does he write openly about the damaging effects he believes gays have on society, but he spearheads a group who actively campaign against gay rights. For my part, I will not ever knowingly spend a cent to support any of his work. Should I ever have the misfortune of meeting him, I will happily tell him so to his face.

Caveat – of course, if the execs at DC lose their collective minds and allow Card to publish anti-gay sentiment, open or veiled (such as the genocidal warfare against the “buggers” in Ender’s Game, yes Orson, I see what you did there) in the pages of his Supes anthology, this should be a no-brainer argument  But the odds of the company allowing Card’s homophobic views to inform his writing on Superman are right up there with them releasing a Justice League movie before Fenrir the Wolf swallows the sun, so it starts to get a little more complicated.

Now, there are some who would say the artist should be held separate from the art, and I truly get that. In an ideal world, you should be able  to watch a Roman Polanski film and judge it on its own merits, and never mind all that unpleasantness about him raping a 13 year old girl and fleeing the United States before he could be formally sentenced. But really? Fuck that. Because in purchasing art, you support the artist who created it. You make them money. You give tacit approval of their actions. “Yeah, you sexually assaulted a child, Roman, but damn, you can shoot good dialogue.”

In this age of twitter and fb and blogs and whatever, the line between the creator and the created grows ever thinner. And for good or ill, we’ve reached a point where art is now not only judged by its own strengths and failings, but also by the strengths and failings of the people who created it. The social media circus exacerbates the issue, but complaining about it strikes a sour note with me. Social media for creators is, at its most fundamental, a form of advertisement, and we creators engage in it precisely because we want people to know who we are.

This isn’t a new phenomenon, either – as Quentin Tarantino famously said during a hilaaaaaarious interview for Django Unchained, and by extension, summed up every interview with a creator EVER: “This is a commercial for my movie”. But somewhere along the line, persona has become inextricably tied up in content. It’s like a fistful of bubblegum smooshed through your hair – it doesn’t come out, your only solution is to cut it away. And as terrifying as that idea is to me – the knowledge that every time I write a ranty blog post or tweet a dick joke it could cost me a sale or a follower or whatever – I accept it, because that same device allows me to spread news about my art across the entire world. The sword, it is double-edged. But it’s still a sword that can slay some mighty big dragons, and creators always have the option of saying nothing, or being utterly vanilla and saying nothing of worth for fear of offending.

So, while I understand the idealized view that the artist is not the art, and visa versa, I believe there SHOULD be consequences for people’s actions.

Caveat – there is a WORLD of difference between views espoused in an artist’s work and the views they espouse in their personal lives. The idea that, because an artist writes a homophobic or misogynistic or racist character, they themselves are homophobic or misogynistic or racist is EXTRAORDINARILY DANGEROUS. Art is not life. My characters are not me. I am talking PURELY about political/social views espoused by the artist in their own lives here, NOT in their art. If you cannot differentiate between art and life, between my character’s words/thoughts/feelings and my own, you are not dealing with the correct reality

Now, we live in a society where people are free to think and say what they please. And in a way, the idea that a person can’t even get a JOB because of their personal beliefs is straight up horror story. After all, “I won’t hire you because, despite your ability to do this job and not allow your personal beliefs to impact on your output in any way, you believe gay people are evil sinners” isn’t so far removed from “I won’t hire you because, despite your ability to do this job and not allow your personal beliefs to impact on your output in any way, you are gay” or “have different skin to me” or “<insert bullshit othering here> to me”. The difference of course is some of those stances actively pursue an agenda of hate, and the other could be seen as doing society a favor (which one of these is not like the other, come on, can you tell which one?) But what begins as a completely logical reaction (“I won’t buy this guy’s work, because he’s a hateful, small-minded fool”) very quickly descends into a very grey quagmire of “What ifs?” and “Yes, buts…”, and if you’re not careful, you end up looking like a hateful, small-minded fool too.

Card is a renowned writer. His ability can’t really be questioned. He can do the job DC have hired him to do. He’s a hateful little shit, no doubt, but does that mean he shouldn’t be able to get a gig? There’s always the argument that people can vote with their dollars – that if Card’s presence in the scene is offensive to you, if you wish to let him know you consider his views as “Not Okay”, do as I do and don’t buy his work. Hell, if you really feel like it, don’t buy any more DC books until they deep-six him, and let them know why. Your unwillingness to give DC money will speak to them at a volume far in excess of any outraged tweet/post/piece of interpretive dance you make.

As for the idea of retailers not stocking the work, not even allowing people to make up their own minds about it, well, that’s just singularly insulting. Thank you Mr Comic Book Store Guy, but this grey pulpy mass between my ears actually fucking works for itself sometimes.

But, when all that is said and done, I don’t agree with DC’s decision to hire Card. I think it’s fucking woeful, truth be told. And the reason is kinda simple.

Imagine for one moment, Card had openly expressed views that were ultra-racist. That he had claimed black people were a blight on society. That he was a member of an organization that actively pursued an agenda of hatred towards people of color, and campaigned to have their rights as citizens revoked. Or imagine for a moment, Card had openly expressed views that were ultra-misogynistic – that women were inferior to men, that the best thing for society would be for women to get back in the kitchen and shut their mouths, and actively pursued such a goal, making no bones about it to anyone. Imagine he’d spoken this way about any one of a hundred minorities, be the line drawn on race, creed, whatever. Do you believe for a second that DC would have hired him? Do you honestly believe they’d be saying “Yes, we know he’s openly professed a burning hatred of all Latinos, but his personal views aren’t ours”?

No. Fucking. Way.

But somehow, someway, it ain’t so bad for Card to be bashing on gay folk. Somehow, this brand of hatred and fear isn’t quite so bad as the hatred and fear people of color or women have to deal with. Somehow, hiring a man who openly espouses vitriolic hatred of homosexuals, who will no doubt use the money he makes from DC to further his agenda of bigotry and bullshit, is ok.

Well, no. It’s not. Not in my book, anyway. ALL bigotry is bullshit. All hatred is baggage. And while I 100% support the right for people to openly spout said bullshit, I also support the right for everyone else in the free world to call them on it, and punish them for it. Because this shit is Not Okay.

Superman is a flagship character of the DC line. Defender of Truth Justice and All That Jazz. And I don’t even give a shit about Supes – I’m a dyed in the wool Marvel boy. But goddamn, this strikes me as some grade-A fucked up shit, right here.

Dangerous times, people. At least, it seems that way to me. But, I grant that the issue is complicated. I get that. And I’d be genuinely interested to hear what you folks think.

Happy Valentines Day, btw. 🙂

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About Misterkristoff

New York Times and Internationally Bestselling SciFi/Fantasy author, and master of drunken karaoke-fu. View all posts by Misterkristoff

50 responses to “Bubblegum and Superman

  • deadlyeverafter

    You are what you tolerate. If you support an artist who’s a despicable human being, it says that’s cool with you. It isn’t the same as watching football when you see some of the shit those players do in the news. The artist you support is rooted to the person you are. So if you like gross people, you’re gross.

    –Julie

  • Kat Kennedy

    I already vote with my dollars because I only buy Marvel (though a lot of it – and did you see that ultra Wolverine pack? I MUST HAVE IT!)

    But I am so angry at DC. They’re already at least 5 years behind Marvel on social issues and Superman is already problematic enough with gender issues (so is Card’s work, often.) Gah!

    I guess my point is, an artist leaves impressions of themselves in their work. So the guy that rewrote Hamlet as anti-gay propaganda is going to be working on one of, if not THE most iconic superheroes ever? Forget it. You failed big time, DC.

  • Manon Eileen

    Great blog, Jay. I didn’t know about all of this (I suppose I do live under a rock, lol). I think it’s quite hurtful to a large group of people if DC simply discards his personal views like this. I actually saw a really interesting TED talk this morning, about the “Fifty Shades of Gay” – the speaker says that technically, everyone is a “little” homosexual, or a “little” heterosexual. Where do you draw the line? If you follow her line of reasoning, you insult most of society (in case you’re interested, here it is: http://www.ted.com/talks/io_tillett_wright_fifty_shades_of_gay.html)

    Ah well, at least now it’s very clear what DC thinks of homosexual people.

    • Misterkristoff

      That was a REALLY interesting vid, Manon. High five for sharing 😀

    • Maddog

      There are a lot of people who consider themselves the Tolerant ones.And it is often they who are exactly the opposite. The word was Hypocritical in my day. But Society still hasn’t caught on that that is inevitable in human affairs. To say one thing and do the opposite is older then any form of Religion. And will be here to the last days of Man/Women.

      I did not read the entire article as I am intolerant to reading writers who come across as against free speech. It seems very much one of the steps towards Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
      I gather that you say just not buy the book but it certainly hints of much more.

      I have never heard of Cards Homophobia. And my stance so You don’t confuse me with someone you feel is slime, is the same as one of your posters here and that everyone has some homosexuality inside them. The Romans didn’t seem to mind it but we wouldn’t want to be called homophobes because we didn’t care for some of the atrocious things they did.

      Enders Game(to me the real reason to judge OSC as a public figure) is a book that represents both Greatness and how a person will sell out and be a slave to his own creation. I’m guessing(a good one though) that his only real money comes from writing the Totally Endless Ender Novels. I hate sequels for the most part and find it pathetic to write nothing but the same formula over and over.(Has Ender ever grown up???)

      But the other and more substantial view is that his Ender’s Game novel is often at the top or near the top of every SF Greatest Books List.

      Now can you consider these fans who did so are Homophobic or just as bad as you perceive Card to be. Since we are all related to Hitler as well as Gandhi(and he let his wife die by refusing her the western medicine he himself took only weeks before) You see the angel and devil is on all of our shoulders and to say we don’t listen to both of them is the real Danger.

      This Holier then Thou attitude makes us think we are better then we actually are. And that arrogance is what fuels all forms of hate.

      Again, I have never heard of OSC’s views on the subject and find it silly to think he would impose them or have DC let him impose them on the kids who read this silly nonsense. Superman is a joke and has been for decades.

      And people do change. Malcolm X renounced his former racist Black Supremest self and Died for it. But it is that Racist that is honored to this day. Not the one that changed his name again and died because he could no longer live with himself and his hypocrisy. He was strong enough to see a sliver of the hidden ugly truth(and it is very elusive to oneself) And basically sacrificed himself for it. And no one really gives a shit about that Brother. Its the Hate Monger/Hate Fighter that they Love.

      The Bible is Hypocrisy but some of it’s writings are still Ring with the Eternal Truths of Mankind.

      Let He without Sin cast the first stone and all that jazz.

      Anyway I’m tired of writing.

      Lenny Bruce won the battle on the Censor Nazi’s
      But lost the War.

      • Misterkristoff

        “I did not read the entire article as I am intolerant to reading writers who come across as against free speech.”

        It would probably help if you did. I’m not against free speech at all. Person X is entitled to walk down the street, loudly spewing as much hateful bile as he or she pleases. And everyone else is entitled to judge that person on the shitty, hateful attitude they’re displaying.

        The right to say whatever you like is not a free pass for being an asshole.

        Card’s attitude to homosexuals is well documented. A 2 minute google search will provide you with some nasty truth, should you go looking for it.

  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    The problem with Card being hired to do just about anything these days besides writing Christian fiction or Christian tracts is that he can’t keep his views out of it. I get it; not writing in your own viewpoints is probably hard. However, that doesn’t make insidious preaching cool.

    Maybe he’ll be able to avoid turning Superman into a gay-basher; maybe not. I figure DC will probably get their own comeuppance if Card puts anything questionable on there, because he is being watched…and closely. I recently read one of his newer books, and he did horrid things to the female characters that dared to rise above their station – mothering, cooking, cleaning, etc. I wish you were right about people being so incensed about those other issues that he wouldn’t have been hired. You have more faith in humanity than I do. So many of our public officials in this country hold those views, and yet they get voted into power.

    As Kat said, though, DC sucks anyway.

    • Misterkristoff

      Yeah, I can’t see DC letting anything remotely sexual/sexual preference based into this comic. Like you say, the scrutiny that’s now been leveled on it must be totally top of mind for those editors and execs, no matter how much of the pipe they’re hitting. And its not like Supes has ever been a title where women were really given any kind of equality anyway, so Card’s traditional poor treatment of women shouldn’t really be an issue either.

      Yet another reason why DC sucks. 😛

      But yeah, I could be wrong. A perverse part of me hopes I am wrong, and that Card does let some of his politics slip into the story and the entire comics industry gets up in arms about it. That way, the bigoted piece of shit might never get another paying gig.

  • Craig Black

    With respect,

    in the USA Card is free to think, believe, and practice his faith of choice. Just because you don’t agree with it doesn’t make him wrong or you right. Remember in bashing his moral beliefs you are trying to ‘force’ your own upon him. Sound familiar? Trust me there are truly terrible things going on in this world that people turn a blind eye to everyday. This isn’t one of them. The man has his opinion and the freedom to express it, End of story. Let the man write if you don’t like it don’t buy it.

    that being said I cannot wait for Sept and The Kinslayer!

    • David Jón Fuller

      No, condemning people for their innate sexuality is pretty terrible. And turning a blind eye to it, as in the cases of schools and communities that don’t put a stop to bullying gay students, has led to the bullied students committing suicide. It’s not a small issue. And disputing Card’s assertions is not limiting his freedom of speech — in fact, it’s engaging in it.

    • Misterkristoff

      I’m all for freedom of expression. However, there should be (and is) consequences for expressing opinions that people find offensive, or barbaric, or contrary to decent human behavior.

      If an entertainer were to repeatedly crow that she/he hated colored people, worked in an active and public capacity to degrade and limit their rights and threatened revolution against any government that treated colored people as human beings, she/he shouldn’t expect to sell many movies/books/tube socks. Nor would many people be arguing that her/his opinion is anything other than “wrong”.

      I find it interesting and very sad that, of all our society’s ridiculous othering, othering gay people is somehow more acceptable.

      But I do TOTALLY agree with you. The man can write what he wishes. The best vote in this case is with dollars 🙂

      And thanks very much for the support, really hope you enjoy KINSLAYER 😀

  • Karen

    Well said. I no longer read anything by Card, Once I had heard some of the things he has written and espoused, I was disgusted.

  • Pam van Hylckama (@BookaliciousPam)

    Perfect! But you’re wrong about one thing. The women bashing wouldn’t matter at all to DC.

  • Rhonda

    As a woman and person of colour, I have to agree. We wouldn’t stand for his ‘free speech’ if it was about other ‘unacceptable’ biases. We wouldn’t let him get away with it. I think DC did an awful thing. But I can only hope they will get the message and change their minds. Nothing against Mr. Card as a writer, but as a person, he needs some work.

    I hope my opinion counts. I love Marvel and Top Cow, but I grew up on Superman. He was THE superhero for me. Even if Spiderman had my heart. (For the record, Wolverine has replaced Spiderman in my adult heart lol.)

  • neyska

    I had no idea about this. Apparently, I am also living under a rock. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I am appalled that they would hire him given his very public bigotry.

  • TheMightyX

    Happy Valentines Day to you too, Mr. Kristoff.

    I’d like to state that a person’s beliefs are their own. I do not really care what people believe in, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T HURT ANYBODY, or go out of your way to TRY and hurt anybody. Using your job analogy, qualified Mr. Applicant A is a gay hater, he hates those gays so much, he goes to rallies, he peels those little blue “Equality” symbols off peoples’ cars, and he shouts obscene, hateful language if he sees two people of the same sex holding hands. Mr. Applicant B doesn’t like gays either. Qualified Mr. Applicant B is polite, well-spoken, and doesn’t advertise his inner loathing of gays apart from averting his eyes should he see two people of the same gender holding hands, and maybe the barest curl of the lip if he sees one of those little equality stickers. He doesn’t go to rallies, he stays home with his nauseatingly perfect nuclear family with a nice lady wife who is a seamstress or something on the side, I dunno. Were I hiring, and these two were the best choices, I would hire Mr. Applicant B, because a) he doesn’t broadcast his beliefs, or try and convert people at the water cooler, and b) he doesn’t try and hurt people (screaming, rallies). Do I think bad behaviour necessarily should result in Mr. Applicant A getting a job? Yes. Yes I do.

    Mr. Applicant B can show that he is a controlled, thinking ADULT who will fit in with the group of other ADULTS, and won’t suddenly go off like a rabid baboon when well-meaning Susie from accounting sent around a cute story about those two male penguins who adopted that egg together. Mr. Applicant B will just delete the email and get on with his life.

    See, this whole “FREE SPEECH” screeching gay-bashers wrap around themselves like a protective sheet is abuse. I believe in free speech, whole -heartedly, but I’m afraid the free speech thing has made it so that now, every man, woman, child, talking dog, etc. feels they have a right to say what they want, even if it IS hateful. Suddenly all these people who say “Gays are ruining everything” feel like they are saying something MEANINGFUL and crap that people want to and OUGHT to listen too, because it’s FREE SPEECH goldurnit!

    Back to Mr. Applicant A. Mr. Applicant A DOES feel it’s free speech, and even though no one wants to hear it, and the people who have the little blue Equality stickers on their cars are rolling their eyes at the water cooler and trying to restrain themselves from calling him a buffoon and buying Annoy-O-Trons from ThinkGeek just to mess with him, he keeps talking about how he went to an anti-gays rally, and so on and so forth.

    Orson Scott Card may hate gays, he may spearhead rallies, he may do all of that stuff, and what it amounts to is hurting other people. Rallies inflict emotional, mental, and sometimes even physical and sexual violence (if the rally goes south, or a pack of cronies go out and find someone to hurt) on other people who are just trying to live their lives they best they can. Why should DC give Card a job? He hurts people. He makes it a point that people know he hates gays, and that he leads rallies against them. Why does he get a job when an equally talented writer with better and more creative ideas (who also doesn’t attend hurtful rallies or scream about how something is wrong and destroying society) get the job? Ohhh, they didn’t win a Hugo and Nebula award, and become standard reading material for hundreds of schools in my area. Why not someone interesting, like those two fellows who write under the name James S.A. Corey (one is Mr. Martin’s assistant, the other wrote Dragon’s Path), or Pat Rothfuss, or even YOU. Better ideas, more creative ideas, and you don’t suck as people.

    And really, around my part of the world, gays are awesome. If they move into a neighborhood the property values go up, and they adopt unwanted babies, and there’s less competition for women for all the other guys. Same rules apply for them to be ok: don’t hurt anyone, don’t be an ass, y’know, common sense.

    *sigh* It’s not an issue for me either, I’ve always been Marvel, too. I wrote a paper on how awesome Marvel was vs. D.C. in high school. Who are your favorites? 😀

    • Misterkristoff

      My faves – Silver Surfer, Spiderman, and X-Men (although X-Men have also had some of the worst comics Marvel has ever printed imo) 🙂

      I totally agree. “And it harm none, do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law”. Card is, at the end of the day, trying to make other people’s lives miserable. Although in truth, i doubt he even sees gay people as people. I doubt he’s ever sat down and discussed with a gay person how what he does impacts their lives, or been forced to interact with “them” on any human level. To him, gay folks are “others” – statistics, or number, or concepts. You’d have to be a true sociopath to behave otherwise, and for all his failings, I don’t think Card is that.

      Although, Ender’s Game is rife with homo-erotic content (seriously), so the argument some people have that Card “protests too much” might be valid.

      Still, at the end of the day, I don’t care about his motivations. All i care about is that any money he makes is likely going to be channeled into efforts that make this world less awesome.

  • Lindsay Kitson

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything you say here. It’s not about separating the artist from the art, and even there, I don’t have a problem with linking the artist to their art, but I don’t want to support anyone like that, financially or otherwise. If the computer store owner down the street thinks I don’t know my machine because I’m a girl (because the dipshit totally did) I will buy my compressed air elsewhere, thank you very much, and I’ll tell everyone I know not to shop there and why. If I know a product was created in a sweatshop via child labour in india, I won’t just buy a different product, I won’t buy anything from that company at all if I can at all help it. Why should people think art is different?

    • Misterkristoff

      What? You don’t know you’re machine because you have ovaries? That’s gotta be the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard today – I hope you gave the guy a piece of your mind. My bride has forgotten more about computers than I’ll ever know. Pretty sure she has some ovaries in there somewhere…

      But yeah, vote with your dollars. it’s the best option. Summit are obviously shitscared about the Ender’s Game film – they’re not having Card do any promo work for it. Although I’d be shitscared too, if my director was the guy who made X-Men orgins: Wolverine…

      • Lindsay Kitson

        Yeah… he told me it didn’t matter that my computer wouldn’t use the who 4GB of RAM it came with because it was probably running a 32 bit version of vista, and I was like who the fuck would but a 32 bit version of an os on a machine with 4GB of RAM? And then he tried to tell me I was silly for not buying a Mac, and I can afford an ipod, so how come I can’t afford a Mac laptop? Never went there again. Evar. Told other people not to go there. I dunno, maybe it’s not even because I was female – maybe he just thinks everyone who’s not him is stupid.

        Anyway, I do appreciate the men in the world who don’t think their dick is going to fall off if they acknowledge that women are just as capable and knowledgeable as men. If you don’t fit into the neat little roles that society has laid out for women (housewife, secretary, librarian, teacher, nurse, etc), life can be a constant battle against people who don’t think you can do it.

  • Sarah (saz101)

    Jay, wow. I don’t what to say other than amen.
    Props, dude.

    Decades from now, we’re going to look back on the fact that homophobia and this kind of hate was ever accepted, turned a blind eye to, or allowed to happen in this age, and we’ll be horrifed. Our children will be horrified.

    And too right. They should.
    Thank you for writing this.
    +20xp to wisdom/charisma/AWESOME ;D

    • Misterkristoff

      I agree. People will look back on this with the same baffled expressions as we look back on racial discrimination of the pre-civil rights era, and people like Card will be vilified as the turds they are.

  • alex dante

    DC have been pretty heavily undermining the Superman narrative since the recent reboot. Where it used to be vitally important to the character that he never kills, one of the first issues of the new Justice League shows him decapitating an invading alien. The suit which in past incarnations was something his adoptive mother made is now a “kryptonian battle suit”. The animated film ‘Superman vs The Elite’ has him battling against some of the worst racial & gender cliches (“monster woman” and “black man in chains” are especially horrifying) while struggling with his “never kill” ideal as being “outdated”.

    The idea that Superman used to represent has long been corroded, unfortunately. Card should have a field day with him.

    • TheMightyX

      Your words…they make me sad. I said I am a Marvel person, and so I never followed Superman too closely, but…it’s now considered “outdated” to have moral scruples? It’s outdated to place values on family? Oh, the “Kryptonian Battle Suit” made me sad. That’s effacing a part of Superman that places emphasis on families (which is nice, you don’t get a lot of that these days), and making it an obvious way to sell more toys. Superman in his Kryptonite Battle Suit! Superman on a Motorcycle (what, wtf?! HE CAN FLY.), red Superman, Black Superman (outfits), I mean, I look in my nephew’s toy box and I see so many stupid, obvious ways they sell action figures to five-year-olds, and it makes me kind of ill. So it’s outdated to not want to kill people, great message to send kids (oh, they’re not PEOPLE, sweetie, they’re ALIENS), and it’s outdated to want to have a suit made by your mom.

      Truth, Justice, and the American way my….foot.

  • William Wall

    Meh, DC is balls anyway. I’d much rather fawn over Tony Stark than sit through a two-hour movie about a man wearing tights sporting a curlicue. Damn those tights gotta be uncomfortable, and wtf is up with that hair anyway…

    • Misterkristoff

      I actually dislike Supes as a character, but for some reason I’m really looking forward to Man of Steel.

      And while I’m a big Iron man and RD Jnr fan, I doubt I’ll even see IM3. IM2 felt like I was being tea-bagged for 2.5 hours. I actually fell asleep during the big battle sequence at the end. Jon Favreau isn’t a director’s ingrown toenail imo

  • Reay Jespersen

    “As for the idea of retailers not stocking the work, not even allowing people to make up their own minds about it, well, that’s just singularly insulting. Thank you Mr Comic Book Store Guy, but this grey pulpy mass between my ears actually fucking works for itself sometimes.”

    I’m with you on all but this bit of the post. Comic shop owners not wanting to support Card by not selling his work is effectively no different than you not wanting to support him by buying it, in either case saying, “I’ll not support this man and his work.” In fact, I’d argue that entire comic shops refusing to stock Card’s written work would carry far more weight with DC than some individuals choosing to not buy it.

    I suppose there are going to be plenty of comic shops that don’t know/care about the issue enough and will carry Card’s work, but I don’t see the point in that being your preferred case in order that you can then make the choice to not buy it from them.

    Anyone anywhere, via whatever means, who wants to take a demonstrative stand against Card and his work by not supporting it, should be encouraged, not put down.

    • Misterkristoff

      I do see the point, yeah. I guess the issue I have is that having my decisions made for me by a retailer makes “Killing in the Name” start playing in my head on repeat.

      Although I did read a very interesting article the other day about the structure of comic book retail. it talked about how there is no “return’ option for unsold comics like there is for novels – that comic stores actually fully purchase their stock and then on-sell to consumers, unlike bookstores (who essentially borrow with an option to buy). Sales figures are based on those purchases made by comic stores.

      So yeah, i can totally see how a comic store wouldn’t want to purchase the title and aid those sales figures.

  • Rucha

    I get what you’re saying about separating the art from the artist. It is an idealist view. But the fact is, I only very rarely look up anything about the author/artist of any particular work – frankly I don’t have the time. So I don’t often know the views -good or bad- of authors/bands/directors. If I like their work, I will go back to them. If their work shows views I don’t agree with in a positive light – gay-bashing, racism etc – I won’t go back to them. Doesn’t matter if they are actually pro-gays, their work supports something different and I don’t support that.

    I’m not particularly into American comics (don’t shoot me. I grew up in England – for some reason, everyone was obsessed with Pokemon, Harry potter or halo/call of duty) and I never liked superman when I was little. To my four year old mind, he was a bit of pussy and generally irritating. So I really have no clue who this guy is. But if this homophobe allows his views to influence his work, then yeah, don’t buy his work. If he’s particularly vocal about views you don’t agree with, especially in a negative way, don’t buy his work. But if the artist doesn’t express those views in his work or in any particularly public or harmful way, then I think it’s ok to buy the work.

    I know that people won’t necessarily agree with that – that you shouldn’t support any racist/homophobe etc. in any shape or form. I understand the whole slippery slope argument but I DO agree that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just don’t agree that they can express their opinion however they want.

    I suppose its also a question about tolerance. As bad as this may sound, I can probably support/hire a racist or homophobe providing that they keep their views to themselves and out of their work. If their not hurting anyone I can ‘live and let live’. I can’t tolerate rapists, child abuse, domestic violence etc.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents.

  • Natasha Quaresma

    I couldn’t agree more. The fact is that his views are known, so he is aware of any potential backlash. The way to make DC know that you don’t agree with their choice is not to buy, as you said Jay. Money speaks louder than words. Anyone who thinks its ok to be cruel about others because ‘they know the right path’ is a joke in my world. Great post, and thanks for making us aware.

  • DebE

    I loved the way you worked that argument right through to the conclusion. Yes, spouting anti-gay sentiment is wrong. And then yes: is it wrong not to hire someone because they are anti-gay? Sure, I get that… if they’re really the best person for the job, you should be hired. But then you brought it right back round, comparing it to an issue of colour or gender… I guess it really just goes to show where society is at right now.

    I could write a whole spiel here, but really, I’d just be repeating what you said… so… “What he said… up there.” But I just wanted to point out that I really appreciated that you took this argument through a measured process, and I was right there with you all the way.

  • Sadhbh

    I maintain that people can do good and be twats (yes, a serial rapist can be a wonderful parent, or a misogynist can donate time and money to worthy charities) and that if we can accept that about each other, we’re well on the way to fixing some of societies huge issues by talking about them instead of apologising/insisting they didn’t happen.

    On a personal note, I refuse to take work from companies/stances I disagree with ethicly, I try to vote with my wallet for causes I believe in when I do buy stuff, and I’m a hell of a lot happier for it.

  • Herb

    So what you’re saying is that if an artist shows discriminatory animus against a small segment of society with a history of facing some pretty serious prejudice, including state-sponsored prejudice, discrimination, and violence, then I shouldn’t buy that artist’s work? I can live with that.

  • Gamila

    Herb,
    Go read about the edmund tucker act and early mormon history and then you will realize that your comment applies to both Card and gays and by your logic shouldn’t be reading mr. Kristoff’s work either.

  • ashleycapes

    Fantastic post, Jay. Impressive. Well said and thanks for saying it.

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    Not been here for a while, busy going a bit insane. Interesting post, makes me wonder where self-loathing comes into the picture for a member of a minority group. One thing sticks out for me in this piece. The point regarding what would DC have done if the views professed by their employee was racist or sexist. You are correct, discrimination comes in a multitude of forms, and one of those is acceptance of the discriminator via distancing. Go ahead make it acceptable…

    Maybe those able-bodied fucks will stay out of the blue bay next time instead of leaving me with the difficult task of walking an extra 1500m on what seems like broken glass due to pain and arriving where I’m headed drenched in sweat and too fucked to do anything of value. Because it’s not just those wankers I’m cursing in that instance but me and my condition for having to need to rely on social ‘goodwill’ to get by. Don’t even get me started on service elevators “for goods only” while I’m left to manage 4 flights of stairs to get where I need to be.

    This world would be a much better place if people realised we do not all move through the same world, same space, even same reality, as those we share it with. And you know what, voting with your wallet is not enough. Silence accounts for nothing. You see someone doing bullshit you ante up and call them on it. The fact we sit here and can honestly make an argument that “money speaks louder than words” highlights the point that this whole place is well and truly fucked. Money has a loud voice because we allow it to. Because much like DC sit back and say, “The artists opinions are their own” some of us eagerly allow not making a transaction to be justification for our silence. Because you know what, next time I’m struggling to get somewhere and it’s obvious a simple “Do you need a hand mate?”, will most likely be met with a “No thanks, I’m fine.” But the fact that you asked will give me that little bit more impetuous to motivate myself to get where I’m going. Same as if you lambaste that asshole that is parking in the blue bay without a permit you might make him wake the fuck up and that means the question “Do you need a hand mate?” doesn’t even have to be asked.

    Not handing over our money does not give us a moral high ground. It causes issues for businesses and innocent parties. Employees not involved in any decision making process, who through no fault of their own will be the first ones being laid off. Plus on the off chance this whole thing has any impact and costs DC to the point a loss rolls around, guess what? Due to our system they’ll recover some cash back in tax concessions. People somewhere pay anyway. Money, like the case with any power beyond that physically manifested, only has the power we imbue it with.

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    I’ll join Sadhbh in that special corner. It’s impetus, If I wasn’t known to be impetuous I would’ve been calmer. I guess I could always blame the drugs, yeah it was the drugs, because I just ooze rational…

  • An Online Commenter

    I’ve read up on Orson Scott Card a little, and some of his beliefs do seem a bit farfetched. Although I wouldn’t go out of my way to fire someone who’s gay (if I had the authority to do so) nor would I threaten physical harm on a gay person, I guess I’m still one of those closet bigots you so much dislike, because I think marriage should just be between one man and one woman. But I think it can also be argued that anyone who is pro-gay marriage but who doesn’t support incestuous marriages between two consenting adults or polygamy is also technically a bigot. Like gay marriage, incestuous marriages don’t hurt anyone (if they don’t want deformed kids, they can just sterilize themselves or use contraceptives). Like homosexuality, incest is also a natural occurrence in some species of bugs and animals (if what I found online is true). So who’s place would it be to get in the way of a romantic attraction between a brother and sister?

    And I realize there are people out there who do hold the view that, even though it may be weird, consensual incest or polygamy is alright. In that case I’m not sure if I like the direction our society seems to be going. Right now it’s gay marriage advocates crying for equality. But one day in the far, far future (and this is purely speculation), people may be advocating for equal rights for incestuous or polygamous marriages. And if polygamous marriages become legal, then everyone will be having sex with everyone else (which is happening in these current times, anyway). And if everybody is marrying whoever or however many people they want to, then what’s the point of there being “marriage” in the first place?

    But maybe a society like that could work. I don’t know what kind of ramifications there’d be, but maybe it would work.

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